Random Inspirations

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Amish in College #4 is Out!

on July 1, 2014

It’s here! Amish Baker: Mercy’s Book (Amish in College #4) has launched! This book combines some of my favorite things: entrepreneurial spirit, drama, and, of course, love. And I can’t wait for you to find out Hannah’s special news, which will come into play later, in Book 5!

Here’s an excerpt from Amish Baker: Mercy’s Book. Enjoy!

Here's the new cover of Amish Baker, designed by Antonio! What do you think?

Here’s the cover reveal for Amish Baker: Mercy’s Book… What do you think?

Chapter One

It’s a muggy summer day, and the air in Stoltzfus Bakery feels practically as hot as the brick ovens lining its walls. I finish ringing up an exhausting family of Englischers who had been full of questions about the ingredients we use in our Amish baked goods, and place my sweaty forehead in my hands. Right now, I wish for nothing more than a long, cool dip in the brook.

“Mercy,” Hannah calls weakly from her spot in the corner, where she’s mixing up dough for a fresh batch of snickerdoodles. “Do you mind switching places with me?”

One glance at Hannah tells me she’s not looking to shirk her baking duties; the poor girl looks like she’s ready to pass out. Her face is blood-red, covered with beads of perspiration, and she wobbles unsteadily on her feet, reaching out to the counter for support.

“Sit down, Hannah.” Within seconds, I’ve pulled a stool over, helped her into it, and dashed to the back room.

“What’s going on?” Mrs. Stoltzfus asks when I fling open the door. She’s sitting there doing some bookkeeping, her head propped up on her hand. She glances up with a raised eyebrow, her dark eyes ringed with even darker circles. She looks scary, like the kind of woman that little children run away from. “You know lunch is not for another hour, Mercy.”

Mrs. Stoltzfus owns and runs the bakery, and she uses the back room as an office and break room. I’m jealous of the ever-so-slight breeze that ruffles the curtains on the narrow, high window. I fight the urge to roll my eyes. It figures that she’d be spending her time back here on a day like today, while Hannah and I swelter.
“I’m sorry, ma’am,” I say, pouring Hannah a tall glass of water from the pitcher on Mrs. Stoltzfus’s desk. “Hannah and I just need a bit of water. I won’t bother you again.”

Mrs. Stoltzfus exhales in a loud hmmmph. “Yah, okay,” she says. “Just see that you don’t.”

I bite back an angry retort as Mrs. Stoltzfus returns to her books, waving me away like a bothersome fly. I race out of the office, muttering under my breath. You’d think that after four whole years of working here, she’d treat me with some respect.

Thankfully, the bakery is free of customers. I can only imagine how grumpy Sourpuss Stoltzfus would get if customers complained about waiting.

I thrust the glass into Hannah’s hands, and she gulps down every last drop of water gratefully.

“Are you okay?” I examine my good friend. She’s sitting a bit straighter, but she still has that wilted-flower look. Her face is no longer flushed; now her skin looks waxy and clammy, almost greenish. Her shiny blond hair, which had been neatly pulled back and covered with her bonnet earlier, falls down from its pins and straggles around her face. For a moment, I wonder if she’s suffering from more than overheating—perhaps she’s sick. There’s nothing worse than a summer fever.

“I think so,” Hannah replies, pressing the cold, empty glass to her forehead. “It was the weirdest thing. I felt like I was going to faint.” She stands up slowly. “I think I’m better now, though.”

“Are you able to stand at the counter, or do you need to sit in the back room for a few minutes? I can tell Mrs. Stoltzfus to come out, you know. She’s only looking at the numbers, and that can wait.”

“No, it’s okay,” Hannah says, her voice coming out fast and almost frantic. She pulls off her bonnet, tidying her hair before she puts it back on. “Please don’t tell Mrs. Stoltzfus. I’ll let you know if I feel weak again, but I’m okay to get the counter for now.”

I cock my head, studying Hannah again. I hadn’t expected this kind of reaction. Why is she so reluctant to tell Mrs. Stoltzfus that she isn’t feeling well?

“After all,” Hannah continues, “I’m going to have nearly eight more months of this. It’ll never do if Mrs. Stoltzfus thinks I can’t carry out my regular duties. Jakob and I need the money now more than ever.”

My eyes widen. Is Hannah saying what I think she’s saying?

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