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Freya: an Amish Christmas Short Story

Freya: an Amish Short Story Ashley Emma

Freya: an Amish Short Story

Ashley Emma

Visit http://www.ashleyemmaauthor.com to download three of my eBooks for free by joining my email list! You can also become notified of beta reading opportunities for my future books and offer your valuable feedback.

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when I lived with the Amish in Unity, Maine.

The characters and events in this work are the creation of the author, and any resemblance to actual persons or events are purely coincidental.

FREYA: AN AMISH SHORT STORY

Copyright © 2016 by Ashley Emma

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be copied, shared, or used without the author’s permission.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any manner, except for brief quotations in critical articles or reviews, without permission.

Praise for [+ Undercover Amish+]

Undercover Amish is the first Amish novel I’ve read, and I have to say it was a fascinating and insightful look into a different culture. Ashley Emma clearly did extensive research on the subject and portrayed this group in a compassionate, thoughtful manner. Couple her careful handling of this society with her compelling characters and heart-racing plot, and you’ve got a real winner!”

-Staci Troilo, author of Mind Control, Bleeding Heart and many other titles

“What can I say, I LOVE mysteries!  I love getting to know the characters, their motivations and then trying to figure out the outcomes.  I am therefore delighted to have discovered Undercover Amish. Not only does the main character, Olivia, has a unique background of being Amish, but the trajectory of her life from that background to becoming a policewoman is fascinating and totally unexpected.  Not only did I find myself engrossed in the unraveling of a crime, but also in the learning about a culture, within my own country, about which I was, admittedly, basically ignorant.  Kudos to Ashley Emma for creating this wonderful series. I can’t wait to read more of them!”

-Leslie K. Malin, LCSW, psychotherapist, iLife Transition Coach, and author of Cracked Open: Reflections on the Transformative Power of Failure, Fear, & Doubt website/blog: http://www.JustThinkn.com

Undercover Amish is a suspenseful, realistic work of fiction. Ashley weaves two opposite worlds together in a fast-paced story following Detective Olivia Mast.  Olivia’s journey forces her to face issues of identity, rise up to work challenges, and eventually she finds love. It’s an easy read that will keep you guessing until the end.”  

-J.P. Sterling, author of Ruby in the Water

“Buy this book! It’s a five-star read in my opinion. Whether you have ever read Amish detective stories before or not, I know you’ll like this one and be totally engaged from start to finish. The characters are well-developed, unique, quirky and three-dimensional. I enjoyed the author giving her readers an inside view of the Amish community, especially during dangerous and unpredictable times. I eagerly await the sequel to this novel!”

-Wendy Pearson, moderator of The Write Practice

“I love a good mystery and this one has an interesting storyline. A relatively short read and kept me engaged and trying to guess the next twist. This is the kind of book I love to have when traveling or for an afternoon at the beach.”
-C.L. Ferrari, bestselling author of Enriching Your Retirement

“Ashley Emma has crafted an intriguing crime mystery with a surprising twist. I didn’t see that ending coming at all. And I’m a little jealous. Once I got into this book, I couldn’t put it down.”

-Michael Wilkinson, bestselling author of [+ A Father’s Guide to Raising Daughters+]

“I really enjoyed this book, right through the last page!! Undercover Amish is a compelling read that will keep you going until the very end! The only disappointing thing for me about Undercover Amish was when the story ended—I already miss the main characters!”

-Sue M Wilson, author of [*Home Matters *]

www.suemwilson.com

“This book will take no time at all to grab you and take you into a world most of us know nothing about. Because the author spent time with the Amish, Ashley Emma is able to present her story in a truthful manner. After you read this, you will feel as though you know enough to say you understand them. (You may even finding yourself wanting to wear more solids.) But murder has crept into their safe haven. Olivia, the main character, who was once Amish comes back and investigates a string of crimes, all while being undercover. I highly recommend this book. Ashley keeps you on the edge of your horse and buggy seat while making you fall in love with her characters. You’ll be sorry once it is over. Thankfully there are more of her books to read coming soon!”

-Emily L. Pittsford, author of A Most Incredible Witness

For Nancy Parsons, who taught me about second chances and God’s grace.

*

Freya Wilson adjusted her red wig as she glanced in the rearview mirror, making sure none of her blonde hair was peeking through. She then focused on the long, winding road toward Unity, Maine in front of her as she drove through millions of snowflakes.

The never-ending farm fields, barns, and backroads were draped in a soft white blanket. The peaceful scenery was the complete opposite of the New York City skyscrapers and bustle that she was so used to.

A classic Christmas song played on the radio, and Freya’s heart ached. There had been a time when she had loved Christmas. In the past, she had understood and appreciated the meaning of Christ’s birth. Now she realized she had barely given it any thought this year until now. Why would she, when she had no one to share the holiday with?

These days, she was too preoccupied with trying to survive.

Someone had snatched her purse in New York only an hour after she had left home, and it had contained all the cash she had been saving for this. She had only a fake identity, a suitcase of clothes, and this run-down car. What was she going to do? Her stomach rumbled. How would she would buy her next meal?

She reached over and rubbed the large bruise on her upper arm that was hidden by her jacket. She had other battle scars from when she had last seen her ex-fiancé—some were on her ribs, and there was even one on her face concealed under makeup. He had been stalking her, but hopefully that was the last time that he would ever hit her.

Now she was on the run.

The snow came down heavier on her windshield, and now it was getting hard to see.

Maybe I should pull over somewhere and wait it out, she thought as she turned a corner.

A horse stood in the middle of her lane, and she veered the car to avoid it. Panic gripped her, clouding her thoughts. The wheels slid across a black sheet of ice and the car careened out of control.

Her headlights illuminated the form of a man. Though she desperately tried to avoid him, the steering wheel seemed to possess a will of its own. Headed straight for the man, Freya screamed and braced for the impact as her car hit him head-on.

The vehicle slammed into the victim, and her whole body froze as the car finally stopped. Tears streamed down her face as steadily as the snowflakes on her windshield.

After several moments, she finally got the nerve to lift her head and look around. Did that really just happen? Did I really just hit someone?

She gingerly opened her door, and a horse whinnied a short distance away. She looked up and saw a black buggy with another horse hitched to it. She stepped around to the front of the car, not sure if she wanted to see the damage she had done. She clutched her churning stomach as she bent down to see if the man was still alive.

The man lay lifeless on the road, crushed by the front of her car, surrounded by a puddle of blood that was now mixing with the falling snow. The diluted red liquid began pooling around her feet, and she stifled another scream with her mitten-covered hands.

He was dead.

The man’s black hat sat in a crumpled heap under her fender, and she grabbed it before jumping back in her car. She stared at the hat, turning it over in her hands, when she noticed a tag on the inside that said R. L. She looked up at the buggy and horses.

She had killed an Amish man. An innocent, pure-hearted Amish man.

Certainly the hottest circle of hell was waiting for her after this miserable life.

No one could know of this. If she was arrested or questioned, her name might come up in the public records or the news, and her ex-fiancé would use his connections to find her.

And he would kill her.

She tossed the hat onto the passenger seat, threw the gear into reverse and sped away.

***

On the second anniversary of Robert Lapp’s death, Freya carried a bouquet of yellow roses through the small cemetery. Her boots crunched the snow with each step she took—the only sound to be heard in this bleak graveyard.

She’d had to ask around to discover the identity of the man she had killed because the Amish did not report crimes, not even hit-and-runs. She had been too ashamed and afraid to come before today, but she couldn’t live with the guilt haunting her anymore, even though she risked her ex finding her through his police friends if she was arrested. He had many connections in the law force.

She stood before the headstone and wiped away a tear. “I am so sorry,” she whispered before hearing footsteps behind her. She whirled around to see an incredibly good-looking man approaching, dressed in jeans with a nice shirt and tie under his partially unzipped jacket.

“Hi. Did you know my brother? Never seen you around here before. I’m Adam Lapp,” he said, extending a hand for her to shake. “I left the community a few years ago to go to medical school, so I haven’t been here in a while.”

Her instinct was to turn and run, but she found herself reaching for his hand and shaking it.

“I guess you could say I knew him. I’m Freya.”

“What a lovely name,” he said with a dashing smile, but her heart sank as his gaze settled on the headstone. “He was a wonderful man. Too young, and newly married with a baby on the way. His horse had gotten loose and he took the buggy out to look for it. It was a hit and run. Probably a drunk driver. We still don’t know. Though, you probably knew that.”

Freya had already been wracked with enough guilt, but now this new information nearly crushed her. She wrapped her arms around herself and lowered her head. Swallowing bile, she tried not to cringe or tremble at the memory of the accident.

The reason she had located Robert’s family was to tell them the truth about what she had done and beg for forgiveness. She had to tell Adam. Would he call the cops on the spot or hear her out? Could he realize it had been an accident and that she’d been running for her life?

“Are you okay?” Adam asked.

Freya wiped away another tear, unable to speak.

“How about if we go for coffee around the corner and we can talk?” He smiled at her again, and this time she let his charm wash over her. “I’d love to hear about how you met my brother.”

Freya nodded eagerly. “I’d like to learn more about Robert. And honestly, I have something to tell you about him. And I hope you will forgive me.”

“Well, whatever it is, I’m sure I’ll be able to forgive you. Everyone should get a second chance, Freya. That’s what Christmas and God’s grace is all about.”

Her spirit lifting a little, she allowed a slow smile to brighten her face as she set the roses on the snow in front of the tombstone.

She definitely didn’t think she deserved a second chance, but at least Robert’s family would know the truth. All she could do was pray for the best. Freya wiped away another tear and shivered.

“Come on. Let’s go.” Adam’s voice was gentle. “You’re obviously very upset. And cold.”

Was she that obvious? “Now? Don’t you want to pay your respects?”

“I will come back and do it later. Come on. A cup of coffee or hot cocoa will warm you right up. Besides, Robert wouldn’t want us freezing out here anyway.” Adam softly touched her elbow and led her away from the tombstone. Freya could hardly feel his light touch on her arm through her jacket.

With each step she took, her heart felt as though it was dropping lower and lower to the ground. What would he say? Would he blow up in her face? Call the cops right then and there?

If Adam did call the police, she knew her ex-fiancé, Dean, would find her. He had friends who were police officers, and Freya had no doubt that he had asked them to tell him if they heard anything about her.

“Here it is,” Adam announced as they walked around the corner to a street lined with quaint shops. She had been so absorbed in her own thoughts that she hadn’t realized how far they had walked. As they stepped into the coffee shop, a small bell rang on the door. Inside, the brick walls were covered with local framed art and photography. Retro tables and chairs were scattered beneath a chalkboard menu.

“Have a seat.” Adam pulled a chair out for her. “What would you like? Tea? Coffee? Hot cocoa?”

“I’ll have a hot cocoa, please. Thank you,” Freya said, flustered by his chivalry. Dean had never pulled out a chair for her.

“You’re welcome. And this is my treat.”

“You don’t have to do that.”

“Please. I insist. I’ll be right back.” Adam flashed her a smile and headed toward the counter to order. She unzipped her jacket, took it off and draped it over the back of her chair. Even after Freya removed her mittens, her hands kept on sweating. She rested her head in her palms and took a deep breath.

She had been so careful ever since she had left New York. And so far, Dean had been unable to find her. Freya had turned coworkers down when they had invited her to hang out, not wanting to get too close to anyone. She had been paying for everything in cash, using her fake name. Would all her hard work be for nothing? Was she wasting it all just to tell this man the truth about his brother’s death?

Freya shook her head. She couldn’t live with this secret one more day. If Dean came for her and killed her, so be it. Because if she continued to harbor this secret any longer, it would eat her alive. She had to tell Adam what happened to Robert.

Adam returned to the table, grinning as he set down two hot cocoas and two croissants. “These are the best. I thought you might like one, but if you don’t want it, it’s okay.”

“These look great. Thank you,” Freya said, but her stomach churned at the thought of food. Not wanting to be rude, she took the croissant anyway.

“It’s beautiful here, isn’t it?” Adam said, gesturing to the scenery out the window. From where they sat all you could see were the shops lining the street, but she knew he was referring to the vast farm fields, long stretches of road and the woods in the distance.

“It is. I see why you came back. So, you went to medical school?”

“I’m still going. I want to be a pediatrician.”

“Your family must be so proud of you.” Freya uncovered her hot cocoa and blew on the brown liquid.

“I wouldn’t know. I haven’t spoken to them since I left.”

Freya drew her eyebrows together. “Why?” she couldn’t help but blurt out. She took a sip of her drink.

“When an Amish person leaves their community, they are shunned. No one from my community is allowed to speak to me or else they will be shunned. The Amish do not think that an Amish person should go to high school or college. They believe it is prideful. Don’t get me wrong, I loved growing up here and the Amish are wonderful people, but that is one thing I do not agree with. I value education. Always have.

“Once my brother died and my family refused to report it to the police, I knew I had to leave. I think the police should have investigated his death and tried to find who killed him, but the community wanted to forgive and move on. Whoever hit Robert just left him in the road and drove away.” A tear glistened in his eye and he slowly shook his head. “I couldn’t just stay here and pretend like I agreed with what was happening.”

Freya set down her cup and lowered her head. The hot cocoa she had swallowed threatened to come back up her throat. She swallowed again, hoping to keep it down, but her stomach just churned even more. Her heart pounded as she looked up at Adam.

“I really need to tell you something.”

“What?” Instantly concern covered his face, and he reached out and touched her hand. “Freya, you look very pale all of the sudden. Are you okay?”

“Yeah. Just listen. This is hard for me to say, and I’ve been thinking about how I would say this for so long, but I still don’t know how to word it so I’m just going to say it. Adam, I was there the night your brother was killed.”

Her heart ached when he leaned forward, looking as though he was trying not to leap out of his chair. His eyes widened and he squeezed her hand. “Did you see anything? What happened?”

Freya closed her eyes, trying to shut out the memories, but they still came rushing back. The way her head hit the back of her seat as her car slammed into the body, the way the melting snow had mixed with the blood on the road surrounding Robert’s limp frame.

“I saw everything.” She couldn’t bear to look at Adam, so she just kept her eyes closed and lowered her head. She heard his chair creak as he shifted anxiously in his seat.

“Please, Freya. Tell me. I want to know.”

“Well, it was snowing really hard. I was driving down that road. It was so hard to see and it was icy. I had just left New York City because my ex-fiancé kept trying to kill me. I figured he’d never find me out here. He has a bunch of friends who are cops, so I’ve been staying under the radar. So that night…” She stopped midsentence as a sob escaped her lips. Freya wrapped her arms around herself, feeling her cheeks warm as a couple in a nearby booth looked her way.

“Let’s go outside.” Adam helped her up and helped her put on her jacket. He put his arm around her and guided her out the door as another sob shook her chest.

They stepped onto the snow-covered sidewalk and walked back toward the cemetery.

Adam patted her shoulder, trying to comfort her, but it was no use. Freya didn’t feel any of the weight lift from her heart.

“So who did you see, Freya? Don’t be afraid to tell me. I just want to know the truth.”

She couldn’t keep it in any longer. Freya threw her hands up. “It was me, Adam. I’m the one who hit Robert. It was an accident. The roads were icy and the snow was coming down so hard. He was standing in the road. I didn’t see him in time. I tried to steer the car, but it careened out of control.” She sank to the ground, barely noticing the cold of the snow as it wet the knees of her jeans. Tears streamed down her cheeks. “I’m so sorry, Adam. I’m so sorry.”

Freya looked up after a few moments to see Adam standing there, just staring at her. She tried to read his face, but she couldn’t tell if he was angry or sad or just shocked. Maybe it was all three. Finally, after what seemed like several minutes, he spoke.

“Why are you telling me this now? Why come forward after all this time?” His voice shook with emotion, and tears ran down his own cheeks.

“I told you, my ex has connections with the police. I was afraid that if it was reported that his friends would find out and tell him. And then, if I was arrested, he would know where I was. That’s why I left Robert there in the road. I was afraid that Dean, my ex, would come after me if I reported it. So I just left your brother there, dead. I was so scared. I have regretted it ever since.”

“So, if I go to the police about this, your ex will find you and kill you?” Adam asked. Freya couldn’t tell if he believed her or not.

“If that happens, so be it. I couldn’t live with this secret any longer. Your family deserves to know the truth. I will accept whatever you decide to do.”

Adam continued to stand there, silent. Freya finally found the strength to stand. When she did, she looked into Adam’s eyes and saw only sorrow and confusion.

“Thanks for telling me the truth, Freya,” he muttered and walked away.

One year later…

Freya dusted the snow off the top of Robert’s tombstone and set her bouquet of yellow roses on the ground just like she had the year before. She had vowed to herself that she would come back here on the anniversary of his death every year.

She had waited for the day that the police would come knocking on her door every day since she had told Adam the truth, but they had never come. And since she had not left Adam her number or any other contact information and she worked under a fake name, he had never contacted her. As time passed, she realized the truth.

Adam had not reported her to the police, and Dean still had no idea where she was.

But the nagging question remained: had Adam ever forgiven her? The Amish always forgave no matter what, but Adam was no longer Amish. How could he ever forgive her for killing his brother and leaving him behind that night, then keeping the secret to herself? She didn’t blame him if he hated her guts.

Freya lifted her head when she heard footsteps. She looked around the snow-covered cemetery, then turned.

Adam Lapp walked toward her, stopping when he saw her. “Oh. It’s you.” Freya couldn’t tell if she detected indifference or compassion in his voice. He kept his face blank as he continued to walk toward her.

Because Freya had no idea what to say, she remained silent.

“So, are you going to come here every year?” he asked as he stood next to her and faced the tombstone.

She nodded. If he hated her, she wished he would just get it over with and blurt it out.

“Still going to medical school?”

Now he nodded.

After several moments of silence, Freya whipped around to face him.

“Look, if you hate me, go ahead and say it. I don’t blame you. What I did was horrible, and you have every right to be angry with me. Though, I do appreciate you not going to the cops. Thank you for that.”

“I don’t hate you.” He shook his head. “I’ve had a whole year to think about this. I’ve asked myself what I would have done in your situation, and honestly, I don’t know. But I do know that you telling me the truth took a lot of courage. And I admire that.”

Freya’s eyes widened. He didn’t hate her? “What about your family? What do they think?”

“Well, I never ended up telling them. Since they don’t report crimes or pursue justice, and because I am shunned and I don’t want to get them shunned, I never told them. But you could tell them. I could bring you to them.”

Freya took a step back, dread seeping into every pore of her body. It had been hard enough telling only Adam about what she had done, but an entire family? She couldn’t possibly do that.

“Okay, obviously that makes you uncomfortable, and I don’t blame you. But my family will be understanding and forgiving. And I think they would want to hear the truth from you. I tried to find you and call you, but you’re a hard person to find.”

“I’m sorry. But I hope you understand why.”

“Yes. I know. Because of your ex.” Adam reached out and took her hand. “Listen, Freya. I’m not like my family. I can’t usually let things go and just move on. But I want you to know that I played your words over and over in my head for months. I prayed and prayed about it, and it took me a long time to get to where I am now. But I want you to know that I do forgive you. We all make mistakes. And as a said last year, we should all get a second chance.”

Freya smiled as new tears coursed down her cheeks, the first tears of joy she had cried in such a long time. “You forgive me? Really?”

“Yes. It wasn’t easy. But I do forgive you.”

Freya threw her arms around Adam and sobbed into his shoulder. For several minutes he held her there until her tears finally slowed. When she pulled away, she saw that he had been crying too.

“Come on. Let’s go to my family’s house. I’ll be with you every step of the way.” He held out his hand.

“Promise?” She took his hand.

“I promise.”

***

Thanks for reading! This short story will hopefully soon be made into a novel which will be part of the Covert Police Detectives Unit Series. Keep an eye out for it!

In the meantime, check out my bestselling novel [+ Undercover Amish,+] the first book in the series. Its sequel Amish Under Fire is coming very, very soon followed by the third in the series, Amish Amnesia.

Also check out my nonfiction series about when I lived with the Amish called Ashley’s Amish Adventures.

You can download three of my eBooks for free at ashleyemmaauthor.com. You can also become a beta reader and offer me feedback on my upcoming novels.

Check out my Facebook page to see pictures of when I lived with the Amish in Unity, Maine.

Happy reading!

-Ashley Emma (yes, Emma really is my last name!)

Below is an excerpt of [+ Undercover Amish+]. Enjoy!

***

Prologue

“Did you find everything you were looking for?” Jake asked.

Olivia Sullivan looked up to see her husband staring at her with furrowed brows and narrowed eyes. The anger flickering in them would soon grow into a hungry flame. He wouldn’t yell at her here in the grocery store, but she should hurry to avoid a lecture later at home.

For a moment, she pondered his question. Had she found everything she was looking for?

No.

This was not the life she had signed up for when she had made her vows to Jake Sullivan.

“Liv? Did you hear me?” His voice, low and menacing, came through clenched teeth.

“Sorry. I just need to find some toothpaste. I’ll be right back.”

“Hurry up. I’m hungry and want to go home.”

Liv scurried with her basket toward the other end of the store, her long purple dress flapping on her legs. She tugged on the thin ribbons of her white prayer kapp to make sure it wasn’t crooked and almost ran in to her neighbor, Isaac Troyer.

She halted so fast, her basket tipped and her groceries clattered to the floor. “Hi, Isaac. I’m so sorry! I almost ran you over.”

“It’s all right, Liv. Don’t worry about it!” He grinned, green eyes sparkling reassuringly. Then the smile slid from his face and concern shadowed his expression.

Fear swelled within her. Did he know?

She squirmed and avoided his gaze. “I’m so clumsy. I really should watch where I’m going.” She shook her head, clearing her thoughts as she dropped to the floor to pick up her groceries. Isaac hurried to help her.

“Really, everyone does these things. So how are you, Liv?” he asked in all seriousness, using the nickname he used to call her when they had dated as teens. They had been so in love back then—until Jake came along and stole her heart with his cheap lies. Isaac was an old friend now and nothing more. The piece of her she had given to him when they had dated died the day she married Jake.

She told herself to act normal, even if he did suspect something. “I’m well. How are you?” She reached for a fallen box of cereal. Her purple sleeve rode up her arm, revealing a dark bruise. She took in a quick, sharp breath and yanked her sleeve down, turning away in shame.

Had he seen it?

Isaac rested his fingers on her arm. “Liv, be honest. Is Jake hurting you? Or did you ‘walk into a door’ again? You know I don’t believe that nonsense. I’ve known Jake since we were children, and I know how angry he can get. And I know you might be silly sometimes, but you aren’t that clumsy.”

She sure wasn’t silly anymore. Her silliness had also died the day she married Jake.

Olivia stared at Isaac wide-eyed, unable to breathe. He did know the truth about Jake. Her pulse quickened as the grocery store seemed to shrink around her, closing her in. Who else knew?

“You don’t deserve this, Liv.”

What would Jake do to her if he found out Isaac knew?

“Isaac…promise me you won’t say anything. If you do, he will hurt me terribly. Maybe even—”

“Olivia! Are you okay?” Jake strode over to them. He helped her up in what seemed like a loving way, and no one else noticed his clenching grip on her arm.

Except Isaac. His eyes grew cold as his jaw tightened.

He knew.

Oh, God, please don’t let him say anything.

No one would believe him even if he did. Jake was known for being a polite, helpful person. He was the kind of man who would help anyone at any time, even in the middle of the night or in a storm. No one would ever suspect him of hitting his wife.

He hid that side of him skillfully, with his mask of deceptive charm.

Jake finished piling the groceries into the basket as Isaac stood.

“Good to see you, Isaac.” Jake nodded to his former childhood friend.

“Likewise. Take care.” Isaac offered a big smile as though nothing had happened.

When Liv glanced over her shoulder at him as she and Jake walked away, Isaac stared back at her, concern lining every feature of his face.

Most of the buggy ride home was nerve-wracking silence. They passed the green fields of summertime in Unity, Maine. Horses and cows grazed in the sunlight and Amish children played in the front yards. Normally she would have enjoyed watching them, but Olivia squeezed her eyes shut. She mentally braced herself for whatever storm raged in Jake’s mind that he would soon unleash onto her.

“Want to tell me what happened back there?”

Jake’s voice was not loud, but she could tell by his tone that he was infuriated. Who knew what awaited her at home?

“I bumped into Isaac and spilled my groceries. He was just helping me pick them up,” she answered in a cool, calm voice. She clasped her hands together in her lap to stop them from shaking, acting as though everything was fine. Their buggy jostled along the side of the road as cars passed.

Did he know what had really happened?

“I was watching from a few aisles away. I saw him touch your arm. I saw the way he smiled at you. And I saw the way you stared at him. You never look at me like that.”

Here we go. She sucked in a deep breath, preparing for battle. At least he hadn’t heard what Isaac had asked her. Jake was always accusing her of being interested in other men, but it was never true. He was paranoid and insecure.

“You know I love you, Jake.”

“I know. But did you ever truly let go of Isaac before you married me? Does part of you still miss him?”

“No, of course not! You have all my love.”

“Then why don’t you act like it?” His knuckles turned white as he clenched his fists tighter around the reins. “Why don’t you ever look at me like that?”

How could he expect her to shower him with love? She tried, but it was so hard to endure his rampages and live up to his impossible standards. Yes, she had married him and would stay true to her vows. She would remain by his side as his wife until death.

However soon that may be. Every time he had one of his rampages she feared for her life more and more.

She had given up on romance a long time ago. Now she just tried to survive.

If only her parents were still alive… but they had been killed along with the rest of her family in a fire when she had been a teenager. How many times had Liv wished that she could confide in her mother about Jake? She would have known what to do.

“I’m sorry, Jake. I’ll try to do better.” She told him what he wanted to hear.

“Good.” Smugness covered his face as he glanced at her and sat up a bit taller.

When they arrived home, he helped her unload the groceries without saying a word. She knew what was coming. He internalized all his anger, and one small thing would send him over the edge once they were behind closed doors.

When everything was put away, he stalked off to the living room to wait as she prepared dinner. She began chopping vegetables, and not even ten minutes had passed when he stomped into the kitchen. As he startled her, the knife fell on the countertop.

“You love him, don’t you?” he snarled through clenched teeth, crossing the room in three long strides.

“No, Jake! I told you I don’t love him. I love you.” She struggled to keep her voice steady. They had had this fight more than once.

“Are you secretly seeing each other?”

She spun around to face him. “No! I would never do that.” She might wonder sometimes what her life would have been like if she had married Isaac, but that didn’t mean she loved him or had feelings for him, and it certainly didn’t mean she would have an affair with him. Happy or not, she was a married Amish woman and would never be unfaithful to her husband.

“I can see it all over your face. It’s true. You are seeing him.” He lunged toward her, pinning her against the countertop.

She tried to shield her face with her hands. The familiar feeling of overwhelming panic filled her. Her heart pounded as she anticipated what was coming. “No, that’s not true.”

“After everything I’ve given you!” His eyes burned with an angry fire stronger than she had ever seen before. He raised his clenched fist and swung.

Pain exploded in her skull. Her head snapped back from the impact. Before she could recover, he wrapped his hands around her neck, squeezing harder and harder until her feet lifted off the floor.

She clawed at his hands, but he only clenched tighter. Her lungs and throat burned, her body screamed for oxygen.

This was it. She was going to die. She was sure of it.

A strange calm settled over her, and her eyes fluttered shut. It was better this way. Where she was going would be paradise instead of this hell she lived in.

Her eyes snapped open.

No. Not today. For the first time in her life, she had to fight back.

She tried to punch him, but it was as if he didn’t feel a thing. She tried to scream for help, but her vocal chords were being crushed. She reached behind her for anything to hit him in the head with. Her fingers fumbled with something sharp, and it cut her hand. But she ignored the pain.

The knife.

She gripped the handle. Before she could reconsider, she thrust the knife as hard as she could into the side of his neck.

Blood spurted from the wound as his grip loosened. His eyes widened in shock and his knees gave out as he crumpled to the floor.

“What have I done?” She inhaled shaky breaths, struggling to get air back into her lungs. Tears stung her eyes. Bile crept up her throat, and she clamped a hand over her mouth. Panic and fear washed over her and settled in her gut.

She had stabbed her own husband.

A sob shook her chest. “Oh, dear Lord! Please be with me.”

There was so much blood. Her stomach churned and her ears rang. Her head was weightless, and her vision tunneled into blackness. She slid against the handmade wooden cabinets to sit on the floor.

She should run to the phone shanty and call an ambulance, but she couldn’t move. There was no way she could run or even walk all the way to the shanty without passing out. She would have gone next door to her aunt and uncle’s house, but they were out of town.

As her vision tunneled, she wasn’t sure if she was possibly losing consciousness or dying from being choked.

Either way, she was free.

***

You can purchase [+ Undercover Amish+] here. I hope you enjoy it!


Freya: an Amish Christmas Short Story

Freya Wilson is running for her life from her abusive ex. While driving through Amish country, she hits an Amish man by accident with her car in a blizzard, instantly killing him. Panicked, she leaves him there in the road and drives away. Two Christmases later, her decision still haunts her, especially when she meets the Amish man's brother. Will she have the courage to tell him the truth? Or will she keep her dark secret in order to protect herself? *** “I LOVE these Amish books by Ashley Emma. They not only grab your interest and keep you reading, they give you a feel like you know a few Amish people and care about them. This is the most powerful step to understanding a culture different from your own. Thanks, Ashley, you have broadened my horizons and you made it fun on the way! There is also a homespun gentleness and honesty about the spiritual side of these differences. If everyone acted like this, Christianity would have a better world view and there would be less hatred in the world. There is nothing more we could ask for from a few books!” --Chris McKay Pierce, author of Customer Service can be Murder

  • ISBN: 9781370355969
  • Author: Ashley Emma
  • Published: 2016-11-22 17:05:09
  • Words: 6442
Freya: an Amish Christmas Short Story Freya: an Amish Christmas Short Story