Boston veterinarian Hayley Scampini tends the city’s pampered pets but dreams of the rural life of a country vet. She’s single and determined to stay that way, convinced that love isn’t permanent enough to trust. Then a vacation to the Whisper Creek dude ranch introduces her to Daniel McKee, a sexy single dad who runs the kind of veterinary practice she aspires to—and rattles her conviction to keep men at a distance.
Managing a thriving practice, coping with the loss of his wife, and fighting a custody battle with his in-laws over his twin daughters, Daniel couldn’t be more overwhelmed. Hayley is a godsend, accompanying him in the field and winning over his girls. It doesn’t take Daniel long to realize he’s falling for this woman, hard and fast. So before Hayley returns to Boston, he extracts a promise: that she will return to Whisper Creek for Christmas. It’s the perfect time and place to show Hayley that the promise of a beautiful life together is something she can believe in.
Maggie McGinnis’s sweetly sensual Whisper Creek novels can be read together or separately:
ACCIDENTAL COWGIRL | A COWBOY’S CHRISTMAS PROMISE | ONCE UPON A COWBOY | UNLUCKY IN LOVE | MEANT TO BE | TAKING A CHANCE
Praise for A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise
“Witty dialogue, a heartwarming story, and a hero I’d like to take home with me combine for a compelling and enjoyable read. Maggie McGinnis has crafted a novel sure to make you want a cowboy of your own!”—New York Times bestselling author Cheyenne McCray
“From the smart, snappy dialogue to the romance simmering between Hayley and Daniel, A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise is one of my favorite reads of the year! I could not get enough of these characters.”—New York Times bestselling author Claudia Connor
“A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise will warm your heart from the very first page!”—Bestselling author Jane Porter
“Sparks fly for many reasons and not just when Hayley attempts to make lasagna. . . . McGinnis keeps readers involved with blended plotlines that balance the characters’ complications.”—Library Journal
“Maggie McGinnis has such a magnificent way of revealing the true nature and character of her players. I truly loved this story and will seek out others by this talented author.”—Fresh Fiction
“I found myself drawn into the book by McGinnis’s humor and her talent at creating real characters I could empathize with. I also identified with the warmth of the circle of three friends.”—Idaho Statesman
Includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
“Allergic to Chanel? Impossible!” Mrs. Overmeyer reached out and pulled her Himalayan cat off Hayley’s metal exam table, holding her close and blocking the cat’s ears like Hayley had just dared to take Coco Chanel’s name in vain. “This sweater was custom-made for her! There’s no way she can be allergic to it.”
Hayley sighed as she looked at the clock. If her butt wasn’t passing through security at Logan by ten o’clock, she was going to miss her best friend Kyla’s Montana wedding. However, with the Marblehead Cat Show less than twenty-four hours away, her Boston veterinarian’s office had been a veritable puffball parade for days. She’d opened for emergencies only this morning, but show cat owners defined the word emergency much more loosely than the general public.
“I’m really sorry, but cats and sweaters and August just aren’t a good combination.” Hayley did an internal eye roll. “If it’s any consolation, Coco would be reacting to Prada as well.”
Mrs. Overmeyer’s eyes narrowed. “We’ll have to drop out of the show. She’ll lose her sponsorship!”
Hayley stopped writing on her prescription pad.
A sponsorship? Seriously?
“Your cat has a sponsorship?”
“Of course! But I had to insure her eyes before they’d give us the contract. Look at these eyes. Million-dollar eyes, aren’t they, sweet thing?” Mrs. Overmeyer tickled Coco under the chin, kissing her little smushed nose.
Hayley bit her tongue while she handed over a squeeze bottle. She’d been handling show cats for two years now, which had greatly enhanced her sense of the ridiculous, but million-dollar eyes? Some insurance agent had laughed all the way to the bank on that one.
“Two weeks of this lotion, and no more sweaters, all right? Call me if you have any questions.”
As she closed the door on Coco and headed back to her tiny office, she sighed. Two summers ago, she’d felt incredibly lucky when her uncle had turned his Back Bay practice over to her and retired to the Cape…but that was before she’d realized ninety percent of the animals in the practice were no bigger than a football. She couldn’t wait to escape to Montana for two weeks and live where animals were the size of normal.
“You okay?” Dixie, the assistant who had come with the office, came around the corner and halted, sculpted eyebrows hiked. She was five foot three in heels, sixty years old, and rocked the line dancing circuit on weekends. She’d left Texas behind thirty-two years ago, but nobody’d told her hair yet.
“Please tell me there are no more cats named after designers on the schedule.”
“Can’t tell for sure.”
Hayley cringed. “How about cats dressed like designers?”
“No guarantees on that one, either, sugar.”
“Is there a Doberman out there, just to mix it up a little?” Dixie shook her head. “A Lab mix? Tiger cat from the shelter?”
“Sorry—fresh out of mutts. We’re show cat central today.”
Hayley felt her nose wrinkle. “We’re show cat central every day. Why didn’t my uncle ever take care of real animals?"
“Just get through these last five appointments, and we’ll be off to the airport. You won’t have to think about teeny-tiny beasts for two whole weeks.”
“And show season will be over by the time I get back, right?”
“Show season never ends, honey. You know that.”
“Speaking of never-ending seasons”—Hayley pointed at her desk, which was strewn with Christmas decorations—”Is there a reason my office looks like Walmart on December 26th?”
“I’m going camping, remember? It’s Christmas in July at the Friendly Woodchuck.”
Hayley shook her head. “Who names these places?”
“As long as they’ve got lawn chairs by the pool and margaritas on tap, they can call it anything they want.”
“I hate to poke holes in your camping fantasy, but I don’t think they’re going to have margar—”
“Shh. It’s Christmas in July. I agreed to go camping, and in exchange, Sonny agreed to keep me in enough margaritas that I don’t notice I’m camping.”
Hayley cleared a space so she could sit down. “All righty, then. Knock yourself out. I’ll try not to be jealous as I head out to the land of big skies, endless mountains, and cowboys.”
“Are you all packed?"
Hayley nodded. “Checked off everything on your list, and I still only needed two suitcases.”
“Then you didn’t pack everything on my list. Do you have your bridesmaid dress?”
“Check.” Hayley grimaced as she pointed to the dress bag hanging on the back of her door. “I’ve got the dress, all of its poofy under-dress things, and the shoes.”
“You’ll be adorable.” Dixie patted the dress bag, sighing. “You have to send pictures.”
“I can’t believe you get to be in a Sound of Music-themed wedding. I could just start singing!”
“Do it—and I find a new assistant.”
“Oh, sugar. You say that every day.” Dixie smirked as she consulted the two charts in her hand. “Do you want the hives next? Or the infected toenail?”
“Neither.” Hayley lifted ornaments and tinsel out of the way so she could find the packing list Dixie’d sent her home with last night. “Did I happen to mention how big the animals are in Montana?”
“You did. You also mentioned how hot the cowboys are, in case that’s your next question.”
Hayley rolled her exhausted shoulders. “Maybe what I need is a little ranch-style fling. Two weeks, no strings.”
Dixie coughed delicately. “That’d be taking the date-’em-and-dump-’em thing to a new extreme, even for you, don’t you think?”
“Did I mention I need a new—”
“Yes.” Dixie handed her a chart. “And just for that, I give you the hives.”
After Dixie left her office, Hayley pulled out the list and scanned the items she’d checked off. Way at the bottom were two things she’d added herself last night, just to be sure she wouldn’t leave without them. She opened the bottom drawer of her desk and pulled out a tiny stuffed unicorn and a miniature doll, both well worn.
She held them in her hands for a long moment before she zipped them carefully into her carry-on. Then she picked up an old frame from her desk, kissed her fingers, and softly tapped the two little girls in the picture. Maybe…maybe they were in Montana.
“Miss you, sweeties.”
Hayley took a deep breath and set the frame back in its place, blinking her eyes so the tears wouldn’t escape.