***REVIEW*** Wanted Dead by Kaley Craig

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Blurb:

Banished and left homeless by her mentally unstable mother, and devastated upon learning Will has married someone else, Maggie enters into a coerced marriage with the nefarious but charming Edmond Jackson. But as 1971 draws to a close, his suspicion that she still loves Will Marshall leads to an act of violent, unforgivable rage, and the threat of death should she betray him.

Unable to leave, but determined to find a safe haven before her child is born, Maggie soon finds herself entangled in circumstances beyond her imagining, where even the voice of God cannot be heard.

Set in the 1970’s South, Maggie’s story is smart, sexy, spiritual, sorrowful, violent, and absurdly funny. Rich in period detail, with unforgettable characters, bizarre happenings, and suspenseful situations, this chapter of Maggie’s story is about the strength we find in love, and the power of promises kept.

Jackson Sugar: WANTED DEAD is Book Two in the Jackson Sugar Series.

Review:

You can read my review on the first book in the Jackson Sugar series here. I totally adored Kaley Craig’s, Crazy Red. I was brimming with excitement to read the second offering, Wanted Dead.

Let me tell you, I wasn’t disappointed. This book has more going on than Taylor Swift’s love life. The problem is that I can’t say too much without spoiling in for you, but I’ll do my best.

The start of this book depicts the newly wed, pregnant Maggie. Edmond always made my skin crawl from the first book. He’s a very shifty character and when he’s in a scene he forces the hair on the back of your neck to stand on end. He smacks of an abuser even when he’s being kind. I’d love to slap his face and drag Maggie the hell outta there. Craig has penned his character with perfection, and I stand in awe of her ability to make each of her characters feel so real that you could almost smell, touch, and taste them.

Not only is Craig a master at creating vivid characters, she’s a weaver of complex plot shifts and epic storytelling. The problem being that she didn’t just break my heart at several points during Maggie’s harrowing journey; she squeezed, tugged, pulled, bashed and smashed it to smithereens.

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In the first book I watched Maggie move from an abusive relationship with her mother, Sybil, to a just as bad one with Edmond. Her hopes and dreams are dashed at every turn of the book. There are happy, sweet times to be cherished within these pages, but Maggie just can’t seem to catch a break. The ending almost nearly damn killed me, and if I resided closer to Kaley Craig it would have caused my jail sentence for assault. I’ve discussed the likelihood of another Sugar Jackson book and she’s not sure if she’s going to go ahead. Well, I bloody well demand that you make Maggie happy! NOW!

I cannot write a review on this book without mentioning the illustrations, too. If you’re going to purchase it, then I strongly suggest you head for the paperback version. I believe they are still in the e-book but they’re extraordinary enough to make you want to smooth your fingers over them on an actual page. They compliment the story wholly and force strong emotions from you in regard to what’s happening in line with the scene. I applaud the artist, Victoria Skye Cleveland for her outstanding work.

Let me warn you, this book is long. Whilst I’m not a particularly slow at reading, I’m not mega fast either. It took me ages to read. Far be it from a lacking plot line. Plot is something this book has plenty of, but I’ll admit I’m not really into awfully long stories. I really think there would have been benefit in splitting the story into two. However, if you’re a lover of a lengthier novel than most, with thrills, spills (tears), and chills you need this book in your life.

The length was the only thing I didn’t like about the book. Therefore I award Wanted Dead 4.5 cookoo clocks.

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(I couldn’t find half a cookoo clock!)

Buy links:

You guys are in luck as both of these books are currently on sale! (Yippee)

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I’ve linked to Kaley’s Amazon author page so that you can see both books:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

About the Author:

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Kaley Craig (Author) is a writer and photographer. Kaley has more than a decade of experience working within the criminal justice system, first as a peace officer, then as a criminal investigator for the defense. With degrees in Criminal Justice and Education, she has taught in both public and private schools as well as in prisons. Kaley is also a licensed social worker. Having lived in various locales across the U.S., she currently calls Atlanta home.

Victoria Skye Cleveland (Illustrator) is an actor, artist, and web designer.

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The Jackson Sugar novels, set in the 1960’s – 1970’s, tell the story of Maggie Jackson from her turbulent Georgia childhood through her life working in the criminal justice system.
Book One: Crazy Red (July 2014)
Book Two: Wanted Dead (Sept 2015)

FB author page

Art by Victoria Skye

***EXCERPT*** Kissing Katie by L.T. Kelly

Cover:

Kissing Katie

 

Blurb:

Iraq war widow Katie Simmons hasn’t considered giving love another chance since the devastating loss of her husband. She’s happy sharing her love with her six-year-old daughter, Jessica. What more could she want from life?

Evan Waters is headed for the big time. He’s plowing his time, money and energy into recording Spires’ debut album. Following on in his British rock legend father’s footsteps, he has big shoes to fill, a mission made more difficult by his alcoholic mother.

When Katie and Evan meet on the London Underground, she denies his advances. Evan must find a way to demolish the walls she’s built around her heart. But even if he’s successful, will he be able to provide her with the commitment she deserves and still fulfill his ambitions?

Excerpt:

“What’s wrong, Mommy?” she called up the street as Evan turned to look at Katie. His sea-green eyes homed in on hers, loaded with revelation as he glanced at Jessica then back to her. The realization that she hadn’t told him because she’d been scared he’d run slapped her already pink cheeks. Despite her protests, she hadn’t wanted him to go away.

“Hi.” She greeted him breathlessly, even though she’d stopped running long before the physical exertion had the chance to take her breath away.

“Hi.” He smiled as she stood there awkwardly and aimlessly fiddled with a stray thread on her work tunic. “Aren’t you going to introduce me?”

Jessica eyes popped from Katie to Evan, her face still screwed up, and her father’s bright-blue eyes flashing with confusion. Katie opened her dry mouth to speak, but Jessica got there first.

“Hi, I’m Jessica. Who are you?”

Evan walked around the car, stepped onto the curb and held out his hand. “I’m Evan. Do you enjoy going to the zoo?”

Jessica shrugged. “I’m six years old. Of course, I like the zoo.”

Katie chuckled at her daughter’s serious face. She could tell Jessica was trying to act grown up. Evan laughed, too.

“We could go, if you like?”

Jessica folded her arms and glanced around the street as though she were thinking about it. She loved the zoo, so she had nothing to think about. “When? Now?”

Evan nodded.

“It’s a school night, you know?” she stated matter-of-factly.

Evan nodded again. “I promise to have you back in time for bed.”

“Okay, then, we have a deal as long as my mom can come, too.”

Evan and Katie exchanged grins. “Is that okay with you?” he asked, his head dipped and his voice but a whisper.

“It’s a bit late to ask for my permission, but yes, as long as it’s okay with you?”

“Sure it is.” He opened the passenger door and pulled out a wicker basket. “We’ll have to take the train, though. I didn’t expect there to be three of us.” He nudged Jessica with his elbow and looked at Katie as though to indicate Katie might be the unexpected guest.

Katie smiled, shaking her head while pulling her keys out. She took Jessica’s school bag from her and placed it in the hallway. “Come on then,” she said, taking Jessica’s hand and pulling her alongside Evan on the way to the underground.

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“What’s your favorite animal?” Evan asked Jessica as they leaned on the railing outside the monkey enclosure.

“It has to be the penguins,” she replied after appearing to give it much thought.

“Why so?”

“Because they’re cute, funny, they’re good swimmers and they like fish.”

“Ah, just like you then.” He reached out and patted her white-blonde head.

She rolled her eyes at him. “How do you know I’m a good swimmer?”

“I saw the swimming badges sewn on your school bag.” He dramatically rolled his eyes back at her, forcing her to giggle.

Katie had stepped back. She’d hardly spoken a word since they’d embarked on the trip. Her stomach hurt, and her heart ached. Evan had been nothing but spectacular with Jessica since they’d met. He hadn’t even questioned why Katie hadn’t mentioned her daughter’s existence, but she knew the questions would come later. She’d been glad her daughter had good taste in food when Evan had produced bagels with cream cheese and smoked salmon from the picnic basket. Not your usual children’s dinner, but Jessica devoured it.

“Shall we head back?”

Katie nodded. “I hope Al’s car is still there.”

Evan laughed. “It’ll be cool. Knowing Al, there’s probably a tracker on it that would blow the thief up.”

Katie laughed and grabbed Jessica’s hand. “Aw, do we have to go, Mommy?”

“Yes, bunny, remember, Evan said he’d have you back in time for bed, and…” She glanced down at her watch. “He lied. We have fifteen minutes to get home.”

“Oh man, my bad, I’m sorry.” He pressed his palm to his chest in mock horror.

Jessica giggled and grabbed his hand. “I like you. You talk like you’re off the television.”

Katie’s eyes traveled from her hand to his, also being held firmly by Jessica. Her stomach constricted. They must look like a family, walking along hand-in-hand. Tears burned behind her eyes as she squeezed the little hand, stared straight ahead and tried to pretend this wasn’t happening.

The last thing she wanted was to start playing happy families then have it all snatched away from her…again.

They arrived back, and Evan kind of invited himself in. A bottle of wine remained in the bottom of the picnic basket, and he insisted on them drinking it together.

Jessica whined until Katie gave in and allowed Evan up to say goodnight to her before they went downstairs together.

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Katie’s limbs moved awkwardly once they were alone, her emotions were all over the place. She didn’t know what to say, how to act, and consequently was relieved at the sight of the offered bottle of wine. She hoped it would soothe her frayed nerves. She grabbed the bottle and busied herself trying to locate the corkscrew in the kitchen drawer.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered as she turned to face him.

“Why are you sorry?” He cocked his head.

She mirrored his movements and leaned against the counter opposite him in her tiny galley kitchen. “Because I should have told you.”

“Yes, you should have. What did you think I’d do? Run?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I think I probably would have told you if I’d thought you would take off,” she lied, trying desperately to resurrect her protective walls.

He sighed heavily and looked away from her. “You keep saying that. The problem is that you’re not giving the signals that you want me to leave you alone. They’re just words, Katie.”

“I’m fucked up, Evan. I can’t risk getting any more fucked up than I already am. Trust me, you don’t want to get involved with me, not romantically anyway. Besides, I can’t afford to feel that way ever again.”

“What way?”

“Utterly destroyed, heartbroken, completely shattered.”

“What happened to you, Katie?” he growled.

She flinched. “It’s a long story.”

He leaned forward and shifted beside her. Her fingers burst with electric energy as he wrapped his large hand over her fist and slipped the corkscrew from her hand. She turned to look at him, finding sadness in his eyes, but luckily no pity. She couldn’t stand pity. His ragged breathing picked up a notch as she stared into those amazing clear green eyes. Her breathing quickened as he smoothed his warm fingers along her jaw line.

“It’s a big bottle, and I can get more if we need it. Tell me what happened so I can understand.” His fingers reached her chin and stopped.

She blinked back tears. His head moved slowly toward her face and broke its descent down her cheek with his lips. She knew she should move away, but he still clung to her chin, and the feel of his velvety lips fluttering gently over her skin had her paralyzed in the sweetest of ways.

“Where are the glasses?” he asked, finally stepping away.

Her head spun as she shot him a look of confusion. “Oh, yes, the wine.” She brought her palm up to her forehead, trying to disguise the heat rising from her groin to her face. “I’ll get them. Take the wine through.”

He nodded, grabbed the wine and went to the living room. After he left, she steadied herself, clutching the kitchen counter and trying desperately to cling to her resolve. He’d done an excellent job at battering it. She smoothed her hands over her face and ran her fingers under her eyes in an attempt to wipe away any mascara that might be there then grabbed two glasses from the cupboard. She took a deep breath in preparation for baring all and followed Evan into the living room.

He’d taken a space on her couch, his solid arm laid out along the back and one knee perched up on the cushion. She placed the glasses on the coffee table in front of him. He’d already removed the cork, so he poured the wine into the glasses as she sat beside him, her knee pressed against his. She sipped the wine gratefully.

“Where do you want me to start?”

“The beginning is always a good place.”

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Buy links:

About the author:

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L.T. Kelly lives in rural Lincolnshire with her husband, two children and a mentally unstable Cockapoo named Mylo. She enjoyed a successful eleven-year career in the Royal Air Force which put plenty of stories in her writing cap. 

L.T. now divides her time between writing, being a wife, mother and an Emergency Medical Dispatcher for the ambulance service. 

It’s the writing that keeps her sane.

Connect with L.T. Kelly:

Video Interview with MK Meredith

 

This is probably the worst video interview in the world EVER! Please forgive me, the editing is awful but we sort of had fun. I should have had wine first!

Please check out MK Meredith and her books! You will not be disappointed. Also, read the post about my visit with her, HERE. 🙂

Connect with MK

Website

Sign up for MK’s newsletter, The Heat Sheet

Facebook Page

Twitter

Book links

For all information on all of MK’s books please check out and subscribe to her Amazon author page.

Amazon U.S.

Amazon UK

Malibu Betrayals

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Her chance to write a whole new ending…

Hollywood screenwriter Samantha Dekker spent the last year picking up the pieces after her husband’s suicide. Along with grief, guilt, and tabloid hell, she’s had to watch helplessly as the film industry slammed its doors in her face. Now Sam has the rarest of Hollywood opportunities – a second chance…working with the one man she swore never to see again.

Hunktastic A-lister Gage Cutler knows that Sam blamed him for his part in her husband’s death. Still, Sam is the one woman he can never forget. All he wants is a second chance of his own – to prove he’s not the player she remembers. And Malibu is the perfect backdrop to make a girl swoon.

Except they’re not alone. Someone is watching Sam and Gage’s steamy off-screen romance with the most dangerous of intentions…

Malibu Secrets

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Every girl has a secret (or two)…

On the verge of losing the Malibu home she inherited from her great-aunt, Addi Dekker is completely failing to prove to her family she can make it as a writer. Not exactly how a girl proves her independence. If she doesn’t want to give up her dream and go back to the soul-sucking job she just left, Addi has to swallow her dislike of Hollywood and rent the house out to the sexy-as-hell film producer.

And maybe (shhhh!) save money by secretly living there, too.

Roque Gallagher is pouring his heart and savings into his first independent film to make the industry acknowledge him for his talent and not just his family name. Addi’s home is perfect for the shoot, but she’s far too tempting. He’s never been able to handle work and a relationship, and this is the film of a lifetime. Between a shrinking budget and his director quitting, the last thing he needs is a sexy-as-sin tease like Addi. And he has a feeling there’s something she’s hiding…

Seducing Seven

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Romance author Seven Michaels believes in love to her very core. She has to—not only for herself, but for her readers. So when luxury salesman Blake Turner insults not only her books but the people who read them, Seven’s ready to throw down. How dare a playboy like Blake insinuate romance lovers are full of crap? He wants proof? Fine. She bets Blake she can make him fall for her by using the rules in her latest novel before the end of the convention, or she’ll denounce love in front of all her fellow authors and fans at the Romance Lovers Convention ball. A dangerous game to be sure, but humiliating Blake is worth the risk. But when Seven realizes she’s the one who’s being seduced, she’s no longer sure who is playing whom…or whether she’ll have a career when the bet is over.

 

****ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE EPIC KIND****

So, I finished Kissing Cassie in March of this year and submitted it to publishers.

My heart has skipped many a beat, tears have been shed, and my confidence knocked out of the ring as though it’s been ten rounds with Mike Tyson.

However, I’m so thrilled to announce that Kissing Cassie has been selected for publication by Resplendence Publishing.

They promote themselves as a boutique publisher only accepting 1% of their submissions, so I’ve done extremely well to pique their interest let alone snag a contract with them!

Although I’m an author, there simply aren’t the words to describe how I’m feeling right now. I think I may just have to go ahead and have a sapphire ring tattooed on my butt! (That’s the Resplendence heat level that Kissing Cassie is at.)

I can’t thank my beautiful beta readers enough, they have all been contacted to inform them of the books success and I hope they’ll all enjoy a well deserved acknowledgement!

For now, Lucy’s Lit Lovin’ Blog will be closed for submissions for review due to the vast amount of work I’ll have on my hands to get Kissing Cassie ready for publication, plus an energized view at getting Kissing Katie written.

To all of you, thanks a million for your support. You’re all worth a million dollars in my eyes. :-).

An Easter gift from me to you. :D

Happy Easter to all followers of Lucy’s Lit Lovin’ Blog! I haven’t had a book sale for a whole nine months! I’ve been so busy with writing Kissing Cassie that I sort of forgot about poor Teagan and her wonderful adventures.

I hope you’ll indulge her. I’m making Falling to Pieces FREE. Falling into You is just 99c/99p. Both are available on Amazon, on sale/free, for a limited time only. Don’t miss out!

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Amazon.com: http://goo.gl/AmQIPl

Amazon.co.uk: http://goo.gl/ZOD3f8

FIY review

Amazon.com: http://goo.gl/iltJFH

Amazon.co.uk: http://goo.gl/S1Cx5V

All links will open on a new page. I sincerely hope you’ll enjoy the books! As always, remember to leave a review!

HAPPY EASTER!

***COVER REVEAL*** Never Too Late by Susannah Hutchinson

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Title: Never Too Late

Author: Susannah Hutchinson

Release Date: April 24, 2015

Publisher: Alegos Press

Genre: Thriller, Social Issues, Suspense

Sometimes, the right choice is the most difficult one to make.

Tina Blythe has led a difficult life, working hard to make something of herself. From the moment she met her future husband, she knew her happiness was assured. Clive was the answer to her prayers, a dream she thought came true.

It doesn’t take long for Clive to show his true colours, and her life takes an unexpected turn. Her husband has turned into someone she barely recognises, a mere shell of the man she married. Yearning for a fresh start, Tina is willing to do anything to give meaning to the life she lives. She refuses to allow herself to become a victim once again.

Determined to find a means to an end, she devises a plan that will help her gain her freedom. She knows it will be difficult, but somehow, someway, Tina is resolute. She will get past Clive’s harsh hold by any means necessary. Only then will she be able to lead the life she’s always wanted.

(Purchase links are not yet available.)

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24894141-never-too-late

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Tina squeezed herself between several parked cars and stepped onto the pavement, jogging the last hundred yards to her home. Hot and out of breath, she blotted her forehead with the edge of her sleeve. The thought of what waited for her behind the front door made her heart race. Her hands trembled as she reached into her pocket for her keys. They slid through her fingers and hit the ground with a loud chink.

Damn it! she thought, and bent down to pick them up.

She rolled her shoulders to ease the tension and slid the key into the lock, promptly letting herself in. Her mouth grew dry as she set one foot on the doormat. There he was, sitting at the bottom of the stairs, a position he assumed when things didn’t go his way.

“You’re late. Where have you been?” Clive asked, his hands locked together, elbows balanced on his knees.

Tina’s face paled as she stared at him. “I’m only a little late. You know I’ve been to see Sam.”

She kicked off her trainers and then remembered to place them neatly with the other shoes in the rack.

Clive’s eyes narrowed as he stared back at her. “You should have left earlier.”

“I got carried away chatting.”

She hung her coat on the hook and leant forward to peck her husband on the lips then stroked his right cheek, hoping that it would ease the hostility between them.

He brushed her hands away and said, “We said eleven o’clock. You will not see her again. Do you hear me?”

“It’s only a few minutes. Why do we have to go through this every time I see her?” she asked. “You know she’s my oldest friend.”

Clive’s lips thinned to a tight line. Her body tensed as the words left her mouth. He stood and approached her, clutching her shoulders and pinning her against the wall.

“You won’t see her again,” he repeated. “Is that clear?”

Tina’s cheeks tingled as Clive’s breath puffed across her face as he spoke She cowered before him, dreading what was to come.

“I–I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to answer back. Please, let me go!”

Clive increased the pressure upon her shoulders, his eyes boring deep into hers. “I’m not making myself clear, am I?”

The scent of sour milk and garlic invaded her nostrils as his breath blew across her cheek. Tina’s spine pressed against the wall as she tried to back away from him to no avail. Clive wrapped his hand around her throat, pushing her jawbone upwards. His grip tightened, restricting her airflow. She slumped against the wall, feeling a little woozy. Spittle oozed from the corners of her lips, dripping onto his shirtsleeve. Incoherent nonsense came from her lips when she tried to speak.

A searing pain invaded her abdomen, causing her to double over. Through watery eyes, she watched as Clive shook his hand and flexed his fingers. The smug look on his face betrayed his enjoyment. A stream of urine slowly trickled down her thighs. Tina clamped her legs together, hoping to shield the wetness that was now seeping into her trousers from her husband’s view.

Her eyesight swam and she soon rolled to the floor. Curled up in the corner, Tina wrapped her arms around her middle. Her nostrils flared as she struggled to breathe, hoping that it would cure the dizziness she now felt.

Clive stared down at her and said, “You will not talk back to me again, bitch. Stop snivelling! I hardly touched you.”

Cowering against the wall, Tina tried to suppress her tears. She knew if she cried that it would fuel his anger.

“S–Sorry. I didn’t mean . . . to . . . answer back.” She paused and looked at him from the corner of her eye. “You’ve really hurt me this time!”

Using the telephone table for balance, she stood on unsteady feet. Clive shook his head in disapproval.

“You’ve pissed yourself. Sort it out. It stinks.” He offered her a hand. “Come on. I’ll make you a tea.”

Tina allowed him to lead her through to the kitchen. He helped her into a chair near the table, and set about in preparing a cup of tea. Her knuckles whitened to the point of hurting as she clenched her fists across her lap. He flipped the switch on the kettle. Neither of them spoke until he placed the cup in front of her.

“Thanks,” she said, her voice barely a whisper.

Her throat felt dry as her gaze landed on the cup. She reached for it, the heat of the porcelain mug warming her palms.

“I’m going to bed.” He smirked. “I want you up by midnight.”

She nodded, afraid of looking up at him. “Yes, Darling. I’ll drink this and have a shower.”

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About The Author:

 Susannah Hutchinson was born and raised in Sunderland in the North East of England. She spent most of her childhood with either a book in her hand or riding horses. She moved to Norfolk in 1990, where she now lives with her long-term partner, artist Gerald Marsland.

Susannah turned to writing in the hopes that one day she would find a publisher and embark on a successful career as an author. She’s written several short stories and has one printed in a local magazine. Another was accepted and read in a podcast in the USA. Her ambition is to become a novelist.

At the age of 46, she has finished writing what will be her soon-to-be released debut novel titled, Never Too Late. Her genre of choice is Social Thriller. As well as entertaining the reader, she tries to send out a message within her work, while bringing social issues to the forefront of people’s minds. She is also a conservationist and supports several animal charities. She enjoys traditional art, reading almost any genre of books, and is very interested in Forensics and Psychology.

Social Media Links:

Email Address: author.shutchinson@yahoo.com

LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/susannah-hutchinson/8a/a19/515

Twitter: https://twitter.com/2English5Rose

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorsusannahhutchinson

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13486757.Susannah_Hutchinson

Author Interview: https://authorsinterviews.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/here-is-my-interview-with-susannah-hutchinson/

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