Hi, I don’t really want to interrupt the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia–see my feature post below. You can still read, comment, and possibly win, and anyway I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks to everyone who’s already done commented!
But I do want to briefly say, hey! Come see Monique Lehane’s great reviews of all three Vasquez and James Books (Finding Jackie today, 4.5 stars), and her interview of me, the culprit who penned those books. You can comment to win there, too!
What is the title of your book?
Finding Jackie (third book in the Vasquez and James suspense series)
How did you come by the idea?
This book follows a couple of threads from Delsyn’s Blues. It struck me that major events involving marriage proposals and gun battles with the children of a mafia style hitman would not go without consequence. I also wanted to send main characters Luki and Sonny. on a road trip!
What genre does your book fall under?
It’s M/M, Romance/Suspense
Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?
Someone asked me this before, and I really had a heck of a time coming up with an answer. Luki’s looks are so singular, in a way, especially his dark skin tone and very pale blue eyes, that it’s hard to think of anyone else looking like him. So I went shopping for a star! I came up with two possibilities, neither perfect both fun. 😉 First, Johnny Depp can play Luki. Well, because Johnny Depp can play anybody. Or, alternatively, how about Jason Momoa? He’s half Hawaiian, half European—like Luki. Skin and hair color about right and he’s well… here’s a picture. Needs a scar, and a bit more muscle, etc., but a decent candidate, wouldn’t you say? I wouldn’t mind doing the interview! For Sonny, I say Johnny Depp is a possibility (heh-heh), or how about this guy, Jay Tavare? Yeah, Sonny’s gorgeous.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The wedding is perfect—almost—but Luki and Sonny’s honeymoon is derailed when sixteen-year-old nephew Jackie is lured into capture and torture by a sadistic killer, and must be rescued from a compound in the desert-dry Umatilla Forest.
Will your book be self-published or traditional?
Dreamspinner Press will publish it in May or June 2013. They’ve published the other Vasquez and James books as well.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I really don’t remember. I started the book—just snatches here and there—but got to work on it more in earnest after Delsyn’s Blues was released. I was interrupted to work on Yes: A Vasquez and James Novella. It did take me longer than usual, for some reason.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Well, because the reading I can do is limited, due to time, I’m sure there are books I don’t know of that would fit the bill. With the hope that Rhys Ford doesn’t mind, I will say that her Dirty Kiss and Dirty Secret have some similarity—at least in terms of the “badass” main character. Other than that I don’t know—but I’d love to hear from someone else what they think!
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
The characters, Luki Vasquez and Sonny James. They constantly inspire me.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The romance between Luki and Sonny is always evolving, growing stronger, and they just get sexier together. There’s some erotic scenes, some funny ones, and some edge-of-your-seat fear. And then there’s some scenes that are just plain sweet. I think it will be hard for a reader not to fall in love with these beautiful men. And of course, they get married in wonderful Hawaii. Yes!
This is one of my favorite sequences from Loving Luki Vasquez, (available at Dreamspinner) and I’m not sure if I’ve ever posted it as an excerpt before. Regardless, a big step in their rocky path toward loving each other, and in the book the jumping off point for some action. I hope you like it. I always welcome your comments!(I’ll be back this afternoon with an excerpt from Delsyn’s Blues, too.)
Oh yeah! I forgot, giving a book away in exchange for a comment here or an email to lou(dot)sylvre(at)gmail(dot)com. Names go in the hat for a random cat-chosen winner. Loving Luki Vasquez, Delsyn’s Blues, or Yes: A Vasquez and James Novella when it comes out this summer (winner’s choice).
RIVER sounds climbed the muddy bank where Luki stood shivering in moonlight so bright it glared, and he had to shield his eyes. He knew there were other kids in the water, though he couldn’t hear them, could barely make out the dark shapes of their heads, like shadows. He heard a call from a short distance off to his left, and when he turned his head, there was another shape. A boy, and something gleaming silver in the air.
Again he heard his name. “Luki, come on over here. I’ve got something for you.”
“Not again, no,” he whispered to himself.
“Yes,” Ronny said. “Again, and again, and again….”
Luki cried out, woke, and rolled instantly off the bed and onto his feet. Sweat soaked him, and the left side of his face burned as if newly slashed. Fear, then grief took their brief turns with him, each like a punch to his throat, cutting off his air. He hurried past them and embraced rage, stood in its white-hot flame until, for this time, it burned itself out.
He knew the drill, knew the dream, knew how to shake off its remaining shards.
Seconds after he woke, he gauged the light and estimated, morning. Which, he knew, demonstrated his brilliant powers of deduction. “Better than Sherlock Holmes.”
As an alternative to testing his detective skills, he looked at the clock. Eight thirty. Still early by his standards, but he never contemplated going back to bed. He stumbled into the bathroom to vomit—an old and bothersome reaction—not even trying to hold it back this time.
Thanks to his invisible housekeeper, who came every day in his absence, somehow always knowing when he‟d be gone, he had coffee ready to brew by the cup. He brushed his teeth so he could enjoy the taste and did just that. Two cups of black and sweet, into the shower, out again in no time. He put on his old and ragged clothes. Yes, he had some. He remembered Sonny’s blunt question. “Why the getup?” He almost smiled, almost wished the intriguing… frustrating and intriguing man could see him now.
Meanwhile, he got out three handguns of various sizes and capabilities, placed them in a case designed for just that purpose, and added ammunition. He kept his firearms, always, clean and in perfect condition. None of his weapons were intended for sport. Intimidation, protection, and defense constituted the mainstay of his profession and of his habits; a life, even his own, could depend on them. And honing all his skills, working them to stay in top form, fought off the dream and the havoc it would otherwise wreak. Guns and targets this morning, and then perhaps tai chi—which he considered the best and deadliest of his martial arts.
By the time he’d driven to the range outside of Port Angeles, reassured himself, and impressed his fellow shooters, the need for breakfast finally caught up, so he stopped at Front Street, a corner restaurant that served steak and eggs seasoned and cooked to perfection. On the way back to Port Clifton, he set his phone on speaker and delegated the day’s work to his various staff, using his fabulous office admin as a go-between.
“They won’t listen to me, boss. You know that.”
“Contrary, Jude. I know you put fear in their hearts every time you speak, and they wouldn’t dare go against you. Make my nefarious plans your orders, and they’ll get it done.”
“Are you coming back soon?”
“That’s all I get, just no?”
After an exasperated groan, Jude hung up. For the second time that day, Luki almost smiled. Which made him think maybe he should go back. Port Clifton was turning him soft.
FOOD digested, business taken care of, cigarette half-smoked, he decided to go straight down to the beach. He could have gone home. He had plenty of room in his condo, or on the balcony, for tai chi. He had a key to the top floor gym, a luxurious space that boasted a three-sixty view. But luxury had never seemed right for tai chi, and, Nebraska child that he was, saltwater still fascinated him.
Besides, this was the closest he’d ever come to a vacation. He might as well at least make a pretense of it.
He drove a little way past town to a stretch not lined by houses and not crowded with people—in fact, it looked deserted. Perfect. For the first part of his tai chi practice, he always worked carefully and slowly through forms; for the next part, he “fought” target posts of various sizes, each about two inches in diameter. In early days, the posts had been wrapped with padding and duct tape, but once he’d mastered the art, he left them bare. The “give” had to be in his own hands, his own stance, and that’s what imbued his blows with deadly force.
He took the targets out of the car, removed his shoes, and walked across the beach to the edge of the water, where the wet sand provided a perfect base. After he’d set his poles and taken a minute to perfect his state of mind, he began the first form, working thoughtfully, slowly, aware of every muscle, every move.
By the time he’d finished, the sun had risen almost midway. With heat and exertion, he’d broken into a profuse sweat. He turned his face into the breeze, let it riffle his curls, took his shirt off, and tossed it to hang on one of his targets.
A dot in the distance moving up the beach toward him. A person. Sonny, no flags in sight.
Oh well, no problem. If there was anything he knew how to do, it was shut out emotional disturbance. He’d just continue with his practice, maybe work another form first, as if Sonny weren’t there. But with Sonny’s long legs, he covered a lot of distance in a short time, and now he’d come almost close enough for eye contact. My God, the man is beautiful.
“Hey,” Luki said.
“Nice out, huh?” Oh, yeah. Great. Talk about the weather.
Sonny ignored the comment.
Thank you, universe.
“It‟s like dancing.”
The conversation seemed like some kind of mirror image of the last time they spoke, when Sonny was checking out colors, which certainly weren‟t all the same, or so Sonny informed him, leaving him to feel foolish. Nice thing was, now they were in his territory. But he had no taste for retaliation.
“It‟s been called that. Tai chi.”
“Oh. Yeah. I’ve heard of it. Sort of dancing that can kill. Seems exactly right.”
Luki didn’t know what he meant by that last remark, so he stayed silent.
“It’s graceful, the way you do it.”
Luki remained at a loss for a response. Was that a compliment?
“I‟ve even thought about trying to learn it. But I could never get away from my studio—or maybe I should say get my studio out of my head—long enough for anything like that.”
Luki still said nothing, but now he subtly eyed Sonny from head to toe—a pleasant undertaking but one with purpose. “You’re in good enough shape to do it well.”
Luki didn’t know how he could speak and hold his breath at the same time, but it felt that way. “I could teach you a little,” he said, “right now.”
To his surprise and nervous delight, Sonny agreed after only a second’s hesitation. Soon Luki had him barefoot and mastering a perfect opening stance. From there, he taught him some traditional warm-ups—not part of the forms but a good way to get the feel of the art. Though his long, loose limbs gave him some trouble and made Luki want to secretly and fondly laugh, and though Sonny giggled—yes, giggled—at a few of the early warm-ups, he attended well and learned fast.
They’d reached the last of the warm-up exercises: Pushing Chi. A little more complicated than the ones that came before, it took focused coordination. When Sonny could Push Chi with acceptable grace, Luki decided to introduce him to at least part of the Chen form: First, he revisited the simple but all-important Opening Movement. Then, Pound the Pestle, Lazy Tying Coat, and Six Sealing,
Single Whip led into White Crane Spreads Its Wings, the name of which made Sonny adorably… all right fine, adorably happy. The sequence involved motions that at first felt counterintuitive. Like probably every student in the centuries tai chi had been around, Sonny needed help with it. As he would with any other student, Luki stood behind him, using his own hands to guide Sonny through the move. He wondered if he could get away with teaching him all the rest of the moves in just that way. Perhaps for hours. Every day. For a long time.
As he was teaching and wondering and probably even almost smiling, a wind rose up, splashing spray and sand and whipping Sonny’s long hair at Luki’s face and right into his mouth. On the word “open,” appropriately enough.
Sonny spun around, gathering up his luxurious baked-earth red hair. Before Luki had a chance to close his mouth, Sonny kissed him. A passionate, seeking sort of kiss. A kiss that Luki instinctively returned, though kissing wasn‟t a large part of his intimate life, and especially not kissing on the beach.
As suddenly as he started it, Sonny ended it, leaving Luki bereft… frustrated and bereft.
Sonny turned away, refusing eye contact. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have done that.” Without any further explanation, he stepped away.
Luki knew fear, could spot it from afar and pick it out in a crowded room. Right now, it ran hot through Sonny’s veins. He reached for Sonny’s arm. “Sonny, what….” What are you afraid of? he ended the question silently. Sonny had already gone.
Luki hated roller coasters, both the mechanical ones and the emotional. In response to hating it, he relaxed completely, letting his tension be soaked up in the wet sand. Then he took that emotion out on his targets. Using tai chi fajin in a rapid-fire assault, he took every one of those posts down before they knew what hit them. Especially the last.
I visited Goodreads this evening and discovered a warm-the-author’s-heart review of Delsyn’s Blues by a reader/reviewer named Lisa. The 4.25 stars are sweet, but the words she wrote left me feeling good all over. Here’s the link to Lisa’s review. (Many thanks Lisa.)
Incidentally the photo on this post is here for no reason except that I like it, and it was taken in the general area where Delsyn went into the woods, in Delsyn’s Blues, and it’s… that type of forest, likely to be spooky at night. Taken by Michael McKee, website here.
The day has arrived and Delsyn’s Blues is available now from Dreamspinner Press. You can get it there (click the cover image for a direct link), or if you have an account at All Romance Ebooks, it’s “live” there as well. Other venues will be Amazon, B&N, Rainbow Ebooks, and tons more.
You might be able to tell, I’m excited about this. This book is the 2nd in the Vasquez & James series, sequel to Loving Luki Vasquez. The guys run into a lot of trouble, and to get out of it they’d better really, really love each other. Scroll down for the blurbs and links (cover images) for both books.
Reclusive weaver Sonny Bly James controls every color and shape in his tapestries, but he can’t control the pattern of his life—a random encounter with Luki Vasquez, ex-ATF agent and all-around badass, makes that perfectly clear. The mutual attraction is immediate, but love-shy Sonny has retreated from life, and Luki wears his visible and not-so-visible scars like armor. Neither can bare his soul with ease. While they run from desire, they can’t hide from the evil that hunts them. After it becomes clear that a violent stalker has targeted Sonny, Luki’s protective instincts won’t let him run far, especially when Sonny’s family is targeted as well. Whether they can forgive or forget, Sonny and Luki will have to call a truce and work together to save Sonny’s nephew and fight an enemy intent on making sure loving Luki Vasquez is the last mistake Sonny will ever make.
Sonny James and Luki Vasquez are living proof that the course of love never runs smoothly. Ambushed by grief, Sonny listens to a voice singing the blues from beyond the grave. While revisiting the sorrows and failings of his past, in the here and now he puts up a wall against love. Just when Luki chips through that barricade, the couple becomes the target of a new threat from outside: an escalating and unexplainable rash of break-ins and assaults. Thoughts of infidelity rise between them, a threat that may strain their newly mended love past its limits. To come through the trials alive and together, Luki and Sonny will have to unite against enemies who were once friends and overcome crippling hatred and overwhelming fear. If they succeed, maybe then they can rekindle the twin flames of passion and love.
Luki stepped outside to smoke, no jacket against the cold, dry wind, nothing between his eyes and the stars. Dry, cold, and clear—a rare March night here on the Olympic Peninsula. He
walked out to sit on the drift log halfway between Sonny’s house and the water. A square of artificial daylight lay on the sandy grass to his left, bursting out through the window of Sonny’s studio, where he was probably hard at work.
“I’m going to my studio,” he’d said a short while ago. “See if I can clean it up some.”
One word answer, “No.” And he walked away.
Luki refused to wonder if now, inside his studio, something bad was happening to Sonny—emotions, memories, dope, whatever. He told himself for the hundredth time it was about trust. Soon, his cigarette had come to its predestined seven-minute end, and he was starting to feel the bite of the cold. But instead of going in, he walked down to the edge of the water, dark as it was, with stars sprinkled in the quiet waves. At the edge of his vision, he noticed the studio light
disappear from the ground, and moments later he felt, more than heard, Sonny coming out of the house, walking toward him. He didn’t turn around, but when Sonny reached an arm over his shoulder, Luki took Sonny’s hand and kissed it, not surprised at all, and led him back to the
Sonny straddled the log next to Luki and leaned in to kiss Luki’s neck. Which tickled in a most seductive way. Sonny’s long legs grabbed hold of him like pincers, and he dragged his lean fingers over Luki’s chest, leaving heat trails on Luki’s night-chilled skin. The whole event felt like a stroke of better-than-luck to Luki because, though he refused to jump to conclusions, he was pretty sure Sonny was making sexual advances. And it had been a couple or a hundred months since any such thing occurred or even was hinted at. So if his response was a little too enthusiastic, a little too heated, he hoped Sonny would forgive him for that.
Better than forgiving, Sonny matched him flame for flame, and pretty soon hands were inside clothes and doing some exquisite touching, tickling, rubbing. But it wasn’t all that comfortable—cold and clothed—so Luki breathed, “Bed, sweetie.”
“Yeah,” Sonny answered, but he didn’t stop what he was doing, and Luki didn’t really want him to. It made it all the more difficult to insist. “Come on, baby, let’s go.” He took Sonny’s hand out of his clothing and they both jogged, holding hands and holding up their unzipped pants with their free hands, moving about as gracefully as contestants in a three-legged race.
Which made Sonny guffaw. Which he did from time to time and which always delighted Luki—made him sort of laugh too.
When they reached the house, Luki slammed the door behind them with a foot and rushed to catch up with Sonny, who was already shirtless and dropping his jeans and a step away from the bed. All Luki could think about was skin, Sonny’s skin: bare, sweet, brown skin over legs and ass and chest and shoulders and toes and fingers and yes, penis. Perhaps the sweetest skin of all, that. He wanted so badly to taste it. When Sonny’s jeans came off and he stood bare and enflamed, molded by lamplight, Luki’s entire being—every sense, every belief, and everything he knew in all the world—was about Sonny, the beautiful, breathtaking, heart-stealing man standing naked before him.
“Damn, baby,” he whispered, and as if the words tilted things, it all slowed down. Sonny reached for Luki and stripped his clothes a piece at a time, and then they stood pressed against each other forever, and then Luki knelt down and took a long, slow, sweet sampling of Sonny’s best flavors. Thighs. Testes. Slick, sweet, hot erection.
But Sonny put himself in charge, this time around, and he pulled Luki away, brought him to his feet. Kissed him, and the thought of Sonny kissing the taste of Sonny off of his lips excited Luki almost to the point of pain. Then Sonny let their bodies separate a few inches and leaned over to kiss him while their erections did a kind of slow dance, loving each other. They fell onto the bed, and for the sake of the silky feel of it on bare skin, they drew Sonny’s beautiful blanket up over
them and burrowed underneath it.
Sonny scrunched down farther, laid his tongue flat against the shaft of Luki’s penis, and licked, base to crown. When he reached the glans, he wrapped it in his lips and ran his tongue around, around, gave it a sweet suck.
“Oh God, Luki,” he said, his voice thick and throaty. Obviously pleased with what he tasted, he fell to again—licking, stroking, sucking.
Luki had as much stamina as the next guy, maybe more, but it had been a long while since he’d had sex. And this wasn’t just any old sex; it was Sonny, and it was love. And he didn’t want it to be over, or even to have a temporary lull. So he begged. “God, baby, that’s so good. Please, stop.”
Sonny apparently didn’t wonder what he meant because he slid up Luki’s body and kissed him again and said in his ear, “I want in, Luki. Let me in tonight. Let me have your ass.”
No five words in English or any other language could have sounded sweeter than those last five. Luki, so used to being in charge at all times, reveled in the conscious act of letting go, falling, coming apart. He became incoherent, only syllables passing his lips and even those guttural.
Sonny rolled him insistently, not too gently, and plied his ass with thick, creamy lube, the silk of it teasing Luki almost as sweetly as Sonny’s hand hot on his back, Sonny’s hard, ready penis
sliding between Luki’s legs and rubbing up against his own hard sex.
Luki knew just the particular instant when he was completely ready, and apparently Sonny knew it too. “Yeah, Luki, that’s it,” he said. “That’s what I want.” And as he started to push the swollen head of his penis slowly inside Luki, “Oh, God! Luki, it’s so damn sweet.” He slid in farther, farther, all the way, and he started rocking.
Luki could barely speak for the pleasure of Sonny moving inside him, massaging the small, secret place that would yield, when the timing was perfect, a strong, lengthy, exquisite orgasm. He couldn’t wait, but he could. And there was more. Sonny’s arms were long and his body nimble. He reached around and slid a circle of fingers down the shaft of Luki’s prick, teasing slowly, just enough. Then it all became, for Luki, a little more than enough. “Baby, damn. It’s too freaking good!”
And then he came and the orgasm shuddered through every part of his body, so hard and so long and so over-the-fucking-top that Luki was remotely glad he worked out a lot. Otherwise he surely wouldn’t have withstood the storm. Just when he thought he’d survived it, he heard Sonny groan deep, roll it out into a long moan. He felt Sonny’s heat inside him, felt him spasm and quiver against his ass, felt his hot breath blow across his back, and he owned that orgasm too.
A few months ago I posted a link to a review by Lisa at Top2Bottom Reviews, and she also interviewed me. I had a lot of fun answering her questions, and I was thrilled with the review. Now the wiley Vasquez & James have made it into Lisa’s Top Picks! Click here to check out the list—we’re in great company! Thanks, Lisa and Top2Bottom Reviews!
Saturday, 12/31, I’ll be around Goodreads for a “meet the author” chat at the Dreamspinner Press discussion board. The time is 1pm to 6pm eastern, 10am to 3 pm Pacific (but I might be there early).
I plan to share some excerpts from Delsyn’s Blues (which will be released Monday) and who knows what else, answer questions, chat about whatever comes up, and hopefully learn an interesting thing or two from you. Please stop by to chat, visit, share, just generally get better acquainted, and have some fun.
The voting is on in the Goodreads M/M Romance reader survey, and the group’s moderators provided this beautiful badge for books that were nominated. Wow! It’s so pretty! Loving Luki Vasquez is on the ballot in three categories: mystery/whodunit, hurt/comfort, and for Reese Dante’s exceptional cover art. I’m thrilled!
It’s a tough competition, though, lots of great reads in every category. I’d love your vote for Vasquez and James, but… just please, scroll through the categories, give it some thought, and vote!Here’s the link to the survey.
Climbing over the gunwale, Luki remarked, “Why did you call this a bucket? Looks like a perfectly good boat.”
“Look over the side, back there.” Sonny pointed.
“Melvern’s Bucket,” Luki read. “Oh.”
“So, anyway,” Sonny said. “Off we go to Mack’s Island.”
Luki had already sat down and started to do his routine weapons check. He tended not to be as heavily armed these days as he had been when they first met. But he still had his favorite handgun and two knives, and of course, a supply of ammunition and nylon handcuffs. He
was taking stock now, making sure everything was where and how it was supposed to be, a job clearly requiring that a cigarette hang out of his mouth. He puffed at the damn thing without using his hands, which meant he had to keep his eye squinted like Charles Bronson in The Mechanic and his face scrunched up on one side—the side with the scar. Sonny hated that he looked damn sexy that way.
“It’s not fair,” he said.
“What’s not fair?”
That something can look sexy and kill you at the same time. He shook his head to dismiss Luki’s question, didn’t answer at all out loud.
Besides, there were other things he needed to have his mind on now. And he hadn’t forgotten that one reason Luki seemed lightly armed was because he, Sonny, still had his other gun. Sonny didn’t bring the subject up, but he was pretty sure Luki hadn’t forgotten either.
Sonny set the boat in motion, having a fair idea of the coordinates and a fair sense of direction. Not more than fair, out on the water, just like he only had a fair ability to drive the damn boat. Melvern had insisted he learn, but… well, it just wasn’t a car. He couldn’t remember the first time he’d lain across a hood wrenching on a car engine, but as far as activities go, cars had always been what he loved best—aside from weaving and dyes and that sort of thing. And now, aside from Luki. Everything to do with Luki. Including staring at Luki, watching him smoke his lungs dry and play with guns. Disgustingly, Sonny wanted to weave him like that.
“I hate being on the water,” Luki said.
“Yeah?” It didn’t surprise Sonny; he just didn’t know why.
“I’ve had not so good things happen around water, you know?”
“Like getting beat up and cut and generally gay-bashed?”
“And almost drowning while getting blown up in a river.”
Luki holstered his gun and adjusted the position of the leather accessory, took the cigarette out of his mouth, and looked up at Sonny.
Not smiling. “That too.”
Sonny sighed and stepped over to his lover, letting the Bucket drive itself for a moment. He stood in front of Luki, so close he had to
part his legs to either side, which basically parked his sex in Luki’s face. He wished they had more time, but second best would have to do. He buried his hands in Luki’s curls, forcing him to look up. Then he bent low and eased into a kiss, a long, sweet, sucking and sliding one.
After a moment, he regretfully eased off, kissed Luki’s nose on the way by, and stepped back to the wheel. “Very nice,” Luki said, voice huskier than ever. “But there must be an explanation.”
“Now you’ve had something good happen to you on the water. I hope.”
Luki didn’t answer for a moment—which was okay. He absently patted the big red dog, which had been sticking close to Luki since they’d come on board and now leaned into Luki’s legs and stared with him at the gray planks that made up the deck. There was no way to know if either of them saw what they were staring at. After a moment, Luki looked up, chewing his lip, then he let it slip from between his teeth. “You love me, Sonny.”
Donations to date: $500 to Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center!Thank you, readers! I hope Yes touched your hearts. I know our donation will touch peoples lives--in a small way perhaps, but every little bit helps.
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