Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Tinsel Fish (Tyack and Frayne #2) by Harper Fox ~ Guest Blog, Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

Tinsel Fish
Title ~ Tinsel Fish
Author ~ Harper Fox
Publisher ~ Foxtales Publications
Genre ~ M/M (contemporary / mystery)
Rating ~ 5 Stars

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Synopsis


Christmas in a Cornish seaside town, bright lights and a hot new romance to ward off the winter storms... What could be finer? But Gideon and Lee’s first festive season together is shockingly interrupted when Lee tries to rid a client’s home of a malevolent presence. The ritual goes wrong, and in its aftermath Lee is strangely altered. As well as dealing with the changes in his lover, Gideon has a sinister thread to follow, linking the haunted house with disappearances among the homeless people of Falmouth.

Can love withstand what looks like a case of possession? As the darkest night of the year comes down, Gideon finds himself locked in a battle to restore his lover’s soul.
 
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A Word from the Author


Hello, everyone! It’s a pleasure to be blogging here at Sinfully Sexy Book reviews today, and thank you very much to Mark for inviting me. I’d like to talk with everyone about Once Upon A Haunted Moor and its sequel Tinsel Fish, the first two books in what I hope will become a series featuring village policeman Gideon Frayne and his clairvoyant lover, Lee Tyack.


The idea for the Tyack & Frayne series arose from my visits to Bodmin Moor during the autumn. It sounds strange, but if you live in the far west of Cornwall as I do, and you mostly travel on the main east-west route along the peninsula, it’s easy to forget the moor is there. You get glimpses as you pass, but what you don’t realise is that, in this friendly county of cream teas and cheerful seaside towns, there is an eighty-square-mile expanse of wild, bleak nothing.

As a writer, this makes me very happy. I like the liminal places, the world’s-edge margins where anything can happen. The village of Dark, where Constable Gideon Frayne lives and works, is a fictional place, but a walk around the real hamlet of Minions will give you an idea. It’s a tiny collection of houses perched on the very shoulder of this wilderness. On a sunny day, nowhere could be prettier, more windswept and refreshing. On a misty autumn evening towards dusk...

Oh, yes. The chills. Suddenly you become aware of the huge emptiness all around you. And the legends of the moor, which in daylight seem only a picturesque dream, suddenly acquire flesh. Teeth. Claws. And I thought, what if there was this rock-solid policeman, this good-hearted, unimaginative guy who’s been dealing with parking fines and lost dogs until now, and suddenly he’s faced with not only his first missing-child case but the terrible fear that one of the legends he’s lived with (and laughed at) all his life – the Beast of Bodmin Moor – might be real? How might he deal with it?

The answer is that he can’t. Shy, chained up, barely able to deal with the facts of his own sexuality, let alone monsters and the appalling responsibility of having a lost kid on his hands, he’s at the end of his rope. And then Lee Tyack arrives, which at first feels like the final insult – Lee is a psychic, sent by Gideon’s own police bosses to help out where Gideon has failed. Not to give away too many plot details, but Gideon soon overcomes his hostility towards this charming newcomer who seems to have a hotline straight into his lonely heart. And because Lee is no stranger to those liminal, scary places – because he’s met monsters in the mist before – he and Gideon join forces to become a formidable investigative team, and that’s the story for Once Upon A Haunted Moor.

They also fall in love very fast, which was my gift to myself as a romance author, because if you’re sequelling a love story, you need a dynamic which will challenge, deepen or change the relationship you’ve already set up. And that’s the story of Tinsel Fish. Here I’ve changed the setting to Falmouth, and as Gideon and Lee investigate a haunted house, I’ve shown not only how the perils of the unknown can pursue Lee into one of those cheerful seaside towns – all lit up for Christmas as it is – but how their fledgling romance stands up to its first real trouble, in this case a burst of spectacular bad behaviour from the normally calm and decorous Lee. Loving someone doesn’t mean you have to like them all the time, after all, and I’m always intrigued by what turns infatuation into solid long-term gold.

It was the hell of a fun book to write. I had my protags all ready set up, I had two great locations – festive Falmouth and wintry Bodmin under a rare covering of snow – and what author doesn’t want to tell a haunted-house story at some time or another? Regular readers of mine will know that I couch the paranormal elements of my tales in the ordinary stuff of life, and often I leave the doors open for the reader to decide whether an event has a supernatural explanation or a simply a hidden human one. Lee is a little different: his gifts as a clairvoyant are undeniable, though he needs his level-headed Gideon to channel them. So he’s a departure for me, and I’m enjoying writing what might unashamedly be called a paranormal adventure mystery romance series!

Now, a series definitely requires three books at least, so will Book 3 of the Tyack & Frayne Mysteries be my next project? I find that I can write them pretty fast (about six weeks each for the first two), and anyone who’s read Tinsel Fish will know that I left a big loose end untied, and a working title for the third instalment could be What’s Haunting Lee? I do intend to answer that question, and soon, but as well as my self-published work, I really would like to try and get another full-length novel out with a publisher soon. So I may turn my attentions to that next, and follow through on my “seasonal stories” for Gideon and Lee later in the year. Anyone fancy a trip to the midsummer moors?




Excerpt


The cobbled alley was slippery with salt spray. This was the oldest part of the town, and no amount of heritage grants would straighten out its winding lanes or level off their treacherous plunge from the main street to the docks. Falmouth’s dark old heart beat strongly here, and it seemed an appropriate place for Lee Tyack – TV psychic, medium, bartender and, since October, Gideon Frayne’s lover – to have made his home.

He had a flat above the big marine chandlery, accessible only by this lane. The Christmas lights had made it down here too, but reflecting off the wet cobbles and the varnished paintwork of the chandlery’s two huge ship’s figureheads – staring eyes and startling bosoms – a different atmosphere prevailed, a mermaid’s idea of Christmas perhaps, ethereal and strange.

Gideon stopped for a moment, resting one hand on a figurehead’s tumble of carved curls. Yes, the lights were on in Lee’s flat. Doubts assailed Gideon, a shoal of hungry fish. Lee’s first formal visit to Gideon’s home up in Bodmin – to visit his dog, ostensibly – had been a success. His second and his third had gone so well that Gideon had had to invest in a new bedframe. A fourth, and he’d been anticipating roof repairs, but before that could happen, Lee had been called away to a conference in Holland. From there he’d gone straight to London to take part in a TV series on paranormal investigation. He’d known he’d be back sometime early this week, and so Gideon had booked his leave. But Lee hadn’t texted him to say he was home. It had been almost six week. If Gideon hadn’t been a big hard-headed copper, he’d have been feeling shy.

An odd thump resounded in the lane. It shook the windows slightly in their frames, although it hadn’t been loud, more like a sudden change in pressure. Then a voice began. It was harsh and hectoring, rapidly rising to a shout.

It was coming from Lee’s flat. Gideon’s concerns about his welcome evaporated. He ran for the street door.

He took the steps of the concrete stairwell three at a time. The voice stopped as soon as his fist hit the door, and a few seconds later Lee opened up. “Gideon!” he said, with a kind of explosive relief, as if he’d been expecting something much worse. “I’m so glad to see you. Come in.”

Gideon followed him into the living room. The flat was plain and modern, open plan, and as far as he could see, it was empty. “Are you okay? I thought I heard someone shouting.”

“You... You heard that?” Lee gave himself a shake and smiled, closing the door behind them. “Er, yeah. I had the radio on.” He looked Gideon over. “So, if there had been someone in here shouting, you’d have come blazing in ready to thump them?”

Gideon hoped he would have spoken to them first, reminded them about noise nuisance and domestic affray, but he wasn’t sure. Lee looked pale and tired. “If necessary, yes.”
“You’re so bloody perfect. Do you know that?”

Gideon strode to meet him. Lee was an inch or so shorter than he was: strongly built but on a lighter scale, and it was no trouble to Gideon to lift him till his spine crackled, hoist him off his feet and swing him gently round in a half circle. “I’ve missed you,” he said, voice muffled in Lee’s hair. “I was in Falmouth seeing my parents, and I saw your lights, but I wasn’t sure – ”

“Didn’t I tell you to come here any time? I’m home sooner than I thought I’d be, or I’d have called you.” He gave Gideon a breathtaking squeeze in return, pulled back far enough to kiss him. “How are they – your mum and dad?”

“Oh, he won’t change much now, unless it’s to get worse.”

Gideon blinked away memories of his father’s care-home bedroom and breathed in Lee’s warm scent to drive away the smell. “My ma, though – we’re talking more than we have done in years. She’s almost getting used to my casual chat about my boyfriend.” He hesitated over the word. It didn’t seem quite apt, for the very adult man in his arms, but he was short on terms. My gentleman companion might have worked a century ago, but even Falmouth wasn’t that far behind the times. And partner – no, not yet, not after two intense Halloween days and three visits by a man to see his dog.

Lee didn’t seem to mind the label. He was watching Gideon – not for the first time – as if he were a source of intense satisfaction to him. “Not too casual, I hope.”

Oh, no. Gideon had to clench his fists and steady his voice every time he pronounced Lee’s name. “Far from it,” he said hoarsely. “How was London?”

“Good. Sympathetic production crew. We did a few private homes and a historical site or two. I had to come back early to do a stage show tonight – Old Petroc Hall rearranged me.”

“Oh. Tonight? I’ll get out of your hair and –”

“Don’t you dare bloody move.” Lee backed up the command with a firm grasp of Gideon’s jumper. “It isn’t until seven. We can grab a couple of drinks, have some dinner, or...” Their eyes met. Lee’s pupils had expanded in the lamplight until their unsettling jade green had almost disappeared. “Oh, Gid. It’s been a long six weeks.”

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Mark’s Review


Tyack and Frayne ride again in deepest, darkest mysterious Cornwall.

Homeless people go missing from time to time in Falmouth and no one really knows why, but because they are homeless no one really cares either. Gideon is in Falmouth to visit Lee after he has been away filming a series for television about haunted buildings. Although Lee really doesn’t believe in spirits and ghosts, being a little more rational, I liked his view on things and how he explains this during one of his shows in Falmouth……

“What I do believe is that, as we live with the people we love – or even those we hate – we take some part of them inside ourselves. And when those people die, that part stays with us. So if I tap into anything that seems to come from what's called the other side, I believe I’m reading signals you carry about with you from your connection with those people”

I really liked the take that Lee has on things, even I could find myself agreeing with that and also rational enough for Gideon to get his mind around the whole idea of Lee’s perceptions and talents too.
This time Lee has been called in by a woman who is experiencing strange and unexplainable things in her house. While having a romantic evening for two, Lee and Gideon are approached in a restaurant by a woman who is obviously in some distress. The presence in her house is affecting her well being and she doesn’t know where else to go but to Lee to get answers. Lee and Gideon go to visit the house and bring the camera team with them. Well, needless to say what happens defies explanation and leaves Lee a changed man. He starts to behave in ways that worry Gideon and is totally out of character for him. So Gideon whisks him off to his cottage on Bodmin Moor to get him away from things. However, Lee is still out of sorts.

One morning Lee wakes and starts to wonder and Gideon has to go chasing after him. Here we meet the bible thumping, austere, Methodist minister that is Gideon’s older brother. Quite a spooky character in his own right. However, we learn that deep beneath this religious fanaticism he still cares and can’t totally reject his younger brother Gideon, no matter how he might disapprove of his lifestyle. Ezekiel seems to recognise the problem and looks like the only one that can get Lee back to normal.

I liked the fact we get to meet Gideon’s side of the family. If you want to know where people are coming from with their attitudes in life I’ve always been a firm believer of meet the direct family, it always explains a lot. I hope in the next Tyack and Frayne adventure we learn a little more about Lee’s side of the family. However, Gideon in this book becomes more comfortable in his skin and basically has a coming out of sorts in the fact he learns not to care what others really think about him and his open affection for Lee in public.

Lee goes back to the house with Ezekiel and Gideon this time and manages to get behind the problem causing the disturbance in the house. It’s obviously very difficult to write a more in-depth synopsis of this story otherwise I would have to give too much of the mystery surprise away. Needless to say the mystery-murder part is once again well plotted out, cohesive and although dealing with supernatural goings-on still remains totally within the bounds of reality and believability. There are more things to heaven and earth than meets the eye!

What I loved about this book is that Gideon's and Lee’s love for each other deepens as they both start to understand each other better. Gideon realising that Lee is not his normal self after the experience in the house, worries constantly about this but doesn’t reject him or cast him aside, but cares for him and tries to make everything right.

Harper manages so well in her writing to create the mysterious atmosphere of Cornwall. A place that sometimes, even though I come from Cornwall, I reckon still manages to remain twenty years behind the rest of the world – lol! The foreboding atmosphere in the Cornish cottage is one such example. Some of these cottages are hundreds of years old and made of solid granite and every cottage probably has it’s own deep rooted history to tell ~ if walls could only talk. Harper obviously knows the area well, describes the locals beautifully with their quirkiness and maybe simple views on things. Here is one of my favourite quotes which really sums the attitude of the locals up in such a simple way….

“Lee’s T-shirt fitted him well, which in rural Cornwall was as good as a rainbow flag”

Never a truer word spoke – lol! This illustrated to me how well Harper has got to know the locals and their peninsular mentality. Not a local herself, but obviously has a great love of the area, its traditions, its countryside, nature and local people. This so comes across in her writing. Again her writing is descriptive, flows easily and reads beautifully. She manages to create a mysterious and spooky atmosphere that will send cold, shivery showers down your back and will keep you turning the page for more.

Can’t wait for the next Tyack and Frayne adventure. Let there be lots more to come.


Reading Order

18744000

18949069

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About The Author

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Bestselling British author Harper Fox has established herself as a firm favourite with readers of M/M romance. Over the past three years, she’s delivered thirteen critically acclaimed novels, novellas and short stories, including Scrap Metal (Rainbow Awards Honourable Mention),The Salisbury Key (CAPA nominated) and Life After Joe (Band of Thebes Best LGBT Book, 2011).
Harper takes her inspiration from a wide range of British settings – wild countryside, edgy urban and most things in between – and loves to use these backdrops for stories about sexy gay men sharing passion, adventure and happy endings. She also runs her own publishing imprint, FoxTales.
Harper is enjoying life in Cornwall after her move from Northumberland, and soaking up ideas and inspiration from the wildly lovely Cornish coasts.





Contact The Author

gnome_go_home     facebook     goodreads     twitter


Purchase Links

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Giveaway


Harper will be giving away one ebook copy of Tinsel Fish
Just enter the draw below.
Good Luck

48 comments:

  1. I've got Once Upon a Haunted Moor lined up to read on my kindle, and this excerpt makes me impatient to start. Can't wait to get stuck in with Gideon & Lee!

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    1. Hi there, you're going to love these guys and the dark and mysterious atmosphere of Cornwall's Bodmin Moor. Happy reading!

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  2. Hello, and a very happy New Year to all! Mark, that was a wonderful review. Thank you so much. I'm delighted to have got it right for a proper Cornishman! :)

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    1. Hi Harper, you're welcome. Absolutely love these guys. Looking forward to the next installment.

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    2. ....oh and a Happy New Year to everyone too!

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  3. I'm not entering the contest because I already own both Tyack & Frayne books (and everything Harper's published). But reading this post was still interesting, both for the endorsement from a Cornishman and for the reference to Minions. As someone who has only visited Cornwall, I felt that the books really caught the spirit of the place very well, and I loved the contrast between Falmouth and Dark in the latest book. I'm looking forward to more of them - don't keep us in suspense too long!

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  4. I'm starting to get very curious about these guys!

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    1. Glad we're piqueing your interest, Sylvia! :-D

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  5. Hi, Helena! Thank you for owning everything I've published. *glows eerily in the twilight with pride* :-D I definitely won't extend the suspense for too long, don't worry! The next instalment might be out there sooner than you think.

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  6. Replies
    1. Hi, Stephanie. Hope you enjoy them when you do! :)

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  7. Wonderful review! Happy New Year!

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  8. Have not had the pleasure of reading one of your books before. I have been stuck in other types of books. After reading this review, I can see I am missing some good books. Thanks for the giveaway.

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    1. Hi, Robbie! Well, we always hope to lure you into our M/M nets, and I hope we manage to catch you and that you enjoy yourself once caught! :-D

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  9. Great review! I really enjoyed the excerpt and am looking forward to reading the whole story. Thanks for the giveaway and Happy New Year!

    cguidroz2@cox.net

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    1. Same to you, CrystalG. Hope you enjoy the whole tale in due course.

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  10. can't wait to start this series!

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    1. Thanks, Kathy P. It's great that people are so excited about it!

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  11. I've always wanted to go to Cornwall, so this sounds irresistible!

    vitajex(at)Aol(dot)com

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    1. It's a most inspiring place to live and write, Vitajex.

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  12. Harper Fox is s new author to me and these books sound intriguing!

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    Replies
    1. It's great to be a guest on Sinfully Sexy books - I'm getting in touch with lots of new readers!

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  13. Cornwall sounds like an unique place to visit and to have a story there. Happy New Year!
    strive4bst(AT) yahoo(Dot) com

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  14. Sounds unique and would LOVE to read it :)

    Thanks for the giveaway!!

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  15. Very intriguing blurb. I've not read anything by this author, and I'll be checking out Once Upon a Haunted Moor. Thanks for the giveaway

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  16. I picked up Once Upon a Haunted Moor already, but I haven't gotten to it. I'm looking forward to it, though because I love mysteries. So great to hear Tinsel Fish is adding to the series, and that there's a third coming. Thanks for the chance at TF.

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  17. I want this, hope I win - I am greedy like that ;)

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  18. I just purchased Once Upon a Haunted Moor as it looked too good and I can't wait to read it! I am knew to this author and can't wait!

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  19. Have not read anything by this author but great review and giveaway! Happy New Year!

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  20. Harper Fox is one of my favorite authors! I have loved everything I have read by her and I bet Tinsel Fish will be no exception. Thanks for the blog, review and giveaway!

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  21. I haven't read anything from this author, but excited for a chance to win!

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  22. I'm a big fan of Harper's and am excited about the giveaway. Thanks!

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  23. Hello, all - just wanted to pop in and say I'm so sorry for not being able to reply to all your comments individually. I had to work for part of today and then Sherlock kidnapped me. :-D It's so nice to read that you've enjoyed the blog today, and so many of you - wow, over 800! - have entered the competition. It's very inspiring and motivating for any author to get this kind of response and I have a feeling that part 3 of the Tyack & Frayne Mysteries may be with you sooner rather than later. It's getting late here in the wild and windy southwest corner of the UK so I'd best say goodnight now, but I'll be checking in tomorrow, and I'd like to say a big thank you again to Mark and Sinfully Sexy Reviews for hosting me here today! xxx

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  24. Great excerpt and review!!! I haven't read either book yet but I will definitely add them to my TBR!!

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  25. I'm fast getting into the m/m genre, largely due to ur reviews Mark. Thanks for another great recommendation. Happy new year!

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  26. Can't wait to start these books!

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  27. I haven't read the series but it does sound interesting and I've put them on my TBR list. Thank you for the review and excerpt =)

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  28. I love finding all of these (new to me) authors!

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  29. Really excited to get these and read them. New series~ Yay! xD heh.. enjoyed the excerpt. thank you for the giveaway!! <3

    Judi P
    arella3173_loveless@yahoo(dot)com

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  30. Love Harper Fox, but somehow I've missed this series! Lee and Gideon, here I come.

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  31. Just wanted to agree with all the others who have enjoyed these two books---I'm hoping for many more stories about these fellows!

    And to get yourself into the mood when reading, it always helps to be able to accurately visualise the setting. So if you're not from the area, do a quick Google search and get a feel for it---here's a good start:

    And here the author talks a little about the two Tyack and Frayne mystery stories, and what inspired them:

    https://www.google.com/search?q=bodmin+moor+stones&rlz=1C1ASAA_enUS511US511&espv=210&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=QfWfUsnkMs-xsATstYDgBg&ved=0CDEQsAQ

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  32. Whoops, sorry---somehow an extra line got into the above comment before the google picture link---don't know how I messed that up, and I can't seem to edit the post!

    At any rate---it's certainly a very picturesque area, and more than a little eerie, judging from the photos...

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  33. A very happy New Year to all the people who posted here since I last popped in. Thanks so much for your interest in my work and I hope you'll enjoy Tyack and Frayne if you come to read the books. Also, thanks to all those of you who entered the competition - a staggering number for a shy, quiet LiveJournal blogger like me! It's really touching to see so much interest. Thanks again to Mark and Sinfully Sexy for hosting me here.

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  34. I can easily see how Bodmin Moor could fire up the imagination.

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  35. This sounds like a really great series. I love paranormal mysteries and when combined with the romance, these books sound like a great read for a rainy/snowy weekend!

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