Persevering as THE DRAGON’S REBEL–Review and Giveaway!


Hi there! I’m baaaack! Ugh, my summer has started WAY TOO LATE, y’all, and my personal computer decided to kill itself as soon as I found time to use it…so. Anywhoo! Today, I’m sharing a review for a new M/M shifter fantasy from Jacqueline Rohrbach. THE DRAGON’S REBEL features a devout warrior-turned-king seeking the release of his goddess and finding the love of his life in the process.

Scroll down for your chance to win a $10 GC, catch the excerpt and pick up a copy for yourself.
About the book:
Cheron, former rebel leader and newly crowned king, comes to Wren Gardens on a holy mission to free his goddess from exile and bring peace to his kingdom, but he’s distracted by an unholy and very beautiful concubine, Ekos.
Ekos may be more than a simple love slave, though. The King of Wren Gardens seems afraid of the strange and often blasphemous concubine and swears the man is cursed. Cheron agrees, especially when Ekos mocks and taunts Cheron’s sense of honor. But the urge to distance himself from Ekos can’t compete with the desire to remain close. Nor is it as strong as the urges in his body—urges he hasn’t felt in years.
As Cheron tries to refocus on his mission, Ekos throws him off again—this time by offering to help him in his holy quest. Cheron knows he shouldn’t trust a man who’s in the employ of a rival king, particularly not one who seems to know all Cheron’s deepest secrets. But he can’t ignore the signs from the goddess telling him to entwine his fate with this tricky, captivating man.
He prays the signs aren’t simply wishful thinking, manifestations of his very unholy desires. Time is running out, and Cheron is falling deeper for Ekos—and deeper into danger of another betrayal. One that could cost him his life.

How about a little taste?

Chapter One
Half parted in invitation, the concubine’s painted red lips teased the possibilities for Cheron’s sole benefit, for his sole pleasure, for his sole use. At least that was the intended impression, but who knew the actual number of men the concubine had truly pleasured? Many, Cheron assumed. Undeniably gorgeous, the pampered little house pet had all the markings of a palace favorite. Jewels hung from his earlobes, fine silks concealed his thin but muscular frame, and his body had been rubbed down with musky oils. Minus the golden, diamond-studded collar at his throat, he appeared to be a member of court.
“Is Ekos not to your taste, Majesty? He is personal stock, in case you are worried. No low-born has touched him.”
The emphasis had Cheron grinding his teeth. While Sinnac politely used the proper title while addressing him, there was always a lilt to his pronunciation, a gentle reminder that Cheron had only recently became a king. Before, he’d been a lowly soldier—a servant. To men like Sinnac, men who’d been born into power, he would never be anything other than a lucky usurper playacting at greatness.
Sinnac continued, “Perhaps His Majesty would like to see him from a different angle?”
King Sinnac tilted the concubine’s face upward to give Cheron a better look. Ekos lowered his crystal-blue eyes demurely, as was proper, but Cheron swore he saw a flash of mocking defiance in the depths before his lashes lowered. In a second, the brazen glare vanished. Ekos bowed his head, allowing his golden-yellow hair to fall over his shoulders. The posture gave Cheron a clear view of the concubine’s long back and the enticing dip of his ass.
Suppressing his disgust, Cheron kept his response to King Sinnac formal. “He is most pleasing. I am recently sated and do not require sexual services just now, Your Excellence. Perhaps later.”
“I heard you Northern men needed no pause between sessions. That you were an insatiable lot.” Sinnac, a severe man who resembled a long tendril of smoke with his long white body, steel-gray hair, and gray eyes, raised his bushy eyebrows and took a drag from his hookah. Foul-smelling mist coiled around his head, momentarily canceling out the masculine, sweet smell of the concubine’s body oils.
Cheron gave the characterization a breathy laugh. “I’m afraid all men must submit to biology.”
“Of course. Of course.”
Truthfully, Cheron’s carnal needs hadn’t been satisfied recently or even in the past year. His aversion to touching Ekos had nothing to do with lack of desire. Perhaps the young concubine served freely now, but at some point in his life, he’d been brought here in chains and trained in the arts of pleasure. The very thought made Cheron’s skin crawl. Not too long ago, he’d been enslaved under the reign of a cruel king who raped and tortured to stay in power. He had no intentions of following the same path.
After he took control of Broken Maw, servants continued to exist, but they were compensated for their work. No one was compelled to offer sexual services. Those who sold themselves demanded money, certainly, but also equal pleasure. Ekos’s circumstances were much different.
Sinnac, as if stressing those differences, commanded the concubine to attend to Cheron’s needs. “Show our guest your skills, my pet. Seduce him.”
The concubine pouted. In a spoiled voice, he said, “My treasure, I do not believe he wants me.”
A hard glint in his eye, Sinnac returned, “Nonsense. Help him settle in to Wren Gardens. I’ll not have my guests frustrated. And if the rumors I hear are true, he is quite congested with lust.”
Gossip between courts wasn’t uncommon. Certainly, Cheron heard his fair share of stories from Sinnac’s lands, especially tales of the financial troubles of Wren Gardens. It didn’t upset Cheron to learn he was the subject of discussion among Sinnac’s people, but his temperature rose at being so directly contradicted by another monarch.
“What do you know of my frustration, Excellency?”
His laughter croaked as he took another puff from the hookah. “I hear you haven’t had any pleasure since Aethel. His betrayal must still sting, yes?”
Honesty roughened his voice to an almost inaudible, harsh whisper. “Betrayal burns more than it stings, Excellency. Afterward, the smoke blinds us.”
Sinnac raised an eyebrow. “Dramatic. Betrayal also chokes us, apparently, though I heard your lover made good kindling for fire.”
Cheron swallowed down the memory before it overwhelmed him. Sometimes, in the dead of night, he still woke to the sound of his lover’s screams as he twisted on the pyre and the king’s executioner’s grim pronouncement that justice had been done. Now that Cheron had overthrown the king in a successful rebellion, there would be no such burnings. Never again.
Cheron kept his voice level. “His crime was nowhere near as severe as the punishment.”
“Hm,” Sinnac responded. Supposedly, the price for his displeasure ran higher. This marked Cheron’s first time visiting Wren Gardens, but his father told tales of a ruler obsessed with revenge to the point of madness. If the stories were true, Sinnac’s gardens grew on human blood.
Cheron tried to smile. “At any rate, that is in the past.”
“Well, then. My pet can make you forget the traitor existed. Perhaps he can make you forget your own treason.”
It would be unwise to answer the bait, so Cheron kept quiet on the matter. “I have no doubt of Ekos’s skills, but they are wasted on me at the present.”
“We’ll see.” Sinnac waved his graceful fingers, an order for Ekos to proceed.
The concubine’s crystal-blue eyes lowered again. Looking into their depths was akin to jumping into ice-cold water. One could drown, but he’d feel the sting of cold as he sank. Just the same, Cheron barely kept from gasping out loud as Ekos’s long fingers stroked the outer folds of the long robe he wore. Beneath the clothes, his body was taut, ready for a lover’s touch.
“Majesty,” Ekos simpered, his full, round mouth set in a pout. “I can’t please you through so many layers of clothing.”
In Wren Gardens, sex servants weren’t allowed to remove the clothing of nobility. Such a task was reserved for only the most trusted of servants, those who’d been with households for generations. Poisons that seeped through the skin were common here; the precaution made sense.
Ekos’s own dress confused Cheron. Station required servants to wear only thin scraps of fabric that advertised their wares and marked them as slaves. The concubine was swathed nearly head to toe in a loose-fitting, semitransparent silken frock that was embroidered along the hem by a skilled hand. Somehow, this enticed Cheron’s interests far better than any scant loincloth.
As if sensing his increasing desires, the concubine formed his full mouth into an aware smirk. The arrogance took Cheron aback and made him worry for the concubine’s safety. The man’s voice was strong and confident when he said, “Perhaps His Majesty would like to undress me first?”
Sinnac guffawed at Cheron’s horrified expression. “Forgive Ekos, my royal brother. He is overeager to prove his affections.”
Once again, Cheron ignored the overt slight. For now, Cheron had to be content another monarch had even stooped to meet with him. Smiling, he said, “He hasn’t been tested already?”
Sinnac’s countenance darkened. Without thinking, Cheron had insulted the other man’s virility, which he touted with great pride. In the short time Cheron had been a guest at Wren Gardens, Sinnac boasted as many as fifty lovers, all of whom couldn’t get enough of their lord and master.
“My apologies, Excellency.” Cheron spread his hands in contrition. “I understand your prowess is legendary.”
Sniffing, Sinnac got to his knees and began undoing the knot keeping his robe together. Seconds later, he was nearly naked except for his white linen undergarments. Covered in a network of impressive scars, his body flaunted a lifetime of war. “Turn around,” he commanded Ekos.
Immediately, Ekos obeyed. Cheron swore he saw a flash of disgust in the man’s crystal-blue eyes. Soon enough, the meaningless and practiced smile fell back into place. The young man dipped forward, raising his hips. “Enter if you dare,” he mocked.
Sinnac growled at the challenge.
Stomach lurching, Cheron realized the other monarch’s intent. Baring witness to rape immediately quashed his previous desires. He knew it was a typical practice in Wren Gardens, but Cheron failed to control a wave of pity. This was no way to treat another human being.
“Excellency,” Cheron said, interrupting the looming sexual encounter. “I have been an ungracious guest. I would love to indulge in Ekos’s sweet attentions privately. But how can I enjoy him if you put me to shame? Will he even consider me adequate after you?”
“I’m sure I would, Majesty,” Ekos softly assured him. “A man as magnificent as you must be bliss to touch.”
Sinnac ran his hands up and down the length of the concubine’s body, slapping and prodding as he went, but eventually sat back against the cushions without penetrating, much to Cheron’s relief.
His gaze hooded, almost fully concealed, Sinnac said, “Please retire to your quarters, Majesty. We’ll attend to matters of state after dinner. I will have Ekos sent to your rooms. Treat him gently. I paid a high price for him.”
As equals, they stood and formally bowed. The concubine, head still bent toward the ground, his expression concealed by a long flow of honey hair, remained prostrated. His fists clenched and unclenched. When he lifted his head, he smiled serenely and said, “You have yet to pay the full price for me, Excellency.”

My Review:
Cheron is the new ruler of the Northern Lands, and he’s visiting Sinnac, king over Wren Gardens, in order to find Hell’s Echo, a talisman Sinnac has hidden in his gruesome dungeons. Hell’s Echo is necessary for Cheron to free his goddess, Kalin. He keeps a relic around his neck that heats or vibrates when Kalin is communicating with Cheron from her celestial prison. He encounters the beautiful Ekos early in his visit to Wren Gardens, when Sinnac offers Cheron Ekos’s body for pleasure–because Ekos is a concubine. While Cheron is attracted to Ekos, he abhors slavery of any type, as true followers of Kalin would. Cheron is struck by the brutality of Sinnac’s court, but he’s not savvy enough to understand when he’s being hoodwinked into trouble.

Ekos, on the other hand, is a match for Sinnac’s guile–and Ekos knows that the path for his own freedom will come through assisting Cheron on his quest. Ekos doesn’t honor Kalin, not since his kin were all captured by Sinnac and turned into living garden plots for eternity. Sinnac hopes that Cheron will be able to claim the Hell’s Echo, so Sinnac can steal it and use it to release his own blood-thirsty god, Atyx.

The world building here was a little spartan, at first, and I would have liked a bit more of that upfront so I understood where I was, and what the goals were in the beginning. Cheron is a bit of a bungler, but his heart is true and his mission is foremost in his mind. He strikes bargains with Ekos to forward both of their aims, and that leads from mutual dependence into love. I admit I was a little lost about how a king, such as Cheron, would enter a foreign monarch’s palace under the guise of striking a trade bargain yet without any attendants, or advisors? This seemed shoddy planning, especially as Cheron’s true plan is to hunt out Hell’s Echo and escape with it. Surely he has generals or someone who might have his back?

Unfortunately, he didn’t, which leads to his imprisonment and a series of battles to save himself, or Ekos, or to regain Hell’s Echo…because, as I mentioned, Cheron is a bungler and he manages to lose it more than once.

Still, the pace is brisk and in the second half we fly along from battle to battle with a bit of romance developing between Ekos and Cheron. Ekos has a secret–about himself and his role in Kalin’s imprisonment–but Cheron’s never willing to give up on either Ekos or Kalin, no matter how dire the situation. I loved his steadfastness, as did Ekos. The climax is rapid-fire, with murderous gods and near-death experiences. Cheron never quit his quest, even when it would have been comfortable to do so–and that lead to his ultimate reward, with Ekos by his side, perhaps for eternity.

There’s a little bit of sexytimes, and a lot of magic, of good and bad types. The followers of Atyx–Sinnac and his host of priests and disciples–are disastrously rotten, and they are mutilated accordingly, so if you abhor the gore, this one is likely not going to satisfy. For fans of magical, mythical heroes and the power of good triumphing evil, well, you’ll have a long slog until you get your cockles warmed. But, the end is joyous, and features a fun reward for Cheron.

Interested? You can find THE DRAGON’S REBEL on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on the Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 GC to NineStar Press. Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Jacqueline Rohrbach is a 36-year-old creative writer living in windy central Washington. When she isn’t writing strange books about bloodsucking magical werewolves, she’s baking sweets, or walking her two dogs, Nibbler and Mulder. She also loves cheesy ghost shows, especially when the hosts call out the ghost out like he wants to brawl with it in a bar. You know, “Come out here, you coward! You like to haunt little kids. Haunt me!” Jackee laughs at this EVERY time.

She’s also a hopeless World of Warcraft addict. In her heyday, she was a top parsing disc priest. She became a paladin to fight Deathwing, she went back to a priest to cuddle pandas, and then she went to a shaman because I guess she thought it would be fun to spend an entire expansion underpowered and frustrated. Boomchicken for Legion!

Catch up with Jackee on her website and twitter.

Troubling Times for the KING OF THE FIRE DANCERS–Review and Giveaway!

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new M/M shifter/fantasy romance from ST. Sterlings. KING OF THE FIRE DANCERS is the first in the Shift Happens series, and has a powerful message about tolerance and prejudice that blended seamlessly with the plot. There’s a little bit of romance, but I expect that to explode in the next book.

Catch an excerpt and interview and enter the book giveaway, below.

About the book:
When he’s propositioned by a wealthy stranger, it seems Coy Conlin’s impoverished life is about to be upgraded. But before he can share the news with his family, he comes home to find his grandmother murdered and his little brother missing. To make matters worse, he’s thrown in prison along with every other shifter under the Sovereign’s orders.

August Seaton left his laboratory job at the Asuda Registry to become a Registry officer. But after a mission with his partner goes horribly wrong, August ends up with Coy’s dead grandmother on his hands, and Coy thinks he’s the murderer. Worst of all, his partner discovers his secret.

August is a shifter. And now he’s Coy’s cellmate. Coy and August must survive each other, abusive guards, and a scientist hell-bent on forcing Coy into a breeding program.

Teamed up, the pair escape prison and journey across the country. With the Registry hot on their trail, they have enough things to worry about. Falling for each other wasn’t supposed to be one of them.

How about a little taste?

Chapter One
There were two things that Coy Conlin was exceptionally skilled at. The first was dancing. The second, and more unconventional, was turning into a dragon. Both were in his blood and took years of trial and error to perfect, but the former wasn’t a danger to those around him. It wasn’t easy maneuvering a dragon body, especially not one as big as his. Dragons had claws, scales, and fangs. He even had the misfortune of retaining his proneness to seasonal allergies, which sure as hell took explosive sneezing to a whole new level. Still, thanks to his grandmother—a dragon shifter like him—he’d mastered shifting and everything that it entailed from a young age.

Like hunting.

His prey was a slender boy with white skin and blue eyes. The boy raced past, auburn hair catching the wind and blowing about his head. He scurried through the dried grass, his pale, gangly legs kicking up dirt as he rushed to hide behind a large tree. Laughter disguised as a growl escaped Coy’s mouth. As if a mere tree would provide the boy sanctuary.

Coy hated flying. Dragon or not, he preferred to keep his feet—and claws—securely grounded. But, humans were often smarter than they looked, and he knew that if he continued to creep along the ground, the boy would feel the vibrations caused by his heavy footsteps. And so, he pushed off, sharp talons grazing earth as he hovered above the coarse ground. His wings, as wide as sails on a cutter, pierced the air and sent forward a powerful gust of windblown, dusty dirt. He flapped them again, creating a mini dirt storm between himself and the tree and, most importantly, his prey.

A shower of prickly leaves and thin, brittle branches fell to the ground. Seconds later, the boy emerged from behind the tree, arms up and over his head, shielding himself from the downpour. Amidst the cascading debris, Coy caught the look of determination on the boy’s face. Wedged tightly in the boy’s grip was a rock, jagged and angled, the tip pointing toward the sky. A rock? Really? A puny, misshapen hunk of slate? What good would that do against a ninety-foot-long dragon with scales as black as onyx and five times as hard?

A rock.

The little idiot.

The boy let out a wail of a battle cry and charged forward, gripping the rock in his hand like a warrior wielding a sword. There were hundreds of ways Coy could have reacted, and most would have ended with the boy dead on his feet. Instead, he stood there, a beacon of massive power and pride, and allowed the boy to attack. He didn’t feel the impact of the rock smashing against his leg, though he did see the resulting blood. It wasn’t his. It would have taken much more than a rock to puncture his scales.

It was the boy’s.

The force behind the thrust of his hand had caused the rock to ricochet off a section of scales and created a shallow cut in the center of his reddened palm.

Coy had been specific with the rules—no blacking out, no crying, and no bloodletting. If any of those happened, the game ended immediately. And, although the human tried to hide it, he was definitely bleeding.

“No, wait. I’m okay. I swear it. I’m fine. Look. It barely—”

The protest fell on deaf ears—literally. Coy couldn’t hear—or see—anything during the transformation. It was as if he were alone in a black, soundproof room, nothing but darkness and depth and the feeling of endless falling. His heart rate quickened, slamming against his chest like a musician’s calloused hands pounding against a hand drum. He inhaled through his nose, focusing on the rhythm and physically and mentally controlling the pace of his heartbeat. He calmed his mind, grasping at emotions pulsing like lightning, smoothing them out until his vision began to return. First, blurs of colors: reds and browns and a single blob of white standing directly in front of him.

Then, all at once, everything returned.

“It’s barely a scratch,” the boy muttered, folding his pale arms over his chest.

“Too bad,” Coy replied, rubbing at his jaw. It felt good to use his vocal cords again. He was incapable of speech as a dragon, just limited to snarls and hisses…and fire breathing. That last one came in handy. “Rules are rules, Ari.”

Ari—Coy’s adopted brother—frowned. “You didn’t even give me a chance.”

“A chance to what?” Coy rolled his shoulders in an attempt to relax some of the tension in his muscles that came from shifting. “Find another rock? What was that supposed to do?”

He trudged away from his younger brother, crushing dead grass beneath his bare soles. He spotted his discarded sarong lying by a fragment of slate, the latter’s golden-brown surface highlighted with speckles of fiery red. The color was reminiscent of his own skin, warm brown with red undertones—the exact opposite of Ari’s. Even if Ari had somehow managed to slightly injure him with his dumb rock, the bruise would have been difficult to see. One of the many perks of having brown skin was that it didn’t display bruises well. Growing up, that played to his advantage with the number of fights he got into.

Ari pouted. “It was the only thing I could think of.”

“Yeah, well.” Nude, Coy bent down to retrieve his sarong. “That type of thinking is going to get you killed. Or worse, you’ll get your ass kicked.”

Ari rubbed his bloody hand against his sweat-soaked tunic. “How can getting beat up be worse than dying?”

Coy watched as the blood stained the faded fabric. Ari had already outgrown most of his clothes. What he had left was either tainted or torn. Coy would have to take up private performances at this rate just to make sure he could afford to buy Ari clothes.

“If you’re dead, you won’t have me around to rub it in.” He grinned at Ari and then motioned toward the open wound on his hand. “Better not let Dinina see that. You know how she gets.”

He wrapped the thin, cobalt-colored sarong around his waist, securing the two ends into a knot. They’d spent half the morning outside, which meant he’d spent just as long in his dragon form. He’d be exhausted later, but it was worth it. He always had fun hanging out with his little brother. Still, he felt like he was forgetting something.

And then he remembered.

“Shit!” he shouted, the sound so loud and sudden that it startled an unkindness of ravens perched in a nearby tree.

“What is it? What’s wrong?” Ari asked, blue eyes wide with concern.

There were several things wrong, and all of them could be summed up with two words.

“The Registry.”

And some thoughts from ST Sterlings…

What does your family think of your writing?
They know I wrote a book, but I haven’t told them what it’s about or what my alias is. I’m super shy, and I have horrible anxiety. The thought of them reading my writing makes me really anxious. However, I have told them if they can find it, they can read it, haha.

Tell us about your current work in process and what you’ve got planned for the future.
Right now I’m working on Book 2 of Shift Happens, as well as a contemporary YA story. I recently finished a YA Fantasy, and I’m hoping to shop that around. I love writing, so I’m always jotting ideas down to later explore.

Do you have any advice for all the aspiring writers out there?
Stop worrying about whether it’s perfect. Stop worrying about what others will think. I know so many wonderful people who are great writers, and they’re so worried about everything perfect that they never share their writing with anyone, or they give up before they really even start. Just write!

My Review:
Coy Conlin is one of the few dragon shifters left in Asuda, and he detests the Registry that comes every few months to check up on him and his elderly grandmother. August Seaton is one of the new Registry officers and Coy hates him on principle. It’s even worse when Coy returns from a night out and finds August present and his grandmother dead. Oh, and capturing him for indefinite imprisonment.

August Seaton has had an unpleasant life, with a brilliant scientist mother who is colder than an iceberg. He’s been sheltered and isolated, and hungers for friendship, even from bigoted Registry officer Fate.

The bulk of this story is the struggle for Coy to get free of his prison–and August becomes and unexpected ally. It’s a story of extreme prejudice, and you can see there are factions of this culture that thrive on subjugating the shifters. I really don’t want to give up too many plot details because the plot is fascinating and the adventure is tense. It’s a high stakes experience, and I enjoyed the conversion of August from hapless lackey to imprisoned poseur. He’s got a lot to learn about life, which he fully admits. Coy is bitter, but sensible, and takes August’s help when the opportunity arises.

I’m totally invested in this series, and I really look forward to the next book! There’s not a lot of romance, here, between Coy and August, though the potential is high despite the big reveal. There’s a lot still to come besides the romance, though, and I’m just as eager to watch Coy gain his revenge, find his lost brother, and see August learn the truth of his heritage and rescue the imprisoned shifters of Asuda. I’m wondering if all this will happen in one book!!! O.O

Interested? You can find KING OF THE FIRE DANCERS on Goodreads, NineStar Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Smashwords.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a book of your choice from NineStar Press.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
ST Sterlings is a librarian, and a mother of two (two boys, and one exhausting female GSD). She’s an avid fan of LGBTQ romance, and also loves the horror genre. She’s from Hampton, VA, but currently lives in Lancaster, CA.

Catch up with ST on her website, twitter and Goodreads.

Now Available: RISK by Dannika Dark

Risk Release Day Blitz BannerHi there! Today I’m catching up on a release day blast for a contemporary urban fantasy by Dannika Dark. RISK is a new novel set in her Mageri world, and looks intense!

Be sure to check out the tasty tidbit, and audio preview, below!

RisksmallAbout the book:

Simon Hunt is a masterful Mage when it comes to knives, solving puzzles, and women. But when a Mageri Councilman asks for a personal favor, his skills are put to the test. He reluctantly accepts the impossible job of training a young Learner who is beyond anyone’s help. She’s beautiful, cunning, and disabled. If he succeeds, he’ll receive a hefty paycheck. But if he fails, more is at stake than merely his reputation.

A compelling tale about two lost souls with dark secrets and the unique connection they share. Simon is her last hope… and perhaps she is his.

What happens when a game of chance becomes a fight for survival?

How about a little taste?

She removed her hand and petted his stomach as if he were a docile panther. Simon discovered restraint he never knew he had.

Ella’s fingers moved down and fondled a tiny bulge in his pocket. “What’s this?”

Simon carried a miniature chess piece in his pocket—a queen to be exact. “Love, that’s not the piece I want you to stroke.”

She looked up at him, her lips pursing together. “Shhh.”

Women never took control of Simon this way, and just the thought of it made him so weak with lust that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to hold out for the actual act.

Ella went down on her knees and pressed her lips against the stretched leather covering his erection. He nearly lost it. Images flooded his mind of sliding somewhere warm and wet. Suddenly his throat went dry. He flattened his palms against the wall behind him, intoxicated by her unpredictable nature. There was no sense in taking over and trying to dominate her in the bedroom; her needs were nonnegotiable.

Check out this SoundCloud preview!

Interested? You can find RISK on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, GooglePlay, iBooks, Tantor and Audible.

About the Author:
Dannika Dark is the USA Today Bestselling Author of Urban Fantasy Romance and Paranormal Romance. Her books have sold more than 1 million copies worldwide, and she is a 2016 Audie Awards finalist.

Dannika was born on a military base in the U.S. and spent her youth traveling abroad. She developed an interest writing poetry and song lyrics early on, eventually gravitating toward a job that involved writing procedural training documentation. In her spare time, she wrote novels before she decided to pursue a career in publishing.

In addition to writing about supernatural worlds, Dannika is passionate about graphic design and creates all her own covers and series art. When not writing, she enjoys indie music, movies, reading, Tex-Mex, strawberry daiquiris, heaps of chocolate, and unleashing her dark side.

All of her published books to date are written in the same universe and contain material suitable for adults only.

“For me, writing is all about blending genres to break out of the confines of predictability, but it’s what I love to do.”

Catch up with Danni online on her website, twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and be sure to sign up for her newsletter to receive exclusive content and be the first to know about upcoming releases.

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Finding the Truth: A KING AND A PAWN–Excerpt and Giveaway!

BannerTemplate(27)Hi there! Today I”m sharing an excerpt and giveaway for a M/M fantasy romance from Liv Olteano. A KING AND A PAWN is a tale of intrigue set in a Fae realm with a mythical cast. Oh, and a love story! It’s the third book in a series, and likely best enjoyed in order.

Catch the excerpt below and be sure to enter the two-book giveaway, too!

AKingAndAPawn-PreviewAbout the book:

Bert Cooper’s life used to be great, until his sister turned out to be a traitor. Now Bert feels the whole pack looks on him with doubt and suspicion. To prove his loyalty, he volunteers to be the first ambassador at Fey Court, gathering information to finally solve the Leader Murders and punish those plotting against the Council and community. At least, that was the plan….

When Bert meets Sir William Matthew Sims, Court Interrogator, and one hell of a sexy man, life becomes a balancing act. And when the Fey King is assassinated, things become really messy.

Pack politics, fey politics, treason, suspicions of treason…. Bert has to choose between being ruled by his fears or standing up for what—and who—he believes in. And it might just break his heart.

How about a little taste?

“Would you take me in as a trophy, Bert?” he asked, smiling oddly, a sort of indulgent look in his eyes.

I wasn’t going to outsmart him, that was for sure. Luckily I didn’t think I had to.

“I wouldn’t be taking you in at all. You and your kids would simply accompany me. I’m sure you can find something of value to offer me so I’ll be willing to go that way. And then you’d find something of value to offer Weiss and the Council to give you guys, say, political asylum?”

“You’ve thought of everything, haven’t you?”

I shrugged. “I’m sure you did. I don’t think you’re a fool, Will. I’m sure you’re not, in fact. So I’m giving you the courtesy of not treating you as one. A courtesy I hope you’ll give me too.”

“Implying that I have not so far?” he asked, stepping toward me again.

My pulse spiked. “I wasn’t implying that at all.”

We were face-to-face, a step apart at most. My mind stuttered over the few stray thoughts I managed to recognize. It was unusual someone’s presence would affect me this much, this soon. Was he that special? Was our chemistry that special? Or was he using some sort of spell on me? I didn’t think that was beneath him. Magic wasn’t beneath any magic-wielding fey, just like changing into a wolf wasn’t beneath me as werewolf. It was a natural part of who we were. I just wasn’t that used to his natural part, and the very idea made me smile.

“What could I offer you that you’d like to have?” he asked as his breath touched my face with every word he uttered.

“Oh, I could think of several things,” I replied.

He leaned toward me. His lips brushed against mine now when he spoke. “I could think of several things I’d like to offer you as well.”

I gulped. Shit, I couldn’t think with my dick. Not now at least. I so wanted to. It would be so easy to whisper it sweetly: “Fuck my brains out and I’ll be on your side.” But I wasn’t here for shits and giggles, so I couldn’t. There was no reason I couldn’t hope I’d get a fuck out of the situation somewhere down the line. The more time we spent together, the better chance of that happening. That was pretty solid motivation to spin things in a way that would benefit us all in the end. There. I wasn’t doing this for my selfish fuck-greedy self but for the greater good. I was a fucking humanitarian, feyitarian, whateveritarian.

“I’ll only ask for one small thing for myself,” I whispered softly.

He brushed his lips against mine. The touch sent little fiery thrills down my nerve endings, from the skin of my lips right to the pulsing muscle of my heart. I felt his breath hitch at the contact, and the idea it might affect him almost as much as it was affecting me sent a shiver down my spine. We could have been faking it, both of us. This was a negotiation of sorts, and now was the time to bring on our top game. But I felt it in my gut that this connection was real, that it wasn’t bullshit for either one of us. I just knew it in the pit of my stomach. I wondered if he knew it too, as clearly as I did right in that instant.

His scent didn’t assault my senses since he’d been hanging out in my personal space for a while now. My senses were bathed in his scent already. But I could feel the pounding of his heart as I deepened the kiss; I could feel his muscles clench and unwind with sensual tension while my body sang with it. Fuck me sideways, I wanted him right now. I wanted him so bad it almost gutted me. The feel of him languidly moving his tongue against mine made my blood turn into liquid fire, scalding my insides and bringing up my body temperature to heights I didn’t think I’d felt before after just kissing. Everything in my body screamed, This. This is it. This is what you’ve been waiting for, for so fucking long!

“What do you want?” he asked after he pulled back, his forehead leaning against mine.

Fuck, fuck it, fuck! “I want all the information you can get from the Archives on a certain topic.”

Interested? You can find A KING AND A PAWN on Goodreads, Amazon (US & UK), Barnes & Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes, Kobo and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win the first two books in the Leader Murders series.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Liv Olteano is a voracious reader, music lover, and coffee addict extraordinaire. And occasional geek. Okay, more than occasional.

She believes stories are the best kind of magic there is. And life would be horrible without magic. Her hobbies include losing herself in the minds and souls of characters, giving up countless nights of sleep to get to know said characters, and trying to introduce them to the world. Sometimes they appreciate her efforts. The process would probably go quicker if they’d bring her a cup of coffee now and then when stopping by. Characters—what can you do, right?

Liv has a penchant for quirky stories and is a reverent lover of diversity. She can be found loitering around the Internet at odd hours and being generally awkward and goofy at all times.

Catch up with Liv on her website, blog, Facebook and twitter or sign up for her Newsletter.
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Adventurous Love: NO SECRETS NEEDED–Book Blast and Giveaway!

BannerTemplate-18Hi there! I’d love to share an excerpt and giveaway in support of Ann Anderson’s new fantasy M/M romance. NO SECRETS NEEDED is the second book in her New Beginnings series, and is recommended to be read in order.

Catch the excerpt below, and enter to win a copy of FROM LIES, the first book in the series.

No Secrets Needed_London_Burden_hi_resAbout the book:
After bidding farewell to his family and Trint, the man he’s come to care for, Rafe heads out to sea, free to be himself for the first time in his life—free to learn himself, away from the constraints and trials of his mother, away from the terrible person he believed himself to be while forced to live with her.

When Rafe returns home his family is waiting for him—but there’s no sign of Trint. With a little push from his ward, Rafe decides to be bold and go after what he wants, though he fears in the end that all his efforts might still not be good enough to overcome the past and the secrets that have controlled so much of his life.

A tasty morsel…

Rafe rose and stood beside his bed, the dagger clutched tight as he waited for some indication that they were searching his ship. Who they might be, he wasn’t sure. They shouldn’t have been too far into unclaimed water, and as far as he knew, no pirate or enemy to their kingdom would attack so close to claimed water, but he could be wrong. There was always a chance for some war to crop up, even in these peaceful times.

The fighting sounded to have stopped not long after he woke, but Rafe waited until there was a knock at his door, and Captain Manis poked his head into the room, before moving, following him onto the deck to take stock of the damage.

“This shouldn’t have happened,” one of the men whispered as he hefted a body and placed it into a pile near the bow of the boat.

Rafe didn’t say anything as he cast a glance at Captain Manis. His mouth was pinched, eyes hard as he led Rafe to a group of men, no older than boys, and stopped, arms crossed as he scowled at the defiant figures. Rafe waited, but when Captain Manis didn’t say anything, he stepped forward.

“Why have you attacked our ship?” His gaze skimmed the group before him, taking in the trembling forms. After a quick perusal, he settled on one of the men whose eyes darted from side to side. Rafe knelt before the man, clasping his jaw in a firm hand. “Why have you attacked our ship?”

The man glanced from side to side again, but none of his fellows would look at him or speak up. With a deep breath, the man spoke in a small, childlike voice. “It’s our right.”

Rafe lifted an eyebrow. He must not have heard correctly. “Excuse me?”

Some fun insights from Author Ann Anderson…

Tell us something about your character’s friends.
Rafe’s friends are also his employees, which creates a bit of a gap between them, but he’d do anything for them, even go on an adventure that could mean he’d lose his chance with Trint.

What is your character’s favorite meal? Favorite dessert? Favorite snack food?
Rafe’s favorite meal is breakfast because there’s a kind of calm even when there are kids running around and the whole day is there before him.

What activity does your character absolutely hate?
Attending events with other nobles where everyone hides behind the mask of politeness.

Interested? You can find NO SECRETS NEEDED on Goodreads, Less Than Three Press, and Amazon.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a copy of FROM LIES, the first book in the New Beginnings series.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the author:
Ann Anderson enjoys long walks through wooded areas, hunting zombies, and stealing treasure from space pirates. Only the first happens in real life. Besides allowing her imagination to run rampant, Ann loves editing and is glad she’s been able to make a small career of it while following through with her other passion of writing. Her cats can attest to both passions as they enjoy knocking the laptop from her lap and claiming the space as their own whenever Illinois weather drops to a reasonable degree.

You can find Ann on Facebook and Goodreads.
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War, Lust and Art: VICTORY PORTRAIT–Excerpt and Giveaway!

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Hi there! Today I’m sharing an excerpt and giveaway for a fantasy M/M romance from Tali Spencer. VICTORY PORTRAIT pairs a war commander with the enslaved prince who assists the artist painting his memorial. It certainly looks sensual…

This is the fourth book in a series. The author popped by to let me know this book can be read on its own! In Tali’s words….

There are connections between stories, though, so events may be developed more fully in different books of the series. Victory Portrait is Peta’s story and stands on its own, but I think M/M readers might also enjoy his brother Endre’s story, Dangerous Beauty, which deals with events that run parallel to this book.

Cool! Thanks for weighing in!

Catch the excerpt and enter to win a $10 gift card in the giveaway below.

unnamedAbout the book:
Imperial captive and former Sebboyan prince Peta Kordeun has one great wish: to meet Darius Arrento, conqueror of his country and a man he has idolized since childhood. That wish comes true the day the Uttoran emperor assigns Peta to assist the artist who will be painting the great general’s official portrait.

General Darius Arrento would rather take a crossbow bolt through his flesh than sit for a portrait, until his friend the emperor forces his hand. The notorious artist, Brazzi, uses semen and other sexual fluids to bind his colors—and Arrento is captivated by the artist’s pretty helper. Before long he is driven to possess the gorgeous young man who draws battle maps and whose naïve charm has won more hearts in Uttor than Arrento has won battles.

When Arrento learns that Peta, the slave he covets and wants for his own, is one of the despised Kordeun princes, he storms from Uttor toward a far corner of the empire—where he quickly finds himself embroiled in a plot to tear Uttor’s empire apart. His emotions and loyalties frayed, the great Arrento is in the battle of his life…and Peta may hold the key to his survival.

And now for a little taste…

“You want me to assist the painter. Only that?” Peta asked.
“Yes. I just want you to understand you will be naked and…Brazzi will want you to be sexually aroused.”
“What?”
“It’s what Brazzi does. Not for himself—not unless you’re a woman—but for his method. He was tried three years ago on charges of obscenity because he uses…sexual fluids for mixing his paint. He truly is a genius. His colors are astonishing.”
“And you want Arrento to see me like that? Naked and…being used?”
“No.” Gaspar was being firm. “I want a portrait of my general. And I happen to think that the sight of you will keep his ass firmly planted for whatever sittings the painter requires. You see, Darius has one weakness—only one. He cannot resist a thing of beauty—and you, my pretty slave, are the most breathtaking young man I have ever had the privilege to look upon.”
Peta flushed. Gaspar wasn’t smiling. The man was serious.
Could he do it? Did he want to do it? Peta knew he was pretty. His looks had blessed and cursed him all his life. His beauty had attracted Kesme as a fellow cadet and was what Kesme had praised that last night when they’d made love…and Peta’s face was what Lukacz, his own father, had sought to destroy, thinking that doing so would release him from predation and unnatural desires. And now Gaspar, too, wanted only one thing…
“Just sit there and look pretty,” he said, heart sinking as he grasped what Gaspar was asking him to do.
“Only if you’re willing. I’m not completely oblivious to what this sort of service might entail. It could be rather…awkward. On the other hand, it might not be for long. Darius can be stubborn. It’s possible he won’t show up.”
And just as possible that he would.
Peta wanted to say no but he could not get his mouth to form the word. He might never get another chance to see Arrento, perhaps hear his voice. Be in the same room with him.
He’d be silent…naked…terribly exposed even in his utter worship.
But he would at least be able to say he had seen the great man.
“I’ll do it,” he said.

Interested? You can find VICTORY PORTRAIT on Goodreads, Resplendance Publishing, Amazon and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $10 gift card!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.

Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.

Tali’s other books include the three preceding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, and Adored, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often posts free stories and excerpts on her blog.

You can find Tali on her blog, Facebook, twitter and Pinterest.
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Building Passion in FEATHER FALL–Excerpt and Giveaway!

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Hi there! Today I’m sharing an awesome scene and interview for a new M/M fantasy menage romance from Evelyn Elliott. FEATHER FALL is the second book in the Spell Slave series, and surely looks to up the stakes for Regis, Jonathan and Crow. I know my interest is piqued. It’s the sequel to BAD MAGIC and must be read in order. AllRomance lists this book as five (out of five) chili peppers for hotness.

FeatherFallFSAbout the book:
Hero and criminal. Brute force and subtle charm. Jonathan White and Crow Belcane are polar opposites, but if they want to rescue the man they both love, they’ll have to work together.

After visiting his former lover, Crow knows only one thing: he loves Regis and he will do anything to reclaim him. But before his very eyes, Regis is abducted. Kidnapped by high-end slavers. Only Regis’s infuriating partner, Jonathan—a dangerous vigilante—is willing to help.

To infiltrate the slave ring, Jonathan and Crow disguise themselves as master and pet. As a slave, Crow is pushed to his limit. He’s chained, branded, whipped, and forced to obey Jonathan’s every order. But the longer he spends at Jonathan’s feet, the more natural his disguise begins to feel—and the more he likes it. As much as he hates Jonathan, they make a good team.

Both of them are devoted to Regis. Despite the overwhelming attraction between them, Jonathan is unwilling to betray his partner, and Crow is unwilling to come between them. But once the three of them are together again, all bets are off.

Where it seems all bets are off…

Crow followed Jonathan to the lodging house. Jonathan looked like he was going to explode with rage the entire walk home. Crow prayed they didn’t come across anyone looking for a fight.

When they strode in, the woman at the counter scowled. “Your boy’s only been gone two days,” she said to Jonathan. “Already bringing whores home?”

Jonathan waved her away. “He’s a friend, Marta.”

“Friend,” she muttered. “Yeah, all right.” She sniffed. “Long as you send him on his way when you’re done with him. Don’t want him harassing my patrons.” She bustled down the hall. Crow stared after her in shock.

“She thought you were a prostitute,” Jonathan said helpfully. He opened the door, then locked it behind Crow. Immediately, he went to the back door and swept it open. He went into the garden and hugged Chartreuse around her neck. His grip was white, and his entire body was rigid. “Fucking slavers,” he muttered. “Fucking disgusting.”

Crow leaned against the doorway, arms folded. “Why did the innkeeper think I was a prostitute? Do you often pick up whores?”

Jonathan rolled his eyes at the joke. But he relaxed a little, and he went back inside with Crow. He shut the door. His fingers rested on the knob. “So,” he said.

“So,” Crow said.

Jonathan looked away, hands clenched. “I need a favor.”

“A favor?”

“Will you teach me how to—” Jonathan grimaced. “How to be charming.”

“What?”

“Charming,” Jonathan said, like his teeth were being pulled. “It’s just this—this thing you do. I mean, let’s be honest with each other for a moment. You’re a terrible person, and yet every single person that meets you instantly likes you. How do you do that? Show me. I need to improve my acting skills.”

Crow didn’t want to teach Jonathan anything. But they were in this mess together, and if Jonathan slipped up and ruined his disguise, then they would both be in terrible danger. Crow saw on the bed. “Fine. Come here.”

Jonathan circled the bed like a wary animal. He sat far away from Crow.

“First lesson,” Crow said. “Body language.”

“What? Why does that matter?”

“You need to relax. If you look nervous, everyone else will become nervous, too.”

“I don’t feel relaxed,” Jonathan groaned.

“You don’t have to feel relaxed. You have to look relaxed.” Crow leaned against the headboard and splayed his legs. “See? Like this.”

“I can’t fake it the way you can.” Jonathan popped his fingers, then cracked his neck. He stretched his legs out, then touched his toes. Finally, he rolled his shoulders and let out a breath. He did seem a little less tense now.

“Good,” Crow said. “Now. Lesson two. Just be nice. Observe people. Give them compliments. Listen to what they say. It’s easy.”

“Really?”

“Of course. I mean, that’s how I seduced you the night I met you.”

And the room became weirdly silent.

The night they’d met. Right. The night Crow had waltzed in, spent a few minutes talking to Jonathan, and then stripped his pants off. Crow winced. It was probably a raw wound for Jonathan, considering the fact Crow had—at the time—been part of a plot to kill him. He shifted to the middle of the bed. He crossed his legs. “Look at me.”

“What?”

“I want to teach you about sexual tension. It’s important. We need to investigate the House of Red Silk, but if we stall too long, Madam Karis might realize we’re up to no good. You must keep her attention. If she becomes impatient, pretend to be interested in a slave.”

“Interested? How do I do that?”

“Like this.” Crow leaned in. He lowered his eyelashes and tilted his head a little. His gaze slowly went from Jonathan’s hands, to his chest, then—ever so slowly—he met Jonathan’s eyes and held them. The air between them felt thin as paper, as though if he moved one inch closer, the barrier between them would tear.

Jonathan jerked back.

His face was unreadable, but his eyes were wide, pupils blown. Crow put his hand on Jonathan’s arm, and Jonathan jerked. “Tension is a sense of anticipation,” Crow said. “Stretch out that moment. Make it clear you want him.”

Jonathan skirted away to the edge of the bed. “Oh, come on,” Crow said. “If you can’t do it with me, how are you going to do it with a stranger?”

“I keep thinking about that time you threatened to skin me,” Jonathan snapped.

“That happened once.”

The light outside had faded. Twilight lit the garden. Crow felt exhausted from his façade. He got up to draw the curtains.

“No, wait,” Jonathan said. “I….”

Crow glanced back.

Jonathan had a painfully awkward look on his face. He blew out his breath. “Sorry. You’re right.” He got up. He rubbed his face. When his hand moved away, his expression was cool again. He scanned Crow’s face, then—hesitantly—touched Crow’s jaw, then his collarbone. He crowded Crow against the wall. Their chests didn’t touch, not quite.

Heat flickered through Crow’s body, and he was aware, powerfully aware, of how long it had been since he’d trusted someone to touch him. He shuddered.

Then Jonathan pulled away. “Like that?”

“Yeah,” Crow said. “Like that.”

Jonathan shut up and went to bed. He lay fully clothed on the mattress, alone by himself. Crow swept up a pile of blankets and dumped them on the floor by the wall. He burrowed into his little nest and closed his eyes. He didn’t sleep. Where was Regis? Locked in a cage somewhere? Sold?

Man! This sounds like such a great series!

Here’s a little insight on reading and writing from Ms. Elliott…
Do you buy a book because of the cover, the blurb, or something else?

I’d say a combination. Beautiful covers always catch my eye… I know it’s a weakness, but I love a nice cover. But the blurb is always the reason I actually buy. An author has to be able to keep my attention, of course! 🙂

What does ‘romance’ mean to you?

To me, romance means two characters falling in love and staying together. Truthfully… I’m okay with it if characters die. But they better not break up, damn it.
As long as two people love each other, that’s romance. It doesn’t matter what gender the characters are or how they get together. Only their feelings.

What are your current projects?

I have so many at a time! But these are my main ones:
How to Be a Sacrificial Virgin: The love story of Cernunnos, Horned God of the Wilderness, and Alan, a virgin stoner from Minnesota who was sacrificed to him by mistake. Funny, quick, and light-hearted.

Thirteen Last Breaths: In the North, homosexuality is punishable by death. Jonathan—the prince of a small city-state—is in love with another man. A single mistake and someone will catch them. This one is my favorite, though I suspect it might be controversial.

Pistol x Shotgun: After the end of the world, a starving vampire hunts down one of the last living humans. He needs blood to stay sane… but he picked the wrong man to kidnap. Dane—a hardened gunslinger—is vows to escape and kill the man holding him captive. Tight action and deliciously hot sex. My beta readers have called it sexy, thrilling, and horrifying.

What is the most difficult part of writing for you?

All of it. Writing down those first few initial words is like having my mind raked and dissected with hot steel blades. Editing is like cutting off bits of my own skin. The publishing process…
Actually, the publishing process is okay.

Tell us something about yourself that would surprise people.

I once wrote a sex scene so hot that it made a reader orgasm by picking up the book. (I mean—it’s not true, but it certainly surprises people.)

Ha! What a great sense of humor.

Interested? You can find FEATHER FALL on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press (ebook or paperback), Amazon, Barnes & Noble and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a signed copy of FEATHER FALL for yourself!
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
At first glance, Evelyn Elliott seems like a perfectly normal person. Do not be deceived. Her hobbies include watching grisly horror movies, torturing her characters, and tending to her flower garden. She enjoys long walks on the beach and collecting the souls of small children. Whenever she reads a book, she always roots for the villain.

Avoid her at all costs. Certainly do not find her on Facebook or befriend her Goodreads. You have better things to do.

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