Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Relief Valve (The Plumber’s Mate #2) by JL Merrow ~ Guest Post, Release Day Review and Giveaway

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This book has just rocked my socks! WOW - LOVED IT!!!!

We have JL Merrow with us today in the house talking about impure thoughts. But nobody has ever had those now, or have they?

A Word From the Author

Impure Thoughts... in holy places!

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Hi, I’m JL Merrow, and I’m thrilled to be here today as part of the Relief Valve blog tour.

I’ve blogged before about how some places, when you visit them, just yell, “Set a story here!” It happened with the Forbidden Planet bookstore, and It’s All Geek to Me; it happened with Iceland and Fall Hard.

But I wasn’t expecting to get ideas for murder when I visited a church.

The church in question is in Beverley, in the North of England. As Tom says about the fictional St Leonards,

“(it) was one of those places that must have been pretty important when the cathedral was built around eight hundred years ago, or else they wouldn’t have bothered, but to say it had fallen into a bit of a decline since then was like saying the Russian government was just a little bit anti-gay. It was a nice enough market town, but sleepy.”

Which is a bit unfair when applied to Beverley—in 2007 it was apparently judged the best place to live in the UK by a Royal Bank of Scotland survey—but there’s no denying the town is no longer as vital and prosperous as it was in the Middle Ages, at the height of the wool trade.

clip_image006But back to the church—Beverley Minster. Before the Reformation (and the invention of package holidays to the sun, which came along just a little later) it was an important stop on the well-travelled pilgrim’s tour, and it’s actually bigger and grander than many cathedrals. Modern visitors can tour the roof, which houses the largest surviving treadwheel crane in England, or as Tom puts it:

“a man-sized, wooden hamster wheel”

Unlike the instruments of punishment Oscar Wilde endured in Reading Gaol, this treadwheel was used, in medieval times, to raise building supplies through a hole in the minster ceiling. Or, from the point of view of anyone actually up in the roof, a flippin’ great hole in the floor.

With a dizzyingly long drop onto unforgiving tiles below.

Better watch your step, Tom.…….

Question: Have you ever had inappropriate thoughts in a place of worship? Winking smile

 

Pipes

 

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Title: Relief Valve

Author: JL Merrow

Publisher: Samhain

Released: 25th March 2014

Genre: M/M (murder/mystery)

Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis

"If you dig up the past, be prepared to get dirty."

It hasn't been all smooth sailing since plumber Tom Paretski and P.I. Phil Morrison became connected at the heart, if not always at Tom's dodgy hip. Neither of their families has been shy about voicing their disapproval, which hasn't helped Tom's uneasy relationship with his prickly older sister, Cherry.

But when Cherry is poisoned at her own engagement party, the horror of her near death has Tom's head spinning with possible culprits. Is it her fiance Gregory, a cathedral canon with an unfortunate manner and an alarming taste for taxidermy? Someone from her old writers' circle, which she left after a row? Or could the attack be connected to her work as a barrister?

Phil is just as desperate to solve the case before someone ends up dead-and he fears it could be Tom. At least one of their suspects has a dark secret to hide, which makes Tom's sixth sense for finding things like a target painted on his back..

Warning: Contains a strong, silent, macho PI; a cheeky, chirpy, cat-owning plumber; and a gag gift from beyond the grave that'll put the cat firmly among the pigeons.

 

Mark’s Review

This book has just rocked my socks! WOW - LOVED IT!!!! Tom Paretski has just become one of my all time favourite characters. Once again he gets involved in solving an attempted murder on his sister and lands himself in situations that had me on the edge of my seat, but also had me laughing out loud just reading about the characters and their antics.

His elder sister, who he hasn't had much contact with over the last few years, contacts him and arranges to meet him for tea. His sister is a barrister, very conservative and straight laced. She informs him that their Aunt Lol has died, however in her will she leaves the advice that she has hidden something for him in the house and he should use his talent for finding things to discover it. Maybe a last little game from his Aunt? But she always believed in his power and his sister has been named executor of her will. What he finds there changes his whole look on life.

While they are out his sister informs him that she is seeing someone and even more surprising he is a vicar. Well, I just loved this whole conversation between the two of them. JL writes the most engaging dialogues and the fact that this is written in first person from Tom's point of view let's you read his thoughts, which are absolutely hilarious at times. As a good friend of mine says, Mandy, on Goodreads writes in her review, "Tom's head is the best place to be." I couldn't agree more! That's exactly the whole charm of these books is getting in Tom's head and you soon realise this is one great guy, with a great look on life and heart of gold.

Cherry ate polite for breakfast. “We didn’t see you at Mum and Dad’s for Christmas. Again.” It sounded like her court voice.

And I put it to you, m’lud, that the defendant wilfully and culpably spurned his mother’s roast turkey and all the trimmings (cries of horror from the gallery)

Anyway, the evening comes to meet Gregory the vicar, his future brother-in-law and brings Phil with him. Upon arriving at the house…….

I pushed the antique doorbell, one of those fancy Victorian ones with “Press” written on it in fancy font, presumably for the benefit of those who couldn’t work it out without instructions. It jangled sonorously.

“They don’t make ‘em like that anymore, do they?” Phil muttered as we shuffled our feet on the Old Dean’s doorstep.

“Yeah, they do. You can get them online. There’s this site: Snobs’ Knobs and Posh Knockers, it’s called.”

“oh yeah? I’ve never been that into knockers, personally. Knobs, on the other hand….” Phil smirked.

This vicar is quite progressive for the church and has no problem with gay people. Well, Gregory also has a rather unusual hobby for a vicar and once again the evening they spend together at Gregory’s with his sister had me snorting on the sofa with laughter. Seriously, JL can really write the funniest situations in a superb way. You get Tom's angle on everything and left me splitting my sides with laughter. It takes a lot before a book makes me laugh out loud, but this one did it on several occasions. The humour is never trivial or banal, but very British and set within a more serious situation just makes it absolutely hilarious. The evening is a success and then Phil and Tom are invited to a party arranged by Greg and his sister so all the family and friends can meet each other.

On the evening of the party Richard, Tom's older brother, and his wife are also there. Richard is successful doctor and is wife a little stuck up to say the least. So Tom has a barrister for a sister and a doctor for a brother.......and then there is Tom, a plumber? You could possibly ask yourself what went wrong? Tom always has an excuse why he didn't turn out so educated and successful, but what I like is that fact he is never ashamed of his job. This is so correct, he loves his job, earns an honest dollar and now he has Phil at his side everything is perfect. Until his sister collapses at the party after having a drink. Richard rushes to the rescue and she is rushed off to hospital where they save her life and find out later that what she drank had been poisoned. Now the perpetrator has to be found.

This leads to a great murder-mystery with twists and turns and a great plot. I really liked the way that at the beginning you feel anyone could be the suspect and bit by bit the perpetrator is revealed. Again another great build up and climax to the story. There was at least for me no guessing the murderer too early and JL leads to another great final showdown. Apart from the main murder / mystery plot there are also several sub-plots. The shenanigans with Gary and Darren his friends. The family drama, etc. All brilliantly woven into each other to make for the most entertaining book I have read in a while.

This book's strength also lies in the vibrancy of its characters, the dialogues and the plot. Phil and Tom start to become more involved with each other and you really feel the process of them falling in love until the fact is undeniable. Phil is really protective of Tom but only out of his concern for him becoming involved in situations that puts his life in danger which Tom seems to have a talent of doing. I also like the secondary characters, Tom's best friend Gary who is a complete drama queen but lovable all the same. A great sub-plot if you will, letting you know that Tom is still dealing with everyday life and its trials while in the middle of being involved in an attempts murder on his sister. The characters just leap off the page at you. The very traditional British feel is still there as with the first book, with continuous tea drinking, customs and traditions.

I have loved both books! Tom is now one of my fav all time characters and I really hope that there will be more adventures to come. After all, where Tom is, murder is only around the corner.

 

Pipes

 

About The Author

JL Merrow is that rare beast, an English person who refuses to drink tea. She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy.

She is a member of the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

Contact The Author

gnome_go_home64     goodreads53     facebook33     twitter34

Purchase Links

samhain55     Photo29.10.1322261734     Photo29.10.1322262634

Also by Jl Merrow

 

Pipes

Giveaway

I’m offering a free signed paperback copy of the 2013 Rainbow Award winning romantic comedy Slam!

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(I’m happy to ship internationally) to a randomly chosen commenter on the tour,  plus a $10 Amazon gift certificate!

Don’t forget the question at the end of my post. Winking smile

I’ll be making the draw around teatime on Monday 7th April, GMT on my website.

Good luck! :D

Blog Tour Dates

Tues 25th March: Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews: Impure Thoughts
Weds 26th March: Cup o’Porn Wednesday Whine & Wine: What’s your poison?
Thurs 27th March: Joyfully Jay: More tea, vicar?
Fri 28th March: Cup o’Porn: Giveaway post
Tues 1st April: The Novel Approach: Ever Decreasing Circles
Weds 2nd April: Top 2 Bottom: Inns and Outs of British Law
Thurs 3rd April: Elisa Rolle: Excerpt
Fri 4th April: RJ Scott: Pets in fiction

95 comments:

  1. Actually I have had. All Romanesque churches and cathedrals give out that gloomy and dark athmosphere...Whenever I am inside one of them, my mind gets full of gothic tales of doomed knights, evil machinations and dark magic...

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    1. Heh, I know what you mean. The church I went to growing up was a modern-built Baptist, very plain on the decor: I was totally freaked out the first time I visited a place of worship that used skulls as a decorative motif! I guess the intention was deliberate on the part of those medieval cathedral designers - concentrate the mind on hell and damnation! ;)

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  2. I have never had an inappropriate thought in a place of worship (that I can recall) - but then, I haven't been in many places in my adult life that qualify.

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    1. Well, staying away is one way of avoiding temptation! ;D
      Thanks for commenting!

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  3. The type of inappropriate thoughts I usually have is about the hypocrisy of some of the people in places of worship.

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    1. I'm not sure I agree with you there, Jen. I think maybe those are entirely APPROPRIATE thoughts to have in a place of worship, and it would be a good thing if more people had them! ;)

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    2. I know exactly what you mean. I really do. And you are most definitely right!

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  4. Yes I have had inappropriate thoughts voiced them to my cohort of inappropriate thoughts then proceeded to carry them out. I felt God laughing the whole time. Yes! God has a sense of humor just look at the platypus.

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    1. LOL! Yes, I wonder if the platypus is what inspired Douglas Adams' idea of the Babel Fish as an argument for the (non) existence of God?

      The argument goes something like this: "I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
      "But," says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
      "Oh dear," says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
      "Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets killed on the next zebra crossing. - Douglas Adams, HHGG

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    2. Even God needs to lighten up the mood every once in awhile. The giraffe is another great example. :)

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    3. There ain't no such animal... ;)

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  5. Great review, I agree Tom is one of the best characters around, I love his inner musings and observations. This outing sounds exciting, can't wait to read!
    As for "inappropriate thoughts"...I plead the 5th........

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    1. Heh, I won't press you, then! Glad you've enjoyed reading about Tom! :D

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  6. I'm sure I've had inappropriate thoughts in such places. Thanks for the great post and review. I'm really looking forward to this book!

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    1. Thanks, Antonia - hope you enjoy it! :D

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  8. I loooove the verbal (?) humor of JL Merrow - and the englishness of it. This is a must read :D

    About the inappropriate thoughts in holy places - I pretty much grew up in churches, so - no. After the teen years I haven't spent enough time in them to get to that level of boredom. But now you have me wondering just WHAT they get up to...! (the characters, I mean!)

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    1. Thanks, Nenei! And I'm sorry - no spoilers! ;D

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  9. Yes I have had inappropriate thoughts in places like that and try to keep them to myself but sometimes it doesnt work out that way..lol

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  10. I haven't because I don't go to church but if I did I probably would because I have a dirty mind ;)

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  11. I have never had an inappropriate thought in a place of worship. Of course that's hard to do when you usually aren't in or around them.

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    1. You can give yourself a virtuous pat on the back anyway! ;)

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  12. One of my mom's favorite stories from when I was a little girl is about when we were in church and the pastor was offering a prayer that was going on and on and on.... being the outspoken little thing that I was (and still am I guess!) I had finally had enough and piped up with this comment. "Say AMEN!!"

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    1. LOL! Oh, that's priceless. I bet you were just voicing what everyone else was thinking! ;D

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  13. I have only been to church a handful of times so no I have not. But I agree with Juli Hall. I have a dirty mind and I love me some Angels so hmmmm the things I could come up with.
    leighannecrisp at yahoo dot com

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    1. Heh, I've always been partial to naughty little devils myself! ;)

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  14. No, the only time I go to a place like that are for wedding and funeral and l try to avoid those too!

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    1. Oh, I love a good wedding, me. Probably due to my love affair with hats. Not so struck on funerals, though.

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  15. No great cathedral types where I'm at in America. But, I did go to a Pentacostal revival once. I thought about faking a "Tongues" event, and then running from the building. They were scary.

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    1. Poor you - all that Gothic architecture you're missing out on! I'd have to admit I'm more comfortable with the High Church sort of service than with the more charismatic end, too, although I've been to all sorts of services (tip: generally, the higher the church, the shorter the sermon!) ;)

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  16. I attended Catholic school for nine years. Draw your own conclusions... [whistles]

    Trix, vitajex(At)aol(Dot)com

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    1. Heh, I've heard all about ex Catholic schoolgirls! ;D

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  17. I haven't had inappropriate thoughts in churches. I've visited Lincoln Cathedral and other large churches and all I really think is the money spent on making the churches look so ornate would have been better spent on helping the poor and the needy.

    ShirleyAnn@speakman40.freeserve.co.uk

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    1. I know what you mean - after all, when those cathedrals were constructed, many people were desperately poor. Although I suppose they did provide work for stonemasons and the like... But yes, all the gold chalices and candlesticks and the like, lovely as they may be, really weren't necessary to worship God.

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  18. Well, I might if we had churches here in the US that looked like these. Instead, they look like weird houses, so my inappropriate thoughts have been along the lines of "GAWD, how long must this sermon go on?" and "Why did she wear that GAWD awful hat?"
    This book looks great...now I have to research what the first one of the series is. I've read "It's all Geek to me" and "Pressure Head" is on my kindle waiting to be read.

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    1. Yes, we're spoilt for ornate cathedrals here in the UK. Although of course they're nothing, particularly in the interior, compared to the gorgeously painted churches in Catholic Europe. The first time I walked into a church in Austria I was amazed that a church could be so bright inside - I was much more used to the gloomy grey stone of English church interiors.
      Hope you'll enjoy Pressure Head! :D

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  19. I am sure that I probably did have inappropriate thoughts when I was a teenager and went to church with a lot of guys I thought were hot ��
    June
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

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    1. I feel short-changed. I can't remember ANY hot guys in the church I went to when I was a teenager!
      Hmm. Maybe it wasn't the church-going sort I was after in those days! ;)

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  20. All.The.Time. Church, work, wherever. Hehe, thanks for the giveaway!!! <3

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    1. Well, it's good to be consistent! ;)
      And you're welcome!

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  21. I went to Catholic school for 5 years so that equals going to mass 5 days a week for 5 years !! I may have had a few inappropriate thoughts during a few of those masses ;) Thanks for the giveaway ! I can't wait to read this.

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    1. 5 days a week... you deserve some kind of endurance medal! ;)
      Surely nobody could avoid at least the odd inappropriate thought, spending that amount of time in church!
      And thank you! I hope you enjoy the book. :)

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  22. yes I have...no I've never acted on them :P

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    1. Heh, I'm relieved to hear that, Lee! ;D

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  23. Guilty-- esp when I bring my kindle while the kids are in class

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    1. Lisa, I'm sure you were only reading improving books. ;)

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  24. I most definitely have had those kinds of thoughts, lol.

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Heh, it looks like you're not alone! ;)

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  25. In a moment of boredom I discovered that when kneeling you can use your clasped hands to make a phallic shadow puppet on the pew in front of you. Even worse I shared the discovery with my teenage son - yes I was that old when I did it.
    I really liked Pressure Head and can't wait to read Relief Valve.

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    1. *dies* You are a disgrace. I love it!
      And yes, I've just spent the last 5 minutes trying to replicate the effect! I think I need diagrams... ;P

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  26. Maybe it's my contrary nature, but I can't imagine going into a holy place without my mind wandering to the profane. Of course, when I read those true stories of what some people have gotten up to in them, I can say they are in a whole different league than I. I'm all thoughts, no action, but I wish I could have a great story like Carly Rose. That's just too funny! Thanks for sharing with us, JL.

    caroaz [at] ymail [dot] com

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    1. Mmm, I must admit when people tell me not to do something, it does rather increase my urge to go ahead and do it! And yes, Carly Rose's story is fantastic! I hope her vicar took it as a Sign! ;)

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  27. It's been awhile since I have actually set foot in a place of worship but I know I have zoned out on occasion. Whether or not they thoughts were inappropriate would depend on the thoughts-sexy or revenge--!!

    sschairer(at)yahoo(dot)ca

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    1. Heh, now I'm wondering which thoughts you consider APPROPRIATE! After all, if "vengeance is mine, saith the Lord," where does that leave your sexy musings? ;)

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  28. I have had inappropriate thoughts everywhere, including places of worship ;). Sometimes I just don't think with the right head I guess!

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    1. LOL! Your head sounds just fine to me. ;)

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  29. Does snogging in the back seat of a church van (while on a trip with my youth group) count? >.<

    Kassandra
    sionedkla@gmail.com

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    1. All together now: "You'll never get to heaven..." ;D

      Ah, happy memories of Sunday School trips making up (regrettably innocent) verses to that song!

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  30. I loved your Slam! and this title is on my wish list.
    The only "inappropriate" thoughts I can remember involved warm hands during a Mardi gras pancake supper.

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    1. I won't ask where you wanted those warm hands to be! ;P

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  31. Thanks for the giveaway! I tend to avoid places of worship and my inappropriate thoughts tend to center on escape :-)

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    1. Yes, that can be a problem!
      And you're welcome! :)

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  32. I've never actually been in a place of worship so the answer would be no on this. But I'm sure I had inappropriate thoughts in other places when I should have been paying attention.

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    1. Never? *boggles* Achieving that would take a very determined effort around here - RE is compulsory in schools, so kids get trips to various religious establishments, not to mention all the hatch-match-dispatch stuff.
      But oh, yes - churches don't have a monopoly on boring sermons. I remember some very tedious meetings/training sessions when I was an office worker.

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  33. Um, yes...I have had inappropriate thoughts in church. As a teen, we went all the time and my family sat behind the family of the guy I was crushing on at the time who also happened to be the boy next door. Couldn't tell you what the sermons were about, but I do recall well that my guy looked great in a pair of dress pants and I loved the way his hair curled on his neck.

    Love JL Merrow's books particularly Pressure Head so I'm stoked about the sequel. Enjoyed the post and Mark's review. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

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    1. Aw! No teenager could be expected to take in a sermon in the face of such temptation!

      And thank you! :D

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  34. I rarely enter places of worship however, on those RARE occasions, my husband has been with me and around him I ALWAYS have inappropriate thoughts ;)

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    1. Go you for keeping the magic alive! :D

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  35. No, I've never had naughty thoughts while in a church/place of worship. I only live through erotic fantasies if a character in a book/manga/movie etc. has them.

    blackasphodel(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Ooh, nice handle. :)
      Of course, inappropriate thoughts don't HAVE to be erotic. After all, I was there devising possible murder methods! ;)

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  36. Does wanting to strip my husband and do him on the dais during our wedding vows count as inappropriate thoughts?? We were in church :)

    jasdarts at hotmail.com

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    1. Hmm... As long as you wait until AFTER the vows, I'm sure that would be fine. ;P

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  37. We all have inappropriate thoughts at some time or the other.

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  38. Oh, I've definitely had inappropriate thoughts in a house of worship - luckily, I wasn't worshiping at the time!

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    1. Heh, it's probably hard to do both at once with any kind of sincerity! ;)

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  39. Well I'm a Mormon girl who reads erotic romance novels and M/M books, so yeah I'm gonna say that I more than likely have inappropriate thoughts in a house of worship. But hey not everyone is perfect. ;)

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    1. *g* Perfection is so boring, I always think! ;D

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  40. Not often there-- but can't say I have!

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    1. Give yourself a pat on the back for your untarnished halo! ;)

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  41. Only during my own wedding ceremony. The soon to be Mister gave me such a look. Nothing Holy about it at all.

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    1. Definitely extenuating circumstances there! ;D

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  42. Does being oddly fascinated about what nuns really get up to in thier spare time count?

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    1. Absolutely. And I think we should be told. ;D

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  43. Yes, I have.

    sgibby1642@yahoo.com

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  44. No, I haven't

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. You are a pillar of virtue, and an example to us all. ;)

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  45. Oh yes, specially when I see a classmate :P mevalem258ATgmailDOTcom

    ReplyDelete
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