Charlotte will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Energetic widow Mattie Bender Schwartz is working day and night to get Promise Lodge going. She’s also hoping the change will help her son Noah’s heart to heal after his broken engagement. But his former fiancée, Deborah, is looking for a fresh start too. Filled with regret, and cast out by her dat for a reason she can’t yet reveal, Deborah can only pray Noah will forgive her foolishness.
Deborah is the last person Noah expected to show up at Promise Lodge. But with her cruel words still ringing in his head, he’s reluctant to accept her apology—even if the Old Order ways demand he try. If only he could obey Christ’s most important commandment: love one another. But one thing is certain—his mother and aunts, and their beloved Preacher Amos, will do their best to help him get there.
Ahead, Deborah saw a tall, timbered lodge building with a wide porch and a grassy yard surrounding it. Several cabins nestled in the shade of ancient trees behind the lodge. In a fenced pasture beside an old red barn, black and white dairy cows grazed and goats munched on weeds as they watched Deborah. Off to her right, about an acre away, the surface of a lake shimmered in the sunlight.
To her left, a large garden plot had been tilled and hoed. Leaf lettuce, peas, and other early vegetables grew in neat, straight rows, their leaves shining a vibrant green against the dark soil. Beyond this planted plot, another garden was being plowed. When a Belgian came around from behind the fragrant honeysuckle hedge, following the contour of previous rows, Deborah’s heart stopped.
Noah was driving. She would know his lean silhouette and the dark, wavy hair fluttering beneath his straw hat anywhere, for she’d memorized his handsome features all through school and during their year-long engagement. This was the man she’d planned to spend her life and raise her children with—and when he fixed his eyes on her, even from a distance, Deborah stopped breathing. He gazed long and hard, his expression indiscernible as the horse plodded along and the plow blades churned up the black soil.
Deborah dropped her suitcase and ran toward him, clapping a hand over her kapp so it wouldn’t fly off. Such hope—such joy!—danced in her heart. Surely he would feel compelled to give her another chance. She had to find a way to make amends. “Noah!” she called out. “Noah, it’s so gut to see you!”
As he halted the horse and stepped down from the plow, Deborah stopped at the edge of the plot to catch her breath. Noah took his time, stepping carefully over the uneven, furrowed earth. His green shirt clung to his damp chest and his old Tri-blend pants flapped in the breeze as he walked. He’d lost some weight--
But I can fix that! Maybe he’s missed me as much as I’ve longed for him! Deborah thought as Noah crossed the last several feet between them. He mopped his face with a bandanna and then stuffed it back into his pocket.
She savored the sound of Noah’s voice, the way he made her name sound so much sweeter than anyone else could, even if a wary silence stretched between them. When Deborah realized he wasn’t going to say anything else, she offered him the cookie tin. “I—I brought you some of those brownies you always liked,” she said with her best smile. “The kind with the peppermint patties in them.”
Noah took the tin but he didn’t open it. Sweat was dribbling from beneath his straw hat down his cheeks, but she didn’t dare wipe it off the way she used to.
“Why’d you come here?” he asked. “It’s a long trip from Coldstream.”
Deborah winced. He was asking the questions she didn’t want to answer—but she might as well state her case. “I made a big mistake, breaking off our engagement, Noah,” she murmured, holding his intense brown-eyed gaze. “I’m hoping we can—hoping you’ll give me the chance to make up for my impulsive decision. I’m sorry for those things I said. Can you forgive me? Please?”
His eyes widened. When someone asked for forgiveness, the Old Order ways demanded an answer, or at least an effort toward reconciliation. “I’ll have to think about it,” he replied tersely. “Why would I want to court you again, after you shot me down like a tin can off a fence?”
Many moons ago—like, in 1983 while she was still a school librarian—Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. This launched her into writing around seventy of those “true confessions” stories over the years, and she’s been a slave to her overactive imagination ever since. Over the course of her writing career, she has sold nearly 50 books—most recently, Amish romance series she’s written as Charlotte Hubbard or Naomi King.
Charlotte lived in Missouri for most of her life, so her Amish stories are set in imaginary Missouri towns. These days she lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband of 40 years and their Border collie, Ramona.
Promise Lodge, Book 1
Zebra (February 26, 2016)
ISBN-13: 9781420139419 •• ISBN-10: 142013941X
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