Cover Reveal and Giveaway! THE DUKE OF DEFIANCE by Darcy Burke (The Untouchables #5)

We are so excited to bring you the cover reveal for Darcy Burke’s The Duke of Defiance, book 5 in The Untouchables series. We hope you love the cover as much as we do!

Release date: June 27, 2017

Difficult and defiant as a child, Bran Crowther, Earl of Knighton left England as a young man to pursue independence and adventure. He never expected to inherit the title and when duty calls him home, he still finds Society’s codes constricting and others’ expectations oppressive. Nevertheless, he needs a wife to be a mother to his young daughter, preferably a woman of intelligence and warmth who is, above all, immune to his idiosyncrasies—and to falling in love.

Widow Joanna Shaw isn’t interested in a second marriage, not after the loveless, passionless union she endured. She’d much rather dote on her young niece and nephew since they will likely be the only children in her life…until she meets a precocious girl, in desperate need of a mother. But her father, the so-called Duke of Defiance, is as peculiar as he is handsome, and Jo won’t take another risk with her heart. Their rules, however, are made to be broken, even when the consequences could destroy them both.

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Meet the Author:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.

Connect with Darcy: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway:

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE DUKE OF DECEPTION by Darcy Burke (The Untouchables #3)

About the Book:

After five years on the Marriage Mart, Miss Aquilla Knox is ready for spinsterhood until a benefactress steps in to help her secure a husband. Only Aquilla doesn’t actually want to marry—her failure is entirely on purpose. When the earl she’s nicknamed the Duke of Deception sets his sights on her, she refuses to be drawn in by her attraction to him. If there’s one thing she knows it’s that a gentleman is never what he seems.

Edward Bishop, Earl of Sutton, has a reputation for courting young misses and dropping them without a second thought. This has earned him a reputation for deceit, a description he can’t refute because he does in fact, harbor secrets and will do anything—deceive anyone—to ensure they don’t come to light. As he comes to know the charming Miss Knox, his resolve is tested. However, trust comes at a price and Ned won’t pay with his heart.

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Excerpt:

“Ahem.”

The soft utterance came from the door behind Ned. He pivoted and listened, wondering if he’d imagined the sound amidst the steady pit-pat of rain.

“Ahem.” The statement came more loudly. “Pardon me, but might I ask a favor?”

Ned turned fully toward the feminine voice coming from the dim veranda. He pulled the door wider. “Come in.”

“No.” She stood just outside. Ned could only make out her vague shape. “I can’t come into the ballroom. I need to enter another way and get to the retiring room. I’m afraid I was caught in this rain and…” Her voice trailed off.

Ned strained his eyes to try to see her features, but it was dark and she was standing too far away from the light of the ballroom. “I believe there’s another door along the terrace.” He gestured behind her. He’d visited Middlegrove House a few times and had been outside before.

“Yes, but it’s locked. That is why I need a favor. I don’t suppose you could find Lady Satterfield and ask her to unlock that door for me?”

Lady Satterfield and not Lady Middlegrove? He glanced back at the crowded ballroom and doubted he could find either of them, especially quickly. “Are you out there unprotected in the rain?” She had to be freezing. It was a cool night amidst a particularly cold spring.

“Er…yes.” She sounded resigned. “It was not my best idea.” Her calm tone carried an edge of humor that Ned found intriguing. He would’ve expected most women to be far more agitated by such a predicament.

Clearly she was alone, and he wondered what she was doing out there by herself. However that hardly mattered while she was standing there likely shivering. “Go to the door, and I’ll ensure it’s unlocked posthaste.”

She exhaled sharply, and the sound carried a thrum of relief. “Thank y-you.”

Yes, she was shivering.

He considered handing her his coat through the open doorway, but that would invite unwanted attention and scandal—something Ned was always careful to avoid.

“I’ll hurry.” He left the doorway and cut around the edge of the ballroom, making his way to the card room next door. He wasn’t exactly sure which room the locked terrace door opened into, but suspected it was just on the other side of this one.

He ought to find Lady Middlegrove or a retainer or even Lady Satterfield, since the young woman had asked for her, but he was too concerned with getting her inside as quickly as possible. And since he didn’t see any of those people, he decided to help her himself.

He left the card room and looked around to discern if anyone was about to pay him any mind. Satisfied that he was alone and unobserved, he went into the next room, which appeared to be Lord Middlegrove’s office and closed the door firmly behind him. A low fire burned in the grate as he walked swiftly toward the exterior door. After unbolting it, he opened it wide.

Standing at the threshold looking little better than a drowned cat was a young woman, her face pale and her eyes wide. She hugged her arms around her waist and stepped inside.

He took her gently by the arm and pulled her farther into the room before closing the door sharply behind her. “Come to the fire.”

Her peach-colored dress was sodden and dark. Wet curls stuck to her temples and cheeks. A droplet of rain slid from her nose.

“Th-thank y-y-you.” The words trembled from her mouth like a newborn foal as she moved to stand in front of the fire. She stuck her hands out, warming her palms.

“Give me those.” He took her left hand and pulled off the damp glove then repeated the action with the right. Uncertain of what to do with them, he set them on the mantel.

She looked at him then scanned the room. “Wh-where is L-lady Satterfield?”

“I didn’t see her. I thought it prudent to get you inside as quickly as possible.”

Her eyes widened briefly before narrowing to scrutinize him. “W-we’re in here alone?”

“Regrettably, but no one saw me, and no one will learn we are here.” He crossed back to the door he’d used to enter and locked it. “Better?” he asked when he returned to her side.

“N-no, I’m not at all certain that’s better. N-now we’re l-locked in a room together.” She cast him an ambivalent glance before turning her attention to the fire. She edged closer and turned her hands to warm the backs.

“Just what were you doing on the terrace?”

She closed her eyes briefly before cocking her head to glance at him. “T-trying to be discreet? My gown has a tear and I wanted to find the retiring room without having to cross the ballroom. I thought I could take a shortcut via the terrace. Unfortunately it was raining—softly at first, so I hurried. B-but the door was locked, and the heavens decided to punish my foolishness by making it rain harder.”

“You weren’t being foolish.”

She cast him a glance heavy with doubt. “I appreciate your d-defense of my character, but I was.”

“You didn’t know the door would be locked or that it was going to rain like that. You were trying to be sensible.”

She laughed softly, but it quickly turned into a shiver. Her shoulders hunched.

Ned shrugged out of his coat and draped it about her shoulders. She turned her head sharply and gave him another wide-eyed look. “As long as we’re ignoring propriety…” he said. “Just wear my coat for a few minutes while I determine how to get you out of the house and on your way home.”

“Y-yes, that would be lovely.” She didn’t sound disappointed in the slightest. In fact, Ned would’ve said she sounded pleased. Enthusiastic even, particularly given the smile tugging at her mouth. Perhaps her attitude was simply due to her predicament. What young woman was happy to leave Lady Middlegrove’s ball? And wasn’t completely overcome when caught in a rainstorm in a ballgown?

The kind that piqued his interest.

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Review:

Another “Untouchable” bites the dust!

The Duke of Deception is Aquilla and Ned’s story. It’s a bit ironic that the secret nickname Ned, the Earl of Sutton, was given by Aquilla, Ivy, and Lucy is the Duke of Deception when Aquilla and Ivy are hiding some pretty major secrets themselves. We learn Aquilla’s here–and Ned’s–but still have to wait for Ivy’s…I’m pretty sure Ms. Burke will make it worth the wait, though 😉

But really, girls. Pots, kettles, equal blackness…but I digress.

I liked Aquilla and Ned, both on their own and together. They made a great couple, even if their courtship did end up getting a bit fast tracked due to circumstances. I understood why they both felt the need to keep their secrets–even from each other–but wish that they had come to light earlier in the book than they did. Once the secrets were revealed, everything happened very, very quickly and then bam! the story was over. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of them together afterwards, watching them living their lives without so much coming between them. The drama of Aquilla’s former suitor and that of her parents didn’t quite feel finished either. Still, I did enjoy this one quite a bit.

Both Aquilla and Ned have had a whole lot to deal with in their lives and they really deserved to find not only their HEAs, but also to finally find the person that they could each be themselves around. At the same time their story gives you a glimpse into how the 19th century dealt with issues like mental illness and domestic abuse (hint: the answer is, not well) and really makes you appreciate how far we’ve come in dealing with the former, at least. George’s portion of the story is heartbreaking (though I really, really want to know what his diagnosis would be today–we don’t learn enough about what happened to him, likely because the characters don’t know either), and Aquilla’s mother and sister-in-law are even worse off. Fingers crossed that Aquilla’s finally able to make a difference for them eventually as well…

But Aquilla and Ned. Soooo good together. 🙂

Deception is book three in the series but should function well as a standalone. The couples from books one and two ( The Forbidden Duke and The Duke of Daring ) do play parts in this one, but if you haven’t read their stories (yet!) you should still do just fine with this one.

Bring on Ivy and the Duke of Desire–I’m ready for them!

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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Meet Darcy:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.
Connect with Darcy: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Check out the other books in The Untouchable series:

Giveaway:

  • Duke of Deception Prize Pack filled with the following:
    • Signed copy of The Forbidden Duke and The Duke of Daring
    • Jane Austen jigsaw puzzle
    • Jane Austen inspired candle
    • Pride & Prejudice board book
    • Bath salts from author Wendy LaCapra
    • Darcy Burke trading cards, bookmark, and cleaning cloth
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A Conversation with Darcy Burke, Author of THE DUKE OF DARING (The Untouchables #2–with a New Release Review and Giveaway!)

 Love is the one risk he doesn’t have the heart to dare.

Welcome, Darcy! What 5 things should readers know about you?

1) I believe in happy ever after, but also that you have to work for it.

2) My family is the most important thing in the world to me.

3) Live music often makes me cry.

4) I belong to a sorority and am currently an active volunteer.

5) I’m far more introverted than I used to be, but I love forming connections and making new friends.

Great!

 

Where did the inspiration for this book come from?

The Untouchables series was an idea that just sort of formed. I love wallflower heroines and wanted to write a series about them. There’s a bit of a Cinderella quality to these stories in that these women have given up on love, on finding their happy ever after school, and of course they find them when and where they least expect to.

It’s a great idea—and I’m loving them so far! Can’t wait for the next two 🙂

 

How long have you been writing, and what (or who) inspired you to start?

I’ve been writing toward publication for about ten years. Before that, I wrote, but didn’t try to publish anything. I didn’t even finish anything! Finishing that first book is hard. Knowing you can do it is half the battle. It’s a bit like running, which is as much mental as it is physical. I’ve been writing since I was young–faux news reports to amuse my grandparents, stories, screenplays of my favorite romance novels (it’s true!), and finally romance novels. I started reading romance thanks to my mom, but the writing is maybe something I inherited from my paternal grandmother. Several years after she died, we found some things she’d written, including a wonderful narrative account of their family’s move to Oregon. It’s great stuff.

Finishing IS hard! That’s wonderful about your grandmother—it’s a shame no one knew about it before.

 

What are you working on right now? What can readers look for from you in the next year?

I’m currently working on a contemporary romance, the first in the Love on the Vine sub series (I’m coining that word, lol), which is an offshoot from Ribbon Ridge. SO GOOD will be out later this summer. After that, I’ll go back to historical, with the next book in The Untouchables. THE DUKE OF DECEPTION features Aquilla and the Earl of Sutton. I’m excited about their story! That will be out in the fall. I may or may not get one other book out before the end of 2016–we’ll see! Within the next year, you can expect to see all three Love on the Vine novels, as well as the next two books in The Untouchables. After that, I have a couple of projects (one historical and one contemporary) that I’m percolating. I may also do another book in The Untouchables. There’s at least one other story in that world that I’d like to tell beyond the three wallflowers readers met in THE FORBIDDEN DUKE.

Another Untouchable story beyond the first four? Awesome! Looking forward to the contemporaries too 🙂

 

If you had to “sell” your book in a single Tweet, what would you say?

An intrepid wallflower gets unsolicited help from a dashing earl & sparks fly! Falling in love may be their greatest adventure…

Perfect! Thanks so much, Darcy!

Darcy Burke is the USA Today bestselling author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily-ever-after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids-who each seem to have inherited the writing gene in some form-and two Bengal cats. In her “spare” time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say “no,” but she keeps having to start over. Her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

THE DUKE OF DARING
The Untouchables #2
Darcy Burke
Releasing July 5th, 2016
Miss Lucinda Parnell is out of money. A dismal failure at the Marriage Mart, she’d just as soon leave Society far behind. Desperate to earn funds to retire with her grandmother to the country, Lucy disguises herself as a man to gamble in London’s hells. But the Earl of Dartford, an Untouchable she never imagined speaking to let alone spending time with, is onto her in a trice. When he insists on acting as her protector, Lucy fears her chance to remain an independent woman is destined to go up in flames.
After losing his entire family, Andrew Wentworth, Earl of Dartford built a wall to keep attachments at bay. He believed he could keep Miss Parnell safe without compromising his defenses, but she’s exciting and irresistible. Their deepening relationship makes him even more determined to push her away. Nothing will stop him from trying to avoid reliving the anguish of loss. Love is the one risk he
doesn’t have the heart to dare.
 
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Excerpt-Banner

He led Miss Parnell toward the dance floor. “Why didn’t you want to dance with me?”

“Don’t take it personally. I don’t like to dance with anyone.”

He glanced down at her. “Not a very good dancer?”

She sucked in a breath and then laughed. He liked that sound. Almost as much as he liked watching her animated face. “I’m an excellent dancer.”

He arched a brow at her. “I’ll be the judge of that.”

She rolled her eyes. “I suppose you’re superior on the dance floor. You don’t seem to have any deficiencies.”

He grinned, enormously pleased with her observation. “I’m so glad you noticed.”

The set finished, and the music started for the next dance. A waltz. Andrew couldn’t believe his good luck.

Miss Parnell’s nostrils flared. It was a slight reaction, but Andrew caught it.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“I haven’t waltzed very much. I wasn’t paying attention to the sets, otherwise I would’ve told you I couldn’t dance this one.”

He lightly clasped her waist and took her hand. “I thought you said you were an excellent dancer.”

She scowled at him as she curled her fingers around his and placed her hand on his shoulder. “You are most ungracious.”

He laughed again, enjoying her immensely. “Come now, surely if you can shoot a gun with deadly accuracy, you can’t let a waltz defeat you?”

She squared her shoulders, which drew his attention to her chest. Though she wasn’t well-endowed, she was nicely formed for her frame, and the bodice of her raspberry silk ball gown fit her to perfection.

“No, I shan’t. I’m invincible, don’t you know?” She gave him a saucy look, and he was completely enchanted.

They moved with the music, and he was glad he remembered how to waltz. “I have a confession to make. My waltzing experience is rather limited as well.”

“Charlatan.”

He laughed again. “That’s ironic coming from you.”

She lifted a shoulder. “One might say I’m uniquely qualified to recognize deception.”

Review-Banner

 Definitely my favorite of the series–so far!

I adored Lucy and Andrew 🙂

She’s determined to be independent, to make up for the dire straits that her wastrel father (and grandfather, apparently) have left her and her grandmother in and refuses to take any nonsense from anyone. She’s going to do what she needs to do, and that’s that, gosh darn it.

He’s been nicknamed “the Duke of Daring” (even though he’s just an earl; obviously they know the power of a quality piece of alliteration) by Lucy and her friends, because he seems bound and determined to fulfill every possible dare out there–from diving naked into the Thames to parachuting from a hot air balloon. What Lucy and her cohorts don’t know–yet–is that his daring is hiding a deep hurt, and Andrew is living his life too afraid to let anyone get close to him ever again.

Until he encounters a mysterious “man” in a London gambling hell who he just can’t help but taking under his wing. At first he’s just going to keep Lucy safe, and assist her toward reaching her goal of making enough blunt to afford a small cottage in Bath for her and her grandmother to retire to. He’s not going to get more involved than that, though, because relationships are something he just doesn’t do–not anymore. Except there’s something about Lucy that draws him in…

I loved that Andrew was only bossy when he really needed to be, when it was absolutely necessary to keep Lucy and/or her secret safe. He was completely willing to let her do all kinds of things that women “just didn’t do”–besides gambling, he let her ride along on a curricle race, supplied the pistol for her to compete in a shooting exhibition, and even contemplated taking her on his balloon ride. Maybe his attitude wasn’t 100% authentic for the time period, but it certainly endeared him to this reader! Surely there were some women who wanted more than society offered, and some men who were willing to help them get it?

If not, oh well–that’s why we call it historical fiction. It still makes for some darn good reading.

Lucy does her part for him as well, not only by distracting him from his grief with all of the work involved in keeping her safe, but also by drawing him closer to all those people he’d been trying to keep his distance from for so many years. I loved, loved, loved what these two were able to do for each other. So many feels!

The Duke of Daring worked just fine as a standalone, though it’s the second in the series. It takes place about five years after the first book ( The Forbidden Duke ) and though Nora (and Titus) play a small part in this one, it’s not necessary to have read their story to enjoy this one. (But do yourself a favor and read it anyway, because Nora and Titus.) We get some hints about the other two wallflowers’ (AKA “Untouchables”) upcoming stories in this one–I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Ivy (who obviously is going to fall for the “Duke of Debauchery”–perfect!) and Aquilla. Plus, I hear there may be a fifth book in the works as well–whooo hoooooo!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE FORBIDDEN DUKE by Darcy Burke (The Untouchables #1)

VT-TheForbiddenDuke-DBurke_FINAL

The Forbidden Duke
The Untouchables #1
By: Darcy Burke
Released March 15, 2016.
Self-Published

 

Blurb:

Spinster Miss Eleanor Lockhart is suddenly homeless and employment is her only option. Ruined after succumbing to a scoundrel’s excessive charm nearly a decade ago, she’s lucky to obtain a position as a paid companion and committed to behaving with the utmost propriety. She definitely shouldn’t be in the arms of a man capable of utterly destroying what little remains of her reputation…

Titus St. John, Duke of Kendal, is known as the Forbidden Duke, a mysterious, intimidating figure who enters Society just once each year at his stepmother’s ball. A decade ago, he was a devil-may-care rake until his idle roguery brought about the ruin of Eleanor Lockhart—and his resulting self-imposed isolation. Now she’s back, and she needs his help. But by “saving” her, he may just ruin her life all over again.

 

Excerpt:

The library was not a small chamber, however it seemed somehow smaller tonight. Kendal’s presence seemed to invade every nook and inhabit every cranny, and Nora was nearly overcome with awareness. And nervousness.

She rushed to say something to put herself at ease. “I quite enjoy the Satterfields’ library.”

He paused, pivoting toward the bookcases that marched along one wall. “Do you? What are your favorites?”

Nora wondered what he’d think of her tastes, which ran the gamut from romantic novels to gothic tales to poetry to suspenseful narratives. “I have many. I’m afraid it’s difficult to choose.”

“What’s the last one you read then?”

She hesitated, but only briefly. “A romantic novel by Sarah Wilkinson.” Presumably, he’d find her tastes lacking.

“I’ve read all of her books.”

Nora looked up at him in surprise. “You read Sara Wilkinson?”

He gave her a sly look. “Perhaps you noticed that Lady Satterfield owns every title. She’s always had a penchant for such stories, and, in my youth, I read everything I could get my hands on. Everything.”

Nora pressed her fingers to her mouth and giggled. “Do you like romantic novels?”

“I don’t dislike them. If I’m in a particular mood, I’ve been known to read three or four in a week.”

Her giggles turned to outright laughter. “The Forbidden Duke reads tawdry romances? What would the ton say?”

“I don’t give a damn what anyone says, but I suppose that would cause a stir.”

How lovely it must be not to care—not to have to care—what others said about you. “Everything you do causes a stir,” she said, her laughter dying down. “The novels would make you seem more human, however.” She inwardly winced at how awful that sounded. “Oh dear, please forgive me. I didn’t mean to infer you aren’t human.”

He took her hand and tucked her fingers beneath his coat, guiding her palm flat against his waistcoat directly over his heart. “You can feel that I am.”

Nora’s breath caught. She looked up at him, her gaze locking with his. “I never doubted it.”

Review:

An enjoyable read!

I liked that both Nora and Titus were older than the usual Regency heroine/hero (Nora more than Ttitus, since the men tend to be older anyway, but he acted older than many of his peers) and that both were still trying to deal with things that had happened ten years earlier. I was a bit worried about what would happen when Nora found out that Titus had had a part in her ruination so many years earlier, but that part was nicely handled and very believable. Did I mention that I liked having more mature heroes and heroines? Especially when they manage to act like rational human beings…

Their romance was nicely built up; I loved how Titus kept finding ways to justify all the extra time he spent at society functions (he usually attended a single ball each season–his stepmother’s–where he danced one time only) just to see Nora again, even if deep down he knew he was full of it. So adorable. And Nora really tried to find a husband that wasn’t Titus… 😉

The secondary characters in the story were delightful as well–I loved Titus’s stepmother, Lady Satterfield (also Nora’s employer/sponsor) and Lady Dunn, the society matron who takes Nora under her wing. Lord Satterfield, Titus’s stepmother’s new husband, was also a great character. I could have easily spent another hundred or so pages in company with all of them!

A few of the events toward the end–the rumor that serves as a catalyst to action for Titus, and the introduction (I assume) of future series characters–felt a bit heavy-handed, but I enjoyed the rest of the story so much it’s hard to really mind all that much.

Ms. Burke is a new-to-me author, but I’ll definitely be reading more from her in the future–both the continuation of this series and others 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

 Burke, Darcy- The Forbidden Duke

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Author Info:Darcy
Darcy Burke is the USA Today bestselling author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily-ever-after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids-who each seem to have inherited the writing gene in some form-and two Bengal cats. In her “spare” time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say “no,” but she keeps having to start over. Her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.

 

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

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