Nell Iris


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Release blitz and #giveaway: Tops Down Bottoms Up by Jay Northcote

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
 
Length: 23,000 words approx 
 
 
Blurb

Will Rowan’s festival fling with sexy dancer Seth lead to something more permanent?

Rowan is stuck at a folk festival helping out a mate, and it really isn’t his scene. The yoga and singing workshops are bad enough, but morris dancing is the final straw. Bearded men with beer guts prancing around wearing bells—who wants to watch that?

All Rowan’s preconceptions are shattered when he meets Seth—a morris dancer, and the stuff Rowan’s fantasies are made of. Seth persuades Rowan to come to a dancing workshop, and Rowan’s willing to do whatever it takes to get to know Seth better. The attraction is mutual, and a lesson filled with innuendo and flirting leads to an incredible night together.

When Rowan arrives home, he’s gutted to find that Seth has given him the wrong phone number. Assuming Seth did it on purpose, Rowan resolves to forget about him. But fate—and friends—conspire to get them back together. Will they manage to stay in step this time around?

A much shorter version of this story was originally published in the Not Quite Shakespeare Anthology by Dreamspinner Press. This version has been revised and extended. Almost half of it is new content.

Author Bio

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story–just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is transgender and was formerly known as she/her.

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Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan: #BlogTour #teaser #giveaway

Today, I am honored and happy to welcome Heidi Cullinan to my blog. Heidi is on tour for her new release Antisocial, and she’s one of the main reasons I love this genre so much. The first M/M book I ever read was Nowhere Ranch, and I absolutely loved it. I adored the characters—especially Roe—and I was in awe of the juxtaposition between the kinkiness and the intense emotional connection between the Roe and Travis.

It remains one of my favorite books to this day and it makes it extra special for me to have Heidi as a guest here on my blog. So please, join me in welcoming Heidi and let’s talk about Antisocial 🙂

 

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Thanks so much for having me here today, Nell!

I’m here to give you a little teaser from my upcoming novel, Antisocial. Antisocial is a new adult gay and asexual romance set in a fictional college in upstate New York between a one-percenter fraternity boy and a highly antisocial artist. One encounter with Xander Fairchild’s artwork is enough to turn Skylar Stone’s carefully orchestrated life upside down, unlacing his secrets and inviting him into a secret anime-soaked world with a new set of friends. But will they be brave enough to embrace their fragile new relationship and let it last beyond the summer?

Here’s an excerpt from the novel. I hope you enjoy it!

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Excerpt:

Skylar arrived at the crooked bench at 12:20, ready to apologize for being late, only to discover Xander wasn’t there either. He frowned and pulled his phone out, wondering if he’d missed a message. It turned out he had.

sorry late b there soon

He tapped back a reply. No worries. See you when you get here. Then he sat on the bench, stared out at the river, and exhaled a slow, happy breath as he drank in the view. He was so lost in his reverie he listened to the heavy breathing and sharp footsteps on brush for several seconds before his brain suggested he might, possibly, want to see who was running toward him so quickly.

It turned out Xander was running, looking like a racehorse run seven laps longer than he should have gone. His hair was matted with sweat, his face flushed, slender chest heaving as he leaned on a tree and gasped for air. He’d been walking by the time Skylar turned around, but he had the look about him people got when they were trying to appear they’d been walking the whole time but were in fact nearly dead from booking like hell. Thankfully Skylar processed that before he made the mistake of commenting on Xander’s bedraggled appearance. Instead, he smiled, held up the takeout bag, and shook it enticingly.

Xander offered the most fake, sorry excuse for a smile Skylar had ever seen, huffed a few more desperate breaths, and shuffled to the bench. He smelled of sweat, but it wasn’t worse than Unc in the kitchen after a run. What did concern Skylar was the way Xander’s hands shook, and the way he seemed like if he had the stamina left, he’d turn around and run the other direction.

The poor guy. Empathy washed through Skylar, followed by a renewed determination to save Xander. Or at least to teach him how to save himself.

Skylar set down the bag of food. “I got a smoked turkey with gouda, a vegetarian, and an order of hummus with veg. I love all of it, so pick what you want. Alternatively, if you can’t decide, I had them split the sandwiches, and we could mix and match.” When Xander mostly huffed and puffed, Sky passed over a bottle of water, uncapping it on the way. “Here, drink this. I’ll lay the food out like a picnic, and you can decide what you’re in the mood for.”

Xander took the bottle, hand still trembling as he glugged the liquid into his system.

Skylar kept track of him out of the corner of his gaze, making a show of getting up, crouching behind the bench, and laying out the spread in the space where he’d been sitting. “We’re so spoiled for great restaurants in Takaketo. I swear there’s a new one every week.”

Xander’s huffs and puffs had slowed. “We don’t have much in Mason.”

“Mason—you mean Mason City?” Yes, let’s chat a little bit about home. “You get back there much?”

“Not if I can help it.”

“I heard from the art department your mom is famous for her cookies.”

He’d known that was a potential land mine, but Skylar wasn’t prepared for the way Xander’s whole body tensed, how his entire system threatened to shut down. Shit, was that a miscalculation. He worried for a second Xander would bail.

But Xander didn’t, thankfully. He only nodded and said, his tone flat and conversation thread-ending, “Yes.”

Skylar cleared his throat and smiled, Silver Stone beam on full blast as he gestured to the food. “All right. Take your pick. And I promise, I’m happy with all of it, some of it, or however it shakes out.”

Xander hesitated only a moment before taking the whole of the turkey sandwich. “Usually I just have peanut butter.”

Having noticed that, this was why Skylar brought the vegetarian option. “I’m happy to provide a treat, then.”

“I can give you money.” Xander looked awkward, like he wasn’t sure if he should have said that.

Skylar gave him a breezy wave. “It’s a paltry exchange for your painting, but it’s a start at least.”

He didn’t miss the way talking about Xander’s art made his whole demeanor change—he was still guarded, but eager, too, like a starving man afraid to accept sustenance.

Skylar let him dig into the sandwich for a minute or so, but when the silence seemed too much, he pressed on. “I have to admit, I’m entirely jealous of your ability to create art like that.”

“To be honest, usually it feels like a relief, because by the time I’m halfway through I’m convinced it’s shit, and getting out of it is like escaping a portal of hell.”

That made Skylar laugh. “Come on. You don’t have to be modest.”

Xander grimaced at his sandwich. “It’s not modesty. I haven’t created a project and not felt like I’d gone outside without pants since I was ten.”

“But surely I’m not the first person to tell you your work is incredible.”

“It’s not that.” He worried the crust of his bread. “I think most artists feel that way. You start excited about the idea, like a honeymoon phase. Halfway through it all gets real, and doubt creeps in. You have to keep pushing. Eventually you’re done, and you have your work. But it’s rarely this big, satisfying thing. Because you worry you didn’t do it right, or stopped too soon, or went on too long, or that you’ve lost the spark that got you started.”

Skylar considered this as he chewed a bite of hummus-laden carrot. “Okay, when I do a project, I feel that way in the middle too, but by the end I feel satisfied because I can see it’s successful. I’m not saying I don’t see where I could improve the next time, but I have a sense of accomplishment, for sure. You’re saying you don’t have any sense of satisfaction?”

He thought back to the writing he used to do, way back when, but decided against bringing it up. It would be too embarrassing, compared to what Xander could do.

“Maybe some, but not always, and not like you’re talking about. Da Vinci said ‘art is never finished, only abandoned.’”

Skylar raised an eyebrow. “I thought it was Paul Valéry talking about poetry who said that.”

“Whoever said it, I cosign the sentiment. Art is never, ever as magical on canvas as it is in my head. I’ve come to terms with that, which I can tell you, took some time. But every finished project will be bittersweet because when I put the brush down, no matter how much other people like it, I only ever look at it and see the ghost of the idea I couldn’t capture.”

All the shakiness was gone from Xander now. He wasn’t exactly happy, but he was definitely centered in a way he hadn’t been before. Art truly was his zone—though maybe, Skylar thought, his own wheels turning, Xander’s wider brush was the creative process. He slid a piece of cucumber through the hummus. “So talk to me about why you didn’t like the painting you gave me. Were you too caught up with the failure to realize your vision?”

“No. The focal point wasn’t strong enough, and I didn’t have enough color balance. I didn’t like the texture, either. It didn’t do what I wanted it to do.”

“But I love that painting. Does that mean I don’t know anything about art? I mean—okay. I don’t know anything about it. I’ve always wished I could draw, or even simply write.”

He hadn’t meant to say that. Hadn’t he decided not to bring that up? But his recalcitrant mind flickered to the stories he used to write at the summer house, and he wondered what had ever happened to those.

Clearing his throat, Skylar pushed those thoughts aside. “I don’t understand visual art. I admit that. But explain this to me…is your dislike of it an illustration of that failed vision, or is it something else?”

“No.” Xander leaned forward a little. He was intense now, focused and arresting. “See, this is the magic of art. I can love or hate my own work, but the viewer is who turns it into something. I made that painting, but you gave it life. Art isn’t real until it’s viewed.” He grimaced, lowering his sandwich, but even as he retreated, he still had his inner fire. “This is where I always get it wrong. I know I need to connect to people in order to understand my own art, but…I’ll be honest. I hate people.”

You don’t say. Skylar laughed. “Maybe that feeds your art, though. Maybe you don’t have to go to all the parties, just some of them.”

“I don’t want to go to any party, ever. I get nervous around people. I’d rather be by myself.”

And yet you ran until you nearly had a heart attack, hurrying to have lunch with me. “Even hermits need a few friends.”

“I’m a shitty friend. Ask Zelda. It’s better if I stick to cats.”

Zelda? Skylar wanted to ask about this Zelda person, but he knew better. Not yet. “You have cats?”

This turned out to be another point of entry, as Xander softened. “Yeah. Hokusai and Hiromu.”

The names sounded…familiar. Sky took a shot in the dark. “Painters?”

A tiny smile. “A printmaker and a manga artist. Both Japanese, as it happens. Hiromu—the cat—is a longhair, and a real softie. Gets her feelings hurt easy. Always wants me to hold her. Hokusai is an asshole, but he mostly gets bored. He can be good, when he feels like it.”

Cats and art. Skylar wanted to ask about the cats’ namesakes, especially the manga artist, but he tucked those points of entry away as topics to bring up the next time Xander started to shut down.

He considered, briefly, bringing up Hotay & Moo, but he had the same ridiculous fanboy flutter as the last time, so he didn’t go near the subject.

He kept the conversation light—asked Xander how much time he spent in his studio, at home, and at the college. Once Xander was fully at ease again, Sky led him gently into a more back-and-forth conversation, laying bait for Xander to ask him about his major, his life at the frat house. Unsurprisingly, the latter made Xander sour again. “I couldn’t imagine living with so many people.”

“It gets tough at times, I won’t lie. But when I need somebody, my brothers are there for me.” Skylar hesitated, a shadow falling over that line he’d said so many times. “It’s been a little tougher this year. The mural incident was a blow to our reputation, and the leadership hasn’t been as on point as I’d like. Next year may be even worse. But I can’t do much, because I’m only the risk management officer. Well—I’m not supposed to be doing much, but they keep acting like I’m still president.” He realized he shouldn’t have said that, and tried to sweep it under the rug with a smile. “Don’t mind me. I just can’t let go of the reins gracefully.”

Xander cocked an eyebrow, his look saying, I don’t believe you, but whatever you need to tell yourself.

Skylar’s phone buzzed in his pocket, and he pulled it out to glance at it. It was only Unc inviting him to a party he absolutely wouldn’t be going to, but the time caught him up short. “It’s already one thirty?”

Xander jolted, panicked. “Oh, shit. I have to get going.”

Skylar waved him on. “You go. I’ll pack this up. But I’ll see you tonight at seven, yes? At Java House? Or would it be more convenient for me to meet you at your studio this time?”

“I—I don’t know.” Xander ran a hand through his hair.

“Tell you what. Let’s make it seven thirty, and I’ll swing by your apartment and pick you up. Or we can stay there, if you’ve had enough running around town by that time.” He flashed his phone. “Just give me a text and let me know what you’d like to do.”

“Okay.” Xander hovered, looking like he wanted to say something, couldn’t find it, then hunched into himself and gave an awkward wave. “Bye.”

Skylar waved back, projecting as much nonthreatening confidence as he felt Xander could take. “See you later. Have a great day.”

He watched Xander go, then went about putting away the remains of their picnic. As his hands worked, so did his mind, rushing forward as it sifted and sorted everything he’d learned during lunch. He ruminated on it on the way back to Delta Sig, and when he got there, he gave the most perfunctory of greetings to Unc before hurrying to his room, opening his computer, and typing as furiously as he could. He ignored three texts from Carolyn—he wasn’t in the mood to go anywhere with her or any Tau-Kapp.

Art is not finished, only abandoned. The quote rang like a bell in his head, tearing down everything he’d set up for Xander’s project, and in the ruins he saw the glittering, terrible scaffolding of some art all his own.

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Blurb:

Antisocial_Digital_HighResA single stroke can change your world.

Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten College to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour.

Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.

Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.

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Buy links: 

Amazon US ebookAmazon US paperbackAmazon UK ebookAmazon UK paperback |  Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo | ScribdSmashwords

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Heidi Cullinan head shot_0

Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys playing with new recipes, reading romance and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime. Find out more about Heidi at heidicullinan.com.

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Release blitz and #giveaway: As Big As The Sky by Amy Aislin

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK 
 
Length: 37,000 words
 
Publisher: MLR Press
 
Blurb
 

Sam wants nothing to do with his irresponsible, sarcastic neighbor…or does he?

Sam McAuley is having a rough start to the summer: Not only is he being sued, but the new guy running the animal rehabilitation center next door has no idea what he’s doing and his runaway chickens constantly end up in Sam’s pristine yard.

Everything is temporary for Bo Novak. For as long as he can remember, it’s been one town to the next, one school to the next, one job to the next. Even his current job—running his sister’s animal rehab center while she’s away on a four-month leave—is temporary. And he does know what he’s doing, thank you very much. Sure, things don’t always run smoothly, but the stick-in-the-mud next door could be a little nicer about it.

One overheard conversation, an olive branch, and a baseball game might show these guys that being at odds isn’t really what they want, and that what they want might just be each other.

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Last day of review tour

Today is the last day of the review tour. Phew. A new release is hard work, guys, and now I’m gonna spend the rest of the week lounging around on the couch.

Not. Books don’t write themselves. But at least I can go back to being Introvert Nell again. At least that’s something 🙂

Thanks to all the bloggers that took part in the release blitz and review tour. I appreciate it ❤

FHWH with reviews

Today’s scheduled stops on the review tour:
Bayou Book Junkie
Diverse Reader
Slashsessed
Sinfully

Buy links:
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N


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Review tour continues

Hi everyone. Just a short blog post today, reminding you to visit the scheduled review stops and enter the giveaway if you haven’t already done it. You can win a copy of my previous book, Unconditionally.

I also had a little fun with a picture, and if you’ve read Find His Way Home, you know which scene this is. And if you haven’t, what are you waiting for? 🙂

Have a great Friday!

pink roses chapter 5

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Today’s scheduled stop on the review tour:
Sarandipity Book Reviews
Jim’s Reading Room

Buy links:
JMS Books | Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Google Play | B&N


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Find His Way Home – Now Available

My new book Find His Way Home is out today and I’m so excited. I loved writing Elliot and Mick’s story, and I hope you will enjoy reading about them.

Signal Boost Promotion has arranged a Review Tour and Release Blitz for me and the first stops are today. Make sure to stop by (today’s planned stops are listed below) and enter the giveaway, where you can win a copy of my first book Unconditionally

I look forward to visit all the fabulous blogs and sites. I might have to pinch myself in the arm to make sure I’m not dreaming—I’m still new to this book release business and seeing my book featured on book sites feels more like a wonderful dream than reality.

Purchase links are listed below. (And both Find His Way Home and Unconditionally are also available on Kindle Unlimited).

Now I’m going to celebrate this fabulous event with a glass of champagne. Happy weekend, everyone! ❤

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Length: 19,884 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Blurb

Shakespeare-loving teacher Elliot Dunn has been unhappy living in the big city for a long time. He yearns for fresh air, visible stars, and stillness, but his relationship with divorce lawyer Mick Hudson keeps him from moving away.

When a dramatic event occurs in Elliot’s class, he’s shaken to his core and suddenly can’t stay anymore. He leaves his partner of two years behind and returns to the tiny town in the mountains where he grew up.

Living in a rented cabin in the woods, with only an owl for company, Elliot slowly regains his peace of mind. But being away from Mick is agonizing, and when a ghost from Elliot’s past pays him a visit, everything comes to a head.

Elliot is faced with a hard decision. Should he stay on the stress-free mountainside alone, or return to the hustle of the city and try to make a life with Mick?

 
Excerpt

He spent the rest of the afternoon pacing his living room with Lady Gaga blasting from the speakers. He heard his phone ring at some point, but ignored it and kept pacing, rubbing his palms on his head, tousling his short hair. The phone rang several more times, but Elliot walked and walked, until the front door flung open and a wild-eyed Mick stood there, glaring at him.

Mick’s gaze roved over him, making sure he was okay, and then he marched over to the stereo and cut off Gaga in the middle of a rah-rah. “What the hell, Elliot?”

The curse stopped Elliot’s pacing, and he stared at his lover with wide eyes. His well-spoken, hot-shot lawyer partner never used profanities. During their time together, Elliot had heard him swear maybe once or twice, and him doing it now knocked the wind out of Elliot’s fury. He groaned, grabbed his lover’s hand, and hauled him over to the couch where he sank down, pulling Mick with him.

“I’m sorry. But I’m angry.”

“I can tell. What happened?”

“I let them buy me, that’s what happened.” Elliot spat out the words.

“What?” The question was so loud Elliot flinched. Mick sighed, stood and shook off his coat, unbuttoned his suit jacket, and kicked off his shoes. Then he sat back down, turned to Elliot, and wrinkled his nose when he saw the state of his hair. “It looks like you’ve tried to pull it out,” he muttered, and ran his fingers through Elliot’s locks, trying in vain to tame it. “Tell me what happened.”

When Elliot had recounted the afternoon’s events, Mick grabbed his hands and drew him closer, and he followed willingly. He ended up straddling Mick’s lap, arms around his neck, and his forehead leaning on his lover’s shoulder.

“I’m so sorry,” Mick mumbled and rubbed his stubble against Elliot’s temple.

“I shouldn’t have taken the money,” Elliot grunted. “I’m so stupid.”

“You’re not stupid. You had no other choice.”

“There’s always another choice.”

“What else could you have done?”

“I could have told them to go fuck themselves,” he gritted out. He took a deep breath, forcing himself to calm down. “Or I could quit.”

It was several minutes before Mick asked, “And do what?”

Elliot held his breath for a moment before whispering, “I could go back home.” Mick stiffened. “I hate it here.”

“I know.” The thickness of Mick’s voice hit Elliot like a freight train, but he didn’t take back his words. He couldn’t.

“I have to go home. At least for a while. I need silence.” He caught his lower lip between his teeth to stop it from quivering. “This was the last drop, you know?”

Mick nodded and tightened his arms around Elliot until they felt like bands of steel surrounding him. “What about us?”

“I don’t know.” He hesitated. “You could come,” he whispered, knowing what the answer would be.

He heard Mick inhale a shuddering breath, and a drop of wetness landed on Elliot’s cheek. “I wish I could.” Mick voice trembled.

“I can’t stay. Even for you, honey.” Elliot was crying now too, big hot tears wetting Mick’s expensive wool suit jacket.

“I know.”

When their tears finally dried, they spent the rest of the night making desperate love, saying nothing, letting their bodies do all the talking.

Two days later Elliot was back home, enjoying the peace and quiet in a freezing cabin in the mountains. Trying to stifle the disillusionment he felt with the world and himself, while hoping he would have time to get over it before it was time to go back to work.

 
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Today’s stops on the Review Tour:

Stops on the Release Blitz:


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Release Blitz: Better Than Suicide by Amy Tasukada

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK
Length: 86,000 words
The Yakuza Path Series
Blood Stained Tea (Book #1) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb
A stash of drugs. A twisted cop. A mob on the verge of self-destruction…

Nao Murata is the new godfather of the Matsukawa syndicate. When Detective Yamada confronts Nao over a dead drug dealer, Nao knows his organization isn’t responsible. The Matsukawa doesn’t deal drugs… or does it?

When Nao discovers drugs in a locker owned by his syndicate, he no longer knows who to trust. With the police bearing down on the Matsukawa, Nao must make unlikely allies to find out the truth. Can he discover who is betraying him before time runs out, or will everyone suffer for a crime he didn’t commit?

Better Than Suicide is the second book in a Japanese mafia thriller series. If you like complex plots, gripping suspense, and a splash of romance, then you’ll love the next installment in Amy Tasukada’s Yakuza Path series.

Buy Better Than Suicide to start the race against the clock today!

This book can be read as a standalone. 



Author Bio

Amy Tasukada lives in a catless home in North Texas. (She enjoys cats but can’t quite make that kind of commitment yet.) As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. When she’s not chasing after stray cats, she can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.

https://www.amytasukada.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/amytasukada
http://www.facebook.com/amytasukadaofficial/
https://twitter.com/@amytasukada

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