Amish Christmas Wedding (LARGE PRINT PAPERBACK)
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Amish Women of Pleasant Valley Book 8
Amish woman, Deborah Morris, has waited long enough to marry the man of her dreams. Her wedding was postponed twice and now December 23 is the date she and her husband-to-be have marked on their calendars. When the Amish bishop is involved in an accident and lands in the hospital, Deborah's secret fear is that her wedding will be postponed yet again. That isn't her only worry. She's forced to keep a secret from her fiance and is troubled with the lie. If he found out, it could ruin everything.
Meanwhile, the bishop has problems of his own when a life-threatening condition goes undetected. Could this be the end of the Amish community of Pleasant Valley as everyone knows it?
Also in the Amish Women of Pleasant Valley series:
Book 1: The Amish Woman and Her Last Hope
Book 2 The Amish Woman and Her Secret Baby
Book 3 The Amish Widower's Promise
Book 4 The Amish Visitors
Book 5 The Amish Dreamer
Book 6 The Amish School Teacher
Book 7 Amish Baby Blessing
All Samantha Price books are clean and wholesome reads.
READ A SAMPLE
READ A SAMPLE
Deborah opened her front door when she saw May pull up in her buggy. “Come inside, May. We’re not due to get there until nine.”
May jumped down, secured her horse, and then hurried through the December cold into the house. Deborah shut her front door behind May, and brought her into the living room after her coat was hung.
“The place smells amazing. Deborah, have you already been baking?”
“Jah. Only bread. Do you want some? I could make you a sandwich or some toast.”
“I’m fine. I ate at home. I didn’t know I was early.”
“You are and you know how Hannah doesn’t like people to be too early.”
“Jah, or too late.” May giggled. “It’s best we arrive on time.”
Today they were making cakes at Hannah and the bishop's house for Deborah’s wedding.
“It’s the last bread I’ll bake here,” said Deborah as she swiveled to look around the place that had been her home for the past eight years. Although she’d miss it, she’d never regret moving into the new home with William and his two daughters.
As May flopped into a chair, Deborah said, “I can't believe I'm getting married in three days. Just three days.”
“I know. I can't believe it. Wait, is it three days? It’s Thursday today.” May counted on her fingers.
“It is if you count today and Saturday.”
“Jah, but if you don’t count today and Saturday, you’ve only got Friday. That’s one day. Or it's two days if you count from now to tomorrow, and from tomorrow until Saturday.” May turned her chair slightly toward the couch where Deborah had sat, and stretched her hands out to warm them by the fire. “You’ll find out that being married is the best thing ever. Before I got married April scared me and told me it wasn’t always great, but I think it is. Just because she’s my twin, she’s always bossing me about and telling me how to think and act. Now she can’t do that because I’m married. I’m finally free of her.”
“I see.” Deborah smiled at the way May constantly talked about her twin. April would be delighted May was always talking about her.
May continued, “The best part of marriage is that you’ll always have your best friend close by.”
“My best friend being William?”
“Jah, that’s right. Isn’t he your closest friend?”
Deborah thought for a moment. He wasn’t really like a girlfriend, and he wasn't like her long-time friend Andrew, so she didn’t quite know how to answer May. “Sometimes.”
“I have to tell you I thought William would never get married again, after losing his first fraa. She was pretty much perfect. I was only a young girl when she died, but that’s how I remember her.”
That was how Deborah remembered her too, but she didn’t like to dwell too much on William’s former marriage or his first fraa. May was right about her having been perfect. She'd been pretty and kind, smart and nice in every possible way. Deborah had given up trying to be what she was not. She was plain—plain looking and plain living—and she knew it. That was why, in her youth, she’d been passed over by the men she’d liked, all of whom married other women without ever giving her a second thought. Finally, Gott had brought William Bronstein to fall in love with her. To Deborah, it was a miracle. To make that miracle even more special, William had two young daughters, Ivy and Grace.
May stretched out her hands toward the fire once more to warm them. The December weather was bitingly cold and Deborah was pleased William had chopped plenty of firewood. He took care of her place and his as well. In the past, chopping wood had been her most disliked chore. Now a stack of wood was bundled in a small shed close to the back door and that made Deborah feel cared for. He was thoughtful even over the smallest things.
May yawned and stretched her arms over her head. “I suppose you thought your wedding day would never arrive.”
“Marrying William is a dream I’ve held for a long time. I know it was a long engagement, but that was eased by knowing William wanted to start our married life in a home that was new to both of us.” Although that had meant many long months delay for their wedding, what else could she do but go along with his well-meaning plan? William was a man who was almost dogmatic in his thinking.
“I’m happy for you. And the schul children are happy you’ll continue to work.”
“Of course. Until I have a boppli, and then we’ll see what happens. I might have to leave.” Deborah couldn’t see herself not going back to the teaching work that she loved, but she knew she’d love motherhood even better. Deborah couldn’t keep the smile from her face when she thought about William. “I’ll be married by Christmas and we can celebrate Christmas day and our gift-giving time in our own home.”
“And you’ll be mudder to Ivy and Grace.”
Deborah smiled. “I haven’t forgotten about that. I’ll be their stepmudder, but still a mudder. I'll have an instant family. It's funny to go from being alone to being in a haus full of people.” She swallowed hard, hoping she’d be fit for the task. She knew the girls well because she was their teacher and she already loved them as though they were her very own.
“Will they call you Mamm?”
“Nee. I talked about that with William. I want them to call me Deborah.”
“Ach, that’s a bit funny.”
Deborah frowned at her younger friend. “Why’s that?”
“When you have kinner, the boppli will hear them calling you Deborah. How’s he, or she, supposed to learn that you’re Mamm and not Deborah?”
Deborah smiled at the thought of having kinner—another long-held dream she’d thought would never come to be. “They’ll figure it out. We’ll all figure it out as we go. I thought it fair that Ivy and Grace only call their late mudder, 'Mamm.' I never want to disrespect her or take her place.” She didn’t mention it to May, but the girls had wanted to call her Mamm, but then, together, they’d decided upon Deborah and William had been in agreement.
“I see what you’re saying, but they could want to call you Mamm. Have you thought of that?”
With the long engagement, Deborah had had plenty of time to think of everything. “We’ll see what happens. Can I get you a warm drink? Hot chocolate?”
“I'm fine. We’ll have to leave in a couple of minutes. Are you ready to go?”
“Jah. I’ll just put a cover over the bread. Do you need to use the bathroom before we leave?”
May giggled. “You’re getting ready to be a parent. That’s such a parent thing to say.”
Deborah smiled at May. “I only asked because I know you’ve just driven a long way.”
“I’m fine.” May giggled again.
“I’ll be two minutes.” Deborah stood and then they both heard the sounds of a horse and buggy. May jumped up and raced to the window.
“You'll never believe this.”
“Who is it?”
“It’s your friend Andrew.” May turned around and stared at Deborah. “I thought he went back home with that girl who came looking for him.”
May looked back out the window again as Deborah stood rooted to the spot. “He doesn’t look happy,” May said, “and he's alone.”
Deborah walked to the door with uneasiness gnawing at her stomach and she wasn’t sure why. “I hope everything’s all right with him.”
“Maybe he's come back for your wedding.”
“Most likely. I’d say so.”
“He’s upset for sure.”
Just when Deborah had her hand on the door handle, May came up behind her. “Should I go? Do you want to meet me at Hannah's later?”
She spun around to face May. “Okay. I'm sorry about this, but if he’s upset he’ll want to talk with me alone. Maybe something’s happened with him and Becky. That’s the only reason I can think of for him being upset, if he is.”
“I understand. I'll see you at Hannah's.”
“Okay. I won’t be too long.”
Deborah opened the door and May walked through, and as she passed Andrew, they exchanged a brief greeting. Then Andrew fixed his eyes upon Deborah’s. Immediately, she knew May was right about there being something wrong.
“Andrew, it's nice to see you.”
She stepped aside to let him in and then closed the door. “Come in and sit by the fire. I didn't know if you'd be coming to my wedding or not. Is Becky here too?”
He took his hat off and sat down heavily on a chair. Once he had placed his hat on his knees, he rubbed his hands together staring at the floor. “That's what I’ve come to talk to you about, Deborah.” Slowly his eyes locked onto hers once more.
“What is it? Is Becky okay?”
Andrew ignored her question about his girlfriend. “I have to be completely honest with you. I don't think you should marry William.”
Her heart sank. She had a feeling something would go wrong at the last minute and she wouldn't marry William. That's why she’d wanted a quick wedding and not the long engagement William had so doggedly insisted upon. “Why do you say that?” She held her breath hoping he hadn’t found out something awful about William.
“Because I don't think that you and I have ever explored the … the option, or the idea of us being a couple.”
She swallowed hard at the awkwardness. Yet, she was relieved he had nothing bad to say about William. “You mean you don't think I should marry William because you think I should marry you?”
He nodded. “We've always gotten along.”
“But what about Becky? You’re in love with her.”
He shook his head. “She's too fickle. She ended the relationship with me and started up with someone else straightaway. Didn't even wait for the dust to settle.”
“You knew this, though, and you took her back. You forgave her when she apologized.”
“Only because I could see where things were headed with you and William. I knew I didn’t stand a chance against him. Then I thought it was silly of me to not speak up and say what was on my heart. That’s what I’m doing now.”
Deborah loved Andrew dearly, but only like a friend, nothing more. She had to make him see sense. “I think you’re still hurt and upset over what Becky did. Sometimes when people hurt us it takes a while for our heart to heal, even though we’ve forgiven them in our head. Give her a chance. If you’ve forgiven her you have to do it with a whole heart.”
“I don't want a woman like that, and look what she did. She was about to marry someone else and as soon as she thought you and I were a couple, she left him to chase after me. I prefer someone who's deep-thinking. Someone like you.”
Deborah gulped and could barely look at him. She knew from the way her cheeks burned that they were bright red. “It's too late, Andrew. I marry William on Saturday. I'm just off to Hannah’s place now to join the women in baking cakes for my wedding day.”
He flung a dismissive hand in the air. “Cakes can be eaten any day of the week. Are you worried about the cakes or are you saying you don’t have feelings for me?” He kept talking without waiting to hear her answer. “Up ‘til the second you’re married it's never too late.”
“You say you don't want someone fickle, but wouldn’t I be that way if I suddenly changed my mind about marrying William?”
“Nee, because you’d be righting a wrong decision.”
Deborah nervously twirled her kapp strings between her fingers. Why did things like this always have to happen? Things in her life never ran smoothly.
He continued, “I know we had years when we didn’t see each other, but when we reconnected it was as though I’d never left. There’s something there between us and you can’t deny it.”
She stared at her good friend. Just maybe if she’d never met William Bronstein something might’ve developed between them, but now that William and she had committed to each other, William was the man she wanted. “What’s become of Becky?”
“I ended things with her. I told her I wasn't sure.”
She took in a deep breath. If William became aware of the conversation between the two of them, he wouldn’t be happy and that was a concern. “You told her you weren’t sure of what exactly?”
He shook his head. “Nee, that's not entirely true. I don't know why I said that. I told her there was no future for her with me, and that I was coming back to see you. I never should’ve left when I did. I should’ve stayed and told you how I really felt. I think you knew, but it’s different when you hear it from someone’s lips.”
“But you will end up with her. You were … well, you seemed so in love when I saw you with her.”
He turned his head away. “I do have some feelings for Becky it's true, but I can't let you get married without telling you what’s on my heart and my mind. It was a mistake for me to move away from the community all those years ago. I should’ve stayed and married you.”
Deborah stood up. “I don't know what to say, Andrew, I truly don't. What we have is a good friendship and nothing more. It can never be anything else.”
He stood up and in an instant, he was so close she could feel the warmth of his breath on her neck. “It could be something more, though.” He reached to her sides and grabbed her hands.
She felt trapped. She couldn't move backward because the couch was there. She stepped sideways and yanked her hands out of his grasp. It was inappropriate for her to be so close to a man when she was betrothed to another. “I have to go. I have to leave right now to get to Hannah's place.”
“I'll drive you there and collect you. Then after, we can talk some more.”
“Nee, Andrew, there’s nothing more to say.”
“I just want to tell you how I feel, Deborah.”
“I really have to go. I'm sorry, Andrew. Things just didn't work out for us, but you've got Becky and she's a lovely girl.”
“I haven't got her. Not anymore. I'm going to stay in town until you change your mind.”
“I'm going to be waiting up until the last minute before your wedding hoping you will.”
“Andrew, don't say things like that. A true friend wouldn't say that to me.”
He walked to the door and placed his hat on his head. “I don't want to be your friend. I want to be much, much more.” He stared at her, opened the door and then walked out into the cold.
Deborah rushed to the door and closed it. Then she leaned against it hoping William wouldn’t learn of Andrew’s intentions. She placed a hand over her fast-beating heart and waited until she could no longer hear Andrew’s horse and buggy moving away from the house. When all was silent, she grabbed hold of her coat and headed outside to hitch her buggy.
On the way to Hannah’s house, Deborah prayed, for the millionth time she thought, that nothing would prevent her from marrying William. The problem was her husband-to-be held everything and everybody to a high standard and she was no exception.
When she was nearly at Hannah and the bishop’s house, she saw Bishop Elmer in his buggy coming toward her. They both slowed to speak as was usual when two buggies met on a quiet country road.
“Hello, Bishop Elmer. I'm just going to your haus to help with the cakes for the wedding.”
He grinned. “You won’t be doing much until I get back with the sugar. Hannah suddenly found we’re running low. She’s had a lot on her mind lately. I'm heading to the markets now.”
“I’ll go for you instead.”
He laughed. “Hannah wanted one of the boys to go, but I said I'd do it. With all you women cooking today you've outnumbered the men and that’s not something I’m used to with so many sons.” He chuckled. “I can do with some quiet time.”
Deborah smiled at him. “Okay.”
“All I can hear is laughing, more so than the talking.”
“We’ll try to keep the laughing down to a minimum.”
“Don’t. It’s good to hear sounds of happiness. I wouldn’t want to stop that. I better keep moving.”
He clicked his horse forward and she continued to the house.
After she’d greeted all the ladies in Hannah’s kitchen, May pulled her to one side and asked her what Andrew had wanted.
“Keep this to yourself because I don't want it to get back to William.”
“Of course, I won’t tell anyone. Who would I possibly tell?”
After Deborah glanced over at the laughing women, she whispered to May, “He wanted to tell me how he feels about me.”
May gasped and both hands flew to her mouth. “He's in love with you?”
“Maybe. He thinks so.”
“It's not,” Deborah hissed. “What's romantic is me marrying William. That's what I want. I don't want to marry Andrew. If I wanted that, I wouldn't have said yes to marrying William.”
“Jah, I know but now you've got two —”
“I don't want to have another man in love with me.” Deborah looked over her shoulder at the other women once more to see them still busily talking and laughing. “I just want one man. And I just want to be married. I waited for so long and I don't want anything to go wrong. And it’s been such a long time from when he asked me to marry him to the actual wedding.” She rubbed her forehead envying all the couples who’d gotten married quickly.
“Do you think Andrew will say something to William?”
“Nee. I don't think so, but the possibility is making me nervous.”
“What exactly about it is upsetting you so much?” May asked.
“Because Andrew said he’s going to wait here until I get married. Just waiting, in hopes I change my mind.” She put a hand on her stomach feeling she was going to be ill. Her throat had gone dry.
“Well that's nothing to worry about. Let him wait.”
Deborah shook her head. How could she explain to May that, for her, things in life just never ran smoothly?
Deborah leaned against the doorway of the kitchen and looked over at Hannah and the three older ladies. Then there was Abigail, Hannah’s daughter-in-law, looking as happy as ever. How good it would be to feel so carefree. Once she married, she would be able to breathe easy. Until then … she’d continue to hope and pray that nothing would get between her and William.
“Forget about him, Deborah. Just have fun today,” May whispered. “We’re making memories you’ll look back on and treasure.”
Deborah nodded. “I’ll try.”
“I’ll make us all coffee,” Hannah announced. “We can’t do anything until Elmer gets back anyway.”
The ladies all sat down at the table and Deborah and May joined them. Deborah fixed a smile on her face so no one would know how she felt inside.