A MelanieM Review: A Time For Secrets (Boystown #4) by Marshall Thornton

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

In the first full-length novel of the Boystown series, it’s late summer 1982 and private detective Nick Nowak is asked to find a retired gentleman’s long lost lover. Instead, he finds himself embroiled in a decades old murder connected to the man who wants to be Chicago’s next mayor.

Meanwhile, an ambitious young reporter develops a friendship with Nick’s lover Bert, making Nick wonder exactly where their relationship may be heading.

 

Nick Novak has never quite dealt with the traumatic assault that outed him to the  Chicago PD, cost him not only his job on the force but his lover who was violently beaten in the gay bashing. A tragedy where suspects were never arrested or looked for because the victims were homosexuals.  His lover blamed him for his closeted state and being part of the PD.  His guilt, his inability to protect the one he loved? And being the one not to face years of reconstructive surgery?  All took  its toll emotionally, professionally, and mentally.

Its why NIck is a PI, estranged from most of his family, and still not able to put his past completely to rest.

Now it comes home again when an elderly man asks Nick to find a lover he made a connection with long ago.  Turns out he also has a connection with Nick.  He was the one to call Chicago PD when he witnessed Nick and his lover being attacked, and perhaps kept them from being killed.  Nick’s past and this man’s are intertwined in ways Nick is just beginning to understand.

A Time For Secrets is a dark, gritty tale.  We’ve been moving deeper into this territory with each story as the 80’s progress.  Its 1982 now.  We’ve gone from a mention of a gay flu to a mysterious virus to GRID (gay-related immune deficiency) which Harker, Nick’s Chicago PD lover, was diagnosed with.  Now they are starting to call it  AIDS while searching for answers and, of course, preventative measures.  Yes, people are starting to think they should use condoms.

Nick is still very much Nick, who is trying to handle a lover who is probably dying (although no one is saying anything), his lover’s mother (who hates Nick and blames him for Harker’s illness), and his feelings towards both Harker and the idea of commitment. While it should be work that directs his attention away from the personal issues, this case continues to direct it back, as it pulls in his  family members with their ties to the police and his past.

Thornton’s writing is fast paced and smooth for all the intricacies of plot and heavy emotional heft of this story.  Parts of it will just plan old out and out hurt to read.  That’s because these characters and their plight have become or do feel so real over the course of this story.  It may be the 80’s, but bigotry and hate know no decade.  Nor does AIDS and impending loss.

This story and series makes it all believable, vivid, and immediate again.

As it does to corruption and politics.  Also so timely.

A Time For Secrets (Boystown #4) by Marshall Thornton is another brilliant story in the Boystown series.  There are ten books in all.  They are moving, dark, sometimes hard to read, and bring forth a character and perspective that’s not to be missed.  I highly recommend both this book and the entire series.

Cover art brands the series although would not be my pick for a cover.

Sales Link:  Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:Kindle Edition, 238 pages
Published January 23rd 2015 (first published March 30th 2012)
ASINB00R1OTW98
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesBoystown #4

Series:

Boystown Bundle 1 – 3 – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 A Time For Secrets – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 Murder Book – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 From The Ashes – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 Bloodlines – Amazon US | Amazon UK (ON SALE for 99c)
Book #8 The Lies That Bind – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #9 Lucky Days – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #10 Gifts Given – Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #11 Hearts Desire – Amazon US | Amazon UK (PREOR

A Jeri Review: Wash Out (Anchor Point #7) by LA Witt

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

I love that the Anchor Point series, although all set at the same Naval base, really are different. This was no exception.

Casey is on desk duty after seriously breaking his leg during SEALs training. And the chances of him continuing that training are zero. Logan is a former Marine, now working as a contractor on base. One guy has been there, the other guy never will go there.
It was heartbreaking to see Casey deal with the same platitudes over and over again about being lucky to never see war. But that is exactly what he signed up for. Being a SEAL was his dream. And Logan is plagued with PTSD from his tours of combat duty and is one of the guys that tells Casey how lucky his is. But it is sticky because Logan and Casey have some serious heat together.
So while they are enjoying the no strings sex, strings form. And each man really has to explain their unique but opposite positions regarding the military and war.
There is a TON of angst in this book, but also a lot of hot sex and a really genuine relationship between Logan and Casey. I think what I enjoy the most about this books is that they are so authentic. The author doesn’t keep it a secret that her husband is active duty Navy, so she really knows what she is talking about with PTSD, active duty, contract work, etc.
We get a few cameos of previous main characters- always a favorite of mine in a series to keep them all connected. I love that one of the supporting characters/previous main characters HATED the Navy in his book and is now a supervisor in a contract position. Felt like a full circle kind of thing.
Cover art by LC Chase works perfectly for the story and the series branding.
Book Details:
ebook, 265 pages
Published May 21st 2018 by Riptide Publishing
ISBN 1626497532 (ISBN13: 9781626497535)
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Anchor Point #7

A Lucy Review: Nobody Else’s by Nell Iris

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Beckett’s best friend, Matt, comes from a big family.  As in, a really big one with eleven children.  Matt is the oldest and his younger brother, Levi, is three years his junior.  Levi is also the focus of Beckett’s crush. “I’d had a crush on him for years, but he was Matt’s little brother, and besides…what would he see in someone like me?”  Beckett is a bit of a bear, hairy with a chubby belly.  When he sees Levi, he “…pulled in my stomach and sat a little straighter.  Not that it helped.  My belly couldn’t be hidden.” 

In a family of loud people, Levi is the exception.  While everyone else is yelling over each other to be heard, he is quiet.  He is a tech wizard, nearly dropping out of high school to open his business (though parents put the stop to that).  His business is very successful and he lives in an apartment over the garage at his parent’s, helping out financially and with the siblings, particularly the Hell Sisters, twins age 5. 

The story is told in back and forth first person point of view from both Levi and Beckett.  This is something I always appreciate as I like to know the why of what each person does, says and how they react.  It begins with Matt and Beckett meeting for a meal and Beckett is surprised by the arrival of Levi.  I was a little surprised at Matt’s behavior – when Beckett reads a horoscope (which is racy, gay and funny) from a website, Matt is shocked.  “It’s a site for gay people.”  Because Beckett is bisexual and his last partner was female, Matt thought, well now he’s straight.  Which is sad considering Levi is gay, but they call him out on it.

I loved reading the horoscopes, one for each chapter.  First it was surprising and then they were funny.  You can see where it’s going early but that didn’t detract from them at all. That’s the kind of horoscope I would read!

The story is sweet with very little angst, if any.  Beckett is a serious Harry Potter fan, which I enjoyed, being one myself.  Beckett is an accountant and offers to help Levi with his business accounting and that’s how the courtship begins.

“Levi: Why would you offer something that valuable to me?

Beckett: Because you always help everyone else. It’s time someone has your back.” 

Like I said, sweet.  There is quite often mentioning of how each thinks the other is so cute and so kind.   I liked that when Levi talks to Matt about asking Beckett out, Matt gives the “don’t hurt my friend” speech to Levi, rather than to Beckett about Levi.  Their first date is an amazing one and shows how much Levi understands Beckett.

The book is very relationship focused, with little outside plot. We get insights into both Levi’s and Beckett’s families.  I liked this book but be warned that at times it is very sugary.

Cover art, depicting both Levi and Beckett, was pretty close to what I imagined they would look like.

Book Details:

ebook
Published June 30th 2018 by JMS Books, LLC
ISBN139781634866712
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Alisa Review: Challenge (Kinky in the City #2) by Quinn Ward

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

When two men reveal the secrets they tried keeping, even from each other, sparks will fly…

Freddie’s life changed forever when he walked in on his best friend dancing around the room in women’s lingerie. A lifetime of friendship was buried in the same box as Peter’s lingerie and makeup. The single father isn’t ready to face the man who made him question his sexuality when they were teens.

He may not have a choice.

Peter refuses to call himself the black sheep of the family, because his life has been nothing but color since he left home rather than face a future he didn’t want. The death of his mother brings him home, and he can’t leave until he knows his sister’s okay. When Freddie offers him a place to stay, he’s not certain his heart will survive.

Can Freddie make Peter believe he’s not turned off by a bit of satin and lace while finally exploring his bisexuality?

This was a wonderful way to continue this series and give us a chance to see more of the Marino family.  Freddie and Peter were best friends growing up but a misunderstanding as teens pushed them apart.  When Peter comes home they get the chance to clear the air.

Freddie’s life is focused on work and his daughter after all the drama his ex-wife caused.  Seeing Peter after all these years brings back his old feelings but this time he is ready to face them head on. Peter came home to support his youngest sister after his mother’s death but finds support and acceptance with Freddie.

I liked both of these characters, and the story was told through both of their eyes.  Peter found acceptance when he went to New York and it was wonderful to see him find it in his hometown when he didn’t expect it.  Freddie isn’t afraid to bring Peter back into his life but he fears that Peter would leave them.  I loved Sophia’s openness and how much happiness she brought to Freddie and Peter’s life.  I am loving this series and can’t wait to see Matteo find his happiness.

The cover art by Cover Me, Darling is great and I like how it’s the same pattern of the series but gives a distinct visual of Freddie.

Sales Link: Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 193 pages

Published: May 28, 2018

Edition Language: English

Series: Kinky in the City #2

Release Day Blitz for Magic or Die (Inner Demons #1) by JP Jackson (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title:  Magic or Die

Series: Inner Demons, Book One

Author: J.P. Jackson

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: July 2, 2018

Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 87300

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, paranormal, demons, witches, magic

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Synopsis

James Martin is a teacher, a powerful Psychic, and an alcoholic. He used to work for the Center for Magical Research and Development, a facility that houses people who can’t control their supernatural abilities, but left after one of his students was killed, turning to vodka to soothe his emotional pain. The problem is he still has one year left on his contract.

When James is forced to return to the CMRD, he finds himself confronting the demons of his past and attempting to protect his new class from a possible death sentence, because if they don’t pass their final exams, they’ll be euthanized.

James also discovers that his class isn’t bringing in enough sponsors, the agencies and world governments who supply grants and ultimately purchase graduates of the CMRD, and that means no profit for the facility. James and his students face impossible odds—measure up to the facility’s unreachable standards or escape.

Excerpt

Magic or Die
J.P. Jackson © 2018
All Rights Reserved

One: Call Back
“YES, MIRIAM. YES, I know. I know it’s been over a year. I’m not sure I’m ready.”

The knuckles on my hand cramped from clasping my cell phone in a death grip. I glanced at my watch. This conversation had gone on too long. In the span of two minutes, Miriam had managed to exhume memories and history I wanted buried and forgotten. I sucked in a short breath as nausea surged like a tsunami of fear. Its behemoth wave washed bile against the back of my throat.

I slumped down the stained and weathered wall of the coffin-sized studio apartment I reluctantly called a home. It wasn’t a bad place to live, except for the cockroaches I found on a daily basis. I’m sure they considered it a veritable paradise. Absentmindedly, I toed an old pizza box near my foot while listening to Miriam. One of the insects scampered across the matted Berber carpet.

Gross.

Cody. A pale ghostlike face flashed before me. His hair, the exact colour of fall fallowed fields, hung listlessly over one eye, as blood trickled out of the corner of his mouth. His chapped lips parted, asking me, “Why?”

I ignored the vision. Well, ignored wasn’t the right word, more like boxed it up with a heavy rock and pitched it into the abyss of my mind with all the other terrifying nightmares.

“I know. I owe you, yes. I’m just not sure—” I crawled over to the upended crate being used as a coffee table, grasping for my last pack of smokes. I lit one, enjoying the soothing crackle of the tobacco as it ignited, and then inhaled deeply.

Ah, yes. Hello, nicotine, my demon friend.

Miriam continued blithering while I half-heartedly listened to her soul-sucking voice. She was demanding my presence.

“What? You mean, tomorrow? Miriam, I don’t think it’s a good idea.” I drew in another steady stream of the toxic smoke. It burned my lungs as the addictive chemicals flooded through my body. I really need to quit. Scraping together the smallest ounce of courage, I attempted to defy her. “No, I can’t.”

A wraithlike hand, desiccated and fragile, inched its way across my shoulder and gripped my tense neck muscle. Its sharp nails dug into my flesh. Its bite, a warning.

Cody’s lifeless lips brushed my ear, sending cold shivers skittering across my back. Eruptions of goose flesh covered my neck and shoulders. His voice was a memory and a sound I would never forget.

“Don’t do this. You’ll kill me again.” His icy breath whispered to me.

Another box, a bigger rock, another addition to the pit of despair in my head.

“No,” I replied to one of Miriam’s inane questions. “There’s an Arcane too? I’ve never been good with them. They creep me out. No, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that. Shit.” Miriam had just described a scene for me. My flesh turned buggy, as if I had chiggers nesting and burrowing deep into my skin. “Oh god that’s gross. It’s also not a good sign.” I pointed uselessly at the wall, waving my finger, trying to make a point to the caller. “I never took the exam for the third class.” Miriam had asked if I’d kept up my licensing. I instantly felt guilty. I should have done it years ago. One thing was becoming evident from the conversation—she needed my help. Help only I could give.

“All right, maybe, I think I can. Consult only. Do you hear me, Miriam? Just a consult.” I had tried desperately to stay the hell out of this. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to go back there. “What time? Yes. I’m pretty sure. Miriam—” A thousand reservations ran through my mind, a wild stampede, unbridled, laced with dread and fear. “How many? How many in this class?”

The question sat like the world perched on my shoulders. The higher the number, the bigger the world, the more responsibility, an undeniable possibility of…

“Five! Are you kidding me? I can’t do five. No. No! It’s not possible.”

She was out of her mind.

“Yes, my sister is still on the streets. You know that’s close to blackmail, right?” I stubbed out the cigarette. The lacquer of smoke in my mouth tasted like I had just licked the bottom of an ashtray, and it was suddenly very hard to breathe. Why do I smoke again?

“Fine. Tomorrow. Yes. Ten a.m. Yes, I’ll be there. What do you mean dress appropriately?”

I looked at my cell phone, disgusted as the call ended.

I flipped the device onto the floor as if it had burst into flame and branded the conversation into my hand. I snorted. Like, I’d forget.

Stretching around to the other side of the crate, I grabbed blindly for a bottle I hoped was there. By all the gods’ great divine gifts, it was. And it still had liquid in it. In fact, it was surprisingly half-full.

I tipped the vodka bottle back, allowing its burn to strip away the cancer stick’s smoky film inside my mouth.

Swaying back and forth with my eyes closed, I tried to drown out the endless voices in my head. The words inundated my impending thoughts of doom and failure, and I could feel the chaos and panic mounting. Steadying myself and regaining my mental capacities, I gazed out the window. It was dark already and only six, early evening at best. Yay for daylight-savings time and late fall in Canada. Lights from the downtown cityscape lazily twinkled and danced before me. It should have been a pretty sight, but the darkness always seemed too oppressive, like a shroud. And I knew better. Things lived in the shadows.

I took another swig from the clear glass bottle. The burn hit my throat and disintegrated the bile that had crept up there.

Five very gifted students.

I rubbed the stubble covering my face and took yet another nip. Except it wasn’t a quick sip, it was a good one. A long one.

The window acted like a mirror, and my image reflected against the backdrop of the city skyline. I looked like shit. My short brown hair had cowlicks; thank god I kept it close. But the rest? No wonder Miriam instructed me to clean it up. The shirt I was sort of wearing was only half buttoned and stained in several spots. I had no pants on, but the pair of tighty-whities, which weren’t exactly white anymore, or tight, were ripped and showed more flesh than they were supposed to. Jesus.

How did my life get here?

Five young people had no control of their gifts.

And I had a sister who was lost out in the sparkle-light of downtown’s darkness, up to who knew what, and doing it with god only knew who, mired in her own addictions.

I glanced around my shit-hole apartment, wondering what the fuck I was going to do.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

J.P. Jackson works as an IT analyst in health care during the day, where if cornered he’d confess to casting spells to ensure clinicians actually use the electronic medical charting system he configures and implements.

At night however, the writing happens, where demons, witches and shape shifters congregate around the kitchen table and general chaos ensues. The insurance company refuses to accept any more claims of ‘acts of the un-god’, and his husband of almost 20 years has very firmly put his foot down on any further wraith summoning’s in the basement. And apparently imps aren’t house-trainable. Occasionally the odd ghost or member of the Fae community stops in for a glass of wine and stories are exchanged. Although the husband doesn’t know it, the two Chihuahuas are in cahoots with the spell casting.

J.P.’s other hobbies include hybridizing African Violets (thanks to grandma), extensive travelling and believe it or not, knitting.

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Release Blitz for Nobody Else’s by Nell Iris (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 20,000 words approx.
 
Publisher: JMS Books
 
Blurb



Mars enters Pisces, giving Beckett Cooper the opportunity to assert himself when it comes to a secret infatuation; his best friend’s younger brother Levi. But can Beckett trust what’s in front of him and be brave enough to take what he wants?


With Venus in Virgo, people usually become more reserved, but Levi Byrne always takes the opposite road of what’s expected of him. So, instead of pulling back, he reaches out for a man he’s been interested in for years; Beckett Cooper.


Is it the celestial bodies aligning to bring together two people destined for each other? Or is it a simple tale of boy meets boy, boy likes boy, and boy wants to kiss boy? Do Beckett and Levi even care, or are they too busy getting to know each other … and falling in love?

 
Excerpt
 
“Beckett?”


The voice made my stomach jump and the corners of my mouth turn up even though I was so tired I’d thought I’d never smile again just a moment ago.


“Levi. Hi!” Stubble covered his face and he approached me with a spring in his step and a happy grin that made my heart pitter-patter in my chest. Oh gawd, he was cuter than ever. “What are you doing here?” I asked.


He threw his arm around my neck in a quick, one-armed hug. The heat of his body penetrated my cold soul, but before I had time to hug him back, he let go of me and stepped back. I missed his warmth instantly. I wanted more. I wanted to bury my nose in the crook of his neck and just stay there until this crappy day was gone and forgotten. Feel his hands on my back and his soothing breaths in my ear.


Shit. I swallowed around a lump that appeared in my throat. I had it bad.


“I’m here to get some celebratory ice cream. I finished my project on time, so I thought I’d treat myself.”


“Great job. Congratulations!”


“Thanks!” His eyes sparkled at me. “Are you getting ice cream, too?”


“No. I was trying to figure out what to eat for dinner. I can’t decide what sounds the least disgusting,” I said and picked up two depressing looking boxes. “Lasagna or pepperoni pizza?”


Levi drew his eyebrows together and then took both from me and threw them back into the freezer. “You can’t eat crap like that. It’s no good for you.”


“I know,” I sighed. “But my fridge is empty and I’m too tired to both shop for groceries and cook.”


He looked at me then, swept his gaze from head to toe. “You look exhausted. I’m sorry I didn’t notice earlier.”


“It’s fine.”


With an unconvinced look on his face, he asked, “Are you all right?”


“Yeah. Just tired. I had a terrible day at work.”


“I know all about those.” He sucked his lower lip into his mouth, letting his eyes flick over my face, taking in what I was sure was tired lines around my eyes and a mouth trying its best to smile. “I have an idea,” he said after a few moments. “What if I make you dinner? I’d need to borrow your kitchen of course, but if you feel like a homecooked meal … I’m your guy.”


I drew a breath and held it. Blinked. “Are you serious?” I asked in a whooshing exhale.


“I am.”


“But what about your ice cream celebration?”


“It can wait.”


His kindness coupled with my fatigue choked me up. Half a second from bursting into tears, I asked, “Why?”


“Because you look like you need someone to take care of you.”


I couldn’t help it then. A tear escaped. I turned my face away and squeezed my eyes shut. A part of me wanted to turn and run away, hide my stupid sensitivity from him and not be the guy who cries in the grocery store aisle. But another part knew he could be trusted and even if I broke down completely here, he wouldn’t make fun of me.


“Then yes. Thank you,” I choked out.


Gentle fingers plucked the shopping basket from my grip. His other hand found it’s way to my nape and caressed me for a second. It was just a brief touch, but it gave me the strength to wipe away the tear and look at him again.


“Let’s go. I know just the thing.”

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies’ room), loves music (and singing along but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!


Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.


Nell is a forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago, and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.


Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters.


Email contact@nelliris.com
Web www.nelliris.com
Twitter @nellirisauthor
Facebook page www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor
Facebook profile www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/nell_iris/
QueeRomance Ink https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/nell-iris/

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New Book Release Blitz for Badlands by Morgan Brice

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Badlands

Author:  Morgan Brice

Cover Artist: Natania Barron

Publisher: Darkwind Press

Release Date: June 26, 2018

Genre/s: urban fantasy, MM paranormal romance

Add on Goodreads 

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Kobo 

Nook/B&N

Blurb

Simon Kincaide owns a boardwalk shop in Myrtle Beach where he runs ghost tours & does seances and private psychic readings, a fresh start after his abilities cost him his lover and his job as a folklore professor. Jaded cop Vic D’Amato saw something supernatural he couldn’t explain during a shootout several years ago in Pittsburgh and relocated to Myrtle Beach to leave the past behind, still skeptical about the paranormal.  But when the search for a serial killer hits a dead end, Vic battles his skepticism to ask Simon for help. As the body count rises, Simon’s involvement makes him a target, and a suspect. But Simon can’t say no, even if it costs him his life and heart.

About the Author 

 Morgan Brice is the romance pen name of bestselling author Gail Z. Martin. Morgan writes urban fantasy male/male paranormal romance, with plenty of action, adventure and supernatural thrills to go with the happily ever after. Gail writes epic fantasy and urban fantasy, and together with co-author hubby Larry N. Martin, steampunk and comedic horror, all of which have less romance, more explosions

Morgan Brice will be a Supporting Author at Gay Romantic Lit convention and a Hosting Author at RomCon in October.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook Group -The Worlds of Morgan Brice 

Twitter

Pinterest: See the Morgan Brice board 

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