Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Guarded: The Silverton Chronicles by Carmen Fox

Amazon

Available in Paperback and Hardback - eBook Coming July 31, 2015!

When everyone's existence depends on the lies they tell, trust doesn't come easy.

Ivy's neighbors have a secret. They aren't human. But Ivy has a secret, too. She knows. As long as everyone keeps quiet, she's happy working as a P.I. by day and chillaxing with her BFF Florian, a vampire, by night.

When a routine pickup drops her in the middle of a murder, her two worlds collide. While Florian knows how to throw a punch, deep down he's a softie. His idea of scary? Running out of hair product. It's time Ivy faced facts. Even with a vampire on stand-by, one gal can only kick so many asses.

For help, she must put her faith in others. A human, who might just be the one. A demon, who will, for a price, open the doors to her heritage. And a werewolf, who wants to protect her from herself.

Torn between these men, Ivy must tread carefully, because one wants her heart, one wants her body, and one wants her dead.

A sexy urban fantasy by the author of Divide and Conquer. 
 
Excerpt:
A shadow peeled off a dark corner and rushed across the road. My thoughts of the unfairness of life lifted, and I smiled. Dressed in his usual muted colors, Florian gave a mock salute. Not even the lack of a California tan detracted from the fact that he was, by all accounts, a handsome devil. But it was his inner qualities that made him my best friend.

I got out and slammed the door shut.

Flo shot me his trademark grin that half begged to be mothered, half promised a naughty night. “Happy birthday, Ivy!”

“Not so far. I think my car’s kaput.” I sent an eyeroll toward the steam escaping the hood.

“Oh?” His forehead puckered. “Let’s see. Did it slug and thud into the drive?” His index finger in his ear, he shook his tilted head, as if to force out some lingering noise. “Check. Is it stinky?” He sniffed the noxious plume surrounding the vehicle. “Check. Broken side view mirror? Check. Well, I can confidently say I notice nothing out of the ordinary.”

“You’re a funny guy, mister. If you’re not too busy doing standup tomorrow night, do you think you could chauffeur me?” I pouted. “I have a work thing, and getting the car fixed might take some time.”

“Aww, come here. Of course I will.” He yanked me into a firm mother-bear hug.

I held tight. His fresh, if powerful, cologne was a scent for sore noses, and I added another couple of gratuitous sniffs. “Thanks. I needed that.”

“I’ll let you get some rest, then. You don’t seem in the mood for a birthday bash. But if you change your mind, you know where to find me.” Despite his curious looks at my front door, he knew better than to invite himself in. With a wave, he turned and crossed the road to the large building he and his siblings called home.

I never let anyone enter my house without at least half an hour’s notice. The metal guards on my walls would reveal my secret. And more than anything, my friendship with Florian was based on mutual subterfuge.

He didn’t tell me he was a vampire. And I didn’t tell him I already knew.

Free eBooks and eBook Deals for June 30th

The Honeymoon Prize by Melissa McClone
FREE

He needs a wife…
Single bodyguard Nick Calhoun has been given an ultimatum by his boss—find a wife or lose his cushy, high-paying job. Clients’ wives are hitting on him and putting Nick, and his boss, in hot water. But monogamy? He’s never been a white picket fence kind of guy, and he’s not about to embrace the happily married lifestyle now. He needs a wife who doesn’t care about his steamy, extra-curricular love life…and he knows just the woman to fit the bill.

She needs a home…
Adalaide Sinclair spent years caring for her ill grandmother. Upon Grammy’s death, she’s stunned to find herself evicted from the only home she’s ever known and labeled a thief by her inheritance-hungry family. Addie needs to find a place to live and a job—fast. So when her childhood friend, Nick, proposes a no-sex marriage of convenience, she puts her dreams of true love and happily-ever-after on hold. Finding Prince Charming can wait a little longer, right?

But will their friendship survive the honeymoon?
When Nick and Addie unexpectedly win a dream honeymoon, they decide to go their separate ways during the ten-day vacation. Too bad a camera crew is waiting for them at the tropical paradise. Acting like a head-over-heels bride and groom for reality TV wreaks havoc on their no-sex agreement…and blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Will Nick and Addie remain married in name only, or will a romantic honeymoon for show turn them into true newlyweds?


Witchwood Estate - Going Home by Patti Roberts
FREE

There is something very evil lurking in the woods surrounding Witchwood Estate... Witches, spells, ghosts, sprites, shape-shifters, wolves and more... For all those young at heart... Equal measure of both Magic and Evil.

Alexandria Santorini learns as a child that she comes from a long line of Harvey witches. Now, as a teenager, Alexandria must say goodbye to Catnip Cottage and the Barnabys, her loving guardians for the last twelve years, and go home to Ferntree Falls to claim her inheritance. Witchwood Estate. The home where she was born and her parents were murdered. Her journey home becomes somewhat sinister, however, when she discovers that there are those who have other plans for her and her new friends…

Grab your broomstick/dustbuster out of the closet and come along for the ride!



I Have a Secret by Cheryl Bradshaw
$0.99

No one knows the value of keeping a secret more than Doug Ward. But after washing the past twenty years down with a smooth glass of whisky, his steely resolve has started to crack. And he doesn't want to keep quiet. Not anymore.

When dried blood is found on the deck of the cruise ship where Doug was last seen, private investigator Sloane Monroe finesses her way into the surveillance room, sees Doug's bloody body heaved over the railing.

How many more will die before Sloane uncovers the biggest secret of all?

Fatal Choice (A Dana Mackenzie Mystery) by Dorothy Howell Excerpt

$4.99

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A Novella, the third book in the Dana Mackenzie Mystery Series:

Dana Mackenzie gladly helps out when best friend Jillian Brown calls at 3 a.m. after she wakes up alone and finds herself stranded at her date’s house. But when Dana arrives at the home of Brett Sinclair she discovers more than a distraught friend—there’s also a dead body in the kitchen.

Jillian becomes a suspect in the murder and Dana is determined to prove her innocence. Forced to turn to homicide detective Nick Travis for inside information, Dana realizes that his reluctance to commit to their relationship has reached the breaking point. She makes plans to leave Santa Flores for good.

But first she must find a killer. Her investigation uncovers disturbing information about the victim’s secret life and shady business deals. Dana knows she’s close to discovering the truth when she finds herself targeted by the murderer.

Will she catch the killer before it’s too late? Will she walk away and never see Nick again—and if she does, will it be another bad choice?


Chapter 1

When your phone rings at three in the morning, something’s wrong.
At that hour, it’s too late for your friends to call insisting you join their party or for an ex-boyfriend to drunk-dial you, and it’s too early for a family member with bad news to wake you or for a telemarketer who doesn’t understand time zones to try to sell you solar panels.
So when my cell phone rang a little after three on Monday morning—which still seemed like Sunday night to me—I didn’t even look at the caller ID screen. I just answered.
“Hello,” I said.
At least, I meant to say it. Even though I knew something must be wrong if I was getting a call at this hour, I was snuggled under the covers, warm in my bed, so the part of my brain that understood the situation hadn’t yet alerted the rest of my senses.
“Dana!”
I recognized my friend Jillian’s voice. She sounded outraged, angry, and panicked—but mostly outraged and angry. We’d been friends for many of my 27 years on this planet so I knew there was no reason to ask what was wrong. She’d tell me.
“You’re not going to believe what that jerk did!” she screamed.
I pushed myself up on my elbow and swept my hair off my face.
“He left me!” she yelled. “Left me! Just left me!”
Seven Eleven, my sweet little tabby and the only living thing I’d shared my bed with lately, roused and stretched.
“What a jerk! I can’t believe this!” Jillian shouted.
I sat up and Seven Eleven slunk over and curled up in my lap. I rubbed my eyes and yawned.
“Can you believe it?” Jillian demanded.
I was partially asleep but still lucid enough to recall that Jillian wasn’t involved in a relationship with a jerk, or anyone else for that matter, who would have just left her.
“You’re ahead of me,” I said. “What’s going on?”
Jillian huffed, annoyed now with me as well as whoever the jerk was and the situation she’d found herself in. I wasn’t offended.
“Brett,” Jillian told me. “You know, Brett. That totally hot guy we’ve been talking to for the last few weeks.”
A number of my brain cells awoke and presented me with the image of the tall, blonde, early-thirties, well dressed, handsome guy Jillian and I had chatted with—and she’d flirted with—at a wine bar we frequented. Brett Something.
My brain cells forged head and presented me with another, much less desirable image.
“He was there last night?” I asked.
We’d been at the wine bar with some friends and I’d gone home ahead of everyone else because I had to go to work the next morning—which was now this morning.
“You went home with him,” I realized. “Back to his place?”
“Yes! And what a jerk he turned out to be!” Jillian yelled. “I woke up a few minutes ago and he’s not here. He’s gone!”
“Maybe he’s in the bathroom,” I said.
“No,” she insisted. “His clothes are gone. His cell phone is gone. His keys are gone. I looked out the window and his car isn’t in the driveway. It’s gone, too.”
“Did he leave you a note? Text you?” I asked. “Anything?”
“Nothing,” she told me. “He left. That’s it.”
“He sneaked out of his own house and left you there alone?” I said. “Yeah, that’s a jerk thing to do.”
“I’ve got to get out of here,” Jillian told me.
She sounded less angry and outraged now, more panicky.
I don’t want to be here when he decides to show up,” she said. “I might seriously kill him if I see him again.”
“Understandable,” I agreed.
I left my car at the bar,” Jillian said. “You have to come and get me. Please, Dana, you have to.”
I eased Seven Eleven off of my lap and said, “What’s the address?”
“I don’t know,” Jillian wailed.
“You don’t know where you are?” I asked.
“He drove! I wasn’t paying attention—why would I? I never thought he’d run off and leave me stranded!”
“Okay, calm down,” I said, pushing off the covers and climbing out of bed. “Where are you, exactly?”
“Upstairs in the bedroom,” Jillian said.
“Look around. There must be a place where he keeps his mail. Find a utility bill or a credit card statement or something. It’ll have the address on it,” I said.
While Jillian searched the house I wedged my cell phone between my ear and shoulder and changed out of my pajamas into jeans, a sweater, and boots.
Jillian came back on the line. “I found it,” she said.
She read the address to me and I tapped it into my cell phone.
“I’ll be there soon,” I told her and ended the call.
I grabbed a hoodie from my hall closet and pulled it on, picked up my handbag and car keys off of my kitchen table, and left.
It was three in the morning, cold outside, I didn’t know the neighborhood I was heading to, and I had to be at work in a few hours.
Jillian was my friend. What else could I do?

***

Even here in sunny Southern California, January nights were chilly. I pulled my hood over my head as I left my apartment on the second floor, skipped down the stairs, and followed the walkway to the parking lot. The air was still and crisp. No one else was out. Two windows were lighted in the building next to mine.
I punched Brett’s address into Google Maps as I climbed into my Honda. The seats were cold. I backed out of the spot, drove through the complex, then turned left onto a side street and stopped at the traffic signal at State Street. Headlights pulled up behind me.
I blew into my hands until the light changed. The car on my rear bumper followed me through the turn. I wondered what had brought the driver out at this hour.
I headed east on State Street. It was one of the main arteries through Santa Flores. Signs and security lighting burned at the businesses on both sides of the street, but at this hour, everything was closed.
Santa Flores was located about half way between Los Angeles and Palm Springs. Like most places, there were upscale areas, scary neighborhoods, and everything in between. Thanks to a long run of economic downturns, Santa Flores was heavy on scary, light on everything in between, and short on upscale.
Still, it was the place I called home and had all my life. My mom and dad, and some other relatives, lived here. Only my older brother had flown the nest after he’d gotten married. He lived up north. Everyone was good with it except Mom who, just because she’s Mom, knew he planned to move back.
A little tremor of guilt and dread caused me to shiver at the thought.
Businesses along State Street became sparse as I continued east. So far I’d passed only a half dozen vehicles. Whoever had been behind me had dropped back.
Since I was fully awake now—thanks in no small part to the inevitable conversation I’d have to have with my mom, the mere thought of which made me queasy—I realized the address Jillian had given me was in Maywood, an area of upscale housing tracts situated to the east of Santa Flores on acreage where orange groves once thrived. I drove several miles more before the GPS instructed me to turn off of State Street, then directed me through several residential streets to Ingalls Avenue.
Brett’s neighborhood was nice. Large one- and two-story homes on slightly bigger-than-expected lots, with mature landscaping expertly trimmed and carefully tended. Not as grand as some of the areas in Maywood, but really nice—at least as much of it as I could see by streetlight.
When the GPS announced I was approaching my destination, I half expected to see Brett’s car parked in his driveway. Obviously, something had caused him to get out of bed with Jillian and leave her there alone, and he might have returned by now.
With that thought came the flash that he’d come back, smoothed things over, Jillian had forgiven him, and I’d made this trip for nothing. If so, I wouldn’t be mad at Jillian. Friends didn’t get mad at each other for something like that. Annoyed, yes, but not mad. Besides, I didn’t have much longer to come to her rescue on a moment’s notice.
I pulled up to the curb in front of the house and killed the engine. Mine was the only car there, so I figured Brett hadn’t returned, unless he’d parked inside the garage.
I got out of my Honda. No lights burned in the windows at Brett’s house. The surrounding homes were dark. The neighborhood was silent. Not even a dog barked when I shut my car door.
As I headed up the walkway to the front door, I hoped Jillian was waiting in the foyer, ready to leave. I had to be at work in a few hours and Mondays were tough, even on a full night’s sleep. Hopefully, I could drop her off and go back to bed.
I knocked, waited a minute or two, then rang the bell. The door jerked open. Jillian glared out at me.
I’m tall, blue eyed, and dark haired. Jillian was short, brown eyed, and now my complete polar opposite since she’d recently gone blonde.
“Can you believe this?” she demanded, as I stepped inside. She shut the door. “I can’t believe this.”
Faint light from somewhere in the rear of the house cast the entryway in a gray gloom, throwing shadows across a curio cabinet, a grandfather clock, and the tile floor.
“What a total jerk,” Jillian railed, and flung out both arms.
She had on the same short black skirt, red sweater, and three-inch pumps I’d seen her in last night when I’d left the wine bar. Her makeup was streaked and mascara smudges darkened her eyes. We both had a serious case of bedhead going, but thankfully mine was covered with my hood.
“Why would he do this?” she said. “Why would he get up and walk out?”
It occurred to me to suggest that Brett might have bolted to help a panicked friend who’d called in the middle of the night, but I didn’t think Jillian would appreciate the irony.
“Who just leaves?” Jillian demanded.
This situation gave every indication that it would be discussed at great length for many days to come. Jillian wasn’t going to get over it any time soon.
“Let’s get out of here,” I said. “Where’s your handbag?”
“Oh my God, I don’t know,” she moaned, looking around the entryway. “When we got here last night I was kind of, you know, sort of ….”
Drunk,” I said, which explained why she’d left her car at the wine bar.
Jillian drew herself up. “Seriously, I’ve got to get out of this house. If he comes back, I’ll kill him.”
I gestured to the staircase leading to the second floor. “Did you leave it up there?”
“No, no, I made sure I got everything,” she said, then squeezed her eyes closed for a few seconds. “Maybe I left it in the kitchen. We had some wine when we got here.”
Jillian headed off to the right and I followed her through the dining room, which was lit by a tiny night light. Crystal and china sparkled in a hutch situated next to a long table. She pushed open a swinging door to the kitchen and, a few seconds later, harsh light flooded out.
Thank God. There it is.” Jillian disappeared from view.
“Grab it and let’s go,” I said, and headed back toward the foyer.
Jillian screamed. I whipped around, bumped into the china hutch, then rushed into the kitchen.
She stood in the center of the room, her eyes wide with terror, fists clenched, screaming.
At her feet was a woman. Blood pooled around her head.
I knew right away she was dead.

Journey's Luck by Patricia Green

$15.95 - Paperback

Amazon

Liv Aune, large-size model, loves food and she hates food. She struggles with her new career in the large-size category, whereas once she was a size 0 runway model. When she meets Trey Journey, sparks fly, but can they overcome a threat to her career as an incriminating photo of Liv and Trey looks like it'll make the news? Ace Journey volunteers to spank the naughty girl who was behind the damaging photo of Liv and Trey, and from the first spank something new and different forms between this older man and younger woman. Is the age difference going to be too much for them to handle?





Professional Patient: A Memoir of Bipolar Disorder

$10.99

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As a psychologist and an individual with mental health problems, Leesa Abbott knows the difficulties and challenges patients with mental illness have first-hand. During her career, she has worked in prisons, schools, private mental health clinics, and universities. As a patient, she’s been on medications, therapy couches, and in mental health wards.

Using life-events to show her decline into mental illness, Professional Patient: A Memoir of Bipolar Disorder illuminates an all-too-common tragedy - a denial of mental health issues and avoidance of help from outsiders.

Significant traumas, anorexia, substance abuse, anxiety attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and bipolar disorder are revealed in this memoir, which uncovers her lifelong struggle to survive on both sides of mental illness. This memoir offers an intriguing look at the secrecy, shame, and every emotion in between that she has felt as she deals with her own mental illness while treating others at the same time.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Protecting the Desert Heir by Caitlin Crews Excerpt

$3.99

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Pregnant, alone and on the run! 

Sterling McRae knows that powerful sheikh Rihad al Bakri wants to claim the unborn heir to his desert kingdom. Her baby belongs to his brother, her best friend, and was conceived to protect him. But now that he’s gone, there is no one to protect Sterling and her child from the duty-bound fate that awaits them.

When Rihad finds Sterling he wastes no time in stealing her away to the desert. But his iron control is soon shattered by this bold, beautiful woman and replaced by infuriating, inescapable desire. To secure his country’s future, Rihad must claim Sterling, too…



Excerpt:



The last time she’d run for her life, Sterling McRae had been a half-wild teenager with more guts than sense. Today it was more a waddle for her life than anything approaching a run—thanks to the baby she carried and had to protect no matter what, now that Omar was dead—but the principle remained the same.

Get out. Get away. Go somewhere you can never be found.

At least this time, twelve years older and lifetimes wiser than that fifteen-year-old who’d run away from her foster home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, she didn’t have to depend on the local Greyhound bus station to make her getaway. This time, she had limitless credit cards and a very nice SUV at her disposal, complete with a driver who would take her wherever she asked to go.

All of which she’d have to ditch once she got out of Manhattan, of course, but at least she’d start her second reinvention of herself with a little more style.

Thank you, Omar, Sterling thought then. The heels she refused to stop wearing even this late into her pregnancy clicked against the lobby floor of the apartment building where she and Omar had shared his penthouse ever since they’d met while he’d been a graduate student. A wave of grief threatened to take her feet right out from under her, but Sterling fought it back with grim determination and clenched her teeth tightly as she kept on walking.

There was no time left for grief or anything else. She’d seen the morning news. Rihad al Bakri, Omar’s fearsome older brother and now the ruler of the tiny little port country on the Persian Gulf that Omar had escaped at eighteen, had arrived in New York City.

Sterling had no doubt whatsoever that he would be coming for her.

There was every chance she was already being watched, she cautioned herself as she hurried from the elevator bank—that the sheikh had sent some kind of advance team to come for her even though the news had broadcast his arrival barely a half hour ago. That unpleasant if realistic thought forced her to slow down, despite the hammering of her heart, so she appeared nothing but calm. It forced her to smile as she moved through the lobby, the way she might have on any other day. There would be no honoring Omar if she let herself—and more importantly, her baby—fall into the clutches of the very people he’d worked so hard to escape. And she knew a little bit about the way predators reacted when they saw prey act like prey.

The more fearful you acted, the harder they attacked. Sterling knew that firsthand.

So instead, she walked. She sauntered.

Sterling walked like the model she’d been before she’d taken her position at Omar’s side all those years ago. Like the notorious, effortlessly sensual mistress of the international playboy Omar had been in the eyes of the world. She strolled out into the New York City morning and didn’t look around to savor the great sprawl of the city she’d always loved so much and so fiercely. There was no time for goodbyes. Not if she wanted to keep her baby—Omar’s baby—safe.

And she might have lost Omar, but God help her, she would not lose this baby, too.

Sterling was glad the summer morning was bright and warm, giving her an excuse to hide her thick grief and her buzzing anxiety and the too-hot tears she refused to let fall behind a pair of oversized sunglasses. Even so, she blinked when the doorman waved her out onto the bustling sidewalk a few blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art with his usual polite greeting. And it took her longer than it should have to realize that while that was indeed Omar’s gleaming black SUV pulled up to the curb on the busy Upper East Side street, that was not Omar’s regular driver standing beside it.

This man lounged against the side of the vehicle looking for all the world as if it was some kind of throne and he its rightful king. His attention was on the cell phone in his hand, and something about the way he scrolled down his screen struck Sterling as insolent. Or maybe it was the way he shifted and then looked up, his powerfully disapproving dark gaze slamming into hers with the force of a blow.

Sterling had to stop walking or fall over—and this time, grief had nothing to do with it.
Because that look felt like a touch, intimate and lush. And despite all the work Sterling had put into her image as a woman who wallowed neck-deep in the pleasures of the flesh, the truth was she did not like to be touched. Ever.

Not even like this, when she knew it wasn’t real.

It felt real.

This driver was too much. Too tall, too solid. Too damned real himself. He was dressed in a dark suit, which only served to make his lean, intensely dangerous body seem lethal. He had thick black hair, cut short as if to hide its natural curl, rich brown skin and the most sensual mouth Sterling had ever seen on a man in her life, for all that it was set in a grim line. He was astonishingly, noticeably, almost shockingly beautiful, something that should have been at odds with that knife-edged form of his. Instead, it was as if he was a steel-tempered blade with a stunningly bejeweled hilt.

He was either the last person she should want driving her to freedom, or the first, and Sterling didn’t have time to decide which. She didn’t have any time at all. She could feel her phone buzzing insistently from the pocket where she’d stashed it, and she knew what that meant.

Rihad al Bakri. The king himself, since his and Omar’s father had died a few years back. He was finally here, in Manhattan, as she’d feared. Both Omar’s friends and hers were texting her warnings, calling to make sure she was aware of the impending threat. Because no matter what else happened, no matter what might become of Sterling now without the man who had been everything to her, Omar’s older brother could not know about this baby.

It was why she’d taken such pains to hide the fact that she was pregnant all these months. Until today, when it didn’t matter any longer, because she was running away from this life. She’d do what she’d done the last time. A far-off city. Hair dye and/or a dramatically different cut. A new name and a new wardrobe to go along with it. It wasn’t hard to pick a new life, she knew—it was only hard to stick to it once you’d chosen it, because ghosts were powerful and seductive, especially when you were lonely.

But she’d done it before, when she’d had much less. She had even more reason to do it now.
All of this meant that Sterling certainly didn’t have time to ogle the damned driver, or wonder what it said about her that the first man she’d noticed in years seemed to have taken an instant dislike to her, if the strange driver’s expression was any guide. It said nothing particularly good about her, she thought. Then again, maybe it was just her grief talking.

“Where is Muhammed?” she asked crisply, forcing herself to start forward again across the sidewalk.
The new driver only stared at her and as she drew closer she found herself feeling something like sideswiped by the bold, regal line of his nose and the fact that those dark eyes of his were far more arresting up close, where they gleamed a dark gold in the bright morning light. She was breathless and fluttery and she couldn’t make any sense of it, nor understand why he should look something like affronted. Her phone kept vibrating, her breath was ragged and she was this close to bursting into tears right there on the street, so she ignored the odd beauty of this strangely quiet and watchful man and wrenched open the door to the SUV herself.

“I don’t actually care where he is,” she threw at him, answering her own question as her panic started to bang inside her like a drum. “Let’s go. I’m sorry, but I’m in a terrible hurry.”

He leaned there against the driver’s window, his expression startled and thoughtful all at once, and he only studied her in a leisurely sort of way as Sterling opened up the passenger door and slung her oversized shoulder bag inside. And she had never been much of a diva, no matter how much money Omar had given her to throw around. But today was a terrible day after a week of far worse, ever since she’d gotten that call in the middle of the night from the French police to tell her that Omar was dead after a terrible car crash outside Paris. And she had none of the social graces she’d worked so hard to learn left inside of her after that. Not even a polite word.

Not for a man like this one, who stared at her as if he would decide when and where they went, not her. Something snapped inside of her and she let it—hell, she welcomed it. A surly driver was a far better target than herself or Omar’s terrifying brother, who, Sterling was well aware, could show up at any moment and destroy everything.

As far as she’d ever been able to tell from reading between the lines of Omar’s staunchly loyal stories, that was pretty much all the sheikh did.

“How did you get this job?” she demanded, focusing her temper and her fear on the stranger before her. “Because I don’t think you’re any good at it. You do realize you’re supposed to open the door for your passengers, don’t you?”

“Yes, of course,” he said then, and Sterling was so startled by that rich, low, deeply sardonic voice that she curled a hand around her big, low belly protectively even as her throat went alarmingly and suddenly dry. “My mistake. It is, of course, my single goal in life to serve American women such as yourself. My goal and my dream in one.”

Sterling blinked. Had he said that in another way, she might have ignored it. But the way he looked at her. As if he was powerful and hungry and ferocious and was only barely concealing those things beneath his civilized veneer. It arrowed into her, dark and stirring.

It reminded her, for the first time in a very long while, or maybe ever, that she was a woman. Not merely mother to her best friend’s child, but entirely female from the top of her head where that look of his made her feel prickly all the way down to her toes, which were curling up in her shoes where she stood on the curb.

And entirely too many places in between.

The baby chose that moment to kick her, hard, and Sterling told herself that was why she couldn’t breathe. That was why her entire body felt taut and achy and very much like someone else’s.
“Then yours must be a life of intense disappointment,” she told him when she could breathe again, or anyway, fake it. “As you fall so far short.”

“My apologies,” the driver replied at once, his voice smooth, but that hard undercurrent in it that made Sterling’s head feel light. “I forget myself, clearly.”

He straightened then and that didn’t make it any better. He was tall and broad at once, a sweep of black that took over the entire world, and she wouldn’t have been at all surprised if he’d snatched her up, belly and all, in one powerful fist—

But he didn’t. Of course he didn’t. He reached over and wrapped his hand over the top of the door instead, then inclined his head toward the SUV’s interior as if it was his car and he was the one doing her a great favor.

Impossible images chased through her head then, each more inappropriate and embarrassing and naked than the last. What was wrong with her? Sterling didn’t have thoughts like that, so yearning and wild. So…unclothed. She didn’t like to be touched at all, much less…that.

“Well,” she said stiffly after a tense, electric moment she could feel everywhere, even if she couldn’t understand it. She felt weak and singed straight through and she couldn’t seem to look away from him when she knew that he was causing this. That it was him. “Try not to do it again.”

His dark gold eyes got more intense, somehow, and that stunning mouth of his shifted into something that could only be described as mocking. She ordered herself not to shiver in response, but she felt it wash over her anyway, as if she had.

“But we really do have to get moving.” She made her voice softer then. Placating, the way she’d learned to do with all kinds of men—all kinds of people, come to think of it—over the years. She’d made it her art, and no matter that her life with Omar had tempted her to believe she wouldn’t have to live like that any longer. That she could turn it on or off for fun, as she wished. There’s no such thing as a happy ending, she reminded herself harshly. Not for you. “I have a long way to go and I’m already behind schedule.”

“By all means, then,” he said invitingly, the way a wolf might have done, with the suggestion of claws and the hint of fangs yet nothing but that sardonic smile on his shockingly sensual, infinitely dangerous mouth. “Get in. I would hate to inconvenience you in any way.”

Then he reached out and took her hand, ostensibly to help her into the SUV.

And it was like fireworks.

It was pure insanity.

Sensation galloped through her, shooting up from that shocking point of contact like wildfire, enveloping her. Changing her. Making the city disappear. Making her whole history fall out of her own head as if it had never happened. Making her body feel tight and restless and dangerously loose at once. Making her wonder, yearn, long

She wanted to jerk her hand away from his, the way she always did when someone touched her without her permission, but she didn’t. Because for the first time in as long as she could remember, Sterling wanted to keep touching him more than she wanted to stop.

That astounding truth pounded through her like adrenaline, a sleek and dizzying drum.

“I cannot serve you if you do not enter the vehicle,” the driver said after a moment, his gaze narrowing in on hers in a way that made her breath go shallow. And his voice seemed to stoke the fires that raged in her, as if the way his hand wrapped around hers was a sexual act. A whole lot of sexual acts. “And that would be a tragedy, would it not?”

Sterling couldn’t breathe. She couldn’t breathe—and she was terribly afraid that the edgy feeling swamping her just then wasn’t panic at all. She knew panic. This was deeper. Richer.

Life-altering, she thought in a kind of awe.

But the only thing she could let herself think about right now was her baby, so she shoved all the confusing sensations away as best she could—and tried to get into the car and get away from him before her legs simply gave out beneath her.

Or before she did something she’d truly regret, like moving closer to this strange man instead of away.


June 2015 guest post from V.R. Marks

How did the RC Investigations team wind up in a small, Southern town?

Why, with all the beauty that is Maine at my fingertips, did I create Haleswood for The Thief and ensuing RC Investigations novels, basing my small, fictitious town on the real charm of Hartsville, South Carolina?

It started with a road trip to visit family in the Florence area. That turned into a tour of a nearby boarding school for high school juniors and seniors where a friend’s nephew was in attendance.

You can’t get from point A to point B in that part of South Carolina without passing stands of tall loblolly pines, wide lakes, and acres and acres of cotton. But when you reach the gem that is Hartsville, you discover it was worth every minute.

Hartsville is real. Some might call it quaint or a throwback to an earlier era. The pace is calm, but not exactly slow. During my visit, there was a great deal of talk about a recent crime that had shocked everyone. It was obvious how residents (both permanent and students) rallied to support one another as the investigation carefully unraveled the truth.

There is a community pride and deep-seated integrity in Hartsville that became the core inspiration for the setting of The Thief. Both my lead characters (as well as the supporting cast) know first-hand the pros and cons of small town life.

Exploring new settings is a big perk of being an author and Hartsville was an unexpected treat along the writing journey for the RC Investigations novels. It’s always great to hear when readers enjoy taking that journey with the characters.

You can find a full list of my books, collections, and short stories at my Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/V.R.-Marks/e/B009KLZKEG

Free eBooks for June 27th

Death in Bagheria bySusan Russo Anderson
(Regularly $3.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers)

A gripping tale of murder and deceit. A baroness poisoned . . . A family masking dark secrets . . . and one woman determined to uncover the truth.

Sicily, March 1870. When a headstrong aristocrat commissions Serafina to find her mother's poisoner, the midwife turned sleuth travels to a windswept villa on Sicily's gold coast where she begins her investigation of the baroness's death. There, she meets with the irascible baron and his huge staff of servants. Adding to her peril are the ruthless attempts to foil her success by her arch enemy, Don Tigro, the local mafia capo.

Yet Serafina is unflagging in her determination to unmask the killer, despite mortal danger, the pleas of her children for her speedy return, and a longing to resume her broiling new romance with Loffredo, the count of Oltramari. With the help of her friend, Rosa, two daring servants, and an unexpected visitor, she uncovers entanglements that portend dire misfortune for the baroness's heirs. Will Serafina catch the killer before his henchman throws her to her death?



The Honeymoon Prize by Melissa McClone
(Regularly $2.99)

He needs a wife…
Single bodyguard Nick Calhoun has been given an ultimatum by his boss—find a wife or lose his cushy, high-paying job. Clients’ wives are hitting on him and putting Nick, and his boss, in hot water. But monogamy? He’s never been a white picket fence kind of guy, and he’s not about to embrace the happily married lifestyle now. He needs a wife who doesn’t care about his steamy, extra-curricular love life…and he knows just the woman to fit the bill. 


She needs a home…
Adalaide Sinclair spent years caring for her ill grandmother. Upon Grammy’s death, she’s stunned to find herself evicted from the only home she’s ever known and labeled a thief by her inheritance-hungry family. Addie needs to find a place to live and a job—fast. So when her childhood friend, Nick, proposes a no-sex marriage of convenience, she puts her dreams of true love and happily-ever-after on hold. Finding Prince Charming can wait a little longer, right? 


But will their friendship survive the honeymoon?
When Nick and Addie unexpectedly win a dream honeymoon, they decide to go their separate ways during the ten-day vacation. Too bad a camera crew is waiting for them at the tropical paradise. Acting like a head-over-heels bride and groom for reality TV wreaks havoc on their no-sex agreement…and blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Will Nick and Addie remain married in name only, or will a romantic honeymoon for show turn them into true newlyweds? 

 

Whiskey's Gone by Susan Russo Anderson
(Regularly $3.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers)

Private investigator Fina Fitzgibbons gets a call from Trisha Liam, a Brooklyn Heights lawyer asking her to find Whiskey Parnell, Trisha's office manager. 
 
During the hunt, Fina steps on the toes of Detective First Grade Jane Templeton and resists falling in love with her boyfriend, NYPD Patrol Officer Denny McDuffy. She meets the missing woman's precocious eight-year-old daughter, interviews named partners, artists and painters. Fina's quest for the missing single mom takes Fina and her friends to Dumbo, Carroll Gardens, Coney Island, and Brighton Beach. But in the end, a vicious surprise awaits her as the final piece of the puzzle comes crashing down.

Enter to win an audio book version of Too Quite in Brooklyn by Susan Russo Anderson! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

eBook Deals for June 26th

The Right Choice by Carly Phillips
$0.99

Will she make the right choice …

Advice columnist Carly Wexler has mapped out her entire life, and she’s convinced by marrying her best friend, she’ll be able to map out her path to happiness as well. No sexual sparks? No problem. Or so she thinks…until her fiance’s brother arrives for the wedding. Mike Novak ignites a desire inside Carly unlike anything she’s ever experienced, shaking up everything she’s ever believed in. When Mike becomes determined to stop her mismatched wedding to his brother, will Carly be able to accept that her unexpected love for Mike might be the right choice for her after all? 





Call Down the Moon by Mary Gillgannon
$0.99

In the ninth-century, Irish warrior Connar fell hopelessly in love with Aisling, one of the Nine Sisters, a group of priestesses skilled in healing. When Aisling came to a tragic end, he used magic to travel to the future to reunite with her.

His beloved Aisling is now Allison Hunter, a free-lance writer in Denver. Although Allison doesn’t remember her past life, she is instantly attracted to Connar when she interviews him for an article. But someone has followed Connar from the past, and they are determined to keep Allison and Connar apart.

As Allison begins to have visions of a violent and terrifying confrontation, she struggles to separate the past from the present and trust in a love that transcends even death. 


Curious by R.G. Alexander
$2.99

Are you Curious?

Jeremy Porter is. Though the bisexual comic book artist has known Owen Finn for most of his life—long enough to know that he is terminally straight—he can’t help but imagine what things would be like if he weren’t.

Owen is far from vanilla—as a dominant in the local fetish community, he sees as much action as Jeremy does. Lately even more.

Since Jeremy isn’t into collars and Owen isn’t into men, it seems like his fantasies will remain just that forever…until one night when Owen gets curious.

Warning: Contains explicit m/m nookie. A lot of it. Very detailed. Two men getting kinky, talking dirty and doing the horizontal mambo. Are you reading this? Do you see them on the cover? Guy parts will touch. You have been warned.



Free eBooks for June 26th

Whiskey's Gone by Susan Russo Anderson
(Regularly $3.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers)

Private investigator Fina Fitzgibbons gets a call from Trisha Liam, a Brooklyn Heights lawyer asking her to find Whiskey Parnell, Trisha's office manager. During the hunt, Fina steps on the toes of Detective First Grade Jane Templeton and resists falling in love with her boyfriend, NYPD Patrol Officer Denny McDuffy. She meets the missing woman's precocious eight-year-old daughter, interviews named partners, artists and painters. Fina's quest for the missing single mom takes Fina and her friends to Dumbo, Carroll Gardens, Coney Island, and Brighton Beach. But in the end, a vicious surprise awaits her as the final piece of the puzzle comes crashing down.

Enter to win an audio book version of Too Quite in Brooklyn by Susan Russo Anderson! 



Paradox: The Angels Are Here by Patti Roberts


Two mysterious strangers arrive just in time to help Grace Connors as she struggles to cope with the death of her father. But are the intentions of these strangers as innocent as they first seem, or is something far more sinister on their agenda?

Meanwhile, in a faraway realm, a race of fallen Angels clash with a ruling house of Angels. Their battle changes events in the Ancient World and the New World forever. A realm where a year can last centuries and an ancient, magical people still rule... A realm where even the immortals face danger.

A story that will indeed leave you asking... Who, When, Where? WHAT!

My name is Juliette. Nine hundred years ago, I died. Today, I am alive... This is my story.



Death in Bagheria bySusan Russo Anderson
(Regularly $3.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers)

A gripping tale of murder and deceit. A baroness poisoned . . . A family masking dark secrets . . . and one woman determined to uncover the truth.

Sicily, March 1870. When a headstrong aristocrat commissions Serafina to find her mother's poisoner, the midwife turned sleuth travels to a windswept villa on Sicily's gold coast where she begins her investigation of the baroness's death. There, she meets with the irascible baron and his huge staff of servants. Adding to her peril are the ruthless attempts to foil her success by her arch enemy, Don Tigro, the local mafia capo.

Yet Serafina is unflagging in her determination to unmask the killer, despite mortal danger, the pleas of her children for her speedy return, and a longing to resume her broiling new romance with Loffredo, the count of Oltramari. With the help of her friend, Rosa, two daring servants, and an unexpected visitor, she uncovers entanglements that portend dire misfortune for the baroness's heirs. Will Serafina catch the killer before his henchman throws her to her death?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Element 63: The TaP Team by L.j. Charles Excerpt

$4.99

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo

Let the countdown begin…

Everly Gray and Tynan Pierce, her sexy, secretive husband, take on projects no one else wants to deal with. Known as the TaP Team (Touch and Persuade), they combine the best in extrasensory perception and tactical ability.

And then they accept the Lecoq contract.

It should have been a slam-dunk. A straightforward assignment to expose the truth behind a manufacturing company’s government contract, and it offered a perfect opportunity for Everly to practice her undercover skills.

Embarking on a joint career is a dream come true for Pierce and Everly—until the nightmare edges in, they discover the contract is a fake, and death hovers, waiting in every corner.




Chapter 1
 
 
WE’D TALKED ABOUT it. Discussed everything, or so I thought. But Tynan Ailill Pierce never failed to surprise me. Our original plan was to fly into North Dakota, switch from Pierce’s jet to a small plane, and land “below the radar” in a quiet area of the Badlands at oh-three-thirty. The early arrival should go unnoticed, and give us plenty of time to hike into Medora, and then pick up a rental car.  
Pierce had yet to explain why we weren’t simply driving into town like normal undercover tourists, but my mate’s enigmatic personality became especially dominant when he was teaching me the spy business. I discovered asking a lot of questions was good, and he usually considered each one carefully before answering. But when he didn’t answer, it meant I was in for an intense learning experience.
With three successful missions behind me, I was cruising into this one with confidence befitting the TaP Team: Touch and Persuade. I did the touching; Pierce did the persuading.
I, Everly Gray, loved Tynan and trusted him with my life, had even made my commitment official with our handfasting ceremony. I considered Tynan a blessing…until about twenty minutes into the flight, when he strapped me into a tandem harness, and began the rundown on what was going to happen. “We’ll hit the drop zone—”
I wiggled free of the straps. “No way in hell am I hitting any drop zone. This wasn’t part of our plan.” I refrained from punching him in the jaw.
He sighed, and I could tell he was fighting for patience. “This is a critical skill.”
Damn, but I hated when he made solid points that shoved me into the stratosphere of panic. I nodded with a slight dip of my chin to prove I’d heard him, but definitely didn’t agree with him. “Later would be good. We could easily drive into Medora and still keep our cover intact.”
He fastened the harness on me again. “Airborne skills need to be perfected before you need them.”
Another one of those damn truisms I couldn’t argue with. I tried to shift out of the harness. No go. “Right. I get that. But—”
“You need the experience, Hot Shot. If I’d warned you, we’d still be in negotiations. Bottom line:  you should have been jumping for weeks. Be easier to drive in, but this location is perfect for your first jump. Safe. Nobody shooting at us, and I need you on this op.”
 

The Writer’s Survival Guide by Regan Black and Kimberly Hope

$2.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers


Whether you're working on your first book or your thirty-first, The Writer's Survival Guide is here to help. With more than three decades of combined experience in writing through freelancing, traditional publication, and self-publishing we'll share tips, advice, and strategies for
-Creating your ideal writing space 

-Finding your most productive writing time
-Keeping the words flowing
-Combatting the saggy middle stage
-Fuel for powering to the finish line
-And much, much more to help you survive the incredible adventure that is life as a writer!


The Writer’s Survival Guide is a product of yet another brainstorming session, this one with my good friend and fellow author, Kimberly Hope. Put any two authors together and you can be sure the conversation will turn to books and eventually to the business of writing.
Having been through several ups and downs both in our writing processes and published careers, we wanted to create a guide to ease other writers - aspiring and published alike - along the often rocky path of a writing career.
Is your writing process efficient? How do you make time and space to write? What happens when the middle is just too saggy? Is there such a thing as grace when the deadline is looming? As others guided us, we used this book to offer up solutions, guidance, and flat-out reassurance to these questions and many more.
We know the benefits of having friends and mentors on this naturally solitary journey and either one of us (or both of us) have tripped over every speed bump and pitfall you can imagine. The Writer’s Survival Guide is full of tips and advice, as well as plenty of wisdom gained from our experiences.

You can pick up your copy of The Writer’s Survival Guide today and keep it handy when you need it most!

Live the adventure!
Regan

Enjoy Romantic suspense on the French Riviera

Enjoy Romantic suspense
on the French Riviera
 



BUY NOW to secure your copy. Return of the French Blue is priced at $2.99. To purchase, click on the link below or the cover, above.





It’s summertime and reading is easy.
Set up your chaise lounge, pour yourself a lemonade, and let REturn of the French Blue transport you to the Riviera.
immerse yourself in a suspense-packed novel that takes you to paris, nice, and Cap Ferrat.
you’ll meet spies, lovers, and a rogue assassin—With a Blue diamond necklace at the heart of every plot twist.
enjoy catalina Syrah & Nicholas Bonhomme in the first novel in a series.





Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Midsummer Murders by Melanie Jackson

$2.99

Amazon

The Secret:
 One can never predict what will happen in the Gulch so no one is surprised when an injured caver washes up in town needing help from the Bones. But Caver Jim seems to be a man of secrets and Butterscotch fears that he hasn’t just gone hunting for some forgotten stalagmites but might actually be there to hunt dinosaur bones. Taking Ricky and Max with her, she goes exploring on Potter’s Ridge and discovers something more f amazing—and dangerous—than fossils of a T-Rex.

Mayhew in Scotland:
Kenneth Mayhew has returned to the soggy, ancestral acres of England to visit kith and kin. But a little bit of extended family goes a long way and Kenneth and Bentley soon escape the auld lang syne by heading north to Scotland. But things are not peaceful over the border and Cill Fhinnein House where they are staying seems to be living under the pall of witches curse and the ghost of her demon dog. Kenneth knows he must lend a hand to help his beleaguered chum.

 Death in Taigh Mhor:
 Marry in haste and repent in leisure, or so the old saying goes. Jane is not unhappy in her own marriage but a friend from college, a young heiress, had stumbled into a dark relationship which could end up costing her life. Jane is summoned to Taigh Mhor by a desperate letter talking of malicious spirits and strange accidents. She arrives to find that the unpleasant situation has come to a sinister pass. All her wits will be needed to save her friend from the local evil that wants to see her dead.

 Mural from the Dead:
 Sometimes history, though interred with all honors, refuses to stay buried. Or, in this case, plastered and white washed. The earthquake which had dropped a crypt on Miss Henry in San Francisco had done damage elsewhere in the state, and Juliet and Raphael James are headed for Monterey to see the mural exposed by the damages plaster in a famous old adobe house which was the scene of one of California’s earliest and strangest robbery-murders.

Free eBooks for June 24th

The Inner Circle by Carmen Caine
(Regularly $1.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers)

- A love is born that cannot be denied ...
- The Brotherhood of the Snake just might be winning ...
- A Decision of Fate is made ...

As Sydney navigates through the supernatural dangers surrounding her, she seizes control of her destiny and begins to fight back. And as she spies on the Inner Circle and the Brotherhood of the Snake, she discovers the power of human thought.

And finds out she can no longer deny the love that she feels.

But then both Rafael and Jareth's secrets are revealed and a Blue-Threaded decision of fate is made. But is it the right one?



Witchwood Estate - Going Home by Patti Roberts

There is something very evil lurking in the woods surrounding Witchwood Estate... Witches, spells, ghosts, sprites, shape-shifters, wolves and more... For all those young at heart... Equal measure of both Magic and Evil.

Alexandria Santorini learns as a child that she comes from a long line of Harvey witches. Now, as a teenager, Alexandria must say goodbye to Catnip Cottage and the Barnabys, her loving guardians for the last twelve years, and go home to Ferntree Falls to claim her inheritance. Witchwood Estate. The home where she was born and her parents were murdered. Her journey home becomes somewhat sinister, however, when she discovers that there are those who have other plans for her and her new friends…

Grab your broomstick/dustbuster out of the closet and come along for the ride!
 


Tempt Me, Cowboy by Megan Crane
(Regularly $2.99)

Too much temptation…

Chelsea Collier wants nothing more than to save the old depot built by her railway baron ancestor and turn it into a museum—until it’s sold out from under her!

Jasper Flint made himself filthy rich in the Texas oil business by the age of 35. Now he wants a quieter life and building a microbrewery in Marietta, Montana is the perfect project.

Neither one of them knows what to do with the passion that explodes between them! But Chelsea knows a man like Jasper will never stay in one place for too long. Can he convince her that this time, he means to stay?



The Bedeviled Heart by Carmen Caine
(Regularly $3.99 or FREE for Kindle Unlimited Subscribers)

Scotland, 1479 - Cameron Malcolm Stewart, Earl of Lennox, had made his peace with destiny. It was not his fate to love as other men.

Wed and widowed seven times, he had come to believe that sharing his name alone would consign a woman to an early grave. So, on the sunny spring day Cameron encounters a delightfully devious, bright-eyed lass selling charmed stones in one of Stirling's alehouses, he tosses her a shilling, thinking only to steal a kiss. But it is a kiss that will change his life forever.

To care for her ailing father, the precocious Kate Ferguson has resorted to swindling the drunkards of Stirling. But a chance meeting with a handsome and seductively mysterious outlaw named Cameron ends with a kiss that changes the course of her destiny. But as dark times descend upon Scotland, Kate is inadvertently caught in a deadly web of court intrigue spun by the royal favorite, Thomas Cochrane. And as King James III falls prey to his fear of the Black Arts, accusations of witchcraft and treachery abound.

The fate of Scotland itself hangs in the balance, and while Cameron vows to defy destiny itself to hold Kate forever in his arms, he must unravel the plots of nobles and commoners alike to protect the country that he loves.
 

The Bedeviled Heart by Carmen Caine - FREEBIE

Amazon

FREE

"The Bedeviled Heart" is the ROMANCE SILVER MEDAL WINNER of the Independent Publisher Book Awards!

Scotland, 1479

Cameron Malcolm Stewart, Earl of Lennox, had made his peace with destiny. It was not his fate to love as other men.

Each of his politically arranged marriages had ended in disaster. And though he had never touched a one of his wives, he had come to believe that sharing his name would consign a woman to an early grave. So, on the sunny spring day Cameron encounters a delightfully devious, bright-eyed lass selling charmed stones in one of Stirling's alehouses, he tosses her a shilling, thinking only to steal a kiss. But it is a kiss that will change his life forever.

To care for her ailing father, the precocious Kate Ferguson has resorted to swindling the drunkards of Stirling. But a chance meeting with a handsome and seductively mysterious outlaw named Cameron ends with a kiss that changes the course of her destiny.

But as dark times descend upon Scotland, Kate is inadvertently caught in a deadly web of court intrigue spun by the royal favorite, Thomas Cochrane. And as King James III falls prey to his fear of the Black Arts, accusations of witchcraft and treachery abound. The fate of Scotland hangs in the balance, and while Cameron vows to defy destiny itself to hold Kate forever in his arms, he must unravel the plots of nobles and commoners alike to protect the country that he loves.

(Approximately 91,850 words - about 425 pages of an 8 X 5 paperback size)

While each of these books is a standalone story, "The Bedeviled Heart" begins the tale of King James III of Scotland which is continued in "The Daring Heart" and finally ends with "The Bold Heart".
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