August 10th, 2022
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Hot Hot reads in August

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A mysterious story of inter-generational trauma.

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For a woman obsessed and a killer in her shadow, remembering the past becomes a mind game in a novel of psychological suspense

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Danger and Mistletoe are a Deadly Combination

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Danger and Mistletoe are a Deadly Combination

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Vicious evil stalks two Guardians of Eternity, waiting to attack where they never expected . . .

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New state. New job. Same inner demons.

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A shapeshifter and member of the Blackfoot tribe, rescues a beautiful woman, but the signs in the stars tell him her arrival in his world is not accidental.

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Must he kill her to punish the murderer?

Excerpt of Always in My Heart by Mary Ellis


Thomas Nelson
February 2014
On Sale: February 11, 2014
110 pages
ISBN: 1401690181
EAN: 9781401690182
Kindle: B00E68O026
Add to Wish List

Novella / Short Story, Inspirational Amish

Also by Mary Ellis:

100 Proof Murder, August 2021
Hardcover / e-Book
One For the Road, January 2021
Hardcover / e-Book
Island of Last Resorts, November 2019
Hardcover / e-Book
Sweet Taste of Revenge, February 2019
Hardcover / e-Book
The Amish Sweet Shop, December 2018
Trade Size / e-Book
Hiding in Plain Sight, August 2018
Hardcover / e-Book
Sunset in Old Savannah, April 2017
Trade Size / e-Book
Magnolia Moonlight, August 2016
Paperback / e-Book
What Happened on Beale Street, April 2016
Paperback / e-Book
Amish Christmas Memories, September 2015
Midnight on the Mississippi, August 2015
Paperback / e-Book
The Last Heiress, February 2015
Paperback / e-Book
The Lady and the Officer, August 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Romance on the River, April 2014
A Plain Man, April 2014
Paperback / e-Book
Always in My Heart, February 2014
The Quaker and the Rebel, January 2014
Paperback / e-Book
An Amish Miracle, December 2013
Paperback / e-Book
A Little Bit of Charm, September 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Love Comes To Paradise, February 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Living In Harmony, August 2012
Paperback / e-Book
An Amish Family Reunion, February 2012
Paperback / e-Book
A Marriage For Meghan, October 2011
Paperback / e-Book
Abigail's New Hope, April 2011
Sarah's Christmas Miracle, August 2010
The Way To A Man's Heart, July 2010
Never Far From Home, January 2010
A Widow's Hope, March 2009

Excerpt of Always in My Heart by Mary Ellis

Chapter One

Paradise, Pennsylvania

Stephen Bowman switched off the generator, swiped his brow with a handkerchief, and straightened his spine. Not even nine o’clock, and the July day was already sweltering.

Since dawn he had milked, fed, and watered the animals and turned them out to pasture. The milk was now stored in the cooling room, awaiting pickup, and he was ready for breakfast.

He headed for the house, his stomach rumbling. What might his fraa have made this morning? Buttermilk pancakes swimming in maple syrup? Mushroom omelet covered with melted cheddar? Maybe a thick slab of ham with an over-easy egg on the side?

He entered the kitchen to find a box of corn flakes on the table, along with a banana. The pot of coffee had grown cold on the stove.

After thirteen years, he knew his fraa well. Hope usually only served a cold breakfast when pressed for time, or when—

Stephen bolted toward the front room. “Hope?”

His wife of thirteen years sat in the rocking chair with her sewing basket at her feet. Sweat beaded at her hairline. The tiny white kapp she’d been crocheting lay abandoned in her lap.

“When did the contractions start?” He tried to keep his voice calm so as not to frighten his daughters. The three girls sat on the couch staring at their mother and holding hands.

Hope said nothing for at least half a minute. Then she spoke through gritted teeth. “A few . . . hours ago.”

“Why didn’t you send Josie to the milking parlor for me?” His glance flickered to his eldest dochder, who peered up at him through thick lashes.

“Thought I had plenty of time to finish this kapp and pair of booties.” Her speech improved as the contraction loosened.

“You know what the doctor said. Things move along faster with each new bundle of Bowman joy.” Stephen chucked his young¬est child under the chin. Little Greta’s green eyes sparked as she giggled.

“True enough, but I still thought I had enough time. No sense dragging Jane Beachy out too soon.” Hope’s voice returned to nor¬mal, and her fingers released their grip on the chair. “She has her own family to tend.”

“Midwives are accustomed to being called out at all hours of the day or night. At least she’s not sleeping at this hour. I’ll leave now to fetch her.”

“May I ride with you, Daed?” asked Josie. She scrambled from her position on the couch to land on the floor near Hope’s feet. “I could help Jane carry in things.”

“Nee.” Stephen gave her kapp ribbon a pull. “You stay and help mamm get things ready.” He felt himself blush. Discussing babies-on-the-way was not a proper topic between father and daughter. “You understand God is bringing us another boppli?” He peered at one pair of rounded eyes after another.

“Of course, I do,” she said, as though mildly insulted.

“Ya,” replied the younger two, heads nodding. “Mamm said so. Bruder this time?” asked seven-year-old Emily.

“We’ll soon find out.” He buzzed a kiss across his wife’s kapp. “I’m off. Put down your sewing, Fraa. I believe you should start moving in the direction of our bedroom. But don’t pick up a paint¬brush to give the kitchen a fresh coat.”

Stephen smiled at the memory of a woman in their district who decided to paint a room during labor. Things happened so fast she gave birth in their bathtub, assisted solely by her eldest daughter. By the time the midwife arrived, the mother had been bathed and was resting comfortably, with her new son sleeping in the crook of her arm.

Suddenly, Hope grabbed his sleeve, her brown eyes huge. “I’ve prayed all morning for this one to be a boy.” She turned her face up to him.

Stephen patted her hand. “We shall be grateful for another healthy child, whether boy or girl.” He gazed at his family, then strode from the room. Within minutes Stephen hitched his fastest gelding to the buggy and raced down their lane. Not much traf¬fic crowded the country roads, no speeding cars that could panic a skittish horse. And so far, no buses with tourists leaning out of windows snapping pictures.

He used the time to say his prayers and count his blessings. God had smiled upon the Bowman family. His wife and daughters were healthy; he’d inherited a fertile, productive farm from his father, and his large herd of Holstein cows supplied an abundance of milk. Even the new bulls had drawn decent prices from the veal producers, providing necessary cash to pay taxes, medical bills, and buy diesel fuel.

At thirty-five, Stephen Bowman was content.

But a son would be nice.

It would be good to have help with the harder farm chores. Although Josie could already plant a straight row of corn and pick more than her weight in beans in a day, he didn’t want women rid¬ing dangerous equipment. Some chores like plowing, harrowing, and harvesting remained men’s work. Growing up, he’d witnessed firsthand his father’s challenge of having only one son. His sisters eventually married and moved to other parts of Lancaster County or to different states altogether. Stephen remained on the farm helping his daed until a heart attack took him to the gates of heaven.

Would an early death be his destiny? Only God knew the future, and whether this coming child would be another girl. He didn’t feel comfortable praying for one over the other.

Still, a son would be nice, Lord.

He whispered the words against his better judgment and added a hasty, “But Thy will be done.”

Turning into the Beachy yard, a red-cheeked Nathan Beachy hurried to greet him. “Come for Jane, ya?” Nathan shielded his eyes from the glare of a hot July sun.

“We’d be obliged if Jane could lend a hand, if she’s not too busy.” Both men spoke in even tones as they marched quickly toward the house.

“Fraa?” called Nathan. “Stephen Bowman has come.” They waited less than a minute before the experienced midwife bustled down the stairs into the kitchen.

She carried her black satchel, a diaper bag, and a sleeping infant. “Time has come, then.” Jane issued a statement rather than asked a question. “Our kinner are dressed and fed,” she said to Nathan. “They should be fine while you’re in the fields since the oldest aren’t back to school yet.” A shy teenager peeked around her mamm. “No telling when I’ll be home.” Jane kissed his cheek then hurried out the door with Stephen at her heels. Flanked by his brood, Nathan remained on the porch, waving.

“Might be home sooner than you think,” murmured Stephen, once they’d climbed into his buggy. With another man within ear¬shot, it would have been embarrassing, but he didn’t mind discussing the delicate topic with a professional midwife.

Jane pivoted toward him. “Why? How far along is she?”

Stephen shook the reins and released the brake. “Can’t say in terms of minutes between pains but from what I could gather, I should have fetched you at first light, if not sooner.”

The midwife picked up the seldom-used crop and slapped it lightly on the horse’s broad back. “Git up, there,” she com¬manded. “Save the meandering for the trip back. We’ve got a boppli on the way!”

Stephen Bowman felt his excitement ratchet up a notch to match her enthusiasm. Another one of God’s miracles was about to take place, right in his own family. Hope experienced a moment of panic when the door closed behind Stephen. She was alone with three little ones with a fourth about to make a grand entrance. I will never leave you or forsake you ...

God’s promise gave her strength as she struggled to her feet and dropped her crocheting into the basket.

“Come, Josie, we must prepare. Emily, Greta, I want you to stay in your room. You may play or read, but do not come downstairs until Josie calls you.” Hope touched each of their cheeks tenderly. “Mamm will be fine.”

Emily hugged her around the waist, then took Greta’s hand and scampered up the steps. Greta glanced back at Hope but left obedi¬ently with her sister.

“What should I do?” asked Josie. Her dark eyes glowed with the eagerness of new responsibility. At twelve, the girl was ready for all but the most delicate portion of childbirth.

“Fill both kettles and the soup pot with water. Then bring them to a low boil. Jane will need plenty of warm water to bathe the boppli and me.” She walked gingerly toward their ground floor bedroom, her belly feeling impossibly heavy. “First, help me put the rubber sheet on the bed and set out the towels. And we’ll need blankets to keep the baby warm. Jane will bring whatever else is needed.”

By the time the next contraction stole her breath, the birth¬ing room was ready. Josie went to prepare the kitchen, while Hope climbed into bed, covering herself with their oldest sheet. “Won’t be long now, Lord,” she whispered.

Hope squeezed her eyes shut and concentrated on not scream¬ing as a contraction hit. Just when she was about to call Josie to help, Jane Beachy bustled into the room, her sleeves rolled up and her hands still wet from scrubbing. A grin stretched across her face.

“Did you figure to pull this off alone to save yourself my fee?” Jane said. “Nothing doing, Hope Bowman. Nathan and I plan to use that money to visit Paris, France, in the springtime.” She pulled long gloves up to her elbows.

The joke distracted Hope from counting breaths. “Please don’t make me laugh until this is said and done.” Josie retreated from the room, and Hope positioned herself for examination.

“From the looks of things, you won’t have to wait long to appreciate my sense of humor.” Jane rushed to prepare for the final stage. “You cut this one a bit close to the wire. Did you think that I charged by the hour?”

Her quip almost sent Hope over the edge. She had to wait sev¬eral minutes to retort. “Remind me to come to the birth of your next baby. Between now and then I will save up a bag of jokes.”

And so, together the two longtime friends brought a life into the world. The newest little girl to the Lancaster Amish community.

Hope swallowed down an initial pang of disappointment when Jane announced, “Looks like we have a fourth daughter for the Bowman family. All ten fingers and toes with plenty of hair—she looks perfect to me.” A loud wail signaled a strong pair of lungs as well. “I’ll get her cleaned up and warm and be back in a jiffy.”

Jane disappeared from the bedroom, leaving Hope alone. “Thank You, Lord,” she whispered, “for the smooth delivery and another healthy child.” She didn’t put words to her dissatisfaction and hoped God would overlook her discontent.

This is nobody’s fault but mine.

Jane bathed Hope and helped her into a fresh nightgown, then she took the baby into the kitchen to examine, weigh, and bundle into a warm quilt. Hope could hear Jane instructing Stephen and Josie on their tasks for the next few days. When she returned to the bedroom, Hope reached for her hand, forcing a smile. “Danki for all you’ve done.”

“All in a good day’s work.” Jane pushed damp hair off the new mother’s forehead. “You’ve been blessed, Hope Bowman.”

“Ya, but not as much as you and Nathan, with three sons.” The words escaped Hope’s mouth before she could stop herself. She felt a hot flush rise up her neck into her face.

Jane bundled the laundry and tidied the bedroom. “Ya, sons are helpful, but who’s to say what your next one will be? The next dozen or so might be boys.” She winked and plumped an extra pil-low behind Hope’s back.

Hope pressed a palm on her still-swollen belly. “Let’s not talk about the next dozen quite so soon.”

“I’ll be back tomorrow to check on you. The paperwork has been filled out except for the baby’s name.” In a rare display of affec¬tion, Jane leaned over and kissed Hope’s cheek. “You and Stephen put your heads together and come up with something gut.” Then she bustled from the room.

But Hope had no chance to wallow in self-pity. Just as she fin¬ished feeding her infant, her best friend Rosa Hostetler marched into the room with a broad smile stretched across her face. “I heard from Jane Beachy on her way home you might have someone new to show off.”

“Goodness, word travels fast.” Hope pulled back the coverlet to reveal a pink face. “Meet the youngest Bowman dochder.” She lifted the baby for inspection.

“May I hold her? Oh, she’s just perfect. I’ll bet she’ll be a cheer¬ful boppli too.” She took the infant in her arms and strolled around the room explaining doors, windows, and vases of flowers as though the newborn was ready for language instruction.

“Let that boppli sleep. You can start the lessons next week.” Throughout Rosa’s fussing, the littlest Bowman slumbered peacefully.

“What do you suppose you’ll call her?”

Hope’s smile faded. “I’d selected David or Joseph—names of strength and fortitude. I was so sure this one would be a boy.” Unbidden, tears streamed down her face.

“Ach, the next one will be.” Rosa kissed the infant before settling her into the crook of Hope’s arm.

As Hope tucked the blanket beneath the tiny chin, her tears fell unchecked. “You don’t understand,” she whispered. “There’ll be no boys for me—not after what I have done.” The words strangled in her throat. “God is punishing me just as He punishes all who dis¬obey Him.”

Rosa perched on the edge of the bed. “I doubt He would pun¬ish a sixteen-year-old girl. You had no choice.” She slipped an arm around her friend’s shoulder.

Hope shook her head violently. “We always have a choice. I could have refused. I could have run away. Now because of my shame, I’ll never give Stephen a son.”

“Hush,” Rosa demanded. “Stop those tears. You don’t know what God has planned. No more worrying. You must have faith.”

Faith. Hope looked into Rosa’s eyes. The woman had lost so much. She had been married for five years without the blessing of a child. And then, two years ago, her husband Uriah had died and left her alone. Alone and struggling, both financially and emotionally.

And yet here she was talking to her best friend about faith. About trusting God, no matter what the circumstances. If Rosa could have faith, Hope certainly could.

She nodded and swallowed hard. “You’re right. There’s no place for wallowing in self-pity. You’ve given me the perfect name for our new little one—Faith.” She brushed a kiss across the downy head. “And faith is what I shall have.”

Excerpt from Always in My Heart by Mary Ellis
All rights reserved by publisher and author

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