An Alisa Release Day Review: Love and Snowball Fights by J.R. Loveless

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

 

love-and-snowball-fightsLane Freeman supposed there were worse places to be dumped than a place named Christmas Valley. After being ejected from the foster care system, he spent the past five years hitchhiking and moving around. But six months of a steady job at Tal’s Bar and Grill, an apartment, and even a three-legged cat have him almost ready to risk putting down a few roots when Tal’s brother comes home for the holidays.

 

Dallas firefighter Trey Jenkins reluctantly accepts that Lane isn’t like the other drifters who’ve come through his brother’s place. A fragile attraction begins to bloom between them in spite of the many reasons they each have to fight it. Trey wants to give Lane a family, but experience has taught Lane to depend on no one but himself. Will winter love burn hot in the town called Christmas Valley or will Lane return to his wandering ways?

 

This was a wonderful story. Lane is perhaps one of the sweetest guys in the world and so debilitating shy you can’t help but love him.  Trey is very self assured and will to anything to protect his family.  They become friends and bond a little while working at Tal’s bar.  When they are forced together during a snowstorm it is hard to hide their attraction.

 

Not many stories cause gut wrenching reactions, but this story definitely affected me (it even had me in tears at one point).  Lane’s complete lack of self worth is heartbreaking to see.  We see through his eyes how he has been affected by his parent’s death and his continuous denial in the foster care system, he can’t see how he could be worth or wanted by anyone.  Trey makes him see that maybe there is a possibility of something more for him.  I loved that we got to see Lane and Trey together after the holidays and see how they are adapting to their relationship in their real lives.

 

Cover art by Bree Archer is great and give a great visual of the characters.

 

Sales Links

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Book Details:

ebook, 116 pages

Published: December 21, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 9781634778145

Edition Language: English

Of Christmas, Cookies and ‘Love and Snowball Fights’ by J.R. Loveless (cookie recipe, excerpt, and guest post)

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Love and Snowball Fights by J.R. Loveless
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reamspinner Press
Cover art by

Available for Purchase at

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Of Christmas, Cookies and Love and Snowball Fights by J.R. Loveless

Does anyone else feel the anticipation in the air as Christmas creeps closer? Is your shopping done or do you still have those last minute gifts to get like I do? As I write this post, a few days before it is actually due to go up, I’ve just spent hours running around and I am exhausted yet there’s still more to be done! It doesn’t feel as though I will ever be finished! Christmas is only days away and I have cookies and goodie baskets to make too!

If you’ve been following my promotional blog posts, you’ll know today is my release day for Love and Snowball Fights, but also that I have been sharing with you recipes that my mother and I make every year as a part of the tradition for the gift baskets we hand out each year. This post is no different, of course! One of the treats every person relates to the holidays is peppermint candy canes. They’re typically placed on the tree as a decoration, later to be enjoyed by the little ones or even adults alike! Peppermint Holiday Cookies are easy to make while being a wonderful treat to make the holidays even sweeter. We’ve been making these to add to the treat baskets for several years now and everyone agrees they were a great addition to the list.

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Peppermint Holiday Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup Butter, softened

¾  cup granulated white sugar

1 large egg, beaten

3 cups all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup crushes peppermint candy canes

¾ cup confectiors’ sugar

5 teaspoons warm water

2 tablespoons crushed peppermint candy canes

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat butter and granulate sugar in electric mixer until smooth.
  3. Beat egg into mixture until completely mixed. Mix in flour and salt until mixed.
  4. Fold in crushed candy canes into the mix, until just combined, don’t over mix.
  5. Roll dough into balls 1 tablespoon at a time, arrange on a baking sheet.
  6. Bake in preheated oven until firm, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for about a minute before you move them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk confectioners’ sugar and warm water together until smooth. Dip each cookie into the icing. Then top with additional crushed candy cane. Set aside to let it dry for at least  five minutes.

These would be fun to make with your children and family! Even perhaps make it a tradition to have around for Christmas! I know we love them here in our household. They also make a great gift to give at this time of year or to bring to any holiday parties you may attend. A great way to use up any leftover candy canes after the tree comes down too!

I decided to go with a different excerpt this time, something a little sweeter to go with the recipe above and to entice your taste buds for the story. Lane has never experienced a snowball fight before so when Trey draws him into his first one, he doesn’t quite know what to do when he ends up tagging Trey in the forehead. It leads to Trey retaliating in a way Lane doesn’t expect. Read on to find out what happens!

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Blurb

Lane Freeman supposed there were worse places to be dumped than a place named Christmas Valley. After being ejected from the foster care system, he spent the past five years hitchhiking and moving around. But six months of a steady job at Tal’s Bar and Grill, an apartment, and even a three-legged cat, have him almost ready to risk putting down a few roots when Tal’s brother comes home for the holidays.

Dallas firefighter Trey Jenkins reluctantly accepts that Lane isn’t like the other drifters who’ve come through his brother’s place. A fragile attraction begins to bloom between them, in spite of the many reasons they both have to fight it. Trey wants to give Lane a family, but experience has taught Lane to depend on no one but himself. Will winter love burn hot in a town called Christmas Valley, or will Lane return to his wandering ways? 

Excerpt

Trey’s ankle felt much better that morning, if his desire to dig out the front sidewalk of his parents’ home was any indication. Lane warred with the urge to help and the side of himself demanding he remain as far away from Trey as possible. The kindness in him won out, and after he’d dressed in a pair of jeans two sizes too big for him, held up by a borrowed belt, and the long-sleeved shirt he wore the day they left his apartment, which Mrs. Jenkins had somehow washed without him knowing, he put on his boots and grabbed his hoodie and jacket.

When Trey came downstairs, he frowned at Lane. “You should stay inside where it’s warm.”

Lane ignored the bite of rejection and shook his head. “I want to help.”

Trey studied him for a long moment and then sighed. “Let’s at least see if Ma has an extra pair of gloves somewhere.”

Minutes later Lane had a snow shovel in his hand and was working beside Trey to clear out the walkway to the street and the driveway. They wouldn’t be able to drive until the snowplows came through, but this way it was already done. He saw others in the neighborhood doing the same thing, and the mindless activity soothed him as he dumped each shovelful away from the walk. Several times he bumped into Trey but merely apologized and continued to work. When they reached the end of the pathway, the muscles in Lane’s arms quivered and he couldn’t help his heavy breathing. Trey, of course, was barely winded. Lane made a face but started digging toward the cars.

“You can go inside and rest now if you want to. I can finish this up,” Trey said.

Lane shook his head. “I’m fine.”

He thought he heard Trey whisper, “Stubborn,” but ignored the comment and kept digging. The crunch of the snow giving way to the shovel gave him a deep sense of satisfaction.

It wasn’t more than a couple of feet into the mountain of snow between the walk and the driveway that he felt something hit his back. Lane jerked up and turned to stare wide-eyed at Trey, who smirked at him and casually tossed another snowball in the air, waiting to see what Lane would do.

“I can’t believe you just did that!” Lane exclaimed. He scooped up a handful of snow and threw it at Trey. Some of it hit his chest, but it scattered as it flew through the air, making little to no impact. Trey raised an eyebrow, but instead of saying anything, he lobbed the one he held at Lane. Lane attempted to sidestep, but it grazed his arm.

The gloves were off and they started lobbing snow at one another. Trey had the clear advantage, having had many snowball fights in his life. Lane guessed Trey was going easy on him, though. He couldn’t stop laughing, ducking behind mounds of snow to avoid whatever Trey threw his way. The longer they played, the more confident Lane became. He crafted each ball quick and sure, compressing it tighter as their fun continued, but it was the final snowball that hit Trey square in the face that ended their game.

Lane gasped in horror and rushed out from behind the barricade as Trey fell backward into a mound of white. “Trey!”

Lane almost slipped as he skidded to a stop next to where Trey lay. Trey’s eyes were closed and he wasn’t moving.

Lane dropped to his knees next to Trey. “Oh, my god, Trey. I’m sorry! Please be okay!” He leaned over and started brushing the snow from Trey’s face, wincing at how red Trey’s nose and forehead looked. “Trey,” Lane pleaded and shook Trey gently.

Suddenly Trey reached up and grabbed Lane around the waist, twisting them until Lane lay beneath him. Lane gave a sound of protest, but it was cut off when Trey held a snowball he hadn’t noticed before over him. “That wasn’t very nice,” Trey husked.

“I-I’m sorry,” Lane stuttered, very aware of Trey’s hard body on top of his. “I didn’t mean to. Are you okay?”

Trey’s eyes crinkled at the corner and one side of his mouth came up in a half smile. “All’s fair in love and snowball fights, Lane.”

He dangled the snowball closer to Lane’s face. “You wouldn’t,” Lane protested, ignoring the comment about love.

Chuckling, Trey shrugged. “Maybe, maybe not. I’ll make you a deal.”

Lane swallowed. “What is it?”

“Go back inside and rest while I finish clearing the driveway or….” Trey lowered the snowball a bit more.

For a half a second Lane considered it and then said, “No.”

Trey clucked his tongue a couple of times. “You really are a glutton for punishment.”

Lane glared up at him. “I’m not going to sit around and do nothing while you’re out here with an injured ankle.”

He saw a slight hesitance in Trey’s posturing, but it disappeared rapidly. Trey kept his word, but he didn’t shove it in Lane’s face as Lane expected, squeezing his eyes shut in preparation. Oh no. Trey chose to stuff it down the front of Lane’s shirt. Lane gasped at the icy chill, eyes flying open to stare in shock at Trey, who had a wide grin on his face. He remained still for several seconds, absorbing what Trey had done and feeling the ice melt against his skin, sliding down his chest.

Instead of getting mad, Lane chose to get even. He grabbed as much snow as he could from beside him and shoved it up the back of Trey’s leather jacket and under his shirt. Trey let out an exclamation of shock and sat up to fluff out his clothes in order to dislodge the ice. Seeing his chance, Lane squirmed out from under Trey and stood. He went to move around Trey but wasn’t fast enough. Trey tumbled him down in the snow once more. Lane let out an “oomph” as he hit the hard white surface.

“The last person who did something like that didn’t survive,” Trey growled, eyes twinkling to show Lane he wasn’t serious. Their faces were even closer to one another than before, and Lane noticed a small white scar at the corner of Trey’s mouth and the dark flecks of brown hidden in the steel of Trey’s irises.

“It was only fair,” Lane wheezed.

Trey grunted. “Maybe so, but I can’t let that trespass go.”

Lane wriggled under Trey, attempting to get free once more. His movements caused Trey’s eyes to darken to that liquid silver, and he halted, not really knowing what to do. He was tired of fighting it, but at the same time, knew he should hold strong against the only thing that lay in Trey’s direction: pain.

“Lane?” Trey queried.

“Y-yeah?”

“Can I kiss you?”

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About the Author

J.R. Loveless is an avid fan, reader and writer of anything pertaining to male/male romance. She started out her adventure into the genre in 2004 when she discovered the anime Loveless, a softer side of Yaoi. The moment she saw Loveless, it sucked her in and hasn’t let go since.

After Loveless, she voraciously searched for anything she could find within the anime world pertaining to Yaoi and Shounen-Ai. She found Gravitation, Princess Princess, Gakuen Heaven, Junjou Romantica and so much more. As she searched for the different animes available, she stumbled across an amazing forum that to this day she is more than ever thankful she found.

J.R. currently has several works in progress and several more ideas on the slow cooker. Ideas come to her out of the blue, a lyric in a song, a line in a movie, or just out of nowhere while she’s standing in the shower. She loves to make up her own stories, to follow her heart, and to write things her way because she loves a happy ending.

She is always thankful for all of her followers on AarinFantasy and for all of the wonderful people who read her stories. Please feel free to send her an email or to drop her a note on Facebook. She will always try to respond, even if it isn’t right away.

Find Me Here:

In the Author Spotlight with J.R. Loveless and their latest release ‘You Belong With Me’ (author interview and excerpt)

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You Belong With Me by J.R. Loveless

Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by Anne Cain
November 9, 2016

Sales Links

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have J.R. Loveless here today. J.R. agree to answer some questions for us and here’s terrific interview that resulted. Welcome, J.R.

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Hi, good morning/afternoon/evening, depending on where you are in the world! I’m J.R. Loveless and I’m here to introduce a new novella release as well as to answer some really awesome questions proposed by Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words! I want to say thanks to the host here for letting me guest post today. It’s a privilege and an honor to be here.

You Belong With Me was released on November 9th from Dreamspinner Press. The story was inspired by a song and the feeling it sparked inside of me when I heard it. Please continue reading for a glimpse into the story and into some of what makes me the writer I am today. I hope you enjoy the interview and the excerpt from my latest novella.

  • Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal? – My inspiration for books comes from every direction. I read a lot, watch movies, listen to music, but even a single conversation can spark an idea. In fact, even discussing my tattoo that I recently got this year sparked an idea for a new universe of shifters. I could be standing in the shower and an idea will come to be from nowhere. I currently have about six WIPs and another seven ideas written down.
  • Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And  why? – I am definitely a pantzer. I have tried planning or plotting out a story completely from A to Z but by the time I got even a couple of chapters into the story I found myself unable to finish it. Mostly because I was bored with the storyline. I like the mystery of letting my characters write the story as I work on it. It may seem like more work because I have to be careful not to leave plot holes as I go along but at the same time it gives me more of a surprise and more to work with as the story progresses. It leaves it fresh for me really, keeps me on the edge of my seat.
  • Contemporary, supernatural, fantasy, or science fiction narratives or something else?  Does any genre draw you more than another when writing it or reading it and why does it do so? – I prefer paranormal/fantasy. There’s just something about werewolves, vampires, and other creatures, humans being able to shapeshift, just draws me in. Typically when I look for stories, I tend to turn toward those first. I do read contemporary, but there has to be a certain element to it in order for it to grab my attention. I like angst for sure, not just straight up “date and fall in love” romance.
  • If you had a character you’ve written you would write differently now at this time in your writing career, who would it be and why? – I think I’d have to choose Seth from Chasing Seth. I’d make him a little less… of a wilting flower so to speak. I’d make him stronger. He started off that way, but after Kasey came into the picture, he kind of trailed off into leaning on Kasey a bit too much and allowed more of his emotions to show through.
  • Can a author have favorites among their characters and do you have them? – Of course! Even though a parent will tell you they don’t play favorites, they always do. I don’t care what anyone says on that front. People will always have favorites of one kind or another. My favorite character out of all of my own would have to be Logan from Touch Me Gently. Who doesn’t want a strong, gorgeous, kind, sweet cowboy to come sweep them off their feet and show them the kind of love and acceptance Logan shows Kaden?
  • If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list? – As I indicated before I love paranormal/urban fantasy so I would definitely be taking shifter stories. I only read gay romance for the most part. Some of my favorite authors are Mary Calmes, Lisa Oliver, and Lynn Hagen. I pretty much read everything by them. I also would have to take my Harry Potter series. 🙂
  • Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why? – I was an early reader, actually. I picked up anything and everything I could. My favorite book as a child was Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. As I grew older I also loved The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. See the theme? Animal stories! I think that’s why most of my stories usually have an animal in them in some way or another, typically.
  • If you were writing your life as a romance novel, what would the title be? – Where’s the Love?

Blurb

youbelongwithmefs-1Scott has been in love with his best friend Craig for years, but watching Craig with his manipulative boyfriend has worn Scott down, and he knows he needs a break from the pain and maybe a change of scenery and perspective. His twin sister, Karen, convinces him to spend a summer in Paris.

Karen is sick and tired of seeing Scott suffer, and she’s not going to stand for it anymore. She confronts Craig and tells him what he’s been missing by spurning Scott’s affection in favor of a jerk who mistreats him.

When Craig unknowingly breaks Scott’s heart, Craig opens his eyes—and his own heart—to the possibility of a future with Scott. He plans to use the time while Scott’s abroad to orchestrate a romantic surprise that will show Scott they belong together. But when he sees Scott with another man at the airport, Craig fears he’s too late.

Excerpt

Scott

Having slept all day, Scott couldn’t sleep that night. He felt restless and constantly moved his shoulders. Something seemed off and he couldn’t put his finger on it. After some major debating with himself, he finally turned on his cell phone. There were multiple texts from Craig, but he couldn’t bring himself to read them. The odd thing was, once the phone was on, there were no calls or texts. His brooding grew worse.

Stanley tried everything he could to distract him from thinking, but even the smallest thing reminded Scott of Craig. They hadn’t gone a full twenty-four hours in their entire friendship without at least talking to each other. Sadly, last night might be the last time they spoke for a while. Craig would be so pissed at him for leaving without saying good-bye.

That would lead to Scott having to explain why. Could he finally tell him? After all this time? Would Craig hate him? Pity him? It might even end their friendship. Could he survive that? Questions raced each other around and around inside his head, never letting up as the hours drifted by at a slow pace.

“Scott,” Stanley said with exasperation, as if he’d called his name more than once. “Come on. It’s your turn.”

They were in the middle of playing Monopoly. Scott gave a chagrined smile. “Sorry. Guess my mind isn’t all here.”

“Would you rather watch a movie?” Stanley was trying to keep his face passive, blank. Scott knew he felt bad for him.

Scott shrugged. “If you’d prefer.”

They cleaned up the game, and Stanley popped in an action movie that didn’t have a speck of romance. “Want some popcorn?” he offered.

“Nah. I’m not really hungry.” In fact, Scott hadn’t eaten all day. The thought of food made him feel sick to his stomach.

Not more than thirty minutes into the movie, Stanley fell asleep. Scott heard his soft snuffle and smiled. He stood up and pulled the afghan from the back of the couch to cover him. He carefully removed Stanley’s wire-framed glasses to set them on the coffee table. It reminded him of the many times Craig had fallen asleep while they were watching a movie late at night.

Scott sighed and wearily sank down into the easy chair nearby. He knew it was time to let Craig go, but how would he find the strength he needed to do it? It wasn’t fair to Craig if he just cut him from his life. Craig didn’t know.

He wasn’t even sure how he let himself fall in love with Craig. But he clearly remembered the day he realized it. They were playing basketball outside his house, and Craig stripped off his shirt to wipe the sweat from his face. Scott’s eyes were drawn to Craig’s chest and stomach. The sun glinted off the beads of sweat like diamonds. Craig tossed the shirt at him teasingly. “What? You want my hot bod?” He flexed his miniscule muscles arrogantly.

Maybe that was Scott’s chance, but he swallowed hard and shakily said, “No. Who’d want your skinny-chicken self?”

Craig let out an indignant shout and rushed at him. Scott tried to run, but Craig was faster and tackled him in the grass before he started to tickle him. Tears were rolling by the time Craig collapsed onto the grass next to him, huffing from his own laughter. His eyes were sparkling with happiness and affection. “Buds forever, right?”

As he looked into Craig’s eyes, Scott’s heart started to pound so hard against his rib cage. And an overwhelming sense of wanting to kiss his beautiful lips washed over him. He managed to choke out, “Yeah.”

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Find Me Here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjrloveless

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrloveless

Blogger: http://jrloveless.blogspot.com/

Website: http://www.jrloveless.com

In the Fantasy Spotlight: Fragments of a Unicorn’s Soul by J.R. Loveless (excerpt and giveaway)

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Fragments of a Unicorn's Soul

Fragments of a Unicorn’s Soul by J.R. Loveless
Publisher: Torquere Press
Cover Artist: Kris Norris
Release Date: 4/6/16

Book/Buy Links

Goodreads | Torquere Books

 

Book Blurb

Content with his life, Elek Keros never questions the ways of the Unicorn. Until one night the sense of something coming awakens him from a deep sleep. He breaks Unicorn law by leaving the enchanted glade his kind lives in to search for what is calling to him. Each night he returns home without answers, but he cannot stop entering the forest day after day to find what he seeks.

The answer lies in a small child Elek rescues. Over the years, he watches over the boy, learns all that he can about the human and steadily falls in love with him. But how can the love he feels possibly breach the divide between their two worlds?

Heat Level: 3
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 12k words
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Urban Fantasy

Excerpt

Elek let out a pained whinny, tossing his head in denial of Jonathan’s words. The human male would not be coming back. It struck such pain through his heart that Elek did not understand how to cope with it. What could he say to make Jonathan remain by his side? Please don’t go.

Heart wrenching at the distress in Elekís voice, Jonathan stifled a small sound and rested his forehead against Elek’s neck. ‘I can’t stay, Elek. It’s not possible.’

Why? Elek demanded.

‘Because my feelings for you aren’t rational! You aren’t human, Elek, and, I can’t do this anymore. All I can think of is you, all I dream of is being here with you. It isn’t possible,’ Jonathan cried, squeezing his eyes shut. Today would be their last day together. He returned to school tomorrow.

Desperation rose in Elek. A strange burning sensation started behind Elekís eyes. Salt stung his nostrils and water welled up, spilling down his muzzle.

Jonathan felt wetness drip onto his neck and he pulled back in surprise. His sapphire gaze widened in shock. ‘Elek!’

I’ love you, Jonathan. Elek keened to him, frantically hoping that Jonathan returned his love.

Jonathan shook his head. ‘No, Elek. No. You can’t. It’s not possible. Please, don’t.’

Elek struggled to his feet, backing away from Jonathan. He’d put his heart in Jonathan’s hands and the human had rejected him. Despite knowing that their love wasn’t possible, Elek couldn’t stop the hurt spearing deep into his soul.

Jonathan gave him a helpless look. ‘Elek, please don’t go.’

A shrill cry echoed throughout the trees and Elek spun around, racing away from Jonathan, trying to outrun the pain. But it haunted him, nipping at his hooves like dogs at the paws of a fox. The human did not return his love. Elek didn’t stop running until he’d reached the glade. His head hung down almost to the ground in sorrow, and the normally vibrant spiral horn had dulled to a grayish color.

Author Bio

J.R. Loveless is a native Floridian who spends her days in an office physically but mentally is frolicking between the pages of her imagination. Writing has been a lifelong passion that escaped from her in the midst of life until she discovered Yaoi. After following breadcrumbs of the anime style, she discovered a forum dedicated to the world of Yaoi. Inspired, she tried her own hand at M/M romances, spending hours building worlds of her own with the newfound support of other forum members. She can never write enough of the electrifying emotions that blaze across the hearts and souls of her characters.

She is a self-confessed Dr. Who addict with a spastic dog and a neurotic cat for companions on her long journey through the many chapters of her life. One day she hopes to visit far off places and have grand adventures like those of the characters in her stories.

Blog: http://jrloveless.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorjrloveless
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jrloveless
Website: http://www.jrloveless.com

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Giveaway

Rafflecopter Prize: eBook copy of Fragments of a Unicorn.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
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