Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's all dads and the others who've stood in their places. @LeoRosanna

I'd like to wish a happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. I hope this day brings you much happiness and that you have a chance to celebrate with your loved ones.

Fathers mean so much to their children. They represent security, warmth and big bear hugs. They look out for us and make us feel protected.

Father's Day has always been bittersweet for me. It is not a date we celebrated in my house when I was growing up. I grew up without my dad for much of my life. My mother separated from him when I was 7 and that split eventually led to divorce. Unfortunately, it was the best decision for everyone. My father has always been a serious gambling addict and he just couldn't remain in our lives. My mom has always been both mother and father to me and my brother.

I know how important it is for children to have good male role models in their lives. Although my father was absent most of the time, I had some other great men around. After my parents' split, we went to live with my maternal grandparents. I have fond memories of my grandfather driving me to school and expressing encouragement when I tried something new. He meant a lot to me. I also had two uncles and they were fixtures in my life. My Uncle Stuart took me aside many years ago and said, "If you ever need to talk, you can come to me. I won't ever judge you." That meant so much. He passed away several years ago and I still miss him.

A lot of people have "unofficial dads," men who have stepped into the void. I'm sure these great men have been appreciated by the kids in their lives. This is a day when we need to celebrate those mentors, friends and advocates. These are the men who take our sides and who may have helped us through some of our darkest moments. I certainly give thanks that I had unofficial dads, especially because my own was unable to fulfill his fatherly duties.

Most of all, I give thanks for my mother. She did it all and sacrificed a lot for her children. I know how much my brother and I value her presence in our lives.

Today, make sure you call that special man who raised you ... or the ones who did the job for him.

One of my romance heroes is an amazing "unofficial" father. Meet Connor Church.

The shape shifters from Gemini Island's Ursa Resort have been through hell. In the battle with their enemy the Alpha Brethren, they suffered losses and are still dealing with the emotional aftermath. No one in this heroic group has emerged unscathed.

When mountain lion shifter Connor Church lost his best friend, he made a vow to protect his widow and small children. Of everyone on Gemini Island, he knows best how badly the young family has suffered.

Unfortunately, Elaine Gleason hasn't made it easy for Connor. Drowning in grief, she moved her family far away. When a medical emergency forces them to return, she is confronted by unexpected feelings for Connor, a man who has always been one of her closest friends. Her emotions send her into a tailspin when it becomes clear Connor feels the same way. They fight the attraction, tortured by their loyalty to Elaine's dead mate.

When a remorseless organ trafficker develops an obsession for Elaine, Connor's protective instincts emerge and he realizes his feelings run much deeper than friendship. The friends at the Ursa must do battle once more. But even if they win, can Elaine ever move past her grief and start a new life with Connor?

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