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Victor Petersheim has left the Amish and works on a river boat on the Mississippi River, spending three months on the river then having three months off. During his off-work months he returns home to his Amish community and helps out on his grandparents’ farm. When he returns home after his most recent absence, he discovers his grossmammi has developed health problems and they’ve hired Esther Beachy to be a “mother’s helper.” Victor is unsettled by this woman living in their home, but has to accept it. Esther loves listening to Victor’s grandmother’s stories and while puttering around in a store while the grossmammi’s in the hospital, she discovers a snow globe that depicts an area where the Petersheims used to live. She buys it as a gift for the grossmammi to cheer her up during her hospitalization. Victor is touched by Esther’s gift and her care for his grossmammi, and strives to be friendlier. Will Esther’s gentle heart draw him back to the community? Or will he return to the river once again?
Enjoy Chapter One from Laura Hilton’s
The Snow Globe
Kiss Viktor for me.
Esther Beachy frowned at the bedroom—his bedroom—she’d just finished cleaning. Freshly laundered sheets on the bed tucked under the tumbling blocks quilt, the pillows plumped, the dresser dusted, and the floor swept and scrubbed. Even the walls were washed down.
That wouldn’t happen. Not even for her cousin.
Besides, Viktor would be unlikely to allow Esther to get that close to him. Not even if she wanted to. Which she didn’t. Want to, that is.
She rested the broom against the wall next to the bucket of water and went to open the window to let the fresh spring air in. Viktor had been on the Mississippi River for a month and the room smelled stale, with underlying tones of lemon-scented Lysol from the scrubbing she’d done.
Her fingers shook as she unhooked the latch and pushed up the window. It stuck a little, so she shoved harder. It grudgingly slid open. Reluctantly. As if it had problems with Viktor coming home, too. For thirty long, excruciating days.
He’d probably be upset to find her hired as a mother’s helper. More likely he’d be indifferent to her presence and only upset that his grossmammi had deteriorated to the point she needed a caregiver in the few weeks he’d been gone.
If Lily wanted to kiss Viktor, she should’ve stayed home, instead of going to another cousin’s wedding in Pennsylvania and planning to remain there for six weeks. She was the one who had a crush on Viktor. Esther pursed her lips. Lily, and every other unmarried female in the district. Except her, of course. He’d been the most annoying bu in school and she didn’t think he’d changed much. Even as a teen, he’d lured the pretty girls behind the barn during singings…
She shook her head and swung around on her heel.
She would not think about Viktor Petersheim any more than she had to.
Unfortunately, that’d be too much, with his coming home today.
Her stomach churned.
It was mean—hateful, really—of Lily to make her think about kissing him. Because, maybe, just maybe, she really did want to. Maybe she was envious of those other girls…
Her vision blurred.
She plowed into something hard. Something thumped on the floor beside her, then strong hands closed around her upper arms like vises. Shockwaves pulsated through her.
She blinked. A firmly chiseled jaw came into focus. She raised her eyes. For a stunned second—minute—hour—she stared into brown eyes. Eyes that looked tired at first, but then became increasingly more…amused.
Viktor. Her heart pounded into a gallop.
Kiss Viktor for me… Her gaze dropped to his lips.
She planted her palms against his chest and shoved. He didn’t move. Didn’t even budge.
His mouth twisted into a smirk. “Didn’t think I’d come home to find a girl in my bedroom.” His hands loosened their iron grip on her arms and slid down to her wrists, leaving sparks in the wake of his touch. “And who might you be?”
He didn’t recognize her? Didn’t remember the girl who’d sat a couple of rows ahead of him in school? Of course not. Why had she thought he would? He’d been indifferent to her. She might as well have not existed for all he cared.
Esther jerked away and pushed past him. She grabbed the broom and bucket on the way to the steps. Water sloshed out of the pail and onto the floor. Lovely, another mess to clean up.
“Where are my grandparents?” All amusement had faded from his voice.
“Your grossmammi is asleep. Napping. Your grossdaadi went to the neighbors to help get the fields planted.” No need to say that the neighbor had recently had surgery and the community worked together to help him. She’d already said enough. She started downstairs.
“And why are you here?”
A step creaked behind her.
Irritation washed over her. Mostly at herself for not being immune to him. “She’s been sick. They hired me to take care of the haus and cooking.” Esther returned to the back door and rested the broom against the wall. Leaning over, she rescued the wet rag from the edge of the pail. She tossed the water out, aiming it in the general direction of the flowerbed. She lowered the bucket and turned toward the haus, her steps faltering when she almost ran into him again. “Why are you following me?”
“Sick how?” His voice lowered into a growl.
Esther trembled. “Ach, it started out as the flu, but then it went into her lungs and she got pneumonia and was in the hospital a few days. She’s weak and tired all the time.”
His mouth set and a muscle ticked in his jaw. “And no one notified me? I’ve been on the river, not overseas. I have a cell phone, I have email, I have…” He must’ve noticed her eyes widening because he fell silent. He seemed to study her. “So, who are you? Seems I’d remember a beauty like you.”
Her heart skipped a beat. But then… Obviously not.
She pushed past him again. “Esther Beachy.”
Laura V. Hilton is an award-winning, sought-after author with almost twenty Amish, contemporary, and historical romances. When she’s not writing, she reviews books for her blogs, and writes devotionals for blog posts for Seriously Write and Putting on the New.
Laura and her pastor-husband have five children and a hyper dog named Skye. They currently live in Arkansas. One son is in the U.S. Coast Guard. She is a pastor’s wife, and homeschools her two youngest children.
When she’s not writing, Laura enjoys reading, and visiting lighthouses and waterfalls. Her favorite season is winter, her favorite holiday is Christmas.