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Month: May 2016

The Entire 8-Book Virtues and Valor Series is FREE Memorial Day Only!

In observance of Memorial Day, and in recognition to the heroes and heroines from World War II in which I based my characters for the complete VIRTUES AND VALOR SERIES, I have put the entire series FREE today only.

all virtues

At Kobo, GooglePlay, iBooks, and Smashwords, the books are all FREE. All 8 of them. Click the links to go to the series pages.

At Amazon and Nook (Barnes & Noble) they are 99 cents. (I cannot make a book free there for a single day, though it’s possible Amazon may price-match for the free.) Click the links to go to the series pages. I know on the series page at Amazon, they still say $2.99, but if you click through to the book, they’re all listed as $0.99.

vav squareIf you’d like to purchase an autographed paperback, the entire 8-book series is in one book for just $20. You can get that at my Square store at this link.

These books are action-packed. Each one ends in a cliffhanger, so you want to read them in order, and get all of them at one time while they’re on sale.

I have had some amazing feedback for this series. Many people have bought them for their teenage daughters because at the end of every book, I tell the true story of the heroines from WWII who inspired my characters.  So see who inspired each story, look for the blog posts I wrote about them. You can get to a shortcut of them at this link.

“A beautiful tribute to those who have served, especially the less recognized women! Suspense and action to keep you riveted and on the edge of your seat interlaced with strong faith, beautiful romance, and an inspiring story of courage and patriotism!”

“This series is fantastic! The author created several different characters and expertly combined and weaved their stories, making this a great read.”

“Serialized novels can be a difficult read to pull off, but Hallee Bridgeman does it well. With 7 main characters she weaves together this suspenseful story of love, war, and the plans for an epic prison break in a seamless way, leaving you guessing to the very end.”


VIRTUES AND VALOR SERIES


temperancePart 1 TEMPERANCE’S TRIAL:

MARIE GILBERT, code-named is recruited into an experimental all female cohort dubbed the Virtues, a collection of seven extraordinary women with highly specialized skills. Back in her home country of France, Marie clandestinely communicates vital intelligence directly back to Headquarters with a wireless radio, playing a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the Nazis.


cover_9781939603463_front_640Part 2 HOMELAND’S HOPE:

Code-named HOPE, famed performer VIRGINIA BENOIT performs for standing room only crowds in her adopted home country, France. When the Nazis roll into Paris, she flees to Casablanca, taking the heart of an enemy general with her. She joins the Virtues team and uses her position, talent, and influence with the high ranking Axis officer to aid the Allied cause.


cover_9781939603470_front_640Part 3 CHARITY’S CODE:

DORTHY EWING, code-named CHARITY, works on the home-front, receiving and sending messages to her team in France and coordinating a secret mission with her husband via coded letters. She intercepts the transmission alerting her to a cover blown. The clock is ticking in a race to save a friend’s life.


4ParcelPrudence_640Part 4 A PARCEL FOR PRUDENCE:

Code-named PRUDENCE, royal blooded MURIEL TOLSON speaks French like any native, allowing her to infiltrate Occupied France where she works as a courier, carrying messages, money, and sometimes people through the secret resistance network, aiding the allies to accomplish very dangerous missions behind enemy lines.


PGraceart 5 GRACE’S GROUND WAR:

RUTH AUBERTIN, code-named GRACE, is a highly trained soldier who speaks multiple languages, is an expert with weapons, explosives, and hand-to-hand combat. Can her team pull off the mission of rescuing a compromised agent, or will too many variables crash together at the wrong time?


06_9781939603500_640Part 6 MISSION OF MERCY:

Code-named MERCY, Doctor BETTY GRIMES spends her days under cover as a Red Cross nurse in Occupied France and her nights providing medical care to injured members of the French Resistance. When Betty is sent to the local prison to see to a prisoner who has taken ill, her shock at treating a dear friend nearly blows her own cover. Now her patient is deathly ill and Betty needs to get her well enough for the coming rescue operation to succeed.


v07-faithPart 7 FLIGHT OF FAITH:

Pilot HELEN MULBERRY, code-named FAITH, flies between Britain and France transporting passengers, supplies, or performing reconnaissance. The Nazis guard their skies with vigor, and Helen learns to fly in combat, land in darkened fields with no lights, and how to evade the antiaircraft fire. Shot down over France during the mission to rescue her fellow agent from the clutches of the Nazis, Helen must make her way through enemy territory with no language skills and somehow come through with a means to get her team back to Britain.

 

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Smoke and Mirrors Summer Destination Blog Hop and Giveaway!

smoke and mirrors

Welcome to you if you’ve hopped over to my blog from Connie Almony‘s! If you’re starting here, that’s wonderful! You can start anywhere in the group and make it all the way through!

I’m so happy you’ve joined me for the Smoke and Mirrors Summer Destination Blog Hop & Giveaway! To celebrate the release of the Smoke and Mirrors Box Set, the authors have banned together to bring you an amazing giveaway! One winner will win The Book Lover’s Grand Prize. This prize will include a $25 Starbucks gift card, as well as the following signed paperbacks by the Smoke and Mirrors authors:

larger softcovers

And another winner will win THE KINDLE FIRE GRAND PRIZE, which includes one brand new Kindle Fire and the following ebooks by the Smoke and Mirrors authors:

updated ebooks

What an amazing giveaway! But, to win, you have to comment on each blog in the blog hop. Here’s a list of the blogs:

Connie Almony

Hallee Bridgeman

Heather Day Gilbert

Kelli Hughett

Alana Terry

Rachel Trautmiller

Alexa Verde

(Author Sally Bradley is not participating in this hop, but she is an author in the boxed set!)

PLEASE NOTE: ***You will need to visit each of the 7 blogs above and comment on each one by 5 pm EST on May 30th to be eligible for a chance to win one of our grand prizes.***

Since all of the books in this box set take place in the summertime, the theme of this blog hop is “My Favorite Summer Vacation Destination.” My family travels a lot. We love to back our bags and hit the road together. We live in Kentucky, which is rather central to so many places, that it gives us a chance to just go. A couple of weekends ago, we enjoyed a trip up to the shores of Lake Huron. In a couple of weeks, I’ll be heading to Kansas City.

But my favorite summer destination is the Pacific Northwest. (I won’t get there this year until September). As an Army brat, my “home” in the Willamette Valley is a place I’ve only lived for a few years of my life, but most of my family lives there or around there. My father was stationed at Fort Lewis and then did ROTC duty in Eugene Oregon, so for a good chunk of my childhood, we had easy access to my family. So many childhood memories are wrapped up in camping and fishing near Crater Lake, visiting the coast of Florence, Oregon, and heading on up into the Mount Saint Helens region of Washington. Even though we moved to Florida when I was 13, summertime means grilling salmon on the grill in my grandparents’ backyard while we played on the slip-n-slide next to the garden under the apple tree.

My grandfather Hal (yes, I'm named after him) working in his garden in Springfield, Oregon
My grandfather Hal (yes, I’m named after him) working in his garden in Springfield, Oregon

on the ropesMy summertime story contained in the Smoke and Mirrors box set, On the Ropes, takes place in Florida, New York, and South Carolina — three of my favorite places to visit. As I was writing On the Ropes, I wrote a scene where my character Ruth was racing through the streets of New York City during a heat wave, and I remembered my honeymoon 4th of July weekend in NYC during a heat wave and the temperature on the street at 10PM was over 100 degrees. It’s a crazy heat that you can’t understand until you feel it.

What is your favorite summer destination? Comment below and let me know! *Please remember that you must comment on each of the 7 blogs in this blog hop to be eligible for either of the grand prizes!*

If you’re looking for a good read for this coming holiday weekend, check out the Smoke and Mirrors Collection. Right romantic suspense novellas set in summertime — the perfect kickoff to the beginning of summer!

Here is the blurb to my novella, On the Ropes: Doctor Ruth Burnette is placed in witness protection after witnessing a Russian mafia execution. Just a week before the trial, Victor Kovalev finds her. Memories of planning her wedding with Victor are wiped clean by the vision of his father executing three men. Does he want to help her survive to her testimony, or is he trying to stop it all together?

Next stop in this blog hop is Heather Day Gilbert! As a teaser, there’s the blurb to her book, Out of Circulation: When Russian mobsters threaten small-town librarian Katie McClure, she is forced to accept an offer of protection from Manhattan bodyguard Ace Calhoun. As they race the clock to find a long-hidden bank stash, Katie discovers too late that Ace might be the wrong man to trust with her life…and her heart. Click here to hop to her blog!

Thank you for visiting and enjoy the rest of the blog hop! Don’t forget that you will need to visit each of the 7 blogs above and comment on each one by 5 pm EST on May 30th to be eligible for a chance to win one of our grand prizes. We will email the winners on May 31, but first, come visit us on May 30th starting at 7 pm EST on Facebook here for the announcement of the winners and a Week-Long Virtual Cruise to the destinations in our collection!

cruise memeDuring the Facebook cruise, readers will ask the eight Smoke and Mirrors authors questions and we’ll be asking our readers questions! It is a leisurely pace, so you can drop in and out, leaving questions and reading up on the answers later, if you like. It’s a great chance to fellowship with some of your fave romantic suspense authors–and some of your soon-to-be-faves!
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Autism, Girls Can Be Mean, and Angry Birds

I’ve always wanted to train my kids to entertain themselves away from electronics. I have no objection to electronics. How am I supposed to see the brilliant David Suchet as Hercule Poirot, or Skype with my brother in Australia, or even type this blog post without electronics? But, I also know how to look out the window of a car and enjoy the scenery, or pick up a book, or make eye contact when having a conversation — those are the kinds of things we think of when we say we want kids to not rely on electronics for entertainment.

scott angry birdsI remember the first time I saw anything about Angry Birds. Scott, who is nearly 10, was about 4. He saw a big display of stuffed birds and pigs in a store at Christmas time and wanted one. A few months later, someone referenced something about Angry Birds, and I remembered the display. That’s when I put them together in my head that it was a game.

Scott, though,  had become obsessed with playing it. He asked me several times for the next year or so to put it on my phone. I had no idea how he even knew about it, because he had no means nor method by which to know about it, yet he knew everything about it.

One day, we were out of town at a friend’s house. Now, Scott, socially, is WAYYY younger than nearly 10. At this time, he was probably 6 years old, but socially, maybe 3. MAYBE. That’s probably giving him a little extra credit for his social abilities. So, here’s my socially inept 6-year-old, and there was a little girl his age at this house who had 2 friends over playing with her.

You may not see this, but in my experience, girls can be mean. They have a social pecking-order dynamic even when they’re just 6. And Scott, who only wants to play the way he understands it (and the way his little brother knows how to play) kept trying to engage this girl and her friends. But, he’s clearly different and clearly overly gullible and kind of shark bait in a social dynamic kind of way. Finally, they sort of ganged up on him and in the little girls are mean way, began to tease him viciously, when all the while he innocently thought they were playing his game his way.

scott st patsI couldn’t take it for more than a second. As soon as I realized what was going on, I pulled out my phone and loaded Angry Birds onto it. Judge me, but Scott didn’t have a clue these girls were being so mean. He doesn’t have the kind of filters that tell him that someone isn’t sincere. When I told him to quit letting them do whatever it was (I can’t remember specific details), he insisted they were his friends and were being nice. So, I handed him my phone.

Immediately, the girls ceased to be important. He had his long coveted Angry Birds game! In no time, these girls were all sitting around him, helping him play. I hovered, as I tend to do with him in groups, and made sure their interest was sincere, and it was. Soon, social pecking-orders designed as only little girls could design them faded away and they were all playing Angry Birds together, both with the phone and with pillows and blocks, and getting along.

angry-birds-movie-trailer-2So, while I tend to want my kids to entertain themselves away from electronics, I do have kind of a soft spot in my heart for Angry Birds. Even though PluggedIn’s review has the following sentence in the summary:

But what more were we expecting from a cartoon based on a phone app that shoots miffed birds at pigs?

…my kids have been counting down the days to release day, and I’ve committed to a 7 o’clock “Mommy Date” that will involve Angry Birds Happy Meals followed by a trip to the theater.

I’m excited and I hope it’s as much fun as we’re all convinced it will be.

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Release Day! Smoke and Mirrors — 8 Brand New, Never Before Release Novellas for Just 99 Cents!

smoke and mirrorsEight Brand New Never Before Released Romantic Suspense Novellas for Just 99 Cents!

I am so excited to be part of another amazing collection! Introducing Smoke and Mirrors, eight romantic suspense novellas that all have a theme surrounding the idea of “hidden identity” and summertime!. My new novel, On the Ropes, will only be available in this collection until August, so don’t miss on your chance to read it now! For one month, the price is just 99 cents, then it will go up — so, get it while it’s hot!

Exclusively on Amazon. Order it now!

smoke and mirrors kindleRead below to see how you can win a Kindle Fire!

THE LONG VIEW by Connie Almony: J.T. MacGregor is ex-FBI and training with terrorists. When his former boss makes an unusual request, J.T. wonders about his motives and how he can use them to his advantage. Destiny Long is no stranger to her father’s covert world of catching terrorists, but who is he after now? When J.T., the man behind the one kiss she will never forget joins a fitness club owned by a suspected member of ISIS and he’s found praying head-first into a tasseled rug, she wonders what side of the war on terror is J.T. MacGregor really on.

TAKEN by Sally Bradley: Cam Winters has never talked about his past, about life before he became a Christian. Jordan Foster knows that Cam’s a strong, caring man–a man she can see herself with. But he refuses to ask her out for fear of what her brother, one of his closest friends, might say. So Jordan takes things into her own hands. When Cam admits to sharing her feelings, the two fall quickly in love–just as that past that Cam won’t ever talk about returns for Cam and those he loves. A group which now includes Jordan.

on the ropesON THE ROPES by Hallee Bridgeman: Doctor Ruth Burnette is placed in witness protection after witnessing a Russian mafia execution. Just a week before the trial, Victor Kovalev finds her. Memories of planning her wedding with Victor are wiped clean by the vision of his father executing three men. Does he want to help her survive to her testimony, or is he trying to stop it all together?

OUT OF CIRCULATION by Heather Day Gilbert: When Russian mobsters threaten small-town librarian Katie McClure, she is forced to accept an offer of protection from Manhattan bodyguard Ace Calhoun. As they race the clock to find a long-hidden bank stash, Katie discovers too late that Ace might be the wrong man to trust with her life…and her heart.

DANGEROUS ALTERNATIVE by Kelli Hughett: Summer in Southern California doesn’t get any hotter than this. When Levi Boulter agrees to work for the FBI behind the scenes in Hollywood, he never plans on becoming an operative working to thwart a plan to assassinate the President’s wife—or on keeping a deadly secret from Mahari, the love of his life. When Mahari is kidnapped, Levi makes the gamble of his life in order to save her. Will Levi’s secret divide them forever, or will they come together in time to stop an assassination?

IDENTITY THEFT by Alana Terry: After losing her fiancé in a devastating accident, Lacy meets Kurtis, an Alaska state trooper, and his delightful four-year-old daughter who would love nothing more than to make Lacy her new mom. Things could be perfect, except Lacy can’t shake the nagging suspicion that her fiancé isn’t dead like the police reports claim. All she wants is closure, but as she seeks out real answers, she discovers how deadly the truth can actually be.

OBSESSION by Rachel Trautmiller: A surge in crime has left two homeless women dead and Detective Amanda Nettles’ Alzheimer’s-riddled mother as the prime suspect. As his wife embarks on a dangerous game of hide-and-seek with a remorseless serial killer, FBI Agent Baker Jackson Robinson knows he can’t sit idly while the city of Charlotte destroys Amanda’s career a second time. Is her near decade-long obsession with protecting her hometown bigger than the needs of her family? Or are they one and the same?

SCENT OF DANGER by Alexa Verde: To find her missing sister, small-town cop Maya Hutchinson risks her life by posing as her glamorous twin. Under escalating attacks, Maya accepts protection from dashing senator’s son Connor McNamara. Cop turned PI, Connor McNamara has his own secret mission and is forced to choose between family loyalty and love. When the scent of danger draws near, will Connor and Maya survive long enough to forgive and accept each other?

Order it now on Amazon!

 

smoke and mirrors kindleInterested in winning a Kindle Fire? Just check back here on Wednesday, May 25th, for our Smoke & Mirrors Summer Destination Blog Hop! We’ll hop to blogs from all of our authors, then wrap it all up with a Facebook party. A Kindle Fire, and paperbacks from ALL of our authors will be up for grabs! Don’t miss it!

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Christian Fiction Friday: May 13th

Welcome to this week’s edition of Christian Fiction Friday brought to you by me and my lovely and talented co-host, Alana Terry! This is a chance for Christian authors to post short snippets from their works in progress! Easy and fun!

Smoke Mirrors FlatThis snippet is from the new suspense novella On the Ropes, which is part of a romantic suspense bundle that I’m doing with my co-host Alana Terry and six other authors! Smoke and Mirrors is currently on preorder for a May 20th release, and is 99 cents for a very limited time! Click here to get it for yourself!

She pulled her legs up and wrapped her arms around them. “Can’t sleep?”

A wry look crossed his face. “Signing my own death warrant has taken a bit of a toll on me.”

“Victor—”

He shook his head. “I am doing the right thing. I went about it the right way, and there’s a solid case now against everyone I know of in the family. I’ll likely be testifying for months at different trials.”

She studied his face in the faint light coming from a lamp inside the building, seeing a muscle tic in his jaw. “But?”

“But it’s my father. And there’s an emotional connection I didn’t expect to feel. Something I’m severing with every word I will speak on that stand tomorrow. It was one thing to talk about it privately, in the office of the FBI. It will be another to look at him and say the words.”

They sat in silence while Ruth digested what he said. Finally, she replied, “I can’t pretend to understand that. But I know that to follow Christ, sometimes we have to leave the dead to be buried by someone else. I think that is fitting for your circumstance.” She paused. “Have you ever tried to talk about God to your father?”

With a short bark of a laugh, he shook the water off his hand. “Once. He punched me in the jaw and told me to concentrate on winning my next fight and not some deity that had poisoned my mind. That was a couple of years ago.”

Remembering the few times she’d had personal conversations with Antoly Kovalev, she said, “I imagine that trying was a bit intimidating.”

Turning his head to look at her, his eyes reflected the weak lighting from inside the building. “There are so many things you couldn’t possibly imagine, Ruth. The Kovalevs are evil, and I long for the day I sign the papers to change my name.”

 

Now it’s your turn! Just link your Christian Fiction Friday in the comments! Here are the rules:

1. Christian Fiction Friday is a blog hop where authors post short (400-ish words or less) snippets from their current works in progress (not published pieces).

2. Keep it PG-13 or lower. No swearing, no sex scenes. If you have a particularly violent scene or deal with a heavy or controversial subject matter, please include a disclaimer at the beginning of your post.

Suggestions:

1. Visit at least some of the other Christian Fiction Friday authors each week and comment on their blogs.

2. Don’t offer critiques unless the author specifically asks for it in his or her post.

3. Please include this blurb at the end of your weekly post:

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current Works in Progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman.
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Autism and Mandatory Fun

Autism_Awareness_RibbonOur son, Scott, is 9. He was officially diagnosed with autism about a year ago, but had the “temporary” hold of a diagnosis of “Pervasive Development Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified” that expired on his 9th birthday. Basically, they knew there were issues but wanted in-depth testing, so for about three years we had this placeholder that allowed us to seek IEP’s in school — which is exactly what we needed — with an expiration date.

But, we’ve known. We knew he had Autism Spectrum Disorder, whether we had received the written and official diagnosis or not, and we researched the disorder  for, literally, years. Being so widely researched, we have determined to focus our parenting on two questions:

  1. Is it disability…
  2. …or is it discipline?

When it comes time to force an issue or concede an issue, we have to constantly ask ourselves what is causing the issue — is it the stubbor n willful tendencies of a 9-year-old, or an autistic brain on overload? On top of that issue, we have to decide what battles are worth fighting and winning, and what battles do we just leave alone — because in the end, what our objective with him is to teach him to cope with the normal (political correctness doesn’t allow us to use terms like “normal”) neuro-typical world out there. There’s going to come a day when he walks out of our home and begins to live away from our shelter and comfort, and he needs to be able to function when that happens.

One issue with him is that he is extremely interested in ONLY what interests him. Nothing else. At all. Ever. Period.

Take for instance, Playstation. We have one. It is only played on the weekends. Which means that all weekend long, no matter what we might be doing, Scott can only think that what we’re doing is taking away from Playstation time. This is why we only allow it on the weekends — otherwise, the obsession would overtake any and all schooling and weekly activities. He participates in other things, he even enjoys himself, but in the background of his mind, there’s this ticking of a clock that is counting down wasted Playstation seconds.

spirit weekLast week, his school had spirit week. Monday was Crazy Socks Day. Scott wasn’t well Monday morning, so he didn’t go to school. Tuesday was Hat Day. Scott insisted that he didn’t want to wear a hat, but I put one in his backpack just in case. When I picked him up from school, he made a point to mention that it never left the backpack. Wednesday was “Twin Day”. Johnathan, our 7-year-old, had planned Twin Day for a week. He had the clothes picked out that he and Scott would wear and was so excited about it.

Wednesday morning, Scott refused to dress up in twin day clothes. Flat out burst that bubble of Johnathan’s. I told him that he needed to participate so that his brother could do it. He replied with, “I don’t care about stupid twin day.”

I said, “It isn’t for you. It’s for Johnathan.”

“Well, mom, the truth is sometimes I don’t care about him, either.”

I’m sure that this is true for most siblings around the world. The difference with Scott is that there is no filter. He doesn’t like something, he’s going to say it out loud. And, the truth is, he probably doesn’t care about Johnathan sometimes. That’s fine. So, I had to take a different tactic.

“If you don’t get dressed then you lose Playstation this entire weekend. You don’t have to wear twin day clothes, the choice is yours. Clothes or Playstation. You choose.”

twinday1

I’m sure you can guess what he chose. And, with the attitude exhibited during pictures, and knowing how much he could dwell on what clothes he had on and let it spiral to a full-blown meltdown, I told him that if I got a bad report from the teacher for the day, he would lose Playstation for Friday after school.

twinday4I’m sure there are parents out there who are cringing at the thought. Why force him to participate when he clearly didn’t want to? Obviously, you’re being authoritarian. Let the poor boy wear what he wants because life is hard enough for him, isn’t it?

Yet, in the real world out there, sometimes, you have to do stuff you don’t want to do to please the people around you who love you and whom you love. Period. Even if you have to dress up like your little brother and slap a smile on your face for the camera, you do it. Because they’re going to sacrifice for you, too. And when you’re a normal neuro-typical kid with an autistic brother who suffers from OCD tendencies, your life is full of sacrifices and concessions for your sibling. Occasionally, they need to sacrifice for you.

This was where those two questions I mentioned before were answered:

  1. Was it discipline? Maybe. Maybe some stubbornness that just naturally comes to 9-year-olds was coming out. It’s entirely possible that was the driving force.
  2. Was it disability? Maybe. Maybe the idea of this whole “Twin Day” thing didn’t make a lick of sense to him, and he couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to do something so absurdly pointless. What a waste of effort and ambition.

Either way, he needed to do it. He needed to cope with the fact that occasionally we do pointless things to please people we love, even when we don’t understand it or maybe even don’t want to do it.

Picture source
Picture source

And, he did it. And that kid picked up that Playstation controller at 2:35PM Friday afternoon and had the time of his life playing with it. Because, at that point, the ability to play with it felt like a victory. He KNEW he had sacrificed in order to have the option to play, so it was more exciting than usual. He felt like he’d slain that dragon and that he’d won a favor that he would relish.

As his parents, we know just how close to the truth that actually is. He’d slain a dragon. He put on a shirt and a pair of pants that he did not want to, and he survived it. He made it all the way to bedtime in the outfit and he came out of it still alive and completely unscathed.

Now, the next time a similar scenario rears it’s pointy head, we have something on which we can set an example, to remind him that it is definitely okay to sometimes do what is hard if the end result is that your brother smiles broadly for the picture. Because even if the truth is that sometimes you don’t care much for him, he wanted to dress like YOU for Twin Day, because you’re his big brother and there wasn’t anyone better in his mind he’d want to dress up with.
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