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Return to Promise

Return to Promise

3.7 19
by Debbie Macomber

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The town of Promise, Texas, is a good place to live, to raise a family, to spend the rest of your days with the person you love.

Cal Patterson and his wife, Jane—also known as Dr. Texas—certainly think so. The last thing they expect is a threat to their marriage. But in September, disagreements begin to escalate—with the "help" of an


The town of Promise, Texas, is a good place to live, to raise a family, to spend the rest of your days with the person you love.

Cal Patterson and his wife, Jane—also known as Dr. Texas—certainly think so. The last thing they expect is a threat to their marriage. But in September, disagreements begin to escalate—with the "help" of an attractive young woman who's got her eye on Cal.

After months of emotional upheaval brought on by doubts about their marriage, the two separate, and Jane returns to her childhood home in California, taking their children. Cal, now alone on his ranch, is forced to confront what he really wants in his life, what he needs. Jane is confronting the same questions…. How seriously does Cal take his marriage vows? And how important is Promise to Jane? Is there hope for a reconciliation—in time for Christmas?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Macomber's name sells books, and her newest title doesn't let readers down. Sometimes the best things come in small packages. Such is the case here, as Macomber returns readers to Promise, Tex., a small ranching town filled with loving, friendly people and down-home Texas charm. Cal and Jane Patterson had planned simply to relax, but lately Cal has been yearning for his reckless days riding bulls in the rodeo, and Jane (known as Dr. Texas to Promise's townsfolk) has her hands full caring for their two children and working at the medical clinic part time. When Jane's dad becomes ill, she packs up the kids and flies home to Southern California, leaving Cal to fend for himself. Jane's absence is the opening that beautiful, restless (and clich d) vixen Nicole Nelson has been waiting for; she's been attracted to Cal for years and has returned to Promise--after an absence of many years--with the single-minded aim to destroy Cal's marriage and snag Cal for herself. Cal isn't buying into Nicole's scheme, but a couple of innocent encounters with Nicole has tongues wagging and stirs up plenty of unrest between Jane and Cal. Although the extent of those problems strains credulity, Macomber touches on incidences of insecurity and poor communication that nearly every couple faces at one time or another. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Returning to Promise, TX, Macomber spins a pointedly cautionary tale of two people who almost lose their marriage through neglect and misunderstanding but finally manage to save it--just in time for Christmas. Overflowing with small-town atmosphere, a warm sense of family, and engaging secondary characters, this story will resonate with many Americana fans. Unfortunately, the irritating immaturity of the hero and heroine and the overtly predatory behavior of the scheming "other woman" detracts from the book's overall appeal. Nevertheless, the story does bring fans up to date on the doings of the people of Promise. Macomber (Dakota Born) is a respected, best-selling author of sweet contemporary romances and lives in Port Angeles, WA. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

Publication date:
Heart of Texas , #8
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Chapter One

Cal Patterson knew his wife would be furious when she learned what he'd done. Competing in the annual Labor Day rodeo, however, was worth Jane's wrath—although very little else was.

    Bull riding had always enticed him, even more than bronc riding or roping or any of the other competitions. It was the thrill that got to him, the danger of riding a fifteen-hundred-pound bull, of staying on for eight seconds and sometimes longer. He craved the illusion that for those brief moments he was in control. Cal didn't do it for the trophy—if he was fortunate enough to take top prize—or to hear his name broadcast across the rodeo grounds. He was drawn by the challenge, pitting his will against the bull's savage strength, and yes, the risk. Jane would never understand that; she'd been raised a city girl and trained as a doctor, and she disapproved of what she called unnecessary risk. He'd tried to explain his feelings about bull riding, but clearly he'd failed. Jane still objected fervently whenever he mentioned his desire to enter rodeo competitions. Okay, okay, so he'd busted a rib a few years back and spent several pain-filled weeks recuperating. Jane had been angry with him then, too. She'd gotten over it and she would again—but not without inducing a certain amount of guilt first.

    He watched her out of the corner of his eye as she ushered their three-year-old son, Paul, into the bleachers. Cal dutifully followed behind, carrying eighteen-month-old Mary Ann, who was sound asleep in his arms. As soon as his family was settled, he'd be joining the other competitorsnear the arena. A few minutes later, Jane would open the program and find his name. Once she did, all hell would break loose. He sighed heavily. His brother and sister-in-law would be arriving shortly, and if he was lucky, that'd buy him a couple of minutes.

    "Glen and Ellie are meeting us here, aren't they?" Jane asked, her voice lowered so as not to disturb the baby. His daughter rested her head of soft blond curls against his shoulder, thumb in her mouth. She looked peaceful, downright angelic—which was quite a contrast to her usual energetic behavior.

    "They'll be here soon," Cal answered, handing Mary Ann to Jane.

    With two children demanding her time and attention, plus the ranch house and everything else, Jane had cut back her hours at the medical clinic to one weekend a month. Cal knew she missed practicing medicine on a more frequent basis, but she'd never complained. He considered himself a fortunate man to have married a woman so committed to family. Once the kids were in school, she'd return to full-time practice, but for now, Paul and Mary Ann were the focus of her life.

    Just then, Jane reached for the schedule of rodeo events and Cal tensed, anticipating her reaction.

    "Cal Patterson, you didn't!" Her voice rose to something resembling a shriek. She turned and glared at him, her beautiful face contorted in a look of exasperated disbelief.

    "Cal?" She waited, apparently hoping for an explanation.

    However, he had nothing to say that he hadn't already said dozens of times. It wouldn't do any good to trot out his rationalizations yet again; one look told him she wouldn't be easily appeased. His only option was to throw himself on her good graces and pray she'd forgive him quickly.

    "You signed up for the bull ride?"

    "Honey, now listen—"

    "Are you crazy? You got hurt before! What makes you think you won't get hurt this time, too?"

    "If you'd give me a chance to—"

    Jane stood, cradling Mary Ann against her. Paul stared at his parents with a puzzled frown.

    "Where are you going?" he asked, trying to come up with some way to mollify her without causing a scene.

    "I don't intend to watch."

    "But, darling ..."

    She scowled at him. "Don't you darling me!"

    Cal stood, too, and was given a reprieve when Glen and Ellie arrived, making their way down the long, narrow row of seats. His brother paused, glancing from one to the other, and seemed to realized what was happening. "I take it Jane found out?"

    "You knew?"

    Ellie shook her head. "Not me! I just heard about it myself."

    "Looks like Jane's leaving me," Cal joked, hoping to inject some humor into the situation. His wife was overreacting. There wasn't a single reason she should walk out now, especially when she knew how excited their three-year-old son was about seeing his first rodeo.

    "That's exactly what you deserve," she muttered, bending to pick up her purse and the diaper bag while holding Mary Ann tightly against her shoulder.


    "Gather your things," she instructed Paul. "We're going home."

    Paul's lower lip started to quiver, and Cal could tell that his son was trying valiantly not to cry. "I want to see the rodeo."

    "Jane, let's talk about this," Cal pleaded.

    Paul looked expectantly from his father to his mother, and Jane hesitated.

    "Honey, please," Cal said, hoping to talk her into forgiveness—or at least acceptance. Okay, so he'd kept the fact that he'd signed up for the bull riding a secret, but only because he'd been intent on delaying a fight.

    "I don't want Paul to see you injured," she argued.

    "Have a little faith, would you?"

    His wife frowned, her anger simmering.


What People are Saying About This

Jayne Ann Krentz
Debbie Macomber's name on a book is a guarantee of delightful, warmhearted romance. She crafts endearing characters and stories that leave readers feeling good.

Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and a leading voice in women's fiction worldwide. Her work has appeared on every major bestseller list, with more than 170 million copies in print, and she is a multiple award winner. The Hallmark Channel based a television series on Debbie's popular Cedar Cove books. For more information, visit her website, www.debbiemacomber.com.

Brief Biography

Port Orchard, Washington
Date of Birth:
October 22, 1948
Place of Birth:
Yakima, Washington
Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college

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Return to Promise 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Product Details says 400 pages yet when I bought it, it has 132 pages. Big Difference!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A good sequel to Promise, Texas. I loved hearing more about Cal and Jane. The story was great, but I wanted to hear more! Debbie's books are that way, you just want to hear more about the characters she writes about. A good read and I recommend it highly but read it after Promise, Texas!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed returning to Promise to checkup and see how everyone is doing.The storyline between Cal and Jane is great and it was nice that they were the leading characters in this book, since they were one of the last couples to get married and have children.However, I expected the book to be longer like 'Promise, Texas' released earlier this year and to be more packed with the goings-on of each couple. I missed hearing about Grady/Caroline, Savannah/Laredo, and all the other Promise,Texas characters. But other than missing a few characters, I enjoyed the real-life situations and misunderstandings that often maneuver their way into solid relationships.And my favorite part was the truly romantic part that everyone hopes for in a romance novel, and that's Cal's realization that he can't live without being able to love and cherish his wife and children and that it's the small reassurances that mean the most. I recommend this book as a dedicated and totally committed Macomber fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Macomber books, but this was a disappointment. Short and boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great again i have tears
flossy49 More than 1 year ago
very easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JoyECS More than 1 year ago
Love of family and spouse bring the people back together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was just OK.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the entire series and found them very exciting. I'm always sorry to read the last of a series as I love them so much
RRPNC More than 1 year ago
Good book and great series!  Recommend Highly!!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book in the morning one day and once I started reading it I couldn't stop and finished it in about 5 hours. It was good to read about the characters again of Promise. Ms. Macomber has kept my interest in reading her books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've enjoyed the other 'Promise' books, but I was disappointed in this one at the portrayal of 'Dr. Jane'. This formerly sprited, educated woman has turned (IMO) into a doormat, and doesn't act very intelligently, and her husband, Cal, behaves rather boorishly. (I know their conflict is supposed to be the point of the story, but the characters just grated on me this time, instead of making me feel sympathetic.) I like most of this author's other writings, but, unfortunately, not really this one. It was nice to have another book about the Promise, TX. characters and see what they are doing 'now', but otherwise I wouldn't recommend this book, which is too bad, although I suppose it is an OK read (I did still read it) for fans of this series.
harstan More than 1 year ago
The schism in their marriage started when Cal Peterson hid from his wife Jane that he signed up to participate in the Promise, Texas Labor Day Rodeo bull-riding event. The next incident begins when Jane's mother calls to inform them that her father is ill. Jane accompanied by her three-year-old son and eighteen-month-old daughter travels to her California home t while Cal stays behind.

Meanwhile, Nicole Nelson, best friend to the woman who jilted Cal years ago, has returned to town. Nicole makes a bold bid to catch Cal's interests, having romanticized her image of him over the years. However, her machinations lead to a separation between Cal and Jane as each misinterprets the situation to fit their thoughts. Jane thinks Cal is having an affair while Cal believes his constant running into Nicole is a coincidence. With Jane in California and Cal in Texas, it seems that this relationship is over unless the duo comes to their senses.

The RETURN TO PROMISE will satisfy die-hard fans of the warm uplifting series and newcomers who will gain a taste of that mighty Macomber magic. Cal and Jane have appeared as secondary charcaters in previous books, so that their starring role feels like coming home. However, the plot is occasionally detoured by flashbacks that Ms. Macomber told in previous novels. Still, the latest book in the Promise series works because of the lead couple, who substantiates that men and women occupy different galaxies.

Harriet Klausner