Shannon here: Mary Ellis shares how her hero and heroine met in Nothing Tastes So Sweet, which is included in The Amish Sweet Shop anthology. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for an advanced reader copy. Deadline: Jan 12th, 11:59 pm. U.S. only. Here’s Mary:
Excerpt from Nothing Tastes So Sweet by Mary Ellis:
…Seth scratched the stubble on his chin. “I seem to have been bested on all fronts. So I must surrender to my worthy adversary. I wish you well, Mrs. Kline, and I’ll pass the news on to my brother.” He started to rise from the chair, but Martha placed both hands on his shoulders.
“Not so fast, Seth,” she said. “Now we come to the interesting part of our meeting.”
Mr. Howard cleared his throat. “It’s been our desire to sell to someone Amish, because they would be familiar with that end of the business. We’d even be willing to owner-finance the right buyer.” He nodded at Hannah. “However, Mrs. Kline doesn’t have the necessary fifty percent down payment for the transaction.” He swiveled toward Seth. “Mr. Miller has worked as a roofer and commercial carpenter for five years, giving him expertise in the English building trades. He also has a rudimentary understand of plumbing, something Mrs. Kline lacks. Unfortunately, his down-payment doesn’t meet our minimum requirement either. But if we add the two offers together—”
“I see where you’re going with this,” interrupted Seth. “But it would never work.”
Martha chose this moment to intervene. “Why? Because your male pride couldn’t deal with having a female partner?”
“No, ma’am, I’ve got nothing against females. But I am familiar with the Amish culture. Married women can’t go into business with anyone other than their husbands. Mr. Kline would never permit such a partnership.”
Hannah felt the bottom fall from her stomach as every bit of her courage vanished. “I’m afraid…it’s not Mr. Klein…who’s objecting to our partnership.”
Martha placed an arm around her shoulder. “Mrs. Klein lost her husband in an accident. She’s a recent widow.”
Seth scrubbed his face with his hands. “I’m sorry. My brother asked about you while we were in the store. Adam had been unaware of your loss. But I didn’t…put two and two together.” He pushed himself to his feet. “Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Howard, for inviting me to your home. Again, my sympathy on your loss, Mrs. Klein. I wish you luck with your endeavor.”
“Now don’t go rushing off all embarrassed, young man.” Mr. Howard refused to let the matter rest. “Mrs. Klein doesn’t need luck, she needs more money or we’ll be forced to sell to the King’s Hardware chain.”
Hannah’s mouth dropped open. “I’m sure you mean well, sir, but Mr. Miller has made it clear that an Amish woman would make an unacceptable partner. And I don’t see myself comfortable working with him either.”
“See, Lawrence?” Martha shook her head. “I told you this was a bad idea. Neither of them wants this store as much as you and I did.”
“You two were a married couple, not a pair of strangers,” said Seth.
“You think being a pair of newlyweds makes it easier to launch a new business? You must never have been married.”
“No, ma’am, I haven’t.” Seth sat down in his chair.
“We ask only one thing. Stay and eat the delicious lunch my wife prepared. And talk to each other. See if there’s any way you can see past your preconceived prejudices. Remember, you two don’t have to become friends. Only get along well enough to make Howard’s Hardware the best store in this part of Pennsylvania.”
“Oh, is that all?” asked Hannah.
“Yes, dear child, that’s all.” Martha gave one of her kapp ribbons a tug.
“Where are you two going to be?” Seth looked scared. “Aren’t we eating lunch together?”
“No, after we make our plates, Lawrence and I will eat in the kitchen. We’ll come back in an hour to clear the table and to hear your decision. Agreed?” Martha looked from Hannah to Seth and back again.
“Yes, ma’am.” Seth sat straighter in his chair.
“Agree,” said Hannah, reluctantly.
About Mary: Mary Ellis has written twenty-five novels including Amish fiction, historical romance, and suspense. Her debut book, A Widow’s Hope, was nominated for a 2010 Carol Award. Living in Harmony, won the 2012 Lime Award for Excellence in Amish Fiction while Love Comes to Paradise won the 2013 Lime Award. Her latest suspense, Sunset in Old Savannah, has been nominated for a Bookseller’s Best Award and the Daphne du Maurier Award for 2017. Her next mystery will be Sweet Taste of Revenge from Marked for Retribution Mysteries. In January, Kensington released her novella, Nothing Tastes So Sweet in The Amish Sweet Shop anthology. She lives in Ohio with her husband and dog.
About Nothing Tastes So Sweet:
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, the busiest time of the year at Beechy’s Sweets, where the Amish gifts of love and faith are even sweeter than the home-made candy. Pregnant and suddenly widowed, Hannah must give up the dreams she once had. But when she learns that her longtime English employer plans to sell his hardware store, she’s determined to buy it. She doesn’t realize that will mean following a clue from Beechy’s to clear a man’s name—and finding a partnership in work, faith, and love . . .
Can’t wait for the drawing or worried you won’t win? Get your copy now! Amish Sweet Shop – Christianbook
Question for Readers: What was the best gift you ever received for Valentine’s Day?
Come back Jan for Donna Schlachter!