Message From The Author

Rachel Lee

Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

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Author's Message

The publication of JULY THUNDER is very exciting to me because it completes a trilogy near and dear to my heart. Problems between family members can be some of
the most difficult and painful challenges we face. They tear at
our hearts and souls. Thus in my Whisper Creek series, I wanted to broaden my scope to deal with more of the important relationships in our lives. I also wanted to take
a break from the usual romantic suspense, and see if I could create suspense from the troubles faced by families.

Of course, not all of us have problematic families to the degree that my characters do, but all of us at one time or another face trouble with a relative. We don't pick our families the way we do our friends. Our families sometimes have members that we would not choose to have over for dinner, or take a vacation with or, most especially, to live with. In our families, more than any other place, we have to learn the skills of compromise, so love can surmount personality clashes that would otherwise keep us apart. And of course, I wanted the
romantic relationship in each story to aid in the healing of the characters. Romantic love is, I believe, one of the most healing gifts we can receive.

In JULY THUNDER, Deputy Sam Canfield (who appeared previously in the trilogy) receives an unwelcome shock when his father arrives in town. Elijah Canfield is a preacher of the old schoola man who has thundered about hellfire and brimstone from the pulpit and at his son, a man who has sometimes judged Sam so harshly that the two of them have not spoken in years. Elijah has come to assume the pastorship of the Little Church in the Woods, and his very presence in town awakens a lot of old wounds for Sam. Not only has he cut ties with his father, but Sam is widowed. He is just beginning to emerge from his own private mourning when he runs into his father. Elijah had said some cruel things to Sam, the most memorable and hateful of them on the occasion of the death of Sam's wife. Sam believes he cannot
forgive, and initially Elijah does little to encourage him.

But then Mary McKinney,
a schoolteacher with her own
sad past, comes into his life.
She happens to live right across the street from Elijah's new home. Elijah gets off on the wrong foot with Mary, but she's
a patient woman who is willing
to tolerate himto a point. Mary and Sam embark upon
a "friendship," with neither of them ready or willing to consider anything else. Besides, Mary is troubled by Sam's relationship with his father. Can such an unforgiving man ever forgive
her past? But then a forest fire breaks out, threatening the entire valley and the Little Church in
the Woods. Sam must risk himself to save his father's churchand Mary's growing relationship with Elijah makes him wonder whose side she is on.

Sam is my favorite kind of hero: a troubled man who has been badly hurt by life. A man who remains strong and
caring despite ample cause for bitterness. Mary, too, has remained kind despite her wounds, but she's developed
a backbone of steel, one she will need if she's to deal with the two Canfield men and the fire that threatens them all.

And apart from that, I had a lot of fun researching forest fires and how to fight them. I learned so many fascinating things, which also hit close to home because I live in Florida and our drought has caused us some serious problems with fires. Unfortunately, I didn't get to use the new goo they've developed to spray on houses. It protects them from burning and can be washed off later with a hose! I hope I never need it. But now I have moved past forest fires, and am researching my next MIRA book. It's going to be a thriller, with lots of shadowy evil guys, and shadowy good guys, and a romance that comes straight from my heart! In the meantime,
I hope you enjoy JULY THUNDER.

Visit Rachel (aka Sue Civil-Brown) at or write c/o MIRA , 225 Duncan Mill Rd., Don Mills, Ontario, Canada M3B 3K9.

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