Anita's Haven

books, thoughts, stories, poetry, interviews, writing

The Rhythm of Words

The rhythm of words has always fascinated me.

#free #poetry #ebook 

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Who is SHE? – Lisa Veldkamp

During May I will be doing several interviews with female authors in a series entitled ‘Who is SHE?’ It will not be a feminist rant, nor do I plan to nag about women’s oppression – in fact, I am planning a similar series with some male authors, too. But ladies first. It has been such a pleasure to meet so many creative talents and fighters in the writing world that I wish everyone could appreciate these ladies’ relentless pursuit of their dreams, whilst balancing the life of the ‘ordinary’ miracles such as family and jobs.

Seeing as my guests are all quite creative, I do not want to limit them with typical questions but try something different. My guests will be asked to say what certain words mean to them, and they will not limit their replies to books, but also write about themselves, the world today, even family and friends, to sort of give us the feel of them as people and artists as well.

At the end of each ‘interview’, the readers will be surpised by the latest news from my author guests – their new release announcements, sneak peeks and even glimpses into their work in progress.

My first guest is author LISA VELDKAMP and today of all days is the release of her new novel The Empath. All the best with the book, Lisa, and thank you so much for sparing some time to drop by. Here is what Lisa had to say about her challenge words…


Funny you should start with this one. For it was a dream that made me write The Fire Trilogy. It was after I saw Placebo in concert. They were headlining Pinkpop in 2009 and while they we’re playing ‘Come Undone’, I was taken to another world. The world of Catherine and Tristan. When I was home again, I dreamed the entire outline of the trilogy in two nights in a row. It literally picked up again where it ended the following night. One of the weirdest things that ever happened to me. I took it as a sign from the universe and decided to start writing.


I’m certainly no stranger to stress. I used to have a very stressful job and eventually decided to turn my life around. It was scary, both financially and emotionally, but it was the best decision I ever made. My life is so much healthier now and I’m grateful I had the chance to be able to this this. Is my life stress-free? No, I don’t think that’s possible, not for someone like me. However, I know how to deal with stress now and I recognize the signs, so I can act accordingly. Playing my harp is really soothing. It helps me to unwind.


Well, on this particular day, release means the release of the second installment of The Fire Trilogy. My book, The Empath, is available in stores today. Very exciting. Tonight I will do a book signing in my local bookstore, which I’m really looking forward to. Other than that, release -for me – is mostly about letting go of control. I still find that….. challenging. I’m kind of a control freak. 


First thing that comes to mind are my family, partner and friends. I have a great inner circle I can always count on. I feel really blessed in that way. Very fortunate to still have both my parents, who are my great example of a happy marriage. 

Support also comes from my favourite coffeehouse, Barista Café. I do my writing there and they’ve supported me and my writing from the beginning. Love those people!


I have many people who inspire me and I consider a model/role-model. While I was growing up, I always saw the shows of Youp van ‘t Hek. He’s a stand-up comedian from Holland. I still go to every new show, by the way. He always makes me think about life and the universe. Yes, he’s funny, but most of all, he’s critical and sheds a painful light on what’s wrong with our society. He makes me cry, he makes me laugh, he makes me think. Yes, he’s been a real model to me.


Haha, when I hear the word issue, I think about my work as an editor for our Dutch harp magazine. We’re always busy with the latest issue. Do we have enough interviews, sheet-music, reviews and what not? We have a great team, though. I love to be a part of this process. And it takes my mind off my own writing.


This great journey called life, I suppose. People tend to focus on a destination so often, they forget to live in the now. Living in the moment has become more important to me over the years. To really enjoy the now and be content with the present. You can’t change the past (unless you have a time-turner) and though it’s good to plan ahead, you can’t control the future either. So why not focus on the here and now? 


This is a tough one for me. I do not really concern myself with my own relevance. I’ll always be relevant to myself and those who care about me. Like they are relevant to me. Politicians are always concerned with their relevance. If they seize to be relevant, they might be out of a job. Which is why I could never be in politics. Relevance shouldn’t be about societies’ rules or pressure. To me, it’s a more personal word.


So many things bring me joy. Spending time with loved ones, music (especially Placebo and playing my harp), writing, riding horses, nature, healing. But also very mundane things like watching movies or tv series bring me great joy.


Well, besides the name of your blog, haven means my home. My safe haven. The place where I can always be myself, feel protected and loved. I love spending time at our own place. I’m a big believer in putting as much love in your house as you possibly can. It will give it back to you, really. Trust me on this one. It will work and your home will be the better for it.

And to finish this unusual ‘interview’, here is a wonderful piece of news from Lisa – her completely new release THE EMPATH – out now!

The Empath is the second installment of The Fire Trilogy and is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or you local bookstore. 

UK link 

US link link 


Battersea Park Station. Home of the company. The kind we all need, but nobody likes to talk about. Tristan Visconti works for the company and his clearance level has just been upgraded. Why? Simple, because he and his team have exactly one week to save our planet from impending doom.

When Tristan arrives in London, he needs to convince his client, Catherine van Dyk, of her own powers to help save our world. Problem is, Tristan believes he is on a suicide mission and so does his team. His former lover, Eve, is behaving out of character and then there is Alan, Catherine’s ex. Like Tristan, Alan’s an empath, but he’s also a master of death and the company can’t locate his whereabouts.

As Tristan, Catherine, Alan and Eve take center stage, the company is fulfilling its own agenda. Question is, are they working to save the world or to help destroy it?

Booktrailer The Empath

Lisa Veldkamp 

Thank you, Lisa! Have a phenomenal release!


Work in progress

‘He’d better get used to nightmares soon,’ she thought, ‘because he’s living in one.’

#quote from current #wip #amwriting

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Believe it or not, I can never have enough advice on writing (and living, for that matter;). As always, it is wonderful to get advice from someone kind-hearted, experienced, honest and professional, and if you are lucky to be friends with such a person – all the better. 

Today I am so pleased to welcome award-winning multigenre author, a hard-working and optimistic mother, and an admirable human being Traci M. Sanders. You may have read my reviews of her books here already (children’s, romance, non-fiction). She is here today to promote her amazing series of non-fiction books and shed some light on writing children’s books. Since I myself write children’s books, I plan to follow her advice as best I can.


Traci Sanders is a multi-genre, multi-award-winning author of ten published titles, with contributions to three anthologies. An avid blogger and supporter of Indie authors, she writes parenting, children’s, romance, and nonfiction guides. Her ultimate goal is to provide great stories and quality content for dedicated readers, whether through her own writing or editing works by other authors.


TIP 237: Know your audience – part 1 – children’s books and middle-grade fiction

The following tip can be found in Beyond The Book: Tips on publishing, marketing, and networking to build your brand, available now in digital and paperback format.

Before writing a book of any genre, it’s important to know your audience—know their likes and dislikes as far as characters and plots, and know their attention spans.

Middle-grade books would obviously not be as short as picture books, but not as long as traditional novels either. As well, some adult readers might feel cheated by a novella-length romance book.

Here are a few guidelines for children’s books and middle-grade fiction:

Children’s picture books:

  • Animals are always favorite character types for kids this age.
  • A typical picture book is 32 pages, and around 24 illustrations, 500-600 words, no more than 1000, 1-2 single-spaced ms pages.
  • Young children respond to faces, especially faces of children their age.
  • The words should be challenging enough not to bore the adult who may be reading it to the child, but not overly sophisticated that the early reader can’t read it alone.
  • Avoid preaching or lecturing, to parents or kids. A subtle lesson on friendship, sharing, or the like is acceptable, if done tastefully.
  • Make sure the book has an actual plot, not just words thrown together haphazardly, even if they rhyme. It has to make sense to be memorable.
  • Use child-friendly artwork.
  • Bad guys never win, if any bad guys even exist in these books.

Early readers – first chapter books for kids:

  • Target age is 4-8 years old.
  • May or may not have real chapter breaks, could just be small images or large words that separate the sections.
  • Typically, no more than 1,500 words, 3 or 4 single-spaced ms pages.
  • Font size is smaller than that of picture books, and the verbiage is a bit more challenging to encourage early reading skills.
  • Very few images, but the ones present may be black and white rather than color.
  • Reads much like a 30-minute television show. The conflict is simple and is solved fairly quickly.

Children’s Chapter Books:

  • Target age group is 6/7 to 9/10 years old.
  • Even more so than in picture books, don’t be preachy. Kids this age hate that.
  • Between 5,000 and 15,000 words, between 30-40 single-spaced ms pages.
  • Very few pictures, if any. If they are funny or sketched images, (cartoonish), they may work.
  • Doesn’t use adult language, sexually-oriented words, or overly sophisticated verbiage.
  • Fantasy, comedy, and mysteries tend to be big sellers in this age group.
  • The story doesn’t “talk down” to kids this age. Nothing cutesy.

Middle-grade fiction books:

  • Target age group is 8-12 (often called tweens).
  • No pictures needed, except for cover art, of course.
  • Middle-grade fiction can be anywhere between 20,000 and 35,000 words, some even up to 50,000 (for advanced readers), around 40-60 single-spaced ms pages.
  • Contain some teen-ish content/language. Perhaps a slang word or two, but no profanity or sexual situations.
  • The kids run most of the show in these books, solve their own problems, with very little help or interference from adults.
  • Real-life issues are popular in this genre – boy/girl interactions (typically not sex, though), coming-of-age problems (pimples, menstrual cycles, betrayal by best friends, peer pressure, etc.,).
  • Kids learn life is not always pretty – child abuse, divorced parents, death of loved ones, during this stage of life.
  • Relatable characters and lots of action.

Certain guidelines must be followed if you are writing for traditional publishers, but even if you are self-publishing, it’s a good idea to stay within the realm of themes, page count, and structure.

Traci Sanders
Award-winning author of parenting, children’s, and romance titles
~Reviews keep authors writing~

Thank you so much for sharing this advice, Traci. I will make sure I check it before publishing another kidlit! 

And FYI, dear readers, here are some of Traci’s other books, just to show you where her vast experience comes from. 

Her recent contributions to two interesting anthologies of short stories.

These are two contemporary romances with different settings, but a common message – love will prevail.

And finally, from Traci’s previous career days of childcare provider – parenting guides and children’s picture books.

Keep writing, Ms. Sanders!


I’ve decided to give away two prizes during this tour:

*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Before You Publish Volume I

*ONE unsigned paperback copy of Beyond The Book Volume II

To enter, all you have to do is email me a proof of purchase of a digital copy of either of these two books during the tour.
I will draw TWO winners total, at the end of the tour. Please email your proof of purchase (can be a screenshot) to


Meet Anais Chartschenko

Here is a chance to meet a new author, both of books and music – ANAIS CHARTSCHENKO! Stepping out of our comfort zone is a challenge, and this lady faces it in her unique way.


Anaïs Chartschenko hails from the Canadian wilderness. She has come to enjoy such modern things as electric tea kettles. Her published works include two collections of poetry, Bright Needles and The Whisper Collector as well as a novel in verse, The Weightless One. 

Excerpt from The Weightless One

Reasons I Have To Stay

I was signed in, 

I have no choice.

They tell me 

My heart is failing.

They tell me

When you starve 

Long enough, your body

Starts to eat your muscles.

Your heart is a muscle. It becomes

Your unwilling dinner. 

They show me charts with

Low iron, low this and low that.

They tell me I need to take this


But it doesn’t seem real.

All that is real is my sudden

Total lack of control, total

Forced surrender, it feels 

So broken it can never be


I can’t agree to any of these

Things. Not even when I 

Feel my heart forget a beat.

Not even when I’m hooked

To machines. 

Reasons I Should Get To Leave

I don’t count calories.

I don’t weigh myself.

I don’t obsess over models.

I don’t exercise.

I don’t take laxatives or


I don’t make myself

Throw up. 

I don’t care what you think.

I think for myself.

I’m not this, I still have

My period. 


Little Fish

We lay in a tight row

Like sardines, 

Wrapped tight in

Blankets and thick

Fuzzy pajamas

Getting our blood 

Pressure checked

Lay down, and close

My eyes to the other

Girls’ gossip, they

Try to include me,

But I have nothing

To say in the morning

This is a strange torment,

Laying so close to the others

Trapped between laughter

And the talk of having to

Drink ensures or not,

Of having to go to an

Increased nutrition plan,

Of family therapy sessions

Coming at the end of the 


Kara began

Pulling out 

Her hair


Bundles of 

Blonde lay 

On the floor,

Her lion mane

Alopecia found

“I’m sick of

 The lies!”  She

Twisted her

Face up her

Hands knotted

In hair

“Where did this

Come from?

I didn’t grow it!”

We watched 

In horror

We watched

Unable to

Look away

From her


Underneath she

Was so small

Like a fragile glass


Her features too

Large for her head

Her hair was only

A few inches long

Thin dirty dishwater

Blonde strands like

Weeds dried out 

In the sun

She smiled

She laughed

She burrowed

Her face in 

Borrowed hair




The Weightless One

The Whisper Collector

Bright Needles


Howling at the Moon: Live from my Living Room


Social Media Links

Youtube     Facebook     Twitter      Website

Goodreads       Instagram      Amazon Page

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Thought I’d share a bit of poetry with you. The ebook is free anyway:). I hope you have nothing vs. verses or feelings. Here is a poem from Versus Verses – Feel.


My devils are obstinate,

My devils are mean.

I think I have conquered,

But here they begin.

They sneak up within me,

They gnaw and annoy,

And the more they torture,

The more they enjoy.

‘Just stop, go away,’

I chase them and plead.

Won’t let them control me

Or let them take lead.

The battle goes on,

More bitter or less.

They’ll never give up,

I’ll stay relentless.

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The Shield of Soren has arrived!

It is an outstanding pleasure to be able to host a wonderful author. D. M. Cain has a new booknout and it is everything and more than you could have hoped. THE SHIELD OF SOREN has arrived!

(All subsequent materials have kindly been provided by the author herself.)


I’m so excited to share with you the cover for my upcoming release! This next installment in The Light and Shadow Chronicles is called The Shield of Soren. Set thirty years before the events of A Chronicle of Chaos, this novel covers the story of mischievous trouble maker, ten-year-old Soren Nitaya and the events that change the way he will see the world forever.  


The Shield of Soren

Ten-year-old Soren Nitaya’s marked talent makes him the youngest soldier ever to become an apprentice to the legendary warrior, Raven Lennox. As a prince of Alcherys, he will be expected to fight in the eternal war against the Brotherhood of Shadow when he reaches sixteen.

But is the young prince up to the task when he’s more interested in causing mischief than in mastering weapons? 

When one of Soren’s adventures goes off course, he unwittingly unleashes a deadly threat. It appears that an age-old prophecy is finally coming to pass, and Soren and his family must take a perilous journey deep into their enemy’s land. Does Soren have what it takes to save his country before the Brotherhood destroys everyone and everything he loves?

The Shield of Soren EXCERPT
With a loud clang of metal slamming into metal, the final bolt was undone. Reign slowly pulled the door open, and Vincent found his breath catching in his throat. 

High-pitched whimpering came from the tiny bundle of rags cowering at the back of the cage. Her long silver hair parted for a moment and Vincent could see her wide, silver eyes, terrified and innocent. Vincent’s skin prickled with discomfort. He hoped that Reign had a damned good reason for capturing a small child like this. 

Beside the glass cage were two oil lamps, both resting unlit. Reign reached up and took one down. Then, in a single savage moment, he slammed the lamp onto the floor of her cage. The girl screamed in terror and covered her head with her hands, but he hadn’t been aiming for her. 

The shattered glass gave way to a stream of oil that spread out in a pool across the floor. This seemed to scare the girl even more, and she began to cry quietly, sobbing into her clenched hands. 

Reign looked back at Vincent. Excitement flashed in his eyes as he drew a match from a box in his pocket. A small flare of light, a flicker of sulphur and a small flame danced on top of the match. With another laugh, Reign tossed the match into the glass cage.

Vincent gasped as the oil ignited in a rush of intense heat. The entire floor of the cage burst into flames. Vincent tried to rush forwards to save the girl from a fiery death, but the heat was too intense. A hand tapped incessantly at his shoulder, and he tried to brush it away, but Reign grabbed hold of his hand.

“Look! Look!” Reign shouted excitedly, pointing at the cage. 

When his eyes fell upon the cage, Vincent froze to the spot, his eyes nearly popping from their sockets. “But…how?”

The girl, who Vincent had assumed would be burning in agony, was somehow floating above the flames, hovering at the top of her cage. From her back sprouted two enormous wings of the purest white feathers Vincent had ever seen. The two beautiful white fans could only just fit within the confines of the cage, and as she beat them to stay afloat they fanned the flames beneath her. 

It wasn’t just her wings that dazzled Vincent with their purity. Her whole body had adopted an ethereal, almost ghostly, silver aura, her hair shimmering with radiance. She didn’t seem too frightened any more, but there was a definite hint of sadness in her gentle eyes. 

Vincent studied her carefully, struggling to catch his breath, which he hadn’t realised he had been holding. “What is she?” he managed to croak. 

Reign grinned and draped an arm across Vincent’s shoulder. “She, my friend, is an angel.”


D.M. Cain is a dystopian and fantasy author working for Creativia Publishing. The Light and Shadow Chronicles series features a range of books which can be read in any order. The first of these to be written was A Chronicle of Chaos. The Shield of Soren will be released in March 2017. She is currently working on the next novel in the Light and Shadow Chronicles series, The Sins of Silas, as well as two complementary novellas entitled Genesis of Light and Origin of Shadow.

Cain has released one stand-alone novel: The Phoenix Project, a psychological thriller set in a dystopian future. The Phoenix Project was the winner of the 2016 Kindle Book Review Best Sci-Fi novel Award.

D.M. Cain is also a member of the International Thriller Writers and one of the creators and administrators of the online author group #Awethors. Her short story The End was published in Awethology Dark  an anthology by the #Awethors. 

Cain lives in Leicestershire, UK with her husband and young son, and spends her time reading, writing and reviewing books, playing RPGs and listening to symphonic metal. 


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Have you smiled today?

I thought you might enjoy this sneak peek into a funny romantic comedy I wrote.

Ocean waves gently caress the sandy shore as I remove the immaculate, semi-trasparent curtains from the wall-to-wall windows.
I hear his breathing change. His husky voice calls to me.

‘Good morning, Mrs Bronson!’

I turn around, proud and in love, my bare feet savouring the deep, fluffy white carpet. 

Oh what a heavenly man! And all mine.

He stretches like a powerful tiger across the white sheets and his naked body makes me tremble. The mischief in his eyes is irresistible! My lips quiver and my knees feel like jelly. My thumb strokes the wedding ring from the inside of my palm.

I smile, conveying to him everything he already knows and feels himself, and more. My throat goes dry as I feel myself pulled to his muscular torso like a magnet. 

He taps the bed gently. My tongue draws a wet layer over my lips. 

I can’t wait. I step forward and…


‘Thump,’ I fell from the tram seat, my face gluing itself flat on the floor, next to a set of smelly, overworn sneakers, my hands too busy clutching on to my purse instead of protecting the face.

Reality check! A major one! 

I spit the filth and drool from my mouth, and struggled to unglue my forehead from the floor.

   The chewing gum, which had been there for just enough time to get that semi-dry quality, had obviously been waiting to serve this particular purpose. I got up, mercilessly removing the gum from my skin, and it resisted my efforts, sneaking underneath my nails. Cheeky sod! Wet wipes helped, I hoped. 

I fixed my hair and adjusted my clothes, mumbling something like ‘low blood sugar’ to save face, deluded into thinking anyone in the tram cared. 

Gotta love cities – full of warm, caring people! Come to think of it, if anyone had tried to help, I might have gone to second base with them, mistaking them for my dream doctor.

#Read yourself into a #fun, #relaxing and #romantic #Sunday!

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Why authors ♡ their characters by LE Fitzpatrick

The Reacher Series by LE Fitzpatrick is a splendid mix of thriller, dystopia and paranormal. Having relished the teaser short story Safe Haven and the first book in the series, The Running Game, I am looking forward to reading the sequel, Border Lines. Delighted LE joined this February blog series with her favourite character from the Reacher novels.

Introducing James Roxton – L E Fitzpatrick

From The Reacher Series

The afternoon daylight whipped at Roxy’s eyes. His tuxedo was scarred with debauchery and torn at the sleeve. He scratched at his mop of yellow hair and scanned the bleary faces around him. Despite the hangover, the vomit stains over his trousers, and his missing socks, it had been a very profitable night. He was poor of pocket but rich with information. He fished out a packet of liquorice cigarettes and ran one under his nose. Breakfast; the most important smoke of the day.

He checked his phone as he meandered down the street, looking for an update from his beloved mother as she recovered in hospital. The burns to her arms and legs weren’t as bad as some of her girls, but broken pride was difficult to mend. She’d left him just one message, some filth about one of her doctors. Roxy sent a quick text back, telling her he was close.

[The Running Game – Book 1 Reacher Series]

James “Roxy” Roxton is the outcast of the series. He’s a character wedged between the bad and the worse, double-crossing wherever he can. When he first appears in The Running Game he’s hunting down the arsonist that targeted his mother’s club, but his search sees him running into old allies, allies he could betray for a bigger prize. A notorious gambler, Roxy can’t deny his temptation – but this time the stakes are too high.

In contrast to the other character in the series, many of which are broken and burdened, Roxy is a carefree concoction of lovable rogue and despicable villain. He’s the morning hit of caffeine after a rough night. The winning hand with an extra ace up his sleeve. And I can’t wait to show you what happens to him.






TWITTER: @l_e_fitzpatrick

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Why authors ♡ their characters – by Suzi Albracht

Suzi Albracht is an author of intriguing horror books with a flare for punishment on those who so deserve it. But today, she is showing us a romantic, loving side to her lead character. 

Why I love Mikael Ruskoff.

Mikael appears in all of my books in The Devil’s Due Collection but one book, Death Most Wicked, is his story. You meet him when he is in the best time of his life. In love with his wife, taking care of his mother, being a good role model for his son. Later on, you learn how his life darkens and evil tries to snatch his soul. This tiny look inside shows the reader that even horror books can have romance and charm in them. Let me share with you why Mikael is the kind of man who makes my heart swoon.

“Up near Annapolis. Near that gated community we drove past last year when we were out looking at Christmas lights, remember? You had remarked how you love the neighborhoods up there. This one has a hot tub, four bedrooms, five baths, and a stone fireplace in the master bedroom. Bianca told me about it. She has connections with the realtor. She said it’s not officially on the market yet.”

“That nice, huh?”

“Even nicer. But we can’t leave D.C. right now because of your job, so I told her we couldn’t consider it.”

“But you like it?” Mikael pulled her chin up so their eyes met.

“I love it.” She nibbled on her lip and lowered her eyes. Mikael stroked her hair and watched her face for a second as if he were thinking.

“Then make an appointment for us.”

Tatiana’s eyes flew open. “But we have to live in the District.”

“I’ll make it work. And if I can’t, then I’ll apply to the Annapolis Detective Division.”

Tatiana rolled on top of Mikael, causing their wine to slosh over the sides of the goblets. She rained kisses over his face. He lay back with a smile on his face. He loved making his wife happy. It was right up there with pleasing his son.

After several minutes, Tatiana rolled back over and stared at the stars with a huge grin on her face.

“Oh honey, you’re going to love it too. There’s room for your pool table and drums set and… it has a small mother-in-law apartment over the garage.”

Mikael raised his eyebrows and shook his head. “For Mom? Oh baby, you have no idea what you are getting into.”

“I like your Mom.”

“And she likes you, but having my mother that close? Mom can be over-bearing if she gets the chance.”

They both lay back, thinking of the new house.

“Mikael? I knew you bought the puppy. Your mom told me.” Tatiana giggled.

Mikael burst out laughing. “Forget what I said earlier. If my Mom moved in, I’d be the one in trouble. The two of you might gang up on me.”

“I might have already hinted something about the house to her.”

Now Mikael had a full-bellied laugh. He was laughing so hard that Tatiana fell out of the hammock.

“Hey!” She complained, looking up at him with a pouting lip.

Mikael rolled out of the hammock and pulled her to her feet.

“Let’s dance.”

“But there’s no music.”

“The music is in here.” Mikael put her hand over his heart. “Do you hear it?”

Tatiana melted into his arms and they swayed to the music in Mikael’s heart.

Buy link:

Trailer link:

Web site:

Twitter and Instagram Handles: @SuziAlbracht

Dear Suzi, thank you so much for showing us the gentle side of your character. And yes, I do get why you like him.

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