Spotlight + Guest Post & Giveaway: Missed Connections by Tamara Mataya

Missed Connections graphic

We’re spotlighting Tamara Mataya and her upcoming release, Missed Connections, on the blog today!
Check out a guest post from the author and a fantastic giveaway below!

Guest Post: Tamara Mataya

My Writing Process

Oh, I’m pretty sure my writing process is the same as any other writer’s. I wake up and drink a chalice of tears and sacrifice a goat to…oh dear, that’s not right…I love goats.

Let’s try this again.

I don’t have a particular time that works best for writing. Whether I’m inspired by the story itself and can’t wait to finish, or motivated by a deadline (and my agent or editor can’t wait for me to finish) I write whenever I have a spare minute.

Last year I went to New Orleans with my two best friends from middle school—my first foray into America and not a bad choice as vacations go. I hadn’t had a proper vacation in about twenty years. Unfortunately, I also had a book due. I wrote on the plane, in the hotel when my friends were out sightseeing. I scribbled paragraphs between dancing at a reggae night on sheets hastily torn from a notebook and stuffed into my purse before heading to Frenchman Street.

When it comes to writing, I’m not fussy as to where or how it happens. When I’m away from my laptop, I scrawl ideas and sections down on tiny notebooks I carry with me, the printing indecipherable enough to pass as a doctor’s.

I used to be what’s called a ‘pantser,’ meaning I made the story up as I went along. Sometimes I’d have a destination or a few things in mind, but they were more like ‘I’m traveling to New York from LA and need to get there in a week.’ HOW I get there is an act of flying by the seat of my pants.

BUT now I’d consider myself a plotser—someone who is a hybrid pantser/plotter. This change was mostly due to my agent, Nicole Resciniti, and I’m still a little salty about how she was right about it being faster. Sometimes an agent or editor doesn’t need to read the whole book before knowing if it’s something they want. They’ll read a section of your writing, and then check out the little beastie most of us authors have mixed feelings toward: the Synopsis. A synopsis sums up the book in a couple pages and gives EVERYTHING away. If the agent or editor likes it, they may want you to finish writing the book and send it to them.

But before you can send out that cheeky little synopsis, you need to write it. And to write it, you need to figure out everything that happens in the book. Selling books on proposal necessitated plotting. And, to be fair, it does speed things along. Whereas before I may have wondered where I’d go from a certain place, now it’s all mapped out for me. I can change things along the way and my chapter outlines tend to be laughably short compared to other authors’ (e.g. Chapter 5: Sex). I know some writers who will write the equivalent of a novella as an outline which I couldn’t do. My brain dusts its hands off when I finish the outline as though to say, ‘Good job, we’ve figured out everything that needs to happen so we don’t need to write the book anymore! DONE!’ Writing more than my couple pages is enough for me!

I don’t think I have any peculiarities when it comes to writing. I can’t listen to new music (as in music I haven’t heard a lot) when writing because I tend to get distracted and focus on the song instead of my book. I do make playlists for each of my books and I listen to them on repeat while writing. Music is such an important thing to me—I’m also a musician—that hearing those songs can help get me in the mood to write even if I’m not “inspired” at that moment. Sometimes when I hear the songs it’s like a trip back to that particular novel and takes me right back to where I was when I wrote it. I’ll even save certain songs I love only for while writing—just so that certain feeling it gives me doesn’t wear out from too many plays!

I tend to make a lot of cups of tea…and forget all about them. I prefer to eat things I can eat quickly with one hand while at the computer. I spend a lot of time explaining to my dog that no, he doesn’t need to go for a walk right this second when I’m on deadline and need to finish this chapter…and indeed, that’s an argument I lose more often than not because he starts making these whale noises and it makes me laugh and then I’ve lost my train of thought.

Missed Connections by Tamara Mataya
Series: Summer Love #1
Publication Date: June 7th 2016
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Missed Connection: I saw you standing there, and I was struck by your eyes. Gorgeous, but not as gorgeous as your smile.

Thanks to her job at a crazy New Age spa, what should have been a sizzling NYC summer is being hijacked by demanding hippie bosses. To unwind, Sarah spends her nights cruising Missed Connections, dreaming of finding an uber-romantic entry all about her. Of course, the moment she finds that Missed Connection, real life comes crashing down around her in a night of unbridled passion with someone completely different: totally off-limits Jack.

Best. Hookup. Ever.

Gorgeous and wealthy, hot as sin, Jack can give Sarah everything she needs—except an emotional connection. That she gets from her Missed Connection, the romantic stranger who never fails to make her swoon. But there’s only so much of Sarah to go around. Torn between the bad boy she can’t keep and the sensitive stranger who bares his soul online, her heart and body are soon in two very different relationships…or are they?

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & Noble • iTunes • BAM • Indigo • IndieBound

about the author button

Tamara Mataya is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a librarian, and a musician with synesthesia. Armed with a name tag and a thin veneer of credibility, she takes great delight in recommending books and shushing people. She puts the ‘she’ in TWSS and the B in LGBTQIA+.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

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3 copies of MISSED CONNECTIONS by Tamara Mataya

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Blog Tour + Guest Post & Excerpt: Thrown Down by Tessa Bailey

Thrown Down Tour

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Thrown Down by Tessa Bailey! We have a special guest post from Tessa today about how Thrown Down came about – and if you haven’t read the book yet, check out my review!

Guest Post: Tessa Bailey

How Thrown Down Came About

I’ve wanted to write a secret baby book for a long time, which probably will shock anyone who knows me, since I could whine about the hardships of parenting for hours. But still. The idea of a man finding out he has a child—and he has missed important milestones in that child’s life—is a sad concept, but how better to prove a hero’s strength of character than to have him bust his butt to make up for that absence? I knew Vaughn DeMatteo would be the man for the job. His life began the moment he met River and being away from her has wreaked havoc on his soul. When he finds out he left River a single mother, working two jobs to make ends meet, he sets out to win his family back—and he never wavers. I love him for that.

Thrown Down by Tessa Bailey

Thrown Down by Tessa Bailey
Series: Made in Jersey #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: April 4th 2016
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He has one last chance to deserve the girl of his dreams…

Overachiever River Purcell was never supposed to be a struggling single mom, working double shifts just to make ends meet. Nor was she supposed to be abandoned by her high school sweetheart, breaking her heart into a thousand jagged pieces. Now Vaughn De Matteo is back in town, his sights set on her…and River is in danger of drowning a second time.

No one believed Hook’s resident bad boy was good enough for River. Not even Vaughn himself. But he’ll fight like hell to win back the woman he never stopped loving, to keep the daughter he never expected, and convince himself he’s worth their love in the process––even if he has to rely on their fierce and undeniable sexual chemistry.

But even as River’s body arches under his hungered touch, the demons of the past lurk in the shadows. Waiting for Vaughn to repeat his mistakes one last time…

Buy Links:
Amazon Ebook • Amazon PaperbackB&N

Now here’s an excerpt from Thrown Down! ❤

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Forty-nine months and three days.

That was how long it had been since he’d seen her.

Vaughn swayed to the right, his shoulder slamming up against the wall. Then he kind of just hung there, counting forward and backward from one to ten. Not helping. Not helping. His stomach pitched at the sight of River walking through the drunks, like a nurse walking among the wounded on a battlefield. She could still knock his lights out on sight. Not that he’d doubted it for a second. But God, if it were possible, she’d grown even more beautiful over the last forty-nine months. Her blond hair was tied up in a ponytail, a pencil stuck through the base, in a way he remembered well enough to make his throat go raw. In a short black skirt and fitted white T-shirt, River tried to look the part of indifferent barmaid, but didn’t pull it off.

Not by a stretch.

Eyes Vaughn knew were just a shade darker than cornflower blue flitted to each table, and her fingers tugged on the skirt’s hem self-consciously every time she approached a new one. When she fumbled with the notepad, recovering with a nervous laugh, a choked sound left Vaughn. “Riv,” he whispered.

She looked up so fast, he might as well have shouted. The sudden impact of having River’s focus on him after such an extended period of time without it released a rushing sound between his ears, blocking out the sad lounge act…and apparently someone asking if he needed a table. Because when Vaughn snapped back to reality, a man he towered over by at least a foot was in his face. Snapping his fingers.

“I wouldn’t…” Vaughn shook his head to clear it, experiencing a resurgence of anger, this time for having his attention diverted from where he needed it to be. On River.

“I wouldn’t advise snapping your fingers in my face again.”

“Why’s that, huh?”

A toss of blond hair snagged Vaughn’s gaze as his angelic ex-girlfriend zigzagged through the crowd, drawing more than just his notice. Ah no, quite the opposite. She was putting on an unwitting show for every man in the room, attracting lecherous looks by virtue of being her beautiful self, light in a dark tunnel, same way she’d always been.

Finger snapped in front of his face. Again. “This is my place and I asked you a question.”

“This is your place?” Vaughn asked. God, one hour back in Jersey and already his accent had thickened from water to oil. “You hired River Purcell to clean up tables?”

“That’s right.”

Vaughn plowed a fist into the underside of the man’s jaw, watching him fall backward onto the sticky concrete floor with detachment that slowly morphed into satisfaction. So much for calm, he thought, shaking out his right hand.

Reading Order: Made in Jersey series

Crashed Out by Tessa Bailey Rough Rhythm by Tessa Bailey Thrown Down by Tessa Bailey

#1 ~ Crashed Out: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#1.5 ~ Rough Rhythm: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Thrown Down: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Worked Up: Goodreads (Aug. 2016)

about the author button

Tessa BaileyTessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention. She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

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Blog Tour + Guest Post & Giveaway: Taking the Score by Kate Meader

Taking the Score tour
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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Taking the Score by Kate Meader! I have an amazing guest post from Kate today, on her reasons why nerds are sexy (YES!!), so please welcome her to the blog! You can also check out my review of Taking the Score here.

Guest Post: Kate Meader

Five Reasons Nerds Are Sexy

So the hero of my latest Brazen, TAKING THE SCORE has a lot going for him. He’s rich, Texan, impossibly handsome. But I could say that about practically every (Texan) hero I meet. What sets Brody Kane apart from the rest of the Lone Star riff raff is his nerd credentials. He was in Math Club. He collects Doctor Who figures. He demonstrates points with Monty Python quotes. Total nerd. Totally sexy.

Still not convinced of the sexiness of nerds? Let me count the ways.

  1. Nerds are passionate about things like Star Wars and Firefly and obscure shows on SyFy that nobody is watching outside of their Doctor Who forum buddies. That kind of passion is downright adorable.
  2. They tend to be more focused about everything, including how to please their ladies. (You can see how this kind of focus can be very beneficial.)
  3. Nerds don’t judge you for your passions. They were constantly judged in high school (and probably college, and probably life) so they know the pain. Your obsessions are cool with them.
  4. They are awesome problem-solvers.
  5. Nerds, especially tall, rich, Texan nerds, look awesome in a suit. Add glasses and you have yourself an ovary explosion.

How about a little snippet from TAKING THE SCORE where we see nerdy Brody through the eyes of Emma, his personal assistant?

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Making little or no effort with his appearance, he walked around in an abstracted haze that should not have appealed to her in any way. She usually liked built, tatted, dangerous men, not the lean, rangy type. Oh, there was muscle there, ropy cords of it rippling through his forearms and impressive thighs, but she suspected he hadn’t worked for it, not really. More like bought them at the gym on the first floor.

Not handsome in the classical sense, he radiated something more compelling. On the day the goddess was giving out the hawt, Brody Kane received an extra helping of sensuality instead of pretty boy. His lips were too full, even when sealed together in their customary grim disapproval. Mahogany hair flopped over his right eyebrow in a way that screamed, “I need a cut but I’m too distracted (making money) to care.”

But his most attractive feature was his eyes. Silver gray like moonlight over a calm stretch of water. Eyes that could cut you to pieces and rebuild you with a single look. To add sexy insult to hot injury, he wore glasses.

Yep, total dweeb.

Taking the Score by Kate Meader

Taking the Score by Kate Meader
Series: Tall, Dark, and Texan #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 15th 2016
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His office temptation is now his full-blown fantasy…

Paying down her sister’s debts has left personal assistant Emma Strickland with little more than the thrift store suit on her back. And as if the suckfest couldn’t get worse, she’s forced to get a second job as a waitress to support herself and her cat. At a strip club. Her uptight, sexy-as-hell boss Brody Kane can never find out.

Texas property tycoon Brody Kane hired Emma for her spreadsheet skills, but her prim and proper demeanor sealed the deal. There’s no room in his life for a sexy distraction…and yet, he can’t stop lusting after the delicious Ms. Strickland.

But then he takes an important client to a Chicago strip club and gets the worst lap dance in adult entertainment history. From Emma.

Now that he knows his office good girl has a naughty streak, Brody makes it his mission to uncover her secrets, one illicit, over-the-desk encounter at a time. But Emma is hiding more than her side job, and her final secret could end up destroying them both.

Buy Links:
Amazon • B&N • Google Play • iTunes • Kobo

Reading Order: Tall, Dark, and Texan series

 Taking the Score by Kate Meader

#1 ~ Even the Score: Ebook • Goodreads
#2 ~ Taking the Score: My Review • EbookPaperback • Goodreads

about the author button

Originally from Ireland, Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Mills & Boon thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron or a fire hose, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

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Guest Post + Giveaway: I’ll Be There by Samantha Chase

I’ll Be There, book 6 in the Montgomery Brothers series by Samantha Chase, is now available! I’m happy to have Samantha Chase here on the blog today with a special guest post!

Swoonworthy Wounded Romance Heroes

Hey, everyone! I’m Samantha Chase and I’m so happy to be here with you today. So Zach Montgomery – my hero in my new release “I’ll Be There” – is a wounded hero in every sense of the word. He’s sort of been the golden boy of his family and always lived life to the fullest. His passion was traveling and experiencing all kinds of extreme sports. On his last adventure – climbing Mount McKinley in Alaska – he suffers a near-life-threatening fall and is partially paralyzed.

His story actually begins in Montgomery book five – “Meant for You” – and he’s already proved that he’s going to be difficult. When we catch up with him now in this book, three months have gone by since the accident and he’s still in pretty bad shape – mentally and physically. For a man who always excelled at everything, Zach felt that he was going to get through this recovery and be back on his feet quickly. He took the diagnosis of partial paralysis as a minor bump in the road. But when it becomes obvious that it’s not going away any time soon, he starts lashing out at everyone. He refuses to work (even though he’s the head of the company), he shuns his family and friends and he’s particularly harsh on his assistant Gabriella.

The two of them have sort of been dancing around one another for years. At one time they were close but eventually their relationship turned to being cold – and that was totally on Zach’s part. And now he’s being even harder on her mainly because he’s feeling inferior – he doesn’t want to appear weak to anyone. Especially Gabriella. So as his recovery sort of hits a wall, he doesn’t want anyone around him. Unfortunately for him – all of the people in his life have had enough of his foul mood and they’re ready to step in and do something about it. That’s where Gabriella mainly comes in. She’s there to make sure he doesn’t lose his company and the two of them butt heads more than ever during this time.

Wounded heroes are actually wonderful to write because you can totally see their transformation into the happily-ever-after hero that we all want. And in the case of Zach, he’s wounded and mean but you still have sympathy for him and that is KEY when writing a wounded hero. You want a man who you want to root for. His issues are clear and you watch him go from this angry, defeated man to one who finds love and has hope. Sigh.

Many, many years ago I read a book by Sandra Brown called “Adam’s Fall” and simply fell in love with it. I still have the paperback version! Her hero was injured in a skiing accident (I believe) and that was really the first book I read about a wounded hero and I was fascinated by it! No matter how badly Adam behaved, you still kind of felt for him and that began my love affair with that kind of hero. However, Zach Montgomery is my first hero with this kind of extensive wounds and issues and so far readers have really responded to him.

I’ll Be There by Samantha Chase
Series: The Montgomery Brothers #6 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 1st 2015
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This Montgomery Has a Head for Business

Working for Zach Montgomery is challenging on many levels-coming from a wealthy and powerful family, he lives by his own rules and doesn’t answer to anyone. But Gabriella Martine has no intention of backing down. She’s used to handling stubborn men, and it doesn’t hurt that Zach is smart, charismatic… and gorgeous.

And a Heart for Adventure

Zach’s perfect world is turned upside down when a climbing accident leaves him broken, angry, and maddeningly dependent. In his slow quest for recovery, Gabriella is always there to help… but as Zach comes to see his beautiful assistant in a new light, he is forced to re-evaluate what it really means to be aman worthy of Gabriella’s love.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleKobo • IndieBound

Reading Order: The Montgomery Brothers series


#1 ~ Wait for Me: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Trust in Me: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Stay with Me: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#4 ~ Return to You: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#5 ~ Meant for You: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#6 ~ I’ll Be There: EbookPaperback • Goodreads

about the author button

Samantha ChaseNew York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

Website • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads

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Blog Tour + Top 8 Favorite Cliffhangers: Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe

Everything I Left Unsaid tour banner

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe! You can check out my review for this fascinating, entertaining book here!

M. O’Keefe’s Top Eight Favorite Cliffhangers

Man, I love a good cliffhanger, that giddy but slack-jawed feeling that comes when you think you have a book figured out and then WHAM! The doors get blown off. And a good cliffhanger is a tough thing to create – it has to be shocking but not so shocking as to be unbelievable. You want readers to fumble for their keys or their computer so they can quickly go and get the next book. You definitely don’t want readers to throw books at the wall and write hate mail.

Fine line, very fine line.

My book Everything I Left Unsaid has a cliffhanger, a doozy of one and I really hope no one is throwing their books at the wall.

In honor of that here’s my list of favorite cliffhangers.

  1. The Captive Prince by CS Pacat – I’m waiting for the third book right now and I honestly don’t know what to believe. Is Laurent manipulating everything? Or are his feelings real? WHAT IS HAPPENING?
  2. A Dance with Dragons  by George R. R. Martin – Jon Snow NOOOOOOOOOOO!
  3. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons. I don’t want to tell you how much money I spent for a foreign English language edition of the second book because it was going to be printed in Canada for another year. All because I HAD TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO ALEX!
  4. The Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning – this was one of the best reading experiences of my life. We were coming home from a cottage and I was reading the third book (I’d read the first two at the cottage – ignoring everything except Barrons) in the series and I made my husband pull over so I could use the wi-fi at a Starbucks so I could download the next one.
  5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – this series broke the mold. I might have pretended to be sick when the third book was released.
  6. One Week Girlfriend by Monica Murphy – I love Monica’s writing. I love her characters and like many romance readers I gobbled this  series up.
  7. Shari Slade had a serial running in her newsletter that was utterly addictive – so many cliffhangers, so much gritty wrongness – I love it. The Serial is The Devil’s Host MC – go check it out!
  8. The entire Outlander series  – I feel like I should reread the series now because I can imagine Sam Heughan as Jamie and that makes all the wondering and the angst even more powerful!

How about you? Which are your favorite cliffhangers? Or do you hate them?

Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O'Keefe

Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O’Keefe
Series: Everything I Left Unsaid #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 13th 2015
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Fans of Jodi Ellen Malpas, K. Bromberg, and Joanna Wylde will be unable to resist this sexy, deeply intimate tale of a woman running from her past, and the darkly mysterious man who sets her free.

I didn’t think answering someone else’s cellphone would change my life. But the stranger with the low, deep voice on the other end of the line tempted me, awakened my body, set me on fire. He was looking for someone else. Instead he found me.

And I found a hot, secret world where I felt alive for the first time.

His name was Dylan, and, strangely, he made me feel safe. Desired. Compelled. Every dark thing he asked me to do, I did. Without question. I longed to meet him, but we were both keeping secrets. And mine were dangerous. If I took the first step, if I got closer to Dylan—emotionally, physically—then I wouldn’t be hiding anymore. I would be exposed, with nothing left to surrender but the truth. And my truth could hurt us both.

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunes • Kobo

Reading Order: Everything I Left Unsaid series

Everything I Left Unsaid by M. O'Keefe The Truth About Him by M. O'Keefe

#1 ~ Everything I Left Unsaid: My Review • EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ The Truth About Him: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (Nov. 24, 2015)

about the author button

Molly O’Keefe has always known she wanted to be a writer (except when she wanted to be a florist or a chef and the brief period of time when she considered being a cowgirl). And once she got her hands on some romances, she knew exactly what she wanted to write.

She published her first Harlequin romance at age 25 and hasn’t looked back. She loves exploring every character’s road towards happily ever after.

Originally from a small town outside of Chicago, she went to university in St. Louis where she met and fell in love with the editor of her school newspaper. They followed each other around the world for several years and finally got married and settled down in Toronto, Ontario. They welcomed their son into their family in 2006, and their daughter in 2008. When she’s not at the park or cleaning up the toy room, Molly is working hard on her next novel, trying to exercise, stalking Tina Fey on the internet and dreaming of the day she can finish a cup of coffee without interruption.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

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