The Amish Spinster's Courtship

By: Emma Miller

An Amish courtship no one expected...

But is he too good to be true?

To prove she has a fun side, ultraserious Lovey Stutzman accepts her sister’s dare: a buggy ride with Hickory Grove’s most handsome Amish bachelor. But what Lovey can’t accept is Marshall Byler’s claim that he fell in love with her at first sight. Now Marshall must defy everyone’s expectations—including his family’s—to prove his intentions once and for all.

“I still need to add the sugar...”

“You’re telling me,” Marshall replied. His voice came out in a strangled croak and he began to cough again.

Lovey pointed at him with her spoon. “Sorry. Though my mam did teach me to make lemonade so you could taste the lemons.”

“Did she?” He laughed. He was captivated by the pretty young woman’s eyes, her smile. “Your mam would approve of this batch for certain.”

“I am sorry,” she repeated. Then she giggled again.

Marshall watched her. “I can see I’ll have to be more careful about reading signs literally when I come in here.”

“Maybe you should.” She smiled to herself, adding the sugar to the pitcher.

He couldn’t take his eyes off her. There was something so familiar about her.

This girl wore the Amish clothing of every other local girl he knew, but there was something remarkably different, yet familiar, about though he’d known her all his life. And suddenly he wanted to know her for the rest of his life.

Chapter One

Hickory Grove

Kent County, Delaware

Marshall Byler stepped into the shade of the concrete block dairy barn that housed the new Miller harness shop and breathed a sigh of relief. The July sun was hot and the day was muggy, just what one would expect for midsummer in Kent County and sure to make the corn grow. He’d been cultivating his corn in his east field when a groundhog had startled Toby, the younger of his two horses, and he’d spooked.

Marshall had gotten the horses calmed down before they tore up more than a small portion of his crop. However, somewhere in the frantic shying of the team, Toby’s britchen strap, a section of harness that kept the horse from getting tangled in the traces, snapped. Marshall didn’t need the harness immediately, but he decided to go ahead and drop it off for repair right away, so it would be ready when he needed it again.

Miller’s Harness Shop would save him time because it was closer to his farm than the Troyer Harness Shop, which he usually frequented. And he also liked the idea of giving his business to the new place; there was enough leatherwork to be done in Hickory Grove to support both the Troyer and the Miller families. Besides, the shop was owned by his new friend Will’s father and it seemed only right to go there.

Marshall waited a moment for his eyes to adjust to the shadowy shop with its massive overhead beams and concrete flooring. A section of the former milking stalls had been cordoned off from the rest of the barn, and the stanchions and feed trough was replaced with shelving, display space with an assortment of items for sale and a counter with a cash register.

“Hello! Anyone here?” he called. When he got no answer, he put two fingers to his lips and whistled.

Still no response.

When he and his brother had driven into the yard, they hadn’t seen anyone around. Yet the wooden sign beside the half-open Dutch door read Velcom Friends. It was long past the midday meal, so where was the proprietor? Glasses and a pitcher of lemonade stood by the cash register with a sign that read Refresh Your Thirst. Ice cubes, mint and lemon slices floated in the clear pitcher, a sight that made Marshall realize just how thirsty he was. Noticing a brass bell beside the cash register, he rang it before pouring himself a glass of the lemonade and taking a deep swallow.

Marshall gasped as the strong taste of sour lemon filled his mouth and made his eyes water. He grimaced and began to choke just as the door swung open to reveal a young Amish woman in a green dress and white kapp. He tried to clear his throat and coughed.

“Atch,” she said, and clapped a hand over her mouth to suppress a giggle. “You weren’t supposed to drink that yet.” She held up a pint jar of raw sugar in one hand and a wooden spoon in the other. “I still need to add the sugar.”

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