Wild Things (Chicagoland Vampires Series #9)

( 23 )

Overview

Since Merit was turned into a vampire, and the protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House, it’s been a wild ride. She and Master vampire Ethan Sullivan have helped make Cadogan’s vampires the strongest in North America, and forged ties with paranormal folk of all breeds and creeds, living or dead…or both.

But now those alliances are about to be tested. A strange and twisted magic has ripped through the North American Central Pack, and Merit’s closest friends are caught in the ...

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Wild Things (Chicagoland Vampires Series #9)

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Overview

Since Merit was turned into a vampire, and the protector of Chicago’s Cadogan House, it’s been a wild ride. She and Master vampire Ethan Sullivan have helped make Cadogan’s vampires the strongest in North America, and forged ties with paranormal folk of all breeds and creeds, living or dead…or both.

But now those alliances are about to be tested. A strange and twisted magic has ripped through the North American Central Pack, and Merit’s closest friends are caught in the crosshairs. Gabriel Keene, the Pack Apex, looks to Merit and Ethan for help. But who—or what—could possibly be powerful enough to out-magic a shifter?

Merit is about to go toe to toe, and cold steel to cold heart, to find out.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
Praise for the Chicagoland Vampire novels:

“If you are looking for a vampiric role model, you couldn’t do any better than Merit....Chicago is lucky to have her.”—#1 New York Times Bestselling Author Charlaine Harris

"A wonderfully compelling vampire heroine." —USA Today bestselling author Julie Kenner

"[A] strong-minded, sharp-witted heroine who will appeal to fans of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse and Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake." —Library Journal

“Delivers enough action, plot twists, and fights to satisfy the most jaded urban fantasy reader.”—Monsters and Critics

“If you loved Nancy Drew but always wished she was an undead sword-wielding badass, Merit is your kind of girl.” –Geek Monthly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451415196
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Series: Chicagoland Vampires Series , #9
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 33,722
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Chloe Neill

Chloe Neill was born and raised in the South, but now makes her home in the Midwest. She is the author of the Chicagoland Vampire series, including Biting Bad, House Rules, and Biting Cold. When not transcribing Merit's adventures, she bakes, works, and scours the Internet for good recipes and great graphic design. Chloe also maintains her sanity by spending time with her boys—her photographer husband and their dogs, Baxter and Scout.

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Read an Excerpt

Within the last ten months, I’d become a vampire, joined Chicago’s Cadogan House, and become its Sentinel.

I'd learned how to wield a sword, how to bluff a monster, how to fall, and how to get back up.

Perhaps most of all, I'd learned about loyalty. And based on the magic that was pouring through the House's first-floor hallway, I hadn't been the only one who'd taken that particular quality to heart.

Dozens of Cadogan's vampires stood in the hallway outside the office of our Master, Ethan Sullivan, waiting for a call, for a word, for a plan. We stood in our requisite Cadogan black with our katanas at our sides because Ethan-our Liege and my lover was preparing to run.

"Out of one fire and right into another," said the attractive blond vampire beside me. Lindsey was a member of Cadogan's guard corps and a skilled and capable fighter, but tonight she looked, as usual, more like a fashionista than a century-old vampire guard. She'd left her suit jacket downstairs and had matched her satin-striped black tuxedo pants with a white button-down and four-inch stiletto heels.

“Do they actually think we’d just let them take him?” she asked. “That we’d let them arrest him—our Master—right there in front of the House?”

An hour ago, a Chicago Police Department detective—fortunately, one of our allies—had come calling, advising us that the city’s prosecutor had obtained a warrant for Ethan’s arrest.

Ethan had killed Harold Monmonth, a powerful vampire from Europe who’d murdered two human guards before turning his sword on us. Ethan had acted in obvious self-defense, but violence had recently rocked the Windy City. Its citizens were afraid, and its mayor, Diane Kowalcyzk, was looking for someone to blame. She’d apparently managed to bring the prosecutor to her side.

That’s why Ethan was sequestered in his office with Luc, the captain of Cadogan’s guards, and Malik, the House’s second in command, making a plan.

Detective Jacobs suggested Ethan seek refuge with the Breck- enridges, a family of shape-shifters who lived in Loring Park, a suburb outside Chicago. That meant he’d also be outside the mayor’s jurisdiction. The Brecks were über-wealthy, well con- nected, and politically influential. That was a powerful combi- nation and enough, we hoped, to keep the mayor from using him as a sacrificial lamb.

Papa Breck, the family patriarch, was a friend of my father, Chicago real estate mogul Joshua Merit. I’d gone to school with some of the Breckenridge boys and had even dated one of them. But the Brecks had no love for vampires, which was part of the reason for the closed-door negotiations.

Ethan was the other reason. He was nearly four centuries old, and he had the stubbornness to match his age. Going gently into that good night wasn’t his style, but Luc and Malik wanted him safely away. It had been a long winter for the House— including Ethan’s premature demise and resurrection—and we didn’t need any more drama. We certainly didn’t trust Kowalcyzk and feared turning Ethan over to a justice system that seemed to be rigged against us.

The door had been closed for an hour. Voices had been raised, and the disagreement between Ethan and his soldiers spilled tense magic into the hallway. That was my particular point of con- tention. I was Cadogan’s Sentinel, but I hadn’t been allowed in the office. The words “plausible deniability” had been thrown around—right before the door had been shut in my face.

“The mayor knew there’d be trouble,” I said. “The CPD al- ready said Ethan acted in self-defense. And we just handed McKetrick to them on a silver platter. The city has absolutely nothing to complain about where we’re concerned.”

The detective’s warning had come only hours after we’d managed to prove McKetrick, the city’s now former supernatural liaison, was the source of the riots that had spread violence, de- struction, and fire around the city. You’d think that would have put us in the mayor’s good graces. Alas, no.

“They won’t stay away forever,” I said. “Jacobs wouldn’t have warned us if he didn’t think they were serious. And that doesn’t give us many options. Ethan flees, or we have to fight.”

“Whatever their next move, the House will be ready,” Lindsey said. “We just have to scoot Ethan out of here.” She checked a delicate gold watch. “Not much time before sunrise. This is going to be close.”

“Papa Breck could still say no,” I pointed out, wrapping my arms around my knees. He and Ethan were different sups, but equally stubborn.

But Lindsey shook her head. “Not if he’s smart. Arresting a vampire for a bullshit reason isn’t far from arresting a shifter for a bullshit reason. If Papa Breck doesn’t take a stand now, he’ll put the Pack at risk. But if he does take a stand?” She clucked her tongue. “Then he wins, double or nothing. We’ll owe him a favor, and he’ll have stood up to Kowalcyzk. That reinforces his power, and it’s just—”

Before she could finish, the office door opened.

Luc and Malik emerged, Ethan behind them. All three were tall and bore the toughened shoulders of men in charge, but the physical similarities ended there.

Luc had tousled blond-brown hair and preferred snug jeans and well-worn boots to Ethan’s and Malik’s exquisite suits. Since Ethan’s welfare fell under his jurisdiction, Luc’s ruggedly hand- some features were tight with concern.

Malik had cocoa skin, closely cropped hair, and pale green eyes that thoughtfully took in the hallway of vampires. Malik was reserved, careful, and unquestionably respected by the House. But like Luc, he also didn’t look thrilled with the circumstances.

And then there was Ethan.

He was built like an athlete—long and lean, with taut muscles and a body that fit perfectly into his trim black suit. His hair was straight, shoulder length, and golden, framing a face so gorgeous it might have been sculpted by a master artist. Straight nose, honed cheekbones, lush mouth, and eyes as sharp and green as flawless emeralds. Ethan was as alpha as they came, protective and preten- tious, intelligent and strategic, and stubborn enough to match me well.

We’d had our false starts, but we’d finally found a clear path to each other. That might have been the biggest miracle of all.

Ethan’s forehead was pinched in concern, but his eyes gave away nothing. He was the Master of our House; he didn’t have the luxury of self-doubt.

A dozen vampires jumped to their feet.

“I’ll be traveling to the Breckenridge estate,” Ethan an- nounced. “Cadogan vampires do not run. We do not hide. We do not scurry into the dark. We face our problems—head-on. But this House has been through much of late. I have been asked, for the sake of the House, to consider making myself scarce. I have agreed to do so—as a temporary measure.”

The tension in my chest eased, but not by much. He clearly wasn’t thrilled with the plan.

“In the meantime, we’ll try to put this ugly business to bed. The House’s lawyers will address the warrant. Malik has a friend in the governor’s office, and he’ll reach out to determine if the governor can encourage Mayor Kowalcyzk to act reasonably.”

That was news to me, but then again, Malik was the quiet sort. And I didn’t think he was the type to call in a political favor unless absolutely necessary.

“You’ll take Merit to the Brecks’?” Lindsey asked. “Assuming she can fit it into her schedule,” he said.

Drama or not, there was always time for snark in Cadogan House.

“I’ll manage,” I assured him, “although I hate to leave my grandfather here.”

My grandfather was Chicago’s former supernatural liaison— emphasis on the “former”—but he and his employees, Catcher Bell and Jeff Christopher, still helped the CPD with supernatural issues. Because he’d helped us investigate the riots, McKetrick had targeted him. Grandpa’s house had been firebombed, and he’d been caught in the explosion. He was recovering, but he was still in the hospital. He’d been more of a father to me than my

actual father, and although he had people to protect him, I felt guilty leaving while he was out of service.

“I’ll check in on him,” Luc promised. “Give you updates.”

“In that case,” Ethan said, “we’ll leave shortly. Malik has the House. And as you know, he makes a very capable Master when I’m . . . indisposed.”

There were appreciative chuckles in the crowd. It wasn’t Ma- lik’s first rodeo as Master; he’d held the job when Ethan hadn’t been among the living.

“I will be honest. This may not work. We are betting that Diane Kowalcyzk is politically ambitious enough to not cross the Breckenridge family. That gambit could prove incorrect. Either way, our relationship with the city of Chicago could get worse before it gets better. But we are, and we will remain, Cadogan vampires.”

He arched an eyebrow, a habit he used frequently and usually with good effect. “Of course, those Cadogan vampires should be at work right now, not eavesdropping outside their Master’s office.”

Smiling and appropriately chastised, the vampires dispersed, of- fering good-byes to their Liege as they passed. Margot, the House’s brilliant chef, squeezed my hand, then headed down the hallway toward the kitchen.

Malik, Luc, Lindsey, and I stepped inside Ethan’s office. He looked over his staff.

“We have a brief reprieve,” Ethan said, “but the city may come knocking again.”

“The House is ready,” Luc said. “Lakshmi, however, is still on her way. We couldn’t convince her to delay.”

That was another sticky situation. Cadogan was no longer a member of the Greenwich Presidium, the organization that ruled

North American and Western European vampire houses. Mon- month had been one of its members. The GP was no friend of Cadogan House, and they apparently weren’t willing to ignore the fact that we were now responsible for the deaths of two of their members. While we were no longer concerned about their opinion of us, they made powerful and dangerous enemies.

Lakshmi, one of the remaining GP members, was traveling to Chicago to render its verdict. It probably helped that she was one of the more commonsensical members of the GP, but it was odd that she was traveling while Darius West, the GP head, stayed under the radar in London. He’d been a political nonentity since an attack by a vampire assassin relieved him of his confidence, or so we surmised.

As it turned out, Lakshmi also was a friend to the Red Guard, the secret organization that kept watch on the Houses and their Masters. I was a new member, partnered with the guard captain from Grey House, Jonah. Lakshmi had provided insider infor- mation about GP shenanigans; in return for her help, I’d offered an unspecified favor. It was inevitable she’d attempt to collect; vampires were particular that way.

“Keep her out of the House,” Ethan said. “We aren’t members of the GP, and she has no business in our domain. She may have a legitimate claim to reparations, but that can be dealt with when we’ve dealt with the city.”

“I spoke with Lakshmi’s majordomo,” Luc said, “tried to winnow information out of her. She wouldn’t budge.”

“We’ll deal with it when we deal with it,” Ethan said. “This entire situation is fraught with hazard.”

Malik nodded. “It all comes down to who blinks first.”

Ethan’s eyes flattened. “Whatever happens, Cadogan House will not blink first.”

We lived in Chicago, which meant off-street parking spots were hard to come by and the objects of envy. The House’s coveted underground parking lot was accessible through the basement, so we headed downstairs. Ethan keyed the security pad at the door and stepped inside the basement but, when the heavy door closed behind us, dropped his duffel and grabbed my hand.

“Come here,” he said, voice heavy with desire. He didn’t wait for my response, but caught me by surprise, his mouth on mine, his hands at my waist, suddenly insistent.

I was nearly out of breath when he finally released me. “What was that?” I barely managed to ask.

Ethan brushed a lock of hair behind my ear. “I had need of you, Sentinel.”

“You’ve got me,” I assured him with a smile. “But at the moment, we have need of speed.”

“Not your best work,” he cannily said, but he put a hand on my cheek and gazed into my eyes as if he might discover the world’s secrets there. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m nervous about leaving,” I admitted. “You’re worried about your grandfather.”

I nodded. “He was asleep when I called. He’ll understand— he always does. I just wish I didn’t have to ask him to be under- standing.”

Ethan kissed my brow. “You are a good granddaughter, Car- oline Evelyn Merit.”

“I’m not sure about that. But I’m trying.” Sometimes, that was the best a girl could do.

I gestured toward the gleaming silver bullet that sat in the House’s visitor spot, the antique Mercedes roadster Ethan had bought for me from the Pack leader himself. She was sweet and perfectly restored, and I called her Moneypenny. She was also still registered in Gabriel’s name, which seemed a better transpor- tation option than taking Ethan’s car. But since he had decades’ more driving experience than me—and we were in a hurry—I held out the keys.

“Shall we?”

Ethan’s eyes widened with delight. He’d been attempting to buy Moneypenny for years and had probably wanted to slide behind the wheel for even longer.

“If we’re going to run,” he said, taking the keys from me, a spark jumping across our fingertips as they brushed, “we might as well escape in style.”

Sometimes that was the best a vampire could do.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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(18)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 14, 2014

    Every girl should want to be Merit in some way!

    I have to say I am a big fan of Merit and Ethan! And however it turns out that I'm still reading it at the same time. I just don't want to put the book down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2014

    another wonderful book

    another wonderful book

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    Loved it!

    I love this series and I loved this book! These two characters and their relationship are the best that paranormal fiction has to offer. I thought the last book was a bit flat but not this one. Loved the storyline, the connection to the shifters and other supernaturals, and all of the peripneral characters we've come to love. Smoking hot chemistry! And a hint of whats to come. Love this series, cant wait for the next book!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2014

    As always another home run for Chloe Neill. This continuation of

    As always another home run for Chloe Neill. This continuation of Merit's story was brilliant. There is always plenty of action, humor and a bit of romance thrown in. Loved the supporting character's as always. It was nice to see an old one return and a new one thrown in the mix. Merit and Ethan make a perfect couple who balance each other allowing them to thrive. Their friends and allies always make things interesting as well. I look forward to many more Chicagoland Vampire books. Absolutely a 5 star read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This was absolutely worth the wait.  It grabbed my attention fro

    This was absolutely worth the wait.  It grabbed my attention from the first paragraph and held it throughout the book.  I really like how the relationship between Merit and Ethan is progressing.  And the story line had some twists I didn't see coming, one of my favorite things.  Definitely a binge read - which is exactly what I did!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    Great book!!

    Awesome!! Some hard times coming for Ethan and Merit! Can wait read about them. Chloe Neill keeps getting better and better. Hope she write faster so we don't have a long wait!!! Highly recommend this series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2014

    ANOTHER HOMER!

    I can't believe how much i am in love with this series! Neill is an amazing novelist and the story keeps getting better and better.
    Merit and Ethan have always had their ups and their downs but this time Merit has to make a choice, and it could be the hardest one yet, to be selfish or let go. Mallory and Catcher and the rest of the gang are all here, there are surprising discoveries and revelations and an "ending" you don't want to miss. With action and drama and suspense i'd say its in my top favorite "must keep reading" list.
    T.E.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    Great series

    Series is still fresh abd interesting, can't wait for the next book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2014

    Love thus series

    Cant put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2014

    Great additn totheseries

    Continues the story from the lastnovel

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2014

    My Initial Reaction¿ Well that was exciting! I can literally fee

    My Initial Reaction…
    Well that was exciting! I can literally feel Chloe bringing this series towards an exciting conclusion, with all the twists she threw in Wild Things. A great read and I look forward to the next several books! Oh and we’re on book 9, so there’s gonna be series spoilers, sorry folks!




    The Narration…
    Sophie Eastlake has really grown on me – not that she wasn’t good from the start. She was. In fact, as soon as she took over the series, she was a relief. But now, she’s more than that. For me, she’s Merit. She has a kind of sophistication to her voice and pacing that fits the world she’s narrating – Merit is a product of the highest levels of society. The vampires are no slouches either. And really no one in these books is living anything short of a comfortable life, although most are well above that. And there’s something about Sophie’s voice that just exudes that and makes me feel like I’ve been transported to that world. I can’t imagine not listening to this series at this point.




    The Characters…
    If you’ve followed my reviews of the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES series, you know that at one point I loved Ethan. And then he screwed up. Again. And Again. And then I said forget it Ethan, Jonah is way better anyway. And when things started to look like they were going to finally work out for Ethan and Merit, I accepted it, but begrudgingly. And I didn’t love them as a couple anymore. So when I say that I’m back on Team Ethan with Wild Things, you know that saying something.




    So what changed? Ethan! Oh don’t get me wrong, he’s still this incredibly gorgeous, irresistible, somewhat infuriating master vampire. But he finally GETS Merit and knows she’s where it’s at. He loves her and knows that that means making her his priority. And trusting her! Finally, Ethan is letting Merit be the kick ass sentinel that he appointed. Sure he’s still protective, but to a normal, “I love you and don’t want you hurt” extent. Not to a “I love you and that means I control you and don’t trust you extent.” So Ethan has changed for the better. What can I say? I guess some guys have to live hundreds of years and die twice before they finally figure out that they’ve got a good thing and how to treat her.




    Merit, on the other hand, hasn’t really changed. And I LOVE that, too. She’s still tough and smart and not afraid to make tough decisions she knows Ethan might not like. See, how that worked? She stayed true to who she was and he came around. :)




    Another favorite relationship of mine that had gone sour was the one between Merit and her best friend Mallory. I loved Mallory and then she went all evil. Well, she’s been working on coming back the last few books and in Wild Things I feel like she’s finally there. The interaction between her and Merit is almost back to the same wittiness I loved and she’s getting to be pretty kick ass herself, in a non-evil way. So that’s a plus. And she’s healing things with Catcher, which continues to be great.




    In these reviews I always seem to spend too much time on the characters, but the thing is, I LOVE the supporting characters in this series. So I’m not going to gush ad nauseum about Jeff and Gabriel, but they were great in Wild Things too. And I’m not going to get overly excited about the brief moments with Malik and her grandfather, that despite being brief rocked. Point is, the whole cast was there and they shined as usual.




    The Story…
    We pick up Wild Things right where Biting Bad left off. Meaning Ethan’s in trouble with Mayor Kowalcyzk for murder (in self-defense), which spells trouble for the House and for Merit. Thankfully Merit and Ethan flee to the protection of the Shifters – specifically the Breckinridges – in hopes that the Mayor will recognize their political and financial power and lay off Ethan.  I got excited about this when I realized that this was going to mean lots of Shifter action (it’s no secret I love the Shifters) and when Gabriel showed up to explain that they would be joining the shifters for Lubricallia (sp? problem with an audio book, you don’t learn how to spell these things) I pretty much yelped. Lubricallia is a magical event and the way Chloe wrote it was pretty awesome. As was the subsequent attack. By…. well you don’t want me to spoil it do you? Point is they get attacked and the gang gets to work – as usual – solving the mystery.




    The mystery was pretty good. I’ve gotten used to the way the mysteries work though, so there weren’t many twists or surprises there. Somehow Chloe has managed to bring even more supernaturals into her story. You thought she’d pretty much covered them all, huh? Nope, but now I think she has. That was a lot of fun. And there’s some MAJOR foreshadowing for events to come in future books, courtesy of Gabriel.




    Concluding Sentiments…
    Wild Things was another fun installment from the CHICAGOLAND VAMPIRES world and I look forward to the next one, due in August.

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  • Posted March 7, 2014

    Highly recommended.

    I Love the Chicago land books ; I love me some Ethan and Malory. Really GOOD SERIES keep up the good work. AWESOME WRITER.

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  • Posted March 3, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A strange new enemy has emerged, attacking the shifter packs wit

    A strange new enemy has emerged, attacking the shifter packs with Merit and Ethan stuck in the middle. Merit must uncover the attacker before a hidden clan of elves and the shifters declares war. 


    Their is unrest in the vampire's ruling government, for Merit to choose the right course of action for the vampire world might just cost her the man she loves.


    Wild Things is another high velocity read. From the first few pages the story takes off and kept me invested till the end. Old wounds are healing and friendships are rekindled. New chances at trust and happiness arise with equal chances of lose and heart ache. 


    The revelation behind the prophecy about Merit was utterly shocking, I can't wait to see how this will play out.


    I am a Neill fan. Her writing and characters pop off the pages and come alive in my imagination. The story sticks with me well after I'm done reading and I contemplate the what ifs and maybes for what is to come. That, to me, is an awesome book worth 5 huge stars. Brilliant new addition to the Chicagoland Vampires series, Wild Things is another must read from Chloe Neill.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2014

    Amazing!!!!

    I can't wait until the next book comes out!

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    Posted February 16, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2014

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