HARVEST OF BLESSINGS
by Charlotte Hubbard
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The tranquil little town of Willow Ridge is facing a startling challenge. Wealthy Nora Glick Landwehr is determined to make it her home again—and put her past to rest. Cast out by her own family, Nora can’t reconcile with Old Amish ways or her strict father. But she’ll do anything to help her community embrace the future . . . and make amends to the daughter she had to give up. She certainly has no time for her reckless new neighbor Luke Hooley. They disagree about almost everything. And how can she trust him if he always seems to believe the worst about her? Somehow, though, his unexpected support and passionate heart are helping her find her own way in faith. And Nora will discover that even in the face of insidious lies and unyielding judgment, God creates unexpected chances for forgiveness—and love.
When Nora swung open the restroom door, she nearly ran into Hiram Knepp before she saw him in the shadowy hallway. He was leaning against the wall as though he’d been waiting for her to come out. He shifted quickly, so he was blocking her exit.
“Looking good,” he murmured with a devilish smile.
Nora somehow contained her irritation. “Hiram,” she said with a curt nod. “If you’ll excuse me—”
“Oh, there’s no excuse for you today,” he quipped as his gaze roamed the length of her. “You and Hooley are as mismatched as a thoroughbred racehorse yoked to an ox. What do you see in him, anyway?”
Nora didn’t try to break past him, because that would bring her into contact with the arm he’d planted against the wall, right at her chest level. “You’re entitled to your opinion,” she muttered, “but—”
“But I’m really here with a proposition,” Hiram interrupted. “A business proposition, that is.”
As he moved closer, Nora had nowhere to go but backwards, into the deeper shadow. As her back found the wall she instinctively bent one leg up, so her knee was in a strategic position. She remained silent, making Hiram talk while she figured out how to get out of this trap he’d set.
“Several friends have told me how excited they are to be consigning items to your new store,” Hiram continued. “What a shame it would be if your business went belly-up. Most small businesses—especially those owned by women—fail within the first year because they’re undercapitalized. I’d like to help prevent that.”
I just bet you would, Nora thought, but she kept her mouth shut. Anything she said would give him more ammunition.
Hiram smirked. “Miriam Hooley and Andy Leitner can attest to that,” he stated. “They couldn’t keep their doors open if they didn’t have a benefactor who owned their buildings and relieved them of all that overhead. So what if I bought my barn back?” he asked. “What if I became your silent partner, Nora?”
“No way,” she muttered. “I don’t care to pay the sort of interest you’d expect.”
Hiram’s chuckle echoed in the small hallway. “Nora, my dear,” he protested in a silky voice. “You misunderstand my—”
The door to the mens’ room swung open so hard it hit the wall.
“The lady said no, Knepp,” Luke snapped as he stepped into the hallway. “I’ve got zero tolerance for snakes, so you’d better slither back into your hole. Got it?”
Hiram backed away from her. His jet black goatee rippled with his grin as he pointed first to Nora and then to Luke. “There’s just no accounting for taste, I guess,” he said with a shake of his head. “If you care to reconsider my offer, Nora, my door’s always open.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community west of the Mississippi, longtime Missourian Charlotte Hubbard writes of simpler times and a faith-based lifestyle in her Seasons of the Heart series. Like her heroine, Miriam Lantz Hooley, Charlotte considers it her personal mission to feed people. Faith and family, farming and food preservation are hallmarks of her lifestyle. She’s a deacon, a dedicated church musician and choir member, and when she’s not writing, she loves to try new recipes, crochet, and sew. Charlotte now lives in Minnesota with her husband and their border collie.
Seasons of the Heart, Book 5
Zebra (February 24, 2015)
ISBN-13: 9781420133097 •• ISBN-10: 1420133098