Harlequin has a few Mother’s Day themed suggestions on this special day. These three book recommendations come from their Love Inspired line. Love Inspired is categorized as inspirational romance with stories where faith helps guide you through life’s challenges, and discover the promise of a new beginning. We are sharing exclusive excerpts that you or your mom might find heartwarming today. Happy Mother’s Day!
Hoping for a Father by Lois Richer
He’s the family she’s been missing. Will discovering a secret daughter change his mind about a family? When Drew Calhoun returns home to save the family ranch, he knows he’ll run into his ex-sweetheart, Mandy Brown—but he doesn’t know he’s a father. Working alongside each other stirs up feelings both thought long gone. But now that the truth’s out, Drew’s still not sure he’s father material. Can he open his heart to young Ella and forgive Mandy for keeping secrets?
“Happy Mother’s Day.”
“Thanks.” Mandy gulped as she accepted the gigantic bouquet from Drew, who stood on her doorstep. She wasn’t exactly sure how to deal with him these days. On one hand, she liked that they weren’t arguing as much anymore. It was far too busy for that.
On the other hand, she worried.
Drew seemed to go out of his way to spend more time with Ella, and from what her daughter let slip, some of their time together was spent discussing Ella’s early childhood. Mandy wasn’t happy about that, fearing Drew would ask her to fill in the blanks.
The last thing she wanted to do was go back, to feel the overwhelming guilt billow once more, to let him know she’d cost him much more than he knew.
“Can I catch a ride to church again?” Drew asked, one eyebrow arched. “Bonnie’s car is at the garage. New tires.”
“Oh.” Mandy swallowed. “Yes, sure. We’ll be ready in half an hour or so.”
“It’s potluck day again, isn’t it? Mother’s Day luncheon?” There was an odd gleam of anticipation in those dark eyes that suggested Drew might even be looking forward to going to church. “Are you planning on staying?”
“Yes. I couldn’t talk Ella out of it.” Only after she’d said it did Mandy realize how unhappy she sounded. “I was hoping to see Aunt Bonnie today, do something special for her.”
“We could still go.” He paused for a moment, thinking it over. “What if we took a cake along and had Mother’s Day tea with Bonnie and Ben? Ella would love it. She’s always up for a tea party. Ma would like it, too.”
“Sure. That sounds nice.” Was this the same Drew of the flowers-and-a-card-delivered-by-someone-else-but-never-in-person, who was planning something special for Bonnie on Mother’s Day?
“Close your mouth, Manda Panda,” he teased in a low, amused voice. “It’s not that unheard of.”
Yes, it was. For Drew. But Mandy didn’t say that because she didn’t want to cause the big grin stretched across his face to disappear. His smile was something to be cherished.
“I don’t have a cake,” she murmured.
“I made one last week and froze it.” He shrugged off her stare. “Every once in a while I like to bake. I also picked up some party stuff.”
“Sounds great.” A momentary image of Drew as he might have looked if they’d married, if he’d been there for Ella’s birth, filled Mandy’s head.
Would he have made a special Mother’s Day cake for her?
Like a thunderstorm, other memories of that day swept in and erased her fairy-tale notions. She was glad he hadn’t been there, glad he didn’t know what she’d done, what a terrible mother she’d been.
“Mandy?” Drew was staring at her. “You’ve gone white. Is something wrong?”
“I’m fine,” she said quickly, clinging to the door so her knees wouldn’t give out. “See you in half an hour. And thanks for the flowers.”
“Sure.” He frowned at her, unmoving even as she closed the door on him.
Mandy thrust the beautiful bouquet in a jug of water. Ella emerged from her room and demanded to know where they’d come from. That engendered unanswerable questions, like when would Drew want to be a daddy and was Mandy ever going to get Ella her very own daddy?
Exasperated and on edge, Mandy finally ordered her daughter to get ready for church. Ella’s face crumpled and tears rolled down her cheeks as she turned away.
“Oh, honey, I’m sorry.” Mandy gathered her precious daughter in her arms and held her close. “I didn’t mean to snap at you.”
“I didn’t try to do bad, Mama,” Ella sobbed.
“You didn’t do anything bad, sweetheart.” How could she have let her guilt overwhelm her enough to cause Ella pain? Mandy pressed her lips against her daughter’s wet cheek. “You didn’t do anything wrong. And you made me the most beautiful card. That was so sweet.”
“Drew helped me. He said I have the bestest mama so she should have the bestest card.” Ella smiled, her sad face gone. “He buyed that pink ribbon for me to use on it ’cause he said you always usta like pink. He tol’ me you were really good friends.”
“Yes, we were.” Mandy tried to think of a way to avoid the questions she knew were coming but couldn’t.
“An’ you don’t argue no more ’cause you’re really good friends now, right?” Ella asked, eyes sparkling. “Drew’s helpin’ you while Auntie Bonnie and Uncle Ben get better.”
“Yes.” Mandy smoothed her hair. “And he’s coming with us to church today so we’d better get ready. Because you know what today is.”
“Uh-uh.” Ella frowned, her forehead pleated. “Mother’s Day?”
“Yes, but it’s also your favorite.” Mandy’s heart brimmed with love for this sweet child. At least God hadn’t punished her by taking Ella.
“Potluck day! Again?” Ella whooped for joy at Mandy’s nod. Then she stopped and looked at her mother very seriously. “Are we takin’ sumthin’, Mama? Everybody but us always brings sumthin’,” she reminded. “We never stay.”
“Today we’re staying. And we’re bringing a pasta salad and a whole watermelon.”
“Yummy.” Ella rushed off to get ready.
Mandy poured herself another coffee and then walked outside to sit on the step while she mulled over her latest problem.
Her Hidden Hope by Jill Lynn
Asking for forgiveness is the hardest part. She once trusted him with her heart…but will she ever trust him with the truth? With only two weeks to renovate her family’s Colorado B and B, struggling single mom Addie Ricci can’t turn away help. Especially not when it’s her handsome high school sweetheart, Evan Hawke, who’s offering to pitch in. As they repair the B and B, Addie and Evan also begin rebuilding their relationship…until a secret from their past threatens to bring it all crashing down.
Evan waved, and Addie came their way. She wore a flowered dress and a jean jacket, and she looked young and pretty and out of his league. Refreshed even. Evan would like to think his help at the B & B had something to do with that last thing.
“Sawyer make a run for it again?”
“You know it. I assumed he was at least safe at church, and that he was somewhere in this room, so I wasn’t stressing too much.” She spoke to Sawyer. “Though I would appreciate it if you figured out how to stick around, bug.”
Evan and Sawyer were twins in that regard.
“Sawyer must have seen you from across the room and beelined for you.”
Evan grinned at him. “That’s nice. I like to see you too, kid.”
“Bel?” So the beeline wasn’t about him. It was about his dog. Figured.
“She’s at home. They don’t really like dogs in church.” Sawyer’s brow wrinkled at that. Evan understood the sentiment. If it were up to him, Belay would go every-where with him all of the time. She pretty much did. Except when he had to fly for trips. Then he had a neighbor who cared for Belay while he was out of town.
His attention returned to Addie.
“Happy Mother’s Day.” The soft smile on her face that had surfaced while watching Sawyer fell flat.
That had been a strange response. Except…the day might be hard for Addie because she didn’t have a great relationship with her own mom.
She went back to emotionless in an instant. “Yeah.
It’s just…that service.” She winced, then wrapped her arms in a self-hug. “I imagine Mother’s Day is hard for a lot of people.” Addie’s voice gained momentum.
“People like you, who’ve recently lost their mom. This is your first one without her. That has to be painful. I’m so sorry, Evan.”
He swallowed a ball of memories and hurt. “Thanks. I can admit the day took me by surprise.”
“Outside? I go outside now.” Sawyer’s request sounded good to Evan too. He’d be all right breaking out of here.
Were Addie’s eyes glistening? She sniffled and didn’t meet Evan’s gaze. Was it just the day upsetting her? Or something more?
“I need to use the restroom, actually.” Addie held open her arms for Sawyer, but his head shook with a vengeance.
“Outside.” The cute little terrorist stated his demands more clearly this time, as if they hadn’t caught them on the first round.
Evan laughed. “I’ll take him out. Go ahead.” His chin jutted toward the bathroom. Evan assumed Addie would refuse, but shockingly, she didn’t.
“Okay, thanks.” Head down, she scooted through people quickly, shoulders slumped like she was carrying the world on her back. Strange. Maybe Evan should follow and check on her. Or maybe his instincts were way off and she was fine. Everything Evan knew about women could fit neatly into the change compartment in his vehicle, so he stuck to the plan and took Sawyer outside.
A Mother’s Homecoming by Lisa Cater
The children she never thought she’d know. She’d put the past behind her, but her secret has just returned. Charmed by the two-year-old twins in her toddler tumbling class, Maggie Arledge is shocked to learn they’re the children she gave up for adoption. And when Bridger Hollingsworth—the uncle caring for the boys—needs an emergency nanny, she fits the bill. But with sparks flying between her and Bridger, can she let herself get attached…and risk exposing secrets from her past?
Since moving home, she’d reconnected with her childhood faith. Become a regular attendee. Just not on the second Sunday of May—Mother’s Day.
“You can do this,” she whispered.
She pushed off toward the toddler room. If she could get through today, she’d be home free for another eleven months.
Keep moving forward.
Her motto for the last three years. Not fixating on the event that changed her life forever. Not wallowing in the wrenching loss that changed her heart forever.
She rushed down the hallway. Disengaging the child lock on the half door, she slipped into the toy-strewn classroom.
A small girl concentrated on building a tower of blocks. A little boy pounded on the play workbench. She was thrilled to realize that the other worker was her close friend Callie.
Maggie stowed her purse in the cabinet underneath the sink. “Sorry I’m late.”
The very pregnant Callie McAbee smiled. “Just in time.”
With four-year-old Maisie, her husband’s child from his first marriage, this baby would make a sweet addition to their family.
Callie was a dear friend. Yet sometimes her radiant happiness scraped still-raw places in Maggie’s heart. Reminding her of all she’d never have.
Inexplicably, her thoughts flitted to the new police chief.
Callie nudged her chin toward the open door. “I think our numbers are about to double.”
Holding tightly to the hands of two toddler twin boys, an older woman hesitated on the threshold.
Maggie’s heart skipped a beat. But she pushed forward. “I’m Maggie Arledge.” She ushered them inside. “I don’t think we’ve met.”
Not identical, the twins did share the same big brown eyes. So, so adorable in their pint-size khakis and blue button-down shirts.
“I’m Wilda. We’re new in town and decided to visit GeorgeAnne’s church today.” The sixty-something woman with kind blue eyes brought the two boys forward. “My grandsons are almost two. Are we in the right place?”
“GeorgeAnne is my aunt.” She reached to take the navy blue backpack from the woman with the salt-and-pepper hair. “And you are most definitely in the right place.”