Hot Chocolate & Hot Paranormal Romance

Non-dairy Hot Chocolate

No Yesterdays Cover

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Kindle & KU

Excerpt

“I didn’t come here with this in mind.  I just wanted to see you, and to thank you for getting mad at me.”  He sat on the toilet, mesmerized.

“I’ve been mad at you more than I’ve been anything else since the day we met.”  She swirled water with her fingers, breaking up clumps of bubbles, drowning others.  “What’s on your mind now, Jason?”

He shook his head, laughed.  “You know what I’m thinking about.”

“Sex, Jason?  Sex with me?  Wet, slippery, bathtub sex?”  She splashed him with enough water to wet his pants.

“Lina,” he warned.

“What?  Mr. I-don’t-want-to-tie-you-down is afraid of a little no strings sex?”

“The minute you showed up in my life there were more strings than a yarn warehouse.  I’ll wait for you out in the living room.”

Walking out of there was actually harder than talking to his mom about what a cheating, lying asshole his father had been, but he did it.

“Hi.” A pair of huge gray eyes in a pretty oval face was the first thing he saw when he came out of the bedroom.

“That’s Deb, she’s Tanya’s friend.”  Rain pointed to each of the women as he introduced them.

“I didn’t know you were bringing a friend along for Deb.” Tanya threaded her fingers through Rain’s.  “That’s so sweet.”

“Oops, misunderstanding.” Jason smoothed it with his voice.  “I’m with Lina, Rain’s roommate.  It’s nice to meet you both.  I’m Jason Carapelli.”

The newcomers couldn’t know that he was saying his name with a whole new level of pride.

He’d been proud to be a Carapelli because his mother was one, too.  When she’d married Joe and became a Jacobs, he was still proud to be a Carapelli.

It was when Carter and Brittany found their rhythm, then Rowan and Jenny jumped right into happy times, that he’d started to wonder about what effect his father had on him.  It had chipped away at him until he came to the ugly, and wrong, conclusion that he couldn’t be with his own soul mate because he was his father’s son.

It had taken that special person, the woman who had just tempted him beyond reason, to help him see that he was his mother’s son as much as he was his father’s, and that she’d always had more influence on him because she’d always been there.  His father had left long before he died when he and Jenny were ten.

Lina came in wearing a robe that covered everything but was way sexier than Jason considered fair.

“Hello.” Lina greeted their visitors.  “I’m Lina, Rain’s roommate.”  She turned to Jason.  “Do you want anything to eat or drink?  I was going to heat up some veggie pasta from the center.”

“Sure, thanks.” He smiled.

“We’re heading out to a movie, grab some pizza after.  You want to join us?” Rain asked before Lina reached for plates.

“Jase?”  Lina leaned against the counter, asking his opinion.

So his choices were to be here alone with her, or for them to go out with Rain and his company.  It was time to rip the band-aid off.  “I think we’ll hang out here, if that’s cool with you, Lina.”

Rain nodded, high-fived Jason.  “Right on!”

Tanya and Deb were naturally confused.

“Thanks.” Jason told him, grateful for his support.  “We’re sort of making up.” Jason explained for Deb and Tanya.

Tanya nodded.  “That makes sense.  We need to go, Rain, or we’re going to be late for the movie.”

“Cool, yeah.  See you guys.”

“Does Rain ever have trouble with dates when you walk around looking like that?”  Like a wanton sex goddess.

“It doesn’t happen too often.  He’s only been on a few dates since the breakup.  You want some juice, or water?”  She glanced in the fridge.  “I have carrot, or mango.  I can mix them if you want.”

“This is weird, Lina.  Isn’t it weird for you?”  He made himself stay across the room from her.

“You turning me down in the bathtub that was the weird part.  This feels pretty normal compared.”  She shrugged.

“I think we should date-” He broke off.  “Fuck, Lina, please go put some clothes on.”

When she reached up for the plates, the short robe rode up and showed that she wore a black G-string for panties.

“Sure.”  She turned, threatened to untie the belt at her waist.

“In your room,” he groaned.

“You’ve already seen me naked,” she argued.

“What do you want from me, Lina?  I’m trying to be a good guy here.”  He held his hands out in supplication.

gina-pic-1-crop-300-dpi Gina Briganti writes paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance in north Texas. Her constant companion is a special soul who masquerades as a dog.

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Lucy & Stan’s Dairy-free Beer Cheese Soup

Lucy and Stan united to make this soup happen. They love her microbrew and he loves his cheese. Lucy wanted a dairy-free option and just like that, cold winter nights got warm and cozy.

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Note that if you want to make this soup yellow like the dairy version you can add more of the shredded Daiya cheddar. The bold flavors are there without it.

 

Ingredients:

3 tbsp. Earth Balance (vegan butter)

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 brown onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

8 oz. ale of choice

4 oz. Miyokos Cheers to Cheddar Roadhouse Cheese Spread

2 cups cashew milk

2 tsp Cholula hot sauce

1 cup Daiya cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp thyme, dried

2 tsp Kosher salt

 

Directions:

Heat a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add 1 tbsp. vegan butter and let it melt.

Add celery, onion, and garlic. Cook for about three minutes.

Add cornstarch and remaining 2 tbsp. vegan butter. Combine with vegetables. Cook, stirring often, for about five more minutes or until your vegetables look cooked. Make sure you incorporate all the cornstarch.

Add ale slowly while stirring so the cornstarch stays smooth.

Transfer mixture to a food processor and pulse until large vegetables pieces are blended.

Return soup to pan and add in Miyokos cheese. Stir until it melts and combines.

Stir in cashew milk a cup at a time, whisking the soup after each addition.

Hot sauce, Daiya cheese, pepper, thyme, and salt are added at the same time. Stir until cheese is melted. Simmer for 20 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.

Enjoy with your favorite toasted bread.

 

Excerpt from Desert Sunrise

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Lucy unlocked the door to the house with Stan just behind her, chattering about how the house was too big for her.

Stan fought the feeling that she was hinting at anything, anything at all.  She didn’t look like she was.

“Do you want to try a pilsner I made?  It’s my first try at it.”  Lucy offered, walking straight into the kitchen.

“You make beer?”  The woman was full of good qualities that Stan didn’t want to look too closely at.  He spent too much time thinking about her already.

She shrugged.  “One of my brothers is really into it.  He gave me a home brewing kit a few years back for Christmas so I tried it to be nice.  I ended up liking it.”

“I’ll try it.  Thanks.  Can I help you with anything?”  He watched her move surely around the kitchen, not as smooth as Dana, but much more than he did when he was doing anything more complicated than heating something he bought at the store.

She’d seen him in the kitchen.  He tried, but it was faster to do it alone.  “There’s nothing to do really.  Relax.  Drink.”  She handed him the fine beer mug she’d bought in Germany filled with the clear golden brew and thick foam.

He took the first sip, not knowing what to expect.  The light, refreshing, slightly sweet taste was the best he’d ever had.  “Would it be wrong to say that it reminds me of Heineken, only much better?”

Lucy’s smile was ecstatic.  “That’s exactly what I was going for!  The sweeter Dutch style.  The German pilsners are darker and a little bitter for me.  I like the Czech color and flavor, but they’re not quite as sweet.  Do you want salad with your chicken?”  Her tone was more like, “You want salad with your chicken, don’t you?”

“You and Dana are obsessed with vegetables,” he tried to sound like he disapproved.  The fact was, they were growing on him, and his doctor said that the changes he made to his diet were showing up in his blood work.  He had to admit that he did feel better.  His old injury from being stomped on by too many broncos didn’t ache or get stiff as often as it used to.

“What do you expect from two nutritionists?”

She plated the food and brought it to the table.

Stan saw the salad and dressing sitting on the counter.  “Sit down, Lucy.  I’ll get the rest.”

They talked about their day in the park while they ate.  Lucy was building her nerve for her second task.  She was getting the score before he left today.  They were either going to start dating or she was going to work on redirecting herself until she found a smidgen of interest in someone else.  That was the problem, of course.  She wasn’t even a little attracted to anyone else, not even the charming chef at the restaurant in Palm Springs who was always inviting her in under the guise of tasting new dishes for him.

When the dishes were cleaned and put away dry, and they had each finished a tall glass of pilsner, Lucy found that she still didn’t have a smooth way of asking him what he wanted with her, if anything.

“This was a real treat, Lucy.  I should have guessed you’d be a great cook.  The beer surprised me.  I’d like to try whatever you make next.”

That was an opening, wasn’t it?  Or was he being polite?  Enough, she told herself.  Ask him and be done with it.

“Stan, I have to know something.”

He stilled, hearing how important that something was to her.  “Yeah?”

“What, do you have pirate training, give no quarter?”  It annoyed her, really annoyed her, that he wouldn’t help her at all.

“What?”  He was truly confused.

She closed the gap between them, reaching her arms up around his neck, taking his lips in a soft kiss.

He took the kiss, deepening it as far as he could take it without having to drag her to the empty bed he knew was only a few feet away.

“Well, that answers part of my question,” she spoke against his lips. “Though I wasn’t really wondering about this part.”

The ability to think was quickly leaving him.  Lucy, funny, witty, nature loving Lucy, was wrapped around him and pressed against him.

She sighed.  Neither moved.  Their mouths were just shy of a kiss and still he didn’t say or do anything.  She could let him go home right now and they would be right where they were.  She pushed on, determined to make it or break it.

She moved out of his gentle hold.  “I’m glad you enjoyed the lunch.  I did, too.  One last thing before you go.  Are you into me, or not?”  She saw his sarcastic glance down to where he swelled hard against his jeans.  “I know you want me, that’s not what I’m asking.”

She deserved to know, he supposed.  If only he knew what to do about what he felt.  He summed it up as simply as he could.  “I like you, Lucy.  A lot.”

That was something, she supposed.  It didn’t tell her what she needed to know.  “Pirate,” she muttered.

“Why do you keep calling me a pirate?”  Women could be so strange.

“Because you’re making me work for every little thing here.”  She cocked her hands on her hips, warrior style.

“What do you want me to say, Lucy?  Do you have it all figured out for me already?”

“No, Stan, I’m not the kind of woman to ‘figure it all out for a man’ or we wouldn’t be standing here months later having this conversation.  And what I want you to say, is what you feel, what you want.  Or should I start looking somewhere else?”

He narrowed his eyes.  “What do you mean by that?”

***

Desert Sunrise

Life is good for Lucy Shannon. Love will be too, when the man she knows is out there for her finally shows up. Until then she is going to enjoy herself. So what if her ex-fiance tossed her heart into a blender? Years of therapy had put that in perspective.

Stan Spellman doesn’t think like her. Not in the least. Sure, life is good. He does what he loves every day, spends a pleasurable night with a woman when he wants to. Love? Happily ever after? He’s seen the rare occurrence of it. That’s as far as his thinking on the subject goes.

They’re both scheduled for a wake-up call that will change their lives forever, fulfilling dreams they never knew they had.

 

The Author

gina-pic-1-crop-300-dpi

Gina Briganti writes paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi romance in north Texas. Her constant companion is a special soul who masquerades as a dog.

 

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A Recipe & A Book Excerpt! – Tomato Sandwich With Vegan Mayonnaise by Chris Pavesic Author of The Revelation Chronicles!

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                                     Tomato Sandwiches with Vegan Mayonnaise

Chris, I’m hungry. Will you come over to my blog and share one of your character’s favorite meals?

You will! You. Are. The. Best!

These sandwiches are heavenly! Homemade bread, garden-fresh tomatoes, and vegan mayo are keys to why this sandwich lights me up!

Chris kindly shared her recipe so I could make them again AND she said I could share it with you!

Thank you, Chris!

Here’s What She Said!

Readers of the Revelation Chronicles know that my main characters love Tomato Sandwiches.

This recipe is very simple:

Homemade Bread
Sliced Garden Tomatoes
Lettuce
Mayonnaise

To make it special, I have included a recipe for Vegan Mayonnaise. Enjoy!


You only need 4 ingredients to make this vegan mayonnaise and it’s ready in just 2 minutes!

Ingredients

1 cup Avocado Oil
½ cup Unsweetened Plant-based Milk
2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar (or Key Lime juice)
Sea salt to taste

Materials

Measuring Cup
Measuring Spoon
Large Bowl
Immersion Blender or Regular Blender

Directions

1. The oil and the plant-based milk should be at the same temperature. It is easier to blend.
2. If you use an immersion blender: combine all the ingredients in bowl. Place the immersion blender in so that it sits firmly on the bottom of the bowl and pulse until the mayonnaise emulsifies. Once most of the vegan mayo has emulsified, you can move the blender up and down to incorporate any oil that is sitting on the top.
3. If you use a regular blender: place all the ingredients in the blender, except the oil, and blend for about 5 seconds. Then add the oil gradually while the blender is going, turning it from low to high until it thickens.
Note: I make this with almond milk rather than soy because of allergies. Almond milk makes a thinner mayonnaise than soy milk. To thicken—simply decrease the amount of liquid by one teaspoon.
If you use Key Lime juice rather than Apple Cider Vinegar, the mayonnaise will be sweeter.

While you enjoy your sandwich, check out this excerpt from Travelers Zone, my newest novel in The Revelation Chronicles series.

 

Above the tree line floats an airship close to three hundred feet long with a slightly rounded wooden hull. Ropes attach the lower portion of the ship to an inflated balloon-like aspect, bright white in color with an identification symbol, a red bird with white-tipped feathers extended in flight, inside a round yellow circle in the center of the canvas. The deck is manned with archers and swordsmen. There are two sets of fore and aft catapults.

What I don’t see are cannons or any other type of a gun large enough to account for the sound of the explosion.

The ship pivots in the air, coming around to point directly at what looks like an oncoming flock of five large birds. Or creatures. They are too big and too strange looking to be birds. They drift closer, flapping their wings.

A moment passes before I realize that they are not creatures either. They are some sort of gliders. A person hangs below each set of the feathered wings, which flap and move with mechanical precision in a sky washed out by the morning sun.

The archers nock their arrows and aim at the flock.

The gliders draw in their wings and dive toward the deck, covering the distance in a few heartbeats. Most of the arrows fly uselessly past the attack force and fall like black rain from the sky. The archers aimed and released the volley too late.

The forward catapult releases a torrent of small rocks at the lead glider. It is a scatter-shot approach that proves effective. There are so many missiles that it is impossible to dodge them all.

But at the moment the stones strike, the other four let loose with fireballs. Spheres of crackling flame spring from their hands, glowing faintly at first and then with increasing brightness. The balls of fire shoot from their hands like bullets from a gun and fly toward the ship, exploding. Pieces bounce off the hull and fall to the ground, throwing hissing, burning globs of magic-fueled fire in all directions, setting everything they touch aflame.

Want to learn more about The Revelation Chronicles? Click HERE for updates on this and the other series by Chris. Watch the video on YouTube.

4eee6-chris2bpavesic2bauthor2bphotoChris Pavesic is a fantasy author who lives in the Midwestern United States and loves Kona coffee, steampunk, fairy tales, and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends.

Learn more about Chris on her website and blog.

Stay connected on FacebookTwitter, and her Amazon Author Page.

 

 

 

Thank you for reading! The time we spend together means infinitely more because we shared it!

 

Gina

 

 

 

 

 

Revved Up Grilled Ham & Cheese – a Recipe From Guest Blogger Sloane Taylor

Today we (that’s me and you) welcome talented cook and author Sloane Taylor. She made crunchy bread with gooey cheese inside. It looks delicious! Thank you, Sloane!

 

Revved Up Grilled Han & Cheese

 

This recipe makes one delicious sandwich that works great for lunch or dinner. Add a bowl of soup or crispy salad and a nice cold beer for a complete meal.

2 slices Italian bread

4 slices ham, cut thin

2 slices mozzarella cheese, cut thin

2 slices tomato, cut thin

Garlic powder NOT garlic salt

⅛ tsp. ground thyme

2 tbsp. butter or so

Preheat a heavy 8 – 10 inch skillet or griddle over medium-high heat.

Spread the butter on the inside of each slice of bread. Sprinkle on a little garlic powder. Grill bread buttered side down until lightly browned. Remove bread to cutting board.

Reduce heat to medium.

Lay one slice of cheese on toasted side of bread, then sprinkle on thyme. Add ham and tomato. Top with another slice of cheese. Cover with the second slice of bread, butter the outside, and sprinkle on a little garlic powder.

Place the buttered side of the sandwich in the pan and fry until the bottom slice is browned to your taste. While that cooks, butter the outside of the top slice and sprinkle on a little garlic powder.

Flip the sandwich and fry until it reaches the color your like. Cover the pan so the cheese melts thoroughly.

Enjoy!

Sloane

Sloane Taylor is an Award-Winning author with a second passion in her life. She is an avid cook and posts new recipes on her blog every Wednesday.  The recipes are user friendly, meaning easy.

Taylor currently has seven romance novellas released by Toque & Dagger Publishing. Her first solo venture into non-fiction is a Couples Cookbook with eighty of her favorite recipes, DATE NIGHT DINNERS, Meals to Make Together for a Romantic Evening.

 

Excerpts from her books and free reads can be found on her website, blog, and her Amazon Author Page.

Connect with Taylor on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Thank you for the time we spend together! It means so much more when we share it!

Gina

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A Book & A Snack – With Guest Blogger Sharon Ledwith

Author Sharon Ledwith joins us today with her book Lost & Found and a recipe for peanut brittle. Enjoy!

Recipe:

1 cup white sugar

½ cup light corn syrup

¼ tsp. salt

¼ cup water

1 cup peanuts

2 tbsp butter, softened

1 tsp. baking soda

Candy thermometer

Grease a large cookie sheet. Set aside.

Bring sugar, corn syrup, salt, and water to a boil in a heavy 2 quart saucepan set over medium heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in peanuts. Set candy thermometer in place, and continue cooking. Stir frequently until temperature reaches 300° F (150° C).

Remove heat. Immediately stir in butter and baking soda.

Pour at once onto cookie sheet. With two forks, lift and pull peanut mixture into rectangle about 14×12 inches. Allow to cool. SNAP candy into pieces and enjoy while you take a glimpse at my latest novel.

Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking…

The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear. Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.

BUY LINKS

Low-carb Roasted Vegetable Snack Mix!

www.thereikicafe.com

Would you like to grab handfuls of an addictive, savory, mouth watering snack that’s good for you? My answer is yes, and that’s why I played with my vegetables and came up with this delicious snack mix.

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It started with a tomato and basil mini cheese ball recipe I made for a party. I didn’t want to put raw tomatoes in them, so I roasted some of my Thrive Life tomato dices by adding a hint of coconut oil, pink salt and Chef’s Choice seasoning. The tomatoes were luscious and my mini cheese balls were a hit.

Requests for low-carb recipes have been coming in lately, which has me looking at labels for new information. It turns out that tomatoes, zucchini and asparagus are all low in carbohydrate. I added them together, tossed them with a drizzle of coconut oil, some pink salt, Chef’s Choice and a bit of garlic…

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Two Treats for You & Me!

Treat #1 is:

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The Revelation Chronicles, Book 1
Chris Pavesic
Print Length: 240 pages
Publication Date: September 25, 2017
ASIN: B074YZ9JKB
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, LitRPG
Follow the tour to read reviews guest posts, exclusive excerpts, and spotlight posts:

 

 

Treat #2 is:

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Join author Chris Pavesic in the virtual kitchen with this healthy Couscous Salad recipe and a sneak peek into her new novel, Starter Zone.

 

This recipe is a family favorite. Some like it when I make it with goat cheese while others prefer feta. The choice is yours. (I think both are equally delicious!)

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups plain couscous
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup cubed peeled cucumber
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion (scallion)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons distilled vinegar (balsamic vinegar works too)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta cheese)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (or toasted almonds slivered)
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

Materials:

  • Measuring spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Saucepan
  • Small bowl
  • Large bowl
  • Fork
  • Small skillet 
    1.  Pour pine nuts into skillet and cook on medium heat.  Toast about 2 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent burning.  Set aside to cool.
    2.  In a saucepan, bring the orange juice and water to a boil.  Stir in the couscous, cover; remove from heat and let stand for 5-7 minutes.
    3.  Transfer to a large bowl, and fluff with a fork.
    4.  Add the cranberries, cucumber, parsley, and green onion, mixing well.
    5.  In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, honey, and garlic.
    6.  Pour the dressing over the couscous, mixing well, and stir in the goat cheese and pine nuts, carefully tossing together.
    7.  Add the salt and pepper to taste.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

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    While you are enjoying this healthy salad, please take a moment to enjoy a glimpse into my new novel, Starter Zone, Book One of the Revelation Chronicles.

     

     

    When hydrologists inscribe the consciousness of a human mind onto a single drop of water, a Revelation sweeps the land. The wealthy race to upload their minds into self-contained virtual realities nicknamed Aquariums. In these containers people achieve every hope, dream, and desire. But governments wage war for control of the technology. Terrorist attacks cause massive destruction. The Aquariums fail.  Inscribed human minds leech into the water cycle, wreaking havoc.

     Street gangs rule the cities in the three years since the fall of civilization. Sixteen-year-old Cami and her younger sister Alby struggle to survive. Every drop of untreated water puts their lives in peril. Caught and imprisoned by soldiers who plan to sell them into slavery, Cami will do anything to escape and rescue her sister. Even if it means leaving the real word for a life in the realms, a new game-like reality created by the hydrologists for the chosen few.

     But life in the realms isn’t as simple as it seems. Magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as the sisters navigate their new surroundings. And they encounter more dangerous enemies than any they faced in the real world.

     Time to play the game.

 

About the Author:

Chris Pavesic lives in the Midwestern United States and
loves Kona coffee and all types of speculative fiction. Between writing
projects, Chris can most often be found reading, gaming, gardening, working on
an endless list of DIY household projects, or hanging out with friends. She
blogs on http://www.chrispavesic.com and Tweets @chrispavesic

 

 

As always, thank you for the time we spend together!

Gina

 

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