A MelanieM Review: The Shepherd and the Solicitor by Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

When a storm is brewing, taking shelter could be the most dangerous move of all.

The Shepherd and the Solicitor coverOne careless, public sign of affection cost Daniel Pierce’s lover his life at the hands of a hate-filled mob. Grief-stricken, Daniel retreated from society to a sheep farm in the wilds of the north. Years later, Gregory Tobin erupts into his solitary life.

Sent to confirm the existence—or the death—of the Pierce family’s lost heir, Tobin isn’t sure he’s found the right man. The gruff, shaggy hermit calling himself Jacob Bennet bears little resemblance to photographs of the younger Pierce. Tobin needs more time to study his quarry.

With lambing season in full swing, Daniel grudgingly admits he could use an extra hand. Through a long, exhausting night, they parry back and forth as Tobin probes closer and closer to the truth. And something beyond casual attraction simmers between them.

They come together in a crash of desire, but ultimately Daniel must overcome the terrors of the past to reconcile the man he was with the man he’s becoming—a man capable of loving again.

In The Shepherd and the Solicitor, authors Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee effortlessly bring 1883 Yorkshire to life, allowing  their readers to sink into many levels of society and culture of that age through their novel and characters.  A lover of historic fiction, especially historic romance, that blurb attracted me with its wounded withdrawn main character and the man sent to find him and return him to society.  The authors delivered not only on the promise of their synopsis but gave me a story that let me feel a part of a small community struggling for survival on the edge of a moor. Do I love this story?  Oh, yes I do!

Let’s start with the characterizations first.  Its the death of Daniel Pierce’s lover at a mob that the impetus for his  flight.  Wrong place, wrong time, one tiny gesture that gets noticed by the wrong person and a mob is ignited.  Daniel barely escapes with his life, his lover perishes as a police officer watches.  Emotionally destroyed, Daniel abandons everyone and everything he associates with his lover’s death and disappears.

When the story picks up the Board of Directors of the Pierce family firm is looking for the lost heir,  He must be found so the company’s majority shares Daniel owns can be either sold or handled for control of the firm.  The job is given to a young solicitor Gregory Tobin, a middle man in his firm,  He considers this job tedious but intends to carry it out responsibility and throughly.  And that and a slight clue has lead him to the wilds of Yorkshire, muddy roads and an almost inhabitable inn.

With each character (primary and otherwise), Devon and Dee set up their portraits complete with the correct set of clothing and footwear appropriate to their stations and lifestyles, their speech patterns matches their professions (lost and current), and even the books left scattered around Daniel/Jacob’s cottage is perfect for the times and education of the man in question.  The authors don’t hit us over the head with their research but stash it away in the narrative in bits and pieces so we notice it as we would looking around someone’s room or house.  It feels natural and believable.

A element I delighted in was the flocks of sheep and sheep dogs being raised by Jacob.  The reader along with Gregory get quite the introduction into the rough life of a shepherd in 1883, from the exhaustion, pain, and joys of lambing to the bare minimum existence of Daniel/Jacob’s cottage. Through lively, vivid descriptions Gregory’s initiation into that life becomes ours as well, those passages making us laugh and often sniffle.  When Gregory names a triplet of lambs after three solicitors in his office, his reasons and descriptions will sending you giggling.  And when a ewe rejects her lamb and they desperately search for a solution, its feels raw, real and urgent .

That brings us to the element of romance.  If you like your romance to be quick, hot and heavy, then this is probably not the romance story for you.  Devon and Dee have made Daniel’s pain and trauma over the death of his lover palpable.  That event caused him to totally withdraw from the world as he knew it, becoming someone totally different overtime.  And time is what it takes for Gregory to start to break through those barriers and keep within the social restraints of the 1800’s respectability. Theirs is a slow build towards friendship and a romantic relationship.  Its a tight balancing act, one that Daniel has lost once and is not sure he is brave enough to reach for again.  I was deeply engaged in this romance and loved every slow step they took towards each other.

I even loved the ending, maybe the denouement was stretching it a little but by that time, I didn’t care whether it was as realistic as the rest of the story.  I loved it and I loved the solution that the authors came up with for Daniel and Gregory, that was close to perfection.

I highly recommend this story. Even if you normally don’t read historic romance, you will love this couple and their story of love and devotion.  Its heartwarming and beautifully written.  I may not ever want to have lived in the 1800’s but through the writing of Summer Devon and Bonnie Dee, I  feel as though I have visited there for a while.  And had a wonderful time.

 

Cover artist Lea Kaye Suttle cover is lovely, a little old fashioned.  I do wish there were some sheep on it.

Sales Links:  Samhain Publishing | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 161 pages
Expected publication: September 29th 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
ASIN B00YX4QH1A
edition language English

 

A Stella Review: Confessions Of a Wild Heart by Kade Boehme

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Rating: 3. 75 stars out of 5

Confessions of a Wild HeartUS Army PFC Jase Emery, on leave in Germany, sees Ase Ramirez for the first time with a camera to his face. Ase’s wild child ways provide a welcome distraction for Jase. But their weekend of fun ends abruptly when Ase’s conservative family catches them. Through email, Ase and Jase are able to keep the link open. But that too comes to an end.

Jase was never able to live up to his parent’s expectations like his brother was. He didn’t stay and work the family ranch, or marry. He saw the world. His return from serving in the Army changed nothing, he wanted to be free to live his own life. But the death of his father and his mother’s failing health force him to come home, hide his bisexuality, and live a life in the closet as a local Sheriff Deputy so he can take care of his family. This was to be his life… Until Ase returns.

After his family caught Ase and Jase together, Ase worked hard at getting the heat off himself. His occasional thoughts of Jase and their amazing weekend dwindle as life and family take the forefront and fear drives Ase to make huge mistakes.

When Ase and Jase come face to face again, it isn’t easy. Insecurities, and a hurt that have only grown with time make it hard to see the future.Can their friendship blossom into something more? With Ase’s wild side reappearing from the shadows and major trust issues, can he and Jase, with huge obstacles of his own, learn to forgive, move on, and find a peace they both so desperately want… together?

I read Chasing the Rainbow https://scatteredthoughtsandroguewords.com/2015/06/16/a-stella-review-chasing-the-rainbow-by-kade-boehme/ on May and last week this new one and I realized I’m struggling a little with Kade’s work lately. Confessions of a Wild Heart was a good book, definitely better than the  last one, but I’m used to get something different from the author.

I’m not talking about details in the writing’s style or the plot or the characters, on the contrary. When you are going to read the lovely and hot story between Jace and Ase, you will meet great characters (both main and secondary), well defined, real and “defective” just like us. The development of the love story was real too and it gave a huge strength to the book, putting it on a higher level. The writing was good, done in a way to make the reading flow easily. Everything was right.

What did I miss? I have to admit, at the end of the book, I wasn’t able to rate it and I had to think about it for some days. It was good but it lacked that something I later realized is a mix of the emotional part and the chemistry among MCs. Still Confessions of a Wild Heart is full of feelings, not all of them positive, but they were there with hot and sexy scenes. I read the feelings, but I couldn’t feel them and the chemistry, almost if there was screen between me and the story.

That’s why I’m not giving it the full 4 stars (that to me means I loved the book) to a book that probably would have deserved a little more than that but I expect from more Kade.

Cover art by Natasha Snow caught my attention before I read the blurb. It’s Natasha’s and it’s really amazing. And the model is hard to ignore.

Sales Links:  Amazon

BOOK DETAILS

Published July 20th 2015 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc
Kindle Edition, 338 pages
ASIN B0127TCGXK
Edition Language English

A Paul B Review: Broken Circle (Sirius Wolves #2) by Victoria Sue

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Broken Circle coverSeven months have passed since we last checked in on Aden, Blaze, Connor and Darric.  The Orion’s Circle is expecting their first child.  The second book of the Sirius Wolves series opens up with the Aden in the process of delivering their bundle of joy.  When the child comes, Blaze is surprised that they have a daughter instead of the son that he thought they would have.

Shortly after Beth is born, a new terrorist group is trying to destroy the joint wolf human military training that Blaze and Senator Mason have been trying to set up.  Their first attempt, kill the Joint Chiefs in Washington DC, fails.  Their second attempt takes place in Denver.  This time the group succeeds.  The group Winter Circle claims responsibility.  Blaze knows that the terrorist group is named in such a way to implicate the werewolves.  He hopes that it is just a coincidence that a human group would choose that name.

Meanwhile, Doctor Madden is back in town.  He has gotten information that the Orion’s Circle has had a child and wants to try to duplicate the results in humans.  He first kidnaps Blaze thinking he is the reason for the child.  When Blaze is unwilling to divulge any information, Madden then sets about kidnapping Aden to give Blaze incentive to talk.  When Connor and Darric arrive to rescue their mates, all hell breaks out.

I enjoy this story.  Blaze is complex character.  He is the Supreme Alpha but cannot seem to do anything right when it comes to Aden.  What Blaze sees as protecting his mates, Aden sees it as overbearing sometimes.  Blaze’s idea about hiring a couple of nannies is a prime example.  Darric and Connor are there to try to explain to their mates what the others motivations are.  With the plot twists that occur in this book, it will be interesting to see how this relationship moves forward in following books.

The cover design by 3 Rusted Spoons shows the Omega Aden shirtless in jeans standing in front of a starry sky.  It is a decent cover for the story.

Sales Links:  Dark Hollow Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details

Ebook, 127 pages
Edition:  English
ISBN:  978-1-942176-92-3
Published:  July 29, 2015 by Dark Hollows Press

Series:  Sirius Wolves

  • Orion’s Circle (Sirius Wolves #1)
  • Broken Circle (Sirius Wolves #2)

A BJ Review: Astounding! by Kim Fielding  

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Rating:  4.5 stars out of 5

Astounding coverCarter Evans’ dream was to found a magazine that would change the world. He’s been editor-in-chief of Astounding!, a popular spec fiction magazine, for many years… but things aren’t going well. Now Carter lives in a dumpy apartment with little funds, few friends, an estranged family, and dreams dying with a magazine. Depressed and drinking too much, he snaps one night when he receives yet another terrible story submission from a writer named J. Harper. In a drunken haze, he sends out a scathing rejection letter.

As regret settles in, Carter sets out to find the writer and apologize. J. Harper turns out to be John, a sweet man who resembles a ’50s movie star and claims to be an alien. Carter doesn’t believe John’s delusions, but that doesn’t keep sparks from flying between them. The two lonely men form a powerful connection and Carter invites him along on a road trip with two other friends. But Carter is in for a surprise when he discovers that John isn’t as delusional as he’d thought.

A fun and unusual read, with some nice touches of humor and the well-written, flowing prose that I’ve come to expect from this author. The story drew me in very quickly and while there were a couple sections where it read slow for me, these didn’t detract too much from an overall excellent story. The characters were wonderfully drawn. Carter wasn’t perfect, had a bit of softness around the middle at the start and did some stupid things—in other words, someone very easy to relate to. And John was just so sweet, as well as strong and determined which we see later in the story. The sparks that flew between them was hot, but also tender and sweet. And at times, bittersweet, because Carter and John encounter some road bumps along their journey.

Beyond just John and Carter, this story had some intriguing characters. Freddy, also known as Fred C. Morgan, is a famous writer, Carter’s ex-boyfriend, and also his closest friend. Now in a relationship with Keith, the love of his life, Freddy is an awesome character—the best friend we’d all love to have and a wonderful example of someone who is rich and famous but hasn’t let it go to his head or change him. Loved how the side relationship between Freddy and Keith evolved in this story. And the backstory of Freddy and Carter founding the magazine together and going on to become close friends after drifting apart. Also loved that while Freddy was awesome in so many ways, he wasn’t any sort of Adonis. In fact, this quote I loved sums up not only Freddy’s looks but also his personality perfectly. It also illustrates how skillfully this author seems to be able to do that in so few words:

“Freddy looked the same as he had for years: short, round, hairy. A particularly nasty reviewer had once referred to him as a troll who baited his slavering followers by murdering their favorite characters. Freddy had written in response, I am deeply offended by your assertions, sir. I identify as a gnome.”

There are also guest appearances by three other couples: Travis and Drew from the Speechless series, Karl and Ery from Dry Bones, and William and Colby from The Tin Box. I’ve read the first but not the other two, and the small taste of them makes me want more. I admire how the author weaves her stories together in what seems to be such an effortless and natural way.

The story had many things I enjoy: sci-fi, characters that are writers or artists, and road trips. The road trip element is well-done, taking us to various cool places like Yosemite but never letting the trip overwhelm the story. I also found it interesting how the author related John ‘coming out’ as an alien to coming out as gay.

In fact, in most of the books I’ve read by this author, she brings out little truths in unusual. I’m beginning to think of her as the fable-master in my head. Just one of the little things I loved in this one was how when we love someone, they tend to rub off on us in most unusual and unexpected ways. Or as it was said in the story: “when two people fall in love, they exchange a little of their energy.”

There are exclamation points after each chapter title in this book, and I’d say the story earned each one. Plus, the ending was wrapped up beautifully.

The cover by Paul Richmond is perfect the way it harks back to the old-style sci-fi book and magazine covers. All the elements, the RV, the stars, the guys and the retro feel blend wonderfully!

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

Book Details;

book, 210 pages
Published June 26th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781634762212

Book Details:  210 pages
Published June 26th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press

Cover Reveal Time for ‘Signs of Life’ by Melanie Hansen (author guest post, excerpt and giveaway)

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Red background with gold edges. Template for design

Signs of Life by Melanie Hansen
Release Date: September 28, 2015

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Goodreads Link – Add it to Your Shelf
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow Designs.
Model: Cory Zwierzynski. Photo Credit: Andrew Christian, Inc

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press eBook | Dreamspinner Press paperback

Signs of Life revised cover

It Never Hurts To Ask by Melanie Hansen

IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK. That is my new mantra. IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK!
I discovered Cory Zwierzynski when I saw gifs of his Andrew Christian “Kiss” video on Tumblr…

(Do yourself a favor and watch the whole video, so HOT! http://www.andrewchristian.com/index.php/kiss.html )
Once I tracked down who the sexy man with the smirk was, I searched out everything I could find about him, and learned that he’s an Andrew Christian exclusive model. I watched all of his Andrew Christian videos and drooled over all of his pics. I followed him on every social media known to man.
(Follow him on Instagram, it’s worth it! https://instagram.com/coryz07/ )
When I began writing Signs of Life, the physical description of my character, Kai, started to become Cory in my head. The eyes, the hair, the tattoo, the attitude…Cory was Kai. So when it came time for the cover art, I couldn’t stop thinking, what if? What if I could get Cory for my cover?Cory Z 1
Nah, that will never happen. Andrew Christian will laugh you out of town.
I told myself that over and over, talking myself out of it, until I brought up the idea to my friend Kenya one day. She told me, “What do you have to lose? The worst that could happen is they would say ‘no’ or totally ignore you. So what? At least you’d know.”
So I screwed up my courage, emailed Drew LaQuang, Cory’s booking person, and asked if I could license a picture of Cory for the cover of my book, explaining that I Cory Z 4was a huge fan of his. Within a few hours I had my answer: “Sure!”
Cue intense fangirling and celebration! (My friend Monica heard me screaming all the way from Brazil and messaged me to ask what was going on, LOL).
I contacted Paul Richmond, the art director at Dreamspinner, and asked about the steps I’d need to follow for licensing a picture. He was extremely helpful, sent over the legal forms I had to have, and made sure I was aware of the size requirements, pixels, etc., for cover art.
Unfortunately all the pictures I found on the Andrew Christian website were too low-res to be used, so I emailed Drew and asked if they had higher-resolution pics I could look at. He immediately and graciously opened their photo archives to me, and I was able to browse at my leisure.Cory Z 2
When I found one that I liked and that my cover artist, Natasha Snow, could work with, I filled out the licensing form and emailed it to Drew, who had it back to me in a few hours. I forwarded it to Paul and boom, I had my cover Cory Z 3model. I had my actual face cast for Kai on my cover!
The whole experience has been amazing. I can’t emphasize enough how awesome the Andrew Christian organization is. Nobody laughed at me, nobody said ‘No,’ nobody said ‘Figure it out.’ Every time I emailed with a question or a problem (the low-res pics), Drew wrote me back in a timely fashion and helped me resolve it.

For a huge, multimillion dollar company to do that for some strange woman who emailed them out of the blue, that says a lot about their customer service and their appreciation of their fans. Andrew Christian and Drew made everything easy and painless, and now I have a cover that’s personal, and beautiful, and means a lot to me.So from now on my mantra is, and I encourage everyone to adopt it because you just never know…IT NEVER HURTS TO ASK!
I’d love to hear about your favorite face cast for your favorite book characters! Share them in the comments!

(All photos in this post used by permission from Andrew Christian, Inc.)

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Blurb

Successful lawyer Jeremy Speer has it all—a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a cherished dream that’s about to become reality. He’s learned not to take happiness for granted, meeting the challenges of life and love head-on with unwavering commitment and fierce devotion. A series of tragic events leave Jeremy shattered, adrift on a sea of unimaginable pain. He’s able to piece his life back together, but instead of embracing it, he merely exists, using isolation and punishing physical exertion to keep the world at bay.

High school teacher Kai Daniels has a heart for at-risk kids—he was one himself, and a teenage brush with the law and some troubled years behind bars left him scarred inside and out. With courage, hard work, and the support of friends, he’s built a fulfilling life that leaves no time for a relationship.

An intense encounter with Kai at a gay club ignites a spark in Jeremy that he thought was extinguished forever, but he’s unwilling to destroy the fragile peace he’s managed to create, and he leaves Kai humiliated and disappointed. Things should have ended there, but a bizarre occurrence brings the two together in a way neither of them expected.

Pages or Words: 80,000 wordsSigns of Life revised cover

Categories: M/M Romance

 

Excerpt

Jeremy almost flinched as the man’s eyes met his but somehow he managed not to. There was something vaguely familiar about him, which was why Jeremy had been watching him in the first place, but he was positive they’d never met. This man was unforgettable. When Jeremy had first walked into the club, so noisy and crowded, he’d almost turned around and left. It was a mad impulse that led him here in the first place, and it had been so long since Jeremy was impulsive that he felt shaken and out of his depth. That fact alone had stiffened his resolve to stay for at least a little while; then he’d gotten a glimpse of the beautiful, exotic man, and nothing could have convinced him to leave.

The first thing that struck Jeremy was how confident he seemed, how he held himself. Here was a man who knew who he was and was comfortable in his own skin. He was simply dressed in a tight black graphic T-shirt and jeans, but when he’d stood up from his stool to dig his wallet out of his back pocket to pay for his drink, Jeremy’s mouth watered as the jeans slid down to ride low on the man’s hips, showing a slice of muscled belly.

His shoulders were broad, his torso slim and compact yet rippling with muscle under the tight shirt. Long, lean legs were showcased by the soft, worn jeans, black boots completing the look. As Jeremy stood at the edges of the sheltering crowd and stared, he noticed the leather bracelets and silver rings the man sported on his wrists and hands, his eyes following the corded forearms up to a tattoo that was just visible on his right bicep, the lower edge of it peeking out of the sleeve of the shirt.

Jeremy edged closer, lust surging through him, his eyes drinking in thick black hair, carelessly styled, and a nose that had been broken before but did nothing to detract from the man’s startling good looks. As he tilted his head back to take a long swallow of his beer, Jeremy’s mouth watered at the arch of his throat, the muscles working as he swallowed, a pair of sinful lips wrapped around the tip of the bottle like Jeremy suddenly wanted them wrapped around the tip of his cock, drinking him down as Jeremy emptied his balls against the back of his throat….

Then the man’s eyes met his, the predatory heat in them making Jeremy’s knees weak. As the man licked his lips, Jeremy noticed with a jolt he was sporting a hoop through the lower one, emphasizing the plump fullness of it, and the simmering lust ramped up into raging hunger. Helplessly Jeremy moved closer, the man holding his gaze, the eyeliner he had lightly applied around his amazing golden eyes making him look even more exotic, dangerous.
Jeremy got as close as he could, the people massed around the bar making it difficult to get next to his target. The man looked Jeremy up and down leisurely, all the way to his feet and back up to his flushed and burning face; then he slowly spread his knees wide, making room for Jeremy between them. Jeremy moved in, feeling like he was strangling, his chest tight, the need to touch, kiss, lick and bite overwhelming him.

“Hey,” the man said, his voice deep and husky, lightly accented.

Jeremy swallowed, then nodded, all of his senses focused on the heat of the man’s body close to his, the way his legs looked splayed around Jeremy’s hips.

“Are you here with anyone?” he asked, annoyed at how abrupt his voice sounded. He wasn’t used to making small talk anymore, wasn’t used to the mating dance between strangers. It had been so easy with Brent: a backyard barbeque with friends, an introduction, mutual attraction and easy conversation leading to an invitation to dinner. They hadn’t spent more than a day or two apart after that.

The thought of Brent was like ice water on his ardor, and he could feel himself shutting down, wondering what the hell he was doing. Just as he was about to take a step back and leave, he felt the man settle his warm hands on his hips, stroking the skin between his shirt and the waistband of his jeans with a rough thumb.

“Just a friend,” the man said softly. Jeremy struggled to focus, remembering he’d just asked if he was here with anyone. The thumb caressing Jeremy’s sensitive skin was rough, callused, and it felt so good. It had been so long since he’d been touched….

Jeremy took a deep breath. He could do this… he wanted to do this. It was just fucking, just mutual pleasure with a willing stranger, a stranger he would never lay eyes on again. Purging his thoughts of anything except need, lust, he laid his hands high on the man’s splayed thighs, drawing circles with this thumbs along the inner seam of his jeans, flirting with his crotch but not quite touching.

“I want to fuck you,” Jeremy blurted, hating himself for his ineptness, his cheeks flushing hotter as the man’s amazing eyes filled with amusement.

“Yeah, I got that, amigo,” he said, tightening his grip on Jeremy’s hips to keep him from moving away. “And I want to let you.”

About the Author

Melanie Hansen has spent time in Texas and Florida prisons…for work.   She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met.  After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.
She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man.  After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.
Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student.  She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.
Where to find the author:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009084006829
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MelJoyAZ

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, BFD Book Blog, Jessie G. Books, Love Bytes, Bayou Book Junkie, Wake Up Your Wild Side, Molly Lolly, MM Good Book Reviews, Two Chicks Obsessed With Books and Eye Candy, Divine Magazine, Amanda C. Stone, Nephylim, Reviews by Jessewave, Inked Rainbow Reads, Because Two Men Are Better Than One, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Happily Ever Chapter, The Jena Wade, LeAnn’s Book Reviews, Vampires, Werewolves, and Fairies, Oh My, Mikky’s World of Books, Velvet Panic, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Andrew Q. Gordon, Ogitchida Book Blog, Charley Descoteaux, Bike Book Reviews, Foxylutely Book Reviews

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Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions..
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