My new Amish romance series comes out on June 25, and I am so excited for you to read it. The series is called The Petersheim Brothers, and the first book in the series is Andrew. Don’t you think the cover is amazing? Andrew is the oldest of the Petersheim brothers, and he tries his best to keep his two eight-year-old brothers out of trouble. But his little brothers, Alfie and Benji, have other plans. They are trying to match Andrew with Mary Coblenz, and they will stop at nothing to do it. Andrew is a heartwarming story about second chances, forgiveness, and the power of love and features a smoke bomb, a fire truck, and Aunt Bitsy from the Honeybee Sisters. You’ll love it
Here is just a little taste of what the brothers have in store in this excerpt from Andrew.
Alfie Petersheim was only eight, but he was old enough to know that Mamm had pulled one over on him.
Sleeping in the cellar will be a grand adventure, she had said. It will be like sleeping in your own cave, and you and Benji will have it all to yourselves.
Alfie should have known it was a trick. A dirty, dirty trick.
He lay on his back on the hardest air mattress in the world staring at the ceiling, which he couldn’t see. The cellar was so dark, he wouldn’t even be able to see his hand if he held it right in front of his face—although he hadn’t tried it because he didn’t dare let go of the blanket that he clutched for dear life around his chin.
The cellar smelled like dirty socks and moldy peanut butter. What had Mamm been thinking? Everybody knew mold was poisonous. Willie Glick even said so. And Alfie was sure a spider had crawled across his hand not two minutes ago.
The ceiling, which he couldn’t see, creaked as if it was going to fall on him and his brother. Or maybe it was a ghost sneaking around upstairs waiting for Alfie to go to sleep so he could attack.
“Benji?” Alfie whispered, risking pulling his hand out of the covers to tap his twin bruder on the arm. Benji responded by rolling over and jabbing his knee into Alfie’s side.
It will be fun, Mamm had said. You will love sleeping down there. It was the first time that Mamm had lied straight to his face. At least he hoped it was the first time. How many other lies had she told him? Had his hamster really run away?
Alfie was not happy that Benji could sleep through anything, even a ghost attack. “Wake up.” Alfie shoved his bruder so hard that Benji slipped off the air mattress and thudded onto the cement floor.
“Hey!” Benji protested. “Stop it.”
“We’ve got to make a plan,” Alfie said, pulling the covers tighter around himself. It was almost summertime, but how hard would it have been for Dat to build a small fire in the stove so his youngest sons didn’t freeze to death? Alfie heard some shuffling on Benji’s side, then Benji fell hard onto the mattress as if he’d tripped trying to find it in the dark. His hard fall bounced Alfie into the air—not far, but high enough to wake all the spiders lurking under the mattress. There was a small pop and a hiss, and Alfie slowly started to sink. “Benji, what did you do?”
Benji sat up again. “I didn’t do nothing, but I think there’s a hole in here.”
They both fell silent. A low hiss came from Benji’s side of the air mattress, and no doubt about it, they were sinking like a leaky boat.
Mamm had told them not to turn on the electric lantern unless it was an emergency because it wasted the battery. Their mattress was flattening like a pancake, Alfie had probably already been bitten by a spider, and he was going to die from lung poisoning. As far as he was concerned, this was an emergency.
Alfie felt around the edge of the bed until his hand found the lantern. He flipped the switch, and the cellar flooded with light. There were some spooky shadows in the corner where monsters could be hiding, but Lord willing, the lantern would keep them safe.
“Come on, Alfie,” Benji said, rubbing his eyes. “I want to sleep.”
“You popped our mattress. Mamm said not to jump on it.”
Benji sat cross-legged on the slowly shrinking mattress squinting into the light. “I didn’t jump on it. I fell.” Benji was still wearing the trousers he’d worn during the day with nothing on top.
Something shiny in his back pocket caught the light. “What’s that?” Alfie said.
Benji twisted his body to look at his pocket. He reached back and pulled out a fork. “This is in case I woke up and wanted a piece of pie. Then I wouldn’t have to go upstairs to get a fork.”
Alfie rolled his eyes. “You still have to go upstairs to get a piece of pie.”
Benji grinned, reached down to the other side of the mattress, and lifted a plate from the floor. On it was a thick slab of snitz pie from dinner last night, and Benji had somehow missed squishing it when Alfie had pushed him off the bed. He stuck his fork into the slice and took a bite.
“Me,” Alfie said, motioning for Benji to give him some.
Benji picked up the pie with his fingers and shoved it toward Alfie. Alfie took a big bite. “You didn’t need a fork.”
Benji frowned. “I guess not.”
“And it poked a hole in our bed.”
Benji frowned harder. “I didn’t think of that.”
The mattress continued to hiss, and Alfie and Benji continued to sink. Alfie growled. They’d die if they had to sleep in the cellar for the rest of their lives. He picked up Benji’s pie and took another bite. “We’ve got to make a plan, and it has to be super secret.”
Benji’s eyes darted from left to right, and he smiled so wide, Alfie could see the gap where one of his back teeth was missing. “What kind of plan?”
“We need to get our room back.”
Benji stopped smiling. “But Mamm and Dat kicked us out.”
“Look, Benji, our air mattress is dead, and when it gets all the way to the ground, the spiders will start crawling on us. And Mamm killed a mouse in here just last week.”
“Mice are cute, and spiders eat bad bugs. Mamm said so.”
“It’s so dark. What if Mamm forgets we’re down here and leaves us in the cellar forever?”
Benji nodded, eyes wide. “The window is too high to crawl out.”
“We need fresh air too. It stinks down here.”
Benji took the last bite of his pie and stuffed his fork back into his pocket. “But Mamm and Dat have to sleep in our room because Mammi and Dawdi are in their room. Dawdi can’t climb the stairs since his stroke.”
Alfie scratched his head. “We can’t kick Dawdi out. He can’t hardly even talk.”
Benji got sort of weepy all of a sudden. “I love Dawdi so much, but Mamm says he can’t remember who I am.”
Alfie shook his head. “He remembers, all right. Just cuz he don’t say nothing doesn’t mean he doesn’t know us. He smiles with his eyes.”
“I miss him. He used to tell us stories and help us catch pollywogs.”
“He’ll do that again, Benji. Mamm says he’ll get better if he does his exercises every day. That’s why he’s living with us, so Mamm and Dat can help him.”
Benji slumped his shoulders. “We’ll never get our room back.”
Alfie scrunched his lips together. “We have to get rid of Andrew.”
“Andrew? Why Andrew? He’s my favorite bruder, next to you.”
Alfie sighed. “We have to get rid of all three of them. Abraham and Austin will have to go too. Then we can have their room.”
“But how do we get rid of all three of them? They’re way bigger than us,” Benji said.
Alfie couldn’t help but agree. Their three older bruders would never take orders from Benji and Alfie. “They should move out and get their own houses. That’s what Aunt Beth says.” Alfie leaned his head close to Benji’s. “She told me not to tell anyone.”
Benji licked up the crumbs on the pie plate. “I don’t see how to get them to move out.”
“We need a plan.”
“A really gute plan.” Benji fished a piece of wax from his ear. “We could play a trick on them.”
“What do you mean?”
“Most boys move out when they get married.”
“You mean we can trick them into getting married?” Alfie said, a slow smile growing on his lips.
Benji nodded. “We could find Andrew, Abraham, and Austin each a wife.”
Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014. Visit JenniferBeckstrand.com for recipes, upcoming events, and news about books and giveaways.