Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Reviews of The Miting: Thank You!

Writers often feel a bit isolated as they work on their book projects. We sometimes suffer the loss of connection to our readers because we have to spend time writing, which means time alone, which means time away from Facebook and other social media. But one thing that brings the readers right into our homes is a review of our books. And, oh, how that bridges the gap and brings readers close! Even a review that may not show enthusiasm for our work is a blessing because we're connecting.

I'm thrilled with the new reviews that are popping up on my book The Miting: An Old Order Amish Novel. Because the book is just now reaching the readers, through Nook and Kindle downloads, I'm seeing what my readers think of Leah and the family of characters who reside inside my book. To those who have written a review, I offer a hearty THANK YOU! To those who plan to write a review in the future, I also say THANK YOU! I'm blessed and grateful because I know how busy we all are and it takes commitment to write a review. You are blessings, Readers, and I appreciate you.

I'm posting the reviews here, just in case someone is looking for a new Amish read. Also, the paperback version of The Miting is making its way to local bookstores and online book sites within the next few weeks, so I appreciate your patience in waiting for pre-orders and orders to be shipped. If you find it at a local bookstore, I'd love for you to drop me a line here or on my Dee Yoder: Writer of Christian Fiction Author Facebook page. Thank you, Readers!

REVIEWS: 

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read!, March 27, 2014
By 
Joseph J. Keim "jkeim12" (Ashland, Oh) - 
This review is from: The Miting (Kindle Edition)
If your heart is filled with love for the Amish people as well as those who leave the culture, then you will not only want, but need to read this book. You see, The Miting is not just another bonnet book, written for entertainment and imaginary purposes. The truth is, when you finish reading The Miting, you will walk away with a first-hand education of what truly happens when a person from an Old Order Amish community wants to leave and join the outside world. Throughout the book, you will be reminded again and again of the tremendous amount of emotional turmoil that takes place when a child chooses to walk away and forsake the traditions and ordinances, which were established by their parents and forefathers. You'll read about hearts that were once tightly knitted together as family and community, but are now strained, confused and sometimes severed for life.

Few people, besides Dee Yoder, would even be able to write a book like this. Here is why: Not only did she marry Arlen, from Amish descent, but she is very much involved with our organization, Mission to Amish People. Dee and her husband, Arlen, have made it their purpose in life to come alongside those who have already left their Amish families and community and want to start over in our English society. Dee knows what it's like to sit next former Amish youth and weep with them because they long for their parents and family back home. She knows what it feels like to sit next to a hospital bed during tragedies and celebrate GED accomplishments. On many occasions, Dee and Arlen have opened their home to birthday parties, prayer meetings and Bible studies; yes, and even film crews from NYC and as far away as England.

As a friend and co-laborer in Jesus Christ, I highly recommend Dee's book, The Miting. You will be blessed and drawn into a world that many are becoming more and more aware of.

Founder and Director of Mission of Amish People
Joe Keim
 5.0 out of 5 stars This was the best yet... a true picture of Amish Life., April 6, 2014
By 
I read a lot... and I was fascinated with this story as it was about the area where we live. I work at MAP as a volunteer and I know the main characters of whom the story reveals. I am excited about this story and am telling everyone to read it... even some of my Mennonite and Amish friends.

5.0 out of 5 stars If you love reading about the Amish, this is a must read!!!!, March 28, 2014
I downloaded this book yesterday and finished it today. I could not put it down. I am an avid reader of Amish fiction (Christian) and found this book gave a very accurate account of the Amish religion in many Old Order Communities. The author combined family, faith, yearning for God in a way forbidden by her community, joy, sorrow, shame, and love into one very well written story. As a Christian I felt deep heartache for what she longed for and how freely we have it. Mrs. Yoder has found a place in my reading library for a long time to come. Thank you for put your heart on those pages. Thank you for sharing a story that you have had for a long time. I look forward to the next book in this series. My the LORD continue to bless your writing and ministry.


5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story, April 15, 2014
This review is from: The Miting: An Old Order Amish Novel (Paperback)
Dee Yoder's The Miting is a novel with a great story line and characters who live in your heart long after you've finished the last chapter. From her personal experiences with the ex-Amish, the author presents a clear picture of the problems faced by those who choose to leave the Amish. I particularly enjoyed her many lyrical descriptions.



5.0 out of 5 stars An Amish Fiction Book Like No Other!, April 15, 2014
This review is from: The Miting (Kindle Edition)
I literally could not put this book down. I was totally drawn into this storyline and so fascinated with it. The character Martha, faced a certain kind of abuse that isn’t discussed much in Amish fiction. I know this goes on in the English world but it is kept underwraps in the Amish world.

I loved Leah the main character in this book. A 17 year old girl bound by her Amish upbringing but not understanding why her bishop and her family are so against her wanting to read and study the scriptures in the English Bible. Leah has such a hunger and thirst to learn more about Jesus and what He taught.

Leah’s life is not easy as she follows her heart to do what she has to do to find freedom in her relationship with Jesus Christ. Will her family understand? Will she be put under the Miting if she doesn’t give up her daily Bible reading?

The characters in this book were real to me. I worried for Leah, I prayed for Leah, I cried with Leah. I wanted to be her friend and give her comfort.

This is one of the very best Amish fiction books I have ever read. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

I highly, highly, recommend this book to anyone reading this review. It will hold you captive!

I won this book on LibraryThing to read and review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.


Anonymous, Posted April 2, 2014 
Great Book
 
I really liked this book. The characters and story line were well developed. I appreciated that the book did not romanticize or sugar coat the Amish way of life. I hope there is another book planned so that I can see how the next step in life goes for the main characters. 



WHERE TO PURCHASE: CLICK THE LINK TO PURCHASE The Miting:An Old Order Amish Novel:








Saturday, February 22, 2014

News Blips and Review of The Miting: An Old Order Amish Novel

My book, The Miting: An Old Order Amish Novel, is scheduled for release in March 2014, and I'm finding a few mentions and reviews of it on the Internet already. How wonderful! I'm listing the mentions or reviews I've seen. Readers can click on the links to go to the pages of the original source. I'm getting excited to have my book in hand!

The following review is from RT Books Reviews:

THE MITING
by Dee Yoder
Genre: Inspirational, Mainstream 
RT Rating  ****

 This is a moving account of one young Amish woman’s search for answers about her Old Order beliefs. The plot is realistic and flows smoothly throughout. Without glamorizing the practice, Yoder shares the cold, hard truth of the miting, or shunning, and sticks to the facts — as she does in all of her books.

 Leah Raber is tired of the restrictions placed on her because of her Old Order community’s beliefs. Instead of taking part in the Amish tradition of Rumspringa, she would rather understand Englisher life by reading their Bible, but this action has serious consequences if she’s caught. She learns of an ex-Amish couple who hosts Bible studies in their home and takes the chance. In trouble for deprogramming, Leah moves in with the couple and learns more than she wanted about the English way of life. Homesickness consumes her, and she realizes she has to decide which world she wants to be part of forever. (KREGEL, Jan., 304 pp., $14.99)
Reviewed By: Patsy Glans


From the Library Journal:

"...from Kregel is Dee Yoder’s The Miting, which explores the ramifications of one girl’s decision to study the Bible rather than strictly follow the rules of her ­community."


 From The Writer's Alley: The Future of Hope-Filled Fiction Part II:

"2) The Miting by Dee Yoder:

Amish fiction has typically been the realm of the idyllic, happily-ever-after ending but we're beginning to see a new style of Christian fiction. An example would be the release of Alice Wisler's Still Life in Shadows inspired by a character in National Geographic's Amish: Out of Order series.

This upcoming year sees the release of several books about Amish and Mennonites who have a different view of the lifestyle. In these books, the members find the life restrictive and legalistic and find themselves in a different type of Christian life in the outside world after an "escape."

Still other releases feature Amish young people during their Rumspringa (a teenage time of questioning) who must decide whether to stay or leave. In these books, the decisions made are varying. This is clearly not your mother's Amish fiction."




Thursday, January 2, 2014

News About The Miting: An Old Order Amish Novel and The Amish: Shunning

Update about my book, The Miting: An Old Order Amish novel: It is ready for pre-orders at most Christian Parable bookstores online, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and ChristianBookDistributers. It is being prepared for a late winter/early spring of 2014 release! It's pretty exciting to be this close to publication, but the waiting is difficult.

In other news, a film featuring Joe Keim of Mission to Amish People and many of my former Amish friends is scheduled to be aired by PBS American Experience on February 4, 2014. The film, The Amish: Shunned, continues the story of the Amish by focusing on what happens to folks who leave the Amish. I've been told some of the story will show scenes filmed at my house in 2012. I'm looking forward to that presentation, too! Here is a video clip from that documentary:



Stay tuned for further updates concerning my book and this video. Thanks, readers, for keeping up with things here in my neck of the woods. Your interest and support is greatly appreciated!

Friday, October 11, 2013

It Takes a Thief

Recently I've had to deal with two kinds of hacking incidents. One on a Google account, and the other on this blog. Both made me feel insecure and frustrated. But here's the truth: the lady who is using my name and my blog post title to create a blog to sell her stuff is NOT me! I won't give readers a link because I don't think anyone would want to do business with someone who would steal a name to do business. I certainly wouldn't want her having my personal financial information. 

This world is filled with people who are still under evils' wily ways. Things like this remind me that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the human heart is captive to sin. Well, I have good news for those who steal, kill, and destroy: there is a cure! And His name is Jesus Christ. And I, for one, am glad He is the cure because my ways are no better than the lady who stole my name. If I were left to handle my own soul, I'd make a mess of it every time. In Romans 7:17-20,24, Paul confessed to this human dilemma, too: 

"But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time...I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?"

But when I read on in verse 25, I find Paul's answer, the cure he clings to when sinful ways trip him up:
"The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different."

This is power and health for my soul! I can count on God's help and that means I can count on God's plans, no matter how frustrating or insecure life can make me feel. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dianne Price: Her Books Live On!


Ashberry Lane announces the bittersweet  release of Broken Wings, the first book in the Thistle Series. Only a  short time ago, we offered a contract  to the amazing Dianne Price for  her six-book WWII romance. Knowing she had terminal cancer,  we did everything within our power to get the first book out while she  was still alive.

However, she passed on to Glory one week shy of the  first release. How blessed we all are that her legacy lives on in these  stories. Please read Broken Wings and fall in love with Rob and Maggie and  the isle of Innisbraw. (Book Two, Wing and a Prayer,  releases in October!)

E-versions are available at:
and in all other e-formats at Smashwords
The print book will release soon--check our Product Page to place your order!
The Book's Dedication

Foremost, to the glory of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And for my  husband and best friend, True, who always wore the “Colonel’s cap” in  our family, but only with calm Christian dedication, love, and  compassion. See you in Heaven, my luve!
In Loving Memory

Dianne was granted her wish and she joined her beloved Savior and her husband in Heaven. She is  probably dancing a Scots reel even as you read this.

About the Book

He lives to fly—until a jagged piece of flack changes his life forever.

A  tragic childhood has turned American Air Forces Colonel Rob Savage into  an outwardly indifferent loner who is afraid to give his heart to  anyone. RAF nurse Maggie McGrath has always dreamed of falling in love  and settling down in a thatched cottage to raise a croftful of bairns,  but the war has taken her far from Innisbraw, her tiny Scots island  home.

Hitler’s bloody quest to conquer Europe seems far away  when Rob and Maggie are sent to an infirmary on Innisbraw to begin his  rehabilitation from disabling injuries. Yet they find themselves caught  in a battle between Rob’s past, God’s plan, and the evil some islanders  harbor in their souls. Which will triumph?

Meet the Author

Dianne fell in love with writing at the age of five. Because her  father was a barnstorming pilot, she was bitten early by the “flying  bug” as well. She attended the University of California, Santa Barbara  and met and married the man God had prepared for her—an aeronautical  engineer. After their five children were in school, she burned the  midnight oil and wrote three novels, all published by Zebra Press. When  her husband died only three years after he retired, she felt drawn to  visit the Outer Hebrides Isles of Scotland, where her husband’s clan  (MacDonalds) and her own clan (Galbraiths) originated. Many yearly  trips, gallons of tea, too little sleep, and a burst of insight birthed  her Thistle Series.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Dianne, born August 1933, lived joyfully despite  dealing with terminal cancer and died in August 2013, a mere week before  the release date for the first book of this series, Broken Wings.  Everyone involved with the production of this book and the next five has  been blessed beyond measure to have known Dianne and be a part of  giving readers a chance to meet Rob and Maggie and visit the beautiful,  fictional isle of Innisbraw.

Leave a message for her family and sign up to hear the latest about her  books at Dianne's publishing page or "Like" her Facebook page. Also, sign up for the Ashberry Lane newsletter to always know the latest about Dianne's releases.

 Sample Chapters
PROLOGUE

Isle of Innisbraw, Outer Hebrides, Scotland
August, 1938

Stay! Don’t go! Maggie McGrath struggled to ignore the words screaming in her mind. She tucked a tissue-wrapped sprig of heather into a fold in her battered traveling bag. Too dry for the fragrance to linger, but she’d put it in a drawer. When the longing for home shredded her heart, she’d hold the fragile, purple buds close to her nose and imagine the sweet scent perfuming the air every summer.
Her fingers trembled as she fastened the bag and looked around the wee bedroom she’d shared with her younger brother, Calum, for over half of her life. His box-bed unmade, sheets and bed plaid in a muddle. A ragged sweater and pair of soiled trousers crumpled on the floor. Tears burned her eyes. Typical of a nine-year-old lad who lived for the day he would be old enough to crew a fishing trawler. Och, she would miss him so terribly.
Heedless to those words still torturing her mind, she pulled the sides of her waist-length black hair into a celluloid clip at the top of her head and dragged her bag into the cramped room that served as the cottage’s living quarters and kitchen.
Her father stood at the small, deep-set window above the sink, his face toward the morning sun colouring the cloudless blue sky with a soft blush of orange.
The bump of her bag over the rough stone-flagged floor seemed to rouse him. He placed his cup of tea on the scarred table and walked toward her, arms outstretched. “Ready are you to be off then, lass?” He enveloped her in a hug, the tweed of his jacket scratchy, yet so familiar, against her cheek.
The soft cadence of the Scots he spoke threatened to crack her resolve. She’d hear only English in Edinburgh. I cannot stay. I have to go. A sigh. “Aye, as ready as can be.”
“I know ’tis hard.” He stepped back and wiped a tear from her cheek. “But in a bit over twa months I’ll join you in Edinburgh.”
She wanted him to beg her to stay, to refuse her opportunity to study at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary’s Nursing School. But why would he? It was her dream, the culmination of everything she had studied for, including four years at a boarding academy on the Isle of Harris where she had learned to speak English as fluently as her father. Hard years, those. Painful raps on her knuckles when she spoke Scots, followed by humiliating mockery from the English-speaking students.
His warm hand rested on her shoulder. “On you come, lass. I’ve a pottle of strong tea waiting.” He poured tea into her mother’s treasured china cup. The burden in her heart lifted a wee bit. It seemed only fitting she embark on her journey into womanhood after drinking from her mother’s legacy. If Elizabeth McGrath had survived the birth of her laddie, Calum, she would have been proud of her daughter.
Maggie added heather honey and milk to her tea and stood in front of the glowing peat fire, shivering from an inner chill no flame could warm. It was already gone 0530. In less than half an hour she would be saying “guid-by” to all she held dear. And how would Calum fare? “Are you certain Calum will be all right staying with Morag and Alec when you leave?”
“Och, the lad’s spent most of every winter with the MacDonalds since you started academy.” Her father settled into his rocker with a grunt of satisfaction. “And he’ll have a bed to himself now, what with their Graham going off to school.”
A few strands of grey invaded his dark brown hair and short beard. When had that happened? It seemed only yesterday he’d rocked her in his lap and sung silly ditties in Scots or the Gaelic to soothe away her tears from a skinned knee or bad dream. That had all changed ever-so-gradually over the years. There was no question he loved her and Calum. But as head of Orthopaedics at the Royal Infirmary, he now spent most of his time in Edinburgh. Only one short three-month visit beginning in August and a weekly radio call the rest of the year to fill the aching void in their hearts.
Her heart cried out to recapture those carefree childhood days when her life revolved around family and friends, this wee stone cottage with its thatched roof, and her beloved green island. But she would be eighteen in a few months—old enough to fall in love, marry, and have her own bairns to rock.
And old enough to voice the one subject she’d never dared broach aloud. “Are you never coming home to open your infirmary permanently?” Maggie choked out the words. “I know what you do is important, but Calum needs a faither, no’ just fishermen who have their own lads.”
He stroked his beard, avoiding her gaze. Was he considering an excuse—perhaps something familiar, that he told himself every day to assuage his guilt?
She shouldn’t allow such words to ruin her last moments at home. Leaving her untasted tea on the table, she dashed to the door, pulling it open with a jerk. Even the pervasive scent of the heather covering the towering slopes of Ben Innis and tumbling in purple splashes down braes and over hillocks brought no solace as she raced to the low, dry-stone wall separating their croft from the path which ran across the high, flat top of Innis Fell.
Tears pooled in her eyes, blurring the harbour below and the Minch stretching to the horizon, its waves capped with white horses whipped to a gallop by the brisk morning breeze. What if the rumors of an imminent war with Germany came true? Everyone on the island was talking about Hitler’s invasion of Austria. Would he be satisfied to stop there or would he want more and more until all of Europe erupted into flames the way it had in the last Great War? Calum was too young to serve, but what about Graham MacDonald, Mark Ferguson, and the other lads on Innisbraw? Their ruddy-cheeked, innocent faces swam before her eyes. How many would die? How many would never come home to take up sheep or cow crofting or fishing with their fathers?
Her father came behind her and his strong arms pulled her against his chest. He rocked her back and forth for a moment before speaking. “I canna leave my work yet, Maggie. I’m on the brink of perfecting a new technique for repairing compound fractures. Mebbe when you’ve finished your training we’ll come back together. I’ll need a nurse at our infirmary, and in the meantime, Elspeth and Hugh have promised to write often.” He squeezed her shoulders before his steps faded away on the scudding breeze.
Maggie bit her lip to keep from weeping aloud. She couldn’t bear to hear the names of her two dearest friends when she wouldn’t see them for at least two years. Elspeth NicAllister had been her surrogate mother since Calum’s birth. Hugh MacEwan, the island’s minister and other anchor in her life, had never been too busy to offer words of encouragement or scriptures to give her guidance.
Och, Heavenly Faither, please help me be strong, for You planted the need to help others in my heart. Help me remember the honey-sweet scent of the heather, the sound of the sea sooking on the shore, the tumbling burns and shaded glens, even the plomping rain and skailing winds of winter. But most of all, give me the faith that I’ll come home to Innisbraw someday.

 





Edenoaks Air Base, England
Early May, 1942

“You gotta have a death wish.”
Colonel Rob Savage steeled himself against the pleading eyes of Major Dennis Anderson, his second-in-command. “The mission’s set. It’s a go whether you approve or not.” Rob untangled his long legs from the barstool, waved at the fug of cigarette smoke clouding the teeming officer’s club, and shrugged into his A-2 bomber jacket. “I’m going to catch some shut-eye. Wheels-up at 0400.”
Den snagged his sleeve. “Let me fly cover for you. A single-plane strike over Metz is suicide.”
Arguments flew through Rob’s mind, each as hollow as his bones. Suicide? No way. Pushing the odds against surviving the war? Yeah, he’d give Den that, but he’d never dodged his commitment, no matter the risk. Every bomb dropped on German-occupied territory brought them closer to victory. He shot Den a thumbs-up. “I’m counting on you to lead the group to that alternate target tomorrow.”
Den returned the good-luck gesture. “Somebody needs to watch your back. At least I tried.”
Rob grunted. Knowing Den, he hadn’t given up. He’d be at the Liberty Belle’s hardstand in the morning, trying to talk his way into flying right seat. “See you at Interrogation tomorrow. That cot’s calling my name.”
A grin split Den’s flushed face. He leaned closer, Old Spice shaving lotion marking his territory like a feral tomcat on the prowl. “Who needs cot-time when there are enough nurses here to make a man drool?” He smacked his lips and exchanged winks with a nurse carrying two beers away from the bar. “Or are you going to spend the rest of your life married to an airplane?”
Not again. When would Den stop trying to set him up with a date? Sure, he wanted a family to replace the one he’d lost so long ago. But a world torn apart by war had a nasty way of putting the kibosh on most dreams, and his awkward attempts at social conversation were harder work than planning strikes and flying lead.
He reached for his beer and took a swig, gaze sweeping the officer’s club. From the radio, a band belted out “Chatanooga Choo Choo,” while loud, boisterous officers packed the Nissen hut, drinking beer, sucking on cigarettes, and openly ogling the nurses sitting at their own crowded table. Was it always this noisy?
It’d been a mistake to hope to relax before hitting the sack. The morning’s bombing strike had him so tied in knots he’d be lucky to clock a couple of hours sleep before briefing his crew.
His crew. Nine good men—like family—whose survival depended on him. Oh, God, don’t let me fail them. Den’s poke in the ribs interrupted his dark thoughts.
“Dare you to dance with that teensy bee-u-tiful nurse in the RAF uniform.” The redhead rocked back on his barstool. “That’s what I call a babe.”
Rob drained his pint. “Then you dance with her. The gossip mill’s busy enough without adding the base commander to the mix.”
“But she’s just your type, Bucko. You know, serious looking, kind of uncomfortable, sitting on the edge of her seat like she’s about to run—just like you at every dance at the Point.”
Frowning, Rob turned to look. And froze. The lieutenant’s black hair, pulled into a bun above her gray-blue uniform collar, caught the overhead lights and sparkled like raindrops on wet tarmac. His fingers itched to loosen the pins and watch it spill down her slim back. Pale skin, delicate nose—and the bluest eyes he’d ever seen. He’d signed the papers placing her on-loan from the RAF, yet he couldn’t recall seeing her around the base hospital. A yearning he’d thought long buried threatened to weaken his resolve, and a bitter taste flooded his mouth as he looked away.
Den waggled his eyebrows and flapped his arms. “Chicken. I double-dare you.”
“Enough.” Rob growled. Refusing a double-dare would deal Rob a crushing defeat in their ongoing game of one-upmanship.
Besides, she might get his mind off that bombing strike.
He stood, unzipped his A-2, loosened his tie, and wove his way between the tables. Mouth dry as an empty fuel tank, he tapped her shoulder. “Care to dance?”
She stiffened and turned, gaze darting to the silver eagles on his shoulders.
He never fraternized with someone under his command. What if she refused? Then he’d get what he deserved—a red face and another foot added to that stone wall he’d built around himself.
“Och, no, but ... thank you,” she stammered, cheeks flushing.
One of the nurses nudged her. “What’s the matter, Maggie? You Scots only dance with men wearing skirts?”
She hesitated.
He tried a smile, nearly succeeded. “Well?”
A brief nod.
He pulled her to her feet and led her silently to the crowded dance floor. She really was tiny. At six-five, he was accustomed to towering over women, but the top of her head didn’t even reach his shoulder. He turned and placed his arm around her, hoping his tense body didn’t reveal his unease. Hard as it would be, he’d have to initiate the conversation. “So, um ... Leftenant Maggie, how do you like being here at Edenoaks?”
She averted her eyes. “’Tis very interesting.”
That tickled his funny bone. Must have been around Den too long. “Interesting? That’s not much of an endorsement.” Emboldened, he stooped over and said into her ear, “What’s the matter? Find us Yanks a little hard to stomach?”
She recoiled. “Och, no, Colonel.”
“Rob, please.”
“Rob.”
He opened his mouth to comment on her charming burr when she spoke up.
“I ... I’d best be going. I’ve drawn an early shift and I—”
“I’m only teasing, Leftenant.”
How stupid could he be? She’d offered him a perfect out and he’d thrown it away. Why could he conduct a briefing and argue bombing strategy with two-and-three-star generals, yet fail to untie his knotted tongue when talking to a woman?
Those blue eyes met his. “Only teasing, were you?”
The unspoken challenge in her slight smile dissolved the icy splinters of fear in his chest. He clasped her hand tighter as their feet moved to the slow love song, “The Nearness of You.” The softly crooned words washed against the stony shore of his heart. The scent of warm honey dislodged another stone. He leaned closer, his chin brushing her forehead. “Your hair smells sweet.”
“’Tis heather. A friend at home makes the soap and sends it to me.”
Her voice, soft and warm, reminded him of a breath of summer air in an open cockpit. “And home is ... where?”
“Innisbraw. I’m certain you’ve never heard of it.”
He tasted the word. Innisbraw, a fitting name for a village folded into the heart of mist-shrouded hills. “You’re right. But it has to be somewhere in Scotland where the heather blooms wild and a good friend makes you soap.” His labored breathing eased.
The nearness of you.
“Aye, ’tis a wee island. That’s where the Innis comes from. ’Tis one of the Gaelic words for island and braw is Scotssag for fine, even beautiful, in a rugged sort of way.”
“And what’s the word for ‘fine and beautiful,’ in a more refined way?”
“Bonnie.” Her shy whisper and downturned eyes brought a frisson of hope. Did she long for someone too?
The lilting Scots rolled effortlessly from his tongue. “Then, ’tis bonnie you are, Maggie, lass.”
The music crescendoed, faded, and died.
She looked up at him, those blue eyes with their violet depths calling him to dive in.
Could he muster the courage to seek her out later? Perhaps—if he survived the mission. He squeezed her hand before leading her back to her table. One last touch to treasure.
The nearness of you.
“Thank you, bonnie Maggie, for the dance. I hope to see you again. Soon.”

 


  


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