Friday, June 12, 2015

We Talk to Ourselves...a Lot! (Father's Day edition) by Loree Lough and Cerella Sechrist

As you can imagine, we’re both so excited about our latest Heartwarming novels, Harper’s Wish and Sweet Mountain Rancher, which will be available this September.

Like most romance authors, we developed a bit of a crush on our heroes, and thought you’d like to hear why. So we got them together—not an easy feat, considering their dedication to work and family—but we’re nothing if not determined!

First, we flew Cerella’s hero, CONNOR CALLAHAN, to Colorado for a much-needed respite from ‘chef-ing’ and running his restaurant, then we sent NATE MARSHALL, Loree’s hero, to Findlay Roads, Maryland—180 degrees of difference from life on the Double M. When we merged the discussions, we discovered that although Connor was Ireland-born and Nate spent most of his life on his family’s ranch, they have a whole lot in common…including natural ‘good dad’ traits. What better way to honor dads everywhere, than with a Father’s Day-themed blog post!

See for yourselves why we’re smitten with these handsome heroes:



Nate: So Connor, what was it like, moving from Ireland to Maryland?

Connor: I was just a kid when we moved. It was after my mam had passed on, and my dad was looking for a fresh start. It was tough, adjusting to a new home and school – a whole new country. But it really deepened the bond between me and my sister, Rory. We looked out for each other a lot in those first few years. But my dad was great about encouraging us to remember where we came from while still embracing our new roots.

You know, when I heard you were a Major League pitcher, I wondered how you made the transition from life on a family ranch and life in the big city….

Nate: Noises at the Double M consisted of cattle, mooing in the distance, or horses, nickering in the corral. It took a while to get used to the car horns and sirens, but I figured out that first night…New York isn’t the only city that never sleeps! I coped by reminding myself that I was living almost every boy’s childhood dream…playing professional baseball. (snickers) And by wearing earplugs at night! 


But what about you? You inherited the Rusty Anchor—love your Shepherd’s Pie, by the way—but if your dad hadn’t left you the restaurant, what would you have done for a living? 

Connor: It’s hard to imagine being anything other than a chef. I grew up around my dad’s restaurant. I was working there in my teens and then I went on to culinary school and opened my own establishment after graduating. I think, even if I wasn’t a chef, I’d still be working in a restaurant. It gets in your blood, and it would be difficult for me to leave it behind.


It seems we have something else in common. (frowns slightly) My wife left me when she realized how demanding my work was. And you lost your fiancé in that car accident… 

Nate: (nods slowly) Yeah, and that night changed me, big-time. 

Connor: But not permanently? 

Nate: (grins)  I thought the ‘never say yes’ mindset had stuck…until I met Eden…. 

Connor: I know what you mean. Harper changed me, too. It’s funny because at first, I was convinced she was a harpy. Back when she was still a restaurant critic, she gave me a rotten review on my first restaurant. But after she showed up at the Anchor, looking for work…well, let’s just say that she shook me up and got me to take a fresh look at things. 

Nate: Still, I bet it wasn’t easy, working with her after the things she wrote about you. 

Connor: You can say that again! (laughs softly) But she changed everything for me, including my relationship with Molly, my little girl. It’s always been tough, being a single father. I’m not sure how my dad did it, raising both me and my sister. Molly got into her fair share of mischief until Harper came along. It took some time, but now she wants to be just like Harper. 

Nate: Yeah, kids have a way of bringing the best—or the worst out in people. In my case, it took a dozen kids, each with his own unique problems. Don’t mind admitting it was scary at first, getting close to those boys—and letting them get close to my family. But they proved you can’t judge a book by its cover and that with a little fatherly advice and attention, we can reach even the toughest kids. Well, most of ‘em, anyway. 

Connor: Ah, you’re referring to Thomas.

Nate: (takes a deep breath) So what was your secret, man? I mean, how did you learn to trust Harper with Molly and your future?

Connor: In the end, Harper did something to prove to me just how committed she was to both me and Molly, as well as our future together. It still took some faith to recognize she wouldn’t abandon us like Molly’s mother did and to believe we could make things work, but I decided that Harper was worth that risk.

And you? What made you decide that ‘never say yes’ wasn’t working anymore?

Nate: Confession time. (chuckles)  I never actually followed that stupid rule. Gave it a good old-fashioned try…with unimportant stuff. But when someone I cared about needed help, I couldn’t help myself. I had to say yes. (slight pause) There was just the one time, really, when I wish I’d said no. When I gave my fiancé the keys to my sports car…. 

But enough about that! What are you doing on Father’s Day? 

Connor: Harper and Molly are being kind of secretive about it, but we’re having a special brunch menu at the restaurant to honor dads. It includes a full Irish breakfast, but Harper insists I take the day off and stay out of the kitchen. I think that’s going to be impossible, but I’ve learned by now that when she’s determined to have her way, I should just step back. (chuckles)

And you? 

Nate: The women in my family will use just about any holiday as an excuse to throw a party, so rain or shine, we’ll have a noisy hoedown in the Marshall party barn. Somehow, Eden convinced the powers-that-be that her boys would be better off living out here, on the Double M, full time. But shoo-eee, talk about red tape! They inspected everything, from our marriage license to the rooms I added to the ranch house to make room for them, to the boys’ toenails! But Lady Luck smiled on us, ‘cause we passed muster. 



How ‘bout you and Harper? Lots of changes in your living situation, too, I’ll bet! 

Connor: It’s definitely different to have moved out of the apartment above the restaurant and living in a real house for a change! 

Fatherhood has changed me, too. Being a single dad to Molly for so long allowed me some really precious one-on-one bonding with my little girl in her early childhood. Don’t get me wrong, though, I wouldn’t change having Harper in our lives for anything. But I’m glad I had the opportunity to grow so close to Moll while she was still young. It’s been tough because I lost my own mam when I was just a kid, but my dad set a good example, being a single dad himself. 

You’re not the boys’ father by birth, but I’m sure you know what I mean. 

Nate: Yeah, at least, I think I do… Never would have guessed it, based on the way I’d lived my life before Eden and those kids came into it, but you’re right. Fatherhood changes a man. I never gave a whole lot of thought to it, because my dad, grandfathers, uncles made it all seems so easy and natural. But seeing how much kids—especially teenage boys—rely on a man’s viewpoint and example, well, suffice it to say I’ve taken a closer look at it. 

For starters, saying ‘it isn’t just about me anymore’ has to be more than lip service. (shakes his head) There’s so much to teach them—and they’re downright eager to learn—everything respecting one another, to making sure Eden knows they’re grateful for the sacrifices she’s made for them.

I’ve learned a lot from them, too, like why it’s important to mean it when you admit when you’ve made a mistake, because even when it doesn’t look like it…they’re watching and listening, and they really do learn by example. (chuckling) But listen to me, preachin’ to the choir… 

Connor: Oh, and hey - (shakes Nate's hand) congratulations on tying the knot, mate! 

Nate: I guess we both deserve some congratulations on that score! We oughta get our gals together. I’m guessing they’d get along great. 

Connor: No question in my mind. (sits back, nodding) So what’s on the menu for the big Marshall clan Father’s Day bash? 

Nate: Oh, the usual…steak, burgers and dogs, Mom’s famous potato salad and my aunts’ cakes and pies. (winks) And a big ol’ kettle of my Five Alarm Chili. 

Connor: Five Alarm Chili? Now that sounds like a dish I might like to serve up at my restaurant. You’ll have to share your recipe. 

Nate: Happy to! I guess we’d better turn things back over to Loree and Cerella about now! 

*** 

We hope you’ve enjoyed a chance to get to know these two father figures! Don’t forget to try Nate’s chili (recipe below) and check out the release of both Sweet Mountain Rancher and Harper’s Wish, coming this September! And be sure to tune in next month on Friday, July 10, for the next edition of We Talk to Ourselves…a lot - Loree and Cerella have a great giveaway planned! You won't want to miss it!




About Loree:


With nearly 5,000,000 books in circulation, best-selling author Loree Lough's titles have earned numerous 4- and 5-star reviews and industry awards. She splits her time between her home in Baltimore and a cabin in the Alleghenies (where she loves to show off her “Identify the Critter Tracks” skills). The release of Once a Marine (#1 in the “Those Marshall Boys” series for Harlequin's new Heartwarming line) brings Loree’s number of books in print to 104! Loree loves to hear from her readers and answers every letter, personally. Visit her at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and www.loreelough.com!



About Cerella:

Cerella Sechrist lives in York, Pennsylvania with two precocious pugs, Darcy and Charlotte, named after Jane Austen literary characters. She has won various competitions and a scholarship for her writing, which include devotionals, full-length plays, and novels. She divides her time between working in the office of her family’s construction business and as a barista to support her reading habit and coffee addiction. Her novels exhibit her love for both the written word and food in fiction. You can find her online at her website www.cerellasechrist.com where she pens “Literary Fare: Fiction & Food”, a blog for readers.

58 comments:

  1. A great post, and such sigh-worthy heroes! Thanks for the recipe, too!

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    1. I just love seeing these handsome guys side-by-side! They are pretty sigh-worthy, indeed, Liz. :)

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  2. They are sigh-worthy, aren't they, Liz! :-) Here's hoping your weekend will be wonderful!

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  3. THIS JUST IN! Comment on this blog post and we'll add your name to our trusty winners hat! Tomorrow (Saturday, June 13), we'll have a random drawing...you could be the lucky winner of (standard-size) satin pillowcases, hand-sewn by our pal, Janice Caffey-Dowell, so you can dream about our latest hunky Heartwarming‬ heroes without mussing your hair!

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    1. ANNOUNCING THE WINNER OF THE "Comment on our blog post" DRAWING!

      JENNIFER...if you'll send your mailing address to me via Facebook Private Message, I'll get your prize into the mail, asap. (And don't be surprised if there's a little something extra in the package, too!)

      Thanks to everyone for all of your comments! You made an already-fun blog a whole lot more fun for Cerella and me!

      See you next month (Friday, July 17th) when we'll surprise you with a fun new post AND another cool prize-drawing!

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  4. Be still my heart. What great sounding reads. Would love copies. Talking to myself??? Sometimes the best conversations I have are with myself!! lol

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    1. I like to joke that if I didn't talk to myself, my vocal cords would get no exercise at all! (Don't tell Larry I said that; something tells me he would NOT agree! LOL) have a beautiful day, Robin! I've added your name to the winners hat, so check back tomorrow afternoon to see if you won those gorgeous pillowcases!

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    2. Dear Robin, you talk to yourself all you want! We're right there with you! :) Keep checking the blog the second Friday of every month - Loree and I will definitely be giving away copies of these titles as we get closer to our September release month!

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    3. Yes, we most certainly WILL give away copies of our September releases...and some other cool stuff, too! :-)

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  5. Okay you guys. No fair telling us about September books. I just received copies of the June Heartwarmings yesterday. Love what you've told us about both Sept releases. Can't wait.

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    1. Sorry, Roz! Our excitement was just 'uncontainable!' LOL I've added your name to the winners hat, so check back tomorrow to see if you won those luxurious pillowcases!

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    2. Loree's right, Roz, we can't help ourselves! (Can you blame us with such swoon-worthy heroes?) LOL Enjoy the June Heartwarmings - they look fantastic! But then, aren't all Heartwarming books fantastic? ;)

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  6. Loree. Cerella. I'm starting to get palpitations from this blog. Two more handsome heroes - however will we cope? Love the sound of both books - love to read about children and about bringing teenagers around. Such a challenge. And thank you for the recipe. As fate would have it, a friend just gave us two pounds of elk meat! Have to try the chili. Happy weekend, Everyone!

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    1. You'll LOVE the chili, Muriel! (Don't tell anyone, but Nate borrowed the recipe from my hubby!) Here's hoping your weekend will be wonderful! :-)

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  7. Loree. Cerella. I'm starting to get palpitations from this blog. Two more handsome heroes - however will we cope? Love the sound of both books - love to read about children and about bringing teenagers around. Such a challenge. And thank you for the recipe. As fate would have it, a friend just gave us two pounds of elk meat! Have to try the chili. Happy weekend, Everyone!

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    1. Sorry, guys! I am getting old and often repeat myself, but I don't think I did this - at least not deliberately!

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    2. LOL! No worries, Muriel, it's always a pleasure to see your comments, especially twice! It's perfect you just got the elk meat! I love cooking with venison, so I can't wait to try this chili recipe of Loree's. We hope you enjoy the books - any time I get to write in a "food inspired" setting, I'm happy!

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    3. Good things always bear repeating, Muriel...especially when they're as complimentary as yours is! You can double-post here, any time! Hugs to you!

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  8. LOL, and I was just wondering if I could buy elk meat at my local Safeway.
    Both books sound great!

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    1. LOL! I would guess it's a little hard to find, Pam! I don't think I'll be able to pick it up at my grocery store either. Glad I have some venison in the freezer to use! Happy Friday!

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    2. There ARE a few supermarkets that carry 'game meat,' but if yours isn't one of them, buddy-up to a hunter! (And just so you know, that recipe is just as good with plain old ground beef--the leaner, the better!) :-) Have a beautiful weekend, Pam!

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    3. Our local grocery does carry venison, buffalo, and such (though not elk.) Sadly, it's prohibitive in price! But with a lot of hunters in the family, I never run out of venison. And you're right, Loree, I'm sure this recipe would be delicious even with ground beef!

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    4. Yup...it's a great recipe, even when using 'just' ground beef. And it's just as excellent when you add ground sausage instead of the 'game meat'!

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  9. So glad to hear that others talk to themselves! I wander around my house, muttering a lot of the time--um, I mean plotting and listening to my characters speak to me. Ha. Love your two yummy heroes!!

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    1. The phrase I most often mutter: "Now, why did I come into this room?" LOL And you're so right, Leigh: When someone asks, "Are you talking to yourself again...?", we get to say, "Of course not. Hmpf. I'm plotting out loud!" hehehehe Have a wonderful weekend, m'dear!

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    2. I like to think writers can get away with talking to themselves because they have all these characters living in their heads. Or so I tell myself so I don't feel crazy. ;) I like the term "yummy" for our characters, Leigh! Thanks!

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  10. I'm raising teens and have to say a hero who can survive that is really a hero lol! And citrus in chili sounds brilliant! I haven't heard of that but it sounds perfect flavor-wise.

    And I just have to say...being on the topic of food...that both heroes look and sound delicious :). In fact, looking at your pics, they look like they could be brothers!

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    1. I thought the same thing about citrus in the chili, Rula! I'd never heard of it, but it sounds like one of those "secret" ingredients that just adds a whole new layer of flavor. I can't wait to try it! LOL, and I agree with your sentiments on our "delicious" heroes. Come to think of it, they do look like they could be related!

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  11. I hear ya, Rula...I keep trying to squeeze myself between Connor and Nate, but it's as though they're fused to the page! These guys DO have enough in common to be brothers! You should've heard these interviews...Irish and cowboy accents...Leigh is right: Yummy! :-) Hope you have a beautiful weekend, m'dear!

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  12. Nothing affects my emotions like a hard working man especially when they're good with kids! Hi Loree and Cerella!!!

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    1. You are soooo right, Jennifer! I'm a sucker for men with a strong work ethic and dedication to family, especially kids. Absolutely swoon-worthy, which of course, both these heroes are. (And I'm not just saying that because I'm biased! lol) Thanks for stopping in and reading their interview! :)

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    2. Hi, Jennifer...LOVE your wedding gown! You and I have something in common, for sure: It's hard NOT to admire strong men who are so comfortable in their own skin that they aren't afraid to show tenderness to kids, animals, family members...and the women in their lives. If they can rope 'n' ride AND wear boots and Stetsons? THUD. (That was me, fainting!) LOL Here's hoping you and yours enjoy a spectacular weekend!

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  13. Thank you! You had me laughing at the thud. 😀

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    1. The ? Marks are supposed to be smiley faces. :)

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    2. I kinda like those smiley face substitutes. Reminds me of the way my eyes look when I get UP from the THUD. LOL

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  14. Boy, what good-lookin' heroes! I think I'll borrow them for my stories. :-) Great interview. Can't wait to read both books!

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    1. Why, not borrow them, Patricia...we did! LOL Hope you'll enjoy both stories, and hope you and yours will enjoy a wonderful weekend, too! :-)

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    2. I have no idea how that comma got in there (after the Why). I didn't do it. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. Heh heh

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    3. Both actors just fit the roles perfectly, Patricia! I'm kinda picky about who I envision for my characters. Actor, Kevin Ryan, who I "cast" for Connor is Ireland-born and looks just like I imagine Connor would. And it helps that he's a pretty handsome fella. ;) Borrow away, my friend!

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    4. Ditto what Cerella said about actors that look like my heroes. Well, except that Nate is a Colorado born 'n' bred cowboy. I've always had a thing for blond, blue-eyed guys, slightly-tanned by spending hours outside, ridin' and ropin'. Cam Gigandet fit the role of Nate Marshall perfectly. And if you've ever seen him in the saddle, wearing a plaid shirt, jeans, boots and a Stetson, you'd know why! :-)

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  15. Love your heroes and that chili sounds yummy. My family loves chili on hashbrowns (it's our new thing!) and Shepard's Pie. I'll have to try both recipes soon :) Happy Friday, ladies!

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    1. Hash browns, huh? We'll have to try that, Amy! You'll have to let us know how you like the recipes! Wishing you and yours a wonderful weekend! :-)

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    2. And I loved Carol's and your recent post with your own heroes! We Heartwarmers are great at casting our stories! Chili on hash browns sounds mouthwatering. I'm going to try it! Thanks for the tip, Amy!

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  16. Okay, everything sounds good....the books, the chili (lemon and orange peel sounds interesting). These guys look like they could be brothers!! So many handsome heroes and so little time to read about them all. At least these are Sept. releases. Maybe I can play catch up by then. Thanks for the great post. (A private joke for Cerella....I think I know where that beautiful picture of Molly came from, LOL!! But of course I could ne wrong.) ( :

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    1. I know what you mean, Laurie, I never get to read as much as I'd like! Let's both try to use the summer to catch up if we can! I had the picture on my Pinterest account - I love pinning character-inspiration photos there. Where did you think I got it from??? ;) Miss getting to talk to you, my friend!

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    2. That's exactly where I thought you got it from because I saw that beautiful little girl on Pinterest. In fact I think she's on one of my boards too. I'm about to start a new Heartwarming book tonight and I'm looking forward to reading many more. Miss chatting with you too... I sincerely do. So glad you have another Heartwarming book coming out. Congrats to you!! ( :

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    3. Yes! You have that lovely board with some great children characters! I've probably pinned a few from you. :) Enjoy your latest Heartwarming read! I'm so glad you stopped by the blog to say hello. Hopefully, we can touch base more often than we've gotten to do recently! :)

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  17. Hey...no fair keeping secrets you two! LOL And that little bit of lemon and orange gives the chili a SLIGHT zing. Here's hoping you'll catch up with your Heartwarming stories, Laurie, and that your weekend is wonderful! :-)

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    1. Okay Loree Lough...I'm sorry for the secrets with Cerella. No more...LOL!!
      I seriously have to try that citrus zing in my chili; and I'm still working through those beautiful heartwarming books. Every time I see the little stack waiting for me I smile. About to begin one tonight. You'll are the best.

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    2. Nice to know you'll have a truly Heartwarming weekend, reading a novel from this fantastic Harlequin imprint! Enjoy, Laurie! :-)

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  18. Loree and Cerella, what a super-fun post! Guaranteed, I won't sleep tonight after seeing both these heroes! WOW. Who could wait till September to read their stories? Love the chilli, but love their great hearts even more. Congrats all the way around!

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    1. Aww, Catherine, this is such a sweet compliment, about loving our heroes' hearts. We appreciate you saying so! Thank so much for the kind words!

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    2. Oh but Catherine...if you sleep, you can dream of Connor and Nate...and imagine yourself in the heroine role! Maybe not if you make and eat that chili before bedtime, but... Hehehe! Have a beautiful weekend, m'dear! :-)

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  19. Loree and Cerella, what a super-fun post! Guaranteed, I won't sleep tonight after seeing both these heroes! WOW. Who could wait till September to read their stories? Love the chilli, but love their great hearts even more. Congrats all the way around!

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  20. Terrific post, ladies. I don't want to wish summer away, but I'm looking forward to your books!

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    1. I feel the same way, Kate! At least it will be something to look forward to at summer's end!

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    2. Ditto what Cerella said, Kate! We can 'fall' into autumn AND into some handsome hero arms at the same time! But you'll have to 'fall' for Connor, 'cause I've got dibs on Nate. mmwwoohahaha!

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