Friday, June 29, 2012


 by Marta Perry
HQN Books, June, 2012

Coming home may be more dangerous than she thinks…

Libby Morgan never wanted to return to Lancaster County. She'd made her own life in the city as a news photographer, leaving the slow pace of Amish country behind. She'd left love behind, too, when she fled the old-fashioned ways of Adam Byler. But when the Amish friend of her childhood asks, Libby knows she had no choice. What she doesn't know is that something sinister awaits her…

For Adam Byler, the traditional ways convey safety and order. As police chief of Springville, the former marine strives to keep the peace between the Amish and their modern "Englischer" neighbors—and he will not allow Libby's beauty to distract him from his duties. But when an innocent woman is attacked, they'll confront a danger more threatening than their growing passion.

Available now at bookstores everywhere. To receive a signed bookmark and a brochure of Pennsylvania Dutch recipes, send your mailing address to Marta at

Do not reproduce without permission from the author.

By Marta Perry


Amish buggies weren't built for speed. If the men were following her, she couldn't outrun them.

Esther Zook shivered in the December cold, turning her head to peer behind her, her view cut off by the brim of her bonnet.

Nothing. The township road lay dark and empty behind the dark as every farmhouse she'd passed, surrounded by their blankets of snow. Country people went to bed early in the winter, especially the Amish, without electric lights and televisions to keep them awake.

Libby Morgan would be awake, though. If she could get to Libby, everything would be all right. Libby would know what to do.

If only she'd told Libby more in her letters...but Esther hadn't known, then, just how frightening this was.

The Amish didn't go to the law. They settled matters among themselves. But the Amish of Spring Township had never dealt with a problem like this before.

Esther had shrunk from putting her suspicions down in black and white, thinking that when Libby returned it would be time enough to seek her advice. But now suspicion had turned to certainty, and she feared she had delayed too long. If they were following her—

Even as she thought it, she heard the roar of an engine behind her. Panic sent her heart racing, she tried to think, tried to pray, but it was too late—too late. The roar turned to a scream, to s crash which deafened her, to total blackness.

Chapter One

It was nice to see someone else's love life turning out well, especially when her own was such a train wreck, Libby Morgan decided. Now that her big brother Trey was married, Mom could turn her obvious desire for grandchildren to Trey and Jessica and stop asking her only daughter if she'd met anyone special yet.

Libby put down the bridesmaid's bouquet she'd been clutching for what seemed like hours and picked up her camera instead. She'd discovered long ago that the camera could be useful camouflage. It would help her get through the rest of the wedding reception without, she hoped, too much conversation with people who'd known her from childhood and seemed compelled to try and find out how her life was going.

Then, once the flurry of wedding-related activities were over, she'd be free to dig into the other reason she'd come home to Spring Township, deep in Pennsylvania's Amish country.

Something is terribly wrong. Esther's last letter had sounded almost frightened, and Esther Zook, teacher at the local Amish one-room school, didn't frighten easily. You know the Amish don't go to the law, but I fear this is one time when we should. I must talk to you as soon as you get home. You know the Englisch world. You'll be able to tell me if I'm right about this.

Libby snapped off a few shots, more to keep the camera in front of her face than anything else. She hadn't reached Pennsylvania from San Francisco as early as she'd intended, partly because of the weather, but mainly because of the upset at the newspaper that had led to a final showdown with her in more ways than one.

Well, maybe she could set up in business as a wedding photographer. She framed Trey and Jessica in the pine-wreathed archway of the Springville Inn's ballroom, seeming oblivious of everything but each other, and snapped several quick shots.

"No doubt about how those two feel."

That particular deep male voice, coming from close behind her, made her hands jerk so that she undoubtedly got a great picture of the parquet floor. She turned, arranging a smile on her face. She'd had plenty of practice since fate, in the form of the bride, had paired her with Police Chief Adam Byler for the wedding.

"There isn't, is there? This is one relationship that's destined to last."

As opposed to ours, which lasted for about a minute and a half. That being the case, why did she persist in comparing every man she met to Adam Byler?

Adam's slate blue eyes didn't show any sign he caught an undercurrent in her words. But then, he wouldn't. Strong-features, brown hair in a military cut, equally military posture--stoic didn't begin to describe Adam. Whatever he felt wouldn't be easily read on his face.

"I was beginning to think Trey would never take the plunge, especially after your dad's death, when he had to take over the company." Adam flicked an assessing glance at her face, as if wondering whether she could take a casual reference to the loss of her father, over a year and a half ago now.

She tried for a stoic expression of her own. "Trey's had his hands full, I know." She raised an eyebrow, casually, she hoped. "Or were you implying that I should have come home to take on some of the burden?"

Adam lifted his hands in quick denial. "Never thought of it. Trey probably wouldn't have let you, anyway. He was born for the job."

Trey, the oldest, had been groomed from birth to take over the extensive holdings that made up the Morgan family company. Link, her twin brother, the best man today, hadn't had that pressure on him, but since an injury cut short his military career, he'd come home to recuperate, fallen in love, and stayed to take over the construction arm of the family business.

And then there was Libby, always considered the baby, even though Link had been born only twenty minutes before her. She'd been Daddy's princess. Too bad that role hadn't prepared her very well for the outside world. For an instant a fierce longing for her father's warm, reassuring presence swept through her.

Adam shifted his weight slightly, looking as if he'd rather be wearing his gray uniform on his six feet of solid muscle than the rented tuxedo. Or maybe she had actually succeeded in making him uncomfortable.

"I guess I'd better get back to my groomsman duties." A smile disturbed the gravity of his face. "Your mother gave strict orders. I even have a detailed list."

"That's Mom, all right. She might play the feather-brain at times, but she's the most organized person I know."

Funny, that only her mother could bring that softness to Adam's expression. Or maybe not so funny. Geneva Morgan had looked at a ragged eight-year-old Adam and seen a person worth cultivating instead of the son of the town drunk. Adam wasn't the sort to forget that.

Libby watched Adam walk across the room through the shielding lens of the camera, lingering a bit on those broad shoulders. He was as solid now as he'd been back in high school.

The family had gone to every Spring Township High football game to cheer on Trey, the quarterback. Nobody had known that Libby's eyes were on his best friend, the lineman who'd been that same six feet of solid muscle even then. A crush, she told herself now. It had been nothing but a crush, turned humiliating when she'd thrown herself at him.

In an odd way, when the rumors started going around that he'd gotten Sally Dailey pregnant, she'd felt better about his rejection of her. If that was the kind of girl he wanted, she was done with him.

Only she hadn't been, not really.

No comments: