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Buried Roots came to me on a phone call with my friend and critique partner, Deena Short. I wandered in the backyard, and I may have been in my robe, as she and I discussed the idea of a more intense romantic mystery than I’d tried before. We’d decided that Willow had to find her own grave, and we’d work backward from there. Thanks to Deena’s badassery, I was able to create the book I’d always wanted to read but never quite found. So many books with a mystery end up being a little too intense, bloody, and dark for my taste. So, this is for you readers who want a big dose of mystery without too much grit.

As always, thank you to my husband, whose big huge brain helps me make better scenes and story summaries. Also, for his dialogue help with statements like, “Who says that? No one says that.” Hey, he’s blunt, but he’s right. Bigger than that though, a huge thanks to him for being here for me, every day, year after year, supporting me a million and one percent. Dave, you are my biggest cheerleader, and I really don’t know how I would do it without you pulling me through this, even on the toughest days. To my daughter. Thank you for making me a mother, and being by far and away the greatest thing I have ever done. You are seriously the best kid ever, and I’m not just saying that because I’m your mom. You rock, empirically. All my love and thanks to my writing and brainstorming partner, my biggest fan, and my example—Mom. Thank you for all your help dialing up the suspense and endless ideas on how to handle scenes. Many thank yous to Dad, who’s always there via text, cheering me on. To Terry Ann, my step-mother, who encourages and supports me. And a big thanks goes to my mother in law, Philippa Strum, who’s encouragement and editing on all my books have helped bring them to the world. Thank you to my in-laws, Herbert and Sevana, who are always rooting for me, ready to step in to help when needed. To my sisters, Christina, and Paris who cheer me along.

To Deena Short who helped with everything (and do I mean everything) in this book, but especially for plotting, dialing up the mystery and tension, and making the characters come to life. Deena, I dedicated this book to you because there’s no one who will reading through my endless pages, countless times, more times than anyone should, like you. Thank you for treating my books like your own. Thank you for calling me and the time and talking me through all things books, but life too. You really are a superhero.

To Deb Lacativa, Brenda Lowder, and Jill Cobb. Deb, thank you for read every single dingle page, making sure my characters sound realistic and genuine and catching some critical things about horses, historical restorations. Also, for cheering me on! Brenda, who helped me figure out the end of this book. Thank you, Brenda, that was a brilliant day with a brilliant friend! Thanks to Jill, who told me with honesty that my original chapter one had to go, and she was right.

To Eliza Peake, for kicking my butt into gear with marketing. You help me daily, encourage me, and inspire me, and you’re kicking butt. To Tory Bunce, who helped me with the initial idea of this book, talking me through how to make it work. Ten years of friendship, baby! Thank you for always being there with your marketing genius to help me kick off each new book. To Grace Wynter, thank you for being there with all your advice and emotional support. Always! To Kim Conrey for sharing ideas and helping me maneuver this wild wacky world of self publishing. To Ciara Knight, for her expert self-publishing and marketing knowledge that she so generously shares not just with me, but the entire writing community.

Thank you to Tenesha Curtis and George Weinstein, who support me and the entire metro Atlanta writing community.

A gigantic thank you to my wonderful and amazing editors, Reina from Rickrack Books, and Marcia Migacz from Final Edit.

Many thank yous to my beta readers and advanced readers who champion through one book after another of mine, and help me get my words into the hands of more readers. I couldn’t do this without you!

To you, my reader, who makes this all possible. Thank you for making my dreams come true.

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