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Linda O. Johnston–Mysteries, Romantic Suspense and so much more!

May 24, 2022 by in category Writing tagged as ,

Linda O. Johnston, a former lawyer who is now a full-time writer, will have published 57 books as of May 2022, including mysteries and romantic suspense novels.  Her new mystery series is Alaska Untamed, starting with Bear Witness, for Crooked Lane, under her first pseudonym: Lark O. Jensen. She also has a new Harlequin Romantic Suspense story being published in May, Guardian K-9 on Call. Most of Linda’s current stories involve dogs.!

Today’s interview is with multi-talented, multi-published author Linda O. Johnston. Let’s see what’s been happening in her life lately.

Jann:  I know you published several short stories before your first novel was published—A Glimpse of Forever. Do you remember what it was like to receive the phone call from the publisher?

Linda: Heaven! I’d been writing for a while and was hoping to eventually get a novel published. I loved time travel romance, and that’s what I’d written. And to learn it was actually going to be published? Wow!

Jann: Your career has blossomed. Forty-five plus novels later that include mysteries, romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. One thing they all have in common is animals. Is there a reason your books always include animals?

Linda: I include animals as much as possible because I love them, especially dogs. I’ve had dogs most of my life, and my favorites are Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. But to include any kind of dogs or other animals in my stories is really important to me. It’s fun that my new mystery Bear Witness, my first Alaska Untamed mystery, is about Stacie Calder, a naturalist who gives tours in Alaska and points out all sorts of fun wildlife to tourists.

And by the way, Bear Witness and Guardian K-9 On Call, which you mention in the next question, are my 56th and 57th traditionally published novels!

Jann: In August 2021 Harlequin Romantic Suspense published Her Undercover Refuge, the first book in your Shelter of Secrets series. Guardian K-9 on Call, Book Two released on April 26th. What obstacles did you set for your main characters, K-9 Police Officer Maisie Murran and veterinarian Kyle Kornel to overcome? Do they find their HEA?

Linda: In Guardian K-9 On Call, K-9 Police Officer Maisie Murran believes that Dr. Kyle Kornel, a veterinarian who works for the highly secret Chance Animal Shelter, is being framed for murder. Can she help clear him–or is her belief in him based unwisely on her attraction to him?

Kyle has argued with an owner of a local pet shop who is skirting the law regarding which dogs can be sold in the store. When she is found murdered, he becomes the primary suspect.  And then there are the dogs in question, who need to be saved.

While doing their respective jobs, Maisie and Kyle work together in all aspects of the case. Closely together. And… well, it is a Harlequin Romantic Suspense book, so I’ll let you guess whether they achieve their HEA!

Jann: Will there be a book 3 in this series?

Linda: Yes, there are likely to be at least three more.

Jann: I see you have another mystery series—Alaska Untamed Mystery. Congratulations!!!  The books will be published under your first pseudonym, Lark O. Jensen. What inspired you to create this new series?

Linda: Thank you!

I was on an Alaskan cruise a few years ago, before Covid, and had a particularly enjoyable time on a tour boat on the waters outside Juneau. The people who were actually providing the tour were wonderful, and my writer’s mind, always active, started wondering what it would be like to have a mystery series set in a similar situation. I even started asking some of the boat personnel questions. But no, we didn’t find any bodies onboard or otherwise.

Jann: How did you come up with the name Lark O. Jensen?

 Linda: I was asked to take on a pseudonym, though it was fine to let the world know it was me. I pondered all sorts of names, some nothing like my own, but decided to choose something that was at least somewhat familiar. And Lark O. Jensen has at least some similarities to Linda O. Johnston.

Jann: May 10th, Bear Witness, the first book in the series made its debut. Who is the main character and what challenges will this character have to face?

 Linda: Stacie Calder is a born naturalist who has come to Alaska because of the wonderful wildlife there. During the seasons where the weather will allow it, she gives tours on a tour boat in the waters off Juneau, and she brings here wonderful husky Sasha along. She has to put up with some somewhat nasty passengers who come along to research what happens on the boat because they want to start competing companies. One day, one of them disappears—and Sasha’s wonderful sense of smell discovers his body the next day on the shore of an inlet they visited. The authorities determine he was murdered, and Stacie has to get involved with figuring out who the killer is because some of her favorite people, including the captain of her boat, and even herself, are considered suspects.

Jann: You have several other mystery series including Barkery & Biscuits and the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries. What’s happening with them?

 Linda: At the moment, nothing is happening with the Barkery & Biscuits or Superstition Mysteries. But the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries are available in e-book form, and the spinoff Pet Rescue Mysteries will soon be available as audio books.

Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why?

Linda: As mentioned before, I like to include animals, particularly dogs. They speak to me, and not only in barks! I consider people who enjoy pets more likeable and think my readers may, too.

Jann: What kind of writer are you? A page a day or a burst writer?

Linda: It varies these days. I mostly write five pages or more a day when I’m in writing mode, which tends to be most of the time—or at least whenever possible. But I’m always thinking and planning and making notes.

Jann: In your books, who is your favorite character and why?

Linda: I love all my protagonists, or I wouldn’t write about them. I really like my new mystery protagonist, Stacie Calder, because of her love of wildlife and willingness to devote her life to studying and teaching people about them. I sometimes wish I could go visit her in Alaska and take one of her tours!

But perhaps my favorite is Kendra, of my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter Mysteries. Kendra is a lawyer who lives in the Hollywood Hills with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Lexie. At the time I wrote the Kendra stories, I was a practicing lawyer, and one of my Cavaliers was named Lexie—and I live in the Hollywood Hills. I’ve never run into dead bodies and had to solve murders, though—except those I write about.

Jann: Do you ever run out of ideas? If so, how did you get past that?

Linda: Never! I’m always thinking and plotting.

Linda, it’s been fun looking back at your career and seeing what it’s like now. Congratulations and good luck on the new series, Alaska Untamed Mystery!! Looking forward to reading another fabulous mystery series.

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The Boss Prince Book Tour and Giveaway

July 16, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Rabt Book Tours tagged as , , , , ,
 
 

 
It’s Raining Royals, Book 1

Romantic Comedy, Royal Romance, Romantic Suspense

Date Published: July 9, 2021

What if your boss was a prince?…

 

The week I got fired, I landed a government job in Paris.

Go, Lucie!

The bad news? My boss, Max Delaroche, looks like a remastered Greek god, as dazzling as the alarm in my head.

Whoop, whoop, whoop! Run while you can!

 

But the man intrigues me.

Wildly charismatic, he has no office savvy. He skips important staff meetings because they bore him to death. He won’t even say where he’s from!

Instead, he keeps staring at me like he’s on a treasure hunt and I have the map.

 

Who is this guy, and what exactly does he do here?

 

Could he be an undercover cop investigating government agencies?

Haha. I’m très hilarious.

If a cop can afford bespoke suits, then I’m a princess. You shall call me Your Royal Highness, Lucie la Magnifique!

Looking for a romantic comedy that’s laugh-out-loud funny, steamy, and full of thrills? Look no further than The Boss Prince, book 1 in Alix Nichols’s new IT’S RAINING ROYALS series!

 

 

About the Author

Alix Nichols is a caffeine addict, a fan of Mr. Darcy and an award-winning author. She pens sexy romantic comedies and sci-fi romances that “keep you hanging off the edge of your seat” (RT Book Reviews). At the age of six, she released her first book. It featured highly creative spelling on a dozen pages stitched together and bound in velvet paper. Decades later, she still writes. Her spelling has improved (somewhat). Currently she has one complete romance series “wide” and three in Kindle Unlimited. She lives in France with her family, including an almost-human dog.

**To read a rom-com and a sci-fi novelette FREE, visit: alixnichols.com/freebies (just copy and paste into your browser).**

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Excerpt

The Boss Prince
Alix Nichols

From Chapter 1

 

She opens her reticule, whips out her smartphone, and pulls up what looks like a still frame from some CCTV footage.

To my quizzical look, she says, “Watch,” and taps Play.

A young woman stalks out of an ugly concrete building, banging the door behind her. About twenty meters down the street, she halts, spins around and barrels back toward the building. Baying, “You, jerk! You, miserable nincompoop!” she kicks the graffitied wall. Way too hard, by the looks of it. With a grimace of pain distorting her reddened face, she grabs the foot that had connected with the wall and spends the next few seconds stroking it through the flimsy sneaker while jumping on her other foot.

“You think you hurt me?” she yells at the closed door, still wincing. “You think you broke my heart? I despise you!”

Whoever is inside doesn’t respond in any audible or visible manner.

“I believed in you!” the woman shouts, letting go of her foot. “I thought you were a good person, a decent man. I thought you could handle criticism. But you’re just another douchebag!”

Balling her hands into fists, she swings as if intending to punch the door, hesitates and glances at her knuckles. It’s a low-res video but good enough to determine that it’s a security door, steel most likely. In her place, I’d be having second thoughts about punching it, too.

“Grrr!” Shaking with frustration, she kicks the door instead.

Perhaps because she’d braced herself for impact, she seems to better control the resulting pain, which emboldens her to kick again, and again until she does it at an angle too awkward to keep her balance. She lands on her bum. Cursing, she gets up and gives the door a few more angry kicks.

The “douchebag” inside makes no perceptible move.

Despite the wild inappropriateness and the involuntarily comical effect of her public display, I find myself sympathizing with this crazy chick. Which is weird, because, having broken up with my fair share of ladies, I should relate more to the man she’s besieging than to her. Yet, instead of cringing, I’m smiling at her spunk.

Also, I’m ogling her slender, perfectly proportioned figure that cancels out her ridiculous actions and dull outfit. Those lovely, firm tits give her worn, badly cut tee a shot at glory. As for that round high-perched ass, it lifts her trashy jeans all the way to the Cannes red carpet.

It’s hard to make out the individual features of her face, but the overall form of her face framed by wavy glossy hair looks exceedingly pleasing.

The video ends.


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Story Ideas by Kat Martin

June 24, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Guest Posts tagged as , , , , ,

Story Ideas

People often ask how I come up with ideas for my novels. Sometimes it just seems to pop into my head. In my latest release, THE PERFECT MURDER, once I had told Chase and Brandon Garrett’s story, there was no doubt I would be writing Reese’s story.

Much of the story was determined by the previous novels, THE CONSPIRACY, and THE ULIMATE BETRAYAL. Reese, the middle brother, is CEO of Garrett Resources, a billion-dollar oil and gas corporation owned by the Garrett family. I knew him well by the time I started his story, the last book in the Maximum Security Series. 

In THE PERFECT MURDER, Reese is a man with a past who is determined to retain his hard-earned reputation by avoiding an affair with the beautiful woman who works for him, a valued and trusted employee.

When McKenzie Haines is accused of murder, Reese is forced to make a choice—one that could destroy his career or get him killed. It’s a fast-paced, high-stakes action adventure as well as a love story between two smart, determined people who refuse to give up no matter the odds.

I hope you’ll watch for THE PERFECT MURDER and that you enjoy.

Till next time, happy reading and all best wishes,

Kat 

New York Times 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, was released in paperback December 29th. The final 2 books in her Maximum Security series will be release in June, COME MIDNIGHT, a short story on June 1st, and THE PERFECT MURDER, a novel in hardcover on June 22nd.

Excerpt

The Perfect Murder

Chapter One

Galveston, Texas
Last Day of July

Seconds after the chopper lifted off the pad, Reese felt the odd vibration.  Along with the pilot and co-pilot and five members of the crew, the Eurocopter EC135 was headed for the Poseidon offshore drilling platform. 

For a moment, the ride leveled out and Reese relaxed against his seat.  As CEO of Garrett Resources, the billion-dollar oil and gas company he owned with his brothers, he was always searching for the right investment to expand company holdings, the reason he was flying out to the platform.

For months he’d been working with Sea Titan Drilling, the owner of the offshore rig, to complete the five-hundred-million-dollar purchase, an extremely good value when the average price of a similar rig was around six-fifty. 

The vibration returned and with it came a grinding noise that put Reese on alert.  The men in the cabin began to glance back and forth and shift nervously in their seats.  A sharp jolt, then the chopper seemed to fall out of the sky.  It climbed again, began to dip and sway, dropped then climbed as the pilot fought for control.

The pilot’s deep voice rumbled through the headset.  “We’ve got a problem.  I don’t want you to panic, but we need to find a place to set down.” 

There was definitely a problem, Reese thought, as the vibration continued to worsen.  The chopper was out of control and the whole cabin was shaking as if it would break apart any minute.  His pulse was hammering, his adrenalin pumping.

 Along with the men in the crew who rode back and forth from the rig every few weeks, he stared out the window toward the ground.  They were no longer above the heliport.  Clearly the pilot was looking for an open space big enough to handle the thirty-six-foot blade span.  All Reese could see were the rooftops of warehouses and metal commercial buildings.

The chopper kept shaking.  The crew was grim-faced but resigned.  The pilot did something to take the pitch out of the rotors and the chopper started falling.

“No need to worry,” the pilot said.  “We’ll auto-rotate down.  I’ve done it a dozen times.”

Auto rotate down.  Reese knew the concept, the technique helicopter pilots used to land when the engine failed.  The trick was to find a safe place to hit the ground. 

Both engines went silent.  The blades were flat now, the wind whistling through them, tying his stomach into a knot.

“Brace for impact,” the pilot said.  Below them, Reese spotted an open flat slab of asphalt in the yard of a small trucking firm–the only possible landing site anywhere around.  Trouble was it didn’t look wide enough to handle the blades. 

At the last second, the pilot flared the helicopter in an effort to slow the descent, then the ground rushed up and the chopper hit with a jolt that wracked Reese’s whole body.

For an instant, he thought they were going to make it.  Then one of the spinning rotor blades hit the corner of a building and tore free.  The Plexiglas bubble shattered as the long metal blades exploded into a hundred deadly pieces, careening like knives through the air, slicing into buildings and the cabin of the helicopter. 

Reese didn’t feel the impact.  One moment he was conscious, then the world suddenly went black.

The Perfect Murder

Book 4 in the Maximum Security Series

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Other Books in the Maximum Security Series

(Click on the cover for more information. Hover on the cover for buy links.)

WAIT UNTIL DARK

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WAIT UNTIL DARK

SHADOWS AT DAWN

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SHADOWS AT DAWN

COME MIDNIGHT

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COME MIDNIGHT

THE CONSPIRACY

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THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

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THE DECEPTION

THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

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THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

THE PERFECT MURDER

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THE PERFECT MURDER

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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.


Pre-order Come Midnight

COME MIDNIGHT
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Business, Busyness and… Yay!

April 6, 2021 by in category Pets, Romance & Lots of Suspense by Linda O. Johnston tagged as , , , , ,

Okay, writing books is my profession these days. My business. And I figure everyone reading this blog also enjoys books. That’s what A Slice of Orange is about.

I can always keep busy writing–yes, busyness. My mind keeps plotting away, even if it doesn’t need to. Ideas keep flashing into my brain and not letting go. Good thing my computer is usually nearby so I can at least start jotting down those ideas, and potentially flesh them out later.  And I’ll also bet that a lot of the people reading A Slice of Orange can really identify with that, too.

Over the time of the pandemic I haven’t had many books published–just one so far, in February 2020.  I’m used to more, but that’s okay. Things have changed a lot in many ways lately.

It’s especially okay since I will have two new books published later in 2021 and at least another two published in 2022! I always say I love to include dogs in my books, and I do that as much as I can, although sometimes I may think about dogs, and obey my own dogs while I’m writing, but not all of the books I’ve been writing lately can actually include dogs.

My upcoming books? Well, first will come Her Undercover Refuge, the first Harlequin Romantic Suspense book in my new Shelter of Secrets series–in August. And yes, it includes dogs.

Next will be Uncovering Colton’s Family Secret, the tenth in the Coltons of Grave Gulch series also for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, in October.

And then in February 2022, my next mystery, Bear Witness, an Alaska Untamed Mystery will be published by Crooked Lane… under a pseudonym. It does include a dog as well as Alaskan wildlife including–what else?–bears!

I’m working on another Colton book for HRS which will be published in 2022, and there may be more books as well… info to come.

So… Yay! Yes, I’ve used this blog post to talk a lot about myself and my work, and my business and busyness. It’s all about me–but not entirely. I hope it gives other writers inspiration to leap on ideas, and encourages them to stay busy as well. Assuming they’re not already, which they probably are.

And I certainly wouldn’t mind if any of you pick up one or more of my upcoming books when available, and read them.

By the way, I’m really thrilled that I’m A Slice of Orange’s featured author this month!


Some of Linda’s Many Books

BAD TO THE BONE

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BAD TO THE BONE

BEAR WITNESS

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BEAR WITNESS
COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE
COLTON FIRST RESPONDER (The Coltons of Mustang Valley)

COVERT ALLIANCE

Buy now!
COVERT ALLIANCE

FOR A GOOD PAWS

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FOR A GOOD PAWS

GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL

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GUARDIAN K-9 ON CALL

HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

Buy now!
HER UNDERCOVER REFUGE

PICK AND CHEWS

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PICK AND CHEWS

PROTECTOR WOLF

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PROTECTOR WOLF

SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

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SECOND CHANCE SOLDIER

TO CATCH A TREAT

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TO CATCH A TREAT

TRAINED TO PROTECT

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TRAINED TO PROTECT
UNDERCOVERING COLTON’S FAMILY SECRETS

UNLUCKY CHARMS

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UNLUCKY CHARMS

VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

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VISIONARY WOLF (Alpha Force)

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