A Noble Bond

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Ruby Sweitzer has never been courted. Living with her brother and sister-in law in the house she grew up in, she has accepted the life course set before her: shouldering her share of the housework while also serving as the village schoolteacher. So when the bishop delivers the news that she is not only being replaced by a younger woman, but is being sent to a far-off community to live with an aunt she doesn't know, she is devastated. A way out presents itself when the widowed father of one of her students proposes marriage, an arrangement she readily accepts. They don't love each other, but at least she made her own decision.

Joshua Lambright is shackled by his own grief. His wife died a year ago after a lingering illness, leaving him with a disabled son to care for. As if the pressures of being a single parent weren't enough, his hardware store is failing, and it's obvious he doesn't have a head for business. The Amish community could have been a source of strength for him, but he has pushed everyone away. Desperate for help with his son, and wracked with guilt over his wife's death, he's made it clear he'll never love Ruby. Joshua can only hope that she won't decide to leave when she finds out exactly what kind of one-sided bargain she's made.

But Joshua is wrong if he thinks Ruby will be content to be nothing more than a nanny and a housekeeper. She is determined to be a good mother to little Nicholas and a good wife to Joshua. Both of the Lambright men have potentials that are not being reached and Ruby knows it's her destiny to help them heal, grow, and flourish: if only Joshua will allow her in.

Tragedy brought Ruby and Joshua together, and fresh trials will test them. But if they trust in his plan, he might just guide them through to a happy future, made stronger by love.

The Characters

Being the eldest child often means having more responsibility. With four younger siblings, Sarah Beth has a firm understanding of the weight she must bear.

After the passing of her Grossmammi -- a loss almost as devastating as the one the King children endured 12 years earlier when both of their parents were killed in a harvesting accident -- Sarah Beth, 24, is left to look after her special needs sister, Cora, 17, and only brother, Toby, 14. As for her 12-year-old twin sisters, Lovina and Luann, other family members felt it would be best for the girls to live with relatives in another church district, decimating the King family once again.

Family is everything to Sarah Beth! And she is determined to get hers back together ... even if that means putting off her thoughts of courtship and starting a family of her own. But why does her heart beat wildly when she meets her handsome new neighbor, Elias Stutzman? Is she drawn to the allure of his deep blue eyes ... or maybe it is the secrets they are hiding?

Life has been anything but easy for Elias ... abandoned by his Mamm who jumped the fence to Englisch life when he was just a kid ... passed along from one distant relative to another ... running with the wrong group of "friends" who always kept him on the outer edge of their circle.

Now, at 29 years old, Elias longs to be accepted for the hardworking man he is today and leave his past behind him. Hickory Meadows, known for its welcoming folks and strong sense of community, could give him the home he has always dreamed of having -- and possibly a family of his own.

But the shocking damage done to his buggy shop soon after his arrival makes it very clear that he is not welcome. Elias knows only a few people, so who would try to run him out of the church district? Maybe it was just a bunch of bored kids. Perhaps he pushed Sara Beth, his attractive new neighbor with the feisty spirit, a little too far. Or has someone from Elias's past discovered his new life?