Shannon here: Abingdon Press inspirational author, Vannetta Chapman shares insight into the fictional romance of her characters in A Simple Amish Christmas, along with and excerpt. She’s giving away a Texas Treasure box and I’m adding a copy of White Roses. Deadline to leave a comment for drawing, Aug. 21, 8:00 PM Central. Here’s Vannetta:
1. What’s the most romantic present your hero ever bought your heroine?
I don’t want to give away the ending, but in the final scene Samuel gives Annie something very special—something that always meant a lot to him but that he’d lost. Finding it and offering it to Annie shows that he’s ready to offer MORE than merely a gift to her. Also, in this scene we learn that it’s not the monetary value of a gift that’s important. It’s the personal value of that gift, the emotional connection we have to a thing when we give it away that tells it’s true worth.
2. What simple gesture does your heroine do that melts your hero every time? Samuel’s heart melts when he sees Annie working with the children. Her love for medicine and her love for the Amish children and community strikes a deep nerve in Samuel, and this is how he knows that Annie is a very special person—that she is important in his life. Also, every time Annie reaches out and casually touches Samuel, a bit of the ice he has built around himself begins to melt. Samuel is a friendly person, but he keeps most people at a safe distance. Annie breeches that distance with her small gestures and Samuel is quite defenseless against it.
The following excerpt is from Chapter 20 of A Simple Amish Christmas:
Annie watched Samuel walk across from the barn, past the nativity scene and toward the house. In the fading light, she couldn’t make out his expression. What had he been talking to her dat about? The way Samuel had gazed at her during dinner—it had sent fireflies skittering around her stomach.
Now as he paused at the bottom step of the porch, she had the certain feeling something was about to change.
Excitement surged through her heart—parts of her heart.
But other parts held back, wanted to run upstairs to the bed she’d slept in since she was a little girl, pull the covers over her head, and insist everything remain the same.
What if he said something that crushed her dreams?
He certainly looked serious.
He joined her at the porch railing. “Cold out tonight.”
“Ya, but I like looking for the stars as they begin to appear.”
They stood that way a minute, staring up as the last of the light faded from the sky, until Samuel finally broke the silence. “Leah was right, you know.”
She cocked her head, waited.
“About your dress. It’s very pretty.”
The warmth started deep within her and rose up into her cheeks, until Annie felt as if her face was on fire like the western sky in front of them.
“Samuel Yoder, I never know what is going to come out of your mouth.”
“I was hoping we could talk for a few minutes—if you’re not too cold.” He motioned toward the oak rocking chairs.
Annie’s thoughts immediately conjured up that other evening when she’d first come home. “Why don’t we walk instead?” She pulled her coat more snugly around her midsection, though she could hardly feel the chill in the air with Samuel walking so close by her side.
“All right. Sure.”
Annie followed her natural path, the one she took most evenings, the one that led to the vegetable garden behind the house. Though snow still covered the rows, she could now imagine it as they’d planned it for spring. She’d spent hours with Charity and her mamm looking at seed catalogs.
“How do you feel about me, Annie?”
His question caught her completely off guard. She’d wrestled with it so many times, but she’d never expected to be asked and certainly never by him.
“You know how I feel, Samuel.” When he didn’t rescue her by agreeing, she swallowed and pushed on. “I respect you very much. You have excellent doctoring skills—and of course I realize you’re not a doctor. You’re very kind to the people in our community, and you give to them selflessly. You’ve done so for a long time. I admire that about you.”
“I didn’t ask for a professional reference.” He leaned back against the fence post, blocking her way into the garden. “But danki for the kind words.”
“Gem gschehne.” Samuel’s words confused her, but his smile made her pulse jump in a gut way. So why was she so light-headed all of a sudden? Perhaps she had caught something from one of the patients with fever on Saturday.
Was this conversation actually happening?
“How do you feel about me, Annie?” This time he reached out and tucked a stray curl into her prayer Kapp. The touch sent a shiver all the way to her toes, even though she could barely feel her toes—the night’s cold had fallen around them like a blanket of ice.
“I . . . I like you Samuel.” As an afterthought she added, “Now.”
His laughter pierced the night.
“Oh, Annie. You are a delight, do you realize that?”
She slapped his arm and pushed past him into the garden though it now lay cloaked in near-darkness. Suddenly she needed to be there, needed to be among the rows where she would plant seedlings in a few months.
“I don’t know why you’re teasing me. You know yourself how hard you were to be around when I first came—and I certainly didn’t like you then. You growled every time I stepped into the room. Do you even remember the conversation on my own front porch? You practically threw me out of my parents’ home.”
“I did, didn’t I?” Instead of sounding defensive, he actually sounded amused.
“Ya, you did.” She wanted to stomp her foot, wanted to wipe the smile off his face, though she could barely see it in the gathering dusk. She could hear it though. What had gotten into him? Why was he behaving so oddly?
And then he said the words she hadn’t ever expected to hear. “I was a little frightened the evening you came home, Annie. I didn’t know what to think of you. When you arrived, breathless and worried, in your dat’s room, you weren’t what I expected. You still aren’t what I expect, and that has me confused—I’ll be honest.”
“So what are you saying?”
“I’m saying I enjoy your company, on many levels.” His shoulder brushed against hers as they turned and began walking back toward the house, back toward the glow of the gas lamps in the kitchen and living room, back toward the windows lighted with Christmas candles.
“I spoke with your father earlier this evening, asked him if it would be all right for me to come calling. Would you mind if I came calling, Annie?”
“I . . . I don’t know what to say,” she stammered, her heart now beating faster, but she slowed her steps. She wasn’t ready to be back on the porch yet.
“Say yes. Say you’d like to spend time with me. Say I don’t have to keep pretending to be checking on your father’s leg when I stop by.”
Her laughter bubbled up, surprising them both.
“I’d sort of figured that was a ruse.”
“Oh you had, had you?”
“Ruse—is that another Englisch word you learned?”
They continued up the porch steps, but he stopped her before they entered the house.
“You’ll think on what I’ve said?” he asked softly.
“Of course I will.”
“Danki.” Then he opened the door for her.
The evening had taken on an unreal quality to Annie, but she didn’t mind one bit. In fact, it might be something she could grow to like.
Come back Aug. 20th for a glimpse into the real life romance of Desert Breeze inspirational author, K Dawn Byrd and insight into the romance of her fictional characters. Dawn is giving away a T-shirt or a mouse pad, winner’s choice.