Today’s featured book is about high school friends who made a Love Pact to marry each other if they were still single at the age of 30. This Christian contemporary romance by Liwen Y. Ho is heartwarming and a great read any time of year.
I was inspired by a web series I saw on YouTube titled Single by 30. That series had the same premise of my story, which is that the main characters made a pact while in high school to marry each other if they were still single by age 30. I thought the idea was sweet and fun and had the potential for a lot of tension and romance.
About the book:
Two best friends. One little girl’s prayers. And a love pact that may be the answer to all of their Christmas wishes.
Haven Alexander used to believe in happy ever afters—before she lost her husband and became a single mom. These days, she keeps herself busy as the event planner at Freedom Ridge Lodge, helping to make other couples’ dreams come true. Her other job? Humoring Miah, her spunky three-year-old daughter, who has a dream of her own: finding herself a daddy. This task proves challenging, though, when Miah sets her sights on Haven’s childhood friend who comes home for a visit.
Jeremiah Gilbert left Freedom a dozen years ago with a bad reputation and an even worse regret: not confessing his love for his best friend, Haven. He has returned, however, older and wiser, and ready to rekindle their friendship—and more. There’s a promise on the line, one they made in high school, that he longs to fulfill. Winning over her daughter, Miah, is easy, but helping to heal Haven’s broken heart proves to be nearly impossible.
When Miah gets into a dangerous situation, these old friends must put the past behind them and find new ways to trust in each other and in the One able to meet their deepest needs.
Her breath caught in her lungs. It seemed like Jess couldn’t have a single conversation without mentioning her twin brother’s name. The guy Haven used to be best friends with and who was responsible for this wedding scheduling fiasco. Partly responsible, at least. She hadn’t seen or spoken to Jeremiah since they were eighteen, but she’d been following him on social media. And the day she’d scheduled December’s events into the computer happened to be the same day she found out he had gotten engaged. That bit of unexpected news had thrown her off so much, she’d gone and made a huge mistake that was coming back to bite her now.
If only she didn’t still care about Jeremiah Gilbert.
Haven decided to ignore Jess’s comment and instead asked the question that had been burning a hole in her mind lately: “Do you know if he’s bringing his fiancée to the wedding?”
“I think they might’ve broken up or will be breaking up soon.”
“Really? You think or you know?”
“It’s an inkling of mine.”
“You and your inklings.” Haven had learned long ago about the bond between the Gilbert siblings. She wouldn’t go as far as to call it twin telepathy, but there was something special that connected Jess and Jeremiah together. “What’s your inkling telling you this time?”
“That his love life’s not going so well. I thought he was finally ready to settle down with Gretchen, but he hasn’t mentioned her recently.”
“Oh yeah?” Haven tried not to sound too interested or excited at this news. She knew she’d never hear the end of it if Jess knew she’d had a crush on her brother since junior high. Had being the key word. She didn’t know Jeremiah anymore, apart from the pictures he posted online of his travels or of the gorgeous women—mostly redheads—that he’d dated over the years. He’d been fairly popular with the opposite sex and had even been named both Class Heartthrob and Class Heartbreaker. Meanwhile, she’d been voted Most Likely to be a Librarian.
It’d been nothing short of a miracle that they’d been friends. Haven chalked it up to the fact that they’d started hanging out before he’d morphed from a gangly, buck-toothed kid into a hot and hunky quarterback. Before he became more social, they, along with Jess, used to do everything together. During senior year of high school, however, they hung out less often when he started running with the wrong crowd. That was around the time Jess and Jeremiah’s dad had left their mom. Jeremiah had taken it hard and started partying and drinking and not caring about his grades. Haven and Jess had prayed every day that he’d find his way back.
Unfortunately, it’d taken a DUI three months before graduation to wake him up. Thankfully, no one had gotten hurt when he crashed his car into the church sanctuary one night, but it had shaken up his family and his future. Mrs. Gilbert moved the kids to California to escape their shame and Jeremiah decided to enlist in the Army to clean up his act.
Haven lost both of her best friends in one fell swoop, but she and Jess ended up reuniting at University of Colorado. They’d been inseparable ever since Jess moved back to Freedom after college. Jeremiah never returned, though, not even for a visit. Haven had lost any hope of seeing him again, especially when he stopped replying to her emails during his first deployment. She’d long stopped asking Jess about him, too, but she had to admit, she was growing more curious, knowing that she’d be seeing him at the wedding. She was about to ask for details about Jess’s inklings when something caught her eye.
Or rather, someone.
That profile looked so familiar. Thick dark brown hair, a straight nose worthy of a Greek statue, and a full beard. She couldn’t stop staring at the tall man standing at the registration desk ten feet away and marveling at how much he resembled Jeremiah. There was no way Jess’s twin would be here at the lodge … right?
Jess suddenly spun in place, her head cocked to one side. She scanned the area with narrowed eyes, looking from person to person, until her gaze landed on the same man Haven had spotted. “Jere?!”
The man turned around at the sound of her voice and sure enough, it was Jeremiah. His whole face brightened when he saw Jess, especially when she ran over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck. It was a sweet reunion worthy of a Hallmark movie.
Haven’s steps faltered as she watched her childhood friends hugging. She missed the old days when she’d be in the middle of their embrace. So much had happened, though, since they’d become adults, she didn’t know if their friendships could ever be the same.
But when Jeremiah looked over Jess’s shoulder and locked gazes with Haven, the huge grin on his face made her doubts fall away. It was as if they were eighteen again with their entire future ahead of them. For the first time in as long as she could remember, Haven felt hope stirring in her heart. It was a strange, unexpected feeling that made her want to run over to Jeremiah and wrap her arms around him.
About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author Liwen Y. Ho works as a chauffeur and referee by day (AKA a stay at home mom) and a writer by night. She creates sweet and inspirational contemporary romance infused with heart, humor, and a taste of home (her Asian roots).
In her pre-author life, she received a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Western Seminary, and she loves makeovers of all kinds, especially those of the heart and mind. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her techie husband and their two children (AKA munchkins).
Learn more about Liwen and also sign up for her newsletter to receive an exclusive free book, news about her upcoming releases, giveaways, sneak peeks and more at liwenho.com.