A MelanieM Scary Review Redux: Necromancy and You (Guidebook #02) by Missouri Dalton

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A Scary Review Redux!

Rating: 5 stars out of 5   ☠☠☠☠☠

Necromancy and You cover full sizeAlter (Al) Skelton is just like  any other 15 year old who is obsessed with death.  He has a purple and black bedroom full of skulls, walls decorated with Day of the Dead posters and a vent where he hides all his copies of Raising the Dead from Cemetery Comics.  Shortly after his 15th birthday, Al sends away for a copy of  Necromancy and You with a coupon out of the back of his Raising the Dead comic along with the box tops from three boxes of Count Chocula cereal. The book he receives in the mail is so much more than he expected.  Instead of a paperback, Al gets a heavy leather bound book addressed to him and immediately his life starts to change dramatically.

From the moment Al starts to read the book, he realizes something is weird.  The spells in the book are working for him as a disastrous incident in his science lab demonstrated.  Al can raise the dead.  Now he’s a boy with a plan and the ability to raise the dead.  That plan? To raise his dead father and get his family back together.  But so many obstacles block his path.  The man his mother is dating is hateful and abusing, too bad he is also Al’s psychiatrist. An evil group called the Coalition operates a school for Necromancers and they will do everything in their power to bring Al into their fold. Suddenly Al’s world is full of ghouls, ghosts, vampires, and talking dead frogs.  What’s a young budding necromancer to do when danger is all around him in a world turned more dark and scary than usual?

Missouri Dalton has created an instant classic for older teens and adults alike with Necromancy and You, the second story in the Guidebook series.  Never have I been so enthralled by a young 15 year old like Al Skelton.  As created by Dalton, Al is a brilliant, depressed social outcast, who lives for his Raising the Dead comics and memories of his old family life.  His father died five years before when Al was 10, an event that happened while his dad was away on business so Al never got to say goodbye. Since then, his mother has turned cold and distant, spending all her time either at work or with her  new boyfriend, a sadistic man who also happens to be Al’s psychiatrist.  With his present life a nightmare, Al would like nothing better than his family back together again, happy and whole, an impossibility considering his dad is dead.  If this description starts to conjure up visions of Harry Potter, then yes, there are similarities.  But for me, I find Al Skelton far more interesting and quite a bit darker.  He is also far more sarcastic and self aware than Harry seemed to be.  But I guess that comes with being a Necromancer. albeit a budding one as well as being a bit of a smartmouth.

Dalton’s narrative is so clever, so enthralling and her main character so charismatic and appealing that the reader is pulled in instantly, immediately hooked on Dalton’s world building and Al’s life. Oh the life of a teenager at 15, it’s such a tough one.  Hormones are raging, poised between child and adult, the world can be a harsh place, especially if that teenager is just a little different from everyone else.  Dalton takes this truism and gives us a darker version.  Al doesn’t just think everyone is out to get him, they really are.  Lonely, upset and missing his father and the way his family used to be? That should sound familiar to any number of kids these days. And if the normal world is scary place for them, what would happen if you then find out that vampires, ghouls, zombies and ghosts are real and you are not quite human?

Lucky for us, we get to find out as Al goes from normal teen to powerful Necromancer and beyond.  This is how it all starts:

When the package arrived, that clear crisp morning on the twenty-third of October, I knew it would be a good day. The package was green, vibrant and shiny, tied with black string. The address label was white with black letters that spelled my name.

Alter Skelton

215 Bridge Lane

Verity, IL 34055

It was a package I’d been waiting for seven weeks and three days. Waiting ever since I mailed in the coupon out of the back of Raising the Dead along with the box tops from three boxes of Count Chocula cereal. The ad had caught my attention immediately, gleaming on the slightly thicker glossy paper of the back cover, in bright green and black and white.

Learn to control the forces of life and death! This book will change your life!

I knew in a heartbeat I would do anything to get my hands on it. So despite my normal tendency toward not eating breakfast, I ate it. I also started to act less strange around my mother to decrease suspicion. And now, on a Saturday morning, I had my book.

I took the parcel immediately to my room. My mother was out shopping, so I had a good couple hours to peruse the book before shoving it behind the vent cover where I kept my issues of Raising the Dead and the pornographic magazine Tommy had foisted on me after his mother started cleaning his room again.

And then later on, once Al is safely in his room:

I cleared the detritus off of my bed, mostly clothes, and unwrapped the parcel.

The book was heavy, and as I tore away the paper, I noticed it was not the paperback copy I’d expected from the photo in the back of the comic. The cover, by the feel, was leather, black. On the very front there was incised decoration: bright green lines indented as a border around a white skull that felt and looked like bone. Over the skull, in silver lettering, was the title.

Necromancy and You!

Underneath the skull was a secondary title. From A to Zombie

There was no author listed. On the interior page was a notation.

A Stone House publication copyright 1344. Do not redistribute. Books sold without covers are considered stripped books; the house nor the author receives payment. Please refrain from purchasing stripped books.

And on the next page.

Welcome, young master! You have chosen to take the first step in a wonderful journey! Herein are the methods, practices, and rules of the way of Necromancy! Please read the entire first chapter thoroughly before proceeding to the Practical Applications to ensure safety!

Well. Safety was important. One wouldn’t want to raise anyone on accident or anything. No need to get the neighborhood riled with corpses walking about. Or skeletons. Or both.

No, secrecy was key here.

The neighbors were too nosy as it was. Then again, so was my mother.

And from the moment Al opens the book and begins to read, his journey (and ours) has started.  There is no going back, not that he would want to of course, at least in the beginning. Al has a unique voice, it’s quirky, it self effacing and it definitely belongs to a teenager.  It has just that right amount of young perspective and cluelessness while still sounding aware and confident.  How I love this boy.  Al is also remarkably resilient and he has to be. Because before him are so many unpleasant truths about his world and horrifying events to cope with that the ability to take such things in stride is necessary for his survival.

Along his journey he also meets a cadre of remarkable personalities and creatures, some friend, some foe, and some just well….we just don’t know where they stand.  But all of them are exquisitely created.  They team with life or unlife (!) as the case may be.  Some are personalities that we have met already in Vampirism and You (Guidebook #01), including that m/m couple of foster vampire Duncan and 17 year old Louis.  They loom large in Al’s future but more than that I won’t say.  You will have to discover the details for yourself.  All the characters involved are memorable, some charming, some chilling and several downright evil.  But no matter what side they fall on, good or bad, they are all believable and realistic right down to the smallest detail.

Dalton moves her narrative along at a swift and smooth pace and you will want to scamper along with her, wanting to rush to see where the plot is taking Al and you next.  But slow down, don’t miss any of the details, even the ones that seem so insignificant.  There is so much layering here, of plot twists, relationship dynamics, family dynamics, young love (more on that later), the trials and tribulations of growing up….you name it and Missouri Dalton has incorporated it into her story.  But  Dalton does so effortlessly, her narrative never feeling jumbled up or dense.  Really, this is an outstanding book in a remarkable  series.

There are some things that should be noted. Necromancy and You as well as the Guidebook series are categorized as a YA book, a category I do agree with one limitation.  I don’t feel it is appropriate for anyone under the age of 15 (Al’s age).  While a kiss between the hero and heroine is the sexiest this gets, there are mild suggestive comments for the sexual activities of a few other couples.  Nothing explicit, nothing even major, but its there.  My limitations pertaining to age is more along the lines of the traumatic events that occur.  Al is hurt numerous times and while we are spared the details, it happens and younger children might be upset. People die and there are other potentially violent  scenes.  They are necessary for the book and work beautifully within the narrative.  Most of the violence is “off stage” as it were, but the emotional impact is huge.  These events are as beautifully constructed as the rest of the story so yes, you will feel them just as Al does.  This is an emotionally moving, heartfelt and heartrending story.  It has the power to bring tears to your eyes even as they are rolling down our hero’s face.

In addition to giving us an intrepid young man, Dalton gives us an equally resourceful heroine. This is a minor romance happening within the storyline.  Al is straight and there is a slight romance starting here.  One that I suspect will grow over the course of the series, along with that of our m/m couple Louis and Duncan.  Again, like every other teenage, young love finds a way, no matter your sexual preference.  But this series is geared towards suspense and mystery of the supernatural kind.  The romances that occur are secondary to the main focus of the series,  a battle brewing against good and evil, that eternal conflict with surprising elements to each side.  I wanted to order print copies immediately and go running along crowded sidewalks, passing them out and yelling at them to  “read this book”!!!!!  Teenagers, young adults, old adults, and everyone in between needs to read this book, invest themselves in the series.

As you may have guessed, I enthusiastically recommend this book and this series.  I will leave you with a few thoughts from Al himself:

I just couldn’t take normal life seriously.

“Mr. Skelton, are you paying attention?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Good, then you can complete the problem on the board.”

Do. Not. Kill.

That should not be anyone’s daily mantra.

While it may not be ours, I love that it is Al’s.  Run, fly, do whatever you have to do, but get this book!

Cover art.  I love the cover.  Doesn’t it seem just right for a educational tome?

Sales Links:  Torquere Books  |    Amazon | Buy It Here

Here is the Guidebook stories in the order they were written:

Vampirism and You (Guidebook #01) (strictly M/M)

Necromancy and You (Guidebook #02) (romance is hardly there at all)

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Published July 3rd 2013 by Prizm Books
ISBN1610404939 (ISBN13: 9781610404938)
edition languageEnglish
series Guidebook 

 

A MelanieM Review: Diamond Flush: Ace of Diamonds Four by Laura Harner (Pulp Friction 2015: Altered States Book 16)

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Diamond Flush coverFor Alpha Jet Gorman, discovering the origins of his pack’s newest members has provided more questions than answers. Like why would someone deliberately expose the existence of supernatural beings to the human world through in vitro fertilization? And more importantly…cui bono? Who benefits most from the Revelation? With the threat of betrayal a constant presence running through the Vieux Carré, at least Jet can count on Nico to have his back.

Ancient vampire Nico Sanzio da Urbino has been given an order to kill a werewolf—not unusual given his job as an enforcer. The problem lies in the fact the targeted Alpha is often in Nico’s bed—or vice versa—and may just be that elusive soul mate he has never quite believed in. Not to mention Jet’s blood fairly sings through Nico’s veins. Caught somewhere between the Paranormal Odd Squad, the all powerful Vampire Council, and a promise to his oldest friend, Nico must make a choice before someone realizes he hasn’t carried out his orders—and takes the matter out of his hands.

With the New Orleans preternatural population continuing to increase at an unnatural rate, the local Alpha and the Odd Squad’s chief enforcer should have their attention focused on maintaining the human-to-super status quo, but with things between them at an incendiary high, their mutual distraction could prove deadly—for everyone.

Heading into the all important fifth book, Laura Harner lines up her angst and mysteries here, her characters waiting to see who will survive the upcoming evil tide of events.  Nico and Jet’s relationship has gotten deeper and richer, despite the fact that both are keeping important secrets from each other.  But Nico’s maybe the most important of them all as he has been ordered to kill the Alpha, who just happens to be his lover and perhaps his soulmate Jet.  Jet also is keeping things hidden from Nico, the worst betrayals seeming only moments away and all blended together with scenes of smoking hot sex.

One of the things I so appreciate about Laura Harner is her ability to balance the elements of  sex, suspense and horror with those of tenderness, love, and angst.  The early scene of Jet and Artie had me in tears.  It was quiet, moving, and a needed reminder of what was at stake for them all.  A gem of a moment among many.

So here we are.  So close to the end.  I have thoughts about where this might go but rarely does that line up with the author’s! This is a superb series as are all the interconnected stories associated with it.  They make a perfect Halloween read, or book choice for anytime of the year.  I highly recommend this for lovers of the supernatural, the paranormal, for M/M romance…it really has it all.

Cover art by Laura Harner.  I think its missing that wonderful sexy aspect of the last cover.  Not my favorite.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 67 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Hot Corner Press
ASINB0160AL7V4
edition language English

 

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About Pulp Friction 2015

Lee Brazil ~ Havan Fellows ~ Parker Williams ~ Laura Harner

The Pulp Friction 2015 Altered States Collection.
Four authors.
Four Series.
Twenty books.
One supernatural finale.

Spend a year with the creatures that go bump in the night…fighting for their rights to exist and protecting the innocents of The Big Easy. A diverse group of friends trying to find their place in a world they never had to “fit” into before.

Although each series can stand alone, we believe reading the books in the order they are released will increase your enjoyment.

Round One:
Drawing Dead (Jack of Spades: 1) by Lee Brazil
Blind Stud (King of Hearts: 1) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Bedpost (Four of Clubs: 1) by Parker Williams
Diamonds and Dust (Ace of Diamonds: 1) by Laura Harner

Round Two:
Dead Blind (Jack of Spades: 2) by Lee Brazil
Stud Player (King of Hearts: 2) by Havan Fellow
Up the Ante (Four of Clubs: 2 ) by Parker Williams
Diamond Draw (Ace of Diamonds: 2) by Laura Harner

Round Three:

Dead Button (Jack of Spades #3) by Lee Brazil
Blind Man’s Bluff (King of Hearts #3) by Havan Fellows
The Devil’s Playground (Four of Clubs #3) by Parker Williams
Diamonds Edge (Ace of Diamonds #3) by Laura Harner

Round Four:

Dead Man’s Hand (Jack of Spades 4) by Lee Brazil
Blind Heart (King of Hearts 4) by Havan Fellows
High Stakes (Four of Clubs 4) by Parker Williams
Diamond Flush (Ace of Diamonds 4) by Laura Harner

A Barb, A Zany Old Lady Review: Boyfriend For The Weekend (Boyfriend #1) by Diana DeRicci

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Boyfriend for the Weekend coverJayden Sindler’s sister is getting married, and she’s extremely adamant that he be sure to bring a date to Florida where the wedding party will be spending the five days before the wedding getting acquainted and having a mini-vacation before the big day. Stressing the names of her friends who don’t care that Jayden is gay and will “man hunt” him all week, she finally makes her point. So when he’s out with his best friend Tim and meets not only Tim’s new boyfriend Bill but also Bill’s cousin, Nash, he decides to ask if Nash would be interested.

It doesn’t hurt that Nash is gorgeous, tall and lean with long dark hair, eyeliner-highlighted eyes and a smile that captures Jayden’s interest immediately. But Bill has reservations about letting Nash go, since Nash is newly out and actually moved in with Bill to escape his homophobic father. Nash has never had a boyfriend, nor any opportunity to explore his sexuality, but it’s a chance for Nash to relax and be away from his father in a safe environment, so when Jayden swears he will keep his hands off Nash, Bill relents and nineteen-year-old Nash is allowed to accompany the twenty-six-year-old playboy to Florida.

On the plane, the two decide to act the part of boyfriends, deciding that their act will be more convincing, and after all, they wouldn’t want anyone to think that Nash is a paid escort, would they? But what happens when the pretending becomes real? Not only does Nash lose his heart to Jayden, who treats him with the utmost respect, but Jayden loses his heart to Nash, perceiving the younger man as the sweetest gift he’s ever been given.

Is there any chance their caring and concern for each other could ever be more? And is there any chance Bill won’t kill Jayden if he breaks his promise about remaining hands-off? And last, but not least, is there any chance for them when they re-enter the real world and school and job responsibilities demand their attention?

This is a really sweet story—the kind that put a smile on my face and kept it there throughout the book. There are sexy times and sweet, tender moments, and there are also family conflict and hurt feelings when Jayden realizes how others perceive him. But overall, it’s just plain fun to read this romance. On a negative note, though it ends on a HFN, it does end somewhat abruptly with a “to be continued” at the end of the Epilogue. No cliffhanger, thankfully, but nevertheless, no HEA. I do believe I will be picking up the next story in the series because I enjoyed these guys so much I want to see where their careers and commitment to each other take them. I recommend it to all who enjoy a sweet M/M romance with age gap, virgins, and very little angst. Can’t go wrong with this one.

Cover art by Melody Pond depicts the torsos of two suited men, arms linked, in the top panel of the cover, with a script-style title across the center and a fancy wedding-style place setting across the lower panel. Very bright and cheerful, and it definitely indicates the content of the story.

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

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 164 pages
Published August 20th 2015 by MLR Press
original title Boyfriend for the Weekend
ASIN B0148RTW1S
edition language English
series Boyfriend #1

A Jeri Review: The Making of Matt (Souls of the Knight #3) by Nicola Haken

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Making of Matt coverMatt Carter, self-proclaimed sex-god and drummer for world renowned Souls of the Knight, didn’t have the time or inclination for planning his future, preferring to fill his days with music, women and alcohol. He didn’t want or need anything else in his life.

Until the band parted ways and he found himself no longer living the dream.

Bored and lonely, with too much time and money on his hands, Matt turns to his best friend, Alex Clark, to help devise a new direction to take his life in. Together, they embrace their newfound venture, as owner and manager of one of L.A.’s hottest gay clubs – Kaleidoscope. For the first time, Matt has a plan. He knows where life is heading.

Until a devastating phone call turns his whole world upside down, sending him straight into the comforting arms of his best friend and leading him to doubt everything he’s ever known or believed about himself.

Alex had always been content with his unrequited feelings for his rockstar friend, but as Matt starts to question if he might actually feel the same, he runs as fast as his feet will allow.

Has Matt gone too far? Has his reputation as an irresponsible womanizer who refuses to take life seriously, finally managed to push his best friend away for good?

Or is Alex hiding secrets of his own?

I discovered Ms Haken with her book Being Sawyer Knight (Souls of the Knight, #1). I could be wrong, but I believe before that her books were all M/F romances. I loved Being Sawyer Knight and the second in the seriesTaming Ryder (Souls of the Knight, #2) so I was very excited to read Matt’s story.

Matt’s story begins after the demise of their popular and famous rock band. He is aimless, living on the money he made and not knowing what to do with himself. Luckily, his best friend, Alex, is the rock he needs in his life to help keep him grounded. But Matt doesn’t realize that Alex is half in love with Matt even though Matt is straight.

Cue the typical drunken kiss, misunderstanding and broken friendship. While this is happening we get the voice of reason Sawyer, the fabulousness of Ryder and the rest of the band and their mates. I love when a series brings back former characters, not just as short mentions, but solid pieces of the story.

Matt and Alex make it back together and while Matt thinks Alex is hesitant because Matt has never been with a man before, he is shocked to learn the real reason. Honestly, I was too. But the way that the subject was treated, with respect, honesty and care really made it so much more heartfelt.

Being that I refuse to spoil anything in the book, I will have to leave that there for you.

*evil laugh*

This book made me literally laugh out loud on one page, cry on another and swoon on yet another. This book absolutely had it all and I loved it. If you haven’t read the first two- READ THEM! Then read this as well.

The cover art is a perfect depiction of Matt and the life he is moving toward after Souls of the Knight.

Sales Links:   Amazon | “>Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: October 19th 2015 (first published October 14th 2015)
edition language English

 

In our Author Spotlight: Sarah Madison of Truth and Consequences (Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway)

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TruthandConsequences2 - Copy

Truth and Consequences ( Sixth Sense #3) by Sarah Madison
Release Date: October 14, 2015

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Buy the book: Dreamspinner Press

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Today I’m very happy to be interviewing Sarah Madison, author of Truth and Consequences, Book 3 in the Sixth Sense series. Hi Sarah, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your current book.

Well, my mother swears I’m a changeling, a fact I find both disconcerting and pleasing at the same time. However, since this is mostly based on the fact I dislike tomato and mayo sandwiches, I’m not sure I buy that.

I have in turn been an actress, a biologist, worked at a stockyard, ridden event horses, and am a life-long sci-fi geek. I’ve dewormed a snake, faced down an angry Rottweiler, and castrated bull calves. I once hiked 40 miles in 4 days, and wanted to be a naturalist, like Jane Goodall. But all-in-all, I think I’m a pretty boring person.

Truth and Consequences is book 3 in the Sixth Sense series. It features FBI Agents Jerry Lee Parker and John Flynn, and the events that occur when Flynn accidentally touches a mysterious artifact and gains unusual powers. As the Sixth Sense series unfolds, we learn there is a set of such boxes, and that Lee and John aren’t the only ones looking for them. They’re in over their head, and the water is just getting deeper…

• Why do you write?

It’s a compulsion. I have always written and shared stories, but when I graduated from high school, I decided it was time to put childish things away and get on with ‘being an adult’. I thought growing up meant living a passionless life, working hard, and serving the public selflessly. I still do those things, but now I write too. Rediscovering my joy of storytelling was like waking from a coma. I’d need a 12 step process to quit it now.

Which of your books was the most difficult to write?

In some ways, Walk a Mile, Book 2 in the Sixth Sense series. See, I’d had this big, over-arching idea for the series, but I let a few ‘meh’ reviews derail me from starting the next installment, and it was years before I came back to it. I was floored at the reaction I received, and vowed never again to let a review make me doubt myself. I was truly stunned by the level of excitement over the release of Walk a Mile, and it was fascinating (and gratifying) to find out how many people had been waiting for the next installment.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Truth and Consequences is told from Lee’s first person POV, which is a departure for me. The nature of the plot dictated the choice, however, and I have to say that I was surprised at how easily Lee’s personality came across in this format. He’s smart but self-deprecating, tougher than he realizes and concerned John is out of his league. He’s been rejected a lot, and on some level still expects to be rejected again. If that happens, he’s prepared to shrug it off as though it is no big deal. But he’s loyal, so fiercely loyal to the people he loves.

How much research do you do for your books?

I LOVE research. I do. I love immersing myself in a time period. I love the excuse to buy reference materials, to watch television shows and movies I think will be useful, and to spend hours on Google Maps or Wikipedia. I have to reel myself in at times so that I actually get the story written!

Who designs your covers?

I am fortunate to have the amazing artist Paul Richmond design the covers for the Sixth Sense series. His talent is truly amazing, and he has really outdone himself for the cover of Truth and Consequences!

RC

Blurb

When FBI agent Jerry Lee Parker wakes from a coma after a murderous attack on his life, he has no memory of his immediate past. In the blink of an eye, he has gone from having a nearly photographic memory to recalling nothing of the last six months of his life, including his partner and lover, John Flynn. While Lee tries to reboot his past and reconnect with John, there are events at play around him he doesn’t understand. John is keeping secrets from him, secrets which could get them both killed.

Matters come to a head when Lee is hounded to turn over a mysterious artifact, of which he has no knowledge. The two men wind up in a fight for their lives as they risk everything to keep the powerful relic out of the hands of a ruthless killer. In order to protect those he loves, however, John may be forced to make a deal with the devil.

 

Pages or Words: 258 pages
Categories: M/M Romance, Mystery, Paranormal

Excerpt

I knew the moment John walked into the bar. It was like my sonar pinged, my radar lit up—you name it. I heard the door open, and without turning around, I knew it was him because the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Because something in my gut tightened, and my cock lifted in earnest. I watched him in the mirror as he scanned the room, locked in on my presence, and stalked toward me like a panther in a pen full of sheep. Everyone else in the room was aware of him as well. I practically preened when he came up beside me. He took a seat and signaled the bartender, who came over with flattering attention.

 

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Meet the Author

Sarah Madison is a veterinarian with a big dog, an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. She is a terrible cook, and concedes that her life would be easier if Purina made People Chow. She writes because it is cheaper than therapy.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

 

 

Giveaway

Final

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: E-copy of ‘Unspeakable Words’ – Book one in the series.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link  and prizes provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

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