‘A Fallen Lady’ by Elizabeth Kingston

aflSTORY: Six years ago, to the outrage of her family and the delight of London gossips, Lady Helen Dehaven refused to marry the man to whom she was betrothed. Even more shockingly, her refusal came on the heels of her scandalous behavior: she and her betrothed were caught in a most compromising position. Leaving her reputation in tatters and her motivations a mystery, Helen withdrew to a simple life in a little village among friends, where her secrets remained hers alone.

For reasons of his own, Stephen Hampton, Lord Summerdale, is determined to learn the truth behind the tangled tale of Helen’s ruin. There is nothing he abhors so much as scandal – nothing he prizes so well as discretion – and so he is shocked to find, when he tracks Helen down, that he cannot but admire her. Against all expectations, he finds himself forgiving her scandalous history in favor of only being near her.

But the bitter past will not relinquish Helen’s heart so easily. How can she trust a man so steeped in the culture of high society, who conceals so much? And how can he, so devoted to the appearance of propriety, ever love a fallen lady?

REVIEW: I’ve only recently discovered this author and the two medieval books she wrote, I just loved. This one is set in Regency period and while the plot was slow moving, I thought the story revolved mostly around the developing characters and their growing relationship. I believe the complexity of the characters (and trust me, both characters had a lot of issues that only with time would be resolved) and their growing romance are as much of a plot as the real reason behind their meeting and the heroine’s past.

Our hero Stephen is sharp, intuitive and funny while the heroine Helen, is  strong, witty and vulnerable. No wonder Stephen was taken with her, despite her reputation.

The story not just starts slow, but it moves at a sedate pace throughout and to some this might be an obstacle. To me, I rather thought it was a conscious decision on the part of the author. I believe that if this story was given a fast pace, we would have lost the point of what it really takes for two vastly different, extremely complex individuals to not just fall in love with one another, but to accept each others flaws and circumstances that brought them together.

Some stories are written to entertain and titillate, some to make us laugh and some to make us cry. This story actually has all of those elements but it also makes us think. We are forced to see the society and its people of Regency Era as they truly were. A society that treated women as property and put very little value on them.

Elizabeth Kingston and Nicholas Boulton are a force to be reckoned 🙂 I love them both.

Melanie for b2b

Gift copy provided by the publisher for an honest review

Spotlight on Amy Jarecki and ‘The Highland Commander’!

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BOOK BLURB: She cannot resist the man behind the mask…

As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl, Lady Magdalen Keith is not one to partake in lavish balls or other frivolities. Yet at her father’s urging, she agrees to dance with the battle-weary officers at this year’s holiday masquerade. It’s practically her civic duty! But when one such officer—whose dashing good looks cannot be disguised by a mere mask—sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, the innocent lass can’t help herself. Her lips are his for the taking.

But will he betray his country for a kiss?

Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray has spent too many months at sea to be immune to the charms of this lovely beauty. Even after he returns to his ship, she lives in his dreams. But when he discovers Maddie’s true identity—and learns that her father is accused of treason—will the brawny Scot risk his life to follow his heart?

BUY LINKS: Amazon / Audible / Barnes & Noble / Books-A-Million / Google Play / iBooks / IndieBound / Kobo

Lords of the Highland

 

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EXCERPT:

The Highland Commander Graphic 1

As in the Highland custom, Aiden wore the plaid belted at his waist, the length pulled from the lower right opening of his doublet, around his back and pinned at his left shoulder with a silver brooch bearing the Atholl arms. The valet had put forth a good effort ensuring there was neither wrinkle nor hair out of place.

He regarded himself in the looking glass above the mantle in the drawing room, sliding one foot forward as he would do for a portrait. Not liking the image, he puffed out his chest and moved a hand to his lapel.

God’s bones, take me to sea where I can cast aside these frills.

Tuning his back to the looking glass, Aiden resorted to pacing and pulling out his pocket watch. The coach would arrive in five minutes, and Maddie hadn’t yet made an appearance.

At least a light glowed from beneath her door indicating she was within. It cast a hazy glow in the otherwise dark passageway. After pacing around the chamber half-dozen times, he again eyed his timepiece. Another minute had passed. Perhaps he should knock on the door—perhaps Maddie’s mantle clock had stopped and she was unaware of the time. Just as he started off, her door opened. A burst of light flooded the passageway, and with the tap of dainty footsteps, an angel emerged.

Aiden knew she’d purchased a new gown, but he hadn’t expected this. His mouth went dry and he suddenly needed to take in two stuttered breaths to steady the thumping of his heart.

Christ, men aren’t supposed to experience such heart hammering. Especially men bred for the sea. Damnation.

She smiled, and his goddamned knees wobbled. He should have taken a healthy tot whilst he was pacing in the drawing room.

Her golden gown rustled as she walked forward, with a matching fan in her hand. She moved the fan to her waist…just below her breasts. Creamy skin Aiden knew to be softer than spun silk swelled above a dangerously plunging neckline. His mouth went completely dry. If Maddie’s serving maid had been anywhere but behind her lady, Aiden would have taken the lassie into his arms, pushed through his bedchamber door and damned the recital.

“I hope I haven’t made us late.” Maddie batted her eyelashes as if she had no idea of the effect she had on his aching cods. “Miss Agnes spent ever so long curling my hair.”

Aiden’s tongue slipped over his bottom lip. “Your curls are exquisite. You are exquisite, m’lady.”

Agnes cleared her throat, coming up behind with a cloak over her arm. “You’d best say so, m’lord. It took the greater part of the afternoon to make those ringlets.”

Nay, there’d be no slipping into the bedchamber for a hasty sampling of those pearl-tipped bosoms.

Aiden glanced to his pocket watch—they still had a few minutes—and now that he knew Maddie was ready, there’d be no harm in making the coach wait for a minute or two. “Fine job, Miss Agnes,” he said with more sobriety than he felt. “I think you deserve a healthy tot of fine spirit for taking such fine care of her ladyship.”

“Have we time?” asked Maddie.

Aiden led them into the drawing room and gestured to the settee. “A stolen moment will not set us behind overmuch.”

Agnes gave a firm shake of her head. “You needn’t make a fuss for the likes of me.”

“It is no fuss. You take good care of your lady, and for that I want to thank you.” Aiden poured three tots of sherry and offered each of the ladies a glass. “Shall we drink to Miss Agnes?”

Blinking, the woman drew a hand over her mouth, dipping her head and smiling broadly. “Heavens.”

“Aye, we should.” Maddie patted her chambermaid’s knee and raised her glass. “To the woman who has seen me through one and twenty years of happiness. I have no idea what would have become of me if you hadn’t been by my side. Sometimes I’ve felt as if you’re the only person in all of Christendom who cares.”

Aiden’s gut twisted. He cared a great deal, but it was inconceivable that Maddie had been made to feel like an outcast from such a young age. He drank thoughtfully, watching the two women as they sipped. Even their mannerisms had become similar. “Miss Agnes, how long have you been serving Lady Magdalen?”

The woman’s eyes glistened with pride. “Since the day she was born. The moment I held her in my arms I knew my purpose.”

Aiden glanced to Maddie and knitted his brows. “Did your mother pass in childbirth?”

Shaking her head, the lass bit her bottom lip. “Nay. My mother knew I would have a better life if she gave me to my father. Only…” Maddie looked away, and took another sip.

“What?”

“The one caveat was that she could never set eyes on me again.”

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REVIEW: This is the second story in Lords of the Highlands series, but it can be read as a stand alone. In this story we have a telling of Maddie and Aiden’s happily ever after.

This story has, as the previous one, also has a few complex characters, especially the leads. Both characters were well written and despite the great background of history, managed to carry this story with its sheer tenacity.

I also enjoyed the pace of the story as well as action and numerous twists and turns.

Amy Jarecki continues to suck me into the settings of Scotland and its history, but it’s the characters she creates that keep me coming back to her writing.

If you’re hankering for some men in kilts and wish to take a journey through history, this is a perfect story for you.

Melanie for b2b

Gift copy provided by the publisher for an honest review

Amy Jarecki CREDIT Bruce Heinsius PhotographyAUTHOR BIO: Amy Jarecki is a descendant of an ancient Lowland clan and adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she found her niche in the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy writes steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of centuries past.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Spotlight on Ruth Kaufman and ‘My Life as an Extra’

mlaae rkBOOK BLURB: Chicagoan Marla Goldberg must rebuild her life at forty-one after an unexpected divorce. While adjusting to singlehood, trying to improve conditions at the radio station where she’s an account executive and fit in with her successful family, she dips her toes into the daunting dating pool.

Marla yearns to fulfill her dream of being a working actor, yet can’t quite believe, “Leap and the net will appear.” Working as an extra teaches her meaningful lessons, but she must learn what for her is the hardest lesson of all: how to feel special when you’re not the star.

BUY LINKS: Amazon /

EXCERPT:

My heart starts to race. A famous, award-winning director has noticed me. Will he pluck me from obscurity? Will I be upgraded to a slightly better role and higher pay, or will he even give me a line, a boon bestowed on rare occasion?

“I don’t like the way her scarf is blowing.” The director walks down the row of extras and borrows a dark green, fringed wool one from some guy. For a second the guy’s face perks up. I know he thinks he’s going to be moved to a better place in the shot, my place, but Adam, if I may be so bold, just wants his scarf. I put it on and a wardrobe person safety pins it to my coat.

“Rolling….” a voice calls.

“Rolling!” several people echo.

“Picture’s up.”

“Background action!”

Leaning over the wind machines as the train rolls by, I and the others brave icy blasts. My hair and the borrowed scarf blow straight up. The cold has pierced my coat and layers, so I’m shivering harder. I know my nose is bright red. The woman beside me jumps up and down.

We endure a few more takes.

Adam comes toward me again. My heart starts pounding again. Why an intelligent person such as myself gets nervous because a famous movie director approaches is beyond me, but I can’t seem to help it. I hope I’ll get to do something good and fear I did something wrong at the same time.

“Will you step out of the shot, please?” he asks.

My stomach drops. I do fear I’ve done something wrong. That even as a train-platform-standing-in-the-freezing-cold extra, I’m not good enough. I move to the side and watch forlornly as they do more takes, all these people crammed into such a narrow space doing their best for Superhero IX. Except me.

A few minutes later, Adam comes over. I can’t help it, I perk up just like scarf guy. The director of a major motion picture actually left his chair to find me.

“You can come back now,” he says. “It wasn’t the same without you.”

A wave of joyous warmth washes over me. How nice is that. My day is made.

Later, we’re working on a different shot on the other side of the platform. Adam comes over yet another time. I suck in a breath. My icy hands get icier.

“Great reaction.”

My face is probably so red from the cold he can’t tell I’m blushing. It’s the wind making my eyes tear up.

The Adam Markham probably won’t remember me or those shots, for him just two of many in one movie of many, but I’ll never forget how nice he was. The way he knew how to make an extra feel like an actor. Feel talented and special.

On the drafty train platform, inspiration hits me hard as a wind machine gust. If Adam Markham thinks I do a good job on camera, maybe others will, too.

The once-familiar urge to perform, to entertain and move an audience, unfurls in my chest in a fiery burst like a phoenix spreading its wings. My first lines in a Kindergarten play made the crowd laugh and inspired me to be an actress…someday. But everyone knows acting is a risky, unreliable career. Would I be good enough? Find the elusive mix of right place, right time, right roles?

Today made me realize how much I’ve missed acting. I’d repressed the bug, but it still bit. I’d lost two dreams: a successful, loving marriage and gorgeous house. I would find a way to make this dream come true.

Someday is now.

rkAUTHOR BIO: Ruth Kaufman is a Chicago author, on-camera and voiceover talent and freelance editor and speaker with a J.D. and a Master’s in Radio/TV.

The second book in her Wars of the Roses Brides series, FOLLOW YOUR HEART,  releases April 14. Writing accolades include Romance Writers of America® 2011 Golden Heart® winner and runner up in RT Book Reviews’ national American Title II contest. Her true, short story, “The Scrinch” is in the St. Martin’s Press anthology The Spirit of Christmas, foreword by Debbie Macomber.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Blog Gainfully Unemployed / Facebook  or Ruth Kaufman Author & Actress / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon Author Page

‘Three Weeks with a Princess’ by Vanessa Kelly

twwap vkSTORY: Lia Kincaid, illegitimate daughter of the Duke of York, comes from a long line of notorious women. Raised by her grandmother, formerly mistress to the late Marquess of Lendale, she has little hope of a respectable marriage. But the new marquess, her childhood friend, Jack Easton, would make a very desirable protector . . . if he weren t too honorable to take her to bed.

It s bad enough being saddled with a title he never desired. Now Jack must resist the beautiful woman he desires far too much. Duty calls, and he is duty-bound to choose a wealthy bride.

But then Lia makes another outrageous suggestion: asking Jack to devise some tests to find her the perfect paramour. Tests that involve flirting, kissing, and other pleasurable pursuits. Tests that, in a matter of weeks, could transform friendship into the ton s greatest scandal, igniting a passion even duty can t deny. . .

REVIEW:  This is the second story in the Improper Princesses series and I’ve loved it as much as the first. Once more Vanessa Kelly’s characterization and plot manage to make me laugh and care for the protagonists.

Lia and Jack’s back and forth totally made this read engaging and enjoyable for me. Their “friends to lovers” story was sweet and heartwarming and I liked every minute of their growing romance.

If you’re looking for a story well written with an intriguing plot, peppered with witty dialogue and steamy romance, look no further. This is it.

Melanie for b2b

Gift copy provided by the publisher for an honest review

‘The Wallflower’s Wicked Wager’ by Collette Cameron

twww ccSTORY: He loved her beyond anything and everything—precisely why he couldn’t ever marry her.

A wounded hero.
Love—sentimental drivel for insipid, weak, feckless fools.
Since an explosion ravaged Captain Morgan Le Draco’s face and cost him his commission in the Royal Dragoons, he’s fortified himself behind an impenetrable rampart of cynicism and distrust. Now destitute and shunned by the very society that once lauded his heroics, he’s put aside all thoughts of marrying and having a family. Until he risks his life to save a drowning woman. At once, Morgan knows Shona’s the balm for his tortured soul, but as a wealthy, titled noblewoman, she’s too far above his humble station and can never be his.

An intrepid wallflower.
Love—a treasured gift reserved for those beautiful of form and face.
Scorned and ridiculed most of her adult life, Shona, Lady Atterberry believes she’s utterly undesirable and is reconciled to spinsterhood. She hides her spirited temperament beneath a veneer of gauche shyness, until a strapping, scarred stranger saves her life, and she can’t deny her immediate, powerful, and sensual attraction to him. Despite how ill-suited they are and innuendos that Captain Le Draco is a fortune-hunter, she cannot escape her growing fascination.

Two damaged souls searching for love.
Others are determined to keep them apart, and Shona is goaded into placing a wicked wager. One that sets her upon a ruinous path and alienates the only man who might have ever loved her. Is true love enough to put their pasts behind them, to learn to trust, and heal their wounded hearts?

REVIEW: This is the fifth installment in Waltz with a Rogue novella series, but it can be read alone. Above blurb summarizes the story well, so I’ll just tell you the reasons why I loved it.

First, I really loved the characterization of the two leads. We not only have a broken hero, but our heroine was almost, if not more, broken than the hero. The backstory of these two was heartbreaking. I thought the “love at first sight” trope well represented with Shona and Morgan. The attraction and tension between the two was so well written it jumps off the pages.

Second, I thoroughly enjoyed the plot which had enough drama and conflict to populate two full length books, let alone this novella. The road to their happily ever after was fraught with a lot of complications, but I thought their perseverance prevailed and they both got stronger by the experience.

Third and last, but not the least, this story had a lot of heart as well as humor, which combined with a fast pace, makes for a wonderful and entertaining read.

As usual Ms. Cameron’s  richness and depth of the characters is what keeps bringing me back to her writing and I hope you’ll give her a try. I promise you’ll not be disappointed!

Melanie for b2b

Gift copy provided by the publisher for an honest review

Spotlight on ‘Say Yes to the Scot’ Anthology

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The Highland wedding event of the year has landed! Sabrina York, Anna Harrington, Lecia Cornwall, and May McGoldrick teamed up for Say Yes to the Scot, an all new Scottish anthology, and we’re celebrating it’s release Highland style!
Join us today (7pm to 8pm EDT) on the SMP Romance Facebook page as we celebrate with all the authors with another Swerve Soiree: Highland Wedding Edition.
 
Tell us who you’re bringing, what you’re wearing, and what he’s wearing (or not wearing). Kilts are obviously strongly recommended.
There will be amazing giveaways throughout, and you can chat with all of the authors and ask any of your burning questions.

 

sytts sy mmg ah lcBOOK BLURB: You are formally invited to the Highland wedding event of the year. These four lasses are about to meet their matches in an original digital anthology featuring stories from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Sabrina York, Lecia Cornwall, Anna Harrington, and May McGoldrick.

How a Lass Wed a Highlander by Lecia Cornwall
In this retelling of The Princess and The Pea, Laird Alex Munro of Culmore has just five weeks to find a bride and marry her…or else the clan will be cursed with ill luck. Cait MacLeod finds herself caught in a clan feud, and when she tries to stop a deadly raid, she ends up as Alex Munro’s prisoner. With timing running out, is this couple meant to be?

A Match Made in Heather by Anna Harrington
She was the laird’s daughter. He was nothing more than a penniless, nameless Scot with nothing to offer but his heart. Fate tore them apart, but now he’s back in her life with status, money and a title. Can they let go of past hurts and find love?

A Midsummer Wedding by May McGoldrick
Their marriage was two decades in the making. The young, educated woman and her highland, pirate husband, betrothed when they were still children. But on the day of their wedding, Elizabeth Hay and Alexander Macpherson are in for a surprise.

The Scot Says I Do by Sabrina York
Catherine Ross’s world is turned upside down when her brother gambles away every penny they own. But to make matters worse? He’s lost everything to none other than Duncan Mackay, the rugged Scot who Catherine loved for years–but he never noticed her, and now she positively loathes him. But her brother’s in danger of going to Newgate, and the despicable Duncan has a plan– she can claim back the money and save her brother. If she marries him…

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Kobo /

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TEASER for The Scot Says I Do by Sabrina York

“So you want to marry me because I am better disposed to tolerate your unrefined manners?” She was teasing him now, but frankly, he deserved it.

His face went ruddy and he began to sputter.

“Or because I can converse with you on lower subjects, such as offal and breeding?”

“Catherine!”

“Or is it—”

“Stop.”

TEASER for A Midsummer Wedding by May McGoldrick

“I feel no sense of duty toward the agreement binding us together. That deal was made decades ago, and both families have already profited by it. And in return for my freedom, I’ll provide a sizable sum of gold for you to do with as you please.”

“You don’t want to marry me?”

“Blast me if I do. You don’t want to marry me, and I don’t want to marry you either,” he responded, looking like he’d just won the prize pig at the fair. “You can choose anyone you please, so long as it’s not Alexander Macpherson.”

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REVIEW: You know the saying “You had me at HELLO.”, right? Well, this anthology had me at Lecia, Anna, May and Sabrina, not to mention SCOT!

All four stories are well written and each was unique in its own way. And the steam level in all four is way up there! For hot and sensual, this is the read not be missed.

From Lecia we were introduced to an interesting take on Princess and the Pea and if you love your romance to have a heart, sensuality and intrigue, you’ll fall in love with Cait and Alex.

Anna brings us a second chance in love trope with a pair of characters that will need a lot of patience with each other in order for that love to blossom to its full bloom.

May’s story was so much fun to read. I mean, LOL funny moments and situations. I adored these two and their “dance” to happily ever after was entertaining and intriguing to read.

Sabrina tells the tale of Duncan and Catherine, a couple that had known each other for ever and ever, but years apart puts them at a disadvantage. They needed outside elements to bring them closer together and a truly despicable villain. But have no fear, fast pace and witty dialogue moves this tale to its happy ending.

Melanie for b2b

Gift copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.

lcAUTHOR BIO: Lecia Cornwall lives and writes in Calgary, Canada, amid the beautiful foothills of the Canadian Rockies, with four cats, two teenagers, a crazy chocolate Lab, and one very patient husband. She is hard at work on her next book.

For more of her bio, please click here.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter

ahAUTHOR BIO: An award-winning English professor and romance writer, Anna Harrington fell in love with historical romances and all things Regency—and especially all those dashing Regency heroes—while living and studying in England, where she spent most of her time studying the Romantic poets and Regency England, reading Jane Austen, and getting lost all across the English countryside.

In addition to earning her B.A. in English from Ashland University, M.A. from Michigan State University in literature, and Ph.D. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Composition, she has studied theatre in London, Mexican history in Guadalajara, and Spanish in Ecuador. She has traveled the world, visiting schools and volunteering in Peru, Ecuador, France, Italy, Thailand, and Mexico, and has amassed thousands of photos she unleashes on unsuspecting friends who dare to ask about her travels… Read more here.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Blog /  

mmcgAUTHOR BIO: May McGoldrick
(a.k.a. Nikoo & Jim McGoldrick)

Two peas in a pod, a pair of halfwits, the Laurel and Hardy of romance fiction…Nikoo & Jim McGoldrick were married in St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin 68 years ago before a worldwide television audience. After a honeymoon tour of their oil fields in Iran, they embarked on a writing career that has produced dozens of New York Times bestsellers, two Academy Award Winning film adaptations, and a Nobel Prize for Literature. After all this, fortune FINALLY smiled on them and they won the New Jersey Lottery. Taking their two sons, Nikoo and Jim spent a year backpacking through Africa and then seven years in Tibet, teaching the Dalai Lama the subtle intricacies of Scrabble. Upon returning to the States, these two storytellers wrote thirty adult and young adult novels, two of which were RITA finalists and three which were NJRW Golden Leaf winners. They have also written two nonfiction works. Nikoo picked up an engineering degree somewhere along the way, and Jim has a PhD in 16th Century British literature.

These two write under the pseudonyms of May McGoldrick and Jan Coffey and now reside in northwest, Connecticut.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Instagram /

syAUTHOR BIO: Her Royal Hotness, Sabrina York, is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. With over 25 titles her books range from sweet & snarky to scorching romance. Visit her webpage to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Represented by Lane Heymont with the Seymour Agency.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Special: Kelly Bowen Sweepstakes + Vote on Kelly’s New Duke Cover!!! 

Check this out! This is so much fun 😉 Let’s help Kelly Bowen pick her New Duke Cover and enter into the sweepstakes!
I’m voting for #2 🙂
It’s the stance and the shirt that won me over 😉
Have fun!

Melanie

doingsomereading


Forever is holding a sweepstakes to help choose the cover of Kelly Bowen’s January 2018 novel and we need your help to get the word out—and also your vote!  On Cover A our sexy Duke is dry and on Cover B, the same Duke is now wet (a la Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy).   Participants will also have the chance to win a Kelly Bowen prize pack of 6 novels and a tote bag.  

The sweepstakes is open from June 16-June 30 and the chosen cover design will be printed on the final book. 

#KellyBowenSweepstakes

Forever Romance is giving away a Kelly Bowen historical romance prize pack and asking for your help in choosing the cover design for Kelly’s February 2018 release. Click the link below to enter for a chance to win and you can cast your vote on the dreamiest duke while you’re…

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