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Release Blog Tour Stop

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Welcome to Hackaroo’s Reviews stop on the Release blog tour. I am a huge fan of Mr. Merrick and am glad I have gotten to know him. He is an amazing and talented story writer and I am very honored to have him on my blog today. But first, here is a little bit about Matt:

M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer, and author of Exiled, the first installment in The Protector Series. Having never traveled, he adventures to far off lands through his imagination and in between cups of coffee. As a music lover and proud breakfast enthusiast, he’s usually found at the computer, between a pair of headphones and in front of a large bowl of cereal.

 

 

 

 

About Release:

From Goodreads:

After uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems.

Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father. Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates.

Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made – especially regarding Rayna.

One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn’t know anything. The light doesn’t always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn’t always stay in the past – sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.

Now….on with the interview:

Author Interview, Review & Giveaway!: Shark Bait by Jenn Cooksey

  • Where does your writing inspiration come from? Where do you get your ideas? 

Both inspiration and ideas come from two places. First, my imagination. It twists and turns things into something more than they began, and occasionally that something is really cool. And second, everything around me. Since I started writing, I pay attention to things in a more acute manner. When I see something of interest, my imagination takes hold and warps it into different things.

 Once I have a workable idea, or at least something that has done more than piqued my interest, I daydream about it, brainstorming to see if it’s an idea I think will be worth the time investment of exploring more. Sometimes it is and I do more planning and plotting, other times it’s an idea that either isn’t any good, or it isn’t ‘ready’ yet, and so it goes into an ideas folder for later.

  • What made you actually want to start writing?

 In all honesty, it happened by accident. Before I started writing Exiled (really the first type of fiction I had ever tried to write), I was having an incredibly hard week. I needed an escape. Usually I would turn to watching movies, playing video games, or reading books for this, but nothing was working. Nothing had exactly what I wanted, and so I decided to create what I wanted for myself. 

I sat down and wrote a scene with Chase and a demon, and then all these questions started popping into my head: Who is this guy? Why is the demon trying to kill him? Why is he alone? As the answers came to me, what I thought was a really good idea began to percolate and I just didn’t stop. A few months later, Exiled was born and I was extremely excited with what had just happened. I’d spent every night for six months working on it, and I wanted it to be read. So, I spend the next year editing, revising, and learning everything I could about the publishing industry. 

  • Do you have a method to your madness when you write?

I wish I could say yes, but in all honesty, it’s different with each book. Exiled was just written from my mind, no outline or anything. Shift had a very detailed plot that I tried to follow very closely. Whereas Release had a solid outline, which I neglected almost the entire time I was writing it. I visited the outline several times to review it, but I hardly looked at it once I really got going. The emotional turmoil of Release went where I wanted it to go, but it got there in a different way than I had planned.

  • What is the hardest part in writing a book for you? The action, romance, gore?

 The action and gore I don’t have an issue with. Romance was easy because it’s a very minor part of my series, and that had been planned since the beginning. It happens slowly. There is no love at first sight. Everything has advanced naturally for me.

 The hardest part is weaving everything together and knowing what to cut from the books. Some characters, sub plots, etc. appear at first to be either very obvious, or cliché. I wanted them to appear that way, but in the grand scheme of things, I knew they were not. Looking back now however, I realize I could’ve put things together in a different manner and in a much better way. 

I cut about 40,000 words from Exiled, because 80k-100k was the norm for submitting to literary agents. The problem is I ended up cutting out some pretty cool and important stuff that would’ve built the world better, and I never added it back in when I decided to self-publish. Some of those ‘missing’ or ‘obvious’ things have deterred readers from advancing with the series, and I think it was an issue I had with the delivery in Exiled. I’ve learned a lot over the course of this series, and that’s a lesson that is learned over time, I think. I definitely won’t make that mistake again.  

  • What is the easiest part to write about? 

Building all the different Underworlds and creating new monsters is the easiest for me. I literally just close my eyes, start with a single detail, and construct everything around it. It comes very naturally for me, and I think that’s one of the reasons I love writing in the Fantasy genre so much. I get to build my own world, my own rules, and my own monsters. That’s the part I most look forward to when I sit down to write each book. 

  • What was your favorite part to write?

 The same answer as above applies to this, but also, I love writing the scenes that incorporate magic. The elemental magic in The Protector is something I’ve always daydreamed about, since I was a little kid, and I love bringing it to life in my own way.

  •  Since you’ve started working for yourself, have you found it easier to write?

I actually find it more difficult since I decided to work from home. I think I write less. I stress about sales too much, since now I’m dependant on them, and since I’m home with the kids all day, I find myself procrastinating and putting it off when I finally have free time to write.

  • For those that have not had the chance to read Release, what can you tell us about what we might be expecting?

 It’s soul-splitting.

 It’s the most passionate book of the series so far. I always invest all of myself into any book I work on, but this one has my heart splattered on the pages. I knew it was going to be an emotional book to write back when I was working on the first draft of Shift, but when it finally came time to put Release together, it was more emotionally and mentally draining than I was prepared for. I’m still recovering and trying to get back into writing. I was exhausted when it was finished. Release is an incredibly intense piece of the story. 

Thank you so much Matt for allowing me the pleasure of having you on my blog. 🙂 I am very honored that you answered my questions.

Giveaway

 

 The tour giveaway is AWESOME & is INTERNATIONAL!
Grande Prize Pack (3 Winners)
3x Signed paperbacks (Exiled, Shift, Release)
3x Signed 8×10 posters (Exiled, Shift, Release)
5x Bookmarks
1x Notebook (Winner’s choice of cover)

1x Magnet

Runner-up Prize Pack (5 Winners)
1x Signed paperback (Winner’s choice of Exiled, Shift, or Release) with signed poster
1x bookmark (Winner’s choice)
1x Magnet
Secondary Prizes A (10 Winners)
Release eBooks
Secondary Prize B (10 Winners)
1x bookmark (winner’s choice)
1x The Protector magnet
Winners will be chosen as followsFirst 3 names drawn from Rafflecopter will get the grand prize. The following 5 names get the runner-up prize. The following 10 names win ebook copies of Release, and the final 10 names win the swag pack.
There will also be multiple opportunities to win signed paperbacks, signed posters, notebooks, swag packs, and bookmarks throughout the tour on both Twitter (@MRMerrick) and Facebook Fan Page .

 CLICK HERE TO ENTER!!!!!!

 

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Exiled & Shift by M.R. Merrick Tour

Power Will Flourish

 

Lives Will be Lost

 

Nothing, Will be Forgotten

Blurb:

Chase Williams is a demon hunter in the Circle, or at least he was supposed to be. On his fifteenth birthday, Chase stepped up to the altar to claim his elemental power, but it never came. Elemental magic is passed down to a hunter through the bloodline, but on Chase’s birthday, the bloodline stopped. 

Exiled without the Circle’s protection, Chase has spent two years trying to survive a world riddled with half-demons and magic. When he has a run in with a frightened and seemingly innocent demon, he learns the Circle’s agenda has changed: the Circle plans to unlock a portal and unleash pure-blood demons into the world. 

Vowing to stop them, and knowing he can’t do it alone, Chase forms a reluctant alliance with Rayna – a sexy witch with an attitude and a secret. In their attempt to stop them however, Chase and Rayna find themselves in the middle of the Circle’s plan, leaving one of them to decide what their friendship is worth, and the other’s life depending on it.

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble  ~ Goodreads

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Excerpt:

I’d had several jobs in the past year. This one I’d managed to keep for a few months. Most of my employers frowned on me coming to work with cuts and bruises all the time. It made for “poor presentation,” they’d say. I was thankful it hadn’t interfered with this job, yet.

I finished up my shift and had started my walk home from the burger joint when I felt it. A hunter doesn’t mistake the feeling that demons are around. It moves down your spine and chills your bones. Feeling it proved I was indeed a hunter, even without an element.

The August air was warm for the late hour, and a thick layer of sweat made my white shirt cling to me. I stopped and unzipped my duffle bag, locating the silver dagger inside. Silver was great no matter what you were fighting; it could do serious damage to anything of the Underworld.

The tingle shot down my spine again. If I focused, I could feel each hair on my neck rise. I saw a blur of movement across the street and watched it disappear into a shadowy alley. I moved across the street in a low crouch, resting my weight on the balls of my feet. I slowed my breathing and pulled the dagger from my bag before I slipped around the corner.

My senses were alive and strained to see movement, or hear the sound of feet shuffling against loose rocks. As a hunter, I could see well in the dark, though the only light came from a single flickering street lamp.

I was almost to the end of the alley when it hit. I couldn’t tell what “it” was, but it struck my back and launched me forward. My feet tumbled over my head and my back smashed hard into the concrete wall at the end of the alley. Hands grabbed me and lifted me to my feet, dragging me a few steps before throwing me back the other way. I flew through the air, hit the ground and rolled out into the street.

I used my momentum and came up on one knee to recover. My back burned where pavement had grated the skin off, but I pushed the pain aside as the figure stalked towards me.

“Your death will bring me great glory, hunter. Killing the son of Riley Williams will make me a legend among the Underworld,” the low voice gloated.

“That’s really great, good luck with that,” I said.

He smiled and the fangs that slid down from his gums were long and sharp. His pale skin started to thin as the vampire changed into his demon form.

Milky skin faded into transparent flesh, revealing the moving muscles beneath. Veins ran black through the vampire’s face and limbs, pushing against the thinning clear skin. Strange muscles in his hands pushed bony talons out over his finger nails, and the whites of his eyes disappeared, filling with an inky blackness. The dark orbs stared at me as his fanged mouth curled into a smile, and in a blur he sprang forward, talons swinging.

I ducked as they sliced through the air over my head. I brought the knife up into his stomach and twisted the blade before I pulled it out. Blood spilled onto the ground, but I knew the wound wasn’t enough to kill him. Cut off his head or pierce his black heart – those were my options. I could light him on fire, but I was fresh out of matches.

I brought my foot up and kicked the vampire back to give myself some room. I steadied myself, waiting for him to charge, but his body jerked and the point of a silver blade appeared in his chest before he could move.

The vamp’s body went limp and collapsed, then exploded in a flash of orange light. It burned away into a cloud of ash and littered the pavement, revealing the girl – of all things – who had beaten me to the kill.

Raven hair spilled over her pale shoulders with hints of red highlighting the occasional strand. A tight leather top revealed a sliver of toned stomach and a tease of cleavage. Black pants hugged her hips and long slender legs and met knee-high boots. Her skin glistened in the light, but the most noticeable of her features were her eyes.

Bright green orbs sparkled with an odd glow: demon’s eyes. They had the slit pupils of a cat that I’d never seen on anything other than a house pet or a shifter in animal form. I slipped back into fight mode. I’d never watched one demon kill another, but I suppose for the fame of killing me, why not?

I lunged and threw a punch at her face, but she dodged it with ease.

“You almost messed up my kill,” she snarled, and I had barely enough time to dodge her powerful kick.

“Your kill? You stole it from me!” I swung my fist and hit her stomach. She bent over, winded, before she stepped back and caught her breath, regaining her stance and composure.

“Stole it? Please, I’d been tracking him for blocks.” She spun and caught my chin with the heel of her boot, snapping my head to the side. I rubbed my jaw where she’d hit me and smiled.

“Well then, I guess it’s a good thing I was here to slow him down. Who knows if you would have been able to catch him?”

She moved in for another kick but I was ready. I grabbed her foot and pushed her back. She fell to the ground but quickly came to her feet. “I would have gotten him just fine on my own. Hunting is an art. It would’ve gone on as long as I deemed necessary.”

“Call it hunting if you want, but a filthy demon killing her own kind is still just that: a filthy demon.” I could tell I’d offended her even before she hit me.

My eyes watered when her fist smashed into my nose and her foot connected with my stomach in quick succession. I jerked back to avoid the knee that flew towards my face and pushed it to the side, but she was already moving towards me. Her hands hit my chest hard and I soared through the air for a long moment before I hit the ground. I felt a sharp pain shoot up through my spine and I could hear her laughter as I struggled to my feet.

“I have to admit I expected more from you, Chase, being the infamous son of Riley Williams and all.”

I gripped my dagger until my knuckles turned white and spoke through gritted teeth. “I’ll try not to disappoint.”

My fist hit her jawbone and made a loud crack. I came back with my other hand and wrapped it around her throat. I stepped into the movement and threw her forward in a burst of hunter’s strength. She slammed into the ground but recovered faster than I anticipated. Before I could brace myself she was on top of me.

I pulled her body down and we rolled over each other against the cold concrete until I was on top. I kept a handful of her hair wound tight in my fist and pushed my blade against her throat. “More what you expected?”

“Not really.” She smirked.

I felt the point of a knife pushing against my stomach. Before I could react, a commanding male voice came from behind us.

“Enough!” it boomed.

I didn’t take the knife or my eyes off the demon beneath me.

“But we were just starting to have fun,” she complained. The smile on her face was anything but threatening. If this was her idea of fun, I didn’t want to know what she considered boring.

“Rayna, enough,” the man repeated.

She sighed, sticking out her bottom lip in a pout before the knife left my skin. “Truce?” she said with an innocent face.

“Not a chance,” I replied, pushing the knife harder against her throat.

I was pulled away from Rayna and pressed against a wall, thick hands around my throat. I raised my blade but my opponent blocked and twisted my arm at an awkward angle. The man ripped the blade from my hand and I squirmed.

“Calm down, Chase. We are not here to hurt you,” the voice said. A complete shadow hung around the figure, moving as he moved.

“So she attacked me for fun?” I snapped.

“If we wanted you dead, you would be,” he said, releasing his grip, and I fell to the sidewalk. He stepped back slowly and the shadow peeled itself from his body. As it faded, it revealed a large man whose magic I’d never sensed before.

“If you don’t want to kill me, what do you want?” I asked.

The man reached forward, a large dark arm holding out my dagger. I wrapped my hand around it in confusion. The contrast of our skin was drastic; my pale flesh glowed against his midnight color and the size of his hand alone made me feel small.

“What Rayna told you was true. We were tracking the vampire, not you. Although I’m happy to finally meet you, I’d imagined this moment under different circumstances,” he said.

“There are ways to meet people besides attacking them.”

“I agree. You must forgive us; Rayna is quick to lash out when insulted.” My eyes met his and I couldn’t read his expression. I knew I hadn’t been polite, but I wasn’t about to apologize to a demon. “You know, your father would not have hesitated to kill her, no matter his position.”

“Congratulations, you’ve discovered I’m not my father. What the hell would you know about him anyways?”

He turned his head to the side and as the light hit his neck it revealed a tattoo. It was the one every hunter received after their ceremony. The one I never got.

The tattoo made me realize why he could bend the shadows; he was an air elemental and a powerful one at that. I had heard stories of hunters being able to work with shadows, but I’d never seen it done firsthand.

I looked him over, not sure what to think of a hunter working with a demon. He was taller than me by an inch, around six-foot three. His head was smooth shaven, though there was a small patch of hair under his lower lip. His skin seemed like a smooth dark chocolate. His body was large and square, broad shoulders making him a massive column of strength and power. He filled out a sharp black suit jacket and wore black loafers, leaving the only color on him a flash of bright blue dress shirt.

“You’re a hunter.”

“Once upon a time, yes I was.”

He broke eye contact and cleared his throat, extending his massive hand towards me. “Look at my manners. Let me introduce myself. I am Marcus Starkraven.”

My eyebrows shot up; I knew that name! “You’re supposed to be dead.”

“Is that what you heard?”

“You used to hunt with my father.”

He nodded slightly, but otherwise ignored the comment. “You already met Rayna,” he said, taking his unshaken hand back.

I looked at Rayna and got caught in the depths of her green, slit eyes.

“What are you doing with a demon?” I said, spitting out the last word like a curse.

“How’s your nose?” Rayna asked.

I touched it and looked at the blood on my fingers. “Lucky shot.”

She chuckled and stepped towards me. “Care to go again?” Marcus put an arm in front of her.

“Not what we’re doing right now,” he said.

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“She is my student. And my friend.”

I couldn’t respond. I didn’t believe it. A hunter being friends with a demon was unfathomable.

“I would have thought, being out in the real world, you’d have come to understand, Chase. Some Underworlders don’t fit the Circle’s black and white image of good and evil,” he said.

“The only Underworlders I’ve come across have tried to kill me.”

“Your name is feared by many in the Underworld. Your father has created quite the reputation for himself, so they fear you as well,” Marcus said.

I smirked. “As they should.”

He shook his head. “That wasn’t a compliment.

 

 

 

M.R. Merrick is a Canadian writer and author of The Protector Series, a Young Adult mash-up between Urban and Epic Fantasy. Having never traveled, he adventures to far off lands through his imagination and in between cups of coffee. As a music lover and proud breakfast enthusiast, he’s usually found at the computer between a pair of headphones and in front of a large bowl of cereal.

 

 

 

Giveaway

3 signed copies of SHIFT available to be won.

INTERNATIONAL.

Since Rafflecopter does not work on my blog, go HERE to enter in the giveaway

Ends Dec 3rd

Cover Reveal: Release by M.R. Merrick

 

 

Today on the blog I have a cover reveal from one of my favorite authors and good friend Matt Merrick. I’m so honored and excited to be a part of this reveal. Matt is amazing and I adore him!

Without much further ado…..the fantastical cover:

 

Official blurb:

After uniting the shifters and calling in reinforcements, Chase has to face his toughest challenge yet: learning to control his emotions. But as tensions rise and his powers grow, controlling his emotions becomes the least of his problems.

Terrorized by a multi-shifter who is hell-bent on turning him, Chase questions just how far he’s willing to go to stop his father.  Meanwhile, Tiki’s virtuous nature has placed him in the middle of Vincent’s past, leaving Chase to oppose a senate of vampires and defend a demon he hates.

Trying to balance his friends, his enemies, and his inner demons, Chase is left searching for answers about the Mark, his destiny, and where he can find the next soul piece. Stopping Riley is his top priority, but as more obstacles arise, he finds himself doubting all the decisions he’s made – especially regarding Rayna.

One thing is for certain: Chase has finally realized that he doesn’t know anything. The light doesn’t always quell the darkness, the monsters don’t always stay in the shadows, and the past doesn’t always stay in the past – sometimes, the demons inside are the hardest to fight.

The official release date for this is December 10, 2012 so make sure to mark it on your calendar! I know I will. 😉

Check out my friend Matt here —-> M.R. Merrick | Goodreads | Exiled (Protector #1) | Shift (Protector #2)

Tell me what you think of it!!! I want to know!!! Leave me some comments!!!

Review: Shift by M.R.Merrick

Shift by M.R. Merrick

Goodreads description:

Devastated by the loss of his mother, Chase is trying to balance the life he’s been left with, a family he’s still getting to know, and power he never thought he’d have. He doesn’t understand why the Goddess has named him the Protector and granted him two gifts: the Mark, a tattoo that now covers his back, and the ring. But between getting interrogated by the Circle and psychic attacks from Riley, the Mark is the least of his concern. There’s a demon inside Rayna that’s fighting to be released, and it’s not her inner witch. It’s something else–a monster threatening to tear her apart.

As Chase struggles to control his magic, his enemies are closing in. Everyone has staked a claim on his ring, and destroying it may be his only chance to stop Riley. But Chase must decide if stopping him is worth risking the lives of everyone he cares about, or if protecting the ring will be enough to save his world.

Why did I pick this?

First off, I read the first book in the series Exiled. You can read my review of that HERE. Second, I love me some Merrick 🙂 I met him on Twitter and became friends. He’s a great guy and an awesome writer! Third, after reading the first one, I could NOT wait to read the second. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of the book and I completely devoured it.

What did I think?

Ummm….firstly:

***COVER LOVE***COVER LOVE***COVER LOVE***

I absolutely freaking love this cover. I mean look at it. Wowza to the extreme. I loved the cover when I first saw it on his blog and now that I’ve read the book, I love it even more. I can appreciate how the entire book ties in with the cover. The panther, the fire, the hurricane in the back….it just takes my breath away. I am such a sucker for covers. Can you blame me? It’s what draws the eye in the first place. If I saw this in the store on a shelf, my eyes would be drawn and they’d linger.It’s just….awesome.

Now that I’ve got that out of my system…On with the review….

This picks up right after Exiled and takes off running. The whole book starts off fast-paced and does not let up the entire time. I’ve tweeted a couple time how absolutely visual this book is. It’s like I can feel everything. It’s like the heat from Chase’s fire was literally emanating off the pages. I loved it. When there’s a battle going on, I totally picture myself IN the battle.

The characters that you only got a peek of in the first book, get reintroduced in more depth in this one. I felt more of a connection to each one which made it so great. I love it when characters grow and you get to see more sides of them. Each character grows and you seem to grow right along with them.

Chase is absolutely swoon worthy to be sure. He deals with so much stuff in this book and he handles it all so fantastically. He’s a very strong character and I admire him in so many ways. He takes things in stride and is a natural leader. I love that he fights for what he believes and takes care of the people he cares about.

Rayna is adorable. I can’t get over what a kick in the pants she is. She’s such as awesome part of this entire series. She’s strong and handles her own. My kind of chick. She’s also pretty badass with a whip. She also goes through so much and it’s great that she can lean on Chase and he helps her through all of it.

Marcus is a good man. He is hell bent on protecting the people he loves. I liked that I got to see a little bit more of the man behind the Hunter in this book. My heart broke for him a couple times but overall I admire him. He does what he thinks is right and stands by his word. He’s a very wise man as well. He’s someone to be reckoned with too.

Tiki….Oh Tiki how I love him. He is just so hilarious. He is a wonderful addition to this book. I couldn’t see this series without him. Whenever he went all demon, I totally did a happy dance. He is some serious badassness. He is a serious force. I mean serious. I loved him more and more in this book.

Willy. Ok, so I fell in love with Willy in the first book. Absolute love. He is just so dang adorable I couldn’t help myself. I think one of the nest parts in this book is when he stands up for himself and for Chase. It warmed my heart all the way to my toes and made me have a goofy grin on my face. I swelled with pride and did a fist pump in the air for him. It was a great moment. He’s still so adorable. *cheesy grins*

Vincent. Oh sweet baby Jesus. LOL He is one conniving vampire. Serious shyte. But I love him nonetheless. He is a fantastic necessity to this book and adds that certain comic relief. His banter with Chase sets off some of the best scenes in the book. I can’t WAIT to see him go toe to toe with  Chase. Man to vamp. It will be so EPIC.

Riley: One. Bad. Ass. Mo-Fo. Not to be taken lightly. I wanted to smack him myself so many damn times. He’ll get whats coming to him I’m sure.

Like I mentioned above, this entire book was a non-stop rollercoaster of action and intrigue. When I thought there was a second of breathing room, something would explode or someone would jump out. It was madness. But I loved every second.

The chemistry between Rayna and Chase is so magical. They are the perfect team. The unconditional trust is there with both of them. It’s a wonderful thing to read and a great feeling to get.

I was on the edge of my seat the entire time reading this book. Merrick has this a way to capture your attention and keep it the entire time. He did a fantastical job of creating this demon/hunter world that takes my breath away. His attention to detail in even the minute things is so addicting. The battle, the blood, the shifting, the different dimensions…everything was almost poetic (I know that sounds kind of cheesy but there are only so many times I can say awesome).

Merrick gave this book before it hits the shelved on February 1st. I felt so privileged to have received it.

It really is a great feeling when an amazing writer chooses you to read and review a book of this stature. So a special thank you goes to Merrick for bestowing that honor to me. I knew this book was going to be a smash hit because the first one was amazing.

Some of my favorite quotes:

I realized then, that besides my mother, I’d never completely trusted anyone. Not like I did Rayna. It should’ ve worried me that I had such faith in her. Worried that one day she might leave, too. I should’ve been scared, but I wasn’t

Willy looked up at her with fear in his eyes, and Grams reached down and ruffled his hair. “Ah, don’t worry Williams, we’ll get you some help. Besides, I always wanted a puppy.”

“For someone who’s five hundred years old, you’re an immature dick,” Rayna said. <—This is a personal favorite hehe