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Friday, December 7, 2012

A Spy Mission...with Tracey Devlyn and Giveaway

A Spy Mission of Christmas Eve - Tracey Devlyn

Tracey Devlyn writes historical romantic thrillers (translation: a slightly more grievous journey toward the heroine’s happy ending). She’s a co-founder of Romance University, a group blog dedicated to readers and writers of romance, and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, Chicagoland’s exciting new reading salon devoted to romantic fiction. An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters. For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website at www.TraceyDevlyn.com.

Places to find Tracey:

Welcome to the Marchioness of Hollingsworth’s annual masked ball. Every year, the marchioness invites the ton to enjoy a night of merrymaking on the evening before Christmas. This year, however, many unsuspecting guests will dine, dance, laugh, and steal kisses—and, perhaps, a whole lot more—while a secret meeting takes place upstairs. A meeting that will be the final spark to another war between England and France. Or, will it?

‘Twas the Spy Before Christmas
by Tracey Devlyn

1804, London

Evangeline Tyler edged away from the curtained shadows of the balcony to get a better view of the crowded ballroom below. The masked guests blurred in a spiraling canvas of watercolor as they whirled around the dance floor. Delicate lines of ivory, blue, yellow, green, and a multitude of other colors tangled with bold strokes of black. Boughs of pungent pine draped doorways and window frames and clusters of mistletoe hung in opportune nooks. Candlelight from three enormous chandeliers shimmered above the large room, creating a warm, festive glow.

A discontented sigh escaped from between Evie’s lips. The ton’s gaiety made the dismal course of her life feel all the more pronounced. With three-year-old Viscount Renfield tucked snuggly into his warm bed, she had the rest of the evening to do with as she pleased. But there was nothing for her to do and nowhere for her to go. She had no one with whom she could laugh or dance. No one with whom she could share stories of old. Even if she had someone, she would never reveal the horrors of the last decade. Some memories were just too painful to be told.

Evie closed her eyes against the splendor of the moment and swallowed back her anguish. When she opened them again, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye. A masculine figure in a black mantle and domino exited the servants’ staircase and strode furtively down the corridor toward the family wing. Careful not to expose her location to the revelers below, she sidled out of her hiding spot and then glanced around for help. Alone, as usual.

Without thought, she followed on shaky legs. Sweat gathered in the creases of her palms and blood pounded in her ears, drowning out the receding music and laughter. Her quarry slowed, and Evie ducked behind a table standing beneath a gilded frame. She parted her lips to lessen the sound of her shuddering breaths.

From this vantage point, she could see his black-clad legs paused outside the door leading to the marquess’s bedchamber. The door opened, and the mysterious gentleman slipped inside. She rushed back to the servants’ staircase and pushed open the door that led to the narrow, dimly corridor flanking the opposite side of the family’s bedchambers. When she reached the small door to the marquess’s dressing room, she wondered briefly what madness had possessed her to come even this far.

It had to be her unending boredom that compelled her to turn the latch and duck inside. Had she been listening to her instincts--the same ones that had saved her from working the streets and withering away in some workhouse--she would have taken the more conventional approach of fetching one of the male servants. But she hadn’t been listening and now she was huddled in a dark room, with a stranger nearby. A stranger who could be a murderer, for all she knew.

The moment she eased the door closed, the lock clicked in place. A frighteningly interesting fact, especially since she had not touched the key. She glanced around, though she could see nothing beyond the impenetrable darkness. Then something brushed her cheek.

She jumped back. “Who’s there?”

Shadows shifted, and she could now make out the vague silhouette of a rather large man. Could he hear the desperate thumping of her heart? She was quite certain the revelers below heard it.

“You first, mademoiselle.” His soft, persuasive voice was both alluring and dangerous.

He must have inched closer, for his spicy masculine scent filled her nose. “Evangeline Tyler. And you?”

“The governess.” His voice grew warmer. “A most unexpected surprise.”

“Do we know each other, sir?”

“To my regret, no.”

Now that her eyes had adjusted, she could see he still wore his black mask. She studied his strong, square jaw and full lips. They were familiar somehow, but she couldn’t pinpoint where she might have seen the combination before.

“Then how do you know I’m the governess?”

“It’s a special talent I have.”

Since he had not killed her yet, she ventured another question. “What are you doing in Lord Hollingsworth’s private chambers?”

He smoothed his finger down her cheek, over her chin and then along the hollow of her jawline until he reached her earlobe. The intimate trail sent prickles racing across her skin.

“Some things are better left unsaid, mademoiselle.”

The warning, so gently conveyed, was more effective than the bark of a military command.

“Perhaps it’s best I leave now.” She fumbled for the key. Why couldn’t she have followed the intruder into any other chamber? The servants’ entrances to Lord Hollingsworth’s bedchamber and study were the only ones in the whole house that sported locks.

He tsked, clasping her hands in his. “I cannot allow you to leave just yet, Miss Tyler,” he said. “But I can try to set your mind at ease about my presence.”

For some inexplicable reason, his restraint did not frighten her, as it should. Quite the contrary. The more she was in this stranger’s presence, the more comfortable she became. Bold, even.

“I’m listening,” she said.

“Your employer is in possession of vital information. Information I’ve been sent here to retrieve. Nothing more.”

“So, you are a thief?”

His tempting lips curled into a roguish grin. “Intelligence gatherer. Do you see the difference?”

“Not entirely,” she said with an answering smile. “Though now you sound like a spy.”

All amusement faded, and he reached up to cradle her face. “There’s something else I should like to gather before I leave.”

His talk of leaving, joined with his possessive touch, formed an awful knot in the center of her chest. “What would that be, sir?”

“Your kiss.”

Evie’s body shook with an unfamiliar craving. Never in her two and twenty years had she experienced physical attraction for a man. Admiration, yes. Longing, no. She wanted his kiss. Needed it, in truth.

She pressed closer, until her lips were a whisper away from his. “Yes.”

Leaning in, he inhaled deeply as if gathering her scent as well as her kiss. He brushed his lips over hers, once, twice. On the third pass, he claimed her mouth in a warm, luxuriant kiss.

Unable to remain motionless, she slid her hands around his firm middle and smoothed her fingers up the wide planes of his back. He was so large and overwhelming, and her pure feminine side delighted in this fact.

He deepened the kiss, and she rose up on her tiptoes to meet his demand.

A door in the outer bedchamber opened, and they froze mid-kiss. Masculine voices carried through the open door to the dressing room, but Evie could not make out their words.

The black-clad stranger turned the key and eased open the servants’ door. He grasped her hand and moved into the corridor. Evie remained rooted in place. His masked face turned toward her, and he must have understood her hesitation. He stepped back and kissed her again.

Then he was gone.

A terrible, crushing weight pushed against her chest. She thought of her dreary life, of her ever-lasting loneliness. She thought of the comfort and security she felt in the stranger’s arms.

“Where is it?” a man yelled from the bedchamber.

Evie picked up her skirts and ran after the masked stranger.

He leaned against the wall, waiting. When he saw her skid to an abrupt halt, his teeth gleamed white in the low lamplight. He held out his hand.

She returned his smile and twined her fingers with his, squeezing tight. As she ran toward an unknown future, Evie heard a clock in the distance chime toward the twelfth hour.

A very happy Christmas, indeed.


A British agent flees her French captor’s torturous dungeon and falls in love with the decoder responsible for her imprisonment.

British agent Cora deBeau has spent the last three years seducing secrets from the most hardened of French spies while searching for her parents’ killer. When her latest assignment goes awry, she suffers at the hands of her French captor until Guy Trevelyan, the Earl of Helsford and master cryptographer, saves her during a daring rescue. Scarred and wary of men, Cora shies away from the one man who could heal her savaged heart.

After rescuing Cora from a French dungeon, Guy discovers it was one of his deciphered messages that led to her captivity. Guy strives to earn her forgiveness while outwitting their enemy. But will he find the scars on her wounded soul run too deep?

Purchase: | Amazon Kindle Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository |

Check out the Nexus series:
Click for more info.

Want to win some goodies from Tracey? Check out whats up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:

To Enter:
  • Leave a meaningful comment or question for Tracey.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter
  • International Shipping Available

    **Don't forget to head over to Not Another Romance Blog to check out author, Jillian Stone's story.


    Good Luck and Happy Holidays =)
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    78 comments :

    1. I really enjoy spy stories and romances and A Ladies Revenge has both. It doesn't get much better than that. I can't wait to read it.

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    2. That was Amazing! I love a good spy romance. Can't wait to read your book. Thanks for sharing.

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    3. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to reading it :)

      Lori P

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    4. i never read tracey's book before...sounds interesting...
      thx u for the chance for winning it :)

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    5. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to reading it :)

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    6. hmm spy story, i think i will enjoy this one.

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    7. Hello everyone,

      I'm incredibly happy to see so many readers interested in spy romance novels!

      Hugs,
      Tracey

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    8. Lovely story. I love reading historical spy romances.

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    9. wow...a spy story,,i love it,,and i like the cover,,

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    10. I enjoy mystery type novels and this one sounds like something I would enjoy. I love the idea od a lady spy. Thanks

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    11. Spys and romance. I love a great suspense story.

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    12. You are a new writer for me. Sounds like something that I would like to read though. Will look for it in the book store next time!

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    13. I always enjoy a good spy story. Romance and intrigue are a great combination! This excerpt really makes you want MORE!

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    14. I agree totally with Cheryl -- will have to find this book and more time :) lol

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    15. spy story.. it's been a while since i read spy story. gonna put this one on my wishlist

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    16. Thanks for the awesome post! I loved this book!

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    17. Keep the comments coming! So excited to see everyone here!!

      Tracey

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    18. ^^ new author for me ( this month is really rich in discoveries

      i loved the excerpt thank you a lot for opening your giveaway to international!

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    19. I love the intrigue and excitement of reading spy stories. Conbine that with my love for historical romance and I've definitely got a winner :)

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    20. Hi, Tracey! You are a new author for me. I loved your excerpt of 'TWAS THE SPY BEFORE CHRISTMAS. A Lady's Revenge sounds very good also. I love spy stories -- especially if they are good spies.

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      1. Cathy P--they're VERY good spies, with very real flaws. :)

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    21. I haven't had a chance to read any of your books. You are now on my to-be-read list for sure. The excerpt from Twas the night before Christmas is the exact reason why I love historical romance and why I crave the adventures. I am so glad you are doing this giveaway so that I could find you!!!!

      josiehink122026(at)gmail(dot)com

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      1. Oh, thank you, Josie! I hope you enjoy the Nexus series!!

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    22. Oh, Tracey! What a wonderful novel! As I was reading the excerpt, I found myself biting my lip and on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen. I adore a novel that features a strong governess and Evangeline sounds like the perfect heroine. Cannot wait to read "Twas the Spy Before Christmas." I've just added it to my Wish List! I hope Santa has lots of copies on hand as I think he will be getting a lot of requests. Thanks for participating in this giveaway.

      Connie Fischer
      conniecape@aol.com

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      1. Connie, thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed "Twas the Spy Before Christmas. This is actually a short I wrote just for this giveaway. If you love stories like this, my second book will be out in Feb. Checkmate, My Lord features a spymaster, a lonely widow, and a precocious 7-year-old girl who loves dragons and castles and swords! :)

        Tracey

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    23. Hi Tracey,

      I loved A Lady's Revenge. Looking forward to Checkmate, My Lord. Excellent short story too.

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    24. Hi Tracey!

      I can't believe that I missed picking up a copy of your debut book, A Lady's Revenge, back in the Spring when it was released!

      I love that your write historical romance that are thrillers and am looking forward to reading Checkmate My Lord and A Lady's Secret Weapon next year.

      I'm curious to find out about what Guy's message revealed and how it led to Cora being captured and put in a dungeon as well as what she endured being there.

      Your heroine isn't the norm for a lady of the time. How did you decide on her being a British agent and did you include anything in A Lady's Revenge explaining how and why she was recruited?

      Since Cora is a British Agent and in your next book Sebastian is a spy I was also wondering what "occupation" your characters will have in A Lady's Secret Weapon?

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      1. Great questions, Jeanne!! The concept for A Lady's Revenge grew from what I call a "flash scene." Cora appeared to me chained to a table. So, I had to build a novel around WHY she was chained to a table. Seemed like a good time to bring in England's enemy--France. LOL And yes, you'll learn all the details of how and why she became a secret service agent.

        A Lady's Secret Weapon features Cora's brother, Ethan deBeau. He's also a spy--a boudoir spy, to be exact. The heroine, Sydney Hunt, owns an employment agency for servants. At least, that's what's on the shingle outside the Hunt Agency. The agency's special services aren't so well advertised. :)

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    25. Are these little shorts that y'all are leaving for the blogs going to be books? Or is it just something fun for the blog hop? There are so many of them that I want to see come to fruition. They are so good and they're leaving us hanging, LOL! This one sure would make for a great read.

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      1. Leah, I believe it's a combination of several things--glimpses of characters in a current book or upcoming release and, in my case, a fun read just for Xmas event giveaway. :)

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    26. Oh what a delicious sneak peak, thank for you excerpt I was so sad when it ended <3 lovely book it seems another one for my TBR list :D thank you for the giveaway as well. Happy Holidays!

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      1. Ha! Thanks, Lily B. Glad you enjoyed the short story!!

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    27. Thanks for the excerpt and the chance to win!! A Lady's Revenge sounds really good!

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    28. Hi Tracey!

      Looking forward to reading Checkmate. Love the title! I really enjoyed your short story. Happy Holidays!

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      1. Thanks so much, Jen!! Have a great holiday, too!!

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    29. What a teaser of a story, Tracey! I love the way you write and want to know what happens next. :) Congrats on both A Lady's Revenge and Checkmate, My Lord.

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      1. Thanks, Amy! So glad you could stop by!!

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    30. I absolutely love the description of this story. I definitely want to read it. Thanks for the giveaway.

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    31. Thanks for the great teaser story.

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    32. A Lady's Revenge sounds interesting specially since the spy is the heroine.
      bituin76 at hotmail dot com

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      1. Thanks, JanD! ALR will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason alone.

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    33. Congrats on your Debut novel Tracey. I'm looking forward to reading the Nexus series. It sounds intriguing and full of suspense and romance.Thanks for this chance.
      Carol L
      Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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      1. Lots of suspense, Carol L! Good luck with the draw!!

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    34. I agree with other comments, I like how the spy is female! Interesting! I hope to get to read it soon!
      BrittanyG@gmail.com

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    35. hummm Spys and romance sounds like an interesting combination. Looking forward to checking this one out.
      amandavmartin@bellsouth.net

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    36. These giveaway's you have been hosting have introduced me to so many new authors. I am a HUGE fan of Historical Romance and I am always on the search for authors I will like and enjoy. This sounds like a great book I think I am going to put it on my Christmas List from Santa.. aka the hubby. ;)

      Dbookwhore(at)gmail(dot)com

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      1. LOL, Danielle. I hope hope Santa delivers!

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    37. Very nice post and covers.

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    38. Tracey is a new author to me. I started out reading historical romance when I started reading romance novels waaaayyyyy back when. Now, there are so many genre choices for one to consider. I keep coming back to historical thought, there must be something that keeps bringing me back. I can't wait to learn more about Tracey and her books.

      luvfuzzzeeefaces at yahoo dot com

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      1. Julianne, thanks for stopping by. I'm the same as you. Love reading in other subgenres of romance, but historical is the one of my heart!

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    39. Thanks for the giveaway! Looks great. Can't wait to read it!

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    40. Great scene! Thanks for the givaway.

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    41. Great excerpt...thanks for sharing! This looks like a must read...I'll check it out!
      ivegotmail8889(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    42. Replies
      1. Hey Eli,

        So good to see you here! Hope you're doing well.

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      2. Hey Eli, so nice to see you here! Hope you're doing well.

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    43. Thanks for the excerpt, that was very interesting. I always love to read spy story. Can't wait to read this book.

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    44. Thanks for the story, it was a fun one.

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    45. Thanks for stopping by, everyone! Good luck with the draw!!

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    46. I love the idea of a "a slightly more grievous journey". A wonderful story.

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      1. LOL - good! I wanted to let readers know that my books aren't light Regency reads.

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    47. Love historical romance and this looks great. Thanks.
      magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

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    48. Hi, Tracey. The excerpt was very interesting! I can't wait to read it since I enjoy reading spy romance, especially historical. And I loooove the cover. I was wondering, what spy romance movie/book you love the most? :)

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      1. Diah, great question! I love the Jason Bourne and James Bond movies. A reviewer once compared A Lady's Revenge to SALT (with Angelina Jolie), which was great because I loved the anticipation of that movie. I have many others but those are the ones that come to mind this morning.

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    49. Spy/Mistery books are my favorite! Can't wait to enjoy this one! Thanks for the chance!

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    50. A spy lady and a guy who inadvertently put her in jail? Hmm, sounds like an interesting story :)

      Thanks for the chance to win a copy, Tracey!

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    51. "intelligence Gatherer" I like that!

      Thanks so much!

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    52. Tracy, you are a new2me author, but from this post it looks like I need to keep an eye on you!!

      Thanks for the chance to win!

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    53. Wow... just ... wow! Words cannot describe! Thank you so much, and have a Merry Christmas!
      smoofrog @gmail dot com

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    54. I have not read your newest book, but have put it on my Christmas list. So if Santa is willing so am I, ha,ha! :)

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    55. I have not read any of your books but I have put you on my Christmas list. So if Santa is willing I am able.

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    56. Everyone, thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I really loved reading your notes and hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. Hugs and warm wishes, Tracey

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