A Stella Review: Even the Innocent by D.W. Marchwell


Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Even the Innocent coverSalvatore Terranova is a teacher at the local high school. He used to live in the big city of Charlottetown, but never did meet the man of his dreams. Jaded but not defeated, Sal returns to Montague, completely unaware that the mysterious new neighbor in the old Victorian across the street is much more than he seems.

Having uprooted himself, Behr Kincaid settles in a small town, thousands of kilometers from everything and everyone he’s ever known. And with good reason, because he wasn’t born with that name. Behr always knew his brother was a criminal, but when Maurizio killed Behr’s husband of ten years, Behr gave up the life he had in order to see justice served. Despite his new identity, Behr knows the inevitable showdown will come when Maurizio tracks him down.

As Sal gets to know Behr, he realizes the man is lying about more than his name. While Behr wonders if there’s room for the truth, Sal wants to know who he’s falling in love with and must decide if it can lead to anything but a broken heart.

Even the Innocent by D. W. Marchwell was not the story I hoped for. I was waiting for something better. It’s a good story with good characters, main and secondary ones too (Sal’s family was amazing). The blurb sounded really good and the premise  caught my interest. The reason why I can’t give it more than three stars is that it didn’t deliver as I was expecting. Let’s start from the beginning.

Behr just moved to Montague, Canada with his two Shepherd dogs, Charlie and Lucy. He had to start a new life, in a new place, a new home and a new identity, after testifying against his own brother Maurizio, who killed Dino, a policeman and Behr’s husband for ten years.

Sal teaches physical educational and has a large, overwhelming Italian family but he is pretty much lonely. When he meets the beautiful man with redhair and cute dogs, he is soon attracted to him, but the man flees. The Fate will give Sal a second chance when the fearful man ends up being his new neighbor, Behr.

Behr is often on the edge, always watching his back for some revenge from his brother. Sal knows he is hiding something but he’s not worried about, he just wants to live this story, be able to make Behr smile again and show him how much Sal cares about him. I liked Sal a lot, he’s funny, caring and a great family man, just what Behr needs.

I was expecting more angst at the start but honestly the story is not heavy or depressing, cause the author chose to bring Sal and Behr soon quickly. So while I was waiting for something to happen, what I really got was simply a sweet story between two lonely men. It was a light reading, with some funny moments in it too.

I liked the story in general but I’d have preferred for the MCs to not be together so soon. In my opinion it was too early because Behr went through so much hurt.  I expected him to wait a little more before trusting someone who was basically a stranger with his secrets, that would have been better, especially when his own blood betrayed him in the worst way.  Through all the reading I had the feeling Sal and Behr didn’t realize the danger they were in. They acted too careless, foolishly. At the end the story resolved too simply, missing depth in the characters I had expected.

It is an okay reading, if you’re in the mood for something light. Since I thought I was going to read a different story, Even The Innocent disappointed me in some parts, definitely not the best book I read by D.W. Marchwell.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press       All Romance (ARe)     Amazon   Buy It Here

Book Details:

Published March 30th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ebook, 200 pages
ISBN13 9781632166487
Edition language English


Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review – Food for Thought ( Tales of the Curious Cookbook #2) by Amy Lane


Rating: 4 stars out of 5:

Food for Thought coverEmmett Gant was planning to tell his father something really important one Sunday morning—but his father passed away first. Now, nearly three years later, Emmett can’t seem to clear up who he should be with—the girl with the apple cheeks and the awesome family, or his snarky neighbor, Keegan, who never sees his family but who makes Emmett really happy just by coming over to chat.

Emmett needs clarity.

Fortunately for Emmett, his best friend’s mom has a cookbook that promises to give Emmett insight and good food, and Emmett is intrigued. After the cookbook follows him home, Emmett and Keegan decide to make the recipe “For Clarity,” and what ensues is both very clear—and a little surprising, especially to Emmett’s girlfriend. Emmett is going to have to think hard about his past and the really important thing he forgot to tell his father if he wants to get the recipe for love just right.

The second story in the new series, Tales of the Curious Cookbook, features tall, socially awkward, shy Emmett Gant who has not been able to act on his desire for another man since he broke up with Jordyn, his college roommate and first love, three years ago. On the day he had been planning to come out to his father, he discovered his dad had passed away alone at his home. Devastated, and unable to vocalize the fact that he is gay to anyone else because, after all, he tried to tell his father but he died first so now he can’t tell anyone, and he turns to the solution of dating a woman.

He’s a pretty emotionally damaged young man in want, in need, of a big family of his own. When he was a kid he was “adopted” by his best friend Vinnie’s large and boisterous family and that’s what he wants for his life now. Thinking that being married to a female is the key to that happiness, he’s been dating Christine, but he’s been unable to go further than to kiss her. Even his new best friend, Keegan, the cute guy who befriended him when he bought his home in a neighborhood not far from his workplace, discourages him from pursuing Christine.

Emmett needs to have clarity, to be able to see the truth about himself as others see him and Flora, Vinne’s mom, has just the solution. She presents him with a copy of an old handwritten cookbook, Recipes for the Heart: Mystical Meals and Dangerous Desserts, by Granny B. He can’t believe she’d entrust him with something that should be a family heirloom and tries to leave it behind, but he finds it in his car when he gets back home.

The key to Emmett’s issues is found in that cookbook with a recipe for beet porridge—the recipe for clarity. He and Keegan decide to make that recipe, and though the recipe itself is a disaster, the outcome is not. Both men find the truth and each other <spoiler> and unfortunately, Christine finds both of them in bed!</spoiler> But clarity indeed does ensue because Emmett pulls up his big boy panties and sets out to make things right—first with Christine, and then with his dad, and finally with Keegan.

This was a short, but very sweet and emotionally charged story. Hey, it’s Amy Lane—of course, there’s emotion! It amazes me that she can wrap characters around my heart as quickly as she does, and she fills in family relationships with a few quick strokes of her keyboard, yet they are rich in detail and serve as a strong support for the MCs.

I recommend this story to all lovers of M/M romance, but especially to those who love an emotionally damaged hero who finds the strength to accept love and move forward toward his HEA.


Cover Art by Reese Dante depicts a cat in front of an open cookbook. Emmett’s cat, George, is featured prominently in this cookbook story, making the cover perfect for this book.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press     All Romance (ARe)       Amazon         Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 92 pages
Published April 8th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press LLC
original title Food for Thought
ISBN13 9781632168597
edition language English
series Tales of the Curious Cookbook

Tales of the Curious Cookbook series:

6 works, 5 primary works.
Five fun and fanciful stories about a rather curious cookbook!

Authors and Their Stories:

RJ Scott – For a Rainy Afternoon (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by R.J. Scott
Amy Lane – Food for Thought (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Amy Lane
Marie Sexton – Lost Along the Way (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Marie Sexton
Amber Kell – Cookies for Courting (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Amber Kell
Mary Calmes – Just Desserts (Tales of the Curious Cookbook) by Mary Calmes
RJ Scott – Tales of the Curious Cookbook by R.J. Scott

In The Spotlight: Defined by Deceit by A.E. Via (excerpt and giveaway)


Defined by Deceit cover
Release Date: March 27, 2015

STRW In The Spotlight Header

A.E. Via is a author new to Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words.  Her latest novel is releasing shortly and we thought to give you all a sneak peak and a chance to win 3 copes of the story.  Check out the synopsis and excerpt from Defined by Deceit and check out Mika’s Review as well.  Further contest details are listed at the end.  On to Defined by Deceit by A. E. Via!

Book Details:Defined By Deceit Teaser 1

M/M Contemporary Romance
Edited by: Tina Adamski
Cover Art by: Jay Aheer
eBook, 300 Pages

Buy Links:      Amazon   AllRomance (ARe)  Barnes & Noble



STRW Author BookSynopsis

Life isn’t always fair, and that’s something that Llewellyn Gardner knows about first hand. His life was on the fast track until one night of extreme passion changed everything.

Now eight years later, he’s still living with the aftershocks of that night. Everywhere he turns or runs, there’s another reminder. What the hell do you do when you try to drown your demons only to find out they can swim?

Shane Smith, Jr. owner of Smith Construction, could see the emotional turmoil within his new employee — it’s why he hired him. There was something about the gorgeous, misunderstood man with the overly expressive eyes that came to their small town with a past no one was willing to overlook. Shane could see the good in Llewellyn, and those eyes of his were a clear window to his soul. Shane wasn’t going to let the man live a future of solitude because his past had been plagued with deceit.

Llewellyn wasn’t sure what to think about Shane. After years of protecting himself from being tricked twice, he was now faced with worry again. What would happen to him if Shane didn’t believe his truth, and walked away? Llewellyn wasn’t sure he’d be able to survive being left alone. Again.

00000 Defined By Deceit Teaser

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt
A guy with black hair and a blond Mohawk wiped the bar top with a rag as he asked him, “What can I get you?”

Llew nodded his head in the direction of the taps. “Budweiser.”

“Regular or tall?”

“Tall.” Llew watched the man pull his drink and set it in front of him. He looked up at Llew for a split second before dropping his eyes. “Four fifty. Or do you want to start a tab?”

Setting a five-dollar bill on the counter was Llew’s answer. He turned and looked out over the dance floor, watching the men move about in the most carefree nature he’d ever seen. Men free to live and do as they wanted. Not a problem in the world. What the fuck am I doing here? Just as Llew was going to down the last of his beer, a small hand brushed over his bicep. He looked down at the fair-skinned fingers before looking up into beautiful green eyes.


Llew looked at the man who was standing close enough for him to smell his sweet perfume. He wasn’t as young as lot of the guys there. Probably early thirties. He wore a preppy gray and green sweater and blue jeans. His smile was wide and genuine as he slowly rubbed his hand up to Llew’s shoulder.

“My name is Gene. My friends and I saw you come in, and you know what I said as soon as I saw you?”

Llew continued to watch this man, not responding to his questions.

“I said I thought you could use a hug. You look so serious. My friends said I’m crazy, but I have a gift for reading people.”

You don’t want to read my story.

“What’s your name? I’ve never seen you here before.” The guy had moved in even closer to Llew’s side, and was practically whispering in his ear so he didn’t have to yell over the annoying techno music blaring from the five thousand speakers all over the building.

His eyes had seemed to slip shut on their own as he turned his head into the silky skin brushing against his beard. “Llew,” he said, hoarsely.

“Lou… just Lou.” The guy looked at him disbelievingly.

“Llewellyn.” He clarified, his eyes scanning over the lithe chest beneath that sweater.

“Oh. Okay. I gotcha. So how about it, Llew?” Gene brought both hands up and draped them on Llew’s shoulders. “Can you use a hug?”

He let the man pull him closer; his long arms completely over his shoulders and linked behind his head. Llew had to admit it was a really nice hug. It wasn’t the type you’d give a stranger. It was intimate and suggestive. Llew brought one hand up and slid it around the guy’s trim waist. “There. How’s that feel?” Gene’s lips were pressed against his ear while he talked, his hot breath fanning over the side of Llew’s neck. Instead of pulling back and ending the hug, Gene kept him wrapped up. “You’re a very handsome man, Llew. Do you hear that a lot?” Gene chuckled. “Probably all the time.”

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

A.E. Via is still a fairly new author in the beautiful gay erotic genre. Her writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to spicy to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children, her two pets, a Maltese dog and her white Siamese cat, ELynn, named after the late, great gay romance author E. Lynn Harris.1450800_225532627620034_2097788792_n

While this is only her seventh novel, she has plenty more to come. So stalk her – she loves that – because the male on male action is just heating up!

Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak on upcoming work, free reads, and where she’ll appear next.

Contact/Follow the Author at:

STRW Spotlight Contest Header

Contest:  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.   Ebooks provided by the author.  A. E. Via is  offering our followers a giveaway of three free copies to three winners.  To enter to win, leave a comment below and an email address where you can be reached!  Contest ends May 4th, EDT at midnight.

In the Spotlight: Charlie Cochrane Interviews Jonty, Lessions for Suspicious Minds and More!



Charlie Cochrane’s Cambridge Fellows Mysteries always rank high on my Rec Lists.  Cochrane’s writing is delightful and concise, her narrative perfect for the times along with their conversations and her characters, all of them, including Jonty, Orlando, and so many others are so well rounded and endearing that you mark every minute you are with them as time well spent.  The author can make you laugh, pull you into history and make you weep with despair.  But don’t take my word for it, pick up the series and make your acquaintance with Orlando and Jonty!

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Charlie Cochrane Interviews Jonty with Memorable Results!

Do you have a nickname?
Not a nickname as such but Orlando seems to find no end of names to call me. “Idiot” is one of his more affectionate ones.

What do you wear when you go to bed?
Silk pyjamas, of course. Doesn’t everybody?

Where do you live?
Orlando and I share an updated Tudor cottage on the Madingley Road, in Edwardian Cambridge. It’s tidy without being austere and homely without being over fussy. He says my study is a mess, but I’d say his resembles a monk’s cell!

What is your most prized everyday possession?
It’s a little toffee tin I keep doodahs in. It was one of the first presents Orlando bought me and, while the toffees are long gone, the tin is there to remind me of our early days together.

What’s your date of birth?
Must a gentleman reveal that? Let’s say Queen Victoria was still on the throne.

What’s your first memory?
My sister Lavinia taking me for a walk and collecting horse chestnuts. Then Papa teaching me how to play conkers.

What did you like best at school?
Rugby. Beating the living daylights out of each other in the cause of sport.

What is your favourite memory from teenage days?
Discovering Shakespeare and realising I’d found my metier in life, learning about him and his plays.

What’s your profession?
I’m a college don, at St. Bride’s in Cambridge, specialising in Tudor Literature. I have to admit I have a reasonable private income, inherited from my maternal grandmother, so I don’t need to work, but I’d go dotty if I didn’t! Have to exercise the brain cells somehow. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I enjoy sleuthing so much, as well.

What are the rest of the people at St Bride’s like?
My fellow “fellows” at St. Bride’s are fairly typical of their breed. Red hot on their subjects but maybe a bit out of touch with reality. (Much as Orlando was before I came along, accidentally sat in his chair and turned his world upside down.) Dr. Panesar is my favourite of the rest. Completely loopy, totally brilliant and has a heart of gold.

What’s your favourite play?
“Twelfth Night”. What was going on in Shakespeare’s mind when he wrote that? And “As You Like It”, of course, especially with a hero called Orlando.

What would be the perfect gift for you?
Oh, I have no idea. Something I didn’t realise I wanted or needed until I was given it?
What kind of weather do you most enjoy?
The sort of clear, sunny day you only get in an English spring or autumn, when the sky is a perfect blue.

What is your favourite drink?
White wine. Or a really good cup of tea.

What’s your favourite animal? Why?
It’s a glyptodont. More specifically the one in the Natural History Museum. My parents used to take me there as a child and I was fascinated by him. I told him all my problems. (Now I have my very own fossilised, crabby, armoured animal to listen to my worries. Orlando.)

Do you have any pets? Do you want any pets?
No and no. Orlando’s jealous enough of the car. If I lavished attention on a dog or cat he’d be unbearable.

What habit that others have annoys you most?
Orlando when he’s over thinking things. Especially when he’s thinking madly about something during a moment of high passion. In the dunderheads (by which I mean students) it’s when they’ve not completed their work on time or to the best of their ability.

What kind of things embarrass you?
People spouting off about things they don’t understand, especially people who spout Old Testament law and pretend that’s Christianity. Hypocrisy in general.

If you could change the way you looked, how would you be then?
No different to how I am now. Although I wouldn’t mind being a couple of inches taller.

Who was the first person you had sex with?
A fellow student called Richard Marsters, when I was nineteen. It was nice, although I don’t think he loved me as I loved him. I suspect I was just another of his good causes he’d taken pity on.

What is your deepest, most well-hidden sexual fantasy?
A gentleman would never reveal that. And anyway, Mama might read this and she’d be appalled.


About Lessons for Suspicious Minds

Buy It Here at Riptide Publishing…


In the innocent pre-war days, an invitation to stay at the stately country home of a family friend means a new case for amateur sleuths Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith. In fact, with two apparently unrelated suicides to investigate there, a double chase is on.

But things never run smoothly for the Cambridge fellows. In an era when their love dare not speak its name, the risk of discovery and disgrace is ever present. How, for example, does one explain oneself when discovered by a servant during a midnight run along the corridor?

Things get even rougher for Orlando when the case brings back memories of his father’s suicide and the search for the identity of his grandfather. Worse, when they work out who the murderer is, they are confronted with one of the most difficult moral decisions they’ve ever had to make.

STRW Author Bio and Contacts

About the Author

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:
Blog: charliecochrane.livejournal.com/
Twitter: @charliecochrane
Facebook profile page: facebook.com/charlie.cochrane.18
Goodreads: goodreads.com/goodreadscomcharlie_cochrane

STRW Spotlight Contest Header


Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a title from Charlie Cochrane’s backlist (excluding Lessons for Survivors.) Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 25. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win!  Must be 18  years of age or older.  Prizes provided by the author and Riptide Publishing.

Jump Back Into the Past with R. E. Nelson, His Memories Of Vietnam, And Palace Dog (guest post and giveaway)


Final--Palace Dog

Palace Dog by R. E. Nelson
Goodreads Link:

STRW In The Spotlight Header

We have R. E. Nelson, author of Palace Dog, here today to talk about his memories of Vietnam and his story, Palace Dog.  It’s one of our highly recommended reads, and you can find our review here.

 R.E. Nelson on his Travels in Vietnam….

In spite of having spent a considerable amount of time in Viet Nam over the past twenty years or so, including living there pretty much full time for 4 years, I have not really traveled through as much of the country as you would think.

My first time in Vietnam, 1971-1972, I was in the Air Force and assigned to teach English at the Armed Forces Language School in Saigon. Because the war was still going on, we were restricted to Saigon, so my travels then were only within the city limits. But it was an exciting time and became the basis for the setting of PALACE DOG.

In 1991, travel to Vietnam opened up and I began a series of regular (generally annual) trips back with Vietnamese friends. In 1991, the US still did not have diplomatic relations with Vietnam, and travel there, for me, was very restrictive. If I wanted to leave Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon’s new name) and go to other places, I needed both an official government guide and a driver—even if I was traveling with Vietnamese friends who were now US citizens and were also returning to Vietnam. The restrictions on them were not as stringent

Those first few years, as travel restrictions eased, I generally traveled by train or car, mostly from HCM to Nha Trang, a beach resort area about 225 miles away. The infrastructure was not good, so the trip would take over 8 hours by train, which was narrow gauge and slow, with aging upholstery and no air conditioning. It was nearly as long by car, driving over very rough, two-lane highways. It was interesting seeing the countryside when I went by car. It felt like a steady stream of people and small villages or towns the whole distance. I never felt alone. But the roads were not repaired and sometimes the movement was slowed to a crawl for long sections. So once I got to Nha Trang, I wasn’t keen on getting out of there until my month was up and I journeyed back to HCM. Besides, there was plenty to see in the surrounding countryside that consisted of wide expanses of rice paddies and tall coconut palms. Local trips to nearby villages could be made by taxi—the fare bargained for in advance. If it was close enough, cyclos were available, pedaled by hard working Vietnamese happy for the fares they could get. I spent time walking the streets of the city, lounging at the clubs along the beach, and eating the wonderful food prepared in even the simplest of restaurants. Staying put was a good way to relax and unwind from the tensions in the day-to-day life at home.

Flying was possible, and I did that once, from HCM to Nha Trang. It was a small Soviet built propjet that had bald tires and steam that poured from the air vents when the engines were turned on. It took several hours and was very rough. I only took that flight one time. After that, I relied mostly on the train or car.

In the mid-90’s, diplomatic relations grew and the country opened up. Traveling was easier, but the infrastructure was slow in catching up. I still relied mostly on train or car getting from one place to another. I used Nha Trang as home base. The farthest north I got from Nha Trang was Hue-Danang-Hoi Anh. They were interesting places to see historically, but again the difficulty of travel was wearing.

Now the air system within the country has been revised and updated and it is much easier. The primary fleet is made up of newer Boeing aircraft, but the local airports have given way to regional airports so there’s still the necessity of traveling by car (taxi usually). But the roads are definitely better now. There are also large and comfortable air conditioned buses that run regularly from HCM to points north and south. And the trains now have classes that have updated rooms and air conditioning, even though the times for the trips are about the same.

Visiting Vietnam as it was transitioning from the war years was interesting. Returning again in 1991, I found things much the same as they had been in 1972, and as I describe in PALACE DOG. Living there more recently, actually made me nostalgic for the Vietnam of the early 70’s that I discovered as a young Airman assigned to teach English. Now the Internet is widely available (though certain sites are blocked by the government). And everyone has a cell phone. Bicycles have given way to motorcycles and automobiles. Motorized cyclos have all but vanished. Change is constant and sometimes for the better. But it just doesn’t seem as much fun now.

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond


Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook & Paperback   Amazon

STRW Author BookSynopsis

In April 1975, as the government in Saigon is falling, Michael Andrews prepares to make his way back to Vietnam to find the love he was forced to leave. 

But Michael’s journey begins four years earlier. He joins the Air Force to keep out of the Army and out of Vietnam, but his first assignment is teaching English in Saigon to members of the Vietnamese military in an Army program called Palace Dog. 

As an artist, and a man, before his time in Vietnam, Michael found life lonely and unsatisfying. In the midst of war, Michael searches for direction and meaning. He ultimately finds love and hope with Thao, a young Vietnamese art student, only to have their already uncertain future wrenched from them when he is pulled out of the country. 

For Michael, his return in 1975 is inevitable and without question, though the outcome he hopes for is anything but assured.
Categories: Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance

STRW Spotlight Book Excerpt

The cyclo had bumped across the bridge, following the curve in the road, then moved quickly down the final straight stretch, past houses and shops, past rows of trees and walls and occasional open spaces, past vendors who lined the street’s edge selling gasoline in glass bottles. Motorcycles, Lambretta mini-buses packed with people, cream-and-blue Renault taxis, pedestrians with baskets and boxes—all crowded the street. Noises, smells, and smoke came from everywhere, and as the driver increased his speed, I smiled, gripping the metal frame tighter and pushing slightly with my feet as the moist wind rushed around me.

Speeding through the streets of Saigon, wearing the green Air Force-issued jungle fatigues, my life of a year ago seemed unreal.


STRW Author Bio and Contacts

Author R. E. Nelson
R.E. Nelson was born in Texas and raised in Southern California. He has been writing for as long as he can remember. One of his earliest recollections related to writing is winning an essay contest in sixth grade–something patriotic about the American flag. When he travels, his preference is staying in select areas for an extended period of time and learning about that place. He has lived in both Vietnam (twice, actually) and Saudi Arabia, and also spent time in Egypt, South Korea, Shanghai (his only China visit thus far), and Dubai. Now he is happy to call San Francisco home.

Where to find the author:
Twitter: @RENelson13
Pages or Words: 206 pages

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Contest: Enter to win Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Palace Dog’. Link and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

Rafflecopter Code:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour Dates: Mondays April 6 – July 20:


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