Huckleberry Christmas by Jennifer Beckstrand

Friday’s Feature: Huckleberry Christmas by Jennifer Beckstrand

Huckleberry Christmas is the third book in my Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and it’s on sale on Kindle for .99! It is a great Christmas read that will get you in the Christmas spirit. Click HERE to get your copy!

Anna and Felty Helmuth are at it again, searching for a match for their recently widowed granddaughter.

Young widow Beth Hostetler has come to Huckleberry Hill to start afresh and make her own way without the interference of her late husband’s family. In addition to a feisty toddler, Beth has dresses to sew, cows to milk, and great-grandparents to care for. She doesn’t have the time or the inclination to entertain thoughts of a husband, even if every widower and bachelor in Wisconsin seeks her hand. Her first marriage to a harsh, demanding man was hard enough. She is perfectly happy being alone, not answering to anyone but God. Tyler Yoder is no different than the rest. With his infuriating sense of duty, he sees Beth as a woman in need of rescuing. His offer of marriage doesn’t tempt her in the least, but his kind heart just might. Will this be the Christmas that she finally finds love?

Here is an excerpt:

After having been burned by love once, Tyler Yoder has given up on the whole idea of romance. He simply wants a godly wife with whom he can share companionship and the load of daily living. Beth Hostetler comes along at just the right time. She’s a hard worker, an excellent mother, and a beauty, to boot. And with a son to raise, she needs a man’s protection. But when Beth spurns Tyler’s marriage proposal and offers to help him find a proper Amish wife, Tyler realizes where his affections really lie. Will he be able to convince Beth that love is at the heart of his persistence? And will she accept his heart for Christmas?

Tyler Yoder almost jumped out of his skin as his open-air buggy came around the bend and he saw a small child standing in the middle of the lane. He pulled hard left on the reins to keep his horse from trampling the little boy. Dobbin swerved sharply and came to a stop within three feet of the child.

The toddler didn’t seem to understand how close he’d come to death. As the dust settled, he stared at Dobbin with one finger stuck up his nose and a big grin that revealed a mouth full of tiny teeth. His feet were bare and his orange-auburn hair perched wildly on top of his head. Tyler had never seen such an adorable child, but why he had the presence of mind to notice, he would never know.

His legs felt like pillars of gelatin as he set the brake and slid out of the buggy. Breathless and shaking, he ran, or rather stumbled, toward the little boy, who couldn’t have been more than two years old. Tyler glanced toward the Helmuths’ house. What was this child doing out here all by himself? The boy’s eyes grew as wide as buggy wheels, and he turned and ran in the opposite direction, pumping his chubby little arms and giggling with glee. He must have thought Tyler wanted to play tag.

Tyler sped up but didn’t catch him before the toddler lost his balance and tumbled to the ground. The boy immediately voiced his indignation with an ear-piercing wail. When he caught his breath, he held in the air so long, Tyler feared he might hyperventilate. The second wail proved louder and more pathetic than the first. Tyler wrapped his hands around the boy’s waist and helped him to his feet. The child’s whole face turned damp as wetness spouted from his eyes and nose.

Unsure of what to do, Tyler pulled a handkerchief from his pocket and began mopping up the little one’s face. “There, there. No need to cry,” he said, in the most comforting voice he could muster. He caressed the boy’s little hand and patted him on the head while whispering, “Hush, hush.”

The boy stopped crying as suddenly as he had begun. He popped his finger into his mouth, whimpered halfheartedly, and stared at Tyler with wide blue eyes. Tyler lifted the little boy’s trouser legs. His knees were red, but the skin wasn’t broken, and judging from the fading bruise on his forehead and the small scab on his elbow, he’d been in a few tussles with the ground before. Children this age weren’t called “toddlers” for nothing.

“Let’s see what we can do about your trousers,” Tyler said, brushing the dust and gravel from the boy’s padded bottom and straightening his pant legs.

The boy held out his hands, and Tyler lifted him into his arms. When he heard the from door slam, Tyler snapped his head around.

A young woman stormed across the front yard. “How dare you?”

She snatched the toddler out of Tyler’s arms and held the boy’s head protectively against her chest. Tyler remembered her. She was the Helmuths’ great-granddaughter Beth, and she used to live in Bonduel. She’d married a man from Nappanee, Indiana, who had passed away recently. Tyler hadn’t laid eyes on Beth for three or four years.

At the moment, Beth looked more like a badger than the Helmuths’ great-granddaughter. She practically spit out her words. “Toby is just a baby. You never spank a baby.”

“Spank?” Tyler was stunned into silence. Did she think Tyler had spanked the little boy?

“I turned my back for one minute, and then I looked out the window and saw you spanking Toby. Never touch him again or I’ll come at you with a hot poker.” She bounced Toby on her hip as if to comfort him, but he wasn’t crying. He didn’t even seem upset. Grinning at Tyler, he grabbed onto his own ear and squeezed it with his chubby little fingers.

Beth whirled on her heels, glided across the front yard in half a second, and marched up the porch steps. She nearly ripped the door off its hinges before slamming it behind her.

Tyler kneaded the back of his neck. It was going to be a long day.


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.


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