Shannon here: Amish Romance Author, Kelly Irvin shares a romantic excerpt from her latest title, Through the Autumn Air. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for a copy. Deadline: Sept 15th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Kelly:
One of the perks of writing the Every Amish Season series is that I’ve been able to write love stories for older characters. Romance is possible at any age. My hero and heroine in Through the Autumn Air are perfect examples of this. They had wonderful, romantic lives with their spouses. Now they’re in their sixties. They’re grandparents and they’re about to experience a second chance at romance.
Mary Katherine Ropp is a widow whose ten children are now grown and married. She’s an empty nester who loves to write stories and meddle in people’s lives. She wants to open a bookstore with her English friend who is a librarian. She still talks to her dead husband. She knows he’s dead, but it gives her comfort to feel as if he can still hear her and know what’s going on in her life. I find that terribly sad, but also very romantic.
Ezekiel Miller is a widowed father of four. He owns a restaurant called the Purple Martin, named for his first wife’s favorite bird. He can’t imagine being married to anyone else. He loves to cook, he loves his restaurant, he loves his grandchildren, and he’s content with his life.
Then a stranger with a tragic past walks into their lives and becomes their shared project. Mary Katherine and Ezekiel are thrown together. Sparks fly.
I love seeing how romance manifests itself for these two. She buys a cookbook for diabetics so she can make sugar free cupcakes for him. He helps her son fix a broken window after a break-in at her house. He makes her tea and listens to her talk after she attends a funeral of a close friend’s husband. I can’t share the most romantic sacrifices they’re willing to make for each other without giving away too much of the story, so instead I’ll share an excerpt from one of my favorite scenes.
Excerpt from Through the Autumn Air by Kelly Irvin:
“The ride in the back of the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office cruiser was much smoother, even if it did smell of dirty dog. Mary Katherine sneaked a glance at Ezekiel. He had one hand on Sunny’s back as he stared out the window. He hadn’t said a word since giving Freeman and Deputy Rogers an explanation of their presence at the abandoned farmhouse. Deputy Rogers was still interviewing Tony when Freeman directed them to go home and get some sleep. Poor Tony. His plan to get out of this unscathed had been shot to smithereens. At least now the kids responsible would be properly punished.
Mary Katherine hadn’t been able to read Freeman’s expression. Did he understand why they’d come with Tony to find Sunny? Did he understand the urgency? Did he care? Freeman was a good man. Surely, he understood. That didn’t mean he would excuse her participation in the late-night escapade.
Sunny’s happy panting on the seat next to her made it hard for Mary Katherine to regret it. She collapsed against the seat and let the rushing of the dark night air outside the car, the crackle of the radio, and the murmur of conversation between the deputy driving and Burke in the front seat calm her.
“You have a right to be angry with me.” She ventured a small chuckle in Ezekiel’s direction. “But I hope you’ll forgive me.”
“In the first place, I could never be angry with you.” Ezekiel’s voice was low. His head turned from the window. He glanced at the two men in the front seat. They were discussing trout fishing in the Ozarks. Ezekiel leaned over Sunny, who grinned up at him. “Life with you would always be interesting. In the second place, none of this is your fault. It is the fault of a bunch of misguided, spoiled kids who need a trip to the woodshed and a few nights in the county jail to give them a taste of what life behind bars would be like.”
Life with her would always be interesting. Was that a good thing in a Plain wife? Probably not. “I should’ve told Tony to go to the sheriff. I should’ve told Thomas and let him handle it.”
Freeman had said as much before he’d asked if the deputy could give them a ride home with stern instructions not to be late to church in the morning. Morning was only a few hours away. “We’ll talk about this later,” he’d said, his tone ominous.
“Would’ve, could’ve should’ve.” Ezekiel let go of Sunny. His hand captured hers. It was warm around her icy fingers. “Your heart is always in the right place. Freeman will remember that. I’ll remind him.”
She wrapped her other hand around his. “I don’t know how you can justify my actions. I can’t.”
“You were concerned for your family. You stepped out in faith. You did what you thought was right.”
All those things were true. But Plain women didn’t go gallivanting about the countryside at night with Englishers and a widow man. She wasn’t in her rumspringa. She was a sixty-year-old widow with ten grown children. She knew better.
Freeman’s son had seen lights at the old house earlier in the evening and told his father. He called Dan Rogers. They’d been watching the place, waiting. After interrogating Tony, Deputy Rogers had decided to continue to surveil—as he called it—the house until the true perpetrators—again his words—showed their faces. According to Tony, they always came there to party after games. The next one was in a few days.
Tony wasn’t completely off the hook, but Deputy Rogers seemed to believe his story.
The car turned into the drive that led to her dawdy haus. Thomas’s house was dark still. He didn’t know of her escapade, but he would. Soon.
Ezekiel’s hand tightened around hers. “I’ll tell him I plan to be responsible for you.”
“Here we are, Mrs. Ropp.” Deputy Seth McKenzie peered at them with serious amber eyes in the rearview mirror. He’d removed his hat when he got in the car, revealing a massive mound of curly brown hair that added at least an inch to his six-foot, skinny frame. “Somebody—probably Deputy Rogers—will be by to take your statement tomorrow.”
She’d already given her statement to Deputy Rogers and Freeman. “I have church in the morning.”
Ezekiel still held her hand. She didn’t want to let go either.
“Walk her to the door, man.” Burke’s voice held a note of laughter. He didn’t turn around. The deputy’s deep, hoarse chuckle followed. “Good grief.”
“That’s not necessary.” She tugged her hand free and shoved her door open. “Thank you for the ride, Deputy. Good night, Burke.”
Ezekiel met her on the other side. Together they walked up the steps. She put her hand on the doorknob and looked up at him. “I am sorry.”
“I’ve been thinking.”
“I’ve been thinking about how much I like to read.”
Odd topic of conversation for the predawn hours after a night spent running after thieves and a beloved mutt. “You never mentioned that.”
“With Burke around the house always reading, I caught the bug. I’m halfway through The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It’s slow going. Sometimes I read it out loud to Sunny, before he went missing. It was Burke’s idea—Huckleberry Finn, not the reading aloud.”
What was he trying to tell her and why now? She glanced over his shoulder. The deputy had turned the car around so it faced the road. A mournful Sunny stared out the back window at them, his tongue hanging out of his mouth. “I’m not a big fan of Mark Twain.”
“I can see why.”
“Why are we talking about this now?”
“If you want to have a bookstore, don’t give up. Keep praying for Gott’s will.” His hands cupped her cheeks. He kissed her so quickly she didn’t have a chance to kiss him back. “Don’t worry about Freeman or Thomas. Or anyone. You want adventure. I’ll give you adventure.”
Not anymore. It only got people for whom she cared in trouble.
He stomped down the steps. “I love you, Mary Kay.”
The words floated in the air, sweet as lilacs and roses.
“Wait. Ezekiel. Wait.”
He slid into the car and it took off, spitting gravel and dust in the air.
“I love you too.”
Such sweet, unexpected romantic moment in the back of a sheriff’s deputy’s car. So much fun to write and I hope for readers to enjoy as well.
About Kelly: Bestselling novelist Kelly Irvin is the author of the critically acclaimed Amish of Bee County, Bliss Creek Amish, and New Hope Amish series. Her newest release is Through the Autumn Air, the third novel in the four-book series Every Amish Season from Zondervan Publishing. Her work has also appeared in several Amish anthologies, including An Amish Heirloom, An Amish Market, An Amish Summer, An Amish Christmas Love, and An Amish Christmas. Kelly is a retired newspaper reporter and public relations professional who lives with her husband in Texas. They have two children, two grandchildren, and two ornery cats. Learn more: Kelly’s Website
About the book – Through the Autumn Air:
The past filled her mind even as her heart yearned for stories yet to be told…
The mother of ten and a widow of seven years, Mary Katherine is a bundle of energy, always willing to step in and help her friends around her Amish community. Now that her last child is married, she pours her abundant creative spirit into writing stories, even as she speaks aloud to her late husband every day. Her dream is to open a bookstore with an English friend, but the church elders want this wayward widow to work in an Amish-owned store instead. When her old school friend, Ezekiel, offers her a position as a cook in the restaurant he opened after his wife died, she knows she should accept. But does she really want to spend her time slaving over a stove?
When a mysterious English stranger breaks into her house to make himself a sandwich one autumn night, Mary Katherine doesn’t call the sheriff. She turns to Ezekiel. They both see that Burke is need of more than a meal, and Ezekiel offers him the job at the restaurant.
As they set out to care for their new friend, Mary Katherine and Ezekiel find themselves often working together. Mary Katherine is drawn to Ezekiel, but she remembers the terrible risk of giving her heart to someone. Can two people in the autumns of their lives and so well-versed in the pain of loss put the past behind them and trust in the hope that comes with each new season?
Question for Readers: What is the most unexpected thing your sweetheart or a loved one has done for you?
Come back on Sept 7th for Darlene Franklin!