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Making Your Story Believable by Kat Martin

May 29, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts tagged as , , , , , ,

Over the years, I’ve found one of the best ways to make your story believable is to use real places to locate the action and real names of restaurants and streets. Actually going there, of course, is the best way to make that happen. 

In my new novella, COME MIDNIGHT, Breanna Winters, seated on an airliner next to a good-looking man in an expensive suit, finds herself kidnapped by Honduran terrorists.  She doesn’t expect Derek Stiles, a corporate executive, to put his life at risk by volunteering to go along when Bree is dragged from the plane and marched into the jungle.

Unfortunately, I have never been to the jungle in Honduras or any jungle for that matter, aside from a brief visit to a tropical rain forest in Brazil and a stop in Belize. 

So for this story, I didn’t go to Honduras, but I did do extensive research, and it wasn’t the first time.  Beginning with with an old historical, SAVANNAH HEAT, set in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and more recently, THE CONSPIRACY, which travels from the Caribbean to Columbia, I’ve learned a lot about life in the jungle—and it is far from easy.

In the novella, the good news is Derek Stiles is a former Navy fighter pilot with extensive survival training who has spent time in the jungle before. Still, it’s soon clear they’ll need to depend on each other if they’re going to survive.

I hope you will give COME MIDNIGHT a try and that you will look for Derek again in my full-length novel, THE PERFECT MURDER, out June 22nd, the last book in my Maximum Security Series

Till next time, all best wishes and happy reading, Kat


New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.


Excerpt

Come Midnight

Kat Martin

The sound of a baby’s high-pitched, incessant crying put his teeth on edge. Derek Stiles forced himself to relax as he settled back in his wide business class seat. The airplane engines hummed outside the window, dulling the noise a little, but the crying only grew louder.

Derek silently cursed. His trip to Colombia had already gotten off to a rocky start when a meeting in the Houston office of Garrett Resources, where he worked as VP of Mergers and Acquisitions, ran overtime and he’d missed his non-stop flight. Now he’d be landing in El Salvador, laying over a couple of hours before changing planes and continuing on to Bogota, not getting to his hotel until well after dark.

He pulled out his laptop and set it on the fold-down table in front of him. He usually worked on a flight. He always had plenty to do, but he’d been staying up late every night so he also needed some sleep. It was important to be at the top of his game first thing in the morning.

The baby’s cries grew louder and his nerves revved up. He hadn’t really noticed the woman sitting in the seat beside him until she stood up and turned toward mother and child in the row behind him. 

She jangled her car keys over the back of the seat and smiled. “Look, baby. Look at these. I bet you’d like to play with these, wouldn’t you?” The baby’s crying slowed, turned to whimpers, then sniffles, then stopped altogether. Glancing over his shoulder, Derek watched a little girl bundled in pink, maybe a year old, reach up for the car keys.

“I never thought of that,” the mother said, sounding desperate and making him feel guilty. He didn’t have kids but he could imagine how tough it would be to take a child on an international flight.

The mom, a black-haired woman in her mid-twenties, took out her own set of keys and held them up, but the baby ignored them, fascinated by the glittering heart on the end of the other keychain dangling in front of her.

“I hate to ask you this,” the mother said, “but is it all right if Sophie plays with your keys for a while?”

“Absolutely,” his seatmate said. She was pretty, he realized, with long blond hair and big blue eyes. A little above average height, slender but curvy in all the right places. “Once we’re in the air,” she continued, “if you want me to hold her, give you a little break, I’d be happy to.”

The mother’s smile held relief mixed with gratitude. “I might just take you up on that. My name is Carmen, by the way.”

“Breanna.” Her smile went even brighter and Derek felt an unexpected kick. He was usually able to leave his libido behind when he was away on business. 

“You have a darling baby,” Breanna said.

Carmen smiled. “Thank you.”

The flight attendant urged Breanna to sit back down so the flight could get underway, and the engines roared, preparing for take-off.

“So I guess you’re a mom,” Derek heard himself saying, though he made it a habit not to talk on a flight. He always had too much to do.

Breanna shifted toward him. “I’d love to have children someday, but I’m not a mother yet. I work with kids so I know a few tricks.”

“What kind of work do you do?”

“I’m with a non-profit called Shelter the Children. Abrego Los Ninos in Spanish. We support an orphanage in a little village outside San Salvador. That’s where I’m headed.”  

He smiled and held out a hand. “Derek Stiles.  I know your name is Breanna.”

“Yes. Everyone just calls me Bree.”

They were an hour out of San Salvador International Airport when Derek noticed a commotion at the rear of the cabin.

Then the curtain behind the business class section jerked open and a lean, black-haired man stood in the aisle. Derek’s blood ran cold when he noticed the assault rifle strapped across the intruder’s chest.


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COME MIDNIGHT
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Story Ideas by Kat Martin

December 17, 2020 by in category Guest Posts tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
woman using a typewriter with crumpled up paper around her and a cup of coffee next to her. Title of the post Story Ideas and author Kat Martin are place over the image.

People often ask how I come up with ideas for my novels.  Sometimes I have no answer—it just seems to pop into my head.  Best guess, the kernel of an idea probably came from a newspaper or magazine article or something I saw in a movie.  It was probably just so far back I don’t recall.

Before I started to write THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL, Brandon Garrett’s story, the third book in my Maximum Security Series, I had decided to set a book in Colorado, maybe even a new series.  I ran across an article about the Army Chemical Weapons Depot near Fort Carson and started thinking…  wouldn’t it make be interesting if someone stole chemical weapons from the depot?  I wonder if it could be done?  How would the good guys catch the thieves?  And so off I went on a story that turned into The Ultimate Betrayal

Having written over 70 novels since I began way back when, it’s harder and harder to come up with fresh ideas.  I do a lot of research for my books.  This novel, set around a military base, was particularly difficult.  Lots of stuff I didn’t know.

In the story, when investigative journalist Jessie Kegan’s father, a colonel in the army, is accused of treason, Jessie is determined to clear his name.  Reluctantly, she turns to former Special Ops soldier, Brandon Garrett, her late brother’s best friend–a true heartbreaker, according to her brother. 

With danger coming from every angle, time is running out and the game being played is deadly.  Working together, Bran and Jessie must risk everything to solve the riddle and confront the threat–before it’s too late.

I hope you’ll give THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL a try and if you like Bran and Jessie as much as I did, you can also find them in THE CONSPIRACY, Maximum Security book #1 and THE DECEPTION, book #2.

Till next time, happy reading and all best, Kat 


THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

Kat Martin

When investigative journalist Jessie Kegan’s father, a colonel in the army, is accused of treason, Jessie is determined to clear his name.  Reluctantly, she turns to former Special Ops soldier, Brandon Garrett, her late brother’s best friend—a true heartbreaker, according to her brother.

With danger coming from every angle, time is running out and the game being played is deadly.  Working together, Bran and Jessie must risk everything to solve the riddle and confront the threat—before it’s too late.

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Kat Martin Bio

Bestselling author Kat Martin, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, currently resides in Missoula, Montana with Western-author husband, L. J. Martin.  More than seventeen million copies of Kat’s books are in print, and she has been published in twenty foreign countries.  Fifteen of her recent novels have taken top-ten spots on the New York Times Bestseller List, and her novel, BEYOND REASON, was recently optioned for a feature film.  Kat’s latest novel, THE ULTIMATE  BETRAYAL, a Romantic Thriller, will be released in paperback December 29th.


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The Deception by Kat Martin

August 8, 2019 by in category Guest Posts tagged as , , , , , ,

Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange
Photo by Juan Carlo, Ventura Country Star

New York Times bestselling author Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. Currently residing in Missoula, Montana with her Western-author husband, L. J. Martin, Kat has written sixty-five Historical and Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels. More than sixteen million copies of her books are in print and she has been published in twenty foreign countries. Kat is currently at work on her next Romantic Suspense.


As I was finishing the last few pages of upcoming novel, THE DECEPTION, Hawk Maddox and Kate Gallagher’s story, I got an interesting phone call. I’m fortunate to be represented by a literary agency in New York as well as an agency in Hollywood.

Beyond Reason | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange


Since I love movies, I’ve always wanted to see one of my books made into a feature film. The Hollywood agency phoned about my novel BEYOND REASON. The story is set in Texas, an action adventure that revolves around the rivalry between Carly Drake, who inherits her grandfather’s failing trucking firm, and powerful, multimillionaire Lincoln Cain, her number one competitor.


Worse yet, Carly needs Linc’s help to find the men who are willing to kill to keep her from making Drake Trucking successful again. Big money is involved. And very big danger.


The transaction involving the rights was exciting from beginning to end, with David Haring at TinRes Entertainment making the offer, several agents negotiating the terms, and me thrilled to have a chance to see one of my books made into a film. Most likely, the story will be a made-for-TV movie, but it is also optioned with the possibility of a major motion picture or TV series. I would love to see 6’5” Lincoln Cain on a weekly TV show!


Once the deal was completed, I went back to work on THE DECEPTION, which is being released September 10th. I hope you will watch for it and that you will also keep an eye out for Linc and Carly’s movie. It takes years to complete a film, but I promise to keep you posted on details as they come in.


Till then happy reading and all best wishes, Kat


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PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW for THE DECEPTION

Martin revs the power from page one of this fast-paced romantic thriller, the second novel in her Maximum Security series (after The Conspiracy). After Kate Gallagher’s runaway younger sister, Chrissy, is murdered, she’s determined to find the killer, no matter what it takes. Bounty hunter Jason “Hawk” Maddox, a former Marine, doesn’t do relationships, but he’s quite willing to dance with Kate and start nudging her toward his bed; then she blurts out that her sister was killed. When Kate hires Hawk’s employer, Maximum Security, to investigate the murder, Martin immediately begins leading her well-drawn characters through a high-octane plot with hair-raising twists and turns, skillfully dragging red herrings everywhere. A subplot about a terrified, trafficked 13-year-old crackles with undeniable energy, as does the hot romance between Kate and Hawk. Even Martin’s most despicable characters (especially pedophile Denny Rayburg) are complex, adding to readers’ emotional investment. Fans of romantic suspense won’t be able to put this book down until the final page is turned, and Martin is likely to recruit thriller readers as well as romance fans with this snappy story. Agent: Alexandra Machinist, ICM. (Sept.)


Books by Kat Martin

BEYOND CONTROL

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BEYOND CONTROL

BEYOND DANGER

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BEYOND DANGER

BEYOND REASON

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BEYOND REASON

COME MIDNIGHT

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COME MIDNIGHT

PIVOT

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PIVOT

SHADOWS AT DAWN

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SHADOWS AT DAWN

THE PERFECT MURDER

Buy now!
THE PERFECT MURDER

THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

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THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

THE CONSPIRACY

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THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

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THE DECEPTION

WAIT UNTIL DARK

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WAIT UNTIL DARK

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Beyond Danger by Kat Martin

February 13, 2018 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts, Spotlight tagged as , , , , , , , ,

Beyond Danger | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange

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Beyond Danger (excerpt)

 

Kat Martin

Pleasant Hill, Texas

Beau could hardly believe it. His father was sixty years old! The girl sitting across from him in a booth at the Pleasant Hill Café looked like a teenager. A very pregnant teenager.

“Everything’s going to be okay, Missy,” Beau Reese said. “You don’t have to worry about anything from now on. I’ll make sure everything is taken care of from here on out.”

“He bought me presents,” the girl said, dabbing a Kleenex against the tears in her blue eyes. “He told me how pretty I was, how much he liked being with me. I thought he loved me.”

Fat chance of that, Beau thought. His dad had never loved anyone but himself. True, his father, a former Texas state senator, was still a handsome man, one who stayed in shape and looked twenty years younger. Didn’t make the situation any better.

“How old are you, Missy?”

“Nineteen.”

At least she was over the age of consent. That was something, not much.

Beau shoved a hand through his wavy black hair and took a steadying breath. He thought of the DNA test folded up and tucked into the pocket of his shirt. He had always wanted a baby brother or sister. Now at the age of thirty five, he was finally going to have one.

Beau felt a surge of protectiveness toward the young woman carrying his father’s child.

He looked over to where she sat hunched over next to her mother on the opposite side of the pink vinyl booth. “Everybody makes mistakes, Missy. You picked the wrong guy, that’s all. Doesn’t mean you won’t have a great kid.”

For the first time since he’d arrived, Missy managed a tentative smile. “Thank you for saying that.”

Beau returned the smile. “I’m going to have a baby sister. I promise she won’t have to worry about a thing from the day she’s born into this world.” Hell, he was worth more than half a billion dollars. He would see the child had everything she ever wanted.

When Missy’s lips trembled, her mother scooted out of the booth. “I think she’s had enough for today. This is all very hard on her and I don’t want her getting overly tired.” Josie reached for her daughter’s hand. “Let’s go home, honey. You’ll feel better after a nap.”

Beau got up, too, leaned over and brushed a kiss on Missy’s cheek. “You both have my number. If you need anything, call me. Okay?”

Missy swallowed. “Okay.”

“Thank you, Beau,” Josie said. “I should have called you sooner. I should have known you’d help us.”

“I’ll have my assistant send you a check right away. You’ll have money to take care of expenses and buy the things you need. After that, I’ll have a draft sent to Missy every month.”

Josie’s eyes teared up. “I didn’t know how I was going to manage the bills all by myself. Thank you again, Beau.”

He just nodded. “Keep me up to date on her condition.”

“I will,” Josie said.

Beau watched the women head for the door, the bell ringing as Josie shoved it open and she and Missy walked out of the café.

Leaving money on the table for his coffee, he followed the women out the door, his temper slowing climbing toward the boiling point, as it had been after he’d first received Josie’s call.

His father should be the one handling Missy’s pregnancy. He’d had months to step up and do the right thing. Beau figured he never would.
As he crossed the sidewalk and opened the door of his dark blue Ferrari, his temper cranked up another notch. By the time the car was roaring along the road to his father’s house, his fury was simmering, bubbling just below the surface.

Unconsciously his foot pressed harder on the gas, urging the car down the two-lane road at well over eighty miles an hour. With too many tickets in Howler County already, he forced himself to slow down.

Making the turn into Country Club Estates, he jammed on the brakes and the car slid to a stop in front of the house. The white, two-story home he’d been raised in oozed Southern charm, the row of columns out front mimicking an old-style plantation.

Climbing out of the Ferrari, one of his favorite vehicles, he pounded up the front steps and crossed the porch. The housekeeper had Mondays and Tuesdays off so he used his key to let himself into the entry.

On this chilly, end-of-January day, the ceiling fans, usually rotating throughout the five-thousand square-foot residence, hadn’t been turned on, leaving the interior strangely silent, the air oddly dense. The ticking of the ornate grandfather clock in the living room seemed louder than it usually did.

“Dad! It’s Beau! Where are you?” When he didn’t get an answer, he strode down the hall toward the study. He had phoned his father on the way over. Though he’d done his best to keep the anger out of his voice, he wasn’t sure he had succeeded. Maybe his father had left to avoid him.

“Dad!” Still no answer. Beau continued down the hall, his footsteps echoing in the quiet. As he reached the study, he noticed the door standing slightly ajar. Steeling himself for the confrontation ahead, he clamped down on his temper, rapped firmly, then shoved the door open.
His father wasn’t sitting at the big rosewood desk or in his favorite overstuffed chair next to the fireplace. Beau started to turn away when an odd gurgling sound sent the hairs up on the back of his neck.

“Dad!” At the opposite end of the desk, Beau spotted a prone figure lying on the floor in a spreading pool of blood. “Dad!” His father’s eyes were closed, his face as gray as ash. The handle of a letter opener protruded from the middle of his chest.

Beau raced to his father’s side. “Dad!” Blood oozed from the wound in his chest and streamed onto the hardwood floor. He had to stop the bleeding and he had to do it now!

He hesitated, praying he wouldn’t make it worse, then with no other option, grabbed the handle of the letter opener, jerked it out, gripped the front of his dad’s white shirt and ripped it open.

“Oh, my God! What are you–”

Beau glanced up. “Call 9-1-1! Hurry, he’s been stabbed! Hurry!”

The woman, a shapely brunette named Cassidy Jones, his father’s recently hired personal assistant, didn’t pause, just pulled her cell out of her pocket and hurriedly punched in the number. He heard her rattle off the address, give the dispatcher the name of the victim and said he had been stabbed.

Beau’s hand shook as he checked for a pulse, found none. The wound was catastrophic, a stab wound straight to the heart. No way could his father survive it.

Cassidy ended the call, ran over and knelt on the floor beside him.

“Here, use this to seal the hole.” She seemed amazingly in control as she handed him a credit card then ran to the wet bar and grabbed a towel, folded it into a pad, rushed back and handed it over. Beau pressed the towel over the credit card on top of the hole, all the while knowing his father was already dead or within moments of dying.

He checked again for a pulse. Shook his head, feeling an unexpected rush of grief. “His heart isn’t beating. Whoever stabbed him knew exactly where to bury the blade.” And compressions would only make it worse.

Cassidy reached down to check for herself, pressing her fingers in exactly the right spot on the side of his father’s neck. She had to know it was hopeless, just as he did, must have known Stewart Reese was dead.

“I’m sorry,” she said.

Beau studied his father’s face. Pain had turned his usually handsome features haggard and slack, nothing like the athletic older man who kept himself so fit and trim.

Sorrow slid through him, making his chest clamp down. Or maybe it was sadness for the kind of man his father was, the kind who had wound up the victim of a killer.

“Just hold on,” Cassidy said to him. “The ambulance should be here any minute.”

His mind went blank until the sound of a siren sliced into his conscious. Cassidy hurried off to let the EMTs into the house and a few moments later they appeared in the study.

“You need to give us some room, Mr. Reese,” one of them said gently, a skinny kid who looked like he knew what he was doing.

Beau backed away and Cassidy followed. He felt her eyes on him, assessing him with speculation–or was it suspicion?

It didn’t take long for the EMTs to have his father loaded onto a gurney and rolling down the hall, back outside to the ambulance. Beau strode along behind them, Cassidy trailing in his wake.

It occurred to him that she could be the killer. But somehow the timing seemed wrong and her reaction seemed genuine. The thought slid away.

As he climbed into the ambulance and sat down beside his dad, he flicked a last glance at the house. If Cassidy Jones hadn’t done it, who had? Had the killer still been inside when Beau arrived? How had he escaped? What was his motive?

The ambulance roared down the road, sirens wailing, blowing through intersections, weaving in and out between cars, careening around corners. All the way to the hospital Beau held his father’s hand. It was the closest he had ever felt to his dad.

The ambulance turned again and Pleasant Hill Memorial loomed ahead. The vehicle slammed to a stop in front of the emergency entrance and the back doors banged open.

After what seemed an eternity but was only a very few minutes, Beau’s father, Stewart Beaumont Reese, was pronounced Dead On Arrival.
Beau’s throat closed up. There were times as a boy he had wished his father dead, but that had been years ago.

Now his dad was gone and Beau wanted answers. He vowed whatever it took, for no matter how long, he wouldn’t stop until he found the man who had murdered his father.


BEYOND DANGER
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Surviving Danger by Kat Martin

January 30, 2018 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts, Spotlight tagged as , , , , , , , ,

Surviving Danger | Kat Martin | A Slice of Orange

Surviving Danger

As a writer, I’m always looking for new story ideas.  I often find that past experiences can be a great help.  Have you ever survived a dangerous situation?  How did you do it?

When I was first learning to snow ski, I got caught after dark on top of Stowe Mountain in Vermont.  It’s a huge ski area.  It was my first day on skis and, somehow I got separated from my friends.  I wound up on a black diamond run and of course I started falling—throwing myself down in the snow was the only way I knew how to stop!

By the time I got half way down the mountain, the ski lifts had all stopped running and it was dark and freezing cold.  I tried taking off my skis and walking, but the snow was deep, and it was even harder than trying to ski.  I knew I was in big trouble.

Maybe the reason I started writing Romantic Suspense had something to do with that day.  Just when I was ready to give up and just wait for whatever was going to happen to happen, a guy came skiing down the hill out of nowhere.

Instead of skiing on by, he swished to a stop right next to me.   He must have realized I was in trouble and if I didn’t get down the mountain, I could die in the subzero weather that night.  The guy—my hero—helped me get up and start “skiing” back down the mountain.  He showed me how to snow plow, helped me turn and never left me, no matter how many times I fell.

It took hours to get off that mountain.  We wound up in an empty parking lot, where I his car was parked, and he drove me back to the main lodge where my friends were waiting.  I never saw him again, but I’ve never forgotten him.  There is a chance he might have saved my life that night.

So, I guess there really are heroes out there in the real world.  At least I believe that.  Beau Reese, the hero in BEYOND DANGER, is that kind of guy.

Mega-rich, black-haired, and blue-eyed, Beau was a highly successful race car driver before he left the circuit, sort of a Texas Paul Newman.  Beau loves fast cars and fast women, but under it all he’s a one-woman man and Cassidy Jones is just the right woman for him.

Unfortunately, Beau is wanted for murder.

The good news is, Cassidy is a detective.  She’s convinced of Beau’s innocence and determined to prove it.

I hope you’ll watch for BEYOND DANGER, and in June, you’ll look for BEYOND CONTROL, Josh Cain’s story.  If you haven’t read BEYOND REASON, I hope you’ll give it a try.

Till next time, all best and happy reading, Kat


BEYOND CONTROL

Buy now!
BEYOND CONTROL

BEYOND DANGER

Buy now!
BEYOND DANGER

BEYOND REASON

Buy now!
BEYOND REASON

COME MIDNIGHT

Buy now!
COME MIDNIGHT

PIVOT

Buy now!
PIVOT

SHADOWS AT DAWN

Buy now!
SHADOWS AT DAWN

THE PERFECT MURDER

Buy now!
THE PERFECT MURDER

THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

Buy now!
THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

THE CONSPIRACY

Buy now!
THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

Buy now!
THE DECEPTION

WAIT UNTIL DARK

Buy now!
WAIT UNTIL DARK
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