The Promise by Emma Heatherington | Blog Tour Extract | #ThePromise


A love story that will break your heart. Perfect for fans of Karen Swann and Lulu Taylor.

Some bonds can never be broken.

One terrible moment changes everything for teenagers Kate and David. Brought together during the darkest of times of the Troubles, a spark of hope is ignited between them – a hand held in the darkness, a promise whispered. Neither of them will ever forget those moments.

It’s another ten years before they meet once more, and their lives are now so different. The promise they made to each other on that fateful day still binds them, but now they have so much more to lose. Have they missed their one chance at happiness? They only way they will ever know is to risk everything to be together. Is that too high a price to pay for love…?

My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the tour invitation to celebrate the publisher’s paperback publication of The Promise. I hope you enjoy the extract below.


June, 1998


‘You look pale. You need to eat more.’

My tone is firm and disapproving but she shrugs and looks away as a familiar grip of despair clutches my stomach. She was always thin and small in stature, but every time I come here, she looks sicker and sicker, and I sleep less and less in return with worry.

‘It’s not as simple as that,’ she says, flicking back her wispy brown hair and avoiding my eye, playing with the fine gold chain around her neck. I’ve never known her without that chain, yet never took the time to ask why it was so special. Someday I’ll remember to. ‘It’s so hard to get used to the food in here but I’ll manage. You know what I’m like about my own cooking.’

‘Are you hungry?’

‘I’m not hungry.’

I don’t believe her, so I pile up a mountain of crisps, fruit and a Snickers bar from my oversized straw bag.

‘Your favourite,’ I whisper.

‘It is. Thank you.’

She grips my hand and squeezes it so hard it hurts a little, but I haven’t the heart to admit so.

‘I’m really enjoying the course,’ I say with a burst of enthusiasm, trying to brighten her up a little by shifting the focus from her eating habits in this hellhole to my nursing degree out in the real world. ‘I’ve just another few days before we break for summer, but I’ve the auxiliary job in the hospital to keep me going until we start again in September.’

‘That’s nice.’

I casually loosen from her grasp when I can and I play with the visitor’s card around my neck, the presence of it against my student’s blue uniform feeling as if it might choke me.

She nods and looks away, flicks her hair again, and I know what’s coming.

I know she can only absorb so much of what I tell her about real life before she quivers and breaks down in a flurry of panic and guilt and everything in between. She is like a hollow eggshell; a heartbreaking opposite to the fierce campaigner, the vocal activist and the role model I looked up to all my life.

‘That’s really . . . that’s really good to hear, love,’ she whispers.

Her lip trembles. Her chin wobbles.

‘And I still come home to the girls most weekends when I can,’ I remind her, keeping my end of the promise we made and talking so that she doesn’t have to. ‘We’ve developed a bit of a routine where I help out with the wee one to give Maureen a break, so nothing to worry about, just like I promised you. Nothing at all.’

She stares so hard at the table that separates us that her eyes might bore a hole in it eventually.

‘Thank you,’ she says. ‘What on earth would we do without you? Thank you, Kate.’

If someone was to sum up my life lately in a sentence it would be just this from her always: What on earth would we do without you? I sometimes wish they could do without me more, but I know this isn’t going to last for ever and for now we just have to keep going. We have to keep paddling towards the future when this will all be a distant memory and we’ll laugh at how good it feels to be normal again.

Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Ebook (April 2021) | Paperback (14 October 2021)
Pages: 400


Emma Heatherington has penned more than thirty educational short films, plays and musicals as well as eleven novels, two of which were written under the pseudonym Emma Louise Jordan.

Emma’s novel, The Legacy of Lucy Harte, was an eBook bestseller in both the UK and US.

She lives in her native Donaghmore, Co Tyrone, with her partner Jim McKee and their children Jordyn, Jade, Dualta, Adam and Sonny James.

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