Someone to Call My Own by Aimee Nicole Walker: Blog Tour, Excerpt, Review and Giveaway

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SOMEONE TO CALL MY OWN

Road to Blissville Series, Book 2

AIMEE NICOLE WALKER

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 09.05.17

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PHOTOGRAPHER: Wander Aguiar

COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art

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Psychic Emory Jackson and former black ops specialist Jonathon Silver are men from two completely different worlds with one thing in common: heartbreak. Emory still mourns the loss of his husband five years prior, and Jon is reeling with grief from the recent death of his twin brother.

Sparks fly when mutual friends introduce them, but it’s so much more than basic attraction. There’s an undeniable awareness and a sense of belonging that neither man can deny. Despite Emory’s premonition of a future with Jon, he has vowed never to love again. Jon is convinced that his tainted soul is the reason he will never have someone to call his own. What if they’re both wrong?

Maybe these broken men with their jagged edges could somehow align perfectly to form something whole and beautiful. But will that realization come too late for them?

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Someone To Call My Own is the 2nd book in a spin off of the Curl Up and Dye Mysteries. And while this can be read as a stand alone, reading the other books will give you a better understanding of all of the characters. Plus, the other books are really fun.

So let’s start with that. The Curl Up and Dye mysteries were fun books. I enjoyed them a lot, and although they were definitely high on the cute meter, they didn’t tip the edge into sugary sweet. All of the characters were fun and held their own in the stories.

Book 1 in the Road to Blissville series was a little bit more mature, but still really fun. How can Dr Dimples and Chaz not be fun really?

Book 2 is definitely more serious and mature. And that is a good thing. These particular characters needed that. They needed to be more “grown up”, more serious, more angsty. Emory himself called for that seriousness and Jonathan fit right in.

We get a lot more back story from Emory. Exactly what happened to bring him to Blissville in the first place. There is quite a bit of story telling overlap-which is a big plus if you are reading this as a stand alone, but got slightly tedious at times. After that bit, the story really rolled along.

And poor Emory. I just wanted to hug him. He was so broken. Jonathan didn’t give up though. He gives him space at times and invades his space at other times. The romance was a slow build- but that was what these guys needed.

We see all of our favorite characters again- always a favorite of mine- and we get a few new characters as well. Perfect set up for the next book.

An easy 4 pieces of eye candy for me because of how effortlessly Ms Walker is able to write each character and book with their own voice.

 

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“I think we need to clear the air,” Jonathon said in a calm, rational voice.

“There’s nothing to clear,” I countered. “I’m nothing to you; you’re nothing to me.”

“You think it’s that simple?” Jonathon took two steps toward me. I took three steps back. Jon jerked to a stop when he saw my reaction. “Emory…” He broke off and ran both his hands through his hair. “I know you felt it the night we met. I saw your eyes widen in surprise when the electricity shot through our bodies.”

“So.” Denying it existed wasn’t working. It was time to change tactics. “That doesn’t mean I want or will act on it.” I ran my hand over the infinity tattoo I had inked over my heart. It felt like River’s name was burning my skin like he knew the truth and was calling me a liar. Or, maybe it was anxiety that gripped my heart in its tight fist. Whatever the reason, I felt lightheaded and dizzy. Suddenly, my body felt cold and hot at the same time, and tiny little needles pricked my skin from head to toe. I licked my lips that had suddenly gone dry and numb.

“Emory?” I heard Jonathon’s voice, but it sounded like he was calling to me at the end of a very long tunnel instead of five feet away. He walked toward me, but I kept backing away. I hoped he would stop, but I saw the determination in his eyes. “Emory, I just want to help you.”

“Then leave,” I wheezed between gasps.

“I’d never leave anyone alone in this condition,” Jonathon said angrily. “Now be quiet and let me help you.” He gripped my bicep firmly, but not painfully, and guided me to a kitchen chair. He gently set me in the chair then placed his hand on my stomach beneath the center of my ribs and the other on my chest. I burned beneath his touch. I wrapped my hands around his thick wrists and tried to push his hands off of me. “Stop it, Emory,” he said firmly. “You’re hyperventilating, and I can help you. I. Will. Not. Hurt. You.”

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Hot tears of humiliation flowed freely down my face. No one had ever seen me in the midst of a panic attack and I’d always been able to pull myself out of them on my own. That one was different, and I knew I needed help.

“Ignore my hands on your body, but look into my eyes and listen to me.” His demanding, deep voice was nearly hypnotic. “Inhale deeply through yo

ur nose, Emory. Hold it for a count of three and release it slowly. When you do, you’ll feel my hands moving up and down with your lungs, and your brain will recognize you’re breathing even before the fresh oxygen pushes the carbon dioxide out of your body. Do it with me, Emory.”

I breathed in slowly, held it for three seconds, and released it. I focused on the way his hands moved up and down with my breathing and pretended that I expelled all the bad energy with every exhale. I repeated the process ten or twelve times before I was completely calm again.

Jonathon pulled his hands off of me and balled them into fists. He didn’t look angry or like he wanted to hit me. It looked like he needed to do something with his hands but wasn’t sure what. He lowered himself into a chair beside me.

“What caused your panic attack?”

“You,” I replied sullenly.

“Emory, I haven’t done anything to you so why would the sight of me cause you to panic?” Jonathon sounded truly baffled and a little insulted.

I knew it would take drastic measures to push him away, so I let him have it with both barrels. “I had a psychic vision about you—well. Us.”

Aimee Logo

I am a wife and mother to three kids, three dogs, and a cat. When I’m not dreaming up stories, I like to lose myself in a good book, cook or bake. I’m a girly tomboy

who paints her fingernails while watching sports and yelling at the referees.

I will always choose the book over the movie. I believe in happily-ever-after. Love inspires everything that I do. Music keeps me sane.

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Fate Heats Things Up by Sarah Hadley Brook: Release Day Review

Scott Dwyer meets hot, new fireman Adrian Campbell in an embarrassing incident one evening and can’t stop thinking about him. While bartending at the local hangout for Station 39, he sees Adrian with his colleagues about once a week. He thinks Adrian might be interested in him, too, but every time they find a chance to talk, something gets in their way.

When a rash of arson fires begins the same week Adrian starts at the station, the rumors fly about whether or not he is responsible for them.

Things are heating up in town, but will they heat up between the two men as well? Will Fate ever allow them to be together?

Release Date: September 18, 2017
Category: Erotica
Genre: Contemporary
Word Count: 15600
Sex Content: Explicit
Pairing: MM
Orientation: Gay
Identity: Cisgender

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This was a short novella, you could almost have called it a short story, but it did have a good amount of story in it. Scott and Adrian seem to spend weeks eyeing each other, considering talking to each other, maybe asking each other on a date, but then never do. In fact, I found myself wondering why Adrian-who seemed to be the more dominant of the two-never asked Scott for his phone number. He kept having to leave for a fire call, and yet didn’t stop and say, let me get your number, and I’ll text you. But it definitely increased the tension between the two, seeing if the other was genuinely interested.

In the meantime, the backstory of Adrian being new to the area, and people starting to wonder if he was responsible for the string of arson fires that had begun the same week he started was a big conflict for Scott to deal with. Scott kept “forgetting” to tell Adrian that he had overheard someone say they thought it was him. In fact, I’m not sure if he ever actually told him he’d overheard that conversation.

For a short story/very short novella length book, it was worth the time invested. I wouldn’t call it erotica, per the category, but definitely had sexy scenes in it. All in all a satisfying story.

3 pieces of eye candy

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Silken by Isobel Starling: Audiobook Review and Excerpt

Matthew Fisher loved being a dancer, but his ten-year ballet career came to an abrupt end with a knee injury. He had to find a new way to make a living, and luckily, his sister was friends with Annabelle Ramsay-Aiken, only daughter of property magnate Sir James Aiken. She arranged an interview, and six months on the job training saw Matthew stepping out as a real estate agent for Aiken Luxury Lettings. Now, instead of stretching at the barre, Matthew spends his days inspecting the vacant London homes of their rich and famous clients.

Losing his dance career had left a huge hole in Matthew’s heart, and to fill it Matthew began a Tumblr blog dedicated to his fetish for wearing lingerie. He wanted to give his followers the impression he lived a charmed life, so decided to use A.L.L properties as locations for erotic photo shoots.

One of his online followers presses all of Matthew’s buttons, and a long distance, online Dom/sub relationship develops between them. But when the relationship suddenly moves from online fantasy to real life… can Matthew really submit?

N.B – This story contains graphic descriptions of gay sex, BDSM, and cross-dressing

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Matthew sauntered into the large open plan lounge of the corner apartment, overlooking West India Docks.  The tip-tap of his footfalls on polished marble echoed in the clinical, white-walled expanse of the room.  West India Quay was in the redeveloped dockland area of Canary Wharf, in the Borough of Tower Hamlets, East London.  The area was renowned worldwide as the new financial heart of London, populated by big business and luxury high-rise living.  The lower twelve floors of the block at West India Quay were a Marriot Hotel, and upper twenty-one floors were privately owned apartments.

Bright afternoon sunlight threw darts of blinding illumination across the rectangular lounge room.  To Matthew’s left, there was a seating area that would not look out of place on the set of Mad Men—a low-slung retro black leather Carluccio suite consisting of a couch and two imposing armchairs bisected by a dark teak coffee table.  Natural timber side dressers and occasional tables hugged the interior walls, adorned with modernist stone sculptures, empty vases, and an array of framed pictures charting the growth progression of a man who went from baby to child, to teen and then to his graduation in the images.  Matthew wondered who he was… he was kinda cute!  A series of ostentatiously large, colorful, Damien Hirst splatter canvases were displayed on the walls, and on the opposite side of the room, the dining area faced a view that, on a good day, would lead the eye down river to the majesty of Tower Bridge.

Matthew stepped through the sunlight shafts and shadows on the floor, unbuttoning the gray suit jacket that hugged his torso as he walked.  He pushed the jacket aside, placed his hands on narrow hips, and paused by the window.  He took in the view over the River Thames to the white bulbous tent of the O2 Arena on the opposite bank of the river.  The Thames, as per usual, looked like dirty dishwater yet the expanse of London from high-up in the Docklands skyscraper was surreal.

Matthew let out a long, tired sigh, and then absently stretched his arms above his head, enjoying the feeling of his tight muscles burning and relaxing.  He folded his body and gripped his ankles, stretching his spine.  Then, he straightened, and as naturally as taking a breath he moved into the fifth ballet position.  The bare expanse of marble floor was so seductive.  It invited him to leap and travel sinuously across it.  He turned in a graceful arc on the ball of his right foot, and then took a gazelle leap forward, grimacing as he landed feeling the sharp twinge in his left knee.  “FUUUCK” his loud, frustrated roar echoed in against the high ceiling.  As he bent over and rubbed at his knee he wished he’d worn his knee brace, he knew he was just deluding himself by not wearing it, but sometimes his knee felt okay, and it was good to feel ordinary again.

Matthew felt so betrayed by his body.  It had taken more than a year for him to come to terms with his decision to stop dancing but his heart still yearned, ached for it, and he supposed it would until he took his final breath.  But he couldn’t live on broken dreams with empty pockets.  He knew how lucky he was not to have to walk with the aid of a stick.

Matthew continued, his limp a little more pronounced until the twinge subsided.  He inspected the open plan lounge, noting that thankfully, none of the sculptures or wall artworks had been stolen or damaged since Mr. Martinez signed the tenancy agreement.  A.L.L had been experiencing a few problems with security and the cleaning contractor for this particular building.  It began with below standard domestic cleaning service and then escalated to a series of art thefts.  His boss believed the two things were linked, and so Sir James had found a new security contractor, but the cleaning contractor had a second and final chance.  The cleanliness of the apartment was therefore on top of Matthew’s checklist.

He strode into the bright, streamlined kitchen, removed his suit jacket, and then hung it over a high back stool at the breakfast bar.  He palmed his iphone and logged into the A.L.L. website app to begin his status report.  Matthew took a peek in the refrigerator in case there were any nasty surprises, but the scent of detergent hit his nose, and it was empty, not even a bottle of Evian in the chiller cabinet.  The cupboards contained only dried foods and a couple of cans of soup.  The dustbin was clean, and there was nothing unpleasant lurking in the waste disposal.  Tick.

Matthew headed down the hallway and perused the first double bedroom which had that untouched hotel room vibe about it.  He didn’t believe anyone had even slept there, so nothing to report.  He went to the next room on his list, the master bedroom.  Now, this room did smell like it had been lived in.  The subtle aroma of masculine musk and floral perfume in the air a week after the tenant had departed proved that the cleaner had not aired the bedroom as per instruction.  Further evidence that corners were cut was found in the en-suite bathroom.  Dried toothpaste in the sink, and hair in the shower plug hole.  Tut, tut, tut.  Matthew shook his head.  He would indeed have words with the domestic services manager about this oversight.

Matthew had never met the tenants, Mr. Martinez, or his wife, but a silver framed photograph stood beside the bed on a nightstand.  He picked the frame up and stared at a sun-kissed smiley image of a couple, the man standing behind the woman, his arms wrapped tightly around her slim waist.  Matthew’s brows rose in admiration; Jack Martinez was a silver fox.  He appeared to be in his late forties and had white, gray close-cropped hair and silver stubble clinging to the jaw of a disarmingly handsome face.  His skin had a golden tan, and his eyes were azure blue.  A wide wolfish grin spread across Matthew’s face and his brows arched salaciously.

“Well, well, Mrs. M, your husband is quite a catch”, he said out loud.  He stared at the gorgeous, perfect couple for a moment and wondered if the image was of generic models that came with the frame or if this delicious specimen of manhood, Jack Martinez was real.  He must be real; after all, they’d spoken once on the phone the week before when Martinez gave Matthew instructions on what needed to be done at the apartment when he departed.

Matthew wore a wicked smirk as he recalled the man’s whiskey worn American timbre.  It was the kind of voice that made his balls ache with lust.  God, he really did need to get laid, but that would not be happening anytime soon.  Matthew’s Dom had forbidden it.  That was one of the ground rules of their online D/s relationship.  Neither would take other lovers, and Matthew had given control of his orgasms to his Dom.  He would not come unless Austin82 permitted it, and then the man wanted to see the evidence.  Luckily, the message Matthew had received on entering the apartment had been from his Dom, giving him permission to come that day so he would be getting some relief.  The voice and photograph of Jack Martinez meshed together in his mind, making one hell of an alluring image.  Matthew placed the frame back onto the nightstand.  He knew he would put that image to good use later.

Matthew turned to study the bedroom, which had a classy, oriental infused interior design with accents of cream, black, and silver.  He enjoyed fantasizing about the lives of his clients.  On opening the doors of the slide-robes, he saw a small selection of garments.  The lack of clothing was not unusual as this was not a permanent residence by any means.  There were business and casual clothes for him and stylish feminine clothing for her.  Veronica Martinez was slim, her choices were expensive and timelessly classy, as were Jack’s, just as Matthew had expected for the couple in the photograph.

A seamless pane of floor to ceiling, heat reflective glass acted as the outer wall of the room, displaying stunning bird’s eye views of the British capital.  A king–sized bed overloaded with a scatter of designer cushions atop a black silk coverlet dominated the space.  To Matthew’s right, a door led to the en-suite, and then, to the left, his eyes fell on the large ebony, lacquer work, chinoiserie style dresser that sat opposite the bed.  He ran his finger along the top to check that the cleaner had at least dusted and then placed his phone on the surface.  Matthew had chosen to inspect this particular apartment because it was the only one on his list that day where the clients were a couple.  He hoped he was not wrong about Veronica Martinez.  With a mischievous glint in his eye and a sudden flush of covert guilt, Matthew gave a testing tug on the shiny brass ring handles of the top drawer.  It silently slid open.  He peeped inside, and his breath caught as he exclaimed a drawn out “Ohhh.”  Matthew’s heart swelled.  He saw, to his delight a drawer filled with neatly arranged lingerie.

“All that silk, satin and lace.”  He murmured dreamily to himself.  Matthew licked his lips, and his pupils dilated with the excitement of seeing such a wonderful collection of feminine underwear.  His fingers brushed over the lingerie.  It was all purchased from the most expensive designer labels, Fox and Rose, Agent Provocateur, Bourdelle, and Myla.  Matthew was at once head-over-heels in love with what he saw.  The silk and Chantilly lace garments were red, black, dusky pink, emerald green, purple, and turquoise—all of his favorite colors.  It was like they had been chosen just for him, and not for Veronica Martinez.  He picked up a pair of red lacy French knickers and let the fabric fall through his fingers.  He moaned out loud, and his dick throbbed.  His fingers smoothed over the floral lace design and as he stretched it over the back of his hand, he marveled at the beauty of it.  Matthew bought the garment to his cheek and rubbed the knickers against his clean-shaven skin.  It was so sensual.  The feeling of the soft fabric against his flesh made his suit trousers suddenly feel… restrictive.

Matthew’s interest in lingerie began when he was training in Russia.  He’d loved wearing tights since he was a child, and from the moment he started training in classical ballet he was drawn to being around the girls, with all the froufrou, netting, ribbons, and figure-hugging Lycra.  His girlfriends would let him sneak into their dressing room to chat.  They had no idea that he had an alternative agenda for being there—which was to savor the slow sensual drag and stretch of gossamer on shapely calves and thighs as the dancers pulled stockings over taut flesh.  He didn’t want to fuck any of them, oh no, he’d known from his teens he was all for the boys and got pleasure of a different kind from watching them.  But watching the female dancers dress was a near religious experience.  It was the ritual of dressing, the look of the fabric, the way it enhanced the line and shape of their limbs, and way it stretched and clung to the form that he found so very erotic.  He’d known then he’d wanted that silken fabric against his own skin.

Matthew picked up another pair of emerald green silk panties.  He sniffed the panties, but they smelled of nothing like they had never been worn and never been washed with household detergent.  As he inspected the collection, he discovered that it was, in fact, all brand new, and nothing had been worn.  He found that odd.  Veronica Martinez must be mad to have abandoned this treasure trove of pretties, unworn, unloved.  Whoever she was, Matthew found her lack of respect for the garments a little disappointing, but no matter.  He was in a naughty, dirty mood, he was alone, and there were so many pairs of panties to choose from.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. I had not read anything else by Isobel Starling, so her writing was new to me, and this was a fun surprise!

This novella was a little bit of everything wrapped into one story, and some of those bits were things I hadn’t read in any other book previously.

First, I absolutely LOVED one portion of the story for its realism. I won’t say what the mistake was, but the Dom in this story made a mistake, a big one, and with it, his sub didn’t even use a safeword, he literally just left. And the Dom not only admitted his mistake, but apologized, and said he wasn’t perfect. That was so refreshing to read! How often in BDSM romance novels is the Dom portrayed as someone who doesn’t make mistakes, doesn’t apologize, etc. This was such a great thing to read, and I actually found myself cheering a little…even while I was sad that the MC’s went through it.

Second, an online D/s relationship, although it may be something that is done quite often, it certainly isn’t something I had ever read about, and I found it fascinating. It allowed these two MC’s to explore their own interests, as they learned from and with each other. Again, so refreshing to read, as it was outside of the box of a “normal” BDSM story.

I loved Matthew. I loved that he owned his kinks, and enjoyed every second of it. It made him sexy and allowed the reader to just enjoy him as a person, as well as a sub.

Meanwhile, sexy silver fox Jack, Matthew’s Dom, knew what he wanted, and was confident enough to go after it. Even when he made his mistake, he owned up to it, and did what he could to repair the damage. And oh my, was that a hot scene later. Whew!

My heart just blew up at the end, Jack’s assistance to Matthew was so heartfelt and loving, and I wanted to just stay with these two. I would love to see more of these two sometime. I feel like there is much more to tell about these two…hint hint…

Gomez Pugh’s narration was well done. I really love it when narrators use accents when they are reading a story. It draws me in so much more, and he did a fantastic job with both his American and British accents. Well done!

Story: 4.5 pieces of eye candy

Narration: 4.5 pieces of eye candy

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A Master For Michael by Morticia Knight: Release Day Review

Finding a Master for Michael won’t be easy, but Javier is determined that his boy will have the best—even if it means letting him go.

The Hampton Road Club is a secret gathering place for men of a more sadomasochistic nature. The 1920s might be roaring, but certain practices are still frowned upon in open society. Michael’s job is to greet the club members as they arrive and to report directly to the club manager, Javier. Sometimes, his direct contact with Javier has nothing to do with the club members and everything to do with submitting to the strict Master.

Javier would give anything to keep Michael as his permanent boy, but he owes his boss, Saul a great personal debt for helping him when he was at his lowest. Saul taught him that professionalism is the key to keeping things running smoothly at the club. He knows Saul would be greatly disappointed if he were to ever find out about what goes on between him and the club greeter behind closed doors. That’s why he’s never revealed to Michael how he really feels and why he must do the one thing for which he’d never thought he’d have the courage: Give Michael away to a new Master.

General Release Date: 12th September 2017

Pairing: MM Book Length: Novella

Genre: Bondage and BDSM, Erotic Romance, Gay, Historical

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Michael is the greeter at a secret men’s sex club in 1920s LA. He’s a sweet kid who’s had a harsh upbringing and while down on his luck was befriended by one of the club’s masters, Javier, and given a home and a job. Those parts are told through flashback. I don’t think it’s spoilery to say that in the year and a half that since Michael came to the club, he’s become Javier’s sub on the down low, and has fallen in love with the kind Dom. Javier, trying to sustain a level of professionalism in front of the staff and in particular club owner Saul, keeps Michael and the relationship at arm’s length. Saul is kind of a bright guy and suspects that under Javier’s cool façade run strong feelings for Michael. Saul sets in motion a plan to see if he’s right.

This is a very short story, and being BDSM, it’s not my usual cup of tea. We quickly learn Javier and Michael are in love with each other and Javier’s fear of disappointing Saul keeps him from making his relationship with Michael more official. While this hasn’t made me a fan of BDSM, it certainly didn’t make me hate the genre and it’s a sweet story, really. Morticia Knight fans will probably want to give this one a try.

3 pieces of eye candy

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Calm by K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn: Release Day Review

A love worth the wait.

When Riley Porter-Wright comes out as bisexual and confesses his feelings for Carter Hamilton, it severs their friendship. Carter’s rejection forces Riley to move on and he’s shocked to learn Carter’s marriage has fallen apart.

Overwhelmed by his failure as a husband and father, Carter misses Riley, but feels guilty for disappearing after Riley’s coming out. After Riley extends an olive branch, the former friends agree to repair their relationship.

Slowly, Carter pieces together a new life. He admits his attraction to men, and confesses his feelings for Riley. Leery of Carter’s initial rejection, Riley turns his focus on a new man, Will Martin.

Riley and Carter’s renewed rapport intensifies, and Will becomes insecure. Will’s resentment increases until he issues an ultimatum, forcing Riley to refocus his energies away from Carter.

Disappointed, Carter fosters new friendships with men like Jesse Murtagh. Aware of the changes in Carter’s life, Riley is uncomfortable knowing Carter has moved on.

Carter and his ex-wife, Kate, navigate new waters as their children learn their parents are dating other people. Will can’t deal with his jealousy and ends his relationship with Riley.

Unattached for the first time in years, Riley and Carter slowly transition their friendship into a relationship. Carter comes out and leaves his job, accepting the reality of being disowned.

Riley and Carter go public with their relationship, but worry the fallout will affect their families. Drawing strength from each other, they meet the challenges of being an out couple head on.

General Release Date: 12th September 2017

Pairing: MM Book Length: Super Plus Novel

Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, Gay

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I will be the first to tell you that when I read Wake, I did not give it a great rating. I was pretty upset at the fact that it basically had a cliffhanger, and there was no information in the ARC that there would be a book 2. (The author responded to my review post stating that there would be a follow up book.) I liked the MC’s, but that cliffhanger just threw me for a loop.

Calm, book 2, is the book that finishes the story for Carter and Riley, best friends from the first day of college, and definitely was a long road for these two to get to their HEA. Riley begins a relationship with a friend of Natalie’s. Meanwhile, Carter and his wife divorce, and work through the new and winding road of exes relearning to be friends, while still parenting two children.

As Carter and Riley drift back into each other’s orbits, they begin to be friends again. This is important for these two men, and honestly is what later is able to drive them into a romantic relationship. As they learn to be their own person without the other (and their ex-wives), they also learn to be friends again, who are there for the other when things become difficult. This was a crucial aspect of their relationship, and carries over later into the beginnings of their romance.

I will say that I was a bit disappointed how long it took to bring Carter and Riley to their romantic relationship. It felt like Riley’s relationship with Will, including sex scenes, was a larger portion of the book than his eventual relationship with Carter. Of course, in the end, after all the pain these two had been through, once the reader was there, it was heartwarming and satisfying, to see how they interacted with each other, as well as with Carter’s children.

The authors do a wonderful job showing us all the characteristics of the events and locations in the book. Their writing is seamless from one author to the next, and gives very rich descriptions that help the reader feel they are in the room with the MC’s.

On the whole, this is a satisfying completion to the epic journey of these two, from best friends to soul mates and future husbands. I will admit, I would love to see a book 3 with a certain secondary character with a snarky attitude, and an aversion to monogamy. 🙂

3.5 pieces of eye candy

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Loose Ends by Jeff Erno: New Release Review with Giveaway

Homicide detective Tucker Brown hasn’t always made the right decisions, but one thing about his life he’ll never regret is his son Jaydin. While at the hospital for his four-year-old’s tonsillectomy, he encounters Jaydin’s nurse, Ivan Ramsey. Tucker is taken aback, however, when he discovers he’s been assigned to investigate the potential murder of Ivan’s mother.

Ivan Ramsey is a pediatric nurse, and he loves his job more than life. Raised in a devoutly religious family, he’s not yet out to a lot of people, but on the very night he chooses to come out to his mother, she dies tragically in a house fire.Devastated by the news, Ivan all but falls to pieces, and to make matters worse, a cocky, know-it-all police detective shows up asking nosy questions. The cop implies his mother’s death might not have been an accident and even infers a family member might be responsible.

Tucker and Ivan at first clash. Their strikingly different personalities are oil and water, but soon they begin to work together to determine the real cause of Ivan’s mother’s death. In the process, sparks begin to fly and a romance ignites. Ivan falls hard, not only for the sexy detective but also his adorable son.Tucker, equally smitten, has made some discoveries he can’t yet reveal to his lover. There are so many loose ends and unanswered questions for both of them, and when the truth finally comes out, it just might tear them apart.

Title: Loose Ends
Author: Jeff Erno
Publisher: Ai Press
Release Date: August 29, 2017

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Holding the stuffed bear in front of his face, Ivan stepped into the hospital room. He bobbed it up and down, then back and forth, and with a high-pitched Pooh-like voice addressed his patient. “I heard someone’s having an operation today!”

“Me! I am!” The four-year old pushed himself up, then leaned forward with outstretched arms to reach for the bear. “I know it’s you, Ivan.”

“It’s me and Pooh. And you know what? I talked to the doctor, and she said Pooh can go with you when you go in for your operation.”

Jaydin scowled. “Bears can’t go in the operating room, can they?” He glanced over to his mother who stood on the opposite side of the bed. She slipped her hand onto the little guy’s shoulder.

“Well, honey, they’re going to do the operation when you’re sleeping. Pooh can stay with you till you fall asleep, and he’ll be with you again when you wake up.”

“I want him to stay with me the whole time.”

“Don’t you worry,” Ivan assured him. “Pooh will be right there.”

“And Daddy!”

Ivan looked up to briefly establish eye contact with Jaydin’s mom. “Mommy and Daddy will be here. They’ll be waiting for you when you wake up. It’s gonna be so quick and easy. You’ll close your eyes one second, and the next you’ll open them and it will be all over with. And Mommy and Daddy will be there with you.”

“Daddy’s not here though.” Jaydin twisted his face, obviously fighting the urge to cry. He blinked and looked up with his big brown eyes at Ivan. “Do you know where my Daddy is?”

“He’s on his way, honey.” His mother spoke soothingly, but from the expression on her face, she was as annoyed by her ex-husband’s absence as Ivan.

Ivan had been a nurse for four years, the entirety of which he’d worked at St. Joseph’s in the pediatric ward. He’d seen hundreds of little angels come into the unit, some for minor operations and many for more serious, life-threatening procedures. Jaydin needed a tonsillectomy, which might not seem a big deal to the boy’s father, but if Ivan were the little guy’s dad, he’d have been camped out bedside until it was time to take him home. Ivan didn’t understand parents like Jaydin’s father. Obviously, the little boy idolized his daddy, but the man couldn’t be bothered to make it to the hospital in time for his son’s surgery.

Ivan walked over to the side of the bed and held out his hand, stroking his fingers across Jaydin’s soft curly hair. “Remember the cool Star Wars Band Aid you got when you first came to the hospital?”

“The Storm Trooper?”

“Yup. You want another one like that?”

Jaydin looked up at him, wide-eyed, smiling. “I want Kylo Ren!”

“Kylo Ren? He’s a bad guy, isn’t he?”

“So’s the Storm Troopers. Well, wait. Not all of ‘em. Not Finn.”

“Hmm.” Ivan reached into his pocket and pulled out an assortment of animated bandages. “Let’s see. I’ve got Rey, and here’s R2D2, and another storm trooper. I don’t have any Kylo.”

Jaydin’s bottom lip protruded, but only for a second, then he leaned forward to examine the bandages. “I want R2D2.” He smiled, arching his eyebrows in the cutest expression Ivan had ever seen, then suddenly grew serious. “Wait! Why do I get a Band Aid? I don’t have a owie.” Panicked, he looked up at his mother with pleading eyes. “I don’t want a ivy! Mom…” His face began to crinkle into an expression of anguished terror just as Ivan spun around in response to footsteps he heard from behind.

“Hey big guy!” A tall, dark, and handsome white dude stood in the door holding a stuffed Winnie the Pooh bear, about twice the size of the one Ivan had just delivered.

“Daddy! I don’t want a ivy!”

So this was Jaydin’s father? Ivan had assumed the boy’s dad was African American like his mother, but this explained Jaydin’s lighter skin tone and softer curls.

“Where have you been?” Jaydin’s mom barely concealed her irritation of her ex-husband’s tardiness. Glaring at him, she crossed her arms over her chest.

“Remember what we talked about, Jay Jay?” The man ignored his ex-wife and moved closer to the bed, holding out his Pooh bear. “We gotta be brave sometimes, even if it means doing things we don’t want to do.”

“But Daddy! It’s like a shot.”

Jaydin had been in and out of the hospital quite a bit in his young life, battling numerous throat and ear infections. He also suffered from chronic bronchial asthma, and Jaydin had been hospitalized a couple of times after having attacks. As young as he was, he knew all about hospital procedures, including the dreaded I.V.

Though Ivan had been Jaydin’s nurse previously, he’d never met the boy’s father. What Ivan did know, however, was that the little boy idolized the man. He was some sort of cop from what Ivan had gathered. Jaydin had repeatedly bragged about how his daddy’s job was to catch the bad guys.

“It’s just a little teenie, tiny poke, though.” Tall, dark, and handsome lowered himself to sit on the edge of the mattress. “And it’s so they can give you medicine when you’re having your operation. Right?” He looked up at Ivan for confirmation.

“That’s right.” Ivan forced a smile, a wave of annoyance sweeping over him. Where was this man the last two hours as his son lay fretting and panicking that his daddy wasn’t even going to show up for his operation? And now here he was at last sweeping in to act like the big, badass hero.

Ivan moved to the other side of the bed, stepping around Jaydin’s mother as Mr. Macho Police Detective remained next to his son holding the little boy’s hand. Ivan ever so gently took hold of Jaydin’s other wrist, examining the arm carefully as he sought the best location for insertion of the I.V. needle. Jaydin’s father continued to talk to the boy, promising him ice cream and Jell-O with lots of whipped cream after his operation.

As Jaydin engaged with his daddy, completely distracted from what Ivan was doing with his arm, Ivan expertly planted the I.V.  Jaydin looked over, only slightly startled by the needle prick, but his daddy gently placed his fingers beneath the boy’s chin and guided his gaze back in the other direction, casually acting as if nothing was happening.

Quickly Ivan peeled open the bandage wrapper and secured the R2D2 unit over the taped I.V. port. “There ya go, little man. Good to go. You got your R2 and two Pooh bears.”

“And my daddy!”

Jaydin’s mom slid next to her son as Ivan gathered up his supplies. “And Mommy,” Jaydin added. “Together…like it used to be.”

The boy’s parents glanced at each other, then each turned to their son, smiling. “No matter what,” Jaydin’s dad said, “we’ll both always be here for our little guy.”

“I’m not little no more, Daddy.”

“No you’re not,” his mother said. “You’re growing up so fast.”

“I’m almost gonna be five, and you promised I can have a party, right?”

“Right.” Jaydin’s father nodded. “With a Star Wars cake.”

“Kylo Ren. I want a Kylo Ren cake!

Ivan’s mom is murdered and the lead detective on his case is the dad of a patient Ivan had taken care of the night before. He’s a pediatric nurse and Tucker’s four-year-old son needed a tonsillectomy. That’s where things get started…

Ivan, is hard to like. I’ll say that up front, he drove me all kinds of crazy with his constant judgement, wild assumptions and snarky attitude. He was ridiculous; aside from judgey, he also seemed pompous and a little self-absorbed. He had a problem with nearly everything about Tucker and made no bones about it. I didn’t like that, his uppity-ness. It was annoying. Then the smoking pot with the friend? LOL random!

The dialogue was kind of cringy at times. And why could everyone else call Ivan, Ivey, but he gets testy when his brother does it? That makes zero sense…. Am I being too harsh because the dude gets on my nerves so bad? Maybe. He was just so hard to like for me! Also, I think maybe Ivan was at one point going to be Ian, because he gets called Ian a couple times here and there. Things like that don’t bother me though, it was easy to overlook….

I will say that by the end of the book, Ivan had kind of grown on me… I really liked him and Tucker and I liked how they were with Tucker’s son. The killer, I had pegged from the beginning but I really wished that he wouldn’t have been so nasty to Ivan…I also really liked Ivan’s brother and I was glad he had him at his back. All in all, after Ivan put all his assumptions away and actually got to know and like Tucker.. it was a much more enjoyable story. So glad it also ended with a HEA. Can’t go wrong with a HEA.

4 pieces of eye candy for me.

Jeff has generously offered an ebook copy from his backlist (you can see the full list at www.jefferno.com) to one commenter on this post. Let us know your thoughts!

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Survival Game (Men of London Book 9) by Susan Mac Nicol: Release Day Review


Since his true love died, paramedic Eric Kirby has been living a half life, but when he meets purple-haired Kyle Tripper, Eric’s heart is jolted into a whole new rhythm.

HANDLE…

Kyle Tripper has led an interesting life. Currently the manager of London’s famous Club Delish, he used to be a croupier extraordinaire in Las Vegas. But not everything in that life was so glamorous; his ex was a piece of work. Now gun-shy, Kyle hopes there is someone special out there for him, and secretly wishes it’s luscious paramedic, Eric Kirby.

WITH CARE

Every day Eric Kirby goes through the motions. Yeah, he saves lives, and, sure, he makes a difference, but he doesn’t feel it anymore – not since he lost his one true. But, when he meets wild, flamboyant Kyle Tripper and learns there’s a skittish, apprehensive man beneath the bold façade, the best of Eric’s protective nature kicks in, and opens his heart to a new love.

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I’ve loved this series from book 1, Love You Senseless with Eddie and Gideon, and have read each book since. The entire series is varied in characters, yet are all interconnected in some way. The reader will often be treated to a quick slice of life on the characters they’ve read and loved before, while still keeping the focus on the characters in the current story. Survival Game, being book 9 in the series could easily have been just another story, but once again, the uniqueness of the characters, and their stories, sets it apart.

Susan Mac Nicol loves to write broken men, really broken men. And these two have had events in their past love lives that would have left many people, not only broken, but completely shattered. Yet these two men found a way to get their lives back and be able to find some love on the way. One of the things that I appreciated about this book was that their healing was not “because of the love of a good man”, but rather from hard work, time, some therapy, and allowing those that loved them to continue to support them through their difficulties. The bonus was that they could support each other as they continued to heal and fell in love at the same time.

One of my favorite things about Sue’s books is that she puts such an element of realism in her books. A character isn’t just sad because they lost someone close to them. There is anger at being left in such a sudden way, survivor’s guilt for having lived through it. Or when a trauma happens it doesn’t just magically go away because you are not near the source of trauma any longer. Lingering effects continue and those effects are addressed realistically. This is evident with both Eric and Kyle.

There were definitely some areas where I laughed out loud (the “healing” calendar is one of those areas, watch for it), but on the whole this was a story where two men needed to spend time coming to terms with where their lives were, and where their lives could converge. I desperately wanted them to have their HEA because they deserved it after the suffering they both endured. I especially wanted it when I was crying at their individual stories.

4 pieces of eye candy

 

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Earning His Trust by Alicia Nordwell: Exclusive Guest Post, Release Day Review & Giveaway

Evin lost the only two men he ever loved. But he might get a second chance with one of them—if he’s willing to take the risk.

Following the death of his husband, Evin is living in Portland and raising the infant son they had through a surrogate. Six-month-old Micah is his life, and if it means no time for activities or friendships beyond his minuscule support network, that’s a sacrifice Evin is willing to make. When he suffers a burn baking teething biscuits, the last person Evin expects to encounter in the ER is Ben, his lover from college—and the man who left him without a word of explanation.

Ben knows it won’t be easy to earn Evin’s trust and prove he’s not the same man Evin once knew, but he can’t bear to watch Evin struggle to care for Micah, hurting and alone. He wants back in Evin’s life, as a friend and hopefully more, but Evin’s heart is fragile, and the years have changed him too.

Title: Earning His Trust
Author: Alicia Nordwell
Release Date: September 6, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: TBD (Novella)

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Five Things You Don’t Know About Me ~ Childhood Edition

Evin, one of the main characters from Earning His Trust, has a six-month-old son. What I’ve found, as a parent, is that we remember so much more about our childhoods as we watch our children grow and live theirs. Here are a few things about me from those tender years!

  1. Growing up, I had as close to two dads as you can get—without having gay parents. For literally as far back as I can remember, my dad and his identical twin brother lived together. I actually moved out before my uncle did, lol. Of course, we have always sworn they share a single brain in two separate bodies, so maybe it was like having one dad that could be in two places at once. (Seriously, I’ve had them thank me by saying, “Thank you for doing [whatever] that for me” when I actually did it for the other one!)
  2. I learned the sign language alphabet in the first grade, and I can still remember all the letters, though I’ve only used it once when asking a worker at a store where to find work gloves. It’s a basic communication skill that I think everyone should learn, though.
  3. The first book I ever remember reading was a collection of Aesop’s Fables. I got a reprint with the original illustrations to read to my babies.
  4. I remember making up the adventures of a family of swamp monsters called the Goo Goo Dolls for my younger stepsiblings as we lay in bed waiting to fall asleep. This was an early indication of my desire to share to create fiction revolving around members of a family.
  5. I’m writing this while listening to the soundtrack to Burlesque. I absolutely love the movie (not only because of all the eye candy) but because that kind of singing and dancing fascinates me. In the 6th grade I learned I have a visible muscle tic in my cheek that triggered when stage fright struck during a song I had to sing as a trio, and having two left feet would be a step up compared to my dancing skills, so it’s all pure admiration for what I could never do, lol.

I’m so glad that I didn’t judge this book by it’s reviews… I’m not sure why so many people are having problems with it…Even me, who isn’t much of a fan of second chances, loved this story!

Evin lost his husband in a “wrong place at the wrong time” accident, leaving him alone with a six month old son and only his friend Gianna who lived two hours away for company. Life as a single parent is hard, I know all about it…but still grieving and trying to get to a new normal without your husband and with a new baby…I can understand why Evin was the was he was. An accident while cooking has him rushing to the hospital with a fussy, teething baby in tow and that’s where he see’s Dr. Perez. His ex.

Ben left after college without so much as a word to his boyfriend and love of his life, Evin. Of course it was a mistake, but they were young and just figuring life out. Saying he went about it the wrong way is a massive understatement, but if he hadn’t, then no doubt about it, Evin wouldn’t have met his husband and had his baby. It’s awkward at first, but Ben goes out of his way a couple times to see Evin again, that leads to texting and then hanging out and then…Feelings are back and things are like they were before.

As anyone who knows me, knows that I love babies in my stories… there’s just something about good daddies that I love reading about! Okay, those kind of daddies too, but get your mind out of the gutter… I meant, actual fathers! And there is no better daddy for Micah than Evin. He’s so sweet with him and patient… and Ben is crazy about them both.

Is was a cute story… very low angst, no terrible exes coming out of the woodwork or scheming people trying to break them up. It was just a nice, fluffy, read about two men who lost touch and then reconnected down the road. You never know what life will have in store for you…that’s the truth…I was so glad these two found it in themselves to work it out though. I wouldn’t mind reading more from them in future books. Fingers crossed, I guess?!

4 pieces of eye candy from me!

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia.

Social Media:

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

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Yanni’s Story (The Spencer Cohen Series Book 4) by N.R. Walker: Quick Review

When Yanni Tomaras is kicked out of his family home, his parents’ final words are religious insults and an order to never return. Homeless and desperate, he’s lured in by Lance—charming on the outside, an evil predator underneath—who abuses Yanni until he finds the courage to leave.
Yanni should feel free. But by the time Spencer Cohen finds him, he’s resigned to being handed back to Lance and once again being caged by fear.
Starting school and a part-time job, Yanni begins to reclaim his life. But a love for silent films leads him to Peter Hannikov, a man with a kind heart but who’s twice his age. An unlikely friendship between them blooms into so much more. Neither man knows what he wants, at first. Finding out exactly what he needs is Yanni’s story.
“I’d spent years as a bird, caged with my wings clipped, tormented and beaten.
I thought I’d escaped when I’d left my abuser, but in hindsight, I could see that I was still caged, this time by fear and self-doubt.
Spencer and Andrew, and Andrew’s parents, opened the door to the cage that confined me.
But it was Peter who taught me how to fly.”

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I gotta come clean. I didn’t read the first three books of The Spencer Cohen series. I looked, I own book 1. I don’t know why I didn’t read them. I will correct this error as soon as possible. Because I am a fan of NR Walker. That being said, Yanni’s Story really can be read as a stand alone. I have heard that you HAVE to read the first three before this one. No, you don’t. They are lying liars who lie. Like I said, though-I am going to go back to read the first three.

Phew, confession over.

Now to the review! I’ve yet to read one of NR Walker’s books that I didn’t like. Of course I like some more than others, but I genuinely liked them all. This is no exception. There are a lot of potential triggers in this book, which you are warned about repeatedly. And while there were some tough things in the story, I didn’t find it overly filled with angst. Instead, I found it more of a story of growth that didn’t keep the main character dragged down by his past.

Yanni definitely has some hurdles to get over. But he is 100% willing to do the work to get over those hurdles. And Peter is there every step of the way. What started out as a friendship between two unlikely friends, turns into a nice slow burn of romance until they are ready to make the next step together.

A lot of times when one of the main characters seems to have the patience of a saint, I roll my eyes. But somehow, this was different. Peter really seemed like that guy who was willing to wait, to go slowly, to check in. Perhaps it is part of his Daddy kink (he being the daddy). To nurture, protect and care for Yanni. And Yanni eats it up, but is also so humble.

There was a lot in this book. There is no way that I can touch on it all. This is only the second “daddy kink” book I read. And while it wasn’t the trope at the forefront of the story, it was there. And while I don’t think I will seek out daddy kink books in the future, reading them like this. Part of the story, but it didn’t over take the story.

4 pieces of eye candy

 

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Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet: Release Day Review with Giveaway

He’s nobody’s definition of Mr. Right—but that might make him perfect.

Matthew Hart is heir to the family fortune and owner of Hart & Home. When a near-death experience has him fretting over the future, he decides he needs a husband, and not just any husband—an appropriate man to protect the Hart legacy. The last thing Matthew expects is to cross paths with Jax Foster, his first love and the boy who crushed his heart when he disappeared.

Jax is unlikely to make Matthew’s list of suitable candidates. Bad boy, vagabond, deep in debt, with a father who can’t keep out of trouble, Jax has nothing to offer—except his heart and a second chance at the romance they never got to explore.

Title: Finding Mr. Wrong
Author: Charlie Cochet
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 218

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Second chance romance is one of my favorite tropes. Finding a love, then losing it, only to find it again, while trying to rebuild the lost trust just hits all the feels for me. Finding Mr. Wrong by Charlie Cochet hits all those notes.

Jax disappeared from Matthew’s life, without a word, after being his guiding light during high school. When he is “found” by some meddling friends and family, Matthew initially is determined not to let Jax back in. As he learns why Jax disappeared, their trust begins to be rebuilt, but of course the course of true love is never steady. 🙂

Matthew has a bit of a panic attack once he realizes he could have died, and the company he runs could fall into the wrong hands. As they work back towards each other, it is easy to see how Jax is torn between wanting to do what’s right by his father, and wanting to live a life where he is able to just complete his art. Jax’s story was heartbreaking. He’d spent literally his entire life covering for a father who was weak, and allowed his son to protect him, rather than the other way around.  Honestly, the reader wants to kick Jax’s dad out, but in the end, it is understandable that he couldn’t do anything but help him get out of the next mess.

The Dreamspun Desires line was brought about as a set of stories that harken back to the old Harlequin romance days, where tropes like babies that were previously not know about, or families that break couples up, or where unseen forces tear loves apart, and this book falls right in that line. A little dark, but with a love that stayed true for both men through the time that they had been apart. This quote even hits a little on that old Harlequin trope:

“Honey, I might not be able to have his babies, but wouldn’t stop me from trying.”

I am enjoying this entire line, and really anything by Charlie Cochet I will read, so win-win.

4 pieces of eye candy


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