A Cowboy’s Christmas Promise
By: Maggie McGinnis
Releasing November 18th, 2014
In a captivating novel spiced with holiday magic—perfect for fans of Rachel Gibson, Susan Mallery, and Molly O’Keefe—a rugged Montana man mends a Northeast girl’s jaded heart.
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 writes the kind of characters that keep you smiling long after you turn the page.”—USA Today bestselling author Katie Lane
“A writer with a talent for both humor and emotion.”—New York Times bestselling author Lori Handeland, aka Lori Austin
“McGinnis comes out of the chute with force, grabs your emotions, and gets a death hold on your attention to the last page, where you sigh and wish there was one more chapter.”—New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown
“Heartwarming and sweet, Maggie McGinnis is definitely an author to watch!”—USA Today bestselling author Tina Leonard
Maggie McGinnis is the author of Accidental Cowgirl and Driving Without a License, which was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award. A former high school English teacher, an accomplished musician, and a certified black belt, she lives in New England with her family.
“I’m still pretty sure you hate us just a little. I’m not big on adorable. I’ll tell you what, though. You can make it up to me by introducing me to a rugged, hot cowboy. You must have some new ones this year, right?”
“I don’t know, Hayls. Last time the three of us were together out here, we managed to get lost, scare up a bear, and almost get hit by lightning. And that was before the barn fire. I think we’re solidly in the bad-risk category as far as any of the guys here are concerned.”
“But you’ve been living here for six months! Haven’t you cleared our names by now?”
“I thought I was making progress, but I heard Decker on the phone to his insurance agent yesterday, just being sure all of the ranch coverages were up-to-date.”
“Shut up. Not true.”
Kyla laughed. “I wish I was kidding. As much as he’s happy to have you and Jess back out here, I think he’s also a little terrified.” She winked and reached over to squeeze Hayley’s hand. “I’m so excited that you’re here! It’s been way too long!”
“You say that now . . . “
Hayley turned to watch the landscape fly past. To her right, rolling grasslands stretched out for countless miles, green now tinged with late summer yellows and oranges. To her left, the greens melted into the blues and purples of the mountains in the distance. Just like last summer, she was awed by the sheer . . . big-ness of the landscape.
“Good Lord, it’s gorgeous out here.”
Kyla smiled. “Did you forget?”
“I think maybe the beauty of it got overshadowed by all that other stuff you just mentioned.”
“So this year we can just sit back, relax, and have fun, right? No disasters?”
“I’m totally on board with the fun part—but I’m not sure how much sitting back and relaxing there’ll be. We’ve got a full slate of guests, and then there’s this little wedding shindig next weekend. My to-do list is about three miles long. I have no idea how you and Jess and I are going to get it all done.”
“Simple. We rip the list in thirds. You take the top, Jess takes the middle, and I take the bottom. And then I sit on the cabin porch and drink lemonade while you guys run around, because obviously, the items on the bottom of the list aren’t all that important anyway.”
“Kidding! We’re on it! Jess and I are ready to go full-on cowgirl for two full weeks. You worry about the wedding, and we’ll worry about everything else.” Hayley felt her nose wrinkle. “And please don’t ruin this moment by saying something ridiculous like ‘That’s supposed to comfort me?”
“If Whisper Creek could afford the empty cabins, we would have blocked the week and enjoyed some peace and quiet, but no dice.” Kyla let her hand flutter out the driver’s side window, smiling even though wedding stress had to be taking hold by now. “But don’t worry. I’m determined not to go all bridezilla on you guys.”
“If you do, we’ll just send you out on a scavenger hunt . . . with a bad map.”
Kyla laughed. “I did manage to save you your favorite cabin. You have a fireplace and a claw-foot tub.”
“Heaven. I love you. Now all I need is a hot cowboy to cuddle with in front of that fireplace.”
“Or in that tub?” Kyla raised her eyebrows, grinning.
“I’d settle for the fireplace at this point, even though it’s August.”
“You could always come for Christmas.”
“You’ve mentioned that—a couple hundred times.”
Kyla got a dreamy look in her eye. “There’s just nothing like Whisper Creek at Christmas.”
“I think one trip per year to cowboy heaven is probably dangerous enough.”
Kyla signaled for the Carefree exit and headed down the ramp. “You never know. Whisper Creek does strange things to people. Did I ever tell you about those Native American stories I was reading this winter?”
“Uh-oh. Is the water under some ancient curse or something? You don’t believe that stuff, do you?”
“It’s not cursed. And no, I don’t. But a lot of the old folklore mentions the creek, like they thought there was something magical and mythic about it.”
“Stop it.” Kyla laughed. “Maybe they used it as a love potion. I’m going to mix some in your lemonade, just to see what happens.”
“As long as you send a hot cowboy over to help me drink it, I’m fine with that.”
Suddenly Hayley spotted a group of men on horseback in the far distance. “Ooh! Look! Real ones!” She craned her neck as they passed, drooling just a little bit over the way their bodies hugged the horses.
It was definitely good to be back in Montana.
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