Source: Purchased

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Marry Me by Jo Goodman

Posted October 14, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Marry Me by Jo GoodmanReviewer: Holly
Marry Me by Jo Goodman
Series: Reidsville #2
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: December 1, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Westerns
Pages: 447
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge, Holly's Summer Reading Challenge, Summer Reading Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Her Heart Was Locked Away

Rhyne Abbot is fierce, brave, and used to a life of isolation on her father's spread on the outskirts of Reidsville, Colorado. But when, overcome with sickness, she collapses, she knows she must return to town if she is to have any hope of recovery. Only there is no place for her but the new doctor's home, and he wants more than just to heal Rhyne. He wants her hand in marriage.

Until One Man Found The Key

Doctor Cole Monroe's hands are already more than full with his orphaned little sister to look after, and yet somehow he can't resist the magnetic pull of Rhyne's bewitching eyes--or her tempting kiss. But convincing her to trust him won't be easy. For Rhyne's heart needs as much tender care as her ailing body. And the only cure is the thing she most fears: to let herself fall in love...

Mary Me by Jo Goodman is the second book in the Reidsville series. Casee chose this for our Summer Reading Challenge, but I forgot to review it in August. It’s been ages since I read a Jo Goodman. This was vaguely familiar, so it’s possible I’ve read it before. I can’t remember for sure, though, so I’m calling this a new read. I had a hard time getting into it at first, but it picked up by the 3rd chapter.

When Cole Monroe’s younger sister talks him into moving to Reidsville, CO to become their new town doctor, he isn’t sure what to expect. The colorful residents are interesting, and he’s enjoying himself as the only doctor to service a large area. When he meets Rhyne Abbot, he knows he has to help her.The only way to do that is to have her move in with him. Not an ideal situation, but one they make work. Only, he never expected to come to have such strong feelings for her. Her fierce independence and indomitable spirit really call to him.

Rhyne was raised as a boy, until her father could no longer ignore the fact she was a girl. Even then, she kept up the pretense with the town’s inhabitants. Now that she’s been outed as a woman and forced to move in with the new doctor, things sure are different for her. Finding her footing in this new world is difficult, but she’s managing. If only she could get rid of this pesky attraction she has for the doctor…

I really thought the romance was super sweet. I liked both Cole and Rhyne. I liked how patient he was with Rhyne and how she slowly came to trust him. Some of the medical stuff was on the boring side, but I was able to move past that. I struggled more with how quickly Rhyne seemed to overcome her trauma, but I do think it was rather in keeping with the times. Rhyne didn’t have time to become hysterical, so she didn’t.

While this isn’t my favorite book by Goodman, it was enjoyable and I’ll probably read it again in the future.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Reidsville

three-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: The Wedding by Julie Garwood

Posted October 6, 2019 by Rowena in Features, Giveaways | 7 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

I have fallen into the biggest of reading slumps this year and I seem to only be reading in spurts. In the last few weeks, I’ve only wanted to read old comfort reads and that means I’ve read a whole lot of old school Julie Garwood. One of my favorite books ever is The Wedding and I just recently re-read it for like the hundredth time and it still hits me right in my feels. I still love it to pieces and it still remains one of my favoritest books ever.

Sunday Spotlight: The Wedding by Julie GarwoodThe Wedding by Julie Garwood
Series: Laird's Fiancees #2
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 1, 2003
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

It's a classic plot: a marriage of convenience that lays the groundwork for true love.

1119. Journeying from England to Scotland to wed a highlander, Lady Brenna had resigned herself to the arranged match. But when a band of fierce, painted warriors captured her en route, she fearlessly met their demand to marry their leader -- the quick-tempered laird Connor MacAlister. She couldn't know that her capture was merely the first act of vengeance against her betrothed, Connor's sworn enemy.

Brenna harbored no illusions that her husband was in love with her; after a hasty forest wedding, MacAlister assured her she could return home once she had borne him a son. But she could not deny that she had once proposed to MacAlister -- ten years ago, when she was just a child, and the visitor to her father's castle charmed her with his dazzling, unexpected smile. Now, as she sets out to win the brave chieftain whom she has come to adore, a legacy of revenge ensnares Brenna in a furious clan war -- and only her faith in her gallant hero can save her....

Memorable Quotes

If you haven’t read this book yet, you should really fix that because Julie Garwood’s historicals are one of a kind of romances that I honestly believe will stand the test of time. Whether you’re a newbie to romance or an old veteran reader like us here at Book Binge, you’ll love Julie Garwood’s older romances. They’re just super good with colorful settings, memorable characters and romances that will warm your heart and stay on your mind for years and years to come. Connor and Brenna MacAllister’s romance is one of the best and you won’t be able to help yourself. You’re going to fall in love with them and with their love story.

Here are some of my favorite quotes and scenes from the book…

“What did you say to the messenger, mi’lady? Do you remember the exact words of your last proposal?”

She recognized Quinlan’s voice behind her.

How in thunder could she possibly remember? Hadn’t any of them been listening?

She couldn’t turn to face Quinlan because their leader still had hold of her, and he didn’t seem to be the least bit inclined to let go.

“I probably said, ‘Will you marry me?'”

Connor smiled. He pulled her toward him, lowered his head, and kissed her just long enough to stun her.

He lifted his head then, looked into her eyes, and finally spoke to her.

“Yes, Brenna. I will marry you.”

Connor was such a sneaky little bastard. He was always going around tricking Brenna into doing what he wanted her to do…but oh Brenna had the last laugh because after all was said and done, it was Brenna who had Connor wrapped around her little finger.

“He held her gaze steady while he summarized her promises. “She will honor me, protect me, obey me only when she believes I’m being reasonable—but I shouldn’t hold out hope that that day will ever come—try to love me before she’s an old woman, and I’d better get it straight in my mind that she will respect me until or unless I do something to prove I’m not worthy, and God save me then. Have I left anything out, Brenna?”

Brenna wasn’t the easiest going heroine but man was she a delightful one. She rambled, she was forgetful but she was one of the sweetest heroines from Julie Garwood’s books. I loved her so much. It is not a coincidence that my daughter’s name is Brenna. 🙂 And I loved that with all of Brenna’s quirks, Connor loved her and wouldn’t have had her any other way.

“Your trying to take them away from me, and I can’t let you do that.I’m not ready to let go.”

“Exactly what am I taking away?”

“My family.”

“Brenna…”

She wouldn’t let him continue. “You are trying to take them away, aren’t you? And if you succeed, what will I have left?”

“Me.”

Say it with me now….”Awwwww. Brenna may lose every single person in her life but she’ll never lose Connor.” 🙂

“She let him know how much she liked what he was doing by scoring his back with her nails and crying out with pleasure.

“Oh, God.”

“Nay, lass. Connor.”

This is definitely the first thing that I think of when The Wedding comes across my mind. I laughed out loud the first time I read that scene. Holy cow it’s such a funny one. One of the most memorable scenes from this book.

As you can see, I have so much love for this book. It’s one of the books that I read in the early days, when I first started reading romance novels and it remains one of my favorite books ever. I have such fond memories of the people that I met online years and years ago who shared a love of this author and of this book with me. Honestly, to read this book is to love it so if you’re curious about this one, enter our giveaway below for a chance to win this book for your own.

Laird’s Fiancees Series

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: October 2019

Do you love Julie Garwood’s historicals as much as we do? Let us know how excited you are about all of the books coming out this month!

About Julie Garwood

It’s no surprise that Julie Garwood became a writer. Growing up in a large family of Irish heritage, she took to storytelling naturally. “The Irish relish getting all the details of every situation,” she explains. “Add in the fact that I was the sixth of seven children. Early in life I learned that self-expression had to be forceful, imaginative, and quick.”

Creating stories was always a passion for Julie, but she didn’t focus on making it a career until the youngest of her three children entered school. After the publications of two young adult books, she turned her interests to historical fiction. Her first novel, GENTLE WARRIOR, was published in 1985, and there has been a steady parade of bestsellers ever since. Today more than 40-million copies of her books are in print, and they are translated in dozens of languages around the world. One of her most popular novels, FOR THE ROSES, was adapted for a HALLMARK HALL OF FAME production on CBS.

Whether the setting be medieval Scotland, Regency England, frontier Montana, or modern-day Louisiana, her themes are consistent: family, loyalty, and honor. Readers claim that it’s the humor as well as poignancy of her novels that keep them coming back for more. Julie described her goals this way: “I want my readers to laugh and cry and fall in love. Basically, I want them to escape into another world for a little while and afterwards to feel as though they’ve been on a great adventure.”

Julie lives in Leawood, Kansas, and is currently working on her next novel.

five-stars


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Buddy Review: Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

Posted October 3, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Buddy Review: Kill the Queen by Jennifer EstepReviewer: Ames, Holly, and Rowena
Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep
Series: Crown of Shards #1
Publisher: Harper Collins, Harper Voyager
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.

In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

Kill the Queen is the start of a new fantasy series by Jennifer Estep. Set in a world where magic rules the land, this is a novel full of royal intrigue, evil machinations and in the center, a young girl of royal blood who just wants to be accepted for who she is…

Holly: Rowena chose this book for us, in part because it’s touted as “Gladiator meets Game of Thrones”. I hadn’t read Estep before, but I really loved her writing. So, what did you two think? Did you think it was GoT-esque?

Rowena: First off, nice intro Holly.

You know, I’m not even mad that I chose this book for us to read. I enjoyed it and I did think that the story overall was GoT-esque. I liked all of the royal intrigue and I liked seeing Evie really grow from the girl we first meet and the woman she becomes in the end. I’m mighty curious to see where this series goes so I’m definitely going to be reading the next book in the series. There were times in the beginning when I wanted to strangle Evie for not opening her mouth, for sitting on shit that she shouldn’t, for taking shit from people who were beneath her but all of my frustrations with her fell away when she becomes a gladiator. I really liked her friendship with Paloma and my heart hurt for her after everything with Isobel and her cousins. Yeah, this was a good one.

Ames: This was a good choice, Wena! I’m glad we read this one. I wasn’t slumping but I felt like I was in a contemporary romance rut and nothing was appealing to me. It did take me just a wee bit to get into a fantasy head-space but Evie’s story was engrossing so I had no problem jumping in either. I really enjoyed her character and I can see why she held on to what she did. She learned really fast that you couldn’t trust anyone at court and she held onto that lesson for her life.

Holly: This reminded me a lot of Amanda Bouchett’s Kingmaker Chronicles, but I think Estep did it better. Even though I got frustrated with Evie in the beginning, too, I was still totally engaged in the story. I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen and how she was going to deal with it.

Man, I was so sad for Evie when everything happened with Isobel. I wish we’d seen her reunite with Alvis, her mentor.

I really enjoyed watching her growth, too. The way she decided to stand up for herself, and stop hiding, was so great. I was totally cheering for her.

Rowena: Same. I was engaged the entire time that I was reading this book and I was going through a reading slump. You wouldn’t have known it by how fast I read this book, when I finally buckled down and read. Good stuff.

I would have liked to see Evie reunite with Alvis, the jewelry maker. Do you think he knew who and what Evie really was? I hope we find out in the next book.

Holly: I hope we see that in the next book, too. Are you planning to start it right away?

There’s a possibility of a romance. What did you think of that?

Rowena: Possibility of a romance? You mean between Evie and Sully? They better have a romance! Haha.

I’m going to wait a while before starting the next book, closer to the time that the third book comes out. You guys?

Ames: I’m like you Wena, I’m going to wait until closer to book 3 comes out before reading book 2.

I liked Sully’s character and we better see a romance between Evie and Sully. I liked how their relationship developed – the snarkiness at the beginning and how he pushed her, challenged her. And then when the truth comes out about both of them, their identities, I can see why he pushed her away. Book 2 will be interesting to see how Evie gets him to come around.

Holly: Yeah. I mean, it’s barely hinted at here. Obviously we want it to go forward, but were you satisfied with how it turned out here?

I might read the 2nd book now. Tracy read it and said it ends similar to how this one does. It’s not a cliffhanger but it’s open for more.

Ames: I loved the changes that Evie went to after she joined the gladiator troupe. She really got down to who she was a person and she was so strong. I really liked Paloma and how that friendship came about. Evie was just surprising everyone left and right with her talents. I liked that she wowed everyone by baking. LOL

I did feel bad about her losses though. Isobel was one of the only people who were kind to her in the castle. Alvis is a mystery and I hope we see him again.

Ok you guys, what did you think of that rhyme and what it means? I thought it was interesting that Evie just thought it was a children’s song and didn’t mean anything.

Holly: I think it means the Winter Queen will be harder and more badass than all the lame-ass Summer Queens. LMAO. I liked that she won everyone over by baking, too. Not gonna lie, those pies made me hungry.

Rowena: Yeah, I thought it meant that the Winter Queens were way more badass than the Summer Queens. That they were more important, and maybe in the coming books, we’ll find out why. I definitely think there were more Winter Queens than Summer Queens during Halloween in the kingdom.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book and I’d give it 4.25 out of 5 stars, what about you guys?

Holly: I agree. It was an enjoyable book and I’m anxious to see where we go from here. 4.25 out of 5.

Ames: I agree with you both, it’s a 4.25 out of 5. A strong start to a new and interesting series. I can’t wait for book 3 to come out so I can read book 2. You know me, preferring to read my series books closer together. 😛

Final Grades

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Holly: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.25 out of 5

Series

four-stars


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Series Review: Mount Trilogy by Meghan March

Posted September 27, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

I really enjoyed this trilogy, but it will not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Series Review: Mount Trilogy by Meghan MarchReviewer: Casee
Ruthless King by Meghan March
Narrator: Grace Grant, Joe Arden
Series: Mount Trilogy #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 350
Length: 5 hours and 49 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Get ready for the darker and dirtier side of New Orleans with a brand new alpha romance from USA Today bestselling author Meghan March.

New Orleans belongs to me. You don’t know my name, but I control everything you see—and all the things you don’t. My reach knows no bounds, and my demands are always met. I didn’t need to loan money to a failing family distillery, but it amuses me to have them in my debt. To have her in my debt. She doesn’t know she caught my attention. She should’ve been more careful. I’m going to own her. Consume her. Maybe even keep her. It’s time to collect what I’m owed. Keira Kilgore, you’re now the property of Lachlan Mount.

*Ruthless King is book 1 of the Mount Trilogy. Mount and Keira’s story is anticipated to be completed in Fall 2017 with Defiant Queen and Sinful Empire.*

But tell me the truth about one thing. When was the last time you were fucked by a real man? Someone who knows what you need. Someone who’ll take control from you and give you what you’ve been dying for.

Lachlan Mount is the most feared man in all of New Orleans. He rules the city with an iron fist. He gets what he wants, when he wants. What he wants is Keira Kilgore. Keira runs her family’s whiskey distillery. After she is widowed (right before her divorce was finalized), Keira knows her business is in trouble. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, Keira is not sure how she will keep the doors open. Then Lachlan Mount shows up at her door. He paid off her loans. What he expects in return is her.

What was hard about this books is that Keira was so unwilling to do what Mount wanted. Yet her body responded to him. Kiera has always had her head in the clouds about the person she would fall in love with. One of her stipulations to herself is that the chemistry be off the charts. Though Mount invokes that response in her, it’s something she doesn’t want.

This book was different that the usual March books. I did enjoy it because I enjoyed the strength of both characters. Mount literally pulled himself out of the gutter. He doesn’t know how to ask for what he wants, he just takes it. He thought he would have Keira until he tired of her, but that’s not happening. If anything, his feelings grow.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

Series Review: Mount Trilogy by Meghan MarchReviewer: Casee
Defiant Queen by Meghan March
Narrator: Grace Grant, Joe Arden
Series: Mount Trilogy #2
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 252
Length: 5 hours and 30 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The Mount Trilogy continues with Defiant Queen...

I’m his entertainment. His toy. Payment on a debt. I tell myself I hate him, but every time he walks into the room, my body betrays me. How can I want him and fear him in the same moment? They told me he’d mess with my head. Make it go to war with my body. But I didn’t realize it would be complete anarchy. I should’ve known better. When Mount’s involved, there are no rules. I will not surrender. I will not show weakness. I’ll stand my ground and make it out of this bargain with my heart and soul intact. But he has other plans . . .

Defiant Queen is the second book of the Mount Trilogy. Mount and Keira's story concludes in Sinful Empire.

This was only ever supposed to be sex. Repayment on a debt owed. But it has spiraled out of control, and now I’m terrified it’s becoming something else entirely—which is impossible.

In Defiant Queen, Mount is running into a problem. He doesn’t want to let Kiera go. Ever. The problem is that he doesn’t know how to change their relationship. Mount made her come to him through manipulation, but now Mount wants her to want to be with him. Which is easier said than done. He is up for the challenge. He’s never lost something he’s wanted and he’s not starting now.

I really enjoyed Kiera’s growth in this book. Although she’s not happy with her current situation, she’s willing to do anything to keep her family’s business running. When she starts developing feelings for Mount outside their usual chemistry, she’s taken aback. Still, she faces it like the strong person she is.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

Series Review: Mount Trilogy by Meghan MarchReviewer: Casee
Sinful Empire (Mount Trilogy, #3) by Meghan March
Narrator: Grace Grant, Joe Arden
Series: Mount Trilogy #3
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 19, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 243
Length: 5 hours and 28 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

The Mount Trilogy concludes with Sinful Empire!

What’s mine, I keep, and that includes Keira Kilgore.It’s no longer enough to have her in my debt. No longer enough to own her body.I want something more.She can try to resist, but I’ll never give her up.Nothing will keep us apart.Not her. Not my enemies. No one.Her debt will only be paid one way—with her heart.

Sinful Empire is the third and final book in the Mount Trilogy.

She’s mine. She’s staying mine. Even my black heart couldn’t handle losing her. I will keep her safe with my very last breath, if necessary.

This is the final book in the trilogy and the best one, in my opinion. Mount and Kiera have both finally accepted the unexpected. They are in love. It’s the kind of love that is once in a lifetime and something they would both kill to keep.

What I loved so much about this series is how Mount and Kiera’s relationship evolved. Mount is an anti-hero while Kiera is your quintessential heroine. The way they made it work just did something for me. I wasn’t going to continue this series after book one, but I couldn’t stop myself. I was obsessed with finding out what happened.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars


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Review: Lies by Kylie Scott

Posted September 23, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Lies by Kylie ScottReviewer: Casee
Lies by Kylie Scott
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: July 21, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First & Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 242
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
dnf

Betty Dawsey knows that breaking things off with Thom Lange is for the best. He’s nice, but boring, and their relationship has lost its spark. But steady and predictable Thom, suddenly doesn’t seem so steady and predictable when their condo explodes and she’s kidnapped by a couple of crazies claiming that Thom isn’t who he says he is.

Thom is having a hellish week. Not only is he hunting a double agent, but his fiancé dumped him, and thanks to his undercover life, she’s been kidnapped.

Turns out Thom is Operative Thom and he’s got more than a few secrets to share with Betty if he’s going to keep her alive. With both their lives on the line, their lackluster connection is suddenly replaced by an intense one. But in his line of work, feelings aren’t wanted or desired. Because feelings can be a lethal distraction.

I loved Repeat. Holly loved Repeat. Tracy loved Repeat. Rowena really liked Repeat. After the that awesomeness, my expectations were extremely high. Way too high as it turns out.

I really had a problem with Betty from just about the start. She had this gung-ho attitude that was completely unbelievable. Her fiancé, the man she was getting ready to dump, is a totally different person. Like another life, different. He’s some kind of secret agent and she decides she can be one too. It was awful.

DNF

dnf


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