Angst, Author Interview, Contemporary, May-December Romance, Reviews, Romance, Standalone

ARC Review | Breathe | Hollow Ridge #2 | by C.L. Matthews | Available Now!

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๐“—๐“ธ๐“ต๐“ต๐“ธ๐”€ ๐“ก๐“ฒ๐“ญ๐“ฐ๐“ฎ #๐Ÿ


๐“‘๐”‚: C.L. Matthews

๐“–๐“ฎ๐“ท๐“ป๐“ฎ: Standalone, Contemporary Romance

๐“ก๐“ฎ๐“ต๐“ฎ๐“ช๐“ผ๐“ฎ ๐““๐“ช๐“ฝ๐“ฎ: April. 14, 2020

Breathe by C.L. Matthews Cover.jpg


Youโ€™d think five years would be enough time to cope and move on.
Itโ€™s not.
If anything, itโ€™s given me more unrealistic ways to deal with my loss.
More pain.
And even worse, a woman I donโ€™t love.
A woman that isnโ€™t her.
I hate her.
She hates me, too.
My lifeโ€™s a mess.
My heartโ€™s nonexistent.
My soul was lost long ago.
Worst of all, I no longer have any fucks to give.
They say you find your true love after you lose your first one.
I call bullshit.

๐“๐“ญ๐“ญ ๐“‘๐“ป๐“ฎ๐“ช๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“ฝ๐“ธ ๐”‚๐“ธ๐“พ๐“ป ๐“ฃ๐“‘๐“ก

Breathe Live Now

โœจ๐Ÿ’›๐“’๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ฏ๐“ฎ๐“ผ๐“ผ๐“ฒ๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ผ ๐“ž๐“ฏ ๐“ ๐“‘๐“ฒ๐“ซ๐“ต๐“ฒ๐“ธ๐“น๐“ฑ๐“ฒ๐“ต๐“ฎ ๐“ก๐“ฎ๐“ฟ๐“ฒ๐“ฎ๐”€๐Ÿ’›โœจ

โ๐ต๐‘’ ๐‘“๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘’, ๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘ก ๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™.โž

โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ ๐Ÿ“/๐Ÿ“ย ๐“ž๐“ฟ๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ช๐“ต๐“ต ๐“ก๐“ช๐“ฝ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฐ:ย Breatheย byย C.L. Matthewsย is the second installment of theย Hollow Ridgeย series. Althoughย Breatheย can be read as aย STANDALONE, you will get the best emotional experience and you’ll understand the dynamic between the characters better if you read book one,ย Inhale, Exhaleย first since it is interconnected. Althoughย Breatheย isn’t aย DARKย read, it’s not an easy read either. But if you are looking for an emotional hijacking read, filled with heartache, pain, and love that will take your breath away then trust me youย NEEDย to get your hands on a copy ofย Breathe! This review is going to be a lot shorter than my reviews usually are because this is one of those books and storylines that you need to read for yourself.ย NOย review willย EVERย truly do it justice.

โ๐‘Š๐‘’’๐‘™๐‘™ ๐‘ ๐‘™๐‘Ž๐‘ฆ ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ ๐‘‘๐‘’๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘  ๐‘ก๐‘œ๐‘”๐‘’๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ÿ. ๐‘‚๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ ๐‘™๐‘œ๐‘ฃ๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™ ๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘ก ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘™๐‘‘ ๐‘œ๐‘› ๐‘“๐‘–๐‘Ÿ๐‘’.โž

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Matthewsย is an incredible writer! Just about every book I’ve read of her’s has always evoked some kind of emotion from me, and with as much as I read, that has become few and far in between. I love imperfect characters and that’s exactly whatย Matthewsย writes. Imperfectly perfect characters and their stories. She will continue being a one-click author of mine for sure and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book from theย Hollow Ridgeย series.

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Toby and Joey’s story is filled with heartache and turmoil, but it’s also filled with love, understanding, and forgiveness.ย Breatheย is a brutal story about relationships, heartbreak, and real life. Their story shows both sides of what a real relationship can be like. Love isn’t easy and it’s not always pretty. But when two people love one another enough, no matter the hurt or the wrongs that have been done,ย ANYTHINGย is possible.

โ๐ต๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘‘๐‘’๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘›๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘๐‘ฆ ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘๐‘™๐‘’๐‘  ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘ค๐‘› ๐‘ก๐‘œ๐‘”๐‘’๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘–๐‘› โ„Ž๐‘œ๐‘๐‘’๐‘  ๐‘ค๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘™๐‘‘ ๐‘“๐‘–๐‘ฅ ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘›๐‘œ๐‘ก ๐‘“๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ข๐‘–๐‘› ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘โ„Ž ๐‘œ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ÿ.
๐ป๐‘’’๐‘  ๐‘š๐‘ฆ ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘ ๐‘’.
๐ผ’๐‘š โ„Ž๐‘–๐‘  ๐‘Ž๐‘‘๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘œ๐‘›.
๐‘Š๐‘’’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘Ÿ๐‘œ๐‘โ„Ž๐‘’, ๐‘๐‘ข๐‘ก ๐‘–๐‘› ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ ๐‘โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘œ๐‘ , ๐‘–๐‘ก’๐‘  ๐‘Ž๐‘™๐‘ค๐‘Ž๐‘ฆ๐‘  โ„Ž๐‘–๐‘š.

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๐Ÿ’™ย (๐“—) ๐“—๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ธ:ย Tobias Hayesย is more a villain than a hero but he’s a hero all the same even though he’s the kind of guy you love to hate. I have been waiting for Toby’s story ever since he lost the girl inย Inhale, Exhale. My heart broke for him and although I wanted him to get his happy ending so bad, his ending was never meant to be with Lo. Toby has issues, he’s broken and so, soo damaged but his character growth throughout the book was a pleasure to watch but honestly if I hadn’t readย Inhale, Exhaleย and saw the pain and heartache that Toby had gone though I wouldn’t have been able to like him. Toby does some very, very mean and hurtful things to Joey. All over a misunderstanding. You will go from loving Toby to hating him, to repeating the cycle all over again because the more we learn about him and his past and the things that made him the man he is today, you can’t help but feel for him.

โ๐ธ๐‘Ÿ๐‘Ž๐‘ ๐‘’ ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ ๐‘š๐‘’๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ, ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘ . ๐ธ๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ ๐‘ก๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘โ„Ž ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘’๐‘“๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข, ๐‘š๐‘Ž๐‘˜๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘š ๐‘‘๐‘–๐‘ ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘™๐‘ฃ๐‘’. ๐ฟ๐‘œ๐‘ฃ๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘’ ๐‘ข๐‘›๐‘ก๐‘–๐‘™ ๐‘–๐‘ก’๐‘  ๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘™๐‘ฆ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘š๐‘’.โž

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โค๏ธย (๐“ฑ) ๐“—๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ธ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฎ:ย Josephine ‘Joey’ Mooreย is an amazing character. She’s a firecracker, independent, strong, snarky, and loyal to a fault. Toby isn’t an easy man to love but even when she should have left, she still stayed. Even though when we first met Joey she was only nineteen years old, she’s been through so much that it’s left her jaded. Although Joey comes from a wealthy political familyย (her father is the mayor)ย she’s been independent her entire life and worked hard for everything she has. The girl is a survivor. There were times that I couldn’t stop the tears, you couldย FEEL her pain.

โ๐ฟ๐‘œ๐‘ฃ๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’ โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘’ ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘ก ๐‘œ๐‘“ ๐‘š๐‘’, ๐‘‡๐‘œ๐‘๐‘ฆ.โ€
โ€œ๐ฟ๐‘œ๐‘ฃ๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘› ๐ผ โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘ฆ๐‘ ๐‘’๐‘™๐‘“, ๐‘ ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘ .โž

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๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿ”ฅย ๐Ÿ“/๐Ÿ“ ๐“ก๐“ธ๐“ถ๐“ช๐“ท๐“ฌ๐“ฎ & ๐“ข๐“ฝ๐“ฎ๐“ช๐“ถ: At times, Joey and Toby’s relationship resembled a car crash. Even though you don’t want to look because you justย KNOWย it’s going to be bad, but at the same time you just canย NOTย look away. Their relationship isn’t always a good one, at times it’s downright toxic. Neither Toby or Joey is perfect, but they are perfect together. Both still have scars from the past that they are fighting to overcome and they are broken. But maybe two broken people can piece back one another… The steamy scenes,ย SHEW!ย HATE SEX + DIRTY HATE TALK = GREAT SEX!ย Just in case ya didn’t already know. The passion between the two of them is crazy hot, even when they hate each other.

โ๐‘Š๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘โ„Ž ๐‘š๐‘’ ๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘˜๐‘’ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข. ๐‘๐‘œ ๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™ ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ โ„Ž๐‘Ž๐‘ฃ๐‘’ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘Ž๐‘“๐‘ก๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘ … ๐‘๐‘œ ๐‘œ๐‘›๐‘’ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™ ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ ๐‘๐‘’ ๐‘š๐‘’.โž

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โฅ๐Ÿšโฅย ๐“ข๐“ฎ๐“ฌ๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ญ๐“ช๐“ป๐”‚ ๐“’๐“ฑ๐“ช๐“ป๐“ช๐“ฌ๐“ฝ๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ผ:ย Iย ADOREย Francis! He isย EXACTLYย what a man should be and I can not wait until he gets his happily ever after. But it will surely be bittersweet… since I want him forย MYSELF! And Nate,ย PLEASEย someone tell me that he is getting his own story too! I was glad that we caught up with Loe and Jace, that scene between Jase and Toby…ย *SIGH*ย I was so, so glad to see these brothers begin to fix their relationship. I almost thought it was unfixable. Ace and Gray…ย OH.MY.GOD.ย The POV’s from them and all the breadcrumbs for their story… I am more than excited about their story!

โ๐ผ’๐‘š ๐‘“๐‘’๐‘‘ ๐‘ข๐‘ ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘กโ„Ž ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ ๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘™๐‘’๐‘›๐‘๐‘’, ๐‘†๐‘ก๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘š. ๐‘Œ๐‘œ๐‘ข ๐‘ค๐‘–๐‘™๐‘™ ๐‘˜๐‘›๐‘’๐‘’๐‘™ ๐‘“๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ ๐‘š๐‘’, ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘ฆ๐‘œ๐‘ข’๐‘™๐‘™ ๐‘“๐‘ข๐‘๐‘˜๐‘–๐‘›๐‘” ๐‘๐‘’๐‘” ๐‘“๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’.โž – ๐€๐œ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐†๐ซ๐š๐ฒ

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๐ŸŒช๐ŸŒช๐ŸŒชย ๐“’๐“ต๐“ฒ๐“ฏ๐“ฏ๐“ฑ๐“ช๐“ท๐“ฐ๐“ฎ๐“ป ๐“ฆ๐“ช๐“ป๐“ท๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฐ:ย No cliffhanger. After a whole lot of hurt and heartache, Toby and Joey finally get their happily ever after. So if there is no cliffhanger, what are the three tornadoes for? All those breadcrumbs that were dropped for Ace and Gray’s story, even though I only finished Breatheย a few days ago, I’m SO excited to get back to Hollow Ridge already.

โ๐ผ๐‘ก’๐‘  ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘”.
๐‘Š๐‘’ ๐‘Ž๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘”.
๐‘Šโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘› ๐‘™๐‘–๐‘“๐‘’ ๐‘”๐‘’๐‘ก๐‘  ๐‘–๐‘š๐‘๐‘œ๐‘ ๐‘ ๐‘–๐‘๐‘™๐‘’, ๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘˜๐‘’ ๐‘Ž ๐‘š๐‘œ๐‘š๐‘’๐‘›๐‘ก. ๐ด๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘‘๐‘œ๐‘›’๐‘ก ๐‘“๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘”๐‘’๐‘ก ๐‘ก๐‘œ ๐‘๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘Ž๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’.โž

โš ๏ธย ๐“ฃ๐“ป๐“ฒ๐“ฐ๐“ฐ๐“ฎ๐“ป ๐“ฆ๐“ช๐“ป๐“ท๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“ฐ:ย There are difficult subjects that could be considered triggers.ย E.g. cheating, addiction, trauma, mental illness, and self-harm, etc.ย If you would like to know more about what those subjects are, feel free to DM me!

If you enjoy angsty, emotional roller-coaster ride romances, then you are not going to want to missย Breathe.

โ๐‘‚๐‘ข๐‘Ÿ ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘ก๐‘ก๐‘™๐‘’๐‘  ๐‘ค๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘๐‘–๐‘Ÿ๐‘๐‘ข๐‘š๐‘ ๐‘ก๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘๐‘’๐‘ , ๐‘Ž๐‘›๐‘‘ ๐‘ก๐‘œ๐‘”๐‘’๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘’๐‘Ÿ, ๐‘ค๐‘’’๐‘Ÿ๐‘’ ๐‘“๐‘œ๐‘Ÿ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ.โž

๐“–๐“ป๐“ช๐“ซ ๐”‚๐“ธ๐“พ๐“ป ๐“ฌ๐“ธ๐“น๐”‚ ๐“ธ๐“ฏ ๐“‘๐“ป๐“ฎ๐“ช๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ!

๐๐”๐‘๐‚๐‡๐€๐’๐„ ๐‹๐ˆ๐๐Š๐’ โ€“ $๐Ÿ.๐Ÿ—๐Ÿ— ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐š ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฆ๐ข๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ!

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๐—”๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜‡๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—จ๐—ฆ:

๐—”๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜‡๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—”๐—จ:

๐—”๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜‡๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—จ๐—ž:

๐—”๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜‡๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—–๐—”:


I bottle the resentment and hatred as one would a black widow and praying mantis in a jar, wondering which would strike first and who would conquer all.

One time, Wes caught one of each in two separate jars. It annoyed me that he captured two beautiful creatures just to hold them hostage and watch them waste away.

He set the glasses side by side, mirrors, almost doorways, to see how calculated each species was.

The intrigue in his eyes terrified me, let me know something inside him may be darker than I bargained for, yet I did nothing but watch.

His fingers caressed the one housing the bright green mantis. He leaned in close, his eyes narrowing on the stillness, I’m sure.

When the insect didn’t move, only keeping a stock-still position, I wondered if maybe fear kept it frozen in place, but like Wes knew something I didn’t, he smiled.
The way his lips tilted at the edges conspiratorially made my insides squeeze uncomfortably. As a predator or person with a lack of empathy would, he gave me chills, but for some reason, it didn’t force my eyes away.

Like the impact when music hits really loud, the bass bumping throughout your body, I could only prepare for the cacophony of bulldozing emotions.

After deciding whatever he needed, he stared at the widow. Its red stomach patch faced away from us as it protected itself by hiding in the lid, but Wes saw. Tapping the lid several times, we watched as the spider plopped to the bottom.

He bit the inside of his cheek wordlessly, causing an insane curiosity to bite at my mind.
It made zero sense.

This was barbaric, but I didn’t do a single thing to stop this from escalating.

He unscrewed the lids, lifting both cylinders at the same time. Nothing could prepare me for what I witnessed next.

Anxiety gnawed at my stomach, creating an untamable distress to bubble through my chest. It burned and ached, acting as an early warning system as the two foes faced off.
Neither moved.

They both stood motionless, almost calculating, watching, observing the opponent.
It never occurred to me which would win, but staring at the black widow, knowing its bite was as deadly as it was vicious, my mind had made itself up.

It struck first. The widow went straight for the jugular, and that was its first mistakeโ€”taking the easy shot, the uncalculated risk of striking first.

The mantis, as if knowing all along, gripped the spider with its pincers, holding it like it was sushi, his arms the chopsticks of death.

It squeezed and squeezed, making sure to eat its legs while it writhed in its hold. Nausea built inside me, suffocating my every breath, but the mantis didn’t stop to recognize how uncomfortable I was.

How could it know?

This was a dog-eat-dog world. In this case, a mantis-eat-widow one, he did what he had to do to survive. He won, eating his winnings like a gloating king after battle.

And I learned something valuable that day: always watch your six, don’t trust words, and never take the first shot. I’d never lay victim to a man ever again.

๐“๐“ต๐“ผ๐“ธ ๐“๐“ฟ๐“ช๐“ฒ๐“ต๐“ช๐“ซ๐“ต๐“ฎ ๐“ฒ๐“ท ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“—๐“ธ๐“ต๐“ต๐“ธ๐”€ ๐“ก๐“ฒ๐“ญ๐“ฐ๐“ฎ ๐“ผ๐“ฎ๐“ป๐“ฒ๐“ฎ๐“ผ

๐ˆ๐ง๐ก๐š๐ฅ๐ž, ๐„๐ฑ๐ก๐š๐ฅ๐ž (๐‡๐จ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ ๐‘๐ข๐๐ ๐ž #๐Ÿ) โ€“ $๐Ÿ.๐Ÿ—๐Ÿ— ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐š ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฆ๐ข๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐ข๐ฆ๐ž ๐จ๐ง๐ฅ๐ฒ!

Inhale, Exhale LIVE

๐—”๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜‡๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—จ๐—ฆ:

๐—”๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜‡๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—”๐—จ:

๐—”๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜‡๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—จ๐—ž:

๐—”๐—บ๐—ฎ๐˜‡๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—–๐—”:

๐…๐ซ๐ž๐ž ๐ข๐ง ๐Š๐ข๐ง๐๐ฅ๐ž ๐”๐ง๐ฅ๐ข๐ฆ๐ข๐ญ๐ž๐

๐“๐“ซ๐“ธ๐“พ๐“ฝ ๐“ฃ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ ๐“๐“พ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ธ๐“ป

๐“’.๐“›. ๐“œ๐“ช๐“ฝ๐“ฝ๐“ฑ๐“ฎ๐”€๐“ผ

C.L. Matthews Long Logo

C.L. Matthews Logo.jpgC.L. Matthews lives in lala-landia with her husband and invisible friends.

Sheโ€™s a special kind of weird and enjoys every moment of it.

She wants to riot the lack thereof authentic Mexican food in her state, but sheโ€™s an introvert at heart. She enjoys tacos, Red Bull, and warm water because sheโ€™s crazy.

Sheโ€™s an oddball and realizes itโ€™s been mentioned before, just go with it.

Her joys in life consist of writing unconventional romances, making book covers, causing havoc to her readerโ€™s hearts, and genre-hopping when she needs a change of scenery.

Sheโ€™s a special kind of weird and enjoys every moment of it.

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Goodreads Reviewed ARC


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