Good morning, friends! Are you getting excited for the release of Amish Christmas Miracles? I am! I can't wait for readers to get to know my characters, Louisa and Caleb. As you may know, I also write suspense for Love Inspired Suspense. I thought today I would share a brief excerpt from my December release, Deadly Amish Reunion. I love reunion romances, where two characters get a second chance at love.
Where had he seen that face before?
Luke Beiler frowned at the face on the television news report behind the front counter. He knew that man. The scowling face with the angry eyes sent chills of foreboding down his spine. Whoever he was, he was dangerous.
Luke focused on the captioned words below the picture. Steve Curtis, aged forty-eight, in prison for rape, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, had escaped from prison.
“Police warn that Steve Curtis is dangerous and very likely armed,” the news anchor said into the camera. The camera shifted to a reporter standing outside the prison. “Janelle?”
“Marie, the prison isn’t commenting yet as to how he managed to escape. One theory spreading through the area is that Steve Curtis didn’t escape on his own. The police are asking citizens to call the number on the screen if they have any information on his whereabouts or about anyone connected with his escape. Back to you, Marie.”
Marie faced the camera again. “If you see Steve Curtis, police are warning you not to approach him but call them immediately.”
The news anchor began reporting on the next story, something about a series of home invasions and robberies occurring these past two weeks before Christmas. Luke tuned them out, frowning as he tried to force himself to recall anything about Steve Curtis.
Luke pulled his mind back to the present and hefted the fifty-pound bag of animal feed over his shoulder, nearly knocking over a small Christmas tree on a stand. His free hand shot out to steady the tree, then he followed his brother Raymond out of the small country store located outside of New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, their boots crunching on the December snow.
Luke’s pace was slower today and his limp more pronounced. He’d been overdoing it lately. The doctor had warned him that his leg would never be as strong as it had been before he was injured.
Not that he could remember anything about that. Luke had woken up in a ditch one day, several hours away from his parents’ home near New Wilmington. He had no memory of how he had gotten there. He’d been wearing a flannel shirt that had seen much better days and jeans that had been ripped to pieces. His left leg had been in agony. The last thing he remembered was being on his rumspringa, so he’d not thought too much about his attire.
He’d been able to hitch a ride from a farmer to his parents’ haus. Nothing could prepare him for their shocked reaction. And he’d been even more astonished to learn that he was not seventeen, but twenty-two. His parents had informed him that he had had a fight with his father and had left in the middle of the night five years earlier. They hadn’t seen or heard from him since. They had the local doctor come and treat his leg. He’d had a partial fracture. The doctor had mused that he might have been hit by a car, but if he had been, they’d never found out who had struck him.
To this day, he had no idea what he had done in those five years.
“Luke, bist du gut?”
“Jah, Raymond. I’m gut. Just thinking.”
“Ach. No wonder you’re so slow today.”
Luke grinned, but in his heart, he didn’t feel it. Something dark hovered in his mind. He attempted to shrug it off and followed Raymond out to the parking lot.
Several buggies were there. New Wilmington’s Amish buggies were unique, black on the bottom with burnt-orange tops. Usually, the Amish goal was not to stand out. In this one aspect, however, the nineteen districts of New Wilmington stood apart from the Amish communities in the rest of the country. Luke clambered up into the buggy beside his brother, grunting as his whole weight briefly settled on his bad leg. It was bitterly cold this morning. His breath misted in the air in front of his face, blurring his vision.
As he dropped onto the seat, an image briefly seared across his brain. And a name. “Jennie!”