An Amish Courtship on Ice Mountain

An Amish Courtship on Ice Mountain

by Kelly Long

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Overview

An Amish beginning…
 
At age twenty, Joel Umble, future Bishop of Ice Mountain, is strong, wise, and handsome. No wonder nineteen-year-old Martha Yoder has always noticed him. Still, she dares not trust that her dreams of him could become a reality. Where Joel is striking, she is plain. Where he is educated, she’s had no time for schooling. Caring for her frail grossmuder and aging parents has taken all the time she might have spent being courted by boys her own age. And then there is the matter of Judah Umble, Joel’s harsh older bruder, who’s cast his cold eye on pursuing her since she was sixteen.
 
The only kind of cold Martha is interested in is the exhilarating chill of bathing in the creek in winter. It is there that she escapes her cares—and where she just may find the answer to her future in a most unexpected way—and gain faith that together, she and Joel will have a very special place among the Amish of Ice Mountain…
 
“Delivers a sense of escape from today’s hustle and bustle into a gentler and simpler world.” –Publishers Weekly
 
“Long creates storylines that captivate her readers.” —RT Book Reviews
 
“Long’s writing style is smooth and engaging, her characters true to the period yet timeless in their hopes and flaws and personal battles.” –USAToday.com

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781420141252
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 11/28/2017
Series: Ice Mountain Series , #4
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 1,216,450
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Kelly Long is the author of the acclaimed Amish Patch of Heaven series and has been a finalist for the coveted Carol Award from the American Christian Fiction Writers. Her novel Lily's Wedding Quilt was a Goodreads Favorite Book of the Year in 2011. Born and raised in the mountains of Northern Pennsylvania, she’s been married for 28 years. Please visit her on Facebook: Fans of Kelly Long.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Ice Mountain March 10, 1958

Despite the frost in the moonlit air, nineteen-year-old Martha Yoder wanted a bath in the creek. She grew tired, every so often, of cramming herself into the tiny hip tub her family used all winter. She gathered towels and a clean nacht gown and slipped out of the cabin before anyone might notice she was gone. The moon cast a halo of light on the surface of the deep snow as she plowed her way to the small shed where tools were kept. She wanted an ax, in case part of the creek had frozen over a bit.

She whistled as she made her way along the moonlit path, the sound comforting in the still of the nacht — not that she needed any solace to be alone. Caring for her aged grossmuder made the winter days long in the cabin, and though there were her mamm and daed also, Martha was the most able-bodied and handy.

And then there was the problem of Judah ...

Tall, pompous Judah Umble had been pursuing her since she'd turned sixteen, but there was something about him that made her cold at times ... Not the clean cold of a winter's nacht, like now, she thought ... but rather a cold of the soul that she could not quite explain. She pushed away thoughts of Judah, not wanting to interrupt her mental peace, and finally reached the creek. Casting a quick, perceptive glance around, she dropped the axe and her armload of things and began to strip down to her bare skin.

The cold exhilarated, and she gave a little squeal of delight as she ran and plunged, toes first, into the swirling water. She stood for a moment, her unbound hair caught in the current, and gloried in simply being alive ...

*
Despite the hard work he did on a daily basis, it was not an unusual occurrence that twenty-year-old Joel Umble couldn't sleep. The hour was nigh on ten o'clock, he knew, but the moonlight that slid through the single window of his and Judah's room beckoned him somehow. He knew his bruder would scorn him for such ideas as the call of the moon, but for once, he didn't seem to care. He slid naked from his narrow bed and went to the window, the sill just bumping his lean hip. He pressed his forehead against the cold glass and felt his restlessness grow, especially when Judah began to snore.

A brisk walk in the snow, he thought, turning to quickly get into his clothes with as little noise as possible. He'd become adept over the years at slipping out of the haus, seeking peace and time alone, away from Judah's cruelty and his mamm's anxious thoughts. And tonight was no exception. He crossed the kitchen, stopped to stroke his mother's cat, Puddles, and then went out into the nacht.

It was times like this that he missed his fater most of all —the great, tall man who'd slung him over a broad shoulder and galloped along like the fastest horse — they'd often shared a walk in the woods together. His daed had taught him the ways of nature and the wild, letting Joel see the Living Gott in every tree, leaf, and creature. It had been a blessing to have such a man in his life, even if it had only been for a short time.

He walked easily now through the deep snow, hands fisted and stuffed in the pockets of his heavy black coat. He pulled his dark hat down closer as the wind picked up, then nearly stopped still when the sound of a woman's voice came to him, high, melodic, carried by the nacht air from the nearby creek like a siren's song.

He followed the sound, finding himself strangely drawn toward it, then came to an abrupt stop at the edge of the creek bank when he saw the naked back of a girl. He retreated partially behind a nearby pine tree, but she soon stopped singing, as if aware somehow of his presence.

She turned in the water and he stared, transfixed from his half-hidden position — at twenty years old, he'd never seen a woman's body before.

"Who's there?"

He caught his breath when he recognized Martha Yoder ... He realized that he'd been too busy looking at her body to notice her face, but now he turned and pressed his back hard against the tree.

"No one," he muttered, answering her before he could help himself.

"I'm getting out. Don't tell me it's not you, Judah Umble! How dare you spy on me like this ..."

Judah? Ach, praise Gott she thinks it's my bruder ... Though the image of her white skin was burned into his brain. He felt hesitantly for the ground beneath his boots and had started to move away when he tripped and sprawled face forward in the snow ...

*
Martha was furious. Not only did the man have the nerve to seek her out in broad daylight, now he was stalking her by the light of the moon. She grabbed up her pile of clothing and hastily put it on, careless of the pin fastenings that pricked her skin here and there, and marched over to where he was moving, scrambling to get to his feet.

"Gut for you — falling on your face, Judah," she pronounced to the tall frame of the man. His hat had come off, and his black hair seemed more tousled than usual in the half light. She hugged her belongings to her and waited for him to rise. He seemed to be taking a long time about it ...

"Are you hurt?" she finally snapped in exasperation.

"Nee," he whispered. "Just geh."

She tossed her head. "Judah Umble, I can't leave you lying here in the snow. You'll freeze to death."

"And you won't?"

"Nee, I won't. I've got the blood for it. Now, get up."

She sighed and reached a single arm down to tug fretfully at his coat sleeve, and then lost her balance, her toes colder than she cared to admit. She gave a small cry as she pitched forward on her hands and knees in the snow, and she saw his head turn out of the corner of her eye.

Then she gasped, amazed and shamed. Her bottom lip began to quiver. "Joel?"

CHAPTER 2

Martha stared into his dark blue eyes, knowing the color by heart, even in the play of shadows and moonlight. Joel Umble was all she ever dreamed of, but he was as far away as a star — much too intelligent for her, and twice as beautiful, in her mind.

The hot, heavy fall of the inside of his wool coat hit her back, shaking her from her reverie. "What —?" she gasped, breaking off in a squeak as he swung her up into his arms, nestling her against the breadth of his chest.

"I'll have you home as quickly as I can," he said, his husky voice soothing. "Relax against me. It's all right."

Martha brushed away the hot tears that threatened to freeze on her cheeks. It was one thing to know that he was speaking to her as he might a hurt child or an injured creature, but quite another to think that he'd seen her nakedness. If Judah had seen her, it wouldn't have mattered so much — his eyes stripped her bare every time he looked at her. But Joel ... Joel is so gut and kind and pure ...

"It's not all right," she struggled to say as more tears tightened her throat. "You — you saw me."

"It was dark. Calm down."

He maneuvered her in his strong arms until she had no choice but to lean her head against his chest. She heard the thud of his heart and smelled the rich male scent of his throat where his shirt gave way a bit. She was as close to him as she could ever hope to be, and she was utterly miserable.

After a few moments of feeling the rhythm of his long strides, though, she began to surrender to the warmth of his coat all around her. He'd even settled his strong, dimpled chin on top of her head, surrounding her with more heat. She began to feel a permeating lassitude and closed her eyes, as if in a dream.

"No sleeping," he said in clear instruction as he dipped his head near her ear.

"I'm — not," she protested, slurring her words with a secret smile; she fancied that she sounded like creek water moving over smooth stones.

"Martha ..."

"Hmmm?"

She tilted her head back against his shoulder and lifted her chin to the moonlight. Joel Umble is carrying me home ... She felt him sigh, a heavy exhalation and play of his chest: first out, then in. She tried to lift her lashes with lazy intent, to look up at him, but she couldn't quite garner the energy. She half smiled at the effort and arched her back. She thought she heard what sounded like a groan reverberate through him, and then she was blinkingly, fiercely awake as his mouth came down on hers in a firm caress. She'd never been kissed before and had no idea how to respond, but the intimate touch was over so quickly that she thought maybe she'd imagined it.

She stared up at the firm line of his jaw. "Did — did you kiss me?"

She felt him shrug, then nestle her closer.

"I've never kissed before," he confessed.

Joel Umble has never kissed before, when he has a mouth that seems made for such things ... She couldn't believe it.

He went on a few more steps, then cleared his throat. "Was it — right?"

"I've never kissed before either," she whispered.

She watched him swallow hard and then he nodded. "We're here."

*
Joel knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that if Bishop Loftus had found out about his and Martha's ... meeting, he'd be seeking his wedding bed that nacht instead of his own narrow mattress. Fortunately (especially for Martha's sake), he'd been able to make it back to his room without notice. He undressed and slipped into bed, then turned to face the wall. Tentatively, he touched his lips in the darkness, still feeling the tingle from Martha's sweet mouth. He furrowed his brow in confusion.

What was this thing called kissing? How did it kumme about? What was Adam's first kiss to Eve like? Probably better than I managed ...

As he recalled the honeyed sweetness of Martha's mouth, he ran a hand down his body beneath the warmth of the quilt and found himself aroused. He closed his eyes against the sensation and rolled over, trying not to think of Martha Yoder. But the images that appeared with luminous intensity in his mind would not be denied — hair like summer wheat shimmering in the moonlight; wide, questing brown eyes; full, pouty lips that seemed to beg to be touched with his tongue ... His mouth watered, and he shifted restlessly.

He understood enough about desire to know it to be Gott-given, not some strange sin like Judah purported it to be. But he also knew that he'd seen Martha Yoder that nacht as only a husband should — if a husband ever would take the time to discover a wife in such a wondering way ... From what he'd gathered with talk among the married men his age, bedding a wife seemed more like a grope and a gamble, all fervor and no finesse. Not that he understood any better, of course ...

Yet after what had happened tonight — seeing her naked body, then kissing her with a quick passion he didn't know he possessed, he realized there was only one thing to do. The honorable thing. He had to ask Martha to court with him. The thought brought a smile to his lips and increased his arousal.

Not that she'd seemed to expect any such action as courting on his part. He smothered a moan, pressing harder into the mattress, when he remembered setting her down on the porch of her family's cabin. She'd stepped from his arms and coat, when he would have gladly let her take it, but then she'd stood almost proudly in the chill wind, her spine straight and her shoulders back. "Thank you for carrying me home, Joel Umble." She'd lifted her chin and tossed her head like a wild filly, and he'd felt a rush of respect and awe for the girl as he'd helplessly traced the curved lines of her body beneath her clothing ... Then she'd slipped inside and was gone.

He'd stood holding his coat in the chill, moonlight air, bereft but for the deep desire stirring within him. He'd shrugged into the heavy black wool, still warm from her body, and he'd started for home.

Now he drew in a deep breath and forced himself to close his eyes, only to jump when Judah kicked the side of his bed and he woke to realize that it was gray dawn.

*
"Well, why are ya up so early, girlie?" Martha's grossmuder, Esther Yoder, propped herself up on a stick-thin elbow on her bed near the woodstove and muttered the question in her ninety-year-old voice.

Because Joel Umble carried me home last nacht and I haven't been able to think about anything else but him, and his scent, and his mouth, and ...

"I couldn't sleep much," she murmured, grabbing the egg basket in preparation to go out to the small barn before starting breakfast.

"Here now, at least put on yer wrap. Ye'll freeze." Her grandmother's order was tempered by fondness, and Martha dragged the dark blue shawl off the peg by the door with reluctance. There were so many mended holes in the garment that it provided little warmth, but she loved her grandmother and knew the auld woman's eyesight could not discern the relative uselessness of the fabric.

"I'll be right back," Martha said softly, not wanting to wake her aged and ill parents in the other room.

She stepped out onto the snow-dusted porch and ruthlessly thrust aside the image of Joel's handsome face as she marched down the two rickety steps. "He's not for the likes of you, my girl," she muttered aloud, admonishing herself. Nee, Joel Umble deserves someone like the local healer, May Miller, perhaps. May is a match for him, if not in beauty, then certainly in brains, while I am simply a dumm —

"Hello, Martha."

She jumped as Judah Umble stepped out from behind the barn door right as she opened it.

"Judah! You scared me to death. I told you not to kumme around here anymore." She moved to brush past him, but he caught her arm in a tight grasp.

She looked up into his narrow brown eyes, which contained not a fraction of the warmth she saw in the magnetic blue of his bruder's. She felt a flash of uncertainty. For the first time, she regretted letting Joel carry her home, even though it had brought a moment of excitement to her otherwise dreary life. Had she made a terrible mistake? Is it possible that Joel told Judah about the previous nacht and now Judah thinks he might further push his intentions toward me?

"Let me go," she demanded, trying to wrench her arm away, but he held her fast, and she knew she'd later find bruises on her skin.

"Nee, my dear." He shook her a bit, and she had the urge to knock him over the head with the egg basket, but she held back, wanting to see if her reputation on the mountain, what little of it there was, would be permanently ruined.

"What do you want?" she asked finally.

"I dreamed of you last nacht, as if you didn't already know," he sneered.

"What do you mean?"

"I know you work spells somehow by bathing in the rushing creek. You have nee shame, Martha Yoder. For anyone can see your nakedness."

Martha felt her heart sink. So Joel did tell his bruder ... The handsome man isn't what I thought he was ...

Judah shook her again, and this time her teeth rattled. "I saw your nakedness just a week ago. You were singing to the spirits as the water brewed around your nude body."

The nonsense about her singing to the spirits went over her head as she realized Judah had seen her — and he hadn't mentioned the previous nacht. "You saw me bathing — last week?" she whispered.

"That's what I said, Martha," he growled.

She was used to his inappropriate glances, but now her hands instinctively tried to cover her body with the basket, even though she was fully clothed.

He gritted his teeth. "You've hexed me, girl. You continue to entice me to the creek to burn yourself into my mind. And I've known you long enough now to understand that you won't lift the curse, will you?" For a brief moment a plea echoed in his tone.

"You're narrish," she said evenly.

She was unprepared for the slap he sent cracking across her cheek. She would have fallen if he hadn't held her upright. Her eyes welled with tears against her will. She wanted to scream for help, but her frail family was no match for Judah's strength.

"If you think I'm a hex, you'd better let me go," she warned.

But clearly his superstitions didn't extend to the rational, and he merely laughed out loud. He leaned down into her face and bit out each word. "One day, I will enjoy beating the evil from your snow-white skin."

This time she did swing the egg basket, but he merely slapped her again, almost as if doing a necessary duty. She tasted blood and saw the strange heat in his gaze as he licked his bottom lip. Why, the man is aroused by striking me! Her stomach turned and she tried, horrified, to step away, but his grip tightened.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "An Amish Courtship ON ICE MOUNTAIN"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Kelly Long.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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.

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An Amish Courtship on Ice Mountain 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started reading amish romance books for a reason they left out sexual content"" I was sorry I bought this book!
ceciliadlynn More than 1 year ago
Book four in Kelly Long’s Ice Mountain series, starts with Martha Yoder, a nineteen-year-old woman caring for her parents and grandmother. Martha has caught the eye of brothers, Joel and Judah. Where Joel is kind and sensitive, Judah is hard and demanding. Judah has been trying to get a grip on Martha but she only has eyes for Joel. With the local Bishop forbidding the community from helping Martha as he sees poverty as a punishment for some sin and believes they must suffer because of whatever sin has been committed. He has tried to convince the community that is a hex or witch. Judah is being taught by the Bishop to follow all his ways and is determined to "save" Martha. I was rooting for Martha to overcome her persecution and have the chance to live a happy life with Joel. I received an advance reader copy of this book from netgalley in return for my honest opinion of the book.
ceciliadlynn More than 1 year ago
Book four in Kelly Long’s Ice Mountain series, starts with Martha Yoder, a nineteen-year-old woman caring for her parents and grandmother. Martha has caught the eye of brothers, Joel and Judah. Where Joel is kind and sensitive, Judah is hard and demanding. Judah has been trying to get a grip on Martha but she only has eyes for Joel. With the local Bishop forbidding the community from helping Martha as he sees poverty as a punishment for some sin and believes they must suffer because of whatever sin has been committed. He has tried to convince the community that is a hex or witch. Judah is being taught by the Bishop to follow all his ways and is determined to "save" Martha. I was rooting for Martha to overcome her persecution and have the chance to live a happy life with Joel. I received an advance reader copy of this book from netgalley in return for my honest opinion of the book.
CK119 More than 1 year ago
Joel and Judah are brothers but very different from each other. Joel is very sensitive t the needs of others and kindly; Judah is just the opposite. Martha Yoder has gotten the attention of both brothers. She has always had a crush on Joel but will Judah's behavior prevent her from ever telling him? Martha is caring for her very impoverished family which consists of her parents and grandmother in addition to herself. The local Bishop has forbid the community from helping them too much as he sees poverty as a punishment for some sin and believes they must suffer because of whatever sin has been committed. Martha is thought to be a hex or witch. Judah is being taught by the Bishop to follow all his ways and is determined to "save" Martha. What drastic measures will he take to exorcise the evil from her? I found this book difficult to read at because of the cruelty of some of the characters. I was rooting for Martha to overcome her persecution and have the chance to live a happy life and I wanted Judah and the Bishop to be gone from the community. I know a Bishop has great power but it seemed unrealistic to me that no one would stand up to this one; don't wan to give anything away. I did finish the book and many loose ends are wrapped up in the ending. I give it four stars out of five as it was kind of a downer for a lot of the book with the evil and violence that occur.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
An Amish Courtship on Ice Mountain by Kelly Long is the fourth book in The Amish of Ice Mountain series. It is 1958 in Ice Mountain, Pennsylvania and Joel Umble is twenty years old. Joel lives with his anxiety ridden mother and his cruel older brother, Judah. Late one night, Joel is unable to sleep and goes to the creek. He stumbles upon Martha Yoder bathing. Joel is instantly attracted to her and wants to court the young woman. Martha does not feel worthy of Joel’s attentions. She comes from a poor family, uneducated and takes care of her grandmother and parents. Martha also has the added problem of Judah and his unwanted attentions. Judah has made it clear that he wants Martha and what he intends to do to her. Martha is unprepared for Joel’s determination (and love) or Judah’s cruelty. Will there be a happily ever after for Joel and Martha? It was lovely to get Joel Umble’s story in An Amish Courtship on Ice Mountain. The story is nicely written and has a good pace which made for an easy to read story. I was unprepared for the violence in this book (it was realistic and cruel). It is uncharacteristic for an Amish novel. The romance is simple, straightforward and predictable. It is gratifying to find out what and who shaped Joel Umble into the man he became (the spiritual leader of their community). He does come across as a goody two-shoes though (honorable, decent, kind, hardworking, does the right thing). Joel is good and kind in the face of evil and adversity. I liked the addition of Sebastian to the story and how he affected Joel’s life. Fans of the Ice Mountain series will delight in reading An Amish Courtship on Ice Mountain. There is a preview of An Amish Match on Ice Mountain at the end of book which is Stephen Lambert’s story (Joel’s best friend).
Ellen-oceanside More than 1 year ago
AN AMISH COURTSHIP ON ICE MOUNTAIN. by Kelly Long. book 4 Martha having the care of her grandmother and being inside, especially in the winter. Brings out the desperate need to be outside, and bathing in the icey river. It brings an exhilaring freedom to her body and soul. Thought not to be watched by Judah, the older brother of Joey, who she has an interest in. There is a darkness with Judah, that makes her uneasy. As with Joey has a special way, with people. This story bring out what these three people are like, will it be love and happiness..A different type of story, then what I have read by Kelly, readers will enjoy. Given ARC by Net Galley for my voluntary review and my honest opinion.