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 herdatfor 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.
EXCERPTS (Exclusive Excerpt):
Deborah turned so Noah wouldn’t see her eyes filling with tears. Their conversation wasn’t going well at all, but she had to get past this roadblock. She had nowhere else to go, and no way to get there. “I was wrong to doubt you, Noah,” she whispered. “I got too impatient, wanting answers—that house with a rose trellis we’d talked about—before you were ready to provide them.”
“How’d you get that bruise on your neck?”
As her hand flew to the mark her collarless cape dress couldn’t conceal, Deborah realized how guilty she must look. “I fell.”
She closed her eyes against the memory of how Isaac Chupphad grabbed her in anger because she’d called the sheriff. It wasn’t a lie—she had fallen after the bishop’s son had shoved her into a ditch.
But she couldn’t start down that conversational trail yet. Noah would want nothing more to do with her if she told him of the events that had led to her leaving Coldstream this morning after her dat had ordered her out of the house.
Noah cleared his throat as though he didn’t believe her. He glanced at her suitcase. “How long do you figure to stay?”
Deborah swallowed hard. She hadn’t been here ten minutes, yet Noah sounded ready to be rid of her. “This is such a pretty place,” she hedged, gazing out over the grassy hills that were dotted with trees and wildflowers. “And you’re planning to provide apartments? And open a produce stand? Your mamm and aunts are the perfect women for running those businesses.”
Noah let out a humorless laugh. “Mamm, Rosetta, and Christine love it here,” he replied. “Me? I’m not seeing Promise Lodge as the Eden they made it out to be when they declared we were all moving. But there’s no going back.”
Deborah closed her eyes. Noah’s impatient tone suggested that he’d already written her off.
“There’s no lack of work to keep me busy here, and to keep my mind off how things went sour between us.” He let out a long sigh. “I suppose that’s one gut thing.”
The pain in Noah’s eyes sliced into Deborah’s soul. She’d had no idea how badly she’d hurt him, or of the bridges she’d burned by so recklessly ending their engagement. “I’m so sorry,” she said in a tremulous voice. “I—”
“Jah, so you’ve said.”
“—had no idea what I was tearing apart when I thought I wanted to—”
“It was my whole life you tore apart, girl,” Noah blurted. “It’ll never go back together the way it used to be. Why would I take a chance on getting my heart ripped out again?”
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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Charlotte will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.