The Way to a Man's Heart (The Miller Family 3)

THE WAY
TO A MAN’S
HEART

MARY ELLIS

HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS
EUGENE, OREGON

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version
®
, NIV
®
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide; and from the
Holy Bible,
New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189 USA. All rights reserved; and from the King James Version of the Bible.

 

Cover photos
©
and design by Garborg Design Works, Savage, Minnesota

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to events or locales, is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WAY TO A MAN’S HEART
Copyright © 2010 by Mary Ellis
Published by Harvest House Publishers
Eugene, Oregon 97402
www.harvesthousepublishers.com

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

 

Ellis, Mary
The way to a man’s heart / Mary Ellis.
     p. cm.—(The Miller Family series ; bk. 3)
ISBN 978-0-7369-2734-5 (pbk.)
1. Amish—Fiction. 2. Holmes County (Ohio)—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3626.E36W38 2010
813’.6—dc22

2009053684          

 

All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, digital, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.

 

Printed in the United States of America

 

          10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 / RDM-NI / 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

 

A
CKNOWLEDGMENTS

 

Thanks to Carol Lee and Owen Shevlin, who welcomed me into their home and opened doors for me in the Amish community.

A special thank-you to Roseanne, Joanna, Kathryn, and Esther, members of the Old Older Amish community, for their delicious recipes and allowing me to sample their handiwork.

Thanks also to Rosa and Kim Blake for answering plenty of questions about horses.

Thanks to my wonderful agent, Mary Sue Seymour, who had faith in me from the beginning, and to my lovely proofreader, Mrs. Joycelyn Sullivan.

Finally, thanks to my editor, Kim Moore, and the wonderful staff at Harvest House Publishers.

And thanks be to God—all things in this world are by His hand.

CONTENTS

 

Acknowledgments

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Recipes

Discussion Questions

About the Author

Other Books by Mary Ellis

AmishReader.com

 

April

 

A
s Leah untied the gelding and climbed into the buggy, she caught the heady scent of honeysuckle—her favorite flower and one of the few that didn’t cause a fit of sneezing. She inhaled deeply to savor the fragrance of the perfect spring day. The cloudless blue sky, plenty of sunshine, and not even a trace of humidity added to her good mood. Eighteen-year-old Leah Miller was a successful businesswoman—people came from all around the county to buy her pies. They could purchase a slice in the basement cafeteria of the auction barn or a whole pie in the ground floor grocery store.

For the past four years she had tweaked her recipes until every one of them was a crowd-pleaser. The cafeteria manager had her baking popular standbys such as Dutch Apple, peach, and coconut cream while still inventing new concoctions to try out on the clientele. Maybe the red current pie and the pineapple cream didn’t exactly have folk begging for seconds, but Leah knew she had found her calling in life. Her sister, Emma, and Aunt Hannah had their smelly, wool-producing sheep, and
mamm
enjoyed sewing on her good days, but Leah’s place was in the kitchen. Ten bushels of beets to blanch and can, along with twenty baskets of apples to peel, core, and mince into applesauce? No problem. She would make short work of the task, no matter how large.

And the farther she stayed away from dander-ridden critters or pollen-laden meadows the better. Now that her mother took new medications for her arthritis, the two of them could handle the household tasks—which was a good thing, as Emma had married James more than two years ago and moved to his family’s farm in Charm.

With her love of baking and the drive to succeed, it hadn’t taken long for Leah to replace her coffee can of cash with an account at the bank. With her own savings passbook, commercial-grade baking pans, and a reputation for the best-tasting pies in the Mount Hope auction barn, life was good. It was so satisfying she often had to remind herself not to grow too proud or bigheaded.

As Leah left the cafeteria with her payment tucked in her purse, she noticed that a “road closed” detour sign had been put up on the route she usually took home. The highway patrol often closed stretches of road when oversized farming machinery was being moved to new locations. But with weather as nice as this, she didn’t even lift an eyebrow. Slapping the reins against the horse’s back, she turned down the township road running diagonally from town that would eventually take her the roundabout way home. Leah was mentally listing the chores she needed to do before supper when the sound of heavy construction grabbed her attention.

“Whoa,” she called to Jack. As she focused on the commotion she began to cough and sneeze. Bulldozers had raised a thick cloud of dust in a partially paved parking lot. Backhoes were loading debris into dump trucks, while workers in hard hats scurried around picking up tools and loading sawhorses into pickups. They appeared to have finished for the day and were cleaning up the site.

“The old train cars,” she murmured to the family buggy horse. The gelding picked up his ears but offered no comment. Leah was also struck speechless. She stared at the once ramshackle passenger car and rusty caboose she’d admired nearly four years ago. Leah had entertained such lofty dreams back then but had soon forgotten her impractical notions. She had been so busy with household chores and pie baking that she’d forgotten about the abandoned train cars at the edge of town.

But someone else had recognized potential among the knee-high weeds and broken bottles. A person with vision—and deep pockets—had turned the rundown relic into a vision of bright enamel paint, new wooden shutters, and flower boxes of red geraniums and white petunias. The window glass had been replaced and lacy curtains fluttered in the breeze. A trellis of climbing morning glories flanked the entryway, while a neon-lit sign proclaimed the obvious: Diner.

It was as though they had read my mind…but I certainly would’ve picked a more imaginative name.

A snort from Jack broke her concentration. He wanted the bucket of oats waiting at home, but Leah needed to see more of the work in progress. She parked at the edge of the property and tied the reins to a fencepost. As she stared at the restaurant, anticipation coursed through her veins as if the establishment were hers. After the last workers left the lot, honking horns and hollering goodbyes, Leah inched closer until she stood in front of the shiny front door. Unfortunately, the train cars had been elevated with concrete piers, making peeking into windows impossible.

She noticed only two vehicles remained in the parking lot as she crept around to the back of the train. No fancy shutters or pretty flowers decorated this side, but a large shipping container had been left underneath one window. Without a moment’s hesitation, Leah climbed onto the crate and peered into the passenger car, willing herself not to sneeze from the dust.

Two women in long pastel dresses and small white prayer
kapps
stood facing each other. Leah knew from their style of dress that they were Mennonite. Both looked to be in their early thirties and neither woman was smiling.

“No, April,” said the taller of the two. “I told you yesterday I couldn’t stay late today. Paul wants his supper on time for a change, and I won’t have him watching the kids after school. That’s my job.” She lifted her chin defiantly.

“But, May, we’re supposed to open in three days. I can’t unpack and wash everything by myself. I still need to write up my food order and start shopping. How can I bring supplies into such chaos?” Her hand gestured at the overflowing boxes of dishes and glassware on the floor. Desperation to the point of hysteria edged her words. “You promised to help me when I signed the lease.”

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