Amish Secrets and Lies Covers

Amish Secrets & Lies - Chapter 1

Katie Miller sighed, her bright green eyes dulled with boredom. Even though she was eighteen and technically on her rumspringa, her mam and dat still took her with them everywhere they went. They were scared of what she’d say and the trouble it might get them into. How can I get into trouble by myself at home? I could get things done for Mam. Maybe sweep out the carpentry shop for Dat. Anything but go along on their everlasting shopping trips! Today, they were shopping in one of the English stores in the area.

“I find the Amish people so interesting, don’t you?”

Katie looked over at the speaker, seeing a middle-aged English woman, wearing a brightly colored top along with jeans and toe-baring sandals. Her hair was silvery and cut short.

“I just wonder how they live without electricity and all the conveniences we have: microwaves, computers, the internet. And no cars!”

“Katie, come. We’re ready to go home now.” Mary, Katie’s mam, had caught her attention with a hand on her shoulder.

Starting, Katie took her attention from the two English women. As she walked away, she turned her head to look at the pair. The second woman was tall and sturdy with dark hair and silver strands. She wore a sleeveless dress that accentuated her full figure.

“Mam? Did you hear what those two English women said about us Amish?”

“Nee. Just ignore it. They’re curious is all.”

“But, Mam, I just wonder why they feel they can say such things around us. What would they do if we said the same things about them?”

“Daughter, drop it! We separate ourselves from society. That’s why they are so curious. And you’d better not cook anything up in that head of yours. Do you understand?”

Since she was a small child, it had always been the same. You’d better not tell. You’d better stop lying. You’d better stop…

Katie could hardly find room to breathe between the admonitions. Had her older sister Esther felt the same? Was that why she’d run off three years ago never to be seen or heard from again?

Had she been murdered?

Was she living in sin?

If only Katie had been smart enough not to ask Esther about Uncle Levi. But no, she’d run off at the mouth, and Esther was gone too. Another thing that was Katie’s fault. She knew better than to complain though. It only made things worse. Katie’s look at her mother was innocent. “Why would I?”

Mary’s response was to shoot a dark look at her youngest child. Her own light-green eyes darkened with anger. She looked away and drew into herself. “Just carry these bags to the buggy.”

Katie took the two brown paper bags, one in each hand, and walked briskly to the buggy. Her mam was at her heels, of course. As she walked, Katie caught the sickly sweet scent of candied apples. Her stomach clenched.

It’s for you, my sweet niece…

A phantom hand stroked the nape of Katie’s neck, and bile rose to the back of her throat. She stumbled.

“Katie!” her mam grabbed Katie’s shoulder. “Watch your step.”

Katie hated this story the most. No matter how many other lies she told, she couldn’t erase the memories…no, they weren’t memories, just more made up stories, from haunting her. The best she could do was tell herself bigger and more interesting lies. And hope she could keep them bottled up behind her lips.

You’d better stop…

On the way home, Katie ignored the uncomfortable jostling as the wagon rattled over the bumps and potholes. Her mind began to spin a tale about the two English women: Innocent Katie, waiting in a store for her parents or perhaps sitting in a restaurant as her dat settled the bill, overheard the spiteful words of two older, attractive English women. “Those Amish! I wish they wouldn’t make themselves so obvious around here. They have their own places to go! Shop and maybe even eat out. We shouldn’t have to suffer their presence,” the silver-haired woman spat out.

“I agree! We need to do something so they stop coming outside their community. What do you think that would be?” The second, full-figured woman leaned forward, absently stirring her iced tea. Looking up, her mean, ice-blue eyes connected with Katie’s vivid green eyes. Without speaking, she seemed to communicate her disdain. “Just get out of here and go back home!”

The buggy went over a large pothole, and the resulting jostle pulled Katie out of her fantasy. “Ow! That one hurt!” She rubbed her aching backside discreetly. It wouldn’t do for any of the elders to see her handling a private area of her body.

After finishing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen, Katie was free to do as she wanted. Her parents at least gave her the run of the farm so long as long as she stayed within the fence line and told them exactly what she was doing. Hurrying outside, she let her mam know she’d be in the barn. “The horses need water, mam.”

“Well, don’t be too long,” her mam, Mary, responded.

“I won’t. Moving around helps me think through new patterns for quilting. So we can get new customers.”

“Ya. Ya. Don’t be laying about in the loft too long! I’ll need your help preparing supper, and then there are chores.”

There were always chores. “Ja, mam,” Katie agreed. “Ja, I’ll be in early!”

Maybe that was a little bit of a lie. With Esther gone. Run off. Dead. Or maybe living in a penthouse with an English lawyer having chocolates with every meal, a thought which sometimes filled Katie with hope and other times with hot, furious jealousy that she knew in and of itself was a sin, Katie had no one she could really talk to anymore. 

Even Esther had been closed off to an extent. But she had let Katie chatter and warned Katie when she was stumbling into trouble. Maybe if Katie hadn’t driven Esther off, the Esther would have warned Katie not to tell that big lie. The one which had destroyed all of their lives.

Katie quickly watered the hoses and then scrambled up the ladder into the hayloft. Quickly finding her favorite thinking and dreaming spot, she fluffed the loose hay and spread the old blanket over it so she wouldn’t have hay stuck on her backside. There, her thoughts returned to the two English women she’d noticed earlier that day. “What would happen if…if they actually did try to force us out of Big Valley?”

Katie liked it here, in spite of everything. The Ordnung wasn’t as strict, and the Bishop and Deacons acted kindly, focusing more on the scriptures of love and forgiveness rather than those of hellfire and sin. Katie wished she could trust them. But the pressure to make up stories only grew stronger and stronger, and when she finally succumbed, they’d throw her away too. And it wouldn’t even be their fault.

Katie brought it on herself.

Why had she been born so full of sin?

What if she was different? Innocent?

Katie laid back into the mounds of straw and let her mind wander. In her vivid dream, Katie saw herself happening upon several hateful English people who just wanted “their kind” to leave their area and go back to where they came from.

Maybe if I just told a little tale…

It wasn’t that much different from the truth of how those two women had whispered about Katie and her family.

When Esther had been twelve and Katie ten, Esther showed Katie the scars.

“I know why you tell stories,” Esther had said. “Sometimes you just have to do something to ease the pressure.”

They went to the bathroom. Esther lowered the toilet seat lid and lifted her dress. Faint, razor-thin cuts crisscrossed her inner thighs and arms. Some were old and faded. Others were newer, angry red scabs.

Katie had been scared, but also interested. “You cut yourself?”

“Want to see how I do it?”

Katie didn’t, but she nodded anyway. Esther ran her fingertips along the side of the vanity and after a few seconds, pulled a razor blade from the gap. She grabbed the bottle of rubbing alcohol from under the sink and taking a cotton ball, carefully cleaned the edge.

Then she cut. The blood welled up in a thin, red line.

Katie felt sick. She closed her eyes.

When the wound was cleaned and dabbed with a triple antibiotic, Esther put a hand on Katie’s shoulder. “It’s easier this way,” she said. “This way you only hurt yourself.”

Katie wanted to be noble like her sister. She’d even taken the blade out once and stared at it until her mam pounded on the bathroom door demanding to know what was wrong. But Katie was too weak to make herself bleed. She was too weak to take the burden entirely on herself. When she couldn’t hold the pressure in anymore, it rushed out in stories.

Disastrous stories.

What if the English did hate us? What a story that would be!

This lie was just a small cut, and it wouldn’t hurt anyone. Not really. The Amish wouldn’t fight back, figuratively or literally. And the English didn’t really care about them anyway.

It wouldn’t be anything like Indiana when she’d told a lie that was too close to the truth about Big Mike. Not that it had been Big Mike. Or anyone. Just her own stupid imagination. Her own brokenness.

If Big Mike hadn’t been able to show proof he’d been nowhere near Katie when she’d said he attacked her, then it would have been bad for him. That lie had been a bad one. Too deep a cut, a torrent of blood and pain. They’d been kicked out of their community in Goshen, Indiana, which at least meant Uncle Levi hadn’t been able to visit. Not that he’d visited after Katie turned twelve anyway. No more candied apples or special buggy rides.

Getting restless, Katie shifted a little on her bed of hay.

“Katie!” Her mam shouted from below. “I told you I needed your help in the house! It’s been over an hour!”

“I’m sorry,” Katie shouted back. “I’m coming.”

“Now! By Gott, idleness is the devil’s playground!”

That night, after dinner, chores, and reading from the Bible, Katie sat down in her bed and stared out the window. It was now fully dark. Allowing the plain curtain to fall shut, she put on her nightgown and placed her head covering on the hook screwed into the wall. Untangling her hair, she combed out the long, light-brown tresses and wound the entire mass into a big braid.

She blew out her lamp and slid under the cool sheet. The story took hold of her. Vivid images played through her mind. Katie (or one of the other Amish residents of Big Valley) became the target of hatred verbalized by the English. Or, maybe someone in the community would spot a crudely hand-painted sign that ordered the Amish to leave. Katie rolled onto her back, wondering if she really could do it. She needed to do something, and nobody in Big Valley knew of her history from Goshen. Maybe I could. But I have to make sure that it’ll be totally realistic. So that nobody realizes it was me that started the whole thing.

After being cast out of their strict Amish community in Goshen, Indiana, Katie and her family have found a new home in Big Valley, Pennsylvania. She’s doing well. She has a boyfriend she loves, friends, and her parents are even beginning to trust her again.

Everything will be okay as long as Katie can stop making up stories.

But she can’t. There’s a pressure inside of her, building up from a secret from her past, and eventually, no matter how hard she tries to stop herself, the lies spill out. So she tells one little story about an Englisher. And then, as before, everything starts to fall apart.

Will a new community offer Katie a second chance at a life and love? Or is she too broken to save?

Find out in Amish Secrets & Lies, Book 1 of the Big Valley Amish series  by Rachel Stoltzfus. 

If you love Christian Amish stories about love, healing and the power of community, grab this series collection today!

use coupon SWEETROMANCE to save 15%

Formats include Mobi for Kindle, ePub for Nook, Kobo, Android and most eReaders and PDF for print & reading on your computer. 

Or Grab the Books on your Favorite Online Booksellers:

Amish Secrets & Lies - Chapter 2

For the next few days, Katie did what she was supposed to do. She was obedient and quiet. She finished a quilting order and delivered it, with her mam, to her English customer.

On their way home, Katie dared to ask for a little additional freedom. “Mam, do you think that when you need to get something at the store or when I deliver a quilt to a customer, I could go by myself? I’m old enough to hitch the horses to the buggy and get around Big Valley.”

Mary gave Katie a look of anger. “Nee! And you know well why.” Leaving the reason unspoken, she turned back to the road, guiding the two horses, who just wanted to get back into their cool, dim barn.

Katie was stunned. “But Mam! It’s been two years. Haven’t I learned my lesson?”

“Katie, you just aren’t to be trusted. You know that! There’s something about your imagination and your personality that create trouble.”

“When you were six, I remember, it started,” Mam began running down her list of Katie’s sins as if Katie didn’t know each of them and a few more besides. “You told me you turned the range off but you didn’t, and when the eggs began smoking, by Gott, you could have burned the house down! But you just stood and watched, giggling. Then you said a dog had attacked the goats, but the goats were fine.

“When you were nine, you told that lie about your father’s brother burying a body on his farm! Of course, there was no body! And Levi had ever been anything but kind to us! When your father lost his job at the plant, he’s the one who paid for our food and saw to it your father found work in his carpentry.

“You’re the reason we had to leave Goshen and our families because you decided to lie about Big Mike Hofstetter. Never mind that he loves his wife and their kinder to absolute distraction. You nearly tore their family apart with your lies about him assaulting you. And that’s why we watch you so closely. It’s hard enough for me to allow you to go out with your friends for rumspringa activities. If I could, I would keep you at home, under my watchful eyes, every day of the year. But if I did that, the community would look more harshly at us, and we are better off without their censure.”

“Maybe I should go then, like Esther did.”

“Don’t say that!” Mary’s face lost all color. “You’ll get yourself killed. I love you, Katie. You are my daughter, and I want you to be safe. We just have to get through this problem you have.”

“What if I wasn’t lying? About Uncle Levi?”

“That he buried a body in his cornfield?”

“Nee! But—before, when he would take me and Esther to the–.”

“Stop.” Mary’s hands were clenched, and Katie felt a sudden sharp fear that her mam might hit her. “If you say one more word, I will take you to the Bishop, tell him what you did in Goshen, and have you shunned. Out there, they only care about themselves. The English don’t help outsiders, especially stupid girls who can’t tell the truth from a lie. Esther was a good girl. She had her issues, but she was good.” Mary took a step towards Katie and let out a long sigh. “I know I sound harsh, and I don’t mean to be. I know there is goodness in you too. You just have to learn to tell the truth. In all things. Do you understand me?”

Katie understood. She wished she had the confidence to run away, but her mam was right. She had no way to earn a living on her own. If Esther was alive, Katie had no way to find her. Esther had never written her in Indiana. It meant either Esther was dead, or she had wanted Katie gone too.

Katie didn’t blame her sister. Sometimes Katie wished she could just make herself very small and disappear into the image of what she was supposed to be. Quiet. Sweet. Innocent.

But she couldn’t. Not forever.

“Do you understand me?” Her mam asked again.

Slowly, Katie nodded. “I can still see Amos, right?”

“I shouldn’t–.”

“But I have to get married and take my Kneeling Vows.”

“You don’t need to be married to take your Kneeling Vows.”

The pressure inside Katie was building and building. She couldn’t run, and she couldn’t stay. “Mam, please.”

Finally, her mam sighed. “Ja. You can keep seeing him. You have been good here in Big Valley. I know you’ve been working hard, and I want to trust you. I promise to try, just as long as you keep trying. Keep your focus on following our Ordnung and Gott’s plan, and it will all turn out right.”

“Ja, mam.”

“We have a lot of work to do when we get home.” Mary gave a forced smile. “We’ll make some beautiful quilts and have lots of new customers, ja?”

Katie looked down at her lap. “Ja.”

“Gut. Gut.”

Katie was silent over the next two days. Anger burned in her chest and choked the words in her throat. Her mind wandered to the two English women. In her imagination, their curiosity grew into disdain and then outright malice.

Katie saw Amos Smits, her boyfriend, once, at a youth volleyball game.

Though she tried her best to be attentive, sweet, and good, he noticed something was wrong.

On the buggy ride back, he asked, “Katie, what’s troubling you?”

“It’s just busy with the quilting. And I miss Esther.”

“I know your parents are worried about you because of what happened to your sister, but they shouldn’t be so overprotective.”

Katie wanted to be good and explain it was all her fault, but she couldn’t push the truth past the lump of anger in her throat. Amos was the only person in her life who hadn’t judged her and find her lacking. The less he knew, the better.

“I tried to ask for more freedom,” Katie ventured. “But my mam still worries.”

“I’m so sorry,” Amos said, taking her hand while holding the horse’s reins with the other. His hand made Katie feel warm inside. How could a simple touch make her so happy? She almost felt normal, riding like this with him.

“Denki,” she said.

“For what?”

“Just for this,” Katie said.

Amos pulled the horses to the side of the road and lifting her chin, pressed a soft kiss to her mouth. After they had parted, the tingling warmth of his lips lingered.

“Denki too,” he said, smiling sweetly.

The next day, her dat, David Miller, called her into his carpentry shop. Here in Big Valley, he was able to afford a carpentry shop, due to the generosity mainly of Uncle Levi, a fact neither parent let Katie forget.

Her dat said, “Katie, girl, you have been stone-cold silent around your mam. I’ve noticed it, just as she has. What’s going on?”

He tried to speak to her kindly, but Katie knew he was angry. He hated being so far from his own brothers and sisters in Indiana. Being cast out of their community in Goshen meant that he could only communicate with them via letter and the very occasional phone call.

“Dat, I am trying to do better, but mam won’t allow me any chance to prove myself,” Katie said. “What do I have to do to be forgiven?”

“You know gut and well that we have forgiven you. But your actions are not something anyone can forget, with us living here in Pennsylvania and the rest of our family back in Indiana.” His voice had a roughness to it, and he didn’t quite meet her eyes.

Forgiven. Not exactly. But Katie didn’t dare call him out on his lie.

Her dat asked, “Now, why are you so quiet around your mam?”

Katie sighed. She had little hope she’d be able to budge him on her wish, but she tried anyway. “Dat, I just want to be able to go out and run errands for her or me by myself. I would go to wherever, take care of the errand and come straight home again. I wouldn’t begin any lies or rumors. No gossip. I promise!” Katie even held her right hand up in a salute, just like the English Boy Scouts did.

“Daughter, until we know for sure that you won’t do anything like that ever again, we have to keep you close at hand. It’s been less than two years since you started that lie about Mr. Hofstetter.” Her dad didn’t know what she’d said about Uncle Levi. Mam had sworn Katie to secrecy on the spot, and Katie was glad she had listened. Dat continued, “I hope you realize just how severely you damaged his gut reputation in Goshen.”

Katie felt a long-familiar sense of shame. Hunching her shoulders, she looked down and tried not to feel. The need to do something, anything, was making it hard for her to breathe. She pleaded, “Dat, I’ve learned my lesson! I won’t do anything like that again. I didn’t realize just how severe the consequences would be when I accused him. I was only sixteen then. Now, I understand he could have faced serious criminal consequences. Please?” Tears came to her eyes, and she didn’t bother to stop them from slipping down her cheeks.

“Nee, daughter. You have to understand right to the core of your being that what you tried to do was more than just hurtful. You’re staying restricted until we sense that you completely understand and will obey us.”

Katie had expected this. Letting out a long, sad sigh, she wiped the tears from her face. “Okay. But will you please talk to her about why she’s closed herself from me?”

“Katie, sit down.” The two were in David’s carpentry shop.

Katie plumped herself down onto the hard bench, next to her dat. “What?”

“Your mam is the mother of eight healthy kinder. She has spent a lot of time, hours and love on every one of you. She loves you, daughter. She just doesn’t know how to show that love. Besides…” David clamped his lips shut against the words he’d been about to speak.

“Besides…what?” Katie was truly puzzled.

“Never mind. She’s just tired, is all. Go back and help her with supper.”

After being cast out of their strict Amish community in Goshen, Indiana, Katie and her family have found a new home in Big Valley, Pennsylvania. She’s doing well. She has a boyfriend she loves, friends, and her parents are even beginning to trust her again.

Everything will be okay as long as Katie can stop making up stories.

But she can’t. There’s a pressure inside of her, building up from a secret from her past, and eventually, no matter how hard she tries to stop herself, the lies spill out. So she tells one little story about an Englisher. And then, as before, everything starts to fall apart.

Will a new community offer Katie a second chance at a life and love? Or is she too broken to save?

Find out in Amish Secrets & Lies, Book 1 of the Big Valley Amish series  by Rachel Stoltzfus. 

If you love Christian Amish stories about love, healing and the power of community, grab this series collection today!

use coupon SWEETROMANCE to save 15%

Formats include Mobi for Kindle, ePub for Nook, Kobo, Android and most eReaders and PDF for print & reading on your computer. 

Or Grab the Books on your Favorite Online Booksellers:

Amish Secrets & Lies - Chapter 3

The rest of the day, Katie puzzled over what her dat had been about to say. In her room that night, her hands slowed down as she unpinned her apron and dress. “Besides…she just doesn’t love me?” Dropping the straight pins into the little box in her room, Katie wheeled around. Anger engulfed her. Fisting her hands, she slammed them down repeatedly into her mattress, muffling her grunts so her parents wouldn’t hear. She kept hitting the mattress until she felt physical exhaustion washing over her.

Panting, she scrubbed tears of anger from her face. “She hates me,” Katie whispered the words to herself. “She wants me gone, but she doesn’t know how to say it.” She put her nightgown on, then untangled and braided her hair.

Well, I won’t give her the satisfaction.

The two English women drifted through her mind as she caught her breath. She hardly remembered what the encounter had been like initially. Now, their faces were twisted in anger as they glared at her. They hated her, just like her mam hated her.

It was just a small cut.

Katie thought carefully about how the rumor could begin and then escalate. Maybe it should just be general statements at first. Like, saying, “I heard that someone overheard an English man, woman or kid saying that they’re tired of our presence here. Eventually, maybe, I can start saying that they’re threatening us? Katie yawned and looked outside. Shocked, she realized how late it was. I’d better… Her head jerked angrily toward the door as someone knocked.

“Katie, blow your lantern out right now! It’s after eleven, and we have to be up before five!”

“Yes, Mam! I’m sorry. I was…Oh!” She blew her lantern out and clambered under her sheet. Slowly, her eyes shut as her mind continued developing possible rumor scenarios.

***

“Mam, are you or Dat going to be going into town tomorrow? I need to deliver a quilt to my customer.” Katie was trying her best not to anger her mam, who seemed especially distant and touchy.

“Tomorrow, ja. To the market. Is that what you were muttering about in your room last night? You kept me up awfully late.” Mary turned around and poured another cup of coffee.

“Ja. I’m sorry. I was just trying to figure out how I could finish the quilt with everything else I’ve been working on. I want to get repeat work from her—she has promised to pay me extra if I can get it done a few days early.”

“Well, you should have decided to do your planning after breakfast. You need your sleep too, girl. We’re going to town tomorrow. Be ready to go by eight in the morning. Let your customer know.” Washing her cup, Mary turned to one of her many chores. “Start dinner. Use the chicken from last night and make a pot pie with mashed potatoes and the mixed vegetables.”

Katie waited for a few beats, hoping for a “please.” She knew better than to expect an ‘I love you.’ She got neither. Sighing, Katie nodded. “Yes, Mam. I just need to fold the quilt and put it into a storage bag.” After taking care of this, she washed her hands and made dinner.

That afternoon, she walked outside, taking advantage of a few precious minutes when she didn’t have something to do. On that break, she solidified her plans. I’ll start the rumor tomorrow. “Somebody told me.” But “somebody” won’t ever be identified. I’ll keep it at just vague statements, like “We want them to leave Big Valley and move somewhere else.”

“Katie! Come here!” Mary stood on the back porch, waving her hand at Katie.

“Coming!” Katie hurried back, not wanting to irritate her mam any more than she already was. “Ja? What is it?”

“Have you contacted your customer yet? What time does she want to meet you?”

Katie was ready for this. “Ja. She said about nine tomorrow morning.”

“Gut. We’ll leave at eight and stop at the lumber shop. Your dat needs lumber and more supplies. We’ll go in the wagon. Your dat wants to drop you at your customer’s office, and then you can walk to the grocery store.” Mary grabbed Katie’s hand tightly, which was a rare moment of physical contact for her. “Now, your dat is making a leap of faith, letting you be on your own for this. He said that we need to let you be more independent as a quilter and businesswoman.” Mary shook Katie’s hand, hard, emphasizing her next words. “You had better be worthy of his trust. No rumors! You come straight to the store from her office, do you understand?”

Katie couldn’t believe it. Shutting her mouth, which had fallen open, she nodded. “Ja, I promise! I will! I’ll be ready after breakfast. I’d better go write up the care instructions, so everything’s ready for tomorrow.” Moving around her mam, she hurried into her quilting room, grabbing paper and pen. She jotted the care instructions out from memory, and then read carefully what she’d written. After pinning them to the edge of the quilt, she hurried into the pantry. “Mam, do you mind if I take a quick walk? Inside our fence line. I just need to organize my thoughts about the other orders I have to finish.”

Mary gave Katie an odd look. “Can’t you do that in your quilting room?”

“Ja, I can. But truthfully? The day is Wunderbar outside. It’s beautiful, and I want to rejoice in what Gott has given us.”

Mary sighed, feeling even more tired than she normally did. “Ja, but only for a few minutes. I need your help with supper, daughter. And it’s already after one. You don’t have much time to work on your other projects.”

“I know. I plan to keep my walk short.”

“Hurry, then.” Mary’s voice was short.

Katie went outside and began walking through the yard, thinking. This was a rare show of trust, and she didn’t want to risk her new freedom. At the same time, the itching under her skin, the need to do something, was overwhelming.

 I just need to make sure that I have everything perfectly planned. I don’t want this rumor traced back to me. After going over her plan a few times, she was happy. It was ready. Looking around her a few times, she smiled, seeming to appreciate the late-spring beauty around her. Then, not wanting to irritate her mam, she rushed inside and began working on another quilting order that was close to being completed. As she was working on the smallest quilt, she heard her mam step into her doorway.

“And what is it you’re working on?”

“This order is due in two…no, maybe three…weeks.” Katie grabbed her calendar. “Three weeks. It’s a doll quilt, a quilt for a child, then a quilt for the mam and dat. All the quilts will match.”

“And, are you charging accordingly?”

“Ja, Mam. I am.” Stitching carefully, she hid her irritation.

“Gut. Because we need to make sure you start putting money away.”

“Ja, Mam. I am.” Katie put the scissors down and glanced at her clock. “I’ll be in the kitchen in maybe twenty minutes. I want to help with supper.”

“Gut.” Mary walked out, yawning.

She really can’t stand late nights. I’d better blow my lantern out early from now on. After reaching a stopping point, Katie hurried into the kitchen, washing her hands in the sink. “What’s for supper?”

“Fried chicken. Scalloped potatoes. Vegetables. Shoofly pie I made yesterday. I have no energy for anything else.”

A quick memory popped up in Katie’s mind. Her mam had been taking care of three kinder, sick with chicken pox. Then, as now, she had been more tired than usual. “Okay, I’ll work on the potatoes and take out the vegetables.”

“I snapped green beans. Use them.”

Working quickly, Katie prepared the vegetables and made the scalloped potatoes. Setting the dirty spoon into the dirty dishwater, she poured the potatoes into a waiting bowl.

“Gut. Dat will be in soon. Set the table, please.”

David walked in, yawning. “Oh, my! I had to stop several times so I wouldn’t chop my fingers off! Katie, daughter, please blow your lantern out earlier tonight!”

Katie nodded. “Ja, Dat, I will.”

“I’m going to wash my hands before supper. Smells gut.” He shuffled toward the stairs.

***

The next morning, Katie carried her completed quilt and carefully set it into the wagon. On the way to her customer’s house, she verified with her parents that she knew the rules for today. “Ja, I’ll come straight to the store after delivering my quilt and taking payment.”

“Daughter, if you do well today, we’ll try other times to see if you can be trusted. I want to trust you. I’m just grateful that you don’t know too many of the people in our community.”

That stopped Katie cold. “What do you mean, Dat?”

“If you don’t know them, you can’t make up a rumor about them. I pray that we’re doing the right thing, trusting you. Meet us at the store. It shouldn’t take much time for you to get there from your customer’s office.”

Kate tried to estimate. Shrugging, she arrived on a number and added to that. “Ja, maybe…Oh, ten minutes? Maybe fifteen?”

David was silent. “Ja, maybe, since you’ll be walking.”

“Do not stop and talk to anyone. Straight to us!” Mary was more rested, but her emotional distance was the same as it had ever been.

Katie suppressed a sigh. “Ja, Mam, I will.” Soon, she was jumping off the wagon and accepting her quilt from her dat. “I’ll see you soon.”

Mary twisted on the seat, looking at Katie. Her eyebrows were raised in warning.

Katie nodded once, indicating her understanding of her mother’s warning. After delivering the quilt to her customer and accepting her payment, she smiled at the woman. “Denki! I enjoyed making it for you. Any time you want me to make any more for you, just give me a call. Here’s my contact information, just in case.” Aware of time passing, Katie hurried, hoping she’d see someone. Ah! There’s someone up ahead. Scurrying, she caught up with the girl. Pleased she’d encountered this one young woman, she smiled at her. “Becky, I’m glad I saw you! How are you?”

“Gut. I just delivered a cake to my customer. I have to meet my mam at the store.”

“Ja, same here.” As the two young women talked, Katie managed to slip in, almost casually, the news she had. “Nee. I haven’t had much time to spend out. I’ve been working on several orders. But I did get out last week. Someone was telling me they’d heard something kind of…surprising.”

“What is it? I hope it isn’t gossip. My dat will be mad at me.”

“Oh, nee, it isn’t!” Just a small cut. The anticipation made Katie’s skin tingle. “I can’t gossip, either. But I got told that one of the English people said they want us Amish out of here.”

Becky’s jaw dropped. “What! Are you…? Nee, Katie, you can’t be serious. Who?”

“Who told me? I don’t remember. I was so busy that I just about forgot about it. Until I saw my English customer. I hope it wasn’t her!”

“So you don’t remember who told you? Does that mean you don’t know who said that, either?”

“I wish I remembered. I want to ask them more now. But I can’t. I just have so much work I’m doing!”

“Katie, you’d better be careful. You take orders from the English all the time. I do, as well, for my baking.”

Katie nodded, aware of the passing of time. “Ja. Same with my quilts. Maybe it was just a visitor. At least, that’s what I pray! My customers are gut people. I’d better go. I promised Mam and Dat I’d meet them at the store.” Stopping, she turned. “Becky, please don’t say that I told you this if you tell anyone. I don’t want them to get scared.”

“But don’t people need to know that someone in the English community said something?” Becky was confused.

“Ja, but just…well, don’t say that I was the one who told you. If it gets back to that English person, I don’t want to be the target of their anger.”

“Oh! Ja, I see. Okay. I’ll be careful.” Becky waved as she walked.

Elation filled Katie as she walked towards the grocery store.  She had done it. The vision of those two English women, their disdain masked as curiosity, their hatred, spurred Katie on. It was like a huge weight had been taken from her shoulders. She felt lighter now that the story had bubbled out. It was a temporary release. The urge to lie again would be stronger now, but Katie ignored that fear. For now, she felt better. Almost normal. She picked up her pace to meet her parents on time.

Walking slowly up and down the aisles, Katie spotted her parents. “Gut! I found you!”

“Did you get paid?” Her mam asked.

“Ja,” Katie said, her face blossoming in a bright smile. “Ja. Everything went perfectly.”

After being cast out of their strict Amish community in Goshen, Indiana, Katie and her family have found a new home in Big Valley, Pennsylvania. She’s doing well. She has a boyfriend she loves, friends, and her parents are even beginning to trust her again.

Everything will be okay as long as Katie can stop making up stories.

But she can’t. There’s a pressure inside of her, building up from a secret from her past, and eventually, no matter how hard she tries to stop herself, the lies spill out. So she tells one little story about an Englisher. And then, as before, everything starts to fall apart.

Will a new community offer Katie a second chance at a life and love? Or is she too broken to save?

Find out in Amish Secrets & Lies, Book 1 of the Big Valley Amish series  by Rachel Stoltzfus. 

If you love Christian Amish stories about love, healing and the power of community, grab this series collection today!

use coupon SWEETROMANCE to save 15%

Formats include Mobi for Kindle, ePub for Nook, Kobo, Android and most eReaders and PDF for print & reading on your computer. 

Or Grab the Books on your Favorite Online Booksellers:

Amish Secrets & Lies - Chapter 4

Katie explained with delight how the sale had gone. “She said she might have work for me in a couple months! Oh, Mam, I’m going to need to buy notions and more fabric.” She fished a shopping list out of her apron pocket and handed it over to her mam.

“Well, okay. Since you were back on time, get a cart and get what you need. We’ll be done here, so try to be quick. I want to get home, start dinner, then iron.”

“I will.” Hurrying off, Katie stifled the urge to tell someone else about the rumor she’d started. Filling her cart with fabric, rickrack, and spools of thread, she stood behind an English woman. Her parents were two rows away. Picking up the lengths of fabric she’d chosen, she listened to the English conversations around her.

“…Going to Chicago in about a month. We just booked our flight so we can go to my cousin’s wedding…”

“…looks so fresh and…unusual, don’t you think? I love their clothing! But they must get hot in the summer…”

“…ordered some fruit pies, cakes and that shoofly pie from one of the bakers here. Stella, they were so…mmm! The next time you need something, you need to order from one of the Amish bakers here!”

Katie pushed her cart to the conveyor belt, putting her items on it. She fished several dollars out of her small purse, ready to pay for her items. As she noticed some of the English looking at her, she gave them a shy smile. Then, she saw someone raising a smartphone toward her. Spinning, she put her hand at the side of her face, hearing the “click” of the phone’s camera as the person took her picture.

What did the woman see? A perfect Amish girl? How little she knew.

“Ma’am,” the cashier said, “No pictures of the Amish. They have a rule against that.”

Katie blushed. Had Esther taken photos when she’d run away? Had she bought a smartphone? Katie wanted to ask the Englisher to see the photo. She wanted to pose and have the woman take another. Would breaking the Ordnung within shouting distance of her mam make her feel as good as starting the rumor had?

No, it wasn’t safe.

“Denki,” Katie said to the shopkeeper. The Amish avoided photographs because collecting images of oneself was a form of vanity. But Katie felt most of the time like she was living inside of a photograph. What people saw was a snapshot in two dimensions of herself. It, like everything else, was a lie.

The shopkeeper, unaware of Katie’s thoughts, said, “No problem! Okay, that’s nineteen dollars and seventy-seven cents.”

Katie handed the cash over and waited for her change. Accepting the bag, she wheeled her cart to the store entrance to her parents.

At the wagon, she accepted her dat’s help after he helped her mam into the seat.

“You dealt with that picture situation well.” Her dat smiled with approval at Katie.

It warmed her. She so rarely earned any of their approval. It made living inside her own photograph just a little bit easier. Katie said, “Denki, Dat. I’m used to it, actually. They’re just curious. Tourist, maybe?”

“Ja. They don’t know our Ordnung.”

They didn’t. Lucky them. Katie kept up the pretense of being dutiful, grateful they couldn’t see in her expression how close she had come to embarrassing all of them with her curiosity. “Ja, I don’t think they did. It’s okay. At least I saw them raising their phone, so…”

“Ja. Did you find everything you need? We aren’t coming here for at least another week.”

“Ja, I did. I tried to remember everything when I wrote my list out last night. Besides, I’m going to be pretty busy finishing those three quilts, then starting my next order. That’s why I needed these fabrics. The couple wanted something bright and cheery for their babies. They’re having twins.”

***

The following Sunday was a meeting Sunday. Katie was well aware she could say nothing about the rumor she had begun. As she hung out with the other teens, she heard some whispers.

“…someone English doesn’t want us here.”

“…hear that?”

“…really know. I just heard it being said and was told to be careful when I’m in the English community.”

Each whisper was like a bubble of carbonation popping in her chest. Tiny cuts, tiny drops of blood. She felt lighter.

Katie looked up, her eyes wide. “Zeb, what did you hear?”

“Someone was saying that they heard that the English want us gone.”

“Nee!” Katie said, playing at surprise. “I have so many English customers! I hope it wasn’t one of them!”

“Don’t you quilt?”

“Ja, I do. I delivered an order just a few days ago, and I’m working on a couple other orders for English customers.”

“Well, just be careful is all’s I’ve gotta say.” Zeb sat up and drank deeply from his can of soda.

“Ja, I will. In fact, my customer, the one I took my quilt to last week, she was really happy with my work. This is the second time I’ve worked with her. I like her.”

Walking around with her boyfriend, Amos, Katie heard other young people chatting and laughing.

“Hey, are you ready for tonight’s sing?” Amos pressed Katie’s arm gently, getting her attention.

“Ja, I am! I’m looking forward to it. Are you?”

“Ja, of course! Wanna play volleyball? There’s a game starting now.”

“Ja, let’s!” Katie and Amos walked toward the volleyball net, joined by other teens and young people.

At that night’s sing, she heard more snippets of the rumor making the rounds.

“…may have been a tourist.”

“Nee! I have only ever had gut interactions with them!”

Katie looked around for Becky. Not seeing her, she sighed, feeling relieved. At the snack table, she grabbed an apple and a few chocolate chip cookies. Sinking her teeth into the apple, she dropped down next to Amos.

“You get anything for me?” Amos smiled eagerly at Katie.

“Ja, of course!” She pulled another apple out of her pocket and set the cookies in between them. She made short work of her part of the snack, and then cleaned her hands.

“Hey, Katie, did you deliver that quilt you were working on yet?” Amos’s face was serious.

“Ja. Why? You mean, that… Whatever it is that was said?”

“Ja, that. I want you to be careful. I’m hearing that it could have been a tourist, but you never know.”

A shiver passed through her. This rumor was supposed to relieve the pressure inside and make her happy for once, not threaten her already limited freedom. Katie shrugged. “My English customers are gut people. I’ve gotten repeat business from most of them. I have a gut relationship with each of them. I think, anyway.”

“Mmm. Just be careful. I know you’re trying to earn money and set it back for emergencies. When do you deliver your next order?”

“Three weeks, I think. I need to check my calendar.”

“Will you let me go with you when you deliver them?”

It was sweet and stifling. Katie didn’t expect this. Swallowing her soda quickly, she thought. “Well, maybe. I need to check with Dat.”

“Why? Do they know about this?”

Katie shrugged once again. “I don’t know. Why?”

“They need to know. And I’ll be going with you to make deliveries. Just let me know ahead of time, and I’ll make sure I can do so.”

Katie tried to hide her dismay. Smiling, she shook her head at Amos. “That won’t be necessary. I can ask Mam to go with me; I don’t want to take you away from filling your own customer orders. You rely on customer goodwill just like I do.” Her heart was hammering. She hadn’t foreseen this type of development!

“Two women, delivering quilts to English customers? I don’t know…”

Katie took advantage of his indecision. “Amos, really, it’s okay. Thank you for being so watchful over me, but it’s okay! Mam has a schedule similar to mine, so I won’t inconvenience her.”

Amos looked closely at Katie. “Are you sure? I just don’t want you in any danger.”

“Ja, I’m sure. If it turns out that I do need more assistance, I’ll let you know.” She was able to rest her head momentarily on Amos’s shoulder before everyone moved toward the barn for the sing. As they walked with everyone else, Katie sighed silently in relief. This was supposed to be a small, harmless rumor. And already things were getting out of hand.

On the way home, Amos brought up the statement the anonymous English person had made. “Katie, I really want you to think carefully about letting me escort you to your customers’ houses when you deliver or take orders. If your mam can’t, just let me know. I’ll be more than happy to help.”

Katie squeezed Amos’s arm in gratitude. Smiling at him, she nodded. “Ja, if she can’t, I’ll call you, for sure and for certain. I doubt I’ll have any problems.”

Amos looked at his girlfriend. “How can you be so brave?”

Brave? Hardly. Katie was a liar and broken inside, and now, Amos was staring at her with something between admiration and suspicion. Katie’s stomach roiled. She struggled for an answer. “I have Gott with me at all times. And most of my clients are mothers with small children. I can’t imagine them harming me. Besides, haven’t you heard that expression, ‘strength in numbers?’ I can get Mam, or one or two of my friends to make deliveries with me. I’ll find out who’s going in the same direction I am. And if they can’t help me, I’ll ask you.”

But Amos wouldn’t drop it. “Katie, I want to protect you–!”

“You’re just beginning to build up your own clients. I would hate to make you late on finishing an order and angering a client, especially if they are English. If this information is true, and who knows if it is or not, you don’t want to be selling a cabinet or dining room table to someone who wants us gone.”

Amos couldn’t argue with that. He wanted to, but Katie’s reasoning was sound. “Okay.” He shrugged, sighed and let his free hand drop by his side. Pulling into her parents’ yard, he stopped the buggy and looked all around them, trying to see if he could spot any English people lurking about. Seeing nobody, he chanced a peek at the front of the house. Seeing nobody peering through the drapes, he leaned over and gave a soft kiss to Katie. “I love you.” His hand drifted to her waist. The weight of it made Katie’s stomach twist.

Amos froze. “Katie, are you okay?”

“Fine. Gut.” Katie forced a smile. She liked kissing, but it made her nervous when he touched her unexpectedly. That wasn’t his fault, and it wasn’t his business either. “I love you too,” she said.

Amos grinned. “I’ll see you in a few days. Maybe we can spend an evening together this week?”

“Ja, maybe we can. Just let me know! I’d better go in. Mam is looking out.”

Amos’s eyes swept the front of the house again. He saw nothing. Chuckling, he asked, “How do you know?”

“Many years of experience. I saw her with my older brothers and sisters. She’s standing, just by the curtains, staring out at us.”

“Whoa! I hope she didn’t see me kissing you.”

“Me, neither! Bye!” Jumping down, Katie waved at Amos.

“Hey, wait up! Let me walk you to the door.”

Giggling, Katie stopped and waited for Amos to catch up. She took his hand. She liked holding hands. When she walked into the house, her mam was standing behind the curtain.

Katie gave her a wave. “Good night, Mam. I’ll be up early in the morning.”

“Gut. I’m glad you got home on time. I don’t want to be tired during the day again.”

Mary trudged up the stairs after Katie, yawning as she went.

***

Later in the week, Katie was surprised when her parents allowed her to go shopping for them. “We just have too much work to allow us to go. You take this list and the money and buy just what I wrote down. I want you home within an hour and a half because today is payday for the English. I can’t wait for tomorrow.”

“Sure, Mam, denki for the trust! I’ll be back soo—” She stopped speaking as Mary grabbed her wrist, almost painfully. “Mam?”

“Do not even think of beginning any rumors, do you hear me, daughter? Speak to your friends if you see them, but no rumors!”

Katie carefully removed her wrist from Mary’s grip. The pressure was rising again. No matter how hard she tried, she failed. “Mam, please don’t worry. I won’t!” Looking straight at her mam, she tipped her head to one side, giving her a confused look. “I’ve learned my lesson. I know it was my rumor that made us have to leave Goshen, and it hurt our whole family.” She turned around and made sure the cash was in her apron pocket. “I’ll be back soon, I promise.”

Mary gazed after her wayward daughter, praying she had finally moved through this phase. If telling vicious lies could be called a phase. Katie has been behaving, and she does seem to have learned her lesson.

Mary thought back to the tumultuous weeks following the revelation that her own daughter was the source of the ugly rumor about Big Mike Hofstetter. The lie Katie had told, Mary was horrified and sickened, but she shouldn’t have been surprised. Katie had always told stories. As a child, she’d said awful things about her husband’s brother Levi, who had only been kind to their family. More kind than a brother-in-law had need to be.

Maybe Mary had suspected the rumor about Big Mike was a lie. Maybe that was why she and David had decided not to call English law enforcement, trusting in the Goshen community elders to deal with the problem.

She wanted to be the best mam to her children, but with the last two, she had failed. Esther, poor, always sad Esther, had run off and gotten mixed up with drugs. Mary didn’t know if her second to last daughter was alive or dead. Then there was Katie, who lied.

Mary wished she could love Katie like she was supposed to. Katie had been such a sweet baby, always smiling and reaching for things. If only Mary could go back to those days. Esther, a serious, determined toddler, and Katie, a rosy, grinning infant.

Mary remembered the day when everyone in Goshen, including David and her, had realized that their own daughter had told such a destructive lie. At the meeting, Mike had offered incontrovertible evidence that he’d been nowhere near Katie when she said the assault had happened.

And so, Katie’s problem had been dragged out into the open, and it had destroyed them all.

After being cast out of their strict Amish community in Goshen, Indiana, Katie and her family have found a new home in Big Valley, Pennsylvania. She’s doing well. She has a boyfriend she loves, friends, and her parents are even beginning to trust her again.

Everything will be okay as long as Katie can stop making up stories.

But she can’t. There’s a pressure inside of her, building up from a secret from her past, and eventually, no matter how hard she tries to stop herself, the lies spill out. So she tells one little story about an Englisher. And then, as before, everything starts to fall apart.

Will a new community offer Katie a second chance at a life and love? Or is she too broken to save?

Find out in Amish Secrets & Lies, Book 1 of the Big Valley Amish series  by Rachel Stoltzfus. 

If you love Christian Amish stories about love, healing and the power of community, grab this series collection today!

use coupon SWEETROMANCE to save 15%

Formats include Mobi for Kindle, ePub for Nook, Kobo, Android and most eReaders and PDF for print & reading on your computer. 

Or Grab the Books on your Favorite Online Booksellers:

Amish Secrets & Lies - Chapter 5

In the end, the elders all came to their house in Goshen. Levi came with them. He stood silently, watching as they interrogated Katie, who eventually broke down.

“It was just a story,” Katie had sobbed. “I’m sorry. It was just a story.”

The deacon had spoken that time. “Mr. and Mrs. Miller, the depth and size of your daughter’s lie and sin can’t be overlooked, even though she hasn’t yet begun her baptism instruction. We have decided to listen to the two of you. You will be able to defend yourself as her parents and as members of our community. But we have to warn you…the chances are better than gut that something will be decided. What that will be, we don’t know.”

“I’ll see what I can say to them,” Levi whispered before following the deacon and the other elders out. After they left, Mary had broken down, crying, devastated that her own daughter had come up with more horrible lies, worse than she’d told before, and even tried to repeat them in the face of the overwhelming evidence of her sin. “Husband, what is in our daughter that she would do that?”

David hadn’t been able to come up with a reasonable answer. He was just as broken at her actions and how they had the ability to impact their family.

At that fateful meeting, the elders had asked Katie to repent of her sin against the community and Big Mike Hofstetter. Katie had stated her remorse, but the elders had seen through her, telling the family they feared that Katie would lie again in the future. “Next time, we don’t know what she would come up with. Or how destructive her words would be. Mr. and Mrs. Miller, given that your daughter has not yet been baptized and she is still unmarried, she remains under your care. Therefore, we are taking the unusual step of telling you that all three of you must leave Goshen and find another Amish community where you can live. It might be best if you moved out of Indiana, perhaps to Pennsylvania.”

The kitchen had been so silent Mary could have heard a dust mote land on the table. Her eyes slowly moved from the deacon to David, then to Katie. Katie’s face was as white as her dishtowels, and her green eyes were wide as she tried to take in the deacon’s words.

“But deacon! I apologized! I mean it! Please, don’t make us leave our family and friends here!” Katie now began to cry, deep sobs coming from her chest. Her tears were huge gobs sliding down her face.

Mary’s anger had brought her back to life. “Daughter! We believed you! We were ready to see the Hofstetters or Big Mike leave here! And you knew all along that you were telling a terrible, huge lie about a man who has never been anything but kind and respectful of us and you! I don’t know what made you lie like that. I don’t know if it’s a flaw in your personality or just something you thought would be ‘fun.’ But your actions and words have destroyed our family. Ja, we will comply with the decision the elders have given us. We will sell our farm and move to Pennsylvania. And as for you—”

David had put a firm hand on Mary’s forearm. “Wife, wait. Ja, we are hurt and angry at Katie’s thoughtless and highly selfish actions. But you and I will talk in private about any punishments we give her after the deacon leaves.”

Mary had stopped speaking, drawing in a deep, ragged breath. Tears burned her eyes, but, as she was so used to doing, she forced them back. “Ja, husband.”

The deacon had cleared his throat. “We have decided to give you three months from today. You will have that time to advertise your farm for sale, finalize a deal with a buyer, pack and move away. I pray you will find a welcoming Amish community…and I pray that Katie will soon come to truly repent for the wrongs she has done.”

Remembering that terrible time, Mary prayed quietly that Katie had truly repented and would not repeat her awful, destructive actions. Her mind spooled back once more. After the deacon had gone home, Mary and David had sent Katie upstairs so they could talk without interruption. “And don’t come back downstairs until we call you,” Mary had said.

“Wife, she needs to be punished firmly. But I don’t think she needs to be deprived—” David had tried to speak.

“Deprived? Of what? Food? Shelter? Love? She has all three, but right now, David, I am livid! She…her actions are forcing us to have to leave our extended families and friends! Our married children and grandchildren!”

“Ja, I know, Mary. I know! I am hurting, too, but you are being exceptionally harsh toward her right now. She has to leave family and friends as well. She was crying in the kitchen. You saw her!”

“Husband, she is upset that she was found out. Ja, she doesn’t want to leave friends behind. I’m of half a mind to…” She had lapsed into silence.

“To what?” David had been puzzled.

“Send her to a family in Pennsylvania, where she can be baptized, make a life and meet her future husband. Though I pity the man who marries her. We would stay here, with our family.”

David had thought Mary’s idea was good and he told her so privately. “But Katie is still under our guidance.”

“Where did we go wrong with her? She had everything her sisters and brothers had. They never did anything like this!”

David had seen, throughout their long marriage, how Mary withheld a part of herself from everyone, including him and their kinder. “Mary, you do love them, and you took exceptional care of every one of our kinder. But you do withhold just a part of yourself from us. We know you love all of us, but you don’t allow us into your emotions.”

Mary hadn’t said anything. She knew he was right. Maybe it was because she was still a little bit in love with Levi. Not that she’d ever told her husband about that summer she’d spent with his older brother when she was only fourteen. Mary said, “I don’t know, husband. None of the other kinder tried to get away with lies like that.”

“Nee, they didn’t. But they also hold parts of themselves back from their wives, husbands and kinder. And Esther, she held so much inside we still don’t know what made her run off like that. Katie is different from Esther though. She talks and talks even if she doesn’t always say things that aren’t true.”

“So what do you want me to do about that?”

“Be more open, I guess. She needs something we aren’t giving her.”

At that, Mary had closed her mouth, unable to respond. Eventually, she said, “I will be thinking for a few minutes. When I come back in here, we’ll call Katie down.” She had gone into her quilting room, where she’d indulged in a few minutes of crying. After thinking about David’s words, she’d decided that she was too old to change her ways. “Let’s call her down. You, please. I want to make sure that she has no chances to do this again. She isn’t going to be allowed to go running around with her friends. When we run errands together, she goes with us. Every time.”

David had nodded. “That is gut. Reasonable, for the circumstances.” After finishing his coffee, he’d gone to the stairs. “Katie! Downstairs, now!”

Katie had cried about not being able to see her friends even to say goodbye, but who knew what lies their daughter would tell? 

“Daughter! Stop caterwauling! You brought this on yourself with your lie. This is the price you pay. Now, go into your room and give that some thought.”

After that confrontation, an uneasy peace had prevailed in the Miller home. David put ads in several Amish community newspapers. The house sold about six weeks afterward, so he, Mary and their kinder had all packed up their belongings and left.

Shaking herself, Mary came back to the present. She looked at the clock. “Fifteen minutes. I hope she sticks to my rule.” Shaking her head uneasily, Mary began making dinner.

Shortly before the 90-minute mark, Katie came hurrying back into the house, laden down with grocery bags. Puffing, she’d lifted them and placed them on the kitchen table. “Let me put the team and buggy away.”

“Denki. Feed and water the horses, too.” Mary had simply thanked Katie, trying to remember what her husband had told her two years earlier.

The “thank you” threw Katie for a loop. Walking backward for a few seconds, she looked at her mam. “You’re…welcome.” Hurrying out, she took care of the chore and, back inside, began helping Mary to put their purchases away.

“Did you see anyone?”

“Ja. Libby and I spoke for a few minutes, but she was in a hurry. We would like to get together this weekend.”

After being cast out of their strict Amish community in Goshen, Indiana, Katie and her family have found a new home in Big Valley, Pennsylvania. She’s doing well. She has a boyfriend she loves, friends, and her parents are even beginning to trust her again.

Everything will be okay as long as Katie can stop making up stories.

But she can’t. There’s a pressure inside of her, building up from a secret from her past, and eventually, no matter how hard she tries to stop herself, the lies spill out. So she tells one little story about an Englisher. And then, as before, everything starts to fall apart.

Will a new community offer Katie a second chance at a life and love? Or is she too broken to save?

Find out in Amish Secrets & Lies, Book 1 of the Big Valley Amish series  by Rachel Stoltzfus. 

If you love Christian Amish stories about love, healing and the power of community, grab this series collection today!

use coupon SWEETROMANCE to save 15%

Formats include Mobi for Kindle, ePub for Nook, Kobo, Android and most eReaders and PDF for print & reading on your computer. 

Or Grab the Books on your Favorite Online Booksellers:

Thank you for reading! Keep reading this book for FREE by clicking on the chapters below:

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Amish Secrets and Lies – Free Chapters 1-5

Katie Miller sighed, her bright green eyes dulled with boredom. Even though she was eighteen and technically on her rumspringa, her mam and dat still took her with them everywhere they went. They were scared of what she’d say and the trouble it might get them into. How can I get into trouble by myself at home? I could get things done for Mam. Maybe sweep out the carpentry shop for Dat. Anything but go along on their everlasting shopping trips! Today, they were shopping in one of the English stores in the area.

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Amish Secrets and Lies – Free Chapters 10-12

Over the next few weeks, as Katie went around Big Valley, she kept getting the unsettling feeling that someone was watching her. She would stop driving her buggy or walking and gaze around, but she was never able to spot the watcher. Maybe it was just another story, bubbling to get out of her mind?

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