The Christmas Cradle
by Charlotte Hubbard
GENRE: Amish/Inspirational Romance
For the peaceful town of Willow Ridge, November presents an early holiday surprise. Stranded in the snow, 18-year-old Lena Esh and her boyfriend Josiah Witmer need more than a place to stay for the night. Lena defied her strict family and their judgmental beliefs to run away with Josiah and have his baby. But she’s starting to wonder if he can prove as responsible as he is passionate. And she isn’t sure how—or if—they can ever find a place to truly call home.
Expecting their own miracle baby, Miriam and Ben Hooley rally the town to help the young couple, and Lena draws strength from their unexpected support. Though trouble may come calling, in this season of joyous rebirth, a little child will lead them. And two couples will see their dreams of forever family come true…
“I’ll be back after I’ve talked to Hiram,” Josiah said as he slipped into his coat. “I’m hoping the cold air will keep my temper under control.”
“One of these days Hiram’s gonna be put in his place, because I can’t think the Lord’s gonna tolerate his shenanigans forever,” Miriam predicted in a faraway voice. “But it’s not for us to know when that judgment’ll come, or how. We need to keep mindin’ our own business, doin’ gut for the folks who need it. I’ll be prayin’ for ya, Josiah.”
Listen closely. Miriam is one of the wisest people you know.
He stepped outside, lifting his face to the weak sunshine that was filtered by gray clouds. It looked like snow. The damp breeze pierced his coat and made him shiver. But thoughts of little Isaiah Daniel—Isaiah Daniel Witmer, he would soon be—gave Josiah the fortitude to tap the shunned bishop’s number into his phone. As it rang, he paced in the Hooleys’ plowed lane.
“Well, well, to what do I owe this honor?” Hiram’s voice slithered through the phone as slick and seamless as a serpent. “Calling to apologize for standing me up, Witmer? Saying you’re on your way to Higher Ground to run my supper club?”
Josiah nipped his lip against a retort that would get him into trouble. “No, but I’m going to report your invasion of our privacy to Sheriff—”
“Like I should be concerned about Clyde Banks,” Knepp cut in with a laugh. “He’s in my pocket, kid. I pay him to arrest me now and again to make you people think he’s doing his job. But he works for the highest bidder, believe me.”
Josiah’s eyebrows rose. Nora Hooley had told him that when Hiram had made a deal with the Realtor who’d hit the Knepp twins’ sleigh, he’d gotten the land for Higher Ground. Josiah didn’t want to believe that the local law officers had succumbed to his bribery—
“Your life would go a lot smoother if you’d honor your agreement with me, Witmer,” Knepp continued. “You’d have a nice home in Higher Ground for that pretty young woman and your new baby—and your sister,” he added with a suggestive rise in his voice. “And if you come to work for me, I’ll leave Miriam alone, too. And two little babies will stay safe with their mothers.”
Josiah sucked in his breath. Surely Knepp wouldn’t try to kidnap his son and the Hooley child. Would he?
“But it’s up to you, kid. How’s it feel to have so many peoples’ lives riding on your decision?” Hiram asked in a no-nonsense tone. “Make me happy, and everyone’s world will keep turning. And if you continue to defy me . . .”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Drawing upon her experiences in Jamesport, the largest Old Order Amish community in Missouri, 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.
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Charlotte will be awarding $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.