The Christmas Promise (Heartsong Presents Series #1072)

( 6 )

Overview

DR. PETE HARDING DOESN'T DATE SINGLE MOMS

No matter how lovely Keira Noble's smile, or how adorable her four-year-old son. He's been down that road before and knows it can lead to a broken heart. But that doesn't mean he can't help the pretty widow find a puppy to put under the Christmas tree for her son….

Pete claims he only wants to help her find the perfect gift for Cody. Yet Keira can't deny the tender feelings in his eyes whenever he looks...

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The Christmas Promise (Heartsong Presents Series #1072)

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Overview

DR. PETE HARDING DOESN'T DATE SINGLE MOMS

No matter how lovely Keira Noble's smile, or how adorable her four-year-old son. He's been down that road before and knows it can lead to a broken heart. But that doesn't mean he can't help the pretty widow find a puppy to put under the Christmas tree for her son….

Pete claims he only wants to help her find the perfect gift for Cody. Yet Keira can't deny the tender feelings in his eyes whenever he looks at her. Could this handsome Scrooge have a change of heart, and create a new family for Christmas?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373486830
  • Publisher: Love Inspired
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Series: Heartsong Presents Series , #1072
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 4.10 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Kimberly Rose Johnson lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two teenage sons. She enjoys reading, music, hiking and coffee. You may contact her through her website at www.kimberlyrjohnson.com or follow her on twitter @kimberlyrosejoh

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Read an Excerpt

Keira Noble peered out her apartment window at the first snow of the season, and a shiver ran through her. Snow set her on edge. Winter in the quaint Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington, always meant snow, but it was only the middle of October—much too early. Taking a sip of her morning coffee, she tucked her feet under her legs and snuggled deeper into the quilt. She closed her eyes, unwilling to gaze at the one thing that tortured her every winter.

"Momma." Four-and-a-half-year-old Cody padded out from his room and climbed into her lap. He nestled his head against her chest. "What's for breakfast?"

"How about oatmeal with blueberries?" She didn't open the candy shop until ten on weekdays, and treasured this time with her son.

"No."

"Really? I thought you loved blueberries." He shook his head. "I like gummy worms. Can I have them in my oatmeal?"

"Eww. I don't think so." She gave him a squeeze and stood, setting him on the chaise. "Maybe after lunch you can pick out a few gummy worms from the bin." She smiled to herself, imagining he'd be the most popular kid in school someday with his access to candy.

She heard footsteps on the stairs that led to the alley. Right on time. Her best friend, Susan, had a way of showing up a couple of mornings a week for breakfast. She especially appreciated the visit today, considering the weather. Susan knew the fear snow brought on. Just the thought of driving now… She shuddered. A rap on the door sounded and Keira flung the door open. "Morning." She gave Susan a quick hug and stepped back.

"Brrr. It's freezing out there." Susan unwound her scarf, pulled off her boots and hung her coat on a hook by the door. "Where's my little buddy?" She tiptoed over to the chaise. "Boo."

Cody squealed and laughed. "Aunt Susan, you always do that."

Sitting beside him, Susan wrapped an arm around Cody. "And you always laugh." She poked his belly. "What's for breakfast?"

"Oatmeal, but Mom said no gummy worms."

Susan snapped her fingers. "Bummer, but I'm sure she'll let us have brown sugar." Susan got up and walked into the kitchen. "I have a surprise for you."

Keira looked over her shoulder and raised a brow at her eccentric friend with the purple streaks in her long black hair. "I'm not a fan of surprises."

"You might like this one."

"Might?" She measured out the water and poured it into a saucepan. "I don't like the sound of this. Spill."

"Sorry." Susan pulled a card from her pocket. "Be at this address tonight at six and look hot."

"Huh?" Her friend had never told her to look hot. She turned around and took the card. "Visconti's?" She narrowed her eyes and crossed her arms. "What's going on? I'm not going to show up someplace unless I know why."

"Oh, all right. But you have to hear me out without interrupting."

"Su-san!"

"We set you up on a blind date." The words tumbled from her lips. "Pete is great. He's a veterinarian. Josh knows him from church and got to talking with him when he took his dog in the other day and realized the man has no social life—"

"And he immediately thought of me. I need to have a few words with your brother."

"You're interrupting."

"The two of you set me up? Why don't you go out with him?" It had to be an all-time low when her friends thought they needed to find her a man.

"He's not my type." Susan grinned and batted her lashes.

"Don't try that on me, missy." She'd date again when she was ready. "I'm not going." Keira turned her back on Susan and measured out the oats.

"But you have to. Josh already told him you'd be there."

"He will have to un-tell him. What kind of person agrees to a blind date at the last minute?"

"Actually Pete's known about it for a week." She ducked her head. "I didn't know how to tell you, and then time got away from me and…" She shrugged. "You can't cancel now. It's too late."

Her friend knew her well. Of course she would've canceled. Keira bit her lip. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to meet the man. Besides, it would be rude to back out at the last minute and she had always wanted to try the food at Vis-conti's, one of the best Italian restaurants around. Considering how small the village was, it was crazy she'd never been there before.

But there was one problem—Cody. Who would take care of her son and what would she tell him? Since her husband was killed four years ago in a car accident, she had gone out only once. Keira didn't want him to get confused or attached to a man who wasn't going to stick around. Ack! She was getting ahead of herself. It was only one date.

Susan touched her arm and lowered her voice. "You need this. It doesn't have to be anything serious, but it's time you started getting out there again. You keep yourself holed up in this apartment or the candy shop all the time. Live a little. And don't worry about Cody. I'll take care of him."

"Will you come here to watch him?"

Susan nodded. "Whatever you want."

An hour before closing Keira walked out of the back room and into the candy shop, the boxes in her arms partially blocking her view. Her chocolatier would be making a delivery soon and she needed to get these unpacked before her arrival.

"Whoa." Strong hands gripped her arms and kept her from colliding with the chest in front of her.

She peeked over the boxes and saw a man holding a charcoal-gray wool coat. "Oh, excuse me. I didn't hear you come in."

"No harm done." He flashed a smile.

Oh, but he was handsome—striking blue eyes, a strong chin and an incredible head of dark wavy hair on a fit body. She cleared her throat and stepped past him. What was she thinking? She had no business checking out the man. He was probably married anyway. "Are you here for the weekend?"

"No. I live in Leavenworth."

She pursed her lips. She really did need to get out more if Leavenworth had men like this. "Is there something I can help you find?" She set the boxes beside a display she'd been working on.

"I'd like a box of chocolates."

"That's our specialty," she said with a smile. "What kind?"

"I'm not sure. They're for my date and I don't know what she likes. Maybe this is a mistake." He turned toward the door.

"Wait."

He turned back and raised a brow.

Keira stepped toward him. "Even if she doesn't like chocolate it's a nice gesture. And take it from a woman, most of us love chocolate. You can't go wrong with truffles."

"Are you sure? I don't want to look desperate."

Pete Harding sized up the petite woman clad in the traditional German costume some shopkeepers still wore. Her green eyes had a kindness about them. As if she really cared and wasn't just trying to make a sale. "Okay."

A wide smile lit her face and he caught his breath. Amazing. He'd agreed to a blind date and regretted it all week, but felt guilty backing out. Now he was glad he hadn't, otherwise he wouldn't have come into the candy shop. Pete checked out the store clerk's left hand and didn't see a ring. Things were looking up. He didn't have much of a sweet tooth, but Christmas was fast approaching and he hadn't done any shopping yet. Maybe this year he'd give everyone on his list a box of chocolates.

The woman held up two. "Which size would you like? I have a collection with six or a dozen."

No sense in overdoing it. Besides, he was more interested in the woman standing before him than his blind date. "Six."

"Good choice if you don't want to look desperate." She filled a gold-foil box with an assortment and rang up the purchase, thanking him for stopping in. Another customer with children came in, signaling it was time for him to leave. Too bad. He hadn't caught her name.

Keira looked in the mirror one last time. She'd spent more time than usual straightening her wavy hair with the flat iron. But now it hung perfectly straight and rounded to her chin. Black slacks and a red silk top completed the look. She tucked dangly silver earrings through her lobes and sighed. Was she really doing this? What would Michael think? She shook off the thought, suspecting her husband would've approved of her getting back out there.

A knock sounded on her bedroom door.

"Come in."

The door opened and Susan walked in. "You look gorgeous! Pete isn't going to know what hit him."

"Are you sure? Maybe I should change." Her stomach flip-flopped. She didn't recall ever being this nervous before a date.

Susan reached out to her and grasped her arms. "No. You're perfect. And if you don't leave now you'll be really late. At least Visconti's is close."

Keira glanced at her watch. "I didn't realize the time. How will I know him?"

"Give the host or hostess your name and don't worry. Pete has everything under control."

"Okay, if you say so." She liked a take-charge kind of man.

Susan grinned. "You'll be fine, Keira. Pete is a very nice man and even if it doesn't work out you'll get to know the town veterinarian and have a delicious meal."

"I don't own a pet, and I'm so nervous I don't think I can eat."

Susan waved her comment off. "Stop. Pete's great, and Cody's been asking for a puppy. Maybe he'll have a lead on a good choice."

Keira had no intention of getting her son a dog. There was no time to take care of a pet with all that needed to be done running the candy shop and raising her boy.

Susan took a step closer and grabbed her hands. "Tonight will be fun. Just relax and live in the moment for a change." She briskly rubbed Keira's hands between her own. "You're freezing.''''

"That's because I'm terrified. Maybe I should just call the restaurant and leave a message that I'm ill. That's not far from the truth."

Susan took her by the shoulders and marched her to the door. "No way. I'll be watching from your living room window. It has a perfect view of Front Street, so don't even think about detouring and standing him up."

Keira's stomach fluttered. "I feel like a teen going on my first date." Why had she agreed to this? Cody smacked into her legs, wrapping his arms around them. Keira gently pried his arms loose and squatted down. "You be a good boy for Aunt Susan. Okay, Cody?"

He nodded. "Bring me back something?"

She chuckled. "We'll see." She slid into her wool coat, then blew a kiss to her two favorite people. "I won't be late."

Five steps down the stairs and she nearly fell on the slippery surface. It wouldn't do to break a leg on the way there. She should've gone out through the store below, but old habits were hard to undo. She took the front way only if she was heading to work. She gripped the railing and continued down the snow-covered stairs with care. Almost there. Keira stepped onto the bottom step and her right foot slid forward on a patch of ice. A scream escaped her lips as her left knee buckled and she hit the sidewalk in a heap. She groaned and lay there for a second. That didn't happen. But her throbbing backside told a different story. She rolled over and stood. At least no one lingered about to see her graceful fall.

"Are you okay?" Susan called from the doorway.

Keira stood and inspected her pants. Wet snow covered her legs. "I'm okay except for my pride, but I'd better change before I go. My pants are a mess." Instead of risking a repeat performance she went around to the storefront and unlocked the door. She climbed the interior stairs to her apartment.

The door swung open and Susan stood there with a panicked look on her face. "Are you sure you're okay?"

"No. Yes. What difference does it make?" Her pride stung and so did her hands, but she didn't have time to waste. What would she wear? This was her best outfit. She rushed to her bedroom with Susan close behind.

"Momma, why were you playing in the snow?"

"Cody, honey, I'm in a hurry. How about you build something with your blocks?"

"I want to play in the snow."

Keira sighed and squatted in front of him. "Tomorrow, okay? I'm meeting someone for dinner and I'm late. Now scoot, so I can change." Her little guy padded into the front room and she zoomed for the dresser. Jeans would have to do. At least she had a nice pair that would go well with the blouse she already wore. She kicked off the slacks and slipped on the jeans. "Well?"

Susan nodded. "Very good. Now go." She nudged her toward the bedroom door. "And take the front. You don't have time to change again."

Keira passed Cody, who appeared to be building a fort out of blankets. "Bye. Love you."

"I know. Love you, too."

She smiled at her son's favorite phrase and closed the door. If Cody thought he knew everything at four, what would he be like at sixteen? But there was no time to worry about that now. A glance at her watch had her running through the candy store. She was never late. Of course Pete didn't know that. What a way to make a first impression. Oh, well, at least it was only ten past six. Surely he'd find it humorous once she explained. But what if he didn't?

Pete Harding nervously eyed the box of chocolates he'd placed on the table across from him. Maybe it was too much. Did men give chocolates on a blind date? It'd been forever since he'd last dated. He reached across the table to grab the box and tuck it back into his jacket pocket, but before he could a waiter approached. Pete pulled his hand back.

"Would you like to order something to drink, Dr. Harding?"

Pete glanced at his watch. "No thanks. I'm sure she'll be here any minute."

The waiter nodded and left just as his cell buzzed in his pocket. Not tonight. He knew that special sound. When he'd agreed to tonight's date he'd forgotten he was on call. "This is Dr. Harding." He listened as the answering service explained the emergency. "Okay. I'll be right there." He caught the waiter's eye and waited for him to approach. "I have to leave and my date isn't here yet. Would you let her know I had an emergency?" As much as he wanted to tell Keira himself, he couldn't wait. A dog's life depended on him.

He pushed back from the table and stood. Too bad he hadn't thought to ask for her phone number. He'd have to remember to call Josh ASAP and explain what happened. He strode for the stairs that led down to street level and past the beautiful blonde from the candy shop as she walked inside, completely oblivious to him. Wow. He slowed his gait. Gone was the German maiden costume and in its place a lovely modern woman in jeans that fit just right. He definitely would be buying candy for his family and friends this year.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A Sweet Christmas Romance There really is nothing that gets me

    A Sweet Christmas Romance

    There really is nothing that gets me into the Christmas season more than a Christmas romance in a smallish town setting, and the Christmas Promise certainly delivers on that. Keira is a widow with a young son, who had lost her husband in a tragic accident on a snowy road. This loss has caused a seed of fear to sprout in Keira that has kept her from going far beyond her own town. Life has worked out well, she has a nice business, and she and her son have good friends, but love, there is simply no room in her life's equation for that, until a good friend decides it is really time for Keira to date again.

    Dr. Pete has his own baggage from a failed relationship and like so many of us has vowed to not date anyone who has close similarities to that person. Basically anyone with a child. He hasn't really felt a problem with his decision, but when he meets Keira, he begins to second guess himself.

    Filled with sweet characters and a delicious locale, The Christmas Promise, brings the magic of love and the Christmas season to life.

    I enjoyed the story a great deal. It was sweet and not heavy handed. I enjoyed the characters a great deal, and the author was so adept at description, I was ready to pack my bags and move to Leavenworth! It was nice setting down my own life's concerns and picking up where I left off with Keira, Cody and Pete. If you are looking for a sweet seasonal story with a wonderful cast of characters who are extremely likeable, The Christmas Promise will provide a fine slide into the season.

    I won this book through another author's website, but a review was not requested nor required. Winning the book did not impact my review.

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  • Posted November 24, 2013

    Sweet romances always make me sigh, and this one is no different

    Sweet romances always make me sigh, and this one is no different. In The Christmas Promise by Kimberly Rose Johnson draws us into Keira and Pete's romance, and shows us how they dealt with their issues with trust and fear. Time changes things for them as they learn to release the past and move forward. I enjoyed Ms. Johnson's debut novel and look forward to her next novel.




    ***I received this book from the publisher/author for the purpose of review. The above is m honest opinion.***

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  • Posted November 19, 2013

    Our past, and the events that make it up, can often cripple us f

    Our past, and the events that make it up, can often cripple us from moving beyond it and into the plan God has laid out for us. Keira and Pete have each been carrying around pain and hurt from years past. Despite the events that brought on these feelings of pain and a broken heart, neither can deny that they have feelings for one another. Can Keira work through the fear and anguish that haunts her to the point of not being able to ride in a car? Can Pete move past the hurt of a broken heart? And how does Keira’s son Cody fit into this whole picture?
    This debut book of Kimberly Rose Johnson proved to be a very enjoyable read. The Christmas season and festivities surrounding the story made the book warm and inviting. The characters had depth to their believable lives that played into the storyline in a very interesting way. I enjoyed the way the author used solid biblical principles to bring the story.
    Special thanks to the author for providing a copy of the book and allowing me the opportunity to review The Christmas Promise. All opinions are my own, and no further compensation has been given.

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  • Posted November 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This is a cute romance centered around Christmas and a wonderful

    This is a cute romance centered around Christmas and a wonderful little town that I'd love to visit! I liked the characters, especially her cute son and the adorable puppies. I could understand both Pete's and Keira's fears and how they let fear control their lives, but liked that Keira turned to God for help. There's a lighter faith element to the story, so I could see anyone liking the book, not just Christians. I really want to see this real town during Christmas; it seems like a magical place. If you're looking for a feel-good Christmas romance, look no further!

    I received this book free from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted November 13, 2013

    Is it Puppy Love for the vet? Dr. Pete Hardin meets the woman o

    Is it Puppy Love for the vet?

    Dr. Pete Hardin meets the woman of his dreams, but then she drops a bombshell—she has a son. Years ago, after his engagement to a single mom suddenly ended, breaking his heart, he vowed never to date a woman with a child again. Now his vow is being challenged—big time. Will he hold fast, or will Keira Noble and her cute son break down the walls surrounding his heart?

    The Christmas Promise is a delightful romance, set in a charming Bavarian village. The hero and heroine feel very real, as each is struggling with issues from prior relationships, but there is chemistry from the start, and it’s fun watching their attraction to each other grow and love blossom. The story moves along at a good pace and never slows. It easily held my interest all the way. Toss in a precocious, little boy who wants a puppy for Christmas and you have a wonderful holiday romance. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2013

    The Christmas Promise By: Kimberly Rose Johnson I must say once

    The Christmas Promise
    By: Kimberly Rose Johnson

    I must say once I started reading this romance I couldn’t put it down. The characters are just wonderful. Two people Keira and Pete who both have been hurt in their lives. Keira hurt over the loss of her husband left with a son to raise. Pete a relationship gone wrong. Her friend Susan wants to see her happy again is trying to set her up. Blind dates o my now we know how those can work out. Will Keira find love again? Kimberly has a wonderful with romance and keeping it a clean read. Can God shine through their lives? I highly recommend this romance. It was a real feel good book. Looking forward to Kimberly’s next book. 5 star.

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