By: Laura V. Hilton
Publisher: Whitaker House
Publication Date: September 1, 2014
“Would you kiss me?”
Mercy Lapp stumbled to a halt. She looked up from the list she’d been perusing and into a pair of beautiful, twinkling blue eyes. They belonged to a clean-shaven Amish man who held out a pair of plastic vampire teeth on a Halloween clearance rack. They were brown, crooked, and ugly. He moved them closer to her.
Her stomach lurched. “Ewww. Nein!”
He chuckled, then glanced around.
She followed his gaze. They were alone in the aisle. She turned her attention back to him, surprised to find him falling to his knees in front of her, his hands clasped together as if in prayer, the package of teeth dangling from his fingertips.
“Have mercy!” He puckered up in an exaggerated kiss.
She blinked. None of the Amish men back home acted like this. So bold. So…tempting.
“Please? I’ll never get kissed by a pretty girl if I have teeth like these.” He lifted his hand and shook the package.
She wrinkled her nose. “Enough already, jah?” She tried to look away from those yucky teeth but got distracted by a dimple in the bu’s cheek.
He reached forward and fingered the hem of her dress—a bold move—then gazed up at her with an inquisitive expression as she stepped away. “An Amish-style dress. Pink. Camouflage. You aren’t from around here, are you?”
Mercy’s face heated. “Uh, nein. But…well, I just got here. I took a job advertised in The Budget for a mother’s helper, and I haven’t had time to make any new dresses. And Shanna, the woman I’m staying with, just laughed and said it’d probably be a gut thing to add some color around here anyway. I’m from Shipshewana.” Her words tumbled out in a rush.
He slowly straightened to his full height, and she had to tilt her head back to see his face. “Shipshewana, really? Me, too. I’m here visiting my twin brother, Abram.” He licked his lips as he returned the unopened package of false teeth to the display of clearance items. “I’m Abner Hilty.”
Abner Hilty? She hadn’t grown up in his district, but she vaguely remembered seeing him and his twin brother at various frolics. She never would’ve recognized him if he hadn’t introduced himself. He’d filled out. Broader shoulders than she recalled. She eyed his upper arms. She couldn’t tell much about his muscles, given his casual stance and his long shirtsleeves. Not that she should think about such things.
“I see a spark of recognition in your pretty hazel eyes.” He leaned closer, studying her. “And you look familiar. I’ve seen you before.”
“Don’t tell me—I’ve got it,” he said. “It’s…Mary? Martha? Marianna?” He shuddered. “Nein, not her. Miriam? Melinda? Melissa? Mercy? Jah, Mercy! Mercy Lapp.”
“I’m impressed.” She smiled, flattered, even though he’d had to run through a list of names before guessing hers.
Abner chuckled. “Don’t be. Your eyes lit up when I said it.”
“Still impressed.” Mercy backed up a step. “I need to buy the items Shanna needs and go to the grocery store. Her ehemann, Matthew, is running other errands in town, and I don’t want to keep him waiting.”
Abner grinned. “Happy Thanksgiving, Mercy. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
She doubted it. An unexpected flicker of disappointment shot through her. She squashed it. She wasn’t here for a relationship. “Maybe.” She looked at her list again. Primarily supplies to make homemade laundry soap: Borax, Fels-Naptha or Ivory bar soap, Arm & Hammer™ Super Washing Soda….
Abner’s fingers grazed hers. Sparks shot up her arm. She jerked away in surprise.
“Hey, I mean it. McDonald’s sometime? I’ll treat you to a…a pumpkin spice milkshake if they’re still available. If not, then an eggnog one.”
The invitation evoked mixed feelings. She and Paul used to order pumpkin spice milkshakes, but never eggnog. Paul didn’t care for the taste. Mercy did.
She nodded. “Jah. Jah, fine.” She’d like the treat, but she was still settling into her new job and doubted she’d have enough free time.
“You want a firm date? I see doubt in your eyes. Very expressive, they are. How about Friday? I’ll pick you up. Give me directions.”
Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools her children. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor.
Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork Dreams, A Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards), Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard, and The Birdhouse. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is contracted for another three book Amish series set in the Jamesport area, with the first book being, The Amish Firefighter.
She has indie published a Christmas novella, Christmas Mittens.
Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.
Amazon Page: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-V.-Hilton/e/B004IRSM5Q