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review 2016-03-21 00:00
Coming Undone by Susan Andersen
Coming Undone - Susan Andersen

GR Cleanup Originally Read in 2010


Meh. This one falls somewhere between a 2 and a 3 star read. I listened to this book on audio and though it held my attention decently enough I just wasn’t feeling any chemistry between the two lead characters. I admit that I’ve probably been reading way too much m/m erotica of late, but this book completely lacked steam. It was fun in a cute, empty sort of way and the writing was engaging enough. So engaging I didn’t realize that almost nothing of importance had happened for the first half of the book. Still, there wasn’t anything that made me scream with laughter or scream with frustration thus the resulting feeling that I just wasted several hours on another “meh” book.

Jared Hamilton and rising country star Priscilla Jayne Morgan (hereon known as PJ) were once homeless kids who bonded trying to survive on the streets. Now that sounds like a story I would have loved to read. This one notsomuch. Jared now works for a security firm and is hired by PJ’s faceless recording bigwigs to make sure she shows up for her concerts. They do this supposedly because her Mama, also her former manager until recently (fired because the bitch was stealing from her own daughter) has been bad mouthing her and they assume she’s flighty or something. PJ refuses to tell her side of the story and allows mama to ruin her reputation. PJ is much nicer a gal than me. Though all of this makes no sense to me it does set up two crucial plot points in the story so I just shut off my brain and went with it. The two run hot and cold with each other but mostly cold especially Jared. He is the “I am an Island. I must not feel emotion or really bad things might happen. I must remain in control at all times but especially during sex” type of dude that completely exhausts me. Apparently, Jared felt rejected by PJ years earlier and he’s holding on to that feeling for dear life even though 15 or so years have passed. They bop around from town to town, her playing gigs at small honky tonks before the big tour gets into full swing and he shadows her every move. Eventually Jared realizes she’s a professional and he is just wasting his time and driving her crazy, and decides to walk away. They share a big not-so-hot (if you ask me), toothy, smoochy. But wait! This is Romancelandia and an off his nut stalker conveniently enters the picture just then and Jared is forced to stick around to protect her. Great timing crazy man, this book could have been over. Instead, they get to fight some more, go to a spa, do some shopping (which gives PJ a chance to model some undies for Bigboy), talk a little and somehow fall in love.

Usually this author is a bit witty but I found myself cringing at some of her phrasing such as when Jared likens PJ’s little breasts to “cupcakes”, when PJ calls the sex act the “humpty hump” and especially when Jared “collapsed like a horse that had its legs shot out from under it” after experiencing an earth shattering orgasm. Just ew. I don’t want to think about dying horses in my light and frothy romances.

Sadly, I did not get the warm fuzzies at any time during this romance and really that’s why I read them. Otherwise, what’s the point?

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text 2015-09-03 17:59
Best 1st Book in Contemporary Romance Series
Mackenzie's Mountain - Linda Howard
How to Misbehave - Ruthie Knox
Rock Chick - Kristen Ashley
Once Upon a Rose (La Vie en Roses) (Volume 1) - Laura Florand
The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters, Book 1) by Brockmann, Suzanne (2000) Mass Market Paperback - Suzanne Brockmann
Simply Irresistible - Rachel Gibson
The Dom Project - Heloise Belleau,Solace Ames
It Had to Be You - Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Head Over Heels - Susan Andersen
Imperfect Chemistry - Mary Frame

In order to get hooked on a series, I need a great first book. 


Here are some of my favorite first books in Contemporary Romance Series.  My lists are never in any particular order. Enjoy!


1.  Mackenzie's Mountain by Linda Howard 5 Star Read! 


Mary Elizabeth Potter is a spinster with no illusions about love. But she is a good teacher and wants Wolf Mackenzie's son back in school. And after one heated confrontation, she knows father and son have changed her life forever. Still paying for a crime he didn't commit, Wolf Mackenzie has a chip on his shoulder. But Mary Elizabeth Potter doesn't see him as the dangerous half-breed the town has branded him. She sees him as a good, decent, honest man. A man she could love...


2. How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox


s program director for the Camelot Community Center, Amber Clark knows how to keep her cool. That is, until a sudden tornado warning forces her to take shelter in a darkened basement with a hunk of man whose sex appeal green lights her every fantasy. With a voice that would melt chocolate, he asks her if she is okay. Now she’s hot all over and wondering: How does a girl make a move?


Building contractor Tony Mazzara was just looking to escape nature’s fury. Instead, he finds himself all tangled up with lovely Amber. Sweet and sexy, she’s ready to unleash her wild side. Their mutual desire reaches a fever pitch and creates a storm of its own—unexpected, powerful, and unforgettable. But is it bigger than Tony can handle? Can he let go of painful memories and let the force of this remarkable woman show him a future he never dreamed existed?


3. Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley


Indy Savage, cop's daughter, rock chick and used bookstore owner, has been in love with Lee Nightingale, once bad boy, now the man behind Nightingale Investigations, since she was five years old. No matter what ingenious schemes Indy used to capture his attention, Lee never showed an interest and Indy finally gave up. Now Indy's employee, Rosie, has lost a bag of diamonds and bad guys are shooting at him. When Indy gets involved, Lee is forced to help. Complicting matters, Lee has decided he's interested, Indy's decided she's not. But she can't seem to keep Lee out of her life when she's repeatedly stun gunned, kidnapped and there are car bombs exploding (not to mention she's finding dead bodies).


Indy's best bet is to solve the mystery of the diamonds before Lee. Lee's challenge is to keep Indy alive and, at the same time, win back her heart.



4. Once Upon a Rose by Laura Florand


She stole his roses.


Fleeing the spotlight, burnt out rock star Layla—“Belle”—Dubois seeks refuge in the south of France. That old, half-forgotten heritage in a valley of roses seems like a good place to soothe a wounded heart. She certainly doesn’t expect the most dangerous threat to her heart to pounce on her as soon as she sets foot on the land.


He wants them back.


Matt didn’t mean to growl at her quite that loudly. But—his roses! She can’t have his roses. Even if she does have all those curls and green eyes and, and, and…what was he growling about again?


Or maybe he just wants her.


When an enemy invades his valley and threatens his home, heart, and livelihood, Matthieu Rosier really knows only one way to defend himself.


It might involve kissing.


And that might be just the start.


5. The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann


After a near-fatal head injury, Navy SEAL lieutenant Tom Paoletti catches a glimpse of an international terrorist in his New England hometown. When he calls for help, the Navy dismisses the sighting as injury-induced imaginings. In a last-ditch effort to prevent disaster, Tom creates his own makeshift counterterrorism team, assembling his most loyal officers, two elderly war veterans, a couple of misfit teenagers, and Dr. Kelly Ashton. As the town’s infamous bad boy, Tom was always in love with Kelly, a sweet “girl next door” who has grown into a remarkable woman. Now he has one final chance for happiness, one last chance to win her heart, and one desperate chance to save the day.


6. Simply Irresistible by Rachel Gibson


Georgeanne Howard leaves her fiancé at the altar when she realizes she can't marry a man old enough to be her grandfather, no matter how rich he is. Hockey superstar John Kowalsky unknowingly helps her escape, and only when it's too late does he realize that he's absconded with his boss's bride. This bad boy isn't looking to be anybody's savior but his own. Still, a long night stretches ahead of them—a night too sultry to resist temptation.


Seven years later, Georgeanne and John meet again. She is on her way to becoming Seattle's domestic darling and he is past his hellraising days. Shocked to learn that he has a daughter, John's determined to be part of her life. Georgeanne has loved John since the moment she jumped into his car, but will he risk the wrath of his boss, and one final chance at glory, to prove that this time his love will be everlasting?


7. The Dom Project by Heloise Belleau


By day, Robin Lessing has a successful career as a university archivist. By night, she blogs about her less-than-successful search for Mr. Tall, Dark and Dominant. Living up to her handle "The Picky Submissive," she's on the verge of giving up and settling for vanilla with a side of fuzzy handcuffs when she discovers her best friend and colleague has a kinky side, too.


Sexy, tattooed techie John Sun is an experienced Dom who never lacks for playmates, male or female. If he can't satisfy Robin's cravings, maybe no one can—after all, he knows her better than anyone. So he offers to help her master the art of submission for one month.


Robin eagerly agrees to John's terms, even the pesky little rule forbidding any friendship-ruining sex. But rules are made to be broken, and once they begin their stimulating sessions, it's not long before she's ready to beg him for more—much more…


8. It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips


he Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville—the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not ready for the Stars' head coach, former gridiron legend Dan Calebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Calebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises—a meddling bimbo who doesn't know a pigskin from a pitcher's mound.


So why is Dan drawn to the shameless sexpot like a heat-seeking missile? And why does the coach's good ol' boy charm leave cosmopolitan Phoebe feeling awkward, tongue-tied...and ready to fight?


9. Head Over Heels by Susan Andersen


Who said, "you can't go home again"?


In Veronica Davis's case, who'd want to—especially when you hail from Fossil, Washington? But now she's back among the kooks and crazies, the small-time losers and the jerks who think she's fair game just because she's in a waitress uniform.

The truth is, Veronica's the boss—at least until she can sell the family saloon and skip town again as fast as her pretty legs can carry her—and nobody knows that better than Cooper Blackstock. From his place behind the bar, the former Special Forces Marine sees everything. And his undercover agenda has made the feisty boss-lady's troubles his own.


And her troubles are considerable, what with a family in turmoil, a pseudo-bartender with dangerous secrets, a murder investigation and death threats. Though the town surprisingly rallies in support, it's still a good thing that Cooper will be there to catch Veronica if she stumbles—if he doesn't start falling himself.


10.  Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame


Lucy London puts the word genius to shame. Having obtained her PhD in microbiology by the age of twenty, she's amassed a wealth of knowledge, but one subject still eludes her—people. The pendulum of passions experienced by those around her both confuses and intrigues her, so when she’s offered a grant to study emotion as a pathogen, she jumps on the opportunity.


When her attempts to come up with an actual experiment quickly drop from lackluster to nonexistent, she’s given a choice: figure out how to conduct a groundbreaking study on passion, or lose both the grant and her position at the university. Put on leave until she can crack the perfect proposal, she finds there’s only one way she can study emotions: by experiencing them herself.


Enter Jensen Walker, Lucy's neighbor and the one person on the planet she finds strangely and maddeningly appealing. Jensen's life is the stuff of campus legend, messy, emotional, complicated—in short, the perfect starting point for Lucy's study. When her tenaciousness wears him down and he consents to help her, sparks fly. To her surprise, Lucy finds herself battling with her own emotions, as foreign as they are intense. With the clock ticking on her deadline, Lucy must decide what's more important: analyzing her passions...or giving in to them?


I am sure I missed your favorite.  Let me know!


Vote on my Goodreads list:  1st Book in Contemporary Romance Series

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review 2015-05-29 20:48
No Strings Attached - Susan Andersen (HQN - Aug 2014)
No Strings Attached - Susan Andersen

Series: Razor Bay (Book 3)

Some mistakes are worth repeating…


Tasha Riordan's one night with Luc Bradshaw was the best of her life. The following two -- when he left her to be thrown into a Bahamian jail on bogus charges -- were her worst. Now, seven years later, the undercover DEA agent is back. Invading her town. Her restaurant. Her fantasies. She can't trust a man who lied to her. Yet neither can she trust herself -- not when their chemistry burns even hotter than before.


Learning he has two half-brothers shocks Luc. Discovering they live in the same town as Tasha -- that's a different kind of thrill. Their mutual lust is still off the charts, but he can't get her to listen to his side of what happened on that long-ago night. Good thing he's got powers of persuasion that go deeper than words. Because nothing has ever felt this right….


Very good second chance story with some fun moments. It starts with a hot vacation fling between Tasha and "Diego". Things are looking great when he's called away by his boss, after asking her to stay a few extra days. Right after he leaves, his room is raided by the Bahamian police and she's tossed in jail for two days on drug charges. She's convinced she was set up by a drug dealer.


Seven years later, she finds "Diego" visiting her best friend's fiance, claiming to be his half-brother Luc Bradshaw. She is still furious with him over the jail thing, and now believes he's trying something fishy with her friends. It takes a lot of effort for Luc to prove who he really is, and that he was on an undercover assignment when he met her. He's been mad at her too, believing she had broken her promise to stay, since she was gone when his boss went to help her leave the island. When he finds out what happened to her, he's furious and determined to get to the truth.


As angry as she is, it's obvious that the attraction between Tasha and Luc is as strong as it was before. Neither one has forgotten those days when they felt like they had truly connected. Luc is determined to show Tasha that they can still have something good together, but every time she looks at him she remembers those horrible nights in jail. She's really pretty hard on him, but it isn't too long before Luc's intention to regain her trust starts to soften her up.


There were moments when I loved Tasha, and others when I really wanted to smack her. I loved her independence, her strength of will, and her loyalty to her friends. I loved seeing her on the scene at her pizzeria. She has great relationships with her employees - there was a terrific part at the beginning where she stood up for one of her teenage employees against one of the snobby set. However, she spent far too long holding what happened against Luc, especially once he explained. But once she finally accepted it, things really started to pick up.


I really liked Luc. I loved seeing him get to know his brothers. It was a bit heartbreaking to see his insecurity over whether he fit in with them. I also liked that he really was an honorable guy.  He had tried to do the right thing back in the Bahamas, his mistake was in trusting his boss. He hadn't forgotten Tasha at all, and often wondered about her. He was floored when he saw her again, and really confused about her anger until he heard why. I loved the way that he refused to give up on getting her to forgive him and seeing if they could still have something together.


I loved seeing the relationship grow between Tasha and Luc. At first they tried to keep it purely physical, because Luc would be going back to his undercover work and Tasha didn't want to risk her heart. But Luc soon finds that the idea of not going back to undercover work is growing in appeal. All he needs to do is convince Tasha to take a chance on him. Tasha has to face up to her own fears before she can allow herself to take what Luc is offering. While her confrontation with Luc was hard, I liked the way she was able to be honest with herself and admit the truth of the things he said. Once she did that, then she had to decide if she was ready to take the risk.


I also enjoyed the secondary story of Jeremy and Peyton, Tasha's two teenage employees. I loved Jeremy's determination to overcome the issues that had put him in the group home. He had his pride, but he was also willing to accept the help offered by Tasha and her friends. I really enjoyed seeing the part he played in the story. I wasn't sure about Peyton at first. She initially came across as one of the snobby crowd, but showed what she was really made of early on. Her attitude was actually a cover when she was nervous, and I loved seeing it start to fade as she made a place for herself at the pizzeria. The romance that developed between the two of them was pretty sweet, but not without its problems. I really liked seeing the way they dealt with those problems and how it made them stronger. I'd like to see them again in a later book.

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text 2015-02-17 16:13
Spangle: Strippers and Showgirls in Romance
Forever Buckhorn - Lori Foster
Lightning that Lingers: A Loveswept Classic Romance - Sharon Curtis,Tom Curtis
Solar Flare - Autumn Dawn
Dark Needs at Night's Edge - Kresley Cole
Skintight - Susan Andersen
The Notorious Scoundrel - Alexandra Benedict
Stripping Her Gears - Sahara Kelly
Beefcake & Cupcakes (BeefCake, Inc.) - Judi Fennell
Bride Of Shadow Canyon - Stacey Kayne
The Nerd Who Loved Me (The Nerd Series) - Vicki Lewis Thompson

Sometimes I need a little feathers, glitter, and body oil (okay I never need body oil) with my Romance.


Here are some great Romances where heroines (and sometimes heroes) make or made their living working a pole, doing the bump and grind, and other sexy topless dancing. 


Strippers and Showgirls in Romance! My lists are never in any particular order. 


1. Forever Buckhorn: GabeJordan (The Buckhorn Brothers) by Lori Foster



Jordan Somerville thinks he wants a woman who's a paragon of virtue. But then the gentle veterinarian—rescuer of strays—meets Georgia Barnes, single mother and exotic dancer. She's a far cry from Jordan's dream woman—and she's made it clear that he's hardly her dream man, either. So why is he suddenly tempted to break all his own rules?


2. Lightning that Lingers Sharon Curtis


Philip Brooks is a man with a passion for biology, wildlife, and restoring his old family home—all of which add up to a pile of bills that require attention. Moonlighting as the Cougar Club’s hottest dancer is a job, nothing more, nothing less—until lovely Jennifer Hamilton nearly faints during one of his shows. Her sweet innocence tugs at his heart and makes him painfully aware of his longing for the kind of love a woman as perfect and real as Jennifer can offer.
Watching her most secret fantasy come to life on the dance floor is almost more than Jennifer can bear. Now, the sexiest man she’s ever met is near enough to hold. For a shy, bookish lady with little experience in the romance department, life feels as if it’s spinning out of control—and not in the direction, or with the kind of man, she ever imagined. Can she believe in the passion Philip ignites and take a chance on a dance that could last a lifetime?


3. Solar Flare by Autumn Dawn


Hero goes undercover as a stripper. Slow burn.

Azor agreed to take Brandy off planet to avoid a scandal, never knowing they’d ignite a white hot passion of their own. Sassy, sexy, Brandy makes him burn. If the hostile aliens don’t kill him, his companion just might.

Hunted by a shapeshifting assassin, fighting an infection that's killing her, he knows that time is short. Can he reach her distant family before time runs out?


4. Dark Needs at Night's Edge by Kresley Cole



Néomi Laress, a famous ballerina from a past century, became a phantom the night she was murdered. Imbued with otherworldly powers but invisible to the living, she haunts her beloved home, scaring away trespassers -- until she encounters a ruthless immortal even more terrifying than Néomi herself.


To prevent him from harming others, Conrad Wroth's brothers imprison him in an abandoned manor. But there, a female only he can see seems determined to drive him further into madness. The exquisite creature torments him with desire, leaving his body racked with lust and his soul torn as he finds himself coveting her for his own.


Yet even if Conrad can win Néomi, evil still surrounds her. Once he returns to the brutality of his past to protect her, will he succumb to the dark needs seething inside him?


5. Skintight by Susan Andersen


Professional poker player Jax Gallagher should have known better than to wager a World Series baseball that wasn't his to lose. Now the man who won the collectible is demanding his prize... or else. Trouble is, the ball is owned by his estranged father's widow--a flamboyant Las Vegas showgirl. Jax will do whatever it takes to get it back.

Yet Treena McCall is anything but the ruthless gold digger Jax expects. She's built a life for herself filled with good friends and hard work. And she's got enough on her plate trying to hang on to her job as a dancer without being wined, dined and seduced by sexy Jax Gallagher....


6. The Notorious Scoundrel by Alexandra Benedict


Like an irresistible siren, the veiled dancer with the bewitching green eyes lures dukes and earls down into London's underworld to see her dance--and succumb to her spell. Some say she's a princess, but only one man knows her darkest secret.

She is Amy Peel, an orphan from the city's rookeries, and she believes the bold rogue who unmasks her to be nothing but a scoundrel--albeit a dangerously handsome one. He may have rescued her from an attempted kidnapping, but she will not give in to his sensual seduction or to the wicked desire she begins to feel . . .

He is Edmund Hawkins, swashbuckling pirate turned reluctant gentleman, and he will not let the lovely Amy slip through his grasp, especially when he learns she's in greater peril than she could possibly know. He will do everything in his power to protect her--for this notorious scoundrel has truly, unbelievably, lost his heart . . .


7. Stripping Her Gears by Sahara Kelly


She's a long-legged blonde who loves people and dancing and needs a part time job. What could be better than joining the staff of Boston's hottest private club - Goggles and Cogs. In her Steampunk outfit, Cora Standish taps her way through old-time music hall numbers three nights a week and waits tables as well, loving every minute of it.

Jack Brandon is thrilled his club is a success and fascinated by one particular blonde. When an old friend books a bachelor party for a closed door event, Jack offers three of his best girls a chance to make some big money. All they have to do is entertain--in the style of the best burlesque shows. He's torn between business and desire. He wants the booking but would rather have Cora strip just for him.

When the power fails, Jack and Cora take a chance...learning that lap dances are more erotic when done in semi-darkness and that passion doesn't need anything but the right couple. But are they right for each other? A stupid mistake may wreck it all and strip her gears for ever...


8. Beefcake & Cupcakes by Judi Fennell


Sugar is sweet, but so is revenge

All Lara Cavallo wants to do is make her bakery business, Cavallo's Cups & Cakes, a success, and be able to stop accepting alimony from her rotten, cheating ex-husband. But first she needs to find her clothes and escape the strange hotel room she wakes up in before she embarrasses herself any further in front the owner of that gorgeous naked keister she spots through the bathroom door. She needs to keep her mind on her cupcakes. She doesn't have time for beefcake, no matter how enticing.

Cupcakes are sweet, and so is Lara…

All Gage Tomlinson wants is to find a way to help his single-mom sister pay the hospital bills for his six-year-old nephew, badly injured in a hit and run accident. Working construction during the day and as the owner of the exotic male dance troupe BeefCake, Inc. by night doesn't leave much time for indulgence. Too bad the sweetest thing he's seen in ages passes out on him and then takes off before he even gets a nibble. He's got a sweet tooth, and only Lara's "cupcakes" will satisfy him.

But when cupcake finally meets beefcake, it's hot enough to melt the buttercream right off the cake.


9. Bride of Shadow Canyon by Stacey Kayne


Respectable showgirl

When the widowed boardinghouse keeper he has come to rescue turns out to be a scantily-clad showgirl, Jed Doulan knows he's in for trouble. With his shadowed past, he'd be mad to let this spirited—and surprisingly innocent—woman get close.


Rebellious bride

Bound by a hasty marriage to her reluctant hero, Rachell Carlson senses his struggle to keep a distance between them. But the message in Jed's eyes makes her pulse quicken—and even dares her to believe in love.


10. The Nerd Who Loved Me by Vicki Lewis Thompson


Nerd to the rescue!
Shy accountant Harry Ambrewster never dreams his crush on Vegas showgirl Lainie Terrell will amount to anything.  But then he agrees to babysit for her precocious four-year-old son Dexter and her drunk ex-boyfriend shows up demanding to see his kid.  Escaping out a second-story window with Dexter isn’t Harry’s style, but Lainie and her son need a hero, and Harry isn’t about to let them down . . .

Alarmed by her volatile ex’s sudden interest in Dexter, Lainie’s desperate to keep her son from harm.  Harry offers his mother’s security-enhanced home as a safe haven for Dexter while he and Lainie attempt to mislead her ex by posing as a husband and wife checking out a Sedona timeshare.  What starts out as a platonic arrangement quickly morphs into red-hot passion, but can either of them trust emotions created in a powder keg?


Did I miss your favorite? Do you simply need more? Visit my Goodreads list: Spangle: Strippers and Showgirls in Romance.

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review 2015-02-01 16:35
Head Over Heels (Marine, Book 1) by Susan Andersen Review
Head Over Heels - Susan Andersen

I will be doing some retro review of my Five Star books in the coming months. 


Here is a a great Romanic Comedy with Suspense to start.


Head Over Heels (Marine, Book 1) by Susan Andersen


Who said, "you can't go home again"?


In Veronica Davis's case, who'd want to—especially when you hail from Fossil, Washington? But now she's back among the kooks and crazies, the small-time losers and the jerks who think she's fair game just because she's in a waitress uniform.

The truth is, Veronica's the boss—at least until she can sell the family saloon and skip town again as fast as her pretty legs can carry her—and nobody knows that better than Cooper Blackstock. From his place behind the bar, the former Special Forces Marine sees everything. And his undercover agenda has made the feisty boss-lady's troubles his own.


And her troubles are considerable, what with a family in turmoil, a pseudo-bartender with dangerous secrets, a murder investigation and death threats. Though the town surprisingly rallies in support, it's still a good thing that Cooper will be there to catch Veronica if she stumbles—if he doesn't start falling himself.




For me this romance has everything, it is charming and fast paced. The hero is sexy and the heroine is no push over. Each lead has a fully developed backstory that makes an impact on their current actions.


I love rereading this book I still laugh each time. I still root for the couple. A lovely read that I am happy to keep a place for on my keeper shelf.

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