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The Saxon Bride – the first book in the Norman Conquest Series

I’ve been looking back over my cast of characters for the Norman Conquest Series. I’ve loved writing about every single one of them including Sean and Thomasina from my upcoming release, The Irish Warrior. I hope you’ve enjoyed their stories.

I want to share an excerpt today from book one – The Saxon Bride. Rowena is the Saxon. John is the Norman. They’ve been forced together by King William whom John admires and Rowena despises. Enjoy:

To the victor go the spoils...

To the victor go the spoils…

“You have grown into a beautiful woman.” His finger traced her cheek as he spoke quietly, her high color receding. With his lips close to her ear, he whispered, “I find you much to my liking.” He put his lips against her cheek, and his hand slid up the gown she still gripped.

She released the garment.

His body responded with anticipation. With the tip of his tongue, he traced her luscious red lips. So sweet. Her breath fell soft against his mouth. He opened his eyes slightly and was surprised to find her watching him. “Let me love you now, Rowena.”

“How do I know you speak the truth? How do I know you do not often sneak into women’s chambers?”

“Because I am here, not somewhere else. My desire is for you and you alone.” He spoke the truth but could not prove it was so.

“Not so on our wedding night.”

“I was Norman scum to you.” Her jaw dropped, clearly mortified at the reminder of her own words, true though they were. “I thought you might kill me in my sleep.”

“I had just been told that I would be shared by your men.”

John pulled back, distressed at the obvious lie. “Who told you such a thing?”

The only reason for the lie would have been to frighten her. It had worked.

“The guard who brought me into the church, John.”

It was the first time she’d said his name, and it brought him pleasure to hear it from her lips.

“I beg your forgiveness.” She stared blankly back at him as he spoke. “I had no idea you were being so cruelly treated. It was not our intent.”

“Your intent was only to force my marrying you so that you could leave me here to rot away of old age?”

That hadn’t been his intent but rather his reaction to her crazed behavior. Her point was well taken. If he had known of her mistreatment, things would have progressed quite differently.

“Clearly we have both wronged you— William in his choice of husband for you and myself in abandoning you.”

He wanted to take her and show her how repentant he really was, but her eyes flashed a warning. He had missed his golden opportunity. She was now wiser and it would be an uphill battle for him to gain her acquiescence again.

“I believe William knew what he wanted when he forced this marriage upon us. You on the other hand, I have no sympathy for.”

In all her bare splendor she stood beside him.

His breath caught in his throat. She was perfection in every sense, and he was a very blessed man. His hand itched to pull her back to him, but she continued behind the wooden screen.

“You may leave now and please send Joan to me,”she said.

Duly chastised, he grinned at her commanding tone. The screen, however, did nothing to suppress his knowledge of every detail of the beauty that stood on the other side and the longing it enflamed. John tamped down his desire. For now.

“I will get Joan for you, my lady, and thereafter you will attend me at supper.”

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Cover Reveal for The Irish Warrior

I’m so excited to be sharing the cover of my upcoming release The Irish Warrior. This is book three in The Norman Conquest Series. It tells the story of Sean O’Cisoghe and Thomasina MacDonell.

Sean  was originally a secondary character who served as someone Brighit MacNaughton thought of as a brother and could never marry. She’d rejected her brother’s best friend repeatedly.  It was only at her father’s death-bed that she declared she would finally marry Sean but it was too late. Her father had already committed her to the Priory.

When I wrote the scene in The Gentle Knight where Sean comes to rescue Brighit from the Priory and he is confronted with the idea that she loves another, my heart broke for him. He’d had such high hopes, always putting her on a pedestal as the perfect woman for him but she always knew she wasn’t. This story picks up after he’s left her to return to Ireland.

Thomasina is the sister of Niall, a Scot from the north, in The Gentle Knight. They’re both related to Seumas MacDonell from The Bruised Thistle. Here’s the cover:


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Summer Reading Essentials – Nineteenth Century Romance at its Best with Kathleen Bittner Roth

So what other romances take place in the 1800’s? How about southern romances? Maybe even  April 1853 in Louisiana?  That would be Celine.

Images of the sweltering, pre-civil war south where the beauty and tranquility still linger like a long summer day…what’s the genre? HOT. I love Kathleen Bittner Roth and just like me, she’s a true romantic all the way down to her core.

Check out her When Hearts Dare Series.

Book One is Celine.

In the wake of tragedy, a young widow seeking a new life on her own enters into a turbulent love affair that may heal her heart or drive her into dangerCover.Celine - Copy.

He stepped off a jewel of a sternwheeler onto one of the most beautiful plantations in all of Louisiana. And into her life.
Celine’s breath caught in her throat. Heat smoldered in her belly. What a sensual man. The scion of the Andrews family carried an aura of personal magnetism so powerful, a sensation close to fright swept through her. She stood still and aloof, masking her emotions. His intense gaze seemed almost a physical touch. She held her head at a proud, haughty angle, not flinching from his bold scrutiny.
In seconds, Trevor regained his cool, casual air. A lusty grin caught at the corners of his mouth, and fire danced in his eyes as he bent ever so slightly at the waist, tipped an imaginary hat, and strode casually into the house.
She would never be the same . . .

From Plantation era New Orleans to the untamed American West, here is the sweeping, unforgettable tale of a headstrong young beauty and the man she is destined to love.

Available at Amazon for a Kindle   Audible  Paperback

And then there’s the San Francisco of 1854 after the gold rush, during the opening of the west? That would be Alanna.

Book Two is Alanna

Alanna.cover.fullA high-spirited young woman, intent on shedding a fiancé handpicked by her social climbing Boston parents, embarks on a blazing love affair with an enigmatic lone wolf from the rugged wilderness whose quest to find his mother’s murderer threatens their love—and their lives.

Wolf caught the faint scent of cinnabar and roses.

The girl turned her head and stared boldly at him, her cool demeanor at odds with the fire in her look. And then her lips parted, as if she needed more air. A punch of lust hit Wolf’s groin.

There was pure sin in his startling blue eyes.

The moment hung suspended between them, and then expanded as his feral gaze held hers. Stranger? Not to Alanna. He went by the name of Wolf, and he was a legend in these parts, known from San Francisco to Boston as a relentless tracker of lost persons. His quest to find his mother’s killer would lead him to Alanna…and his destiny.

Available at Amazon for Kindle   Audible   Paperback

Book Three is Josette

Josette_coverAcross the oceans, between worlds old and new—two lost souls find themselves at a crossroads

Following a devastating personal tragedy, Cameron Andrews, a wealthy shipping magnate, plans to sail off to nowhere for a few years. His plans are knocked off kilter when a precocious young girl bursts into his life, claiming to be his daughter. His attraction to the girl’s aunt, Josette LeBlanc—an independent beauty long scorned by society—is a complication neither wants. However, the passion that sparks between them cannot be denied. Soon, Cameron finds himself at Josette’s door during the oddest of hours. While both their hearts desperately need the healing they find in each other’s arms, will their wounded souls drive them apart forever?

 Available for Pre-Order due for release September 29th


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#8Sunday – WeWriWar July 26th The Gentle Knight


It’s another #8Sunday which translates to eight lines offered every Sunday for your enjoyment! Amazing authors offer up their best snippets to tempt you. Be sure to check the link below to see the variety of genres and authors participating this week.

I am continuing with my scene from The Gentle Knight. Things are about the change for Brighit. Enjoy:

TheGentleKnight5_850Brighit whipped open the door and jumped from the carriage. She glared at each man in turn before finally speaking.

“I am not for sale! And…” she took a step up to Niall, who towered over her. The top of her head barely reached his chest. “I am not to be tried.”

Niall’s face softened. How dare he even think about using his charm on her now?

Available in e-book or paperback: Amazon  and Barnes & Noble





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Romantic Suspence in the 1800’s – Shattered Secrets by Lana Williams

The Victorian genre requires only that it take place during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 to 1901), and this story promises romance and suspense!

Thank you, Ashley, for having me here today! I’m excited to share my latest release, Shattered Secrets, which is set in Victorian London. This is the third book in The Secret Trilogy (historical romantic suspense stories). I’m rather sad to see the trilogy end as I’ve enjoyed exploring 1880’s London. But I confess that I have a new project in the works that will explore a similar setting. Can’t wait to share that with readers!

The Secret Trilogy follows the stories of three lords who attended University together. They shared the same mentor, a professor fascinated by electromagnetism. He involves them in a lab experiment that goes terribly wrong, injuring all of them and killing the professor. The injuries the lords receive are only part of how they’re damaged that night. They each receive the ability to read auras, with each one reading a different type of aura.

I love writing about wounded heroes who are living an unbalanced life because of their past. Throw in a strong heroine who knows what she wants (or thinks she does) and it’s sure to be an interesting journey. This trilogy was inspired by a few different things. I’m a Sherlock Holmes fan, and I came across some information on electromagnetism while researching the Victorian era. All of the scientific research and experiments taking place during that time are fascinating.

In Shattered Secrets, we meet Lucas Stanby, who fled to Brazil after the lab accident, convinced he can never lead a normal life. The type of auras he reads is terrible (no spoilers here!) and makes him miserable. But when his older brother is murdered, he is forced to return to England ten years later as the new earl and guardian to his two young twin nieces.

Moira Dorsey has been a friend of the family since childhood. Lucas broke her heart when he left and she has no desire to repeat the experience, so though she’s serving as a temporary governess, she does everything in her power to hire a permanent one so she can leave. Unfortunately, the twin girls have their own plans. They are determined to keep their uncle in England and keep Moira as well.

As Lucas tries to determine who murdered his brother and why, he’s reunited with his two friends. Their pursuit of the murderer leads to an even bigger mystery, along with a threat to England, all while Lucas and Moira attempt to contain their growing feelings for each other.

For those readers who prefer to read the trilogy in order, it begins with Unraveling Secrets, then Passionate Secrets, and now Shattered Secrets.

LanaWilliams_ShatteredSecrets_200pxBLURB: Scarred from a terrible accident, Lucas Stanby swore never to return to England. But his brother’s murder forces him home ten years later as the new Earl of Berkmond and guardian of his two young nieces. As the local vicar’s daughter and a childhood friend, Moira Dorsey naturally set aside her hopes of a family of her own to care for the earl’s daughters. Lucas’s return makes it impossible for her to remain since he broke Moira’s heart years ago, but the girls have other ideas. Lucas realizes he needs Moira to keep his personal demons at bay as well as deal with two rambunctious girls. He offers Moira a marriage of convenience, hoping to keep his dark secret, aware he’s too broken to be the husband she deserves. Moira discovers Lucas’s cold demeanor hides deep scars but glimpses of the boy she loved give her hope. She counters his proposal, asking for a babe of her own, wanting Lucas to see he’s not the monster he believes. Unable to deny his growing feelings, Lucas agrees, but his past disrupts their second chance at love, dragging Moira and the girls into danger. He soon realizes he must share his terrible secret with Moira and risk losing her forever in order to stop the villain who threatens them all.

EXCERPT:  Moira glanced at the girls yet again then stepped into the hall and pulled the door shut behind her. “Mrs. Tollers mentioned the trouble the girls caused in the library. The sooner you engage a qualified governess, the better. If the twins are kept busy, they will have less time to engage in such schemes.”

Her comment felt more like a reprimand than a suggestion. Did she think he could be ordered about? Never mind that she’d done the very same when they were young, and it had irritated him then. But he was far from the boy she’d once directed and was a grown man fully capable of making his own decisions.

He placed his hand on the wall behind her, bringing him closer. A little intimidation seemed in order, to make her understand he was not to be trifled with. “From what I’ve been given to understand, you’ve hired several governesses to do that very thing, but to no avail.”

Her head tipped back ever so slightly, revealing the long slim line of her neck. Her mouth rounded, those rosy lips prepared with the perfect excuse, he was sure. Her big green eyes stared up at him, looking back and forth between his patch and his eye until he nearly touched the patch to see if it was in place. Then her gaze dropped to his lips, and desire shot straight through him, surprising him with its intensity.

“Yes, well, ’tis complicated.” Again, her gaze fell to his lips.

God, but he wanted to taste her. Could she possibly be as sweet as she had been at sixteen? Her kiss had nearly undone him then. What might it do to him now? Her scent filled his senses, the freshness of the outdoors, of roses, of her. That scent had taunted him far too often over the years. It reminded him of England, yet he swore he’d smelled it many times in Brazil.

Her breasts rose as she drew a deep breath, making him realize she was as aware of him as he was of her. The hint of soft curves revealed by her modest neckline begged for his touch.

For the first time, he noticed the soft pink of her gown, a color now echoed in her cheeks. Would that soft flush cover the rest of her body as well?

“I—” She licked her lips, drawing his gaze back to her mouth.

He leaned closer still and allowed desire to build. It had been so long since he’d felt like this. How had he ever turned his back on her declaration of love? He must’ve been a stronger man than he was now.

As he tilted his head so he might fit her mouth to his, she eased forward as well. Anticipation mixed with passion until he saw nothing but Moira.

The door opened, startling them both.

Our family is sticking close to home this summer, so I’m living vicariously through other people’s vacation plans. For a chance to win an ebook of your choice of one of the books in The Secret Trilogy, please share what you’re doing this summer!

Find Shattered Secrets at:


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#8Sunday – WeWriWar July 19th The Gentle Knight


It’s #8Sunday from WeWriWar!

Welcome back for another Sunday of checking out the best eight lines these wonderful authors could offer up. Be sure to check the link below to see the variety of genres to choose from.

The Gentle Knight excerpt continues. With poor Brighit still hiding in the carriage and getting an earful, this scene is only getting worse for her. Enjoy:

TheGentleKnight5_850Brighit’s gasp sliced through the conversation. Too late, she covered her mouth with her hand. Tears burned. She would not cry!

“Why would I pay so much for soiled goods?” Niall again.

Soiled goods? If Niall “tried her” she would be soiled. How dare they speak of her thus.




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#TransformationThursday with Evelyn Davis – Accountability and Continuity: The Rock and the Hard Place

Have you ever seen a diet commercial? Jenny Craig. Weight Watchers. Slimfast. Trimspa. The list goes on and on. If you watch TV, then you know the diet market is huge and full of “quick fixes” for weight loss. Some of their marketing campaigns are empowering, and some are downright clever. But let’s not debate the pros and cons of the weight loss market and the products offered. Instead, lets address a phenomenon that speaks volumes on a topic that makes any goal tough to execute—continuity.

The market for weight loss is never-ending because the task of maintaining is ongoing. Shortcuts are enticing because by their very definition the path to any goal or life change is minimized if you take advantage of them.  Long term and stretch goals are particularly difficult to tackle because its hard to keep up accountability, and continue executing over time.

It’s very easy to decide on what you want to accomplish. I’d like to finish my work by five o’clock and be out the door. I’d like to save enough money to buy a new car without financing. I’d like to get up early even on the weekends. But the task of actually doing these things is tougher than it sounds when we envision the perfect life we could have if we could just stick to our plan. Let’s be honest, even if it’s only 10 minutes, that snooze button is way too tempting. What do we do to accomplish these things without shortcuts?

  • Make a plan:
  • Whether it’s a Gantt chart for long –term execution or a timeline on the white board on your office, know where you should be at various times throughout the length of your goal. There are plenty of times where deadlines are externally imposed, but if not make one for yourself. Once you’ve done that you can map out what your ideal progress would look like. Recognizing milestones along the way will help keep you on track and provide an easy mechanism to check in with yourself. Both the self that set the goal and envisioned the perfect end, and the self that is potentially getting bogged down in the details and needs to be reminded of how far you’ve come. Each milestone is a success so keep track but don’t forget to celebrate.
  • Make a friend:
  • You’ll be hard pressed to find someone in your life so unmotivated that they have literally no plans for their future or goals to work toward. There’s bound to be someone close to you who is also working on a transformation. Find someone who is also working toward a goal and check in with them. By holding each other accountable you have the opportunity to create a support system and increase your chances of success.
  • Make yourself stick to it!
  • Willpower is a muscle that gets stronger with practice. This is what I tell myself every day I manage to wake up on time or early and actually get up and do what sounded like such a great idea the night before. The more frequently you stick to your plans, the better you’ll get at stick-to-it-ness, a vital skill for any type of transformation.


Evelyn Davis has her Masters Degree from Northeastern University in Corporate and Organizational Communication,  a background in interpersonal communications and works by day as a trainer and coach in the corporate sector.

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Summer Reading List Essentials – Victorian Historical Romance: Great and Unfortunate Desires

Today we have someone who is new to me – Gina Danna. Her story has the titled hero and heroine but it takes place in 1870 so it can’t be a regency. It’s set in Victorian England. A Victorian historical?  And it has spies! Victorian suspense?  And the cover is hot :) Another one for your TBR. Enjoy!
GinaDanna_Great&UnfortunateDesires_1400pxABLURB: Victorian England c. 1870
Operating as a British spy, Tristan St.James, the new Marquis of Wrenworth, barely escapes Afghanistan with his life in the spring of 1869. He plans to seek vengeance against the traitor who exposed him and for the agent he’s forced to kill. Returning to England, as a lord, he must marry. Haunted by guilt from the horrors of war, he avoids love at all costs, but finds himself drawn to the only woman who is disinterested in him.
Lady Evelyn Hurstine has waited over two years for the return of her love, a man who left for war in the East. But during that time, she suffered a brutal assault, resulting in a child and fear of any man touching her except for the man she once knew. The pursuit by the marquis scares her but her excuses against his proposal dwindle.
Their marriage strengthens into love until she discovers her husband isn’t the safety she believed but the one who killed the man she once loved. Caught in a world of intrigue and mayhem, Tristan must prove his love to her before the traitor destroys them both.

EXCERPT: What made him say that, of all things? Fiancée? Engaged to the ice queen? Tristan noticed how pale Evelyn turned, and part of him tightened. When that fop moved away so quickly, it was obvious the man wasn’t really interested in Evelyn. But Tristan’s interest surely could have been expressed less dramatically.

“Tris.” Harry stood behind him. “What are you doing?” It was a low whisper.

Tristan forced a smile, concentrating to make it more of a devil-may-care grin. “It wasn’t to be announced just yet,” he replied, his gaze on Evelyn. She still looked a bit shocked. “Come, my sweet.” He held his hand up for her to take.

Her eyes still wide, but her mouth now shut, Evelyn gently laid her hand on his, like a butterfly landing on a flower, fragile as spun glass. She blinked and managed to return a timid smile as he led her away.

Several feet from the croquet game, she stopped, withdrawing her hand, as if he had stung her.

“Do you care to explain yourself, captain? Wait, no, my lord?”

He wanted to laugh at her attempt to guess his rank but heard the anger in her tone. Ah, so his ice queen wasn’t entirely frozen. Her anger melted that lovely aloof façade. Pity.

“I’ve come to a conclusion, my dear…”

“I am not your ‘dear’,” she snapped.

He snorted at her reaction. “But for all intents and purposes, you are. Now hear me out.” Tristan directed her to the oak tree near the edge of the grounds. They were in full view of everyone, so he figured she’d be calmer there than in the house. Evelyn reminded him of a skittish colt, on the verge of darting off if threatened.

“I need a wife. You are searching for a husband. That braggart there was too close for comfort. Therefore, I rescued you.” He chuckled. “And he won’t be bothering you again.”

Her gaze narrowed. Ah, the fire in her eyes lit to blazing. “Whose comfort?”

That question made his skin prickle, like being stabbed with a million pins. Surely she knew that fop’s “familiarity” with her was the stuff of scandal…right? Or was it really that it made Tristan uncomfortable? As if the man had tried to take what was his? And if so, when had that feeling formed?

“You had no right,” she continued, still fuming.

Oh, how he wanted to burn in her fire. “We suit each other perfectly.”

“I will not marry you,” she hissed.

His attraction to her, now his fire and ice queen, grew. As her breathing deepened in anger, he noticed her breasts swelling in the confines of the corset, barely contained. Her illusion tulle fiche was more decorative than concealing, and his cock hardened with each rise of her bosom. Blood racing through him, he struggled to maintain his composure. Despite the warning inside his head to give her sufficient space, he leaned toward her, his hand taking hers again. Evelyn hardened and tried to withdraw it, but he wouldn’t let her go.

To everyone else, they looked like a couple, enraptured with each other. Exactly what he wanted them to think.

Buylinks:  Amazon –

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Gina_036BIO: A USAToday Bestselling author, Gina Danna was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and has spent the better part of her life reading. History has always been her love and she spent numerous hours devouring historical romance stories, always dreaming of writing one of her own. After years of writing historical academic papers to achieve her undergraduate and graduate degrees in History, and then for museum programs and exhibits, she has found the time to write her own historical romantic fiction novels.Now, under the supervision of her three dogs and two cats, she writes amid a library of research books, with her only true break away is to spend time with her other life long dream —her Arabian horse—With him, her muse can play.
Contact –
Twitter:  @GinaDanna1

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#8Sunday – WeWriWar July 12th The Gentle Knight

Welcome back to eight line Sunday at WeWriWar. Authors of various genres share their best eight lines for your enjoyment. I’m continuing with my scene where Peter and Brighit first meet. Peter is having a difficult time assessing her role as the only woman in this strange group of men and what he’s being told is making it even worse. Brighit is beside herself at just how far her “protectors” are willing to go.

The Gentle Knight by Ashley YorkShe knew it in her heart. Ivan had tried to sell her!

“Dare not say that to me, coward!” Niall was closer now. Any charm he’d shown her last night was well hidden. Rage alone encompassed his well-chosen words. “You know the truth.”

“But I didn’t mean you could try her out first,” Ivan said.

Buy links:   Apple    Kobo    Amazon    Barnes and Noble




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#TransformationThursday with Evelyn Davis – Lifehack Hijack

monkey-clipart-a2271ba88f31e0d23d563c8fc6d2a5a0Have you ever heard of a life hack? According to Urban Dictionary, this is a term for a tool or technique adopted in order to manage one’s time and daily activities in a more efficient way. In normal language, they are shortcuts you can use to save time. Whether the task is organizing your drawers, preventing your chips from going stale, or curling your hair in the morning, the internet is full of life hacks intended to improve your quality of life by saving your time.

Googling “life hacks” will reveal over 45 million results comprised of lists ranging from 40 clever to 100 can’t live without hacks for the average internet user. Each with hundreds of views and plenty of comments. Why are these hacks so popular? The simple answer is because we all want to save time.

Here are just a few of my favorites:


But have you ever googled self-improvement tips? Productivity tips? Popular opinion shows there are no hacks. You can take short cuts to improve your daily routine, but not to change your life. Or, ehem, transform your life. In fact, what got me thinking about this topic is an article I stumbled across online. The title was “42 Practical Ways to Improve Yourself.” I don’t know about you, but when I read the word practical, my mind immediately goes to those life hacks I’ve learned so much about. At the very least, I associate “practical” with its synonym “everyday.” In the case of this article, I expected real-life steps I could take toward self-improvement. Instead, I got a list of things like learn a new language, get a mentor, start a business venture. None of which can be done in a day, nor are they everyday activities.

Will they improve your life? Absolutely. But few things on this list are small feats and many need to be broken down to become attainable, or to be considered practical. Step number one, figure out where to start. Identify what specific activities you need to do in order to get to that activity that will improve your existence and transform your life. If you want to learn a language, where do you start? Find a class, buy some language learning software, or figure out what language would be useful to you.

The reality is that self-improvement cannot be hacked. You have to be dedicated, you have to make time, and you can’t take the short cut. So for those of you who feel like you’ve taken a step backward toward something that’s important to you, stick with it. Giving up is taking the easy way, but reevaluating your progress and getting back to it shows the wherewithal and grit of a champion.

Evelyn Davis has her Masters Degree from Northeastern University in Corporate and Organizational Communication,  a background in interpersonal communications and works by day as a trainer and coach in the corporate sector.


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