Their Amish Reunion (Amish Seasons #1)By: Lenora Worth
Return to Lancaster County
Love blooms in the Amish Seasons series
Widowed single mother Ava Jane Graber can’t believe her eyes. Her first love is back in Lancaster County. Years ago, Jeremiah did the unthinkable: left the Amish—and her—for the Navy SEALs. Now the prodigal hero wants redemption from his community, his family and from the woman he never forgot. For the ex-soldier, becoming Ava’s husband is his ultimate mission.
“Why were you hiding from me?”
She thought of that day at his farm. “I didn’t want to see you,” she said.
His eyes darkened with regret. “And now?”
She took a breath, so many emotions converging inside her head like a river stream flowing straight to her heart. “Now I’ve accepted that you’re back.”
“But you still don’t want me here.”
“You can tell that just from being around me?”
“I can see it in your eyes.”
“No matter how I feel, Jeremiah, my duty is to accept you, not judge you.”
He stared at her with eyes that held so many secrets but also a connection that couldn’t be denied. “I want you to forgive me, Ava Jane.”
How should she respond to that gentle plea? “I’m trying.”
“Gut, because I’m not going anywhere, ever again.”
She knew that.
“Are you afraid of me, Ava Jane?”
“Should I be?” she questioned him. But from the way her heart was pumping, she already knew the answer.
He thought of Ava Jane.
The memory of her sweet smile had held him together for so long, Jeremiah wondered if he’d ever be able to face her again. The real her. The one he’d left behind. Remembering her pretty smile was one thing. Coming face-to-face with her and seeing the hurt and condemnation in her eyes would be another.
Something he’d dreaded during the long bus trip across the country from California to Pennsylvania.
But he wasn’t here today to meet with the bishop about Ava Jane. He’d lost her and he’d accepted that long ago. He didn’t deserve her anymore. Twelve years was a long time. She’d made a good life with a good man. Or so he’d heard.
She had not waited for Jeremiah to come home because all indications had shown he never would come home again. At times, he’d thought that same thing. Thought he was surely going to die a world away from the one he’d left. At those times, he’d think of her rich strawberry blonde curls and her light-as-air blue eyes. And her wide, glowing smile. And he’d wish he’d never left her.
But he was here now, waiting inside the bishop’s home to speak to him. Here and needing to find some solace. He came back to help his family, whether they wanted him to or not. His younger sister, Beth, had tried to keep in touch, but her last letter had been full of fear and grief.
“Daed is dying, Jeremiah. Please come quickly.”
Bishop King walked into the sparsely decorated parlor where Jeremiah waited and stood for a moment. The man’s gaze was solemn and unreadable, but his dark eyes held a glimmer of hope.
“Young Jeremiah Weaver,” the bishop said before he took his time settling down in a high-back walnut chair across from Jeremiah. “Have you kumm back to your faith?”
Jeremiah held his head down and studied his hands, horrible memories of rapid gunfire and grown men moaning in pain filling his brain. Studied his hands and wished he could change them, take away the scars and calluses of war and replace them with the blisters and calluses of good, honest work.
He needed to find some peace.
That was why he’d come home to Lancaster County and his Amish roots. So he looked the bishop in the eyes and nodded.
“Ja, Bishop King, I’ve kumm home. For gut.”
Home for good. One of the hardest things he’d ever had to do in his life. Because the hardest thing he’d ever done was leave Ava Jane crying in the dark.
Ava Jane Graber grabbed her ten-year-old son, Eli, by the collar of his shirt and shook her head. “Eli, please stop picking up things, alleweil.” Right now. “You might break something.”
“Sorry, Mamm,” Eli replied, his mischievous brown eyes reminding her of her late husband, Jacob.