A Reluctant Bride

By: Kathleen Fuller


GLOSSARY





ab im kopp: crazy, crazy in the head

ach: oh

aenti: aunt

Amisch: Amish

appeditlich: delicious

auld: old

bann: shun, shunned

boppli/bopplis: baby/babies

bruder: brother

bu/buwe: boy/boys

daed: dad

danki: thank you

Deitsch: language spoken by the Amish

dochder: daughter

dumm: dumb

dummkopf: dummy

Englisch: non-Amish

familye: family

frau: woman/wife

geh: go

Gott: God

grienhaus: greenhouse

grossmammi/grossmutter: grandmother

grossvatter: grandfather

gut: good

gute nacht: good night

haus: house

herr: man/mister

kaffee: coffee

kapp: head covering worn by Amish women

kinn/kinner: child/children

kumme: come

lieb: love

maed/maedel: girls/girl

mamm: mom

mann: Amish man

mei: my

mudder: mother

nee: no

nix: nothing

onkel: uncle

Ordnung, the: rules the Amish follow

schee: pretty/handsome

schwester: sister

sohn: son

vatter: father

ya: yes

Yankee: non-Amish (Middlefield only)

yer: your





PROLOGUE





Sadie Schrock gripped the four heavy ice bags, struggling to keep them from slipping out of her hands and crashing to the ground on the side of the road. She wished it hadn’t been her turn to fetch them from the ice cooler nearly a half mile from her family’s grocery store. She also wished she’d taken her mother’s suggestion and brought their small pull wagon. That would have been the smart thing to do. Instead she was stuck hauling the bags with her hands, the ice seeming to grow heavier with each step she took.

As she plodded along the road, the summer sun pressed down on her sweat-soaked body. Her dress clung to her back, and heat radiated from the asphalt beneath her tennis shoes. She couldn’t get home fast enough and into the cool building that housed Schrock Grocery and Tools. Her dry mouth longed for a huge glass of iced tea, heavy on the ice.

As Sadie walked along a cornfield, the tall, lush stalks standing still and proud under the blazing August sun, she hummed a simple tune of her own invention.

The stalks beside her suddenly rustled.

She paused. Her scalp tingled beneath her white kapp, signaling some kind of warning she couldn’t discern. The road stretched out in front of her, surprisingly deserted for midmorning. Sadie turned and looked at the cornfield. The stalks were moving, gently pushed by a weak, hot breeze. She blew out a breath, feeling ridiculous. Last night would be the last time she and her sisters, Abigail and Joanna, stayed up late telling foolish ghost stories. None of the stories were real. They all knew that. They weren’t even that scary, just made-up tales about some old legends in the Birch Creek area. Still, it had been fun to be a little frightened in the safety of Abigail’s room, the three of them sitting on the floor in low candlelight as they tried to see who would scare first.

Sadie glanced at the cornfield again. From now on she was done with scary stories. She quickened her pace, dangling the plastic bags of ice that had grown slick with condensation.

“Whatcha doing, Sadie?”

She nearly dropped the bags as Solomon Troyer jumped out of the cornfield and blocked her path. She took a step back and breathed in. “Good grief, Sol. You practically scared the life out of me.”

But instead of offering an apology, he moved toward her, a wolfish expression creeping over his long face. He’d turned nineteen last month, and from almost the day she’d turned sixteen earlier that year, he had looked at her in a weird, unnerving way whenever she saw him. Today wasn’t any different. He wasn’t wearing his straw hat, and another shift of the sultry breeze lifted the damp ends of his reddish-brown hair. He took a step toward her, his lips curving into a leer. “A maedel shouldn’t be walking down the road by herself.”

“I walk down this road by myself all the time.” She scowled, then wrinkled her nose. He smelled. Not just of sweat and sawdust, but of some kind of alcohol. He’d been drinking. Again. She didn’t have time for his nonsense. “I have to get back to the store, Sol. Mamm and Daed need this ice and it’s melting everywhere.” She couldn’t keep the bite out of her tone. “In case you haven’t noticed, it’s really hot today.”

“That’s not the only thing that’s hot.”

Ugh. Not only was he creepy, he was corny too. “Sol, I’m serious. Get out of mei way.”

His bloodshot leer wandered from her eyes to her lips. “Don’t you have a little time to talk?”

He was making her skin crawl. “Nee. Now let me by.” She moved to walk past him, but he blocked her again.

“You could be a little nicer to me.” He blew stale breath in her face as he leaned over her. “Let’s geh in the cornfield. I have something to show you.”

Her blood stilled in her veins. Sol was at least six inches taller than she was, and although he was lean, she knew he was strong. Still, she wasn’t afraid of him . . . at least not too much. Although the sun was bright, his pupils grew wide. Dark. She definitely didn’t want to see whatever it was he wanted to show her. He was taking a risk, being bold like this. A car could come by at any minute. She suddenly prayed that one would. “I don’t think so,” she said, tightening her grip on the slippery plastic bags.