Tag Archives: susan lute

Tule Author Q&A: Susan Lute chats about her childhood adventures, her passion for history, and her love of dragons!

Susan Lute decided to stop by the Tule Blog to chat about finding time to write, her inspiration for her stories, and how her childhood adventures fed into her becoming a writer.

Your childhood as part of a military family must have been quite an adventure. How has this nomadic lifestyle influenced your writing, particularly in creating bold and brave characters?

Up until I was 12, moving from base to base and the military was all I knew. I loved it. Except that I now have a family and home, I would still move to a new place at the drop of a hat. What that means for my heroes and heroines is that often they are both strong-minded and generally not afraid of what chance throws at them. One of them is sometimes former military and one doesn’t know how to stay in one place. And they have a lot to overcome to discover who they are and who they would be if they gave someone their heart. The thing they have to learn is that falling in love and putting down roots doesn’t mean they have to change who they are or that they have to give up everything. They just know themselves better. They find a way to be happy and when they do that, they can “bloom where they’re planted” (as my mother used to say).

You have a passion for ancient history and myth. How do these interests weave into your contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and romantic fantasy novels?

My passion for ancient history and myth shows up predominately in my fantasy romance (romantasy) stories. I’m working on a series about post-apocalyptic dystopian dragons set in the future where humans and dragons are struggling to survive against an evil that will do anything to take over what remains of their civilizations.

Being an award-winning author across multiple genres is impressive. What are the unique challenges and rewards of writing contemporary romance versus romantic fantasy?

I love this question because I don’t have a straight answer. I started out writing contemporary romance. My first published novel, Oops, We’re Married?, was a HOLT Medallion Finalist and Reader’s Choice Nominee. Logan: The Shadow and the Pen Dragon recently finaled in the HOLT Medallion Contest. The challenge? Writing a story that speaks to my heart and creative mind, then stopping long enough to enjoy completing the stories. The rewards? Finishing the story and finding that judges and readers love them as much as I do.

Dragons feature prominently in your bio. Can you tell us more about your fascination with them and how they inspire your stories?

It’s a funny story. Kind of. My agent was shopping around a women’s fiction novel I’d written—to this day it’s still one of my favorites—and it garnered a lot of interest. At the last minute, the market went out from under women’s fiction and the publisher decided not to buy. This is not an unusual story, just one of the things that can happen to a writer. Anyway, obviously I was disappointed, so I decided to give up contemporary romance and try my hand at something new—a story with my favorite hero (a mercenary), heroine (a thief), and favorite place (a bar and gathering place, in New Orleans). I hopped on a plane to visit my husband who was training in Oklahoma and started writing. Immediately, my mercenary was a dragon, the time—a future when civilization had been destroyed by an alignment of the solar system with the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Ever since dragons have been my thing. I have a lot of dragons in my house. Dragons are strong. They fight against evil for what is right. No matter what, they don’t give up. I will probably always write about them. Oh, and PS… yes I wrote more contemporary romances.

With such a busy lifestyle, how do you find time to write, and what does your writing routine look like?

I am a believer in making time to write. Not to say I’m always good at being consistent and not getting distracted, but I try. I’m a retired nurse and a morning person, so I write three hours a day (in the morning) and if I don’t get my pages in (my goal is three pages a day), or have things to do like Q&As ( ;-D ), promotions, marketing, and all the other things that go along with publishing a book, I come back in the afternoon for a few hours. I don’t write in the evening. That time is reserved for my husband.

Traveling is one of your favorite pastimes. Do you have a favorite destination that has inspired a story or character in your books?

I love to travel. One of my favorite places to go (besides Bath and Oxford, England) is the Oregon Coast. Angel Point is inspired by Cannon Beach, Oregon, and Strawberry Ridge, my current series, is inspired by Durango, Colorado. My characters are all made up. There may be an occasional aspect of, for instance, my mom, a tough cookie who made some mistakes, but always kept going. She never settled in one place for long.

Gardening and remodeling your house are quite hands-on activities. Do these hobbies provide a creative outlet for you, and do they ever influence your writing?

Gardening and remodeling are activities that let me breathe and take some time away from writing, especially my contemporaries. The creative juices need a break, you know? You’ll almost always find a serene garden somewhere in my books.

You mention that your house is finally starting to feel like home after thirty years. How has creating a home environment impacted your writing process and creativity?

My husband will be the first one to tell you that we moved twenty (or was it twenty-two?) times in our first five years of marriage. When we bought this place thirty years ago, every time I came home from a trip, I swore we would be moving “soon”. I can write anywhere, but I think it’s the search for home that has always surfaced in my books. Now that this place has become my unfinished sanctuary, I’m thinking it will be finished in the not-too-distant future.

Can you share a particularly heartwarming story or feedback you’ve received from a reader that has stayed with you?

This is my favorite review:

“Susan Lute is a beautiful keeper of the human heart. She explores the soul and leaves the reader certain life is worth the journey.” – Wendy Warren, Nationally Bestselling and Two-Time RITA Recipient.

This is why I write and remember these kind words every time I start a new story.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers who want to write across multiple genres like you do?

Marketing and promotion are hard work. Much harder, I think, than finishing a book. So choose to write, even though in today’s publishing world you will be expected to do much more to get every story you publish out there. Readers gravitate toward the novels that make them feel better. Sometimes, that means they are reading a lot of the same genre, contemporary romance, sci-fi, fantasy, etc. I read across all kinds of genres. My advice is just to write the story you are inspired to write. If it’s a series or in the same genre as your last book, that’s okay. But if it’s in a different genre, that’s okay, too. It’s the story that counts; the one that you want to tell. If your heart is pleased when you’re done, and if you’re lucky, you will gather an eclectic group of readers. For me, I couldn’t ask for more.

BONUS: What is one book that you would consider to be your comfort read that you will always reach for?

I have read Anne McCaffrey’s Crystal Singer trilogy three or four times. And despite seeing the movies more than a dozen times, I’m just finishing my third reading of the Harry Potter books (print copies are the best). All I can say is I love these books.

Tule Publishing July 2023 Releases (and Giveaway!)

Read more about our new releases for July!

GIVEAWAY: We will pick ONE winner to receive a digital book of their choice from the July releases. Comment down below saying which book you’re looking most forward to reading! Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. The winner will be randomly selected at the end of the month.

Book cover for Author Mia Heintzelman's book Trivialized Pursuit featuring illustrated graphic of couple.

Trivialized Pursuit by Mia Heintzelman (American Heart)

Release Date: July 6, 2023

Love and Games, Book 2

Trivia (n.) 1) little-known facts. 2) a quiz game that has Roxanne Sloane questioning everything.

Roxanne Sloane’s life runs on checklists. As co-owner of a game store fresh off the brink of closing, she’s focused on spreadsheets, market research, and keeping Love & Games in the public eye. When Rox agrees to a televised interview, she doesn’t expect to learn the store’s crowd-funding account was compromised or that the news station has arranged a complimentary audit. She definitely doesn’t expect comfort from her co-owner’s player brother.

Murphy Sikes is many things—a handsome doctor, an overprotective brother, and a serial dater. Beyond casual hookups, he can’t separate settling from settling down. So, when he visits the store and finds Rox with a smooth-talking auditor, Murph’s confused—his inconvenient attraction for his sister’s friend is joined by a not-at-all-brotherly tenderness. It’s definitely not jealousy when he invites her to trivia night…

With each battle of wits, their undeniable chemistry weakens their willpower to remain platonic. But Murph’s unconvinced he’ll check all her boxes, and Rox questions if he’ll ever settle down. Can they overcome their trivial hang-ups and finally win at love?

Sinclair Jayne's The Cowboy's Word book cover with cowboy leaning on fence.

The Cowboy’s Word  by Sinclair Jayne (Montana Born)

Release Date: July 11, 2023

The Coyote Cowboys of Montana, Book 1

The Coyote Cowboys each made a vow to a fallen comrade and have one year to carry out their task…

Local hero Remington Cross has only painful memories of Marietta, Montana. He may want ranch work, but he’ll take it anywhere but here. Still, loyalty brings Remy to Marietta determined to locate Jace’s godchild, ensure his physical and financial security, then close this chapter for good. But a smoldering encounter with a beautiful bartender threatens his timeline and heart, and when he discovers Jace’s godchild is at risk, he enlists the aid of the enigmatic beauty who’s more no-strings than he is.

Shane Knight is no stranger to secrets, and she can tell the haunted ex-soldier is hiding plenty. She’s finished trying to fix wounded bad boys, and after her broken engagement, her heart’s permanently off-limits. When Shane jumps boots first into a red-hot one-night stand, she never anticipates getting tangled up with a sexy cowboy and a child who needs them.

It’s a chance for love, family, and a fresh start for them both, but will secrets break the fragile thread of their new beginning?

Man and woman smiling on book cover for The Fake Marriage Proposal by Susan Lute

The Fake Marriage Proposal by Susan Lute (American Heart)

Release Date: July 13, 2023

Angel Point, Book 5

When a fake marriage fails, what comes next?

Following a disastrous relationship, successful divorce attorney Wynne Olsen is ready to put her past firmly behind her and start fresh in sunny California. But first she’ll need to help plan her sister’s wedding and quit her new position as Angel Point’s city attorney. A local hero’s Nordic good looks are a distraction she doesn’t need at any time, much less when she’s tying up loose ends on her way to a better future.

Former marine and single dad Brett Macauley is focused on raising his daughter and opening a veterans village. There’s no time left for courting love, but when his daughter proposes a fake marriage between him and Wynne in order to adopt her best friend out of the foster system, Brett thinks that’s a worthy reason to pop the question. Especially since he’s realizing Wynne is quickly winning over his heart.

Another failed fake marriage isn’t what Wynne wants, but she does believe in Brett. Can Wynne finally say “I do” to a happy future…one with Brett in it?

Purple cover with white text reading "Two Sides of A Secret" by Kelly Cain

Two Sides of a Secret by Kelly Cain (American Heart)

Release Date: July 18, 2023

Secret Ties, Book 2

Her family history has more thorns than roses…

Lauren Steele has always been grateful for her adoptive family’s love and support. So much so that she takes over the family floral business when her parents retire, despite her dreams of working on political campaigns. Instead of crafting clever speeches, she spends her days writing out romantic messages on behalf of her clients—a bittersweet reminder that she’s never been on the receiving end of one of these orders. She’s accepted her simple life, until the sexiest man she’s ever met walks into her shop looking for a job.

Ben Specter fixes problems for a living, and he’s been hired to investigate Lauren. His client is a wealthy, powerfully connected man running for governor, and Ben’s research unearthed a massive skeleton in the man’s closet—a secret older sister that his mother never mentioned. Getting closer to Lauren is strictly business, but the more time Ben spends with her, the more the lines between work and pleasure blur.

But when his deception is revealed, will Lauren be able to trust Ben and believe that what they shared was real?

Couple outside at sunset for Lara Van Hulzen cover of Until I Met You

Until I Met You by Lara Van Hulzen (American Heart)

Release Date: July 20, 2023

The Endicotts of Silver Bay, Book 3

When his parents move to Silver Bay, California, Dominic Endicott, ever the dutiful son, packs up his life and heads to the small town. He sees it as temporary, appeasing his mother and making sure his dad’s health is stable while Dominic keeps the family business running. Dominic planned on keeping his head down, focused only on working and spending time with his family. Until a beautiful brunette forces him to look up.

Local Chaplain and community center employee Rachel Anderson loves her little town that she’s called home for the past year. Silver Bay is a far cry from her life growing up in LA, and that’s perfectly fine with her. When she mistakes newcomer Dominic for her friend, Chet, her simple, curated life becomes complicated.

Thrown together to work on raising money for the town’s community center, the sparks between Rachel and Dominic are too strong to ignore. But Dominic represents everything Rachel has been running from, while Rachel has Dominic rethinking his entire life plan. Can these two bridge the gap between their worlds and give love a chance?

Girl in row boat on creek with fireflies at dusk for Blink Twice if You Love Me book cover by Laurie Beach

Blink Twice if You Love Me by Laurie Beach (Southern Born)

Release Date: July 25, 2023

Crickley Creek, Book 2

She’s determined for her rags to riches story to have a fairy tale happy ending.

Krista Hassell might be a member of the poorest, least respected family in Crickley Creek, South Carolina, but she believes deep in her soul that character counts. She’s finally curated the perfect plan—and boyfriend—that, together, will save her societal standing and rewrite her future. That is, until a family tragedy strikes and her mother goes off the rails…again. If only Krista could show her community who she really is beyond her old, crumbling shack on the marsh, she could find the inner peace she yearns for.

Army veteran Johnny Merrick came to Crickley Creek for a wedding and decided to extend his stay in the quaint town, renting the small house next door to Krista for the summer. As their friendship grows, Krista is forced to rethink the very relationships her plan needs to succeed—and yet it might be exactly what she needs to fully embrace what fills her soul most: the marsh she’s trying to escape.

But only if she makes her move before the fireflies disappear for the season…

Man and woman on cover in winter for The Great Montana Cowboy Auction.

The Great Montana Cowboy Auction by Anne McAllister (Montana Born)

Release Date: July 27, 2023

Cowboy, Come Home, Book 2

Montana cowboy turned Hollywood heartthrob.

The last time Polly McMaster missed a meeting, she got elected mayor of Elmer, Montana. This time, she gets to organize a cowboy auction to save a neighbor’s ranch—bringing her face-to-face with the one man she never wanted to see again.

Former local cowboy turned Hollywood star Sloan Gallagher, with his roguish grin, easy charm, and to-die-for good looks, is every woman’s dream. But he’s Polly’s nightmare. Now a widowed mom of four juggling two jobs, a daydreaming sister, a mother at loose ends, and way too many rabbits, for once Polly is grateful for all the distractions. Besides, Sloan won’t remember her anyway.

Forget Polly McMaster? Not a chance. Polly was Sloan’s teenage dream. Of course, he’s moved on now. Seeing Polly again will let him finally shut the door on the past…right?

When the bidding is over and the auction has ended, will they be able to turn their backs on each other? Or can love conquer the obstacles between them?

Tule Publishing February 2023 Releases

Read more about our new releases for February!

GIVEAWAY: We will pick ONE winner to receive a digital book of their choice from the February releases. Comment down below saying which book you’re looking most forward to reading! Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. The winner will be randomly selected at the end of the month.


The Valentine Project by Susan Lute (American Heart)

Release Date: February 1, 2023

Angel Point, Book 4

A Valentine’s Day promise sixteen years in the making…

Deputy Mayor Gwen Olsen has big plans to put her own stamp on the revitalization of Angel Point. She grew up in the charming coastal town, loves its quaint downtown, and she’s confident she’ll be voted mayor if her ideas bring in more prosperity.

But this Valentine’s Day, the only thing rolling into town is Carson Loman, her childhood BFF who made a pact with her, sealed it with a kiss, then moved to Chicago and ghosted her. Now his adopted teenage son needs stability, so he’s accepted the fire chief position—and the place on Gwen’s committee that comes with it.

She’s the same witty Gwen with a successful track record to go with it. His son’s welfare drives his future, but Carson’s still a solid rock to lean on. So are they merely caught up in honoring a childish promise to marry if they’re both single at 35, or should they seize this chance for a happier future than they could have ever planned?

Escaping Valentine’s Day by Christi Barth (American Heart)

Release Date: February 2, 2023

An Italian romance is on the menu, but is she ready to order?

Content creator Rory Hibbert knows Valentine’s Day is only fun for couples and chocolatiers. For singles like her, it’s a day of disappointment. And that’s why her new marketing agency client has arranged a tour of Italy crammed full of activities to distract from the holiday. This trip is a test for Rory—if it goes well, it will jump-start her new social media career.

There’s just one snag: the ex she never got over is also on staff.

Huck Cranshaw walked away from the love of his life for a huge opportunity on a cooking competition show. At least, that’s the excuse he gave Rory at the time—and he’s regretted it for five years. Cooking for tourists was supposed to be a stopgap between restaurant positions. Now it could be much, much more: a chance to fix the past.

But when an Italian prince catches sight of Rory, Huck’s not the only one vying for her heart this time. Can Cupid still steal Rory’s heart when the truth finally comes out?

Cupid, Cupcakes and Carnage by Kaz Delaney (Tule Mystery)

Release Date: February 8, 2023

Hart of Texas Murder Mysteries, Book 5

It’ll be a Valentine’s Day to celebrate…if she makes it out alive.

Brilliant baker Rosie Hart is busier than ever as she prepares for Airlie Falls’s famed Valentine’s Day Farmers and Craft Market. The last thing she needs as she races to frost her cashew nut cakes is the mysterious appearance of a dead body found on her new fiancé, Jonah’s, property. To add icing to the cupcake, another long-dead body is found buried underneath it. For goodness bakes!

Rosie vows to leave the investigating to the sheriff this time—she has enough to juggle with her baking business and her nonagenarian friends who are entranced by a new seniors dating app. But when rumors begin affecting Jonah’s construction business, enough is enough. Getting answers will mean retracing the unexplained disappearance of a woman ten years earlier—a woman who had a dalliance with a now-famous actor and is supposedly speaking through a clairvoyant.

Can Rosie solve the case in time to ensure this Valentine’s Day is remembered for all the right reasons?

Last First Kiss by Stella Holt (American Heart)

Release Date: February 9, 2023

Legacy of the Maguires, Book 1

He’s going to fight for her this time around.

Charlotte Maguire’s family is the closest thing to police royalty in her hometown. But not even the Maguires could protect her from the heartbreak of becoming a young widow. Now twenty-eight years old, Charlotte mourns the future she lost and has thrown herself into her work. Curating promotional campaigns is the perfect distraction until her gorgeous new boss Caleb shows up, forcing her dormant heart to awaken. Caleb and Charlotte have a past, and it’s impossible to ignore the sparks that are reigniting.

Caleb Kincaid is a survivor in every sense of the word. He’s no stranger when it comes to securing second chances, so when Charlotte Maguire happens his way again, he’s all in. Charlotte has loved and lost once already, and Caleb knows he’s no sure bet. But he also knows they could be great together this time around.

Caleb has always been a man of his word, but what happens when he promises a future he might not be able to deliver?

To Claim His Highland Bride by Gerri Russell (Muse)

Release Date: February 14, 2023

Guardians of the Isles, Book 4

Destiny claims they are mortal enemies, but their hearts say otherwise.

When Rowena MacLeod falls in love with the son of her family’s greatest enemy, her laird brother refuses to grant her hand in marriage until Marcus MacDonald can provide for his sister. Marcus, now penniless after being disowned by his clan, sets sail to seek his fortune as a privateer. Rowena waits faithfully for her beloved, but on the day Marcus returns, she’s kidnapped by a vengeful MacDonald.

Marcus lost many men while seeking his fortune, and he’s determined to make amends by sharing his wealth with their families. Believing he can now no longer marry, Marcus refuses to pay Rowena’s ransom, instead offering to take his cousin to Uamh Oir, the Cave of Gold, and relinquish any treasure found. When Rowena escapes, she insists Marcus marry her and take her aboard his ship. With their plunder, she’ll make a new life for herself far from him and her family—provided they don’t consummate their marriage.

As danger surrounds Marcus and Rowena, can they resist the love and desire that’ve been tangled up in family duty and betrayal?

Four Hidden Treasures by HL Marsay (Holiday)

Release Date: February 16, 2023

The Secrets of Hartwell, Book 1

Welcome to Hartwell, an English village full of cobbled streets, ancient curses, and buried secrets.

Reeling from the last few years of uncertainty, the villagers of Hartwell are adjusting to their new normal. When two new women separately move to town, they attract local attention and quickly realise Hartwell isn’t as sleepy as it appears.

Lady Lucy Hanley is beautiful, friendly, and struggling to preserve crumbling Hartwell Hall for her son as rumours circulate about her husband’s disappearance. Rachel Foxton feels trapped. She’s lived in Hartwell all her life and is exhausted from teaching during the pandemic, grieving her father, worrying about her mother, and battling heartache. Dr. Meera Kumar has always been the good girl, but as her sham marriage unravels, she seeks a fresh start for herself and her young son. And former London detective Jo Ormond has been transferred to Hartwell in disgrace. With her career in tatters, a quiet village in Yorkshire where everyone knows your business is the last place she wants to be.

Secrets run through this close-knit community like a loose thread—with just one tug, everything can unravel. As the women’s friendship grows, and a body is discovered, will the secrets of Hartwell bring them all closer together or tear them apart?

The Doctor’s Homecoming by Fiona Marsden (Holiday)

Release Date: February 23, 2023

With Love, From Kurrajong Crossing, Book 7

He left everything behind…including her.

Doctor Saul MacDonald left Kurrajong Crossing as a teenager, fleeing impossible living conditions. He left behind his mother, younger brother Alexander, and the girl he’d loved all his life. On the far side of the world, Saul made himself into a different person—hopefully a better one—but now family ties force him home.

Animals and plants are the only living things successful entrepreneur Trudie Weiss trusts unconditionally. Neglected as a child and forced into dangerous situations she couldn’t control, Trudie prefers to keep people at a distance. But the arrival of Saul “Sunny” MacDonald back in The Crossing tests the exposed armour around Trudie’s tender heart. Like it or not, they share a deep bond. And an attraction that glows white hot.

Trudie knows a wounded animal when she sees one. And if she gets too close to Saul, he will lash out. But as he confronts old relationships and digs into his painful past, is there room for Saul and Trudie to move forward and forge a loving future…together?

Someone Missing from Malapais Mountain by Kris Bock (Tule Mystery)

Release Date: February 28, 2023

The Accidental Detective, Book 4

It’s hard to walk away from the truth when you need a cane…

Former international war correspondent Kate Tessler had to trade her illustrious journalism career for her childhood bedroom after a brush with death almost took her leg. But when the editor of a local newspaper asks for her help, Kate is drawn back into her old world. A journalist covering a sprawling story of political corruption may have uncovered explosive new evidence, but she was run off the road in a hit-and-run accident. Gabriella, Kate’s mentee, has been injured and can only communicate by blinking yes or no to questions. Meanwhile, another reporter is missing.

The editor is short-staffed, with no one experienced enough to handle something this dangerous. Kate can never give up on the search for truth, so with her trusty senior sidekicks and new PI partner—her sister, Jen—Kate takes the case. Can a fifty-year-old journalist still recovering from a war injury survive the dangers of the Arizona desert long enough to catch a killer?

TULE AUTHOR Q&A: Susan Lute was inspired by the word “Dibs”

Susan Lute stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the fourth book in the Angel Point series, The Valentine Project!

Where did you get the inspiration for The Valentine Project?

The thing about story inspiration is that it can come from anywhere. And it doesn’t happen the same way for every story. In the case of The Valentine Project, the inspiration came from my own imagination and one sentence . . . a teenager saying to his dad, “Dibs.” I love a strong woman on a mission (Deputy Mayor Gwen Olsen) and a man who is not afraid to step into the middle of things and lend a hand (Fire Chief Carson Loman). When it became clear that best friends Gwen and Carson went to school together and at their senior prom kissed and made a pledge to get married if they were still single at thirty-five, I didn’t know and neither did Gwen that it would be sixteen years before she saw Carson again. Setting the story in Angel Point was a given. Flynn, Carson’s adopted son, and Grandma Adele and her friends, the Wild Card Ladies showed up unexpectedly, and well . . . from there, the story wrote itself.


What song would be in the soundtrack to Gwen and Carson’s love story? Why?

The song that would be the soundtrack to Gwen and Carson’s love story is My Valentine by Martina McBride and Jim Brickman. This song is about what love means and how the dream of love can last forever . . . “I will give you my heart until the end of time. You’re all I need, my love, my valentine.”


Did you need to do any kind of research for this book?

As it turns out, I do research as the story unfolds, which is to say I research all kinds of things for every book. Even after four books (I’m just finishing the fifth book in the Angel Point series), I’m still researching Angel Point. There’s always something new to learn about this sweet town. I sometimes wish I could live there, walk on the beach, hike in Ecola Park (but I digress). For The Valentine Project, I researched small town government, fire stations and the men and women who dedicate their lives to keeping their communities safe, and fun things to do in Chicago. Those were just a few trips I made to the internet library. 


What was your favorite scene to write and why?

When I write a story, every scene moves into the next like a movie that plays across the screen of my mind. It really is hard to pick a favorite, but the scene I like the most in The Valentine Project is when Gwen and Carson run into each other for the first time in sixteen years at Gabe and Taylor’s wedding (from Book One). Gwen is looking for her grandmother and I knew exactly what Flynn would say to his dad from the moment I sat down to write this book.


Gwen went looking for her grandmother. She found the older woman talking to the same man, a tall guy, who knocked it out of the park in his dark suit. His black hair was neatly combed; hands stuffed in his pants pockets as he chatted with Grandma Adele. A young, teenage boy loitered close, mimicking the man’s stance.

Gwen’s breath caught as she almost tripped over the sudden excitement sprinting alongside her pulse. The man (that was his son, she was guessing) was like a dream she didn’t know she had, come true. She stared at his back. He was . . . taller than average . . . strong . . . comfortable in his skin as he laughed at something the boy said. A man, it seemed by his interaction with the teen, who could be relied on to stay the course.

Grandma Adele waved her over. Mesmerizing dude turned at the same time. And Gwen’s heart crashed.

Carson Loman.

Shaking her head, she had to force herself not to run in the opposite direction. Stopping short of making a spectacle of herself, she straightened her shoulders and pasted on a smile. Hopefully it wasn’t too fake. 

As if she greeted a MIA ex-best friend everyday, she walked over to her grandmother and kissed the older lady on the cheek before facing Carson. She held out her hand. “Hello, Carson.”

“Carson and Flynn are my plus one and two,” Grandma Adele said, just a little too smug.

For a long moment, he stared at her, memories filling bright blue eyes she had tried so hard to forget but couldn’t. He took her hand, his grip firm and warm. “Hi, Gwen. You look lovely.”

This was not the boy she used to know. Life had etched lines on his face, broadened his shoulders, and—

“Gwen—” he pulled the teenager forward. “This is my son, Flynn.”

He had a son. 

“Dibs!” Flynn said in a stage whisper as he leaned into his dad’s shoulder, 

“Ignore this crazy kid.” Carson dragged Flynn close with an arm around the boy’s neck, scrubbing knuckles across his head. Flynn squirmed, but his father watched her . . . expecting to find . . . what? The girl he’d left behind? That wasn’t likely to happen. 


What are you currently reading?

Currently I’m reading The Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev, Sunrise With the Silver Surfers by Maddie Please, and I’m waiting for The Gentleman’s Gambit by Evie Dunmore to release. This will be Book 4 in her League of Extraordinary Women series, set in the 1800s, about four women and their fight for women’s suffrage. I can’t say enough good things about this series.


About the Author

Susan is an award winning author of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and dystopian romance. Like all children of military families, she spent her childhood moving from one duty station to the next. She likes to say she is first and foremost a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer, and novelist. These days, when not working as a Registered Nurse, she remodels her house and writes whenever she can.

Tule Author Q&A: Susan Lute gives dating advice!

Susan Lute stopped by to talk all about the first book in her Angel Point series, The Sheriff’s Baby Bargain!


Tell us about the town of Angel Point! What can you do and see there?Coast Under Cloudy Sky


Angel Point. I love the Oregon coast with its small, sleepy towns. Named one of the most romantic places on the Oregon coast (also Whale’s Head lighthouse is rated the 7th out of 100 best places to kiss in Oregon), there are lots to see and do in Angel Point. You can take a stroll down Warren Avenue and check out all the shops—Rose’s Bakery, Faith’s Attic, Ginger’s Coffee House, the Dragon Gallery. You can eat at The Chowder House and Old Mill Bar and Grill, see a play at the Old Town Playhouse. You can take a walk on the beach, fly kites, build sandcastles. My favorite, you can sit on a bench and watch the waves roll in around Shipwreck Rock while you let the sun warm your face and listen to the seagulls flying overhead.


Where did you get the inspiration for this novel?

Part of the inspiration for this story is a long-held desire I’ve had to tell a series of stories about strong women, women of honor, who make a difference, and the men who have what it takes to capture their hearts. I’m fascinated with how families come together, that sometimes family is the one you’re born into, and sometimes it’s the family you make as you go through life. The other inspiration for this book grew out of my career as a nurse. Back when I was a newly minted RN, I worked in labor and delivery. Later, after my first book was published, for a long time, I had this funny picture in my mind of a guy holding out a baby in front of him. The baby’s diaper slips off. And well . . . you know what happens next (I have an odd sense of humor). Like all the stories I write, there’s more. What if the man is an obstetrician who can’t have his own babies? What if his neighbor and best friend is a U.S. Marshal turned temporary, small-town sheriff, and has problems of her own and absolutely no experience taking care of babies? And what if a baby unexpectedly lands ‘on their doorstep’, so to speak. Set the story in an Oregon coastal town getting ready to celebrate its centennial (one of my favorite places), and you’ve got The Sheriff’s Baby Bargain.


CherriesIn The Sheriff’s Baby Bargain, Taylor asks Gabriel for dating lessons. What’s the best dating advice you could give someone?

Since I got married very, very young and don’t have much dating experience, I may not be the best person to pass along dating advice. But if I were dating in today’s world, I guess I would say, keep your dates simple. There’s nothing more fun than having a picnic by a lake on a sunny day. A coffee date in a quaint coffee shop is the best if you’re with the right guy. Be honest. Say what you mean. Don’t date just anyone. Know what you’re looking for in a date and/or partner. Pay attention to the littlest clues that show what kind of person he or she is. Like that old Kenny Rogers song, know when to walk away. Otherwise, laugh a lot and have fun. Expect the same from your date.


Where and when do you get most of your writing done?

I work a day job, Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 4:30, from home and have an office in the back where the Do Not Disturb sign is out whenever I’m back there. The rest of the time, I write at my writing desk in the . . . I’m not sure what to call it, what used to be the living room, but is currently being remodeled with the rest of the house (this week, Mr. L is cleaning out the attic). Anyway, all my book stuff, including the writing when I’m home, happens there. Everything is open and I can look out big windows, front and back. It’s very cool and will be even better once the construction is done. If I take a trip, which happens as often as I can manage when not sheltering in place, I take the writing with me.


What are you currently reading?

Mornings on Main by Jodi Thomas (Love it), and The Two Date Rule by Tawna Fenski (also super good).


About the Author

Susan is an award winning author of contemporary romance, women’s fiction, and dystopian romance. Like all children of military families, she spent her childhood moving from one duty station to the next. She likes to say she is first and foremost a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer, and novelist. These days, when not working as a Registered Nurse, she remodels her house and writes whenever she can.