Known as “The Peanut Butter Brothers” for their Wisconsin family business, hardworking Andrew, Abraham, and Austin Petersheim have their plates too full for romance—until their little siblings decide to play matchmaker…
With their house full to bursting since Mammi and Dawdi moved back in, the Petersheim twins know the only way to get their bedroom back is to get their older brothers married off. But Abraham is so shy, he’ll barely speak to girls. Still, they’ve noticed how he looks at Emma Wengerd at church. Emma is so talkative, Abraham’s quiet ways wouldn’t matter a bit. Soon, the boys have hatched a scheme that sends Abraham right to Emma’s door—and her chicken coop…
Abraham doubts that pretty, popular Emma would be interested in him. Yet when he finds himself by her side, having to straighten out the twins’ mischief—more than once—he can’t help imagining a future with her. And the more time they spend together, the more Abraham realizes that perhaps no matter how many boys buzz around Emma, with faith, it’s only the right one that counts…
Praise for Jennifer Beckstrand and her Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series
“Full of kind, sincere characters struggling with the best ways to stay true to themselves and their beliefs.” –Publishers Weekly
“A heart-warming story of faith, hope, and second chances. The story will captivate readers who love the Amish culture and enjoy an endearing romance.”
–Amy Clipston, bestselling author of A Seat by the Hearth
An excerpt from Abraham
Mamm was out to get him. Alfie was sure of it. Why else would she put her two youngest sons to sleep in the cellar and make them walk to church in March? March! In Wisconsin! Alfie’s fingers were going to freeze off, even wearing these goofy mittens Mammi had knitted him.
Alfie blew into his hands to warm them, which only got him a mouthful of lint and little drops of spit on his mittens. If any nine-year-old had a harder life, Alfie would sure like to meet him. He’d give him a big hug and feel very sorry for him.
Alfie and his twin bruder, Benji, trailed behind the rest of the family on the way to church or gmay. Benji often fell behind because he liked to look for birds and he was never in any especial hurry to get to church. Alfie trailed because he was mad at the whole family and they needed to know it, especially Mamm. If she felt she had to turn back seven times to yell at Alfie to keep up, then it was just what she deserved.
Mamm and two of Alfie’s older bruderen, Abraham and Austin, walked ahead, not looking the least bit cold or caring that their little bruderen might fall behind and get lost. Dat had taken Mammi and
Dawdi in the buggy and left Alfie to walk, even though there was plenty of room for one more little boy in that buggy.
Alfie slid closer to Benji, who was purposefully shuffling his feet through what was left of the snow on the side of the road. “We need a plan.”
Benji made a face. “I thought we already had a plan.”
“We did. We need another one.”
“But we already got Mary and Andrew married,” Benji said.
Alfie smiled in spite of his lint-covered lips and his sour mood. “We totally rocked that plan.”
Benji puckered his lips so hard his nose wrinkled. “What does that mean?”
“Willie Glick’s Englisch friend Max says that all the time. It means we did a gute job.”
Benji nodded. “So why do we need another plan?”
Benji was a wonderful nice bruder, but sometimes he didn’t think things through very well. Alfie sighed loudly enough to scare the birds from the nearest tree. “Benji, we’re still sleeping in the cellar.”
Alfie slid his arm around Benji’s shoulders and encountered something sticky at the back of Benji’s head. He pulled his hand back. “Benji, what have you got in your hair?”
Benji touched the back of his head, and a grin grew on his face. “That’s where that went.” He winced and tugged and pulled a half-eaten sucker off the back of his head. He smiled triumphantly and held the sucker in the air. It had hair on one side of it. “I fell asleep eating this last night.” He stuck the hairy thing in his mouth. “It still has its flavor.”
Alfie growled. “Oh, sis yuscht, Benji. This is why we can’t sleep in the cellar anymore. We get stuff in our hair, and Mamm doesn’t even check.”
Benji picked a piece of hair out of his mouth. “We have to sleep in the cellar. When Dawdi had his stroke, Mammi and Dawdi moved into Mamm and Dat’s room, and Mamm and Dat moved into our room.” Benji frowned. “We need to take care of Dawdi. Mamm said so.”
“But there isn’t a room for us.”
“I like taking care of Dawdi. He calls me Benny because he can’t say his j ’s yet. He’s getting better, and he let us borrow his binoculars.”
Alfie sighed again, more quietly this time so Mamm wouldn’t suspect they were making plans. Mamm was the suspicious type, and sometimes she was very smart. “We thought that if we found a wife for Andrew, he’d move out and we’d get our room back.
But Andrew got married, and Mamm turned his room into a sewing room. She’d rather sew things than give her little buwe a decent place to sleep.”
Benji scrunched his lips to one side of his face. “It’s not a sewing room. It’s her I-want-to-be-alone room.”
“What do you mean?”
“When she wants a break from Mammi, she goes to her sewing room. I heard her tell Aunt Beth.”
This was why Alfie needed Benji to help with the plan. Benji noticed things no one else did. He listened to grown-up conversations when the grown-ups thought he was doing his chores. “But even though our plan with Andrew worked, we need another plan because the cellar is no place for two growing buwe.”
Benji grinned. “Our plan for Andrew was a real gute plan. I liked when we stole the cat and used the walkie-talkies.”
“We didn’t steal the cat. We borrowed it.”
A worried look crossed Benji’s face. “You got stuck in a tree, and they had to call a fire truck. I thought you were going to die.”
Alfie grunted. He’d almost been eaten by a cat and stung by a hundred bees in that tree. His heart still jumped when he remembered how the branch he had been sitting on creaked every time he took a breath. It was wonderful scary, but he’d never tell Benji or he might not go along with the plan. “I wasn’t going to die. I just couldn’t climb down because Bitsy’s cat hissed at me every time I tried.” Alfie glanced in Mamm’s direction, then pulled Benji to a stop. “We need a new plan. We’ve got to find wives for Abraham and Austin if we’re ever going to get out of that cellar.”
Benji shook his head. “I don’t want you to climb any trees in our new plan.”
“We have to climb trees. It’s the best way to spy on people.”
“But what if you fall?”
“I won’t climb so high next time.”
Benji took a deep breath, bit off the last bite of sucker from the stick, and looked up at the sky. “I guess that’s okay. But I get the top bunk if Mamm puts the beds on top of each other.”
Alfie thought about that for a second. Would he rather sleep in the bottom bunk upstairs or stay in the cellar with the spiders and worms? “Okay. Mamm took the bunk beds down when Abraham and Austin moved into our room. Maybe she’ll leave them that way as a sign of her gratitude for getting Abraham and Austin out of the house.”
Mamm didn’t even look back. “Alfie and Benji, move those feet before the grass grows under them.”
Mamm thought she was so smart, but there were still patches of snow everywhere. No grass would be growing today. Still, when Mamm used that tone of voice, it was best to go along with her. Either that or end up cleaning the grease from behind the stove with a toothbrush. Alfie and Benji both hurried their steps but not by much. They had important plans to make.
“So we have to find wives for Austin and Abraham?” Benji said.
Alfie kept his eyes on Mamm and nodded slowly. “And right quick. The spiders get really bad in the spring, and I’m not sleeping with a can of bug spray under my pillow again. It makes a lump.”
“Okay. We should find someone for Abraham first. After Andrew, he’s the oldest.”
Alfie smirked. “Austin would be easier. He already knows lots of girls, and he thinks he’s so handsome.”
“Nae,” Benji said. “Mamm says always do the hardest job first—to get it over with.”
Alfie rubbed the side of his face where he hoped his whiskers would be someday. “I’ve never seen Abraham talk to a girl except Mamm and our cousins and stuff. It’s like he doesn’t even dare.”
Benji looked worried. “He’s wonderful shy. If we brought a girl over, he might run away and hide. I don’t want him to be sad. He always gives me extra butter on my toast for breakfast.”
Benji was mostly a gute partner, but sometimes Alfie ran out of patience. “Benji, you can’t care about people’s feelings when you’re making a plan.”
Benji sucked on his empty stick. “Okay, but Abraham won’t get married if he runs and hides every time he sees a girl. We have to be sneaky.”
“We’re good at being sneaky. Just look at how we got Andrew and Mary together.” Alfie nodded
in Abraham’s direction. “Who should we pick for Abraham?”
“Hannah Yutzy’s real nice, and she knows how to make doughnuts.”
Alfie shook his head. “Frieda Miller is tall. Abraham needs someone tall.”
Benji drew his brows together. “But she’s so old.”
“So she’ll be in a big hurry to get married if she doesn’t want to be an old maid. She’d probably settle for Abraham.”
“Settle? What does that mean?”
“She’s given up waiting for a better offer.” Alfie sighed. Sometimes Benji was so thick.
Benji slowed his pace. “That’s not true. Abraham would be a gute husband. He’s tall and he plays basketball and he gives us piggyback rides. And sometimes he tells Mamm not to be mad at us because we’re just little buwe.”
“But if he won’t talk to girls, how will we find him a fraa?”
“He stares at Emma Wengerd during the sermons.”
Alfie stopped short. “Emma Wengerd?”
“Jah. He stares at her like he’s very hungry and she’s a bag of potato chips.”
Benji was a gute partner. He noticed things. Alfie’s heart felt like it was beating in his throat. “She only lives three houses down, and she’s not short. And she talks and talks all the time. She probably wants a boy who will just sit and listen to her. Abraham wouldn’t have to say anything.”
“And she’s pretty. Lots of boys like her.”
Alfie shook his head. “That’s not good. Emma can marry any boy she wants. She wouldn’t pick Abraham.”
“He plays basketball. Girls like that.”
“It’s not enough,” Alfie said.
Benji scratched his red nose with his mitten. “She raises strange chickens. Maybe Abraham could talk to her about eggs. He likes animals. He wants to be a vegetarian.”
“It’s veterinarian, Benji, and he can’t be one. It’s not allowed.”
Benji gave Alfie a sour look. “He can’t go to school, but he can learn how to take care of animals like Dwayne Burkholder. I heard him telling Dawdi about it.”
Alfie couldn’t argue with that. Benji heard a lot of conversations Alfie never paid attention to. “Okay. They can talk about chickens. But how do we get them together to talk about chickens?”
Mamm turned around and started walking backward.
“Alfie and Benji, catch up this minute or you’ll be oiling the buggy every day for a week.”
Alfie and Benji glanced at each other and started running. Oiling the buggy made your arms hurt, and Mamm would never let you get away with only doing the parts you could reach from the ground. Making plans was at an end.
But they’d made a gute start.
They had a girl, and they had chickens.
Add in the walkie-talkies, and there was no way they could fail.
Want to read more of Abraham? Click here!
About Jennifer Beckstrand
Jennifer Beckstrand is the RITA nominated and award-winning author of the Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill and The Honeybee Sisters series, as well as a number of novellas. Novels in her Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series have been RITA® Award and RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award finalists. Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for inspirational fiction and Huckleberry Hearts was named a Booklist Top 10 Inspirational Fiction Book of the Year. Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people. She and her husband have been married for thirty-three years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and seven adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten. Please visit her online at www.JenniferBeckstrand.com.