A homicide detective returns to his Amish roots to catch a killer…

I’d like to share an exclusive excerpt with you from my new release, Vow of Silence. It’s one of my favorite scenes because it really shows the angst and complexity of Hannah and Josiah’s relationship. Hannah’s uncommon strength and straight-forward honesty breaks the traditional mold of a demure Amish woman, yet she maintains an integrity and innocence that made her an exceptionally fun character to write. 
“Josiah, what are ya doin’?”
“What does it look like I’m doing?” he grouched, his already foul mood turning darker with the direction of his thoughts. “I’m fixing these steps before you break your goddamn neck.”
“Ya shouldn’t curse so…” she admonished. “And don’t ya have a murder investigation ya should be concerned about rather than my broken steps?”
The frost in her voice was almost as chilly as the bite in the fall air. Joe paused mid-swing and canted his head to look at her. Big. Mistake. He caught another glimpse of her feet poking out from beneath her robe, and the slender curve of her ankles… From this view, he could almost see the gentle flare of her bare calves. In the secular world, he wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But he was in Lancaster, and this was Hannah.
It was more flesh than was proper for her to show, and the bolt of lust arrowing thorough him warred with the resentment rising like a tumultuous tide. Where was her modesty? Lost on the husband who had been given everything Joe had wanted?
“You should go inside, Hannah. You’re going to catch a chill with those bare feet.” He returned to his task, taking his frustration out on the nails.
            Those delicate toes hovered in his peripheral vision. He could sense her watching him, silence stretching between them. He was determined to ignore her—until she spoke, and those three little words gutted him.
“Ya left me…”
            He froze, barely hearing the accusation over the pounding of his heart, every muscle in his body going ripcord tight. She had no idea. And he resented her implication that any of this was his fault. He’d sacrificed everything for her—given up who he was so she could have the life she’d always wanted close to her family. Joe was careful not to look at her, but it was impossible to keep the anger from his voice when he replied, “Has the thought not crossed your mind, not even once in the last eight years, that I did it for you?”
            “For me?! If ye’re expectin’ me to thank ya for breakin’ my heart, Josiah Troyer, then you’ll be waitin’ till hell freezes over!”
            Joe tossed the hammer aside and shot to his feet. His temper was too short, and his emotions were running too high for him to soften his words. “Would ya rather I stayed and made an adulteress out of ya?” With his anger, the lilt of his Pennsylvania Dutch accent returned, and it tasted foul on his tongue, further fueling his anger. As he advanced on her, Hannah’s vibrant blue eyes widened with surprise. She stumbled back, countering his advance until she couldn’t retreat anymore, and he planted his hands against the chipped siding, caging her in. “I would’ve gotten us both shunned because, make no mistake, if I’d stayed, ya would’ve been mine, husband or no’.”
She gasped sharply at his confession, staring at him with scandalized shock. Hell, he should kiss the woman senseless and really scandalize her. But he’d only be torturing himself, because Hannah Beiler-Adams was not his to have.
            “Ya mustn’t say such things, Josiah.”
“Why not? Can’t handle the truth? I suppose it’s easier to go on hating me.” He spun around, needing to put some distance between himself and the only woman that had ever owned his heart.
Her soft voice whispered behind him. “I was angry…still am…but I never hated ya, Josiah. I hated myself.”
She sounded so sad, so…defeated. He turned back to face her, and his heart clenched, the crushing ache making it difficult to breathe. “Why would you say that?”
“I wasn’t a good wife,” she confessed. Her eyes filled with tears, turning them into luminous pools of regret that reached into his chest and ripped his heart out.
            “I seriously doubt that—”
            “It’s true. I never loved Jacob the way he deserved. He was a good man, Josiah.”
Of course, he was. Joe never would’ve found the strength to leave if he hadn’t been.
“He deserved the love of a good woman, not the leftovers of a broken-hearted mess who couldn’t let go of the past. He knew I was in love with ya, and he married me anyway.”
Vow of Silence

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my new release!
Have a wonderful day~Melynda

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