Tule Author Charlee James shares why she loved writing a good, grumpy and standoffish hero in her recent release Sworn to Honor

Hi Tule Readers! 

I’m excited to share the second book in the SWORN NAVY SEALS series, SWORN TO HONOR. It is no secret that I love a slightly grumpy, standoffish hero who discovers how much love they have to give when they meet the one woman who can unlock their inner sweetness. I also love a compassionate, quirky heroine who more than deserves her happy-ever-after. She might not need an alpha hero to look out for her, but that doesn’t mean she has to shoulder everything alone. 

As you delve into Julian and Sam’s story in SWORN TO HONOR, you’ll discover a few details that were inspired by real life.

Julian’s Mac & Cheese 

Julian’s love language shows he cares through his actions. He understands that Sam has been on her own for quite some time and is independent. Still, Julian does little things to let her know he cares, including making his killer mac & cheese recipe as the ultimate comfort food after Sam has a particularly tough shift at the hospital where she is a music therapist. My husband, Jamie, is the chef in our house (I set off the fire alarm if I get within ten feet of a kitchen appliance). His macaroni & cheese is a staple at Thanksgiving, especially for our family’s picky eaters.  

Try this recipe from Kitchen Treaty—you won’t be disappointed! 

“After taking the elevator to the fifth floor, Julian unlocked his apartment door, holding it open. She stepped inside, and the scent of something wonderful, like melted cheese and smoked paprika, hit her nose. Her stomach growled, and Julian chuckled. She liked hearing the sound of his laughter, even if it was elicited by what sounded like a greedy gut goblin growling in her belly.

After the lunch Julian had brought her at work, it was a wonder she was hungry at all. The sandwich had been such a nice treat. She rarely splurged to buy herself lunch, either going without or bringing a yogurt. Funds were truly tight right now when they shouldn’t be. She’d never get rich being a music therapist, but she was a hard worker, sometimes taking clients six days a week. It was her guilt that was pulling her down into a pit of financial ruin.

“What smells so good in here?” She breathed in the scents coming from the kitchen and slipped off her shoes before moving any farther into his space.

“Thought you could use some comfort food after the day you’ve had. I make a mean mac and cheese. “Her heart flip-flopped. Julian was going out of his way for her, from promising to call a tow truck to bringing her favorite sandwich and coffee to work. Now he was making her dinner. He grabbed two bottles out of the fridge, the glass clanking together as he pulled them out with one hand. Julian popped the tops off and handed her one. She wasn’t sure if he’d made a special trip for her preferred beer, but she had a feeling he didn’t keep Blue Moon stocked in his fridge—not that she did, either. It was another one of those special treats that she didn’t allow herself often.”


Throughout the story, many of the characters are brought together in some way by Jacob, who is introduced in the first book of the series SWORN TO LEAD. Jacob is Ransom’s (one of Julian’s Navy SEAL teammates) teenage brother who has spastic quadriplegia, the most severe form of cerebral palsy. Sometimes, the universe puts you on the same path with someone so special your life is forever changed for the better. Jacob’s disability does not define him, nor does it stop him from getting the most out of life. He’s fun, compassionate, and bold and his larger-than-life personality lends to new friendships wherever the teen goes. Julian is especially close to Jacob throughout the series. 

“By the time the rest of Jacob’s classmates and friends showed up, there were at least a dozen kids, some of them accompanied by parents, peppered throughout the house. She was with Julian in the kitchen, making more punch to go in the cauldron, while Brynn and Silver were facilitating games and prizes. Ransom was refilling the food and Halloween-themed snacks. Branch assisted anyone who needed a break in the sensory room he’d set up.

“Looks like this party is a hit.” Julian scooped up more orange sherbet and added it to the pitcher.

She was separating orange slices, tossing them in with the sherbet when the wooden board got too full. “I love that there’s such a mix of kids here. Jacob has befriended the neurotypical teens, those who participate in Best Buddies, and all his classmates.”

“And all of them are having a blast. Some people might knock the younger generations, but I don’t think one person could argue that we’ve ever lived in a more inclusive time. Things can always improve, but we’re moving in the right direction.”

“I agree.” They shared a smile, getting sidetracked, until Ransom clapped his hand against the doorframe, startling “startling them both.

“Enough googly eyes. Punch is almost gone out here, and once it is, the werewolves and vampires will descend on me.” Ransom disappeared with the tray of cobweb cupcakes.

“He’s having way too much fun.” Julian grinned, the beauty of it momentarily leaving her breathless.”

Julian’s Obsession with Space 

Growing up, my mom and I would watch Star Trek and Star Wars with a big bowl of ice cream. These memories are so special to me, just like Julian and his beloved twin sister’s fascination with all things space. 

“He didn’t like sharing his personal space, even for a short period of time. The place wasn’t anything special, but it was his, and although his décor might seem sparse, it would give others a glimpse into who he was. Pictures of him and his sister—the only person he loved aside from his teammates. Wall art of deep space. The Millennium Falcon and other Star Wars replicas. Some Navy trinkets and memorabilia people had given him over the years. Bringing a woman there was like having a piece of his personality on display, and he let people see only what he wanted. Had he invited Sam into his space because his subconscious recognized she was important or had it been the desire to see how she fit there? God, had she fit. Like she’d always belonged.”

Thank you so much for being part of the Tule family! For a chance to win a digital copy of SWORN TO HONOR, please share a comment or question related to the blog post below. 

With love,
Charlee James 

About the Author.

Contemporary Romance Author Charlee James was introduced to a life-long love of reading listening to her parents recite nightly stories to her and her older sister. Inspired by the incredible imaginations of authors like Bill Peet, Charlee could often be found crafting her own tales. As a teenager, she got her hands on a romance novel and was instantly hooked by the genre.

After graduating from Johnson & Wales University, her early career as a wedding planner gave her first-hand experience with couples who had gone the distance for love. Always fascinated by family dynamics, Charlee began writing heartwarming novels with happily-ever-afters.

Charlee is a New England native who lives with her husband, daughters, two rambunctious dogs, a cat, and numerous reptiles. When she’s not spending time with her tight-knit family, she enjoys curling up with a book, practicing yoga, and collecting Boston Terrier knick-knacks.

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