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Annie Mast and Levi Miller were childhood best friends until his father was shunned. Now, 10 years later, Levi returns to Arthur, Il, and he and Annie discover their bond is as strong as ever. Soon they begin imagining a future together, but that’s unlikely to happen. Levi is part of the English world, and Annie is Amish. But together, with love on their side, they may just find their way to an answered prayer.
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Annie Mast tossed a rock into Pebble Creek and giggled. She clapped her hands as the small stone hit the water. Beside her, Levi Miller nodded his approval. Their contest was always who could make the bigger splash. Of course, Levi usually won. But she guessed when her efforts trumped his, it was because he allowed it. After all, at eight years of age, it wasn’t easy competing with a twelve-year-old boy. Especially a boy much taller and stronger than she was.
Levi joined in the applause. “If you keep throwing like that, I’ll have to practice.”
Annie grinned. Automatically, they stepped side-by-side up the incline leading to their sitting spot. Hills were unusual in predominantly flat Illinois, but she was sure God had planned this particular elevation especially for her and Levi.
Without talking, she claimed her stone at the same time he declared his. Not wasting a moment, Annie reached into the wicker basket between them for a sponge cake. Levi accepted the napkin-covered, sweet-smelling dessert with an appreciative grin. As he did so, she automatically took in the curve of his high cheekbones and determined jaw. Brightness lightened his autumn-brown hair a shade. As always, he waited to bite into the treat until she held hers between her fingers. Together, they ate while the late August sun caressed them. In her long Amish dress and apron, Annie quickly forgot the unusually hot temperature when Levi pointed to old Sam Beachy’s barn.
“You want to know a secret?”
She lifted an inquisitive brow while anxiously awaiting the response.
“One day you’ll be as good a cook as Esther.”
Annie’s heart smiled. Everyone knew Sam’s wife made the best dishes around.
Excitement edged Annie’s voice. “You really think so?”
He took another bite before offering a quick, definitive nod and lowered his pitch to a whisper. She wondered why. There wasn’t anyone within hearing distance.
“There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Annie’s heart jumped with happiness. Even more than matching Esther’s baking skills, what really mattered was that she and her best friend were together. And as long as she was with Levi, how could life get better?
About the Author: Lisa Jones Baker is a multi-published author with Kensington Books. Her debut book of THE HOPE CHEST OF DREAMS series, REBECCA’S BOUQUET, won a Publishers Weekly starred review. A former teacher with a BA degree in French education, Lisa has been on 5 out of 7 continents, is a dog lover, enjoys positive thinkers, volunteering in her church’s food pantry, and strong female characters.