Hide And Seek, by M J Arlidge

ARLIDGE_Hide and Seek_NZArlidge’s style has me determined to get my hands on each novel in the D. I. Helen Grace series of crime stories. His characters – both the police team members, and each title’s new cast members – are well and truly alive on the page – real, and human with their foibles and fancies.

In Hide And Seek our favourite police officer-no-more is in her worst possible place: the world behind the bars of Holloway. Both the guards and the inmates (some of whom are there because of Helen) have already adjudged her as a rotten copper – before her trial – and as just another crim.

When the inmate of the cell beside Helen’s is found dead in her bed, left by her killer in a bizarre and ghastly state, it is Helen who has to remind the inmates that none of them are safe. Helen is driven to watch both guards and inmates alike in her effort to identify the killer.

She faces suspicion and hostility from both sides. The second and third kill creates a frenzy among the inmates. An understandable error of thinking delays her eventual discovery of the murderer, which she learns the hard way. Seriously, the hard way.

The unwarranted (as in, not official) actions of loyal D. C. Charlie Brookes are what decides the sequel*.

Published 2016 by Michael Joseph, for Penguin/Random House
ISBNs:
Hardbound:     978-0-718-18383-7 (NZ ISBN: 978-0-718-18383-7)
Paperback:      978-0-718-18384-4 (NZ ISBN: 978-1-405-92562-4)

Researching Holloway

Arlidge has posted about his research into Holloway prison, carried out almost while conceiving the story for Hide And Seek.

Read about his research at  DeadGoodBooksBlog logo

The Series:

   Eeny Meeny
   Pop Goes the Weasel
   The Doll’s House
   Liar Liar
   Little Boy Blue
   Hide And Seek
   *   Follow My Leader, later in 2017

The New Zealand Cover differs from editions produced for northern hemisphere markets
ARLIDGE_Hide and Seek       ARLIDGE_Hide and Seek_USmaybe

 

 

 

Show No Weakness: Exclusive

2017-04-10 to 14_Show No Weakness

Taylor Sinclair, Joely’s teenaged son, has mixed feelings about his mother’s burgeoning relationship with Cole Dennison. In this exclusive, we “listen in” to Taylor’s phone call to his friend after visiting his father. Note: this is Not in the novel Show No Weakness.
Check the “Released: Show No Weakness” Page for details of the book, released 10th April


“Hey, Taylor, how did the visit go with your dad last weekend?”

“Ah, it was okay,” Taylor told his friend, Nelson. He sprawled out on the couch and thumped his feet up onto the coffee table.

“Really? Cuz, you don’t sound okay. You sound kinda pissed. Did something happen with your dad?”

“Nah.” Taylor frowned and switched the phone to his other ear, then reached for the glass of juice he’d just poured himself. “I’m choked with my mom.” He took several long gulps of juice and put the glass back down with a loud sigh.

Nelson laughed. “That’s been happening a lot lately. What’s up now?”

“You remember that cop I told you about?”

“The one you met when you got in trouble, and now you’re playing basketball with him?”

“That’s right. Cole. He’s a really cool dude, for a cop, and we’re actually, like, friends. But now I find out he and my mom are dating.” Frustration surged through Taylor, and he barely stopped himself from kicking the coffee table.

“Yeah, so what’s wrong with that?”

“Seriously, Nelson?” Taylor couldn’t believe Nelson didn’t automatically see the problem. “What are the chances they’ll stay together? Practically zero,” he answered himself before Nelson could say anything. “And then Mom will hate him, just like she hates my dad, and she’ll stop me from spending time with Cole, just like she’s done with my dad. Where’s that fair? He was my friend, first.” Even he could hear the pout in his voice, but he had a right to be damn mad about this.

Nelson kept quiet for a moment, then he said, “Yeah, but what if he and Joely do stay together? That’d be cool, wouldn’t it? And you’d get to hang out with Cole even more.”

Taylor gave another exasperated sigh. Before he could tell his friend what he thought about him taking Joely’s side, he heard the condo’s hall door open, signalling the arrival of his mom. No way was he sticking around to deal with her staring at him with that disappointed look on her face.

“Look, Mom’s home from work, so I gotta go. Talk to you later, okay?”

He chucked the phone onto the couch and bee-lined for his room without even glancing at his mom. If she didn’t like it, tough. She deserved the silent treatment.

~oOo~

Interviewing Andrea Stanet

2017-03-13 to 17_Umbra's ShadowAndrea has released her romance novel,
Umbra’s Shadow, this week.

 

Andrea Stanet

 

 

 

 

I interviewed Andrea about her writing process, and themes within the novel.

As you were writing this work, did you have a planned outline of the plot? Or did you write “free-flow”?

How Umbra’s Shadow came together is a very different way than I normally work. Originally, it was a 20,000-word novella, and when I wrote that core of the story, it mainly flowed very easily. I had submitted it to one publisher who accepted shorter works, and they requested more, as in extend and resubmit.

The planning part came in once I had to figure out what else was going on in this world and how Merc fit into it. I’m not typically a fan of elaborate plans because by the time I finish outlining, I’ve spent most of my writing energy. I get bored. Plus, I hate being boxed into a specific path, and prefer having the flexibility to let the story go where it wants to (within reason). The stories I have tried to plan either never get completed or the first draft gets shelved.

There’s always some level of planning, and I do have a rough idea of the major events that need to happen in this trilogy. But I won’t work out the specifics until I sit down to develop each segment.

What parts of your hometown of New York can readers recognize in Umbra’s Shadow?

The two settings in the story most influenced by my “hometown” knowledge are Poughkeepsie and Manhattan. I spent most of my life in NYC, so the story version of New York is a composite of different parts of the city rolled into one area.

For the past 10 years, I’ve lived in the Hudson Valley, a bit outside of Poughkeepsie. Again, I wanted to give a feel for the place, but it’s not a direct sketch of the city by any means.
At times, the two—NYC and Poughkeepsie—merge slightly in the story in order to give Poughkeepsie a rougher edge.

You’re planning two more books to follow Umbra’s Shadow as a trilogy…any hints of what is to come?

That’s tough without giving anything away from this book, but a couple of major questions have much deeper answers than anything revealed at this point. First, who is Merc and where is she from? More of her origin will come to light in the next instalment.

Also, the Courts have a pretty nasty enemy, and that will be revealed in the next book. Characters I think will return (it’s only in a very raw draft form now) include Paris, the Winter Queen, and possibly Dúl’s mother.

What is your favourite place to write? Please describe it for us.

I usually camp out on my couch, especially in the winter. It’s right next to our pellet stove, which is similar to a wood-burning stove except that it uses a fan to blow hot air into the room. During the winter, I always want to be as close to the fire as I can get without melting my laptop. I’ve set up one of our gaming tables as a long, makeshift ‘desk.’

Even in the summer, when there’s no fire going, I just like the sofa because it’s super squashy and comfortable (it’s also where I nap before bed). Once in a while, I’ll forego the laptop and write by hand. I’m more likely to do that during the warm-weather months. Then I might take one of my five-million notebooks and do some writing down by the lake near our development, out in the blazing sun.

There seems to be a theme developing here…

What authors you have read who have defined your own style?

Kelly Armstrong has had a big impact on me because I love her characters. She writes very strong female protagonists who feel like fully realized human beings and not perfect at everything. She also has great pacing and plotting. Armstrong is one of the few authors whose work I can read repeatedly.

Tamora Pierce is another fantasy author whose female characters always stick with me.
I love Stephen King for his intricate plots, and of course, the creepiness of his work, so when I’m trying to set a dark and frightening atmosphere, I think of his work.

There’s an African author by the name of Lesley Nneka Arimah, and I love the subtle way she reveals back-story. I’ll definitely keep her techniques in mind when I start on the sequel to Umbra’s Shadow.


{That sequel… I’m looking forward to it!}

Andrea Stanet is featured at her publisher
Roane Black on White

Buy your Kindle copy of Umbra’s Shadow now…

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“Retrouvailles” – Cover Reveal

2017-05-15_RetrouvaillesRetrouvailles

A Romance Novel

by Bill Chastain

to be released 5th June, 2017

Roane Black on White

Alex Overstreet is exceptional. Mature beyond his years, he understands the value of education and where having one can take him. Adverse circumstances are no match for the “anything is possible” residing in his soul, a place where self-pity need not enter. His future is mapped in his mind. Staying the course will bring a worthwhile end game.

Enter India Blue Kirkland. The most popular girl in school is the unknown Alex failed to factor into his carefully calculated life plans. She is everything he is not—outgoing and popular. A chance encounter with her sets into place a life-long love affair.

Together they find a passion and embrace the best of their different worlds while exploring the wonder of love.  Both are more than ready for a future together. But Alex’s family situation looms in the background, and eventually catches up to him, forcing him to make sacrifices that change the course of his relationship with India.  Though driven apart, their love never wavers.

Years later, Alex is successful on a large scale professionally, yet emptiness clings to him like free-floating lint to a dark suit. India should have been a part of it all.  He’s never moved on from her. She is the love of his life.  Meanwhile, India is trapped in a marriage and longs for what she had with Alex.  One glance of Alex at her father’s funeral sparks a romance that never died.

Retrouvailles validates the compelling power of first love and how the snapshots of moments together matter most. Those snapshots representing sweet moments in time can be more compelling than a lifetime spent together.


About Bill Chastain  

Bill Chastain is a sports journalist, and author of two previous novels …

  • Peachtree Corvette Club
  • The Streak.

He also has penned non-fiction sports titles including …

  • The Steve Spurrier Story: From Heisman To Head Ball Coach;
  • Payne At Pinehurst: The Greatest U.S. Open Ever;
  • Hack’s 191: Hack Wilson And His Incredible 1930 Season;
  • September Nights: Hunting The Beasts Of The American League East;
  • Jackrabbit: The Story Of Clint Castleberry And The Improbable 1942 Georgia Tech Football Team.

As well as at Chastain’s site Bill can also be found at …
FaceBook; and at Twitter:

His books can be found at Goodreads and Amazon

Cover Reveal::Symphony of Heartstrings

2017-03-24 to 28_Symphony o Heart Strings

A Symphony of Hearts

A Paranormal Romance

by T.E. Hodden

to Be Released 24th April, 2017

Roane Black on White

Meet Bob. Bob is the guy between the lines of every love story you ever met. The lucky chance, the twist of fate, the astounding coincidence that sets sparks flying. Never seen, but always there.   Today Bob is assigned to help Jenny find love.

But there is something more than bad luck working against the quirky librarian. Bob might have to save her life, before he can help her find love.   And he can’t do that from the shadows….

2017-04-24 to 28_Symphony o Heart Strings

About the Author

T. E. Hodden trained in engineering, and works in the rail industry. He writes as a hobby, when he is not walking the Kent coast, looking for forgotten nooks and crannies of history and folklore.

Tom can be found at FaceBook  

Kill the Next One, by Federico Axat

AXAT_Kill The Next OneWhen I began reading, I was hooked…especially at the double-back. As Ted battles with the enormity of what he has done, and what he may do, I became increasingly meshed with the multitude of dilemmas in which he found himself.

My head spun with the merry-go-round of events as his life unfolds after attempting suicide. What was going to happen next, for crying out loud? The puzzle was so enigmatic, I had to keep reading as events unfolded.

The more Ted learned, the more intricate the tale…fascinating. His fouled relationship with his wife and daughters, his enmeshment in so many complications, the discoveries we find… all gripped me. Definitely a one-sitting read!

An unusual tale, told in a series of twists…which I’m afraid seemed (to me) to wrap up too suddenly, leaving something indeterminate unsaid. The final chapter seemed a bit of a let-down, but the fact remains, I’ve read no crime novel like this before, and I want more from AXAT!

The Blurb: An audacious psychological thriller where nothing is what it seems. Ted McKay had it all: a beautiful wife, two daughters, a high-paying job. But after being diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour he finds himself with a gun to his temple, ready to pull the trigger. Then the doorbell rings. A stranger makes him a proposition: why not kill two deserving men before dying? The first target is a criminal, and the second is a man with terminal cancer who, like Ted, wants to die. After executing these kills, Ted will become someone else’s next target, like a kind of suicidal daisy chain. Ted understands the stranger’s logic: it’s easier for a victim’s family to deal with a murder than with a suicide. However, after killing his targets, Ted’s reality begins to unravel. Kill The Next One, an immersive psychological thriller from an exciting new voice.

Publisher: The Text Publishing, Australia  2016
Originally published as La ultima salida (The Last Way Out)2016
Translation © Hachette Book Group Ltd with permission
of Little, Brown and Company, NY

ISBN:
Print: 9781925355871
Ebook: 9781925410259

Other AXAT titles:

  • The Meadow of the Butterflies
  • El aula 19/Classroom 19 (Digital edition)
  • Benjamin

More titles listed at Federico’s site (behind the portrait) Federico AXAT

Federico is also found here…
Twitter: @FedericoAxat, and FaceBook:

‘Doubt’ titles

 

wp_daily-prompt-iconThis from the Daily Post prompt “Doubt”

“I doubt there are many books using ‘doubt’ in the title…”

Hoh, yeah? Here’s Google’s first ten hits on a [ books doubt ] search:

  1. Merchants of Doubt, Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes
  2. Doubt: A History, Jennifer Michael Hecht
  3. Without a Doubt, Marcia Clark
  4. River of Doubt, Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, by Candice Millard
  5. Doubt: A Parable, John Patrick Shanley
  6. Doubt, C E Tobishman
  7. The Crucible of Doubt – Reflections on the Quest for Faith, Fiona Givens and Terryl Givens
  8. Faith and Doubt, John Ortberg
  9. Benefit of the Doubt, Greg Boyd
  10. In Praise of Doubt: How to Have Convictions Without Becoming a Fanatic, Anton C. Zijderveld and Peter L. Berger
  11. Reasonable Doubt, & Reasonable Doubt 2, Whitney Gracia Williams
  12. Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for .Intelligent Design, Stephen C. Meyer
  13. Dealing With Doubt, Gary Habermas and Ronald T. Habermas
  14. The Doubt Factory, Paolo Bacigalupi
  15. Doubt, Vol 1, & Doubt Vol 2, Yoshiki Tonogai
  16. The Salmon of Doubt, Douglas Adams
  17. On Doubt, Lee Sales
  18. Cruel Doubt, Joe McGinniss
  19. In Doubt, Drusilla Campbell
  20. Shadow of Doubt, Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon

I doubt I’d ever read all of them, although some look intriguing: Millard’s River of Doubt, and Adams’ The Salmon of Doubt, and definitely McGinniss’s Cruel Doubt.

I doubt the local library has all of them, too, although the historical, the philosophical, and definitely Adams’s collection will be on its shelves.

I doubt I’d review any here, although… any crime title will definitely get a review!

Tell me about any one of the above you’ve read…or name another title ‘doubt’, as a comment.

“Crimson Curse”, released Feb 7

63a72-thecrimsoncurse_cover

The Crimson Curse
A Romance / Fantasy by Melissa J. Crispin

 

Cursed and disfigured, Calliope must find true love before the final leaf falls from the Enchanted Tree. Being bound to her mansion on the outskirts of town leaves her with little hope.

 

Abandoned by his wife for a wealthy man, Bastian only needs one female in his life, his five-year-old daughter, Yareena.
When she goes missing during a raging fire, fate brings him to a strange place where he encounters a woman wearing a golden mask. An attack by rogues puts Bastian in Calliope’s care. As he struggles against pride and prejudice, Bastian can’t ignore his growing attraction to the kind soul behind the mask.

 

Yareena and the mansion staff do their best at matchmaking, but Calliope can’t reveal her darkest secret. Will Bastian discover her true beauty before it’s too late?

 

~~~oOo~~~

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melissa J. Crispin lives in Connecticut with her husband, two kids, and an adorable Siberian Husky. She spends her days in the corporate world, and pursues her passion for writing in the late nights and early mornings.
From micro-fiction to novels, Melissa loves to write stories in varying lengths. But, no matter the story, it’s almost always about the romance.

 

LINKS:
Ms Crispin’s site
~~~oOo~~~

 

EXCERPT:

Calliope returned her attention to Bastian, grasping his shoulder with a gentle hand and giving him a small shake. When he didn’t stir, she considered how she could clean the wound without undressing him as he slept. She had never taken off a man’s clothing before, and she hardly wanted her first time to be when he wasn’t even aware of her actions. But, no other options seemed available. She started at the bottom button of his shirt, working her way up with trembling fingers, and spreading the fabric apart when the last of the buttons slipped free.

 

Her eyes roamed his upper body. While she was supposed to be assessing the extent of his injuries, she couldn’t deny the flash of heat that blasted through her at the sight of his bare skin.

 

She dipped a washcloth in the basin that Mrs. Widdleworth left on the night table, wringing out the excess water. As she dabbed at the gash near his naval, his vulnerability in that moment struck her in a way she had not expected. After their first encounter, she would have predicted his ego to get in the way, choosing to bleed to death in the cold rather than accept anything from her.

 

Although he suffered a serious injury, his daughter seemed to remain his utmost concern. Could his earlier ill-temper have been an unusual display? A behavior born out of fear for his daughter’s safety?

 

Maybe she had been wrong about him.

 

She pressed her lips together, allowing the notion to sink in as she dropped the bloody fabric off to the side, and proceeded to stitch the wound with shaky fingers. When the task was complete, she picked up a fresh cloth to use as a dressing. Relief washed over her as she inspected the area before covering it up. The slice in his flesh went deep, but not nearly as deep as she initially feared. She positioned the bandage and fixed it in place, her gaze catching a thin trail of hair that started under the center of his chest, following the way it continued lower down his body, and even further yet where it dipped beneath his trousers.

 

“It’s been a long time since a woman has laid her hands on me,” Bastian said, his voice rough.

 

Calliope jumped, heat infusing her cheeks. “My apologies if this offends. Marcus doesn’t fare well with blood. I had to care for your injury myself.” Her eyes met his, and to her surprise, no anger seemed to stir there.

 

“I was only teasing.” He swallowed hard, appearing to bite back the immense discomfort he had to be feeling. “Thank you.”

 

She inclined her head. “You’re welcome.”

 

I shouldn’t have been so terse with you earlier. Yareena is my life, and when I couldn’t find her, well…” He reached for his face, pressing the heel of his hand against his jaw. “I lost my sense for a short while. I apologize.”

 

“Poisonous Whispers”, by Jana Begovich

 

 

Released on December 5th, this is Ms. Begovic’s 2016-12-5-to-8_poisonous-whispers
début novel – a romance, but much more.
Written in a literary style, it is a saga of discovery
of true love.

In brief:
       “Don’t you ever forget about me…,” he whispers during their secret encounters. Like a curse, these simple words now haunt Leandra, a reputable psychiatrist, who finds herself in emotional chaos after the sudden breakup of her illicit affair. Unable to heal on her own and tormented by dreams in which supernatural forces create havoc with her fate, she desperately turns to David, a colleague psychiatrist, asking him to take her through past-life regression therapy. She hopes that this unorthodox and somewhat suspect technique will explain her profound connection to the lover who has abandoned her so abruptly.

The sessions take Leandra through 17th and 19th century Ireland, Italy and England, where love, loss and betrayal are the leitmotifs in an ambiance of co-mingled fantasy and reality. In her hypnotic state, Leandra recounts a saga of intoxicating love, dizzying passion, flaming lust and profound heartbreak. Despite the painful answers she finds under hypnosis, Leandra still cannot let go of the hope to reunite with her lover. Ultimately, the shattering revelations from her past-life incarnations, along with the turmoil over her ruined marriage, become the stepping stones of her introspective path to healing, self-discovery and an appreciation of true love.

With its seamlessly interwoven sub-plots, “Poisonous Whispers” lures the reader from one continent to another, from past to present. The affair at the center of the story is an anatomy of the heart in which the heroine’s sorrow-laced journey reflects the universal themes of love and loss.

The author:
jana-portrait       As far back as Jana can remember, she has been fascinated by storytelling and intoxicated with the written word. As a young child, she began spinning stories, talking to an imaginary friend and devouring fairy tales. As a teenager, she wrote maudlin love poetry; and as a young mother, a collection of fables. Her love of reading and writing drove her to study languages and literature, resulting in B.A. degrees in English and German Languages and Literature, an M.A. Degree in Literary Studies, as well as a B.Ed. Degree in English and Dramatic Arts.
She works for the Government of Canada in the field of military language training and testing and her work, as a subject matter expert, has taken her all over the world. She was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina but has lived in Canada since 1991, currently
in Ottawa, Ontario with her husband.
As of the time of this posting, she is working on her second novel, as well as a collection of short stories.

An excerpt:
       A tiny streak of pale light is cascading softly down the cell window and making a shy sliver in the veil of darkness. I open my eyes, disoriented. I do not move; I do not even dare blink until I get my bearings. Then I remember and freeze in horror. I sit up, an aching all over my body and cold dread in my heart. Instinctively, I try to disentangle my matted hair with my fingers, but it is hopeless. All around me, I smell mold, decay and death. How can I survive another day in this hole? The sound of the door opening with a screech makes me jump in terror.

The gaoler walks in; a heavy set of keys dangling and jingling in his hand.

“Come. You are being moved in preparation for tonight’s execution. A verdict was reached.”

I speak not but follow him. We climb a steep staircase. Below us, I hear moans and yells and what sounds like the death throes of those hopelessly lost to the world and forgotten by justice, compassion and mercy. Again, I am feeling dissociated from the event of my calamity; I see my body walking, but my soul is not in it and indifference over what might happen floods me. Death is not the end. Death offers me salvation from pain, from the torment of living a human life.

We leave the jailhouse and enter the house across the street to the village inn. The inn owner, James Bourke, looks at me with hatred and disdain. He also always hated my husband because his wife had hoped my husband would marry her. She was in love with him, and when he married me she tried to kill herself. James married her later, but has always known that she never stopped loving my husband.

The gaoler takes me upstairs to one of the guest rooms and locks the door behind me. The room is wide and clean even though sparsely furnished. The bed is large and looks inviting and I realize how exhausted I am. On the bed is a white, thin chemise and I immediately understand this is what I will wear tonight when I am pushed off the bridge into the water that is cool even on the hottest of summer days. Will I have the strength or the will to swim and save myself? What surprises and almost delights me under such grave circumstances is a bathtub in the corner of the room. There is steam rising from it and I immediately undress and slip into it, relieved to be able to wash off the dirt, the grime, and above all the horrible stench on my body. I rub myself raw trying to clean my skin. Washing my hair is more difficult because at home I have servants who help me with bathing, dressing and undressing. I have been spoilt by marrying a man of wealth and power. Where is my husband now? I crave his protection. If he saved me now, would I give up Kieran, would I give up love in order to live? I surmise I would.

Available at:
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Print editions at…

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Digital editions at…

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Cover Reveal: “Umbra’s Shadow”

umbras-shadow-coverGot a problem that needs a kick-ass mercenary to fix it? Merc’s your shapeshifter.
It’s been open season on changelings—human/faery hybrids—until word gets around: someone’s got their backs.
Merc relies on her unique shapeshifting talents to defend the poor and disenfranchised hybrids living on the fringes of a modern-day Hudson valley city. Perhaps her past spurs her to help—orphaned, unable to remember her parents or her original form, forced to survive alone until a kindly Changeling couple takes her in.
But Merc also dreams of escaping the poverty and rescuing her boyfriend from the environment that feeds his addictions.

Dúl, a mysterious and seductive full-blooded  fey, seems to offer Merc the way out. But the job he proposes will plunge her into the political wasp nest of the Dreaming World and its fey courts. Dúl hires her to rescue the female lieutenant of the Shadow Court’s king.
But Morgan isn’t the only full-blood that’s disappeared. Nothing is what it seems. A hidden player is capitalizing on the animosities within the four courts, and Merc must solve the puzzle before anyone else falls victim. Her investigation exposes the web of betrayals and lies ambushing the courts from without, or maybe from within.

No one could defeat this conspiracy alone. Merc must suppress her solitary nature and learn to work with a team, while Dúl enters into a bitter alliance with his most hated enemy. Amid this treachery, the magnetic attraction between Merc and Dúl deepens into a forbidden bond they are powerless to deny.

Even if she unravels the chaos plaguing the Dreaming, can she handle the truth about the full-blood she’s fallen for?


Umbra’s Shadow,
a Contemporary Fantasy by Andrea Stanet
Roane Black on White

Release Date: March 13, 2017

Keywords: Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy, Shapeshifter, Mercenary