Three Days to Deadby Kelly Meding
They’ll never see her coming. . . .
When Evangeline Stone wakes up naked and bruised on a cold slab at the morgue—in a stranger’s body, with no memory of who she is and how she got there—her troubles are only just beginning. Before that night she and the two other members of her Triad were the city’s star bounty hunters, mercilessly
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They’ll never see her coming. . . .
When Evangeline Stone wakes up naked and bruised on a cold slab at the morgue—in a stranger’s body, with no memory of who she is and how she got there—her troubles are only just beginning. Before that night she and the two other members of her Triad were the city’s star bounty hunters, mercilessly cleansing the city of the murderous creatures living in the shadows, from vampires to shape-shifters to trolls. Then something terrible happened that not only cost all three of them their lives but also convinced the city’s other Hunters that Evy was a traitor—and she can’t even remember what it was.
Now she’s a fugitive, piecing together her memory, trying to deal some serious justice—and discovering that she has only three days to solve her own murder before the reincarnation spell wears off. Because in three days Evy will die again—but this time there’s no second chance. . . .
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I don't recall the first time I died, but I do remember the second time I was born. Vividly. Waking up on a cold morgue table surrounded by surgical instruments and autopsy paraphernalia, to the tune of the medical examiner's high-pitched shrieks of fright, is an unforgettable experience.
I vaulted off the table, my mind prepared to execute a move that my chilled body hadn't quite caught up to, and promptly lost my balance. My knees didn't bend; my ankles stayed stiff. I landed on my bare hip, earning another shock of cold and something quite new: pain. Sharp and biting, it lanced up my hip and down my thigh, orienting me to two facts: I was on the floor and I was completely naked.
Something metal clanged to the floor, rubber squeaked on faded tile, and the screams receded. Far away, a door slammed. The soft hum of machinery mingled with the hiss of my ragged breathing. Fluorescent light glared down from gray overhead fixtures. I smelled something sharp, bitter, and completely foreign.
My bruised hip protested as I sat up. The room tilted. A sheet dangled from the edge of the table I'd fallen from. I wrapped the thin, papery material around my shoulders. It did little to cut the chill.
Coroner's table. Naked. Scalpel on the floor. What the holy friggin' hell?
I searched my addled memory, hoping for an explanation as to why I was bare-ass naked on a morgue floor.
Nothing. Zilch. Awareness wrapped in cotton batting. No cinematic instant recall for me.
My chest seized and I began to cough—a wet rasp from deep inside my lungs. I spat out a wad of phlegm and continued coughing until I thought my chest would turn inside out. When the spasms ceased, I grabbed the side of the table and pulled. My feet responded. Knees bent. I managed to stand up, using the surgical table as a crutch, and found myself staring down at its shiny surface.
And a stranger's face.
A curtain of long, wavy brown hair framed a curved chin and high cheekbones. Not mine. A smattering of freckles dotted the bridge of her nose. Definitely not mine. I touched my cheek, and the stranger touched hers. All wrong. I was pale, with blond hair, blue eyes, and no freckles. And younger. The dark-haired woman with track marks inside her left elbow and an open, but healing, gash down the inside of her forearm was not Evangeline Stone. She was someone else.
Another sharp tremor raced down my spine, creating gooseflesh across my back and shoulders. Wyatt. I was on my way to see Wyatt Truman. We'd agreed to meet at our usual spot by the train yards. I arrived. Waited. And then what?
Something bad, apparently.
I gazed around the small autopsy room with its plain gray walls and yellow tiled floors. Two identical beds lay on either side of a floor drain. An instrument tray lay upended on the floor. A wall of doors, roughly three-foot-by-four each, had to be where they kept the bodies. How long had I been in there?
Why had I been in there?
Wyatt would know. He had to know. He knew everything. He was my Handler; that was his job.
Did he know where I was? Or who I was, for that matter?
Opposite the refrigeration unit was a desk and beyond that a door marked PRIVATE. I stumbled toward it, clutching the sheet around my shoulders, still having some trouble with my extremities.
I limped into a small bathroom containing a sink, two stalls, and a bank of four gray lockers. I tried each one. The last opened with a sharp squeal, and the eye-watering stink of old tennis shoes wafted out. My stomach churned. Inside I found a pair of navy sweatpants in XXL and an oversized white T-shirt. Nothing else useful.
I dropped the sheet and tugged the shirt on, not surprised that it swam all over my thin frame. I was a few inches taller than I'd been. Bigger breasts, rounder hips—less the blond waif, and more the curvy woman. Definitely an upgrade. I rolled up the extra material and knotted it around my torso. The sweatpants went on next, and even with a drawstring, they were ridiculously huge.
It didn't matter. The clothes just needed to get me out of there. I blotted my hair in the sheet, removing some of the excess moisture now that it was starting to thaw. The pants slipped, and I hiked them back up. A red hole peeked through the top of my belly button, hinting at a vanished piercing.
Voices bounced through the other room. I tiptoed to the door and pulled it open just far enough to peek outside. The technician was back, waving her hands wildly. Short, red hair bobbed around her shoulders each time she turned her head. Her companion was an older man, white-haired and wrinkled, dressed in surgical scrubs. He picked up the chart hanging from the end of the bed I'd previously occupied and skimmed the contents.
"Dead bodies don't just come back to life, Pat," the man said.
"I know that, Dr. Thomas, but she was dead. I was here when she was brought in early this morning. I pulled out the drawer when her roommate came to identify her."
Roommate? My roommates were gone. I didn't even have a couch to crash on anymore, now that the Owlkins were dead and their apartment building razed.
"She was still dead when Joe put her on the table for me," Pat continued, "but then I got a phone call. When I got back and pulled the sheet, she was pinking up. I swear, I thought I was seeing things, but then she sat up."
"I see," Dr. Thomas said, in a tone that clearly indicated he didn't believe her. "The physical examination showed that she died of acute blood loss. How do you think a dead body without blood sat up and walked out of the room?"
Pat gaped at him, her mouth opening and closing, but producing no response.
"The last thing we need," Dr. Thomas said, "is a lawsuit from that girl's family, because we misplaced the body. So I suggest you stop acting hysterical and find her, or you'll be looking for another job."
Dr. Thomas spun on his heel and stalked through a pair of swinging doors, leaving Pat behind. She stared at the settling doors, hands limp by her sides.
"I'm not crazy, you son of a bitch," she said in a small voice. Not much of a fighter, that one. Then her entire body went rigid. Slowly, she turned in a small circle, eyeing the room. Her head snapped toward the far corner, as though she'd heard a noise. I held my breath and waited.
"Hello?" she said. "Chalice? Chalice Frost? Are you there?"
Chalice Frost? I could only imagine the sort of teasing she'd endured as a child. Probably why she (I?) had turned to drugs. Not that I possessed any memory of such a thing; I only had the track marks on my arm as proof. The gash, too, and the longer I stared at it, the more convinced I became that the exposed flesh had knitted, drawing the skin closer together. Healing.
"Get it together, Pat. It's your blood sugar, that's all. It's off, so you're seeing things."
It was just too painful. I stepped into the autopsy room, still clutching the front of my borrowed sweatpants in an ongoing attempt to protect my modesty. The door shut with a solid thump. Pat jumped and spun around. Her mouth fell open, eyes widening to impossible proportions.
"If it helps," I said, the voice strange to my ears, "you aren't really crazy."
She adopted an unhealthy pallor, then fainted dead away. Her head bounced off the tiled floor with a sickening crack. I winced. She lay still, her chest slowly rising and falling.
"So much for not scaring anyone," I muttered. Chalice's voice was deeper than mine. It felt powerful, like I could scream to wake the dead. No pun intended.
I crouched next to Pat and checked her head, but found no gushing wound. Just a small lump. It's not every day that someone sees a reanimated corpse. Likewise, it's not every day a person becomes a reanimated corpse. My day was decidedly much worse, so I did the first sensible thing that came to mind. I stole her tennis shoes.
No way was I walking hell knew how far in my bare feet. The white canvas shoes fit snugly, unlike my clothes, and helped provide a bit of warmth for my ice-cube toes. I padded over to the medical examiner's desk. A cardboard box labeled "Effects" sat on the blotter, surrounded by untidy files, scraps of paper, and other office sundries.
Inside the box, I discovered a stack of manila envelopes, each one different in thickness and weight. I sifted until I found a slim one with "Chalice Frost" printed on the front. I tore it open and upended the contents onto the desk.
Out fell a pair of sealed plastic bags. Inside one was a gold hoop—the missing belly ring—and in the second a pair of silver cross earrings. No wallet or license. No scraps of information to tell me who this Chalice chick was, besides poorly named.
I needed an address, or even a phone number. I'd broken into morgues in the past, usually to check mutilated bodies for signs of Dreg attack, so this wasn't an entirely unfamiliar environment. I plucked her chart from the foot of the exam table. Chalice Frost, aged twenty-seven. She lived in an apartment in Parkside East, one of the last "nice" neighborhoods in the city.
The chart also listed a phone number. Pat said my—her—roommate identified Chalice's body. Was she at home? Would she pick me up if I called? Or would she freak out and faint like reliable old Pat?
The one thing I really wanted was a cell phone. Pat had a phone on her desk, but as I reached for the receiver, I couldn't think of a single number to call. Not even Wyatt's number. I should have known his number. I had dialed it a thousand times. But no, the little space in my brain reserved for that string of digits was empty.
This was bad.
I tore a piece of paper from one of the M.E.'s files and scribbled down the address and phone number. With no pockets in my extra-baggy clothes, I stuck the paper in my borrowed shoes.
A daily newspaper caught my eye. Ignoring the headlines about inflated gasoline prices, I checked the date. May twentieth.
"Twentieth," I said, trying it out. "May. Twentieth." Nope.
It had to be a mistake. My brain was fuzzy and my memories hazy, but I knew that I set out to find Wyatt on May thirteenth. It was the day that the Owlkin Clan was attacked; the entire nest was destroyed because of me. Everything had changed two days before that, the night my partners and I were attacked by a pack of vampire half-breeds. My partners had died; I hadn't.
The other Hunters had come after me, screaming for my head, and I'd run. I'd eventually gone to the Owlkins—a peaceful race of shape-shifting birds of prey. Then I'd been found and the Owlkins slaughtered. It hadn't made sense then, and it didn't make sense now. I'd given up and decided to turn myself in. To stop running. To stop getting others killed.
Had I gotten myself killed in the process? Chalice died last night, but when did I, Evangeline Stone, die? What had happened to the last seven days? And why the hell was I back?
Instinct told me that someone had screwed up. You didn't mess with a reincarnation spell without putting all of your ducks in a row, and while my new body was strong and young, it felt untrained. Unready for the physical, painful nature of my former job as a Dreg Bounty Hunter, and whatever task still lay ahead of me. Chalice Frost could not have been their first choice—whoever "they" were. Someone should have been there to greet me when I woke. Instead, I was rooting through a dead woman's personal effects, scaring the shit out of hapless coroners, and hoping I could get away without being caught.
Time to trek across town to Chalice's apartment for more cash and a change of clothes. Maybe I'd even remember Wyatt's phone number on the way. I just hoped that her roommate wasn't home. One freak-out per day was my limit.
From the desk drawer, I rustled a key ring that held at least a dozen different keys, all attached to a glittery metal P. One of them had a black, plastic sleeve around the top, engraved with a familiar logo. Car key. Bingo.
"Who the hell are you?"
The male voice echoed through the cramped room. I pivoted on one foot, dropping my shoulders and balling both fists. At least, that's what I did in my head. In reality, my gradually loosening limbs tangled, and I stumbled two steps forward, hands up like a drunk ninja.
Dr. Thomas stood just inside the room, a file in one hand and an expression of confusion painting his age-lined face.
No one had sneaked up on me in years. Not even a goblin, and they were built for stealth. I should have heard the squeak of the door hinge and ducked before he ever saw me. But I was listening with someone else's ears—untrained ears, without years of survival to make them sharp. Indecision froze me—not a place I liked to be.
Dr. Thomas shifted his confusion from me to Pat's sprawled body, his caterpillar eyebrows arching high on his small forehead. "Pat?" His attention reverted to me, widening both eyes. "What did you do to her?"
His voice quavered. He didn't launch himself at me or attempt to help Pat, further hinting at the total wimp beneath the angry bluster. I considered whamming him with the truth, but didn't really want a stroke on my conscience.
"I didn't lay a hand on her," I said, which was very much true. The next part, not so much. "I got lost."
He stared, not quite believing. His attention wandered, probably taking in my odd state of dress. He paused on my right hand. I looked down and groaned. The plastic I.D. bracelet still clung to my wrist, probably attached when the body was brought down to the morgue.
"Damn," I said, tugging at the reinforced band. It didn't give.
"That isn't possible," he said.
I smiled. "What's not possible? A frozen dead girl coming back to life? Doc, if you only knew half of the things that happen in this city after dark, you'd run screaming for the sunny south and never look back."
He continued to stare, all of the color slowly draining from his face. Better ask my questions before he did something crazy like scream for help or pass out.
"I don't suppose you know where Shelby Street is from here, do you? I'm a tad disoriented."
He jacked the thumb of his right hand over his shoulder—a vague direction at best—and grunted something. I took fast advantage of his incredulity, and headed for the door. On second thought, I about-faced and snagged Pat's keys off the desk.
"Wait," Dr. Thomas said.
"You were dead."
His plaintive tone gave me pause. For someone so intimidating only five minutes ago, he looked like a lost child. It made me want to put him out of his misery.
"Do yourself a favor," I said, crossing the distance between us in three long strides. "Tell yourself someone broke in and stole the body. It'll make it easier to sleep at night."
He blinked. I swung and caught him low in the jaw. The impact jarred my fist and shoulder—Chalice was definitely not a fighter—but Thomas went down like a stone. Two people unconscious in a matter of minutes was not a great start to the day.
No time to ponder the consequences, though. I had a former Handler to find, no idea where to start looking in a city of half a million people, and if anyone else in Chalice Frost's life knew she was dead, I was in for a very eventful day.
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Meet the Author
Kelly Meding is the author of the Dreg City series, which includes Three Days to Dead, As Lie the Dead, and Another Kind of Dead.
Xe Sands is an award-winning narrator known for her authentic characterizations and intimate delivery. She has more than a decade of experience bringing stories to life through narration, performance, and visual art, and she has been recognized for her engaging romance narrations.
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Being an avid lover of good science-fiction/fantasy, I saw the good reviews for this novel, and the summary looked intriguing so I purchased it hoping for a good read. While the story-line was decent and original, the writing, itself, seemed subpar. I understand it must be challenging for most authors introduce a new world with unique characters and creatures without sounding out of place from the story or without making the introductions sound extremely convenient, and I think the hardest thing for me to get past in this story was way that the author introduced things. It seemed like every few pages, the main character, Evy, would be doing something when a seemingly minute event would happen, she’d treat it like a life-threatening situation, and then explain later. There were lots of different creatures that had traits like the inability to lie, or the inability to feel specific emotions, which just seemed too convenient to me. Or there would be times when she would say lines like, “Remember that one time when this happened, and I did this and you did that and it made this happen?” It’s a very painful way to introduce an important part of the character’s history. In fact, most of the dialogue in general seemed really cheesy/painful to me. I think the author wanted Evy to be this sexy, badass, clever assassin character, but she just comes off far too unrealistic…even in the science-fiction world. Same goes for her sidekick, Wyatt. It seemed like every time he entered the story, he’d be introduced as this super sexy guy with rippling muscles and a six pack abs, and that was all there was too him. There was nothing really unique or interesting about either one – they’re just both your typical smutty characters from science fiction novels I try to avoid. Won't be reading the sequels.
I was hoping for a nice ghost story - or perhaps a modern take on the Faustian deal with the Devil - instead I get hit over the head in the first chapter with vampire-half breeds and Owlkins.shapeshifting owls. Is it just me or are supernatural genre authors getting further and further out in left field as they search for new material? I actually like Meding's writing style so far, and so I'm going to stick with the book - and who knows, I may end up loving it, but somehow as I get older I'm just less able to toss my common sense aside and lose myself in stories of vampires, shapeshifting Owls, elves, fairies and all other manner of made up creatures. Perhaps I've lost the youthful part of myself that allowed me to enjoy such stories - or perhaps they are just as not well written as the genre becomes crowded with GED, over-night authors publishing eBooks without having even a tiny bit of writing talent. Let's get back to the old school ghosts, demons and deals with the Devil. Let's bring back the authors who actually took the time to construct an enjoyable and (at least halfway) believable plot, and maybe even has an English degree to go along with it..
If you are looking to read an action filled adventure, this is the book for you. It starts out with a woman waking up in a morgue, unknowing why she is suddenly a taller brunette rather than a petite blonde, and why she is lying on a cold metal slab. She slowly begins to recall some of the moments of before and bumps into Wyatt, her handler from the agency she had worked for and maybe a little more :). The twists and turns of this book will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat, turning page after page. You follow Evy as she remembers what happened to her, and the bigger plot that has to be solved in only 3 days before Evy and Wyatt, the only people who are trying to stop it, are gone.
I bought this book because i read the first 4 chapters on the barnes and noble website. I was really into them and thought this was going to be an awesome book but by chapter 11 i was bored!! I love vampire/supernatural books and in this series vampires hate humans and humans hate vampires, so the main characters are boring humans, just not my style of book. I also didn't like all the creatures and how they were portrayed.
Three Days to Dead may be Ms. Meding's debut novel, but it starts out with a bang, takes readers on a thrilling ride mixed with fantasy, mystery, love and suspense, and, unlike a few books out there, brings you into an equally heart racing ending that makes you feel jittery with readers adrenaline, and craving for more. My only "complaint" which really isn't so bad in the long run, is that there are a quite a few characters and different species in this story and it gets a little bit confusing to follow on a few occasions, but please don't let that stop you from reading this book. It has everything a paranormal/fantasy book fan would want all tied up neatly in a wonderful plot
If you love the paranormal you will absolutely love Kelly Medings; "Evy Stone" series. She's amazing and you can't help but fall in love with her character! This fast-paced series is not for the faint of heart! It's a gut wrenching story you won't want to put it down.
I'm so behind on my TBR list, I've been wanting to start this series for awhile. I'm so glad I got it. A page turner I couldn't put it down. Loved it so much went and bought the rest in the series.
Three Days to Dead starts with Evie waking up in the morgue in another person's body. So many possibilities for where this book could go from this beginning. Evie is a hunter for the Triad, a group that cleanses the city of the unwanted creatures. Evie wakes up to find she is considered a traitor and someone has murdered her. This book started with a lot going for it, but I was a disappointed by the end of the book. I will try the next book and see if the series gels and concentrates on a storyline.
Ive read all 4 books, and will leave the same review for each. this isnt going to be a review but more of an opinion. If you like Urban fantasy, these books are up there with the best of them. I enjoyed reading this series as much as I enjoyed Kim Harrisons Rachel Morgan books and Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega books. yep, this stuff is just as good. they were pretty hard to put down. We can only hope theres going to be more of Evy Stone!!
Saw this book constantly being discussed on several different blogs as well as on Twitter. Everyone raved about it to the point where I had to buy a copy of my very own! They were all right, as this book is amazing! Really like a book that grabs me on the first page, and this one grabbed me with the very first paragraph: "I don't recall the first time I died, but I do remember the second time I was born. Vividly. Waking up on a cold morgue table surrounded by surgical instruments and autopsy paraphernalia, to the tune of the medical examiner's high-pitched shrieks of fright, is an unforgettable experience." How great is that paragraph? Makes you want to run right out and buy a copy, doesn't it? Evy Stone was a bounty hunter who tracked down monsters. She is resurrected into the body of a young human with no idea why she was brought back and no Welcoming Committee waiting with an explanation. Evy must try to solve the mystery of her murder, figure out why she wound up in the body of an innocent, track down any information she may have possessed that could have lead to her murder, sort the good guys from the bad, and just possibly save the world. All while the clock is ticking down to her second death. No pressure, right? Thought that this was an original story with great characters. I really liked Evy, thought the secondary characters were well done (loved Smedge), and the overall story flowed nicely. The action was fast paced and I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning to finish reading as I couldn't wait to see what happened next! That pushed my rating from a 4 to a 5/5! Meding is a very talented author and I loved this story! Am now a loyal Kelly Meding fan, and can't wait for her next book! Go. Buy this book. Now!
I really enjoyed this book and I'm looking forward to the others in the series. My only complaint, and it's minor, is that when Evie took the "Glock" from the glove compartment, she flicked off the safety. Coming from a Glock owner, they don't have safeties. Then she later referred to it as a revolver. They are not revolvers either. A little more research into details like that would have been nice to see.
Name: Dacin Spears <br> Age:20 <br> Geder: Male <p> Appearance: Dacin has snowy, white hair that sticks up in all directions. His eyes are a calming blue that woukd ease the heart of any soul. He wears a black t-shirt that says 'Free Fall' on it, a navy/lightdark blue varied size striped plaid shirt that is unbuttoned and has the sleeves rolled up, white jeans with black suspenders hanging loosely on his sides with blue/white/gray DC Sneakers. On his left wrist is ablack wristband with silver spikes on it and on the right is a navy blue bracelet that says 'Live young until you die old.' <p> Weapon: katana <br> Other: Has a pet wokd cub named Frost
I am a very picky reader and could not put this book down. I highly recommend it.
Totally unexpected and amazing read. I picked up this book because I was in the mood for an Urban Fantasy--this looked good. Evangeline (Evy) Stone, wakes up in a body not her own and can't remember her death or the last three days. All she knows was the last time she met her "handler" Wyatt Truman. She also knows she works monitoring and policing the "Dregs" Paranormal creatures in the city she lives in. Slowly she goes about discovering her memories---and the truth is far deeper and tragic than she thought possible. That's all I'm going to share about the plot. Because really--it all plays into it. This book made me cry. Yes. Cry. I can count on my hand the number of authors that can make me cry. Kelly Meding did this. Her characterizations were fabulous--the relationships real. I was awestruck by how she dealt with situations --for example she wakes up on the autopsy table--freaks out the examiner. She didn't shirk from confronting or dealing with situations including horrible memories, and relationships torn asunder. The Narrator is Xe Sands--I am going to borrow a description of her voice-- has "Velvet tones" Her delivery is smooth--and she captures each character (including different species) in a unique way. My particular favorites were the Vampire--and Gargoyle. (You have to listen to know--yes, I'm evil this way). I found myself stopping whatever I was doing enthralled with the story. She brought to life this world in a manificent way. I wish I could tell you how much I appreciated the depth of emotion in this story--so unexpected. I know Urban Fantasy is fairly dark--but its action adventure---and yes it's gripping, but this story took it to a new level. Sometimes I dreaded continuing the story--I didn't want to know--but I had to. I don't regret reading/listening to this at all. This story will stay with me for a long time--like a mantle it lays over my shoulders. Outstanding job---so very well done. Standing ovation for this author. You shocked and inspired me.
found the book rather hard to get through. Skimmed the last third
Loved this book, can not wait to read the next book in series!
I enjoyed this book. It held my interest which is a hard thing to do.
This is a decent, if somewhat by the numbers, urban fantasy. I enjoyed the bit of deadline drama that the story introduced from the beginning of the novel. A tight, brisk adventure with a lot of twists and turns. I'm a little concerned about two things though. First, the various bands of monster hunters are particularly vicious. Granted ,if you're hunting creatures that are faster and stronger and as likely to kill you as look at you, you really do need to shoot first and ask questions after you're sure you've survived the encounter, or not in our protagonist, Evey's, case. That being said, as soon as they were informed that one of their own went rogue, they started a killing hunt that mowed down everything between them and their target. No worries, that's revealed in the first couple of pages. The point is they should have been more focused on capturing her, right? They're supposed to be the "good guys" so they don't kill things just because. They investigate, confirm, at least as much as they are able, right? This being the first book, and this reviewer, being a veteran of urban fantasy, even from before said genre was identified as such, guesses that there's a mole!!!(cue dramatic fanfare). Anywho, that's not in this volume, that's just my guess. However, I do hope that this is why our heroine was first notified of her employers' disfavor by a hail of bullets as opposed to an invitation to talk in a concrete room with bad lighting and a large mirror on one wall. Second, I'm afraid that this series will devolve Laurell K. Hamilton-like into nasty, NC-17 rated material. There were some scenes that had me worried, but due to the deadline the characters were under and the traumatic means of the character's death prior to the start of the book, these scenes were somewhat abortive. I have no complaints or trouble with some grown-up content, but the author I mentioned earlier went from flirting, to dating, to pr0n, to AAAAAAAAAAAAA, MY EYES!! I'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO UNREAD THAT!! So you can see why I'm a little worried. Regardless of the two concerns, this novel was definitely a fun debut for our characters and I'm interested in seeing a little more.