Undercover Amish by Ashley Emma
She watched her house burn down with her family inside.
She killed her abusive husband in self-defense.
Detective Olivia Mast swore she’d never return to her former Amish community in Unity, Maine, where it all happened. She’d rather run through gunfire than go back there, but she has her orders.
The community refuses to seek justice after a murder, so Olivia must don her prayer kapp once more to investigate. She’s the only one in her unit able to blend in as one of the Amish and get information from them.
Because she’s going undercover, she has to deceive her community and family by letting them think she wants to rejoin the Amish and come home for good.
To top it all off, she must also covertly protect the man she dated as a teenager, Isaac Troyer, who somehow looks even better now than he did back then. But that’s beside the point. They aren’t the teenagers they used to be.
When Olivia returns to Unity, Isaac Troyer believes he’s getting a second chance at love.
Though a plain cabinet maker, he’s a target. And he has no idea Olivia is now an undercover detective carrying a 9mm under her skirts.
When Olivia realizes she needs Isaac help most of all because of his connections to the suspect, she must tell him the truth. Will Isaac be willing to break sacred Amish rules in order to help Olivia stop the murderer?
Undercover Amish was a finalist in Maine Romance Writers Strut Your Stuff Competition 2015 where it received 26 out of 27 points!
Targeted Age Group:: adult
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 2 – PG
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
My mom let me borrow some of her Amish novels and I became fascinated with the Amish. I called an Amish family and asked to stay with them for research, and they said yes!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I stayed with Amish families in Unity, Maine. I befriended them and based my characters on them.
“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?
This was not the life she had signed up for when she had made her vows to Jake Sullivan.
“Olivia? 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.
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 himself skillfully, with his mask of deceptive charm that had made her fall in love with him so quickly.
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?
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