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New Release – Sun, Sea & Small-Town Secrets by S. J. Coles

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title:  Sun, Sea & Small-Town Secrets

Author: S. J. Coles

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Release Date:  July 6, 2021

Genre:  Contemporary M/M Mystery/Holiday Romance

Tropes: Forbidden Love / Small Town / Holiday 

Themes: Healing / Hurt/Comfort / Travel / Self-discovery

Heat Rating:  4 flames  

Length: 48 634 words/ 193 pages

It is a standalone story.

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Buy Links

Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Pride Publishing

 

Small towns are full of secrets, some harder to keep than most.

 

Blurb

Sebastian Conway is a professional psychologist and accomplished criminal profiler, but when one of his patients is sentenced to life in prison for a crime she didn’t commit, he simply cannot let it go. His borderline obsessive behaviour has embarrassed his boss and lover, Gerrard Wilson, and the relationship has come to a bitter end.

Seb has now grudgingly taken Gerrard’s advice and come to the small coastal town of Ruéier in the South of France to get some distance and clear his head—but he cannot sit by and do nothing.

He has started writing a book he believes will address the failings in the case, but when he gets swept up in a local investigation into suspected drug trafficking, which is led by the enigmatic and strangely enticing Antoine Damboise, the book—and Seb’s intentions to avoid active criminal cases—take a back seat.

He knows it’s a bad idea to get involved, but he can’t seem to help himself. And when it seems Damboise is tempted to make their relationship more than professional, Seb finds it easier than ever to ignore his better judgment. But when a local drug dealer is murdered and Seb is implicated, everything gets a whole lot more complicated.

Can the two men set aside their personal feelings long enough to figure out what’s really going on before Seb ends up in prison? Or worse…

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of murder and drug use.

 

Excerpt

“Monsieur Conway?” 

I turned back. He was stood by reception looking thoughtful, scratching at the stubble on his cheek. 

“Yes?”

“Would you, perhaps, like to get a coffee?”

I blinked. “A coffee?”

Oui,” he said. “A thank you, shall we say? For your 

help.”

His smile was friendly, but his eyes were weighing me 

up with a dark intensity I couldn’t penetrate. Whatever it was going on here, saying yes, I knew, would be a very bad idea. 

“Sure,” I said with a smile. “Sounds good.” 

His own smile widened, and he nodded. “Bon. I will meet you outside.” 

I was grinning like a teenager with a crush as I stepped back out into the street. The fresh breeze dried the clamminess on my face and swelled in my lungs and chest. A small confidence boost could only help my productivity, I decided. I still wasn’t sure what exactly his interest was. Heavy looks or not, I got exactly zero read on his sexuality. But surely even French police didn’t take witnesses for coffee? 

I was so busy retrospectively analysing his body language in the interview room—Did he extend his leg toward me? Rest his hand near mine?—that I didn’t hear him behind me until he said my name. 

“Apologies,” he said when I started, and a small smile twitched the corner of his mouth. A pair of sunglasses hid his troublesome eyes from view. He’d slung his jacket over his arm and, with the bright sunshine glinting in his corn-blond hair and off his white teeth, I suddenly wondered how I ever considered him plain. 

“It’s fine,” I managed. “Where do you want to go?” “Ah, I know the best place. Follow me.” 

“Antoine?” 

We turned back. Adjudant Rayne was hurrying toward us. She fired French at him whilst frowning at me. Damboise replied calmly, and she said something more, her eyes leaving me to send Damboise what was unmistakably a warning look. 

C’est bon,” Damboise concluded. “This way,” he said and turned toward the seafront. Rayne watched us leave with her arms crossed and expression grim. 

“She doesn’t like me very much,” I said. 

“You misunderstand,” he said without looking at me. “She was just reminding me of some paperwork that is late. I will do it after a bit.” 

I spent the rest of the walk pondering the possible reasons behind his lie. 

The breeze was brisker and the air fresher as we stepped out onto the seafront boulevard. The beach was crowded with families—the children running, laughing and shrieking in the gentle swell of the shallows. The boats bobbed sedately in the harbour, shining all the colours of the rainbow under the bright, sapphire sky. Bicycles whizzed up and down the road, baskets laden with groceries or bottles of wine. The men with guns seemed like a distant dream. 

I followed him as he crossed the road to the Café De La Mer

“You have been here before then, yes?” he said as he pulled out the chairs around one of the plastic tables under a blue-and-white parasol. 

“The first day I got here,” I said, a little warily as I surveyed the clear view of the harbour. “The coffee is good, but I think it’s better at Cafe Maman.” 

Oui,” he said, hanging his jacket on the back of his chair and sitting. “I would say that is true. But have you tried the chocolat chaud?” 

“Hot chocolate?” I translated dubiously, taking the other chair. “I don’t much like it.” 

“Just wait,” he said, signalling a smiling waiter with a raised hand and placing the order. Damboise made meaningless small talk for the interval until the waiter returned. I blinked, surprised, as he set the shallow cup half-full of dark liquid that looked more like espresso than chocolate in front of me. 

“What, no squirty cream? Marshmallows?” I asked with a half-smile as Damboise lifted his small cup in his distractingly delicate grip. 

“We respect chocolate too much to pollute it so. This is the local recipe, melted then mixed with a splash of cognac. Go ahead. Try it.” 

I lifted the cup to my face and inhaled the rich, thick scent. It was sweet, yes, but savoury too—bold, rather than cloying. It reminded me of fresh-turned earth, with a slight smokiness, like when the wind brings the scent of a distant bonfire. I drank. It was so thick that I could almost chew it. It tasted like it smelled—rich and earthy, with the spice of tree bark and apricot from the cognac. 

“Good, non?” 

“Yeah,” I said, tipping the cup farther to coax more into my mouth. “This isn’t like the instant stuff.” 

“In France, nothing is instant. Everything is slow. Considered. Deliberate.” 

“I’m beginning to get that,” I said, scraping the remains of the chocolate with the tiny spoon that had come with it. Damboise smiled at me, sipping his own drink like someone sampling a fine wine, then he dabbed his lips with a napkin.

 

 

About the Author

S.J. Coles is a Romance writer originally from Shropshire, UK. She has been writing stories for as long as she has been able to read them. Her biggest passion is exploring narratives through character relationships.

She finds writing LGBT/paranormal romance provides many unique and fulfilling opportunities to explore many (often neglected or under-represented) aspects of human experience, expectation, emotion and sexuality.

Among her biggest influences are LGBT Romance authors K J Charles and Josh Lanyon and Vampire Chronicles author Anne Rice.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter 

Instagram  |   Pride Publishing

 

 

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New Release – A Share In A Secret by Jude Tresswell #KindleUnlimited

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: A Share in a Secret

Author: Jude Tresswell

Publisher: Self-published on Amazon KDP

Release Date: April 18, 2020

Genre/s: LGBTQ crime and mystery

Trope/s: Sexual/asexual relationship; gay polyamorous relationship

Themes:  Compromise, trust, honesty

Heat Rating: 2 flames   

Length: 63 000 words/ 227 pages 

It can be read as a standalone, although it is Book 5 of the County Durham Quad series.

Background information is included for new readers.

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited 

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK 

 

Sooner or later, secrets will out…

 

Blurb

Mike, Ross, Raith and Phil are a gay, polyamorous quad who live in County Durham, North-East England. Mike’s nephews visit, and launch the quad into a tale involving inclusivity and investment scams, false arrest, and a desperate attempt to keep a dangerous secret hidden.

Meanwhile, Nick Seabrooke is now living and working in the village. Can the quad navigate the complexities of a sexual-asexual relationship? They would risk their safety for each other. Are they willing to do so for Nick?

This is the fifth County Durham Quad story. As always, background information is included for new readers.

 

 Excerpt 

Here is the start of the story. It’s a typical exchange between the four men…

Late afternoon in ‘Cromarty’, a normally quiet home in Tunhead, County Durham. Phil and Mike were seated in the living room. Phil stopped typing the article he was preparing for a medical journal and looked in the direction of the kitchen. Mike stopped skyping his brother, looked up too and, not really expecting an answer, asked, “What the fuck’s he up to now?”

   The ‘he’ was Raith, Phil’s husband. Raith was a successful artist and ceramicist, but he sounded like someone intent on demolition not on creation.

   “I thought all our kitchen units were the easy-glide, silently-closing variety,” Phil commented as another cupboard drawer slammed shut.

   “They are, but the manufacturers hadn’t met Raith, had they? Nuthin’s Raith-proof, is it?”

   The banging stopped and voices took their place. Ross, Mike’s civil partner, had come into the kitchen from the garden. He walked through to the living room and met Mike’s and Phil’s enquiring eyes.

   “He’s made a chart. He was looking for something to stick it up with,” Ross explained.

   “Stick it up? It sounded like he was hammerin’ it up,” said Mike. 

   “A chart?”

   “Yes. He’s fixing it on the wall now. It’ll either amuse you or horrify you. I’m not sure which. Possibly both. He wants us to discuss it before Nick comes round for his tea.”

   “I thought we were involving Nick in all our discussions,” Phil remarked.

   “Yes, but not this one. You’ll see why in a minute. Come on.”

   Mike, Ross, Raith, Phil—and Nick. By their own definitions the first four men were four sorts of poly. Polydomestic: they shared the household duties. Polypecuniary: they shared their incomes too. Polydemocratic: they had equal say in decisions and tossed a coin if the vote was evenly split. And fourthly, they were polyamorous: they loved each other deeply, although Ross only had sex with Mike. Nick was Tunhead’s most recent inhabitant. He shared most of his meals and much of his spare time with the quad, but although he now lived in the village, he didn’t live in Cromarty. There were reasons for the need for a little separation. Hence Raith’s chart. Nick might be romantically and emotionally attracted to men or, rather, to one man—Mike—but he wasn’t attracted to anybody sexually. In fact, he was revolted by the thought of an intimately physical relationship.

   Ross stood aside and ceremoniously waved Mike and Phil through to the kitchen. In place of the whiteboard that, ten minutes earlier, had indicated the week’s household duties list, there was a large sheet of cartridge paper divided into two vertical columns. The left hand column comprised extremely realistic drawings. The other, narrower one was partially filled in. It contained some ticks and some crosses.

   “Are you plannin’ expandin’ into illustratin’ porn?” asked Mike as he studied the drawings.  “That’s you, Phil! Bloody hell. That’s me!” he added, and pointed to a portrayal of two men indulging in frottage.

   “Yes, I’ve already put a cross by that one,” Raith said. “I knew Nick wouldn’t like it.”

   “Looks like you two liked it though,” Ross commented as, curious, he took a close look.

   “So this is… what, exactly? And I’m not talkin’ about the drawin’s themselves. I can see what they are.”  

   “Well,” said Raith, “I thought it would save us a lot of future problems if we sorted out what we were allowed and not allowed to do when Nick’s in our home instead of in his place.”

   “And you figured that a bloody big explicit poster starin’ at him over his tea was the best way to do it?”

 

About the Author 

I’m married, I’ve grown-up children, I’m asexual (although a different sort of ace from Nick) and I do enjoy writing stories that aren’t constrained by hetero-norms.

The plots are always stimulated by something on the news – in this instance, the homophobic reaction of some people and groups to the UK government’s decision to introduce lessons on inclusivity into the school curriculum.

I enjoy writing light dialogue as well as dealing with serious issues, though, and I hope that some of the quad’s interchanges will make readers smile. 

I talked about myself and my books on Brad Shreve’s Gay Mystery Podcast (an episode entitled Four Times As Much Mystery) in April, 2020. (Link below) 

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |  Amazon Author Page for all works  |

YouTube link to audio version of the short asexual/ sexual story Scar Ghyll Levels – available on Amazon Kindle.

(Audio version contains 200 photos of scenery)

Four Times As Much Mystery with Jude Tresswell (Ep. 028) on the Gay Mystery Podcast 

 

 

 

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Follow the tour and check out the other blog posts and reviews here

Release Blitz – Ace in the Picture by Jude Tresswell

RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Ace in the Picture

Author: Jude Tresswell

Publisher: Rowanvale Books

Cover Artist: Billie Hastie

Genre/s: contemporary M/M/M/M, crime/mystery

Heat Rating: 2 flames

Length: 63 000 words/ 251 pages (paperback format)

It can be read as a standalone, but is also the third book featuring the County Durham quad

Release Date: March 31, 2019

Add on Goodreads  

 

Buy Links   

Rowanvale Books

Amazon US  

Amazon UK

Waterstones (UK) 

Barnes and Noble

 

 

 An art fraud, a polyamorous suspect, an asexual detective…

Blurb

Polyamory and asexuality meet in this third tale about a north-east England quad.

The police suspect Raith Balan of faking a painting. So do money-launderers who sink profits into art. Mike, Ross and Phil, the three men in Raith’s life, must prove his innocence. They’re hampered by their certainty that a member of the Fraud Squad is corrupt.

The senior investigating officer is Detective Sergeant Nick Seabrooke. He knows he is asexual, but is he aromantic too? As Raith’s lovers struggle to keep Raith safe and find the fraudster, the sergeant struggles to understand why the quad is often in his thoughts.

 

Excerpt

Chapter 1

Raith stood in the kitchen in front of the calendar. His gaze shifted from the naked figure depicted on ‘October’ to the highlighted ‘Thursday 12th’ and back again. He pressed a fingertip to his lips, transferred a kiss to the mid-point of the figure’s shoulder blades and ran his finger down the spine—Mike Angells’ spine.

The real-life Mike walked into the room and filled the kettle.

“What are you admirin’?” he asked. “The model or the artist?”

Raith was the artist. “The artist,” he replied. “He’s classy. The model’s okay, I suppose.”

“Cheeky!” Mike admonished.

Changing the subject, Raith asked, “You know what day it is in two days’ time, don’t you?”

“In two days? Well, let’s see… difficult one… It must be Thursday. Aye, that’s right. It was Monday yesterday, so—”

“Stop teasing me! Do you think he’s forgotten?”

‘He’ was Phil Roberts, the man Raith had married 364 days earlier.

“Don’t be daft. Of course not. You know Phil. His middle name’s ‘No fuss’.”

“That’s two names.”

“And that’s two cups of coffee. One for you. One for me,” said Mike, handing over a mug.

“None for me?” asked a third man who, yawning, had entered the kitchen. He hugged the two men already there.

“Sorry, Ross,” Mike apologised. “I didn’t make you one. I thought you were still asleep.”

“No. Just dozy,” said Ross sleepily. “I heard Phil’s car. Is it an emergency, Raith?”

“Not exactly,” Raith replied. “He went in early to cover for a colleague.”  

Phil had helped to pioneer a form of rectal surgery that used nanocarbon patches to reconstruct torn tissue. He was a respected consultant at the hospital an hour’s drive away in Warbridge, County Durham.

“I’d better get sorted and get out myself,” said Ross. He was, amongst other things, a gallery proprietor in Gateshead, and his journey to work took longer than Phil’s. He yawned again.

“Are you feelin’ okay?” asked Mike, alert to Ross’s tone of voice. “It’s not like you to sound so unenthusiastic about work.” In fact, it wasn’t like Ross to sound unenthusiastic about anything. He was always lively—he personified keenness.

“I’m dead tired cos I didn’t sleep well. I had a strange text late on. You were already asleep. I don’t think you heard the phone buzz. Strange. Unsettling.”

“Oh?”

“How do you mean?” asked Raith. “We’re not going to get involved with more criminal activities, are we? I had enough of crime fighting last time!”

Even though Mike was no longer a detective with the Tees, Tyne and Wear Constabulary, the four of them were involved in a surprising amount of crime fighting. ‘Last time’ had involved an illegal immigrant, and the tensions that had arisen had threatened the survival of the quad.

That’s what they were: a gay, polyamorous quad. They lived in Tunhead, a hamlet in Weardale in the Durham hills. Once, Tunhead had rung to the sound of workers’ hammers hitting stone. In a way it still did: Ross had turned it into an arts centre full of smiths, sculptors and potters who wanted to escape the North East’s towns.

“Well, we’re not, are we?” Raith repeated.

“No.”

“Good. Well, my creations won’t create themselves. I’d better get off, too.”

In Raith’s case, ‘getting off’ simply meant walking twenty yards to his studio, a converted storehouse.

“You sure he hasn’t forgotten?” he asked Mike again before he left.

“I’m sure.”

“Okay then.”

“What’s that about?” asked Ross after Raith was gone.

“He’s bothered that Phil’s forgotten their anniversary.”

“He hasn’t.”

“I know he hasn’t. He’s takin’ him off on a trip sumwhere—but you know Raith. He needs everythin’ crystal clear and written in capital letters. And sumtimes, so do I. What was this message about?”

Ross pulled a face and explained. When he’d done so, Mike could understand his concern.

“He wouldn’t be so stupid, Ross… Would he?”

“Not stupid, Mike, but he’s gullible. He doesn’t always think. I just don’t know.”

***

The message stayed in Ross’s mind during the forty-mile drive to the gallery and he couldn’t forget about it once he was there. Some of Raith’s paintings hung on the gallery walls. They were mainly of Weardale’s waterfalls. After heavy rain, the falls transformed from gentle trickles into rushing, gushing powerful forces of nature that the four men knew could kill. They’d seen them kill.

Raith loved to paint the waterfalls. From a distance, his torrents looked alive. The effect was linked to his use of colour. Raith was a tetrachromat; he could see a host of hues in what, to most people, was a single shade. He painted for himself, though, not for fame or money—he had plenty of both, due to his skill with clay not brushes. Several of his wares were on show at the gallery, most tagged ‘sold’ with a price that would feed and clothe all four men for a long, long time. His sensually erotic sculptures, modelled on Mike and Phil, were always in demand and beautifully, lovingly executed. But today, Ross gave Raith’s erotica a miss. He stared, instead, at the waterfalls.

What might induce Raith to produce a piece of work “with intent to deceive”, as the legal phrase was?

That was what the worrying message had suggested. That Raith’s were the hands and eyes behind a painting that the police were interested in. They thought it was a fake. For the umpteenth time, Ross asked himself why?

Raith didn’t need fame and he didn’t need fortune, but did he need the challenge of outwitting the experts? Of copying another artist’s work so accurately that no one would notice the difference?

Surely not. Momentarily, Ross’s dark mood lifted. The only challenge Raith was likely to rise to was the one of finding ways to spice up the quad’s evening meals. Two nights ago, he’d ‘accidentally’ stumbled near the saucepan with a teaspoon of chilli flakes in his hand.

“Oh, look! They’ve fallen in,” he’d said apologetically.

Ross smiled when he thought about it, but anxiety soon returned. Could Raith be feeling resentment? Sometimes, that was the driving force behind a fraud. Failed artists whose work had been refused once too often. Failed artists who took I’ll show them! literally.

No. All Raith’s resentments were little ones that quickly blew over—feeling nagged for not doing his turn on the house-keeping rota, being yelled at for leaving clay-covered dirty washing on top of the pile of clean laundry. Raith took umbrage easily, but he’d be smiling again within the hour. And anyway, he wasn’t a failed artist. He was a very successful one.

He was a strange mixture though. That complexity was part of his attraction. It was part of what made him Raith. His skill was undeniable, but his mental health was fragile— ‘bloody unhinged’ was how Mike would describe Raith in less charitable moments. He could be unpredictable. He could be very violent. He had another side, though, and it was what Mike and Phil and Ross adored about him. Canny, clued up, an ex-con hard as nails… but at the toss of a coin, as loving, as sweet and as trusting as anyone they had ever met. Mike was as loving, and often as sweet, but trusting? No. Mike was ex-CID. It wasn’t in his nature to be trusting.

Which was why Mike was already making phone calls.

 

About the Author 

I’m not Nick Seabrooke, the ace in the picture, but there are some firsthand truths peeping through the fiction. Like Nick, I’m ace and happy with it, but also, like Nick, I’m wavery on that ro/aro line–and that can cause some soul-searching. If the picture painted in the story is a very narrow one, it’s because I didn’t want to stray too far from what I know. The quad, however, are totally imaginary.

I blog at https://polyallsorts.wordpress.com . There are posts about asexuality, polyamory, beer, tattoos, book covers, and many other story-related items. There are photos of the Durham countryside, the setting of the stories, too.  I’m always happy to receive and respond to comments. Well, if they’re friendly ones!

 

Author Link

Blog/Website

 

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Book Blast – Polyamory on Trial by Jude Tresswell

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Polyamory on Trial

Author: Jude Tresswell

Publisher: Self-published via Rowanvale Books

Cover Artist: Cerys Knighton

Release Date; August 31, 2018

Genre/s: M/M/M/M, crime and mystery

Heat Rating:  2 flames (Trigger Warning: references to rape)

Length: 63,000 words/ 236 pages

 It can be read alone. A third story will be published early 2019 so it is part of a series.

Add on Goodreads

 

Blurb

A bittersweet story with two interwoven themes: a crime and mystery involving trafficking and a look at the workings of a polyamorous relationship.

A young Syrian needing treatment at Warbridge Hospital is seen by Phil Roberts, one quarter of a gay polyamorous quad living in north east England. The men in the doctor’s life are ex-cop, Mike Angells, gallery proprietor, Ross Whitmore and ceramist and artist, Raith Balan.

Phil is troubled. Is his patient in the UK legally? Who has caused his injuries? Is trafficking involved? As the foursome struggle to find out, hampered by the fact that Mike is no longer a detective, cracks begin to appear in their relationship. Can four men be equals? Is their lifestyle viable? Meanwhile, there are cracks of a different sort to deal with—and the job of doing so seems to fall exclusively on Mike’s broad shoulders.

 

 

Buy Links

Rowandale Books

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Available as paperback, ePub, Mobi and PDF from Rowanvale Books and all usual distributors.

 

Excerpt

(Mike is talking about honesty, which, together with openness, love and passion, guide the quad’s approach to life.  His little ‘asides’ feature at the end of the chapters.)

You could say that there are the big honesties, and there are the little honesties as well. The little ones involve the practicalities of livin’ as a foursome. Four blokes together. Shoppin’ to get, meals to cook, washin’ to sort, the loo to clean, the garden to dig, the bills to pay… all the usual family practicalities. But in a poly, we’re equally in charge, equally responsible. Theoretically, that is. One of us seems to think that it’s beneath his dignity to use a mop and that cleanin’ the loo should be left to his minions. He cleans up after himself—I’d shove his bloody head down the toilet bowl if he didn’t—but the proper wash, the one with the detergent and the disinfectant? No way. So, sometimes, we just have to be very honest and tell him he’s a shiter, or rather, Ross and Phil tell him, and I try to look threatenin’. It’s hard, cos I often want to laugh. He comes up with such a load of bollocks for excuses! Then he sulks, or gets in a strop, because he feels we’re gettin’ at him, but we have to. It’s the thin end of the wedge otherwise. He’ll shirk everythin’ if we don’t get tough and lay down the law. That’s what I mean by the little honesties. If sumthin’s wrong, then we have to be upfront about it and say so, even if it causes bad feelin’ for a time.

But I think you probably meant the big honesties. Keepin’ secrets. That sort of thing. Obviously, by their very definition, I don’t know if the others are keepin’ secrets. And yes, I would keep sumthin’ secret if I thought that sharin’ it would place the other guys in danger. In fact, I have done that, and so has Ross. But, to me, that’s not dishonest. Personally, I would never tell the others a lie, a big lie, the kind that’d rock the boat. I might not tell the whole truth, but I would never tell an untruth, if that makes sense. I think our quad’d crumble if we weren’t honest with each other. If there isn’t trust… There has to be trust.

 

About the Author

I write about gay polyamorous men, but I’m a monogamous female. I’m also asexual. I have no problem imagining the lives of my four men, though, as long as there’s no me (or any other female) in the scene. The term for this dissociation is anegosexual, I think.

I have a lot of hobbies, which is just as well as I spend a lot of time with my imagination and I need to be metaphorically tied down to the real world. I dance, I sing, I play the guitar (the last two, badly), I love geology and I’m interested in languages, and, of course, I love to write.

 

Author Links

Blog/Website

 

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