The Betrayed Fiancée: The Amish Millionaire Part 3

The Betrayed Fiancée: The Amish Millionaire Part 3

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by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter
     
 

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Join New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter along with Jean Brunstetter in Holmes County for a dramatic new 6-part serial novel.

In Part 3, The Betrayed Fiancée, Kristi Palmer thought Joel Byler was the man she would marry, until she suddenly learns he has been hiding a lot from her. He never told her about growing up

Overview


Join New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter along with Jean Brunstetter in Holmes County for a dramatic new 6-part serial novel.

In Part 3, The Betrayed Fiancée, Kristi Palmer thought Joel Byler was the man she would marry, until she suddenly learns he has been hiding a lot from her. He never told her about growing up Amish, but the problem is that he rebelled from all that was good in his upbringing and put his selfish desires first. Now he has stolen money from their joint account, and she is done.

The Amish Millionaire -- A 6-Part Serial Novel
#1: The English Son
#2: The Stubborn Father
#3: The Betrayed Fiancee
#4: The Missing Will
#5: The Divided Family
#6: The Selfless Act

Editorial Reviews

RT Book Reviews - Leslie McKee

The importance of honesty and communication in all relationships is clearly demonstrated in the latest installment of this inviting series. While it is a quick read, the pace is steady and holds the reader's interest. The characters are well-rounded with realistic struggles.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781634092050
Publisher:
Barbour Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/01/2016
Series:
Amish Millionaire Series , #3
Pages:
128
Sales rank:
31,328
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Betrayed Fiancée


By Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter

Barbour Publishing, Inc.

Copyright © 2016 Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63409-846-5


CHAPTER 1

Akron, Ohio


Thunder and lightning streaked across the sky as Joel waited for Kristi to let him in. If not for the jacket he'd thought to put on before leaving home, he'd be drenched from this deluge of rain.

"Quick, come inside before you get any wetter," Kristi said as she opened the door. "Let me get a towel so you can dry off."

Joel handed her his jacket and waited until she returned. "Thanks." He dried his face, blotted his hair, and ran the towel over the front of his legs. Before they walked into the living room, he kicked off his wet shoes.

"You look tired. Did you have a busy day?"

He reached up to rub the back of his neck and groaned. "Busy, but unproductive."

She tipped her auburn head to one side, looking at him with curious blue eyes. "What do you mean?"

"Let me get off my feet, and I'll tell you about it."

"No problem. Supper is ready, but it can wait a few minutes." Kristi gestured to the couch. "Let's sit so we can talk."

Joel took a couple of shuffled steps toward the couch but turned back to her when his stomach growled. "Are you sure? I don't want to spoil the meal you cooked."

She shook her head. "It's fine, Joel. The Crock-Pot's on low so the food will stay warm."

Joel grabbed the arm of the sofa and took a seat, reaching over his shoulders to place a throw pillow behind his head. When Kristi sat beside him, he took her hand, wrapping his fingers around hers. After a day like he'd had, it felt good to sit beside the woman he loved and relax for a bit.

"So tell me about your busy day," she prompted. "Why was it unproductive?"

Joel sighed as he closed his eyes and leaned against the pillow. Should he tell her what all had gone on today? What would be the point? It was his mess, not hers. "Never mind, Kristi. On second thought, I'd rather not to talk about my day right now. I'd like to enjoy the evening with you." He turned his head and gave her a gentle kiss. "Truthfully, I am kind of hungry, so why don't we eat?"

Hands dropping to her sides, she rose from the couch. "The table's been set, and it'll only take me a couple of minutes to bring out the food."

"Is there anything I can do to help?" Joel offered.

"No, stay where you are and relax. I'll call you when the food's on the table."

Joel didn't argue. He was beat and felt hollow. He'd bid on four different jobs today, with no guarantee he'd get any of them. He'd also finished up a small job, but the people asked him to bill them, saying they didn't have the money right now. He clenched his fists. They should have told me they couldn't pay right away before I started the job. I was countin' on the money. At least he'd finished working before the storms broke loose. One nasty front after another had gone through the state, but on the way here, the station on his car radio announced the storms would be ending soon.

Joel rubbed his finger across the top of the end table next to the couch, noticing there wasn't a speck of dust. Kristi was an immaculate housekeeper. Her condo was always clean and orderly. His fiancée was warm and caring, and when she looked deeply into his eyes, he could feel her love. To Joel, Kristi was perfect in every way and would be the ideal wife — if the day ever came they could be married. If things didn't shape up with his finances soon, they may never be able to set a wedding date. No matter how many times Joel tried to think positive, his financial situation always jumped in the way. The only thing right in his life was Kristi, but their relationship could end if she learned every truth about him.

Joel's eyes grew heavy while he waited for Kristi. He released a warm yawn and stretched out on the sofa. If she didn't call him to eat soon, he might fall asleep.

"Everything's ready now."

Joel's eyes snapped open. "Okay." He stood slowly and followed Kristi into the dining room, taking a seat beside her.

She clasped his hand tenderly and smiled. "Would you like to pray this time, Joel?"

"Uh ..." His throat constricted as Kristi watched him intently. "Why don't you do it? I like hearing you pray."

Kristi's lips pressed tightly together. "You never pray, Joel. Is there a reason?"

Joel felt trapped — like a mouse getting caught in a trap with nowhere to run — as he struggled to get his breath. He moistened his lips. "I pray silently. It's the way I've always prayed." It was halfway true. Joel's family prayed silently, as most Amish did, but Joel hadn't lifted many prayers — silent or otherwise — since he left home.

I don't have time to waste on prayer, he thought. Even if I did, what good has it done in the past? Joel had talked to God plenty of times while he was growing up, but he'd mostly prayed because everyone else in his family expected him to. He remembered when his mother had gathered him and his siblings together and taught them the purpose of prayer. She used to say God answered and rewarded prayers offered in persistent faith — meaning prayer should be continued until something happened. But none of his prayers were answered, even when he was persistent.

He wasn't about to share his thoughts with Kristi, however. Kristi's religion was important to her, like it had been to Joel's mother. Joel was sure Kristi would break things off with him if she knew where he stood spiritually. Oh, he would keep going to church with her on Sundays, but Joel didn't think he needed religion to get what he wanted in life.

"Okay, if you'd rather, I'll pray." Kristi bowed her head, and Joel did the same. He felt a twinge of guilt when she prayed for him, asking God to bless his life and thanking Him for this time they had together. The love of my life prays for me; yet my life is only getting worse, it seems.

When Kristi finished praying, she released Joel's hand and passed him the platter of meat. "It should be nice and tender, since it's been slow-cooking all day while I was at work. Even if the storm had knocked out the power, dinner would still have been good and hot."

"It's raining a little yet, but at least the worst of the storm has passed." Joel looked toward the window before pointing to the center of the table. "Are the candles because you thought the lights might go out?"

"Partly. I also like eating by candlelight. Don't you?"

"It is sort of relaxing," he agreed.

"To me, it's romantic." Kristi offered him a playful smile.

Joel noticed how Kristi's blue eyes sparkled as he cut a piece of beef and took a bite. "It's good, Kristi. My compliments to the chef."

She handed him the bowl of carrots and potatoes. "Why, thank you, sir. Now try some of these."

Joel spooned some onto his plate and passed it back to her. Kristi was a good cook, and he was glad she'd invited him for supper this evening.

"What did you think of the information I gave you on Sunday?" Kristi asked.

"What information?" Joel reached for his glass of water and took a drink.

"The brochures I got at the marriage seminar on Saturday." Kristi forked a piece of carrot. "Remember, you were going to look them over so we could talk about it tonight."

"Oh, yeah." Joel stared at his plate. "Sorry, Kristi, but I was too tired Sunday evening, and Monday I worked late and fell into bed a few minutes after I got home."

"So you haven't looked at any of the information?"

"No."

Her shoulders drooped. "I was hoping we could talk about it now."

"We can. You can tell me whatever you learned."

Kristi blotted her lips with a napkin. "Oh, we learned a lot. Let's see. ... Where do I begin?"

"Guess you can start at the beginning. What was one thing you learned?"

"The speaker pointed out how necessary it is for married couples to have good communication."

"Makes sense to me."

"He also stressed the importance of honesty and trust."

Joel nearly choked on the piece of potato he'd put in his mouth. He and Kristi weren't married yet, but he'd already been dishonest with her. First in not telling her about his family. Second, he'd bought a classic car and kept it hidden in his shop. And last, he'd taken money from their joint savings account without her knowledge. Joel felt like a heel, but if Kristi knew what he'd done, she'd probably break up with him. The best thing he could do was get the money back in the savings account as soon as possible.

His jaw tightened. I could have taken care of the problem if my dad would've loaned me some money.

"Joel, have you been listening to me?" Kristi nudged his arm.

"Uh, sorry. Guess I was zoning out. What was it you were saying?"

"I was telling you how the speaker explained about the importance of a couple spending quality time together."

"You mean like we're doing now?"

"Yes, but I'm not sure you're with me. You seem preoccupied tonight."

Joel blew out his breath. "I have a lot on my mind. But you're right. I should be paying attention to what you're saying. Go ahead, Kristi."

As they continued to eat, she shared with Joel more of what she'd learned at the marriage seminar. When they were done, Joel helped Kristi clear the table and do the dishes, thinking he might redeem himself.

When the dishes were done, they returned to the living room to visit and watch TV until they felt ready for dessert.

They had no more than gotten comfortable on the couch when Joel's cell phone rang. Pulling it from his pocket and looking at the caller ID, he realized it was his sister Elsie. Joel had no desire to be interrupted, and he certainly didn't want Kristi knowing who the call was from, so he let it go to voice mail.

Later, when Kristi went to the kitchen to get their dessert, Joel hurriedly accessed his voice mail, to listen to his sister's message.

"Joel, it's Elsie." Her voice sounded shaky. "There's no easy way to tell you this, but ..." Elsie's silence made the hairs on the back of Joel's neck rise. "Dad is dead."

He's dead. No, that can't be. I must've misheard her message.

Joel shuddered when he heard a sharp intake of breath before his sister continued. "Dad was up in his tree house, and he ..." Elsie's voice broke. "He got hit by lightning. Please call as soon as you can. We need to talk about the funeral."

Joel's arms went limp as he lowered the phone to the couch. Seconds seemed like hours while he slowly shook his head, trying to grasp his sister's words and let them sink in. He felt as if he'd been the one hit by a bolt of lightning. It didn't seem possible. Dad couldn't be dead. Joel's body felt numb. What was Dad doing in a tree house?

* * *

Kristi returned to the living room with two pieces of apple pie but stopped suddenly when she saw Joel sitting still, a vacant look in his eyes. Her stomach quivered as she rushed over to him. "What's wrong, Joel?" She set the serving tray on the coffee table and took a seat beside him. "You look upset."

He gave no response.

"Joel, you're scaring me." She touched his arm. "What is it?"

"Huh?" Joel blinked, as though coming out of a daze.

"Are you upset about something?"

Joel squeezed his eyes shut then opened them again. "My dad's gone," he mumbled. "He — he passed away after being struck by lightning." He picked up his cell phone. "My sister left a message."

Kristi covered her mouth to stifle a gasp. "Oh, Joel, I am so sorry."

"I'll have to go to the funeral."

"Of course. I'll go with you."

Joel shook his head. "No, you don't need to go. You didn't even know my dad, and —"

"It's because you never wanted me to. I've asked many times to meet your family, but you've always said no."

Joel shrugged his shoulders. "I didn't see any reason for you to meet them. Like I told you before, they're different. I don't think you'd be comfortable around them."

Before Kristi could respond, Joel stood. "I have to go now. I'm tired, and I need to call my sister back and let her know I'll be there for Dad's funeral. In fact, I should go the day before, for the viewing."

"Okay, but I'm going with you to the funeral, Joel."

He shook his head more vigorously. "I told you, it's not necessary."

She stood, looking up at him with determination. "It is to me. If I'm going to become your wife someday, then it's time for me to meet your family and pay my respects."

He continued to shake his head.

"I don't understand why you're pushing me away and why you would object to me going to your father's funeral. Are you ashamed of me?" She crossed her arms.

"No, of course not."

"Maybe we shouldn't get married, if you don't want your family to meet me."

Joel pulled her into his arms. "I'm sorry, Kristi. If it means that much, you can go." He stroked the top of her head.

Joel's hugs were always so affectionate. Although they'd had their share of disagreements, every time he held her in his arms, Kristi knew he cared.

* * *

Millersburg, Ohio

When Elsie left the phone shack after making several calls, her legs trembled so badly she could hardly walk. While she hadn't spoken with anyone in their district directly, she'd left messages about Dad's untimely death. That had been difficult enough. She could hardly believe he was gone.

After walking through puddles she barely noticed, then trudging slowly up the stairs to her porch, Elsie entered the house and closed the door. Leaning against it for support, she heard the rain continuing to fall, even though the worst of the storm had finally passed.

"Did you call everyone on the list?" her husband asked when she joined him in the living room.

Elsie nodded slowly as she took a seat beside him on the couch.

"How about Joel? Did you get a hold of him?"

"He didn't answer his phone, but I left a message." Elsie leaned her head on John's shoulder for support. She felt drained and woeful as she slouched on the sofa. "Oh John, I can't believe Dad is gone. I can only imagine how horrible it was when Arlene and Larry stopped by his place earlier this evening and found Dad's body." She choked on the sob rising in her throat.

John pulled Elsie into his arms, gently rubbing her back. "I can't understand what he was doing up in his tree house during such a storm."

"Maybe it wasn't storming when he climbed up. It rained awhile before the dunner and wedderleech came upon us."

"Could be. I don't think your daed would have taken any chances if he'd known he was in danger of being struck by lightning."

Elsie sniffed. "I need to go upstairs and tell the kinner, but it won't be easy. All of our children loved their grossdaadi so much."

"I know," John agreed. "It won't be easy, but we can take comfort with the assurance of knowing he's at peace and in heaven with your mamm." He stood and held out his hand. "If you'd like, I'll go up with you."

Elsie nodded. Some folks who didn't know the Lord personally did not have such hope. She couldn't imagine how horrible it must be. If not for her faith and trust in God, she wouldn't be able to deal with any of life's tragedies.

CHAPTER 2

Listen, Kristi. There's something I need to tell you." Joel hesitated as they headed south on I-77 early Friday morning.

"What is it?" Kristi wondered why Joel was being so evasive. He hadn't told her exactly what town his dad lived in, only that he lived south of Akron.

"Umm ... It's about my family. Remember when I told you they were different?"

"I remember, but you never explained in what way they are different from me."

"The thing is...." Joel glanced over at her and then quickly looked back to the road. "They're Amish."

Kristi's eyes opened wide. "Your family is Amish?"

"Yes."

"So what you're saying is all this time I've been dating an Amish man without being aware of it?" She blinked rapidly as a rush of adrenaline tingled through her body.

"I used to be Amish, but not anymore." Joel gripped the steering wheel so tightly his knuckles turned white. "I left the Amish faith seven years ago."

"So you speak Pennsylvania Dutch and everything?"

"Jah. It means yes."

Kristi's thoughts were all over the place, wondering why Joel had kept this from her and what made him leave the Amish faith. She glanced at him, then looked at the dashboard, unable to form a response.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Betrayed Fiancée by Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter. Copyright © 2016 Wanda E. Brunstetter and Jean Brunstetter. Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author


New York Times, award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. Wanda’s ancestors were part of the Anabaptist faith, and her novels are based on personal research intended to accurately portray the Amish way of life. Her books are well-read and trusted by many Amish, who credit her for giving readers a deeper understanding of the people and their customs. When Wanda visits her Amish friends, she finds herself drawn to their peaceful lifestyle, sincerity, and close family ties.
Wanda enjoys photography, ventriloquism, gardening, bird-watching, beachcombing, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Richard, have been blessed with two grown children, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
To learn more about Wanda, visit her website at www.wandabrunstetter.com. 

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The Betrayed Fiancée: The Amish Millionaire Part 3 1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous 6 months ago
I generally LOVE reading Wanda Brunstetter's books. However, the repetitiveness in each one of these novelettes or essays is beyond belief. It seems with each of the books, the repetiveness increases. I was tempted to go back to count how many times she repeats the same stuff for each of the characters, then thought I can't waste my time doing that. Bad enough, I read the same (various characthers' thoughts generally), but come on! I never will get sucked into buying segments of a book, such as this again. This is pitiful. It was a good story line, that some how the authors could not really expand on into a book (or in this case each novelette).
Anonymous 10 months ago
Sara has had se.x with York, Jason, Ian, Dark, Scorpius, Carissa, Vincent, and Jasker