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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Spotlight On…Linda Bradley’s Maggie’s Fork in the Road

Today I’m interviewing fellow Soul Mate Publishing author Linda Bradley about her new novel, Maggie’s Fork in the Road.

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Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I’ve been writing since I was a child. In grade school, I wrote and illustrated books for the Calbery Contest. This yearly event was designed for students in grades 4-6 and the word Calbery is derived from the words Caldecott and Newbery. I always thought I’d publish children’s books because I wrote and illustrated a picture book titled, The Hunter for my Master’s project for teaching. It wasn’t until my own boys were older, that I found myself reading a lot of Women’s Fiction and that’s when I became interested in writing stories for women about women.

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.

A: I finished a full-length manuscript and wasn’t sure what to do next. That summer I met an editor from Random House who suggested that I find my local RWA chapter, so that’s what I did. From there, I went to monthly meetings, attended workshops on writing, attended a couple National Conventions, practiced pitching, and networked with other authors. Some years later, I pitched to Debby Gilbert from Soul Mate Publishing when she came to the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA. She requested the full manuscript which turned into a three book deal.

Q: What advise would you give an aspiring author?

A: Keep reading. Keep writing. There’s no timetable for getting published, so be persistent. Don’t take all criticism to heart, but be fierce and follow your heart.

Q: Tell us about your latest release.

A: What do you get when you cross a middle-aged woman caught in a hiccup of life with a pesky eight-year-old on a mission to understand her Hollywood mother? You get a cast of misfits waiting to steal your heart.

Writing Maggie Abernathy is a great deal of fun. Her sarcastic wit and hearty dreams make for intrigue, but she wouldn’t be Maggie Abernathy without the eccentric characters that drive her life. Each have their own tribulations and through their interactions find themselves with an ironclad bond, but just when they’ve become connected, their dreams drive them in different directions and it’s never easy to say goodbye. Writing youngster, Chloe McIntyre is a delight as well and she’s still not willing to take a backseat to anyone.

 

MAGGIE’S FORK IN THE ROAD Blurb

Maggie Abernathy learns that pesky neighbors, John and Chloe McIntyre are moving to Montana. The only problem is…she can’t fathom living without them now that they’ve stolen her heart. While trying to digest the news and accept John’s decision to leave Michigan, Maggie ventures to Chicago with Chloe to see Chloe’s Hollywood mother in a photo shoot, where the three kindle a quirky bond making it even harder to say goodbye. With the support of Maggie’s meddling mother, best friend Judy, and a surprise visit from Montana rancher, Winston Ludlow McIntyre, Maggie begins to wonder which fork in the road leads home.

BUY IT NOW ON AMAZON!!! 

MAGGIE’S FORK IN THE ROAD EXCERPT

Chapter 1

John’s news knocked the wind out of me leaving me breathless, speechless . . . paralyzed.

Breathe, I told myself.

The dim room grew foggy as my eyes searched John’s face. “Really,” I said. “Why now? And why here?” What was it about delivering bad news in a restaurant? First, Beckett, now John. For the love of God, I wondered if breaking a woman’s heart in public got them into a secret men’s club.

Letting my guard down proved one thing. Hurt was inevitable. John and Chloe’s absence would leave a hole in my heart, a gorge of sharp edges. We were more than neighbors. We’d become friends that navigated life’s ups- and-downs together. And now they were moving. I’d have new neighbors and I didn’t want new neighbors. I wanted John and Chloe. I needed John and Chloe. We bonded last summer when I dealt with breast cancer. Their craziness made mine seem normal. John and Chloe weren’t any ordinary neighbors; they were family, eccentric misfits, like myself that conformed to the beat of life while traversing the bumps in the road.

Massaging my temples, I caught my breath. The throb pierced my skull. Since John and Chloe’s arrival, there’d never been a dull moment. Mom came around more often. And Chloe’s mother, Brook. Jesus, she flitted in and left like a summer storm leaving sky-high humidity and heat that scorched everything in its path.

Broken-hearted, Chloe had wept over false promises, her bags packed, her hopes magnanimous. And God, Beckett.

My ex-husband found his footing with a new lifestyle that didn’t include me, or any other woman. I’d heard through the grapevine that he was dating and wondered if his better half was as handsome as he was.

I searched John’s face for an answer.

“I didn’t know how to tell you. I’m sorry, Maggie. I don’t belong here,” he said, lowering his voice. “I can practice medicine in Montana and my dad could really use the help.”

Montana was one hell of a long ways away. I swallowed the sting of disappointment. John’s eyes searched mine. His news left a bitter taste at the back of my throat. “You can’t leave. I love you,” I whispered.

The pressure behind my eyes burned something fierce. How was it possible that I felt so much for someone I wasn’t romantically involved with? I certainly thought about it enough and the few recent kisses we shared established a deeper connection spurring buried promises that I’d made to myself. Moving forward in the wake of waiting for perfect timing proved difficult.

The corners of John’s mouth drooped. His jaw clenched.

“I can’t believe I said that.” I stared into my half-empty glass of Merlot, my cheeks smoldered from the realization that he didn’t return my sentiments. My chin quivered as he touched my hand from across the table.

“I want to put the house up for sale when Chloe’s school year ends.”

My forced smile hurt. It was the kind that everyone knows is fake and by John’s expression, my attempt to lighten the moment had failed. He squeezed my hand. I sipped my wine trying to avoid eye contact with the waitress. Her return with the dessert tray came at the most inopportune moment. After listening politely, John asked for the check. I wrapped my shawl around my shoulders trying to hold myself together. “I’ll meet you outside,” I said, fumbling with my purse.

“I won’t be long,” he said. “Maggie—”

The leg of my chair got stuck on the carpet. I shook it loose in disgust, studying the face of a man that I thought just might be a permanent fixture in my life. His eyes sadly apologetic.

“Damn, you’re beautiful.” With a heavy sigh, he paused. “I’ll be out in a minute.

The cool spring breeze sent shivers down my spine as I exited the restaurant. I caught my breath. How could I have told John I loved him? Why now? I wrapped my arms around myself. If I could survive cancer, I’d survive this. Hearts mended. Beckett taught me that lesson the hard way, but this was John and Chloe. Our attachment was the seam that mended that wound, made it invisible.

John opened the car door for me. I climbed in. His stare rustled my nerves. Pretending to rummage for something in my purse, I rooted around inside my bag and finally decided I was searching for my sanity. It wasn’t there. I even checked the hole in the satin lining. Nothing. How could I be so upset over something I didn’t ever really have? John reached over and buckled me in before shutting the door.

“I know you’re not okay.” He turned the key in the ignition. “This wasn’t an easy decision,” he added.

I studied his profile. “I know it wasn’t easy. I know you’re unhappy here in Michigan.” My heart skipped a beat. Saying the right thing tasted bitter. I wanted him. I wanted him before, but couldn’t admit it. I wanted him now, but he was leaving. “Thanks for dinner,” I said, trying my best to be grateful.

“I know this wasn’t the evening out you were expecting.” He checked the mirrors and backed out of the parking spot.

The jazz on the radio couldn’t fill the silence between us. The ten-minute car ride by the lake seemed like an eternity. The sliver of moon like a dagger in my heart as its white glow washed over the glassy lake. I loved the lake. The lazy cove in Grosse Pointe was the place where my only son, Bradley, grew up. It was a place of solace, a place for meeting new friends like Judy and her two boys, Harry and Walter. It was the place I first saw that horseshoe tattoo on John’s left shoulder as he strolled down the beach holding Chloe’s hand. It was the place where Bones peed on Brook’s leg, the place where Brook and I bantered over Chloe, and took photos in an effort to prosper from our differences. It was the place where I held the snarky seven-year-old when Brook broke her heart and went back to Hollywood, California, after promising her daughter a life together.

John coasted into his driveway. “I’ll walk you home.”

A thin grin passed over my lips, lips that he’d kissed just before telling me that he was moving to Montana. My empty stone house waited for me, along with a wrinkly- faced Bulldog. I’d still have Bones, thanks to Mom. Maybe that’s how it was meant to be.

John parked the car then gazed into my eyes. He longed for something, something I secretly hoped would keep him here, close to me. He got out and walked around to open my door. As I swung my legs out of the car, my skirt cascaded over my freckled shins. He linked his arm with mine and led me home. “All seems quiet. Chloe must have been good for the sitter.”

“We’ll see. Only time will tell,” he said. “She’s older and wiser now.”

“She’s eight, and being in third grade doesn’t make you necessarily wiser, it makes you taller with bigger teeth.”

We sauntered up the stairs to the porch. Digging in my purse for the key to the front door of my house, I stood like a pillar of salt waiting for John to say something, to tell me he’d changed his mind on the way home. “I’m not sure what to say,” I whispered. John caressed my cheek. I shut my eyes, memorizing his touch. I nuzzled into the palm of his warm hand. Please don’t leave, I secretly wished. I had no right to ask. He stepped closer, his breath in my ear.

“You’re not making this easy. You never do, Maggie Abernathy. Look at me,” he murmured.

Afraid to open my eyes, I swallowed away emotion. John was always doing stuff like that, telling me I was beautiful, telling me I had a hold on him, but not a strong enough hold to keep him here. I gazed into his Irish eyes. I heard my heart shatter as it broke all over again, leaving me with a pit in my stomach. John led me inside, his hand on the small of my back. His eyes gleamed with intent. He tugged at the fringe on my shawl making it drop to the ground as he kicked the door shut. John picked me up then carried me upstairs. As much as I knew I should have stopped him, I couldn’t. I didn’t want to.

Moonlight flooded my bedroom. John took off his shirt then unbuttoned my blouse exposing my lace bra. He ran his fingers along the edge of the cup, tickling my skin, leaving me with goose bumps, wanting more. His mouth covered mine. Laying me upon the bed, I closed my eyes, and let him in.

Moonlight washed over his skin. It caressed every muscle and curve of his brawny body. I snuggled in behind him, tracing his horseshoe tattoo with my finger. “Did this hurt when you got it?” My lips grazed his skin as I whispered into the darkness. “Maybe if I got one, I’d have better luck.” I closed my eyes then crawled beneath the covers. John’s square jaw and simmering eyes held my stare. He crawled back to where I’d settled in and peered down at me. Lowering his head, his lips met mine. I squeezed my eyes shut damming the deluge. My heart pounded against my rib cage, telling me it was time, time to let go. John was leaving and this would be our perfect goodbye. “Chloe’s probably wondering where you are,” I said, caressing his whiskery cheek. “So, you’ve decided to grow a beard?”

“No, just a little scruff. I hear women like that.”

He leaned over me and kissed my lips as he brushed strands of stray hair away from my face. His Adam’s apple twitched when he swallowed. I waited for the words, the words I wanted to hear, but they didn’t come. “You’re so damn beautiful,” he said, caressing my cheek. “We should have done this a long time ago, Maggie Abernathy.”

Nervous knots filled my belly as I listened to his deep coaxing voice. My eyelids fluttered. Fierce emotion mounted beneath my calm surface. Reaching up, I wrapped my arms around his neck. “Yeah,” I whispered. “We probably should have.”

AUTHOR’S BIO

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Linda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments, thus creating avenues for readers to connect with her characters.

Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled, The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. Linda is a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA.

Linda has two grown sons, lives with her husband, and rescue dog in Royal Oak, Michigan.

 

LINKS

Twitter

Facebook

Website 

Blog

Other Books by Linda Bradley:

Maggie’s Way (Montana Bound Series Book 1) – Buy It Now on Amazon!

Maggie’s Way (Montana Bound Series Book 1) – Buy It Now from Schuler! 

Maggie’s Way (Montana Bound Series Book 1) – Buy It Now from Barnes & Noble!

 

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Posted by on July 28, 2016 in Spotlight On

 

Spotlight On…Dawn Ireland’s Highland Yearning!

Today I’m interviewing fellow Soul Mate Publishing author, Dawn Ireland, about her new release, Highland Yearning!

 

Highland Yearning _505x825

 

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: I started in college. (And I will not tell you how long ago that was.) I’d spent most of my teenage years with my nose in a book, and it occurred to me that I had stories I wanted to share. I write in a linear fashion, so for me it’s like reading the story as I write. This is why I only have main plot points in mind before I start a book. And, of course, I know my characters, although even they can surprise me along the way.

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.

A: I spent many years honing my craft, trying to glean what I could from successful authors. I was very fortunate to discover Pat Ryan’s courses at Writers and Books. She had been an editor in New York City, and is a Rita winner for Silken Threads. I learned a great deal from her, and went on to final, or win, several contests.

When Soulmate Publishing accepted my manuscript, Love’s Guardian, I was thrilled.

Q: What advice would you give an aspiring author?

A: Never stop learning. Our craft is very fluid. What readers want, and techniques for creating a good story, keep changing. Talk to other authors, take classes, listen to your readers, you’ll be surprised at how your writing improves if you keep yourself open to new ideas.

Q: Tell us about your latest release.

A: Highland Yearning is pure entertainment. It’s a bit of a mystery, and a light-hearted look at the clash between our modern ideas and the Highland culture in 1775. This book is also my first with a dog as a character. For such a little Westie-Mix, Scruffy has a big personality.

Highland Yearning Blurb

Caden Mackay would never bed a Sutherland, let alone marry one. Bloody hell, what had possessed his twin brother to propose to one of the she-devils? And what is Caden to do with the Sutherland beauty who appears, as if by magic, in his library? The defiant intruder is the enemy, but she is unlike any woman Caden’s ever known, and her tantalizing curves and wide green eyes could tempt a monk. He must devise a way to stop the wedding. But can he stop the desire that makes him long to make Ariel Sutherland his own?

Ariel’s life had never gone the way she’d hoped, but ending up in eighteenth century Scotland was a stretch, even for her. If not for her dog, Scruffy, she might have thought she’d walked into a romantic daydream. Especially since the object of her desire appears to be entirely too virile. But can she find her way back to her time, before her too-handsome Highlander makes her believe that love can conquer in any century?

Highland Yearning Excerpt

Caden turned to his cousin. “We’ll search the windows above. By now the coward has fled, but we may yet find something to unmask our would-be assassin. Then we’ll attend to your urgent matter.”

He drew Ariel aside far enough that Ian couldn’t hear them. His expression screamed, I’d rather fight a dozen well-armed warriors than be in debt to a Sutherland. “Thank you for . . .” He simply stared at her.

“Saving your life?” She waited. Nothing. “Kissing you?” She raised her eyebrows. “Just trying to fill in the blank here.”

He blanched, but then heat filled his eyes. “Aye.”

“Well, one of us had to take the bull by the horns.” Okay, best not to dwell on that image. “I mean, I was curious. I wanted to kiss you. No big deal. It was just a kiss.”

“Aye.”

“Will you stop agreeing with me.”

His smile was genuine and she felt it to the tips of her toes. Good heavens, the man had charisma.

“I’ve nae had a woman who wanted me to disagree with her.”

“Well, I’m not like most women.” That was true enough. She’d never done the ‘let’s talk about boys, clothes and makeup thing’ with a group of girls. Somehow, she’d never fit in.

He smiled down at her. “Aye.”

“There you go, agreeing again.”

“Perhaps it’s because you make yourself so agreeable.”

She couldn’t contain the laughter that burst from her lips. “Really?” The word came out between gasps. “Oh, I wish you could have been there to tell my teachers. Not that they’d believe you. They thought I questioned everything.”

“Then they didn’t ken you.” His brows drew together. “I believe the stone was meant for me, but just in case, I want you to take care.

Her laughter died. “Why would anyone want to kill me?”

“Have you offended anyone aside from Ranald, the Countess or Robertson since I met you?”

“I don’t-So, I speak my mind. Is there a law against that in this century?”

“No. And I prefer plain speaking, but I’m nae most men.”

“No, you’re not.”

Highland Yearning, Available Now on Amazon! 

: https://amzn.com/B01FMX5KXG

Dawn Ireland

(Stories about love through the ages.)

Bio 6

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“Once Upon a Time” are four of Dawn’s favorite words, because she never knows where they will lead. She writes stories to remind herself that even though things may seem bleak, there is always the possibility of a “Happily Ever After.” If along the way she makes readers smile, cry or see the magic in their everyday lives, then she’s done her job.

Dawn’s written several award-winning novels set in Georgian England and the Highlands – an era filled with rules and intrigue. Her characters often defy “Society” as they pursue love, run away, pursue, run away – well, you get the idea.

Then again, she might write romance in order to do the research. What other profession encourages you to sit in the audience at Harlequin’s Male Model search, and take notes, or just sigh?

When she’s not writing, Dawn may be found singing, gardening, learning to play the harp or wood carving. She lives in a Victorian home in Upstate New York with her husband and very independent cats.

Dawn hopes you’ll read her books, and together you’ll bring to life characters that aren’t perfect, but have a story to tell.

Visit Dawn’s website at: http://www.Dawn-Ireland.com

Contact info:

www.dawn-ireland.com

www.authordawnIreland.wordpress.com

www.smpauthors.wordpress.com

http://www.twitter.com/AuthorDIreland

http://www.Facebook.com/DawnIrelandAuthor

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Spotlight On

 

Spotlight On…Alina K. Field’s Liliana’s Letter!

Today I’m interviewing fellow Soul Mate Publishing author Alina K. Field about her new release, Liliana’s Letter.

Liliana's Letter ebook

Q: How long have you been writing?

A: A month ago I would have said I’ve only been writing fiction for the last several years—except, that a couple of weeks ago while clearing out old paperwork I found a file with stories that I started thirty or forty years ago and never finished!

Q: Tell us about your road to publication.

A: I wrote a few contemporary novels and pitched them with no success. Then I saw a call for submissions from Avon’s e-publishing line for stories set in any era with a ring as a story element. The Regency novella I wrote, Rosalyn’s Ring was rejected by Avon. At my next local RWA chapter meeting, I mentioned the rejection to an author who’d just sold three novellas to various publishers. She encouraged me to resubmit, which I did, and a month later, Soul Mate Publishing picked up the rights.

Q: What advice would you give an aspiring author?

  • Write a first draft and push through to the end, beating your perfectionist inner self into silence. You never know what you’re capable of until you type “The End”.
  • If you’re a plotter, plot. If you’re a pantser, go ahead and write by the seat of your pants. Do it your way.
  • Unless you’re really thick-skinned, protect the work from toxic people. You know who they are.
  • Keep learning, keep reading, and join a writer’s organization for education and support. It’s wonderful to hang out with people who are weird like you.
  • And last, the one I still struggle with most: get feedback, but if a critique group isn’t working for you, move on guilt-free. I’ve entered contests and hired editors for feedback, and I’m still looking for that perfect critique matchup.

Q: Tell us about your latest release.

A: After my Regency novel Bella’s Band came out, one of the secondary characters was nagging me (I mentioned writers are weird, right?) to tell the story of his recent romance and marriage. Liliana’s Letter is that story.

And may I add, Liliana’s Letter is a National Reader’s Choice Award Finalist in the novella category!!! I’m attending the award ceremony today in San Diego, and I’ll check in and report on the outcome in the comments.
LILIANA’S LETTER BLURB

The Matchmaker meets the Matchbreaker

A promise to his long-dead sister forces Lord Grigsby into society to broker his disreputable nephew’s marriage to an heiress—if only the young lady’s starchy hired companion would move out of the way.  

Liliana’s future depends on her wealthy charge’s successful marriage, but her own close encounter with a scoundrel steels her resolve to save the girl from the jaded man—if only she herself can dodge his handsome uncle.

LILIANA’S LETTER EXCERPT

The woman at Grigsby’s side was like a lightning rod expecting a bolt to strike, or like a Fury about to deliver one. This close, scent wafted from her, roses and lemon, he’d guess. Tall, straight, and stiff, underneath her self-possession was a temper ready to unleash. He would bet on it.

Intriguing. He dared to poke her ire. “You clearly don’t approve of the match. Do you intend to openly oppose it?”

Her head whipped around, and she glared. “It’s not for me to approve or disapprove. Katie—Miss Mercer—will decide.”

Passion flashed in her eyes, sending an answering spark through him. She was magnificent—though so very mistaken. “Really? Then her father is more liberal than I expected.”

She looked him over more closely. “What do you know of this matter?”

I might ask you the same question. Her tone had been stiff, like the crystallized dome covering bubbling lava. He fixed her with his sternest glare, not entirely surprised at her cheek.

His glower didn’t impress her. She lifted her shoulders higher. Stood a little taller, proud, lovely, and filled with indignation.

Quite righteous indignation. He gave into an unmanly sigh, truly weary of his responsibility for Thomas. “I know a good deal, Miss Ashford. I have been negotiating for these nuptials. The arrangement is my doing as much as Mr. Mercer’s. Much more than it is my nephew’s. He is probably the least culpable, except for his abominable behavior.”

She clenched her hands tightly. “I see.”

“Thomas’s mother was my older sister. I made a promise to her that I would look after him.” Her gaze softened, and she bit her lip in a way that made him want to taste the part that she was nipping.

And where had that thought come from?

“And your nephew needs money and an heir.”

He nodded. As a woman of the ton, of course she would understand how marriage worked. Marriage wasn’t about love, or the bride’s approval, or a plump lower lip that begged to be kissed.

“He needs money most of all. He has a younger brother in the army who would make a far more dutiful earl.”

He covered his mouth with his hand. The words had rolled out, shocking him. He rarely spoke this frankly with any woman.

Very well, he never spoke this frankly with any woman.

She released a soft breath. “And there is the matter of the ore.”

His mouth gaped and he quickly closed it. Mr. Mercer had shared that information? Well. “That part of the county is rich with newly discovered veins of iron.”

That information brought her up straighter. She looked away, gazing intently at a thick, dark spot of foliage, making him want to pry into that sharp mind.

“I see,” she said. “I believe we should go back in now.”

Not yet. He tucked her hand over his arm but did not move. “I had hoped we were not finished talking. I’ve learned your Christian name is Liliana, but I don’t know anything else about you. I don’t know where you’re from or anything about your family.”

He sensed her bristling, and waited for some reaction, perhaps a slap, verbal, or, with a woman of her passion, even a physical one. Strictly speaking, he was importuning her, and damn if he wasn’t enjoying the nerves rippling through her.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1VBXAld

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/liliana-s-letter

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/lilianas-letter/id1046400564?mt=11

Nook: http://bit.ly/1k81CX3

Google Books: http://bit.ly/29uY66F

AUTHOR’S BIO

Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but she found her true passion in reading and writing romance. Though her roots are in the Midwest, after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband and a blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner in the novella category, Rosalyn’s Ring, a Regency novella, the novel-length sequel, a 2015 RONE Award finalist, Bella’s Band, both Soul Mate Publishing releases, and a prequel novella, Liliana’s Letter, a 2016 National Reader’s Choice Award finalist.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1VBXAld

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/liliana-s-letter

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/lilianas-letter/id1046400564?mt=11

Nook: http://bit.ly/1k81CX3

Google Books: http://bit.ly/29uY66F

Visit her at:

Visit her at:

http://alinakfield.com/

https://www.facebook.com/alinakfield

https://twitter.com/AlinaKField

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field

https://www.pinterest.com/alinakf/

https://www.instagram.com/alinak.field/

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2016 in Spotlight On