Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Too Hard To Forget by Tessa Bailey - Release Day Launch, Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

Author: Tessa Bailey
Publication Date:  25 April, 2017
Publisher: Forever Books
Series:  Romancing the Clarkson's, book 3
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Age Recommendation: 18 and Up
Rating: 5 Stars
~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 

Book Description:

The third book in New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey's Romancing the Clarksons series about four siblings on a cross-country road trip, perfect for fans of Gena Showalter and Julie James!

This time, she's calling the shots.

Peggy Clarkson is returning to her alma mater with one goal in mind: confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others, and remind him of what he's been missing. Even after three years, seeing him again is like a punch in the gut, but Peggy's determined to stick to her plan. Maybe then, once she has the upper hand, she'll finally be able to move on.

In the years since Peggy left Cincinnati, Elliott has kept his focus on football. No distractions and no complications. But when Peggy walks back onto his practice field and into his life, he knows she could unravel everything in his carefully controlled world. Because the girl who was hard to forget is now a woman impossible to resist.

My Review:

What you have to know to begin with is that Tessa Bailey always hits it out of the park for me.  She is a go to author, a one click, an OMG a new book is coming how am I going to wait patiently, I'll just 'stalk' her everyday waiting for any little piece she might drop type of author. I know that when I pick up a book of hers I will walk away totally satisfied but sometimes, sometimes she leaves me completely wordless because the book was pure perfection and that was Too Hard to Forget for me.

The minute I finished this book I hit Twitter to announce that this book holds it's own against the one Tessa Bailey book I hold all the others up against, Duke's book from Made in Jersey, Worked Up (click to read my review).  Duke is the standard for me now, he's practically a Goliath so facing him is a daunting task but one that Elliot goes toe to toe with.  While Duke is a big teddy bear of a man who holds his emotions close to his great big barrel chest and is afraid to let love in, Coach Elliot Brooks is truly flawed.  He's not a hero who just doesn't know how to let himself be loved, he's a hero who has created an entire world around his belief that he is undesirable unless he's on a football field. He takes Catholic guilt to a whole new level and honestly I am never going to look at my rosary the same way again.

Sidetone: Good Night Tessa, I am going to have to go to confession just for using my rosary from now on and 10 Our Father's and 7 Hail Mary's is not going to be enough, haha!

You almost don't want to like Coach Brooks but true to a Tessa Bailey book you will end up falling in love with him, his flaws only make him more relatable in the end, more deserving of the love he finds, and more devoted when he gives it in return. 

Peggy, this lady.  I am going to be straight up honest, (as one should do) I did not think I was going to like this book because I did not think I was going to like Peggy.  Tessa's build up to Peggy's story gives us a glimpse of a spoiled girl with commitment issues and a whole lot of audaciousness and, dare I use the term, cockiness.  All the siblings on this road trip have their issues, but hers always rubbed me a bit of the wrong way and I am going to be even more honest when I say at the start of this book I still didn't think I was going to like it or her.  She does to portray I suppose what we have come to see as a typical heroine.  She comes across as brash, seemingly self absorbed, risky and risqué, and flippant.  The thing is she is so much more that then woman we think we know.  Her story is deeper and more emotional than any one realizes.  Her secrets will bring you to tears and her fight for her heart and the heart she knows is hers to care for will have you falling just as in love with her as you will with Coach.  Both of these characters are so deeply flawed that you want to jump in the book and try to fix them yourself.  

This story is as beautiful as it is devastating at times.  It is full of broken pieces being glued back together with love and hope.  It's a book about commitment on so many levels, commitment to faith, ethics, values, love, hope, trust, family, friends, self.  This is a book that will have you rooting for the couple from, eh, maybe to exactly at the beginning but not much later, to the end.  All the couples in Tessa's books deserve happiness and I am so glad that she gives it to them, but this couple have earned that happiness and they earned it through pain and tears.  They earned it by completely laying themselves open to each other and finding that having just a little faith that you deserve something beautiful opens a whole new world.  I could go on and on about this book and this couple, but I will leave it with this: You know when you go into a Tessa Bailey book you are going to get ALL the steamy moments.  She's going to give you a romance that is going to knock you off your feet but she gives us so much more.  Every book she surprises me because every book has a story with in a story to tell.  Her characters face emotional obstacles that tear at your heart.  I think I say this in every review of one of her books; go for the romance but stay for the heart and soul.  These books are deeper than you would expect and that just makes them all the more satisfying.  

Final note, Belmont.  Crap, Belmont and Sage.  I do not know how I am going to make it through their story in one piece.  Belmont is going to tear you up in this book so I can only imagine what he is going to do to us when he finally gets his own.  I am already so in love with him and Sage and I know they are going to break me before making me smile.  I feel a little twisted that I can't wait for it.  



“I don’t know, Peggy.” He whirled on her, closing in until she was forced back onto the desk. “I had an All-American on my squad this morning and now I don’t. That’s all I know.” He pointed a finger toward the window. “I solve problems down on the field. Saving people isn’t my job.”

Saving people. God, there was such a wealth of regret and pain in those two words. But he couldn’t hear it and she couldn’t address it. Letting him know she saw right through his façade to the hurt beneath might force Elliott to close himself off. “You didn’t always limit yourself. Why are you doing it now?”

“Accepting things that can’t be changed isn’t a limitation. It’s realistic.”

“But how will you know if something can’t be changed unless you try?”

“When it comes to certain things, Peggy, trying leads to losing.” He was in her face now, the mint from his toothpaste familiar and inviting where it slid over her lips. “And I don’t lose.”

No one ever stood up this man but her, and she wouldn’t be cowed now. “No? You’re out a receiver.” She hitched herself up on his desk. “I’d call that a loss.”

The tips of his shoes met Peggy’s, his hands gripping the furniture on either side of her hips. “Who do you think you are, little girl? Coming into my office and telling me what I’ve done wrong?” His eyes were brilliant in their vexation, the attraction he was trying so hard to fight. “Where do you get the goddamn bravery?”

“The bravery is what you liked best about me,” she breathed, heat sizzling in a downward V toward her thighs. “Isn’t it?”

“No. That bravery is what almost led to my downfall.” His hands found her bottom, jerking her to the edge of the desk. “I resented it. Still do.”

“Liar,” Peggy whispered, easing her thighs wider. “You’re dying for an excuse to head for another downfall.” When her legs were as open as she could spread them, she leaned up to Elliott’s ear and let her breath shake loose. “One thrust.”

Elliott’s right hand came up out of nowhere, molding over Peggy’s mouth as his hips crowded into the notch of her legs. With a quick maneuver to recline her halfway back, Elliott’s erection found the apex of her thighs, delivering an aggressive pump against her underwear that sent a scream climbing up Peggy’s throat, only to be trapped by his hand. Knees jerking up out of reflex over the rush of sensation, an orgasm almost—almost— broke past the surface, sending her waters rippling out on all sides. Her legs wanted to hug Elliott’s waist, her voice wanted to beg for one more, one more, one more, but he shook his head, denying her, even though his gaze was hot, a low groan issuing from his harshly masculine mouth.

He leaned in and nipped the lobe of her ear. “Next time, ask for two.”

(10 copies of Too Hard to Forget)


Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

I Do, Babe by Tillie Cole - Release Day!

Book Description:


Connected since childhood.
Two souls: one dark and one pure.
Bracing to take the greatest step of all.

River ‘Styx’ Nash loves his woman. Ever since he met Mae at the fence of the cult that had kept her captive as a child, he has never loved anyone else. He loves her black hair, her pale skin and of course, her ice-blue ‘wolf eyes’.

Since Mae came crashing back into his life, his only wish has been to marry her; finally to make her his wife. But now the wedding is booked, and only weeks from forever having Mae by his side, a lifelong problem is plaguing him.
He wants to marry her; he has never wanted anything more . . .
. . . if only he could speak the words and declare it to the world.

Salome ‘Mae’ Nash’s life had been filled with heartache and pain . . . until, at age eight, she met a strange dark-haired boy from the outside world. Years later, and reunited with her great love, Mae is ready to solder her heart to his. Finally, Mae is getting ready to marry her man. But her fiancé has become withdrawn. Something is deeply troubling him.
But Mae has no idea what.
Or what to do to help.

Can Styx open up and conquer his deepest pain? Or will the infamous Hangmen Mute allow his fears to overcome his love for Mae and watch their much-anticipated wedding crumble to dust?

Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains explicit sexual situations, offensive language and mature topics. Recommended for age 18 and over.

***I Do, Babe: A Novella (Hades Hangmen #5.5) is to be read AFTER Damnable Grace (Hades Hangmen #5)***

“Mae,” Bella whispered as I walked from the changing room and stood on the elevated plinth opposite my friends and sisters. The mirror was behind me, but I did not yet dare look at my reflection. I glanced at Bella sat beside Ruth, her mother-in-law and Rider’s mama. Her eyes were filling with tears as she stared at me. Her hands were in front of her mouth.
“Do you like it?” I ran my hand over my pronounced stomach.
Bella nodded. “You are perfect,” she whispered. Ruth nodded in agreement.
I looked at Maddie. “Madds?”
She smiled warmly. “You are beautiful, Mae, this dress only enhances that. But this gown could not suit you more if you tried.”
“Styx will love it,” Lilah said and held Grace tighter on her lap.
“You look like a Disney princess,” Grace said.
A hand came down on my arm. I turned to see Beauty behind me. “You ever gonna look in the mirror, darlin’?” She smiled. This boutique belonged to a friend of Beauty’s, and Beauty had practically organized my wedding for me. I was clueless where to even begin.
“You look good, Mae.” I smiled at Letti as she sat uncomfortably on the couch. She had told me she was here to support me, but she had no opinion in such matters as wedding dress shopping. Or anything girly, she’d said affectionately.
“Turn, honey,” Lilah said and I nodded my head. I had no idea why I was so nervous. I knew that Styx loved me and I loved him. I felt as though I had been waiting for this day my whole life. That I had been waiting for the day I finally cemented him as mine. Forever mine, and me forever his.
Closing my eyes, I turned, allowing Beauty to guide me. “You ready?” she whispered. I pulled up the image of Styx in my mind. Me in his arms as we lay in bed. His large tattooed arms holding me close as we spoke. His voice gruff and deep. Then I pictured us laughing. The infamous Hangmen Mute of the Hades Hangmen, so different with me than with anybody else. To others he was aloof, silent, and menacing. But to me, he was loving, caring, and the most beautiful soul in the world.
The other half of my heart.

Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Damnable Grace by Tillie Cole - Review Tour

Author: Tillie Cole
Publication Date:  16 April, 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Series:  Hades Hangmen, book 5
Genre:  Dark Contemporary Romance, MC based
Age Recommendation: 18 and up**
Rating: 5 Stars

~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 

Book Description:


Secrets never stay hidden.

The burden of guilt never lifts from the heart.

Born and raised in The Order of David, Sister Phebe knows nothing but cult life. Head of the Sacred Sisters of New Zion, Phebe was groomed from childhood for one purpose: to seduce. Prized as a harlot, as a New Zion whore, Phebe is taken from the doomed cult by Meister, the notorious leader of the Aryan Brotherhood. Taken as his possession. Taken to be the woman who will obey his every sexual demand. Under his heavy hand, Phebe finds herself in a place much worse than she could ever have imagined... with absolutely no one to help. And no glimpse of hope. 

Xavier ‘AK’ Deyes is content with his life as Sergeant-At-Arms of the Hades Hangmen. Leader of the infamous ‘Psycho Trio’ and ex-special ops sniper, AK knows how to fight. Experienced in warfare and schooled in military operations, AK is vital to the Hangmen. When his Vice President needs help retrieving his missing sister-in-law, Phebe, from a Klan-funded trafficking ring, AK volunteers to go in. AK remembers the redhead from New Zion. Remembers everything about her from the single time they met—her red hair, blue eyes and freckled face. But when he finds her, heavily drugged and under Meister’s control, her sorry condition causes him to remember more than the beautiful woman he once tied to a tree. Saving Phebe forces hidden demons from his past to return. A past he can never move on from, no matter how hard he tries.

As AK fights to help Phebe, and in turn she strives to help him, they realize their secret sins will never leave them alone. Kindred broken souls, they realize the only way they can be rid of their ghosts is to face them together and try to find peace.

Despair soon turns to hope, and damaged hearts soon start to heal. But when their deep, painful scars resurface, becoming too much to bear, the time comes when they must make a heavy choice: stay forever damned; or together, find grace.

**Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains explicit sexual situations, violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and very mature topics. Recommended for age 18 and over.**

My Review:

So getting to review this for Tillie Cole came as a little bit of a surprise.  I had signed up for the review tour and didn't make the cut, such as the life of a book blogger goes, but then unexpectedly more review copies were released and here I am.  That moment of 'Oh, my Gaaaaaaa....I have an early copy Damnable Grace in my hands!' lead to a lot of yelling and then total immersion into the story which then lead me into this horrible book funk I find myself in now.  What is there to say about this book except it will take over your world for however long it takes you to read it (for me that was a day because I couldn't put it down (unless forced to feed my children or whatever, damn them. *wink*) and it is going to tear you up and spit you out all raw and vulnerable, completely satisfied and more than ready for the next book.

Now honestly writing this review is terribly hard because for one I myself hate spoilers and for two, Tillie Cole has been very specific in asking that reviewers not spoil the book for readers and while I wouldn't do that anyway I am left a little bereft in what to say because this book is one gigantic spoiler.  There is SO much that goes on in this story, so many pieces that are revealed, so many new stories begun and old ones wrapped up.

So here is what I can say.  This is one hell of an emotional read.  Yes, all the Hangmen books can be be as difficult emotionally to read as they are swoon worthy, and beautiful.  Damnable Grace has taken that to an entire new level though.  I have seen many people say that this is the best of all the Hangmen books and while I don't totally agree, I think that Flame and Maddie from Souls Unfractured will always hold a special place in my heart for that title, I can absolutely see why this is being shouted from the roof tops by most Hades Hangmen fans.  There is simply just something so devastatingly heartbreaking and beautifully hopeful about AK and Phebe.  There story is one that will burrow deep into your soul and settle there like the coziest blanket you can imagine.  Of course every now and again some jerk, mainly one named Meister, is going to come rip it off the top of you and leave your body exposed to the harshest elements nature has to offer, cutting off your ability to breathe,  but then almost miraculously you will snuggle back down in your warm den of comfort, sweet oxygen will refill your lungs and your heart will beat again.  Damnable Grace is a story about finding the grace in despair, finding hope when you feel it has abandoned you, finding love when your mind and heart tell you you are unlovable.  It is a book about letting go of pain so you can find joy and seeing the beauty that surrounds you through the darkness that has been cloaking you.

You will love getting to know the 'Psycho Trio' better and you will fall more deeply in love with these three best friends who have become each others shield.  They are not what society would consider good men but they were all brought to this moment in life in deeply challenging ways and they are more than you may have ever expected.  We get glimpses of the rest of the Hangmen and it is nice to see how the couples that we have grown to love are doing as well as get hints as to what is coming next for this wild bunch of guys. This book is going to do more than just tug at your heart strings, it is going to try and rip them straight out of your chest so go in prepared and with lots of tissue.  If you didn't notice the disclaimer at the top please note that this is a DARK book.  If you have triggers for almost anything, please PLEASE consider that before you dive in.  These books are difficult to read, there are more moments in Damnable Grace then in any other Hangmen book that left me in tears and/or cringing.  This won't be easy to read but it will be worth every tear you shed and gasp you vocalize.

With out giving anything away I do want to leave you with a few links and and a few words. If you or anyone you love is dealing with the affects of PTSD please talk to them, please encourage them to talk to someone in their Chain of Command, in the Unit, at their medical facility, a private professional.  PTSD comes in all sorts of 'levels', it isn't a one fits all and there is no one size fits all solution. If you even feel like something isn't right in your mind or in the mind of your loved one, call some one.  You don't have to be alone, you aren't alone. Don't be afraid that this will hurt your Service Member or loved ones career, what matters most is their health and well being. The Military has come a long way and we have a long way yet to go, (I am a 20 year military spouse) but YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

**I am not endorsing any program listed below, (and there are many more than what I have listed here) they are just places you can start, they are places that can give you help and hope.  Please take a moment to look into them on your own and contact the program that you feel most confident in.**

Veteran's Chat (confidential)

With that, if you are a tried and true Hangmen reader you will be in love with this story.  If you are new to the Hades Hangmen world you MUST start this series at the beginning with It Ain't Me Babe otherwise you will be terribly lost and spoil a great deal if you go back to read from the start.  This series is so worth every moment of pain it will cause in your chest so I hope that you will pick it up and give it a go. If you are a Dark Romance fan this series should be at the top of your MUST READ list!


“Well?” Ky asked.
Tanner ran his hand over his head. The brother hadn’t attended one of our cookouts or slutfests in weeks. Not that he ever entertained himself with sluts—still too hard for his piece of pussy down in Mexico. He’d been busy trying to track down Meister. Unlike most of the white-power shit Tanner and Tank grew up with, this Meister was untraceable and off the grid. As much of a computer whizz kid as Tanner was, Meister was proving to be one slippery fucking snake to pin down.
“Gotta be honest, I didn’t think I was anywhere close to finding anything on this prick.” Tanner nodded toward Tank. “We knew of him, of course. I knew he had dealings with my father and uncle, just never met him myself. He’s Aryan Brotherhood, but works closely with the Klan. And there’s nothing on him. No email traces, no invoices, no texts. Nothing.”
I gritted my teeth and glanced at Styx, who was listening closely. Ky wasn’t originally gonna tell the prez about the plan to get Phebe, because of his fucking wedding, but that didn’t last long. Styx knew something was up with his VP. He read him like I read Flame and Vike. So Ky fessed up, and Styx was all for the plan. He’d had to push his wedding back by a month anyhow to get the pastor Mae wanted to conduct the ceremony, so he had time to kill.
“But you found something?” Ky translated as Styx signed.
Tanner sighed, the black circles around his eyes showing how hard the brother had been working. “I got something.” He shook his head, and my blood ran cold. I knew whatever he had found wasn’t good.
Tanner opened the file in front of him and threw a photograph toward the prez. Styx looked at it, then gave it to Ky. “Some middle-of-nowhere ghost town?”
Ky passed the picture around. Vike handed it to me, and I studied it. It was an aerial shot, and the picture was grainy, but from what I could make out, it was just a huge piece of land scattered with decrepit old buildings.
I passed the picture along. “Fucker owns this?”
Tanner faced me. “Yeah, or at least his father did. He’s dead now, but the deeds are still in his father’s name. Been in the family for decades. Took me a while to trace it.” He shook his head. “Meister is notorious among the Klan. Right, Tank?”
“Yeah,” Tank agreed. “Never met him either, but we’d all heard of him. Prick has been mobilizing for years for the race war they think is coming. Real serious, Oklahoma-City-bomb shit. From what we’ve heard, the guy has a one-track mind when it comes to advancing the white race. You think Hitler was fucked up? Well, imagine if he had a kid who was one built motherfucker, with a fucking carbon copy of his psycho mind; and you’ve got Meister. Fucker ain’t even German. Just wishes he was, spouting German phrases around like he’s born and bred Berlin. Delusional asshole.”
“This ain’t gonna be easy,” Tanner finished, looking at me, Vike, Flame, Hush and Cowboy. It was the five of us who had agreed to go looking for Phebe. Hush and Cowboy nodded at me to let me know they were still in.
“So he’s in this ghost town?” Ky asked, translating Styx’s sign language again. “If so, we’ll all just go in and get him, make the fucker talk and tell us where he’s got Phebe.”
Tanner sat forward. “He ain’t just living in the ghost town or hiding out. That’s where he has his enterprise.”
“Enterprise?” Ky echoed. It was his own question this time.
Tanner nodded. “From what I can tell, it’s a fucking brothel. Members of the Aryan Brotherhood, Klan, or Klan sympathizers, can go there for a night or a few days at a time.” Tank shifted uncomfortably next to him. “Ain’t sure, but I’m thinking it ain’t just getting your dick sucked and fucked. It’ll be real fucked-up shit. If Meister’s reputation is anything to go by, we would be walking into an organized, armed hellhole.” Tanner’s eyes darkened. “I get the Klan has a reputation for being full of backward rednecks. I ain’t gonna lie—growing up, most of my father’s cronies were that way. Thick as fuck and couldn’t do shit without screwing it up. Skinheads, lower-ranked soldiers, you know?”
“But there were some members that weren’t,” Tank continued. He cast an embarrassed glance at Tanner. “We weren’t, for starters.”
Tanner nodded. “It’s not the norm, but some of us were good. Smart, strong fighters, or just outright fucking psychos. The skinheads and rednecks are the foot soldiers. The likes of us, the likes of Meister, are the fucking SS. The planners, leaders, the generals—the ones who believe in the cause so much that they’re fucking lethal with what they’ll do, what they’re capable of. Meister is true Aryan Brotherhood; he’s preparing for war. He’s the real fucking deal.”
“And now he’s in our neck of the woods to stir up shit?” I asked.
Tanner nodded. “Comes from northern Texas. Never moved our way before. But the Klan are building day by day, joining forces with other white supremacist gangs—like the Brotherhood—and with the shit that’s on the news twenty-four-seven, blacks and whites at each others throats, he’s moved to the headquarters.” The brother’s jaw clenched. “To my father and uncle, who’ll be protecting him from being found out by the feds.” He sighed and ran his hand down his face. “From what I can figure out, this ghost-town brothel of his has only existed in the last year or so. He’s looking to fund something.”
“They ain’t dealing guns?” Cowboy drawled. “I thought that’s what Rider said the contract with the cult was for?”
“Rider was sure it was guns. At least it was when he was dealing with the Klan—it was all about arms. The Klan was selling them on and taking a cut.”
“His fucking twin,” Hush spat. “He changed the arrangement, didn’t he? When Rider was locked up in cult prison?”
“Think so,” Tanner said after a few seconds of silence.
“Then what the fuck are they dealing? What was Judah giving them if not Israeli guns?”

Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

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