Hell Fire (Corine Solomon Series #2)

Hell Fire (Corine Solomon Series #2)

by Ann Aguirre

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451463241
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Series: Corine Solomon Series , #2
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 831,927
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

In her life, Ann Aguirre has been a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband and two adorable children who sometimes do as they are told.

Read an Excerpt

I'm still a redhead.

Before we left Texas, I touched up the roots with Garnier Nutrisse 64-R, and then I had some tawny apricot highlights put in. I guessed that meant I intended to keep this color for a while. Symbolic—I'd made a commitment, at least to my hair.

Too bad I couldn't do the same with Chance. I didn't trust him entirely, and what was more, he didn't trust me either. He secretly thought I'd leave, which I had done, die, which I'd nearly done, or break his heart. I just hoped I wouldn't combine the three.

Until we resolved the conflict between us—such as his gift, which might kill me like it did his former lover—I couldn't be more than a friend to him. He knew it too. I think he'd known as much even when he pressed the point on Chuch's couch, back in Laredo.

Chuch is a friend who helped us out of a dangerous situation, where we managed to piss off a warlock and the head of a cartel, who had a score to settle with Chance's mom. Two days ago, Min took the bus to Tampa ; she's safe at her homeopathy store. There's nothing to link her new life to old, and if she hadn't gone back to Texas, Montoya would've never found her. But we'll call her daily, just to make sure.

If Montoya managed to replace his pet practitioner, then it might be possible for him to track Min. I didn't know how much talent she had in the Art, so I could only hope she knew how to cook a charm to block scrying from her store. Me? I had no aptitude at all. That was ironic, considering my mother was a witch.

I was a little worried about reprisals. Chance's mother made the Montoyas agree to a pact preventing them from striking at her son, but I had no such guarantees. But it would take a little while for Montoya to find someone to replace the warlock we killed. So I banished the dark thoughts and focused on the road. We were almost there.

The Mustang purred along, underlining Chance's silence. He wasn't happy about this trip to Kilmer, Georgia, but he'd promised, and I wanted answers. He owed me.

When he showed up at my pawnshop in Mexico, asking for my help after our breakup eighteen months before, I agreed because he swore to turn his luck toward helping me find out what happened the night my mother died. This point was non-negotiable. I had to understand why it happened, and who was responsible. I wanted justice for her death.

We passed the wood that encircled the town. Sometimes, as a kid, it had seemed to me that someone simply burned a patch out of the forbidding forest, and there, Kilmer had been built. The trees grew back in around it, overhanging the rutted road.

With the windows open, I could smell dank vegetation heavy in the air, and pallid sunlight filtering through the canopy overhead threw a sickly green glow over the car as Chance drove. McIntosh county didn't get snow, didn't get earthquakes, and the median temperature was sixty-six degrees. It was also deeply historical, containing forty-two markers. I knew all about local history : how old King George Fort was built nearby in 1721, how Highlanders voted against slavery in 1739, not that it did them any good in the long run, and how the War of Jenkins' Ear motivated early settlers to attack Spanish forts. There were still ruins on Sapelo Island.

Just a piece up the road, there lived the only known band of Shouters, a Gullah music group. I'd seen them perform the shout-ring once at Mount Calvary Baptist Church. I couldn't remember which foster parent had taken me ; there had been so many, and most of them had thought I could benefit from religion in some form or another. On paper, this seemed like the perfect place to live, steeped in cultural heritage and tradition.

On paper.

The rules of the Deep South lasted here long after laws and social expectations changed in the wider world. White men did as they pleased, and everyone else kept their mouths shut. I couldn't rightly say I'd missed it.

"This place has a weird feel," Chance said, breaking the silence at last.

"You're getting it too?" I'd always thought it was the trees, but we'd passed beyond them. Now only scrubby grass lay between the weathered buildings of town and us. Overhead, the sky glowed blue and white, a pretty, partly sunny day that should've warmed me a lot more than it did.

"Yeah." Before he could say more, a dark shape darted in front of the cherry red car. Chance slammed on the brakes, and only the seatbelt kept my head from kissing the dash. The car fishtailed to a stop.

Butch whined and popped his head out of my handbag. He was a little blond Chihuahua we'd picked up along the way; I'd sort of resigned myself to keeping him, but I hoped we hadn't scared the shit out of him. I had important stuff in my purse. I soothed him with an absent touch on his head, my heart still going like a jackhammer.

"What the—"

Chance motioned me to silence as he got out of the car. Hands shaking, it took me two tries to do the same. I checked the back, staring into the dead air beneath the tunnel of trees. Black skid marks smeared the pavement behind us.

He knelt and peered under the Mustang. Despite my better judgment, I joined him. Butch hopped down and backed up three steps, yapping ferociously. A low animal growl answered him.

Near the tires, a big black dog lay dying, a Doberman. We hadn't hit him, but all the blood oozing out of his ragged wounds told me he wasn't long for this world. He'd come from the tall grass that lined the road, or maybe from the trees beyond the field. A hard shudder rocked through me, and the air turned as cold as a northern winter night.

"Something got at him," Chance said finally. "Are there bears here? Wolves?"

I had no idea. It sounded unlikely, but possible. I wasn't a wildlife expert under any circumstances, and I hadn't been to Kilmer in nine years. Things changed; habitats evolved. But times must be tough if wild animals had been forced to resort to hunting dogs.

I couldn't seem to look away from the shadow-dark flesh. The animal gave one final whine, as if it understood we couldn't help, and then it died. I saw the moment its eyes went liquid still, living tissue reverting to dead meat.

Never one to miss an opportunity, Butch scampered into the weeds and did his business. I exhaled in a long unsteady sound, and then pulled myself to my feet using the Mustang's hood. If I believed in omens, we were off to a hell of a start.

Chance went to the trunk and wrapped his hands in rags he used to check the oil. Yeah, Chuch had taught him how, threatening to kill him if he didn't look after this car better than others had fared under his ownership. So far he was doing okay.

Wordlessly, he reached under the chassis and towed the carcass to the side of the road. Without a shovel, that was really all we could do, but I appreciated the kindness. Otherwise, that poor animal would be splattered all over the road when the next car came, and I thought it had suffered enough.

Even if we did have digging tools in the car for some unlikely reason, I wouldn't be interested in hanging around here. My intestines coiled into knots over the idea of losing the light out here within a stone's throw of those dark trees. The whorls on the bark looked like nothing so much as demonic sigils in the wicked half-light, and the long, skeletal limbs stirred in the breeze in a way I simply couldn't like.

There was a reason I hated these trees. I'd hid among them while my mother died.

While Chance took care of the dead dog, I gave Butch a drink and tried to reassure him that he wasn't doomed to suffer the same fate. His bulging brown eyes glistened with what I'd call a skeptical light as I hopped back in the Mustang. Chance joined us shortly, working the manual transmission with dexterity I couldn't help but admire.

"What a welcome." He shook his head.

"Tell me about it." As I said that, we passed a faded white sign that I knew read, Welcome to Kilmer, Home of the Red Devils and the World's Best Peach Pie.

"Think anyone will recognize you?"

I shook my head absently, taking in the familiar sights. It was bizarre. The road into town hadn't changed at all. Ma's Kitchen, an old white clapboard restaurant, still sat just outside the city limits. The strip mall on the left had been given a facelift, fresh paint and new lines in the parking lot, but the general store, the dry cleaners, the Kilmer bank, and a coffee shop still occupied it. The names on the dry cleaner's and coffee shop had changed, but otherwise, the town seemed just as I'd left it.

If we stayed on this street, we'd wind up in the town square, where the old courthouse reigned like an aging duchess who refused to admit her day had passed. The clock on the tower hadn't worked since before I moved away, and I couldn't imagine, given the faded air, that they'd come into the money to fix it since. The 'historical' district simply contained the oldest houses; most hadn't been restored.

I confirmed that with a glance as we drove through. Faded siding covered the houses in the neighborhoods beyond, a tiny suburban sprawl laid out in a neat grid. Kilmer had a population of nearly 1200 souls. There wasn't a lot here in terms of thriving industry.

"It seems sadder," I said at last. "Smaller."

"Well, you're older now." To his credit, he didn't say I was bigger. That would've earned him a slap upside the head.

Anyway, I wasn't bigger. I still needed to lose a few pounds, but I'd been pretty chunky at eighteen when I climbed on that Greyhound bus. At the gas station cum video store, I'd begged a lift from a farmer headed into Brunswick. I knew buses ran from there, so I used my school ID to get a discount ticket and I rode all night. The next morning, I got off in Atlanta with just a backpack and a few dollars in my pocket.

My chest felt tight, remembering. I'd gotten work at a used bookstore the following day. The owner felt sorry for me, I think, but I loved that job. I rented a room in a boarding house, and I was happier than I'd ever been in Kilmer. I was sadder than Roy to see the bookstore go under. By that time, I'd saved enough to move on.

And so I did.

By the time Chance met me, I'd held eight different jobs in half as many years, and I seldom stayed in one place for long. There was nothing like running from your memories while trying to fit in, though I never made it. People always seemed to suss out that I wasn't quite like them.

It was more than the scars on my palms that came from a gift I didn't want. My mother's death stayed with me in the form of the pain that subsumed me each time I read a charged object. There's a name for what I do; people call it psychometry. I call it a curse.

For years, I tried to forget.

When Chance came into my life, he changed everything. But I wouldn't think about that either. Sometimes the past needed to stay buried; it was the only way you could move on. And sometimes you had to dig it up, because that too was the only way.

For my mother's sake, I had to deal with what'd happened in Kilmer. I'd find answers about the men who came by night to our house and burned the place with her trapped inside. I'd discover why. Maybe then the dreams would stop. Maybe then, she could rest. In the twilight, the town looked so quiet, almost peaceful, but to me, it hid a fetid air. Corruption fed in the stillness, like a pretty corpse that, when split open, spilled out a host of maggots.

I'd be the knife that cut this place wide and the fire that burned it clean.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Hell Fire"
by .
Copyright © 2010 Ann Aguirre.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Hell Fire (Corine Solomon Series #2) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
rabidreaderWS More than 1 year ago
Ann Aguirre has been on my auto-buy list ever since her first Sirantha Jax novel came out (Grimspace). Hell Fire is a sequel to Blue Diablo, a very well written fantasy featuring Corinne Solomon. Corinne is a woman who doesn't control magic, yet she can read the history or recent history of an item like a button or piece of jewelry. These items usually give her a vision of a scene of the owner's life or event. Usually this causes her burns on the palms of her hands, leaving her scarred. She has a history with a man named Chance, who has extraordinary good luck, so extraordinary that bad things happen to someone close to him (to balance things out), this person used to be Corinne until she wised up and broke things off with him. Hell Fire is the story of Chance keeping a promise to Corinne - that promise was to use his extraordinary good luck to find the killers of her mother, and bring some sort of justice to them. This was part of a deal where Corinne promised to use her gift to help find Chance's mother (Blue Diablo's story). In the previous book, things were left up in the air about whether these two might continue their rather angsty relationship or part ways. Compounding the issue is a man named Jesse, Corinne's new mentor in all things gifted, who is in love with Corinne; Corinne might be in love with him too, there's definitely some feelings there that she has to sort out. It isn't necessary to read Blue Diablo to be able to enjoy Hell Fire, but it will definitely add to the whole reading experience. There are cameos by characters met in Blue Diablo. In case you have read Blue Diablo and are hoping to see more of ALL the characters here are the returning characters: Hell Fire's plot, storyline, sub-plots and narration were all engaging and pulled me along for a ride of a story. Ann Aguirre does a great job with dialogue of characters. Each of the book's characters seem to have a unique voice. Shannon is very believable as a teenager, the sheriff sounded just like you would imagine a smalltime, suspicious sheriff to sound, and Sandra the owner of the bread 'n' breakfast sounded properly and mildly snotty. Ruth's mannerisms and dialogue was fun, reminding me of some of the energetic elderly ladies that I've always been in awe of (for their energy). Corinne's narrative was peppered throughout with zingers about other characters. HOWEVER! Once in a while, Corinne would come up with a word in her narrative that yanked me out of the story - like cynosure. I had to look this word up. Now, I don't consider my self to be a super-brain, yet I'm not illiterate either. I've done a lot of crossword puzzles, and crossword puzzles almost have a dialect of their own (aka "crosswordese" = e're, o'er, din, elan, era, tern, etc) so I do know a lot of words that are a part of the English language, and yet are not used on a daily basis in everyday conversations....like "cynosure", abstraction, etc. Not a big deal, but enough for it to be at the back of my mind (thinking, who talks like this? professors). Anyway - small potatos compared to the rest of the book which was pretty kick-ass. Kilmer is a creepy little town, with little progress - no internet, no fast-food chains, no growth.... The townspeople that Corinne comes across in the first half of the book are seriously creepy - in a small town-no-one's-stirring-after dark way. Chills and Goosebumps! Then there's the forest - with a heavy atmosphere of it's own.
MelHay on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Where are we with Corine, Chance, and Jesse?We pick up where we left off from Blue Diablo. As promised Chance is heading with Corine to her home town to look into her mothers death. Kilmer. The town of Kilmer has a spooky Gothic feel to it, and there are many magic symbols through out the town, even on trees. Kilmer has many dark hidden secrets of its own along with the towns people who live here. Corine and Chance work hard to find out what happened to Corine's mother and get tied up in the towns dark secrets, with lots of dead ends.I enjoyed this book as Kilmer had many scary secrets all of its own. I wanted to know more about this town, which seems to be stuck in the past, as the story went on. With this town and the dead ends that Corine and Chance come to kept me wanting more and wondering what was going on. Ann Aguirre has a great way of writing an action-packed urban fantasy mystery book, and I love it. The suspense of ghosts and/or magic just kept me coming back for more. Every time I though we would get an answer we would get a touch but there would be another question to follow. Ann kept me guessing until the very end.I really enjoyed the characters in this book as well. Both the men are back in full form, and fighting over Corine. I love these men as they both a great possibility to be Corine's significant other. You are just going to have to read the book to see if Corine picks one. Corine grows in some ways in this book. Her powers come to a new level and she pushes herself to use them. It was interesting to see the develop. However, Corine gave me pause at times with her reactions to each man when she is alone with them. But, I quickly moved on from that as I do enjoy both these men. And there's a great new character we meet here, Shannon. I am hoping we get to see more of Shannon in future books and hope she helps Corine mature in her relationship and setting roots ways.The ghost part of the book was always neat for me. It's not a spooky way, but a different touch, and I enjoyed it. Once again Ann has written another book I could so easily see made into a wonderful action-packed fast-paced urban fantasy mystery movie.
SunnySD on LibraryThing 5 months ago
With Chance's mother safe, Corine holds him to his end of the bargain - returning to Kilmer, GA to find out just what happened the night her mother was killed. The fact that Kilmer, GA is literally not on the map? Only the first of their problems.Excellent follow-up to Blue Diablo - good creep factor, and I was up way too late finding out how things were finally going to work out. Can't wait to see what happens next!
bookaphile on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This book actually scared me at some points and that is hard to do. It has the chill of a good dark noir novel. It seems Kilmer, Georgia doesn't even show up on a map and Corine Solomon has come here to solve the mystery of her mother's death. Her ex Chance is in tow and her mentor Jesse has come out to rescue her when he senses she is in danger. Now she must decide what her heart wants as well as stay one step ahead of an evil that doesn't want her to be stirring up the past. Excellent read!
flemmily on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I like Aguirre's writing a lot, but the romance angle in Hell Fire is extremely unsatisfying. It's bleak and pragmatic, which is probably more realistic, but not necessarily what I'm looking for in my light reading. Corine teeters on the edge of the tortured navel gazing that takes place so annoyingly often in paranormal novels, but doesn't quite fall in. Again, liked it but didn't love it.
imayb1 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I very much enjoyed this book. As others have said, the dark mysteries surrounding the town of Kilmer Georgia and the death of Corinne's mother were engaging and even creepy. The trail of clues was interesting, too. The off-again, on-again romance bits are a little trying at times and manage to stay consistently angsty. What disturbs me about this book is how open-ended it is. The mystery wraps up, leaving a lot of reprecussions in its wake... and after the final page is a preview for the author's next sci-fi book with no word of a follow-up for this book. I'm not sorry I read this, but had I known about the loose ending with no foreseeable sequel, I'd have passed on the book.
ReginaR on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Hell Fire by Ann Aguirre, #2 in Corrine Solomon series I really like Ann Aguirre¿s writing style. I enjoy the worlds she creates and the characters that inhabit those worlds. I really do like a lot about this book, this series but for some reason this book and this series does not click with me. I cannot figure out why. Maybe a list will help. What I love about this book (and this series): 1. The setting. In Hell Fire the setting is a small remote town in the middle of a forest, literally ¿ it is surrounded by forest on a sides, in Georgia. The town is a character in the book, not just a location. It is very creepy, a scary place to be and Aguirre writes it well. 2. The side characters. I don¿t mean the supporting cast, but the people the main characters run into on the street, at the library, etc. These side characters are funny, scary and add to the story. 3. The supporting case, like in Sirantha Jax, Corrinne is surrounded by a group of unusual but interesting people with their own agenda, but who gather together to fight for a specific battle. She does this well and I liked these people a lot. 4. The storyline ¿ scary and surprising. 5. The talent/superpowers ¿ very unique and creative. Not a copy of other urban fantasy books and there are huge costs to each of the powers. Well done. What I don¿t like about this book (and the series): 1. The throw in romance. It is not believable, the characters just don¿t seem to sync, I don¿t care enough about them as a couple and this storyline is so poorly done it is just a distraction from the main story. 2. The love triangle. See above. 3. The main character¿s temper tantrums. Over the top, not consistent with her character. I can¿t imagine friends and lovers putting up with this stuff. I am not sure if I will read #3. It took move 15 months to move on to #2 in this series.
krissa on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This is the second in the series, and I loved it as much as the first. Corine is back with her cool power of touching things, and being able to see where it's been. And her ex-boyfriend is back, and with his power of being 'lucky', it makes for some interesting adventures. Also, there were some reappearances of some of the great characters in the first one, which I always love when authors put some continuity in their work. They are on the road again, and this time they are back in the town where she grew up. I needed a read for the readathon that would be light, and interesting enough to keep me going until I was done. This had the perfect balance of fantasy, mystery and an eclectic cast of characters, this fit the bill perfectly. A must read for fans of urban fantasy or mystery, but I would recommend reading Blue Diablo (the first in the series) first.
thewalkinggirl on LibraryThing 5 months ago
I should have just stopped when the story began with Butch the talking dog. (Think Lassie, not Gaspode.)I usually enjoy Ms. Aguirre's writing, but I kept finding myself wondering why this book was hijacked by the voice of Yasmine Galenorn -- the constant talk of the clothes Corine was wearing and the food she was (or was not) eating, the multiple devoted male suitors (one of whom was described as a "white knight" a dozen times in the first half). Add to that Corine making out with two of her suitors and seeming indifferent to the pain that might bring them. (Actually, several of her decisions caused pain to her suitors, and she seemed to feel like they deserved it or that their pain was less important than satisfying her own needs.)Also, I didn't find this book at all scary. I'm not sure if that's because I was frustrated with the characters or because I was wondering how often the author watches Supernatural.Overall, this was just not for me. I liked the first book in the series, but I have no interest in continuing.
Mardel on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Ann Aguirre has been on my auto-buy list ever since her first Sirantha Jax novel came out (Grimspace). Hell Fire is a sequel to Blue Diablo, a very well written fantasy featuring Corinne Solomon. Corinne is a woman who doesn't control magic, yet she can read the history or recent history of an item like a button or piece of jewelry. These items usually give her a vision of a scene of the owner's life or event. Usually this causes her burns on the palms of her hands, leaving her scarred. She has a history with a man named Chance, who has extraordinary good luck, so extraordinary that bad things happen to someone close to him (to balance things out), this person used to be Corinne until she wised up and broke things off with him.Hell Fire is the story of Chance keeping a promise to Corinne - that promise was to use his extraordinary good luck to find the killers of her mother, and bring some sort of justice to them. This was part of a deal where Corinne promised to use her gift to help find Chance's mother (Blue Diablo's story). In the previous book, things were left up in the air about whether these two might continue their rather angsty relationship or part ways. Compounding the issue is a man named Jesse, Corinne's new mentor in all things gifted, who is in love with Corinne; Corinne might be in love with him too, there's definitely some feelings there that she has to sort out. It isn't necessary to read Blue Diablo to be able to enjoy Hell Fire, but it will definitely add to the whole reading experience. There are cameos by characters met in Blue Diablo. In case you have read Blue Diablo and are hoping to see more of ALL the characters here are the returning characters:Hell Fire's plot, storyline, sub-plots and narration were all engaging and pulled me along for a ride of a story. Ann Aguirre does a great job with dialogue of characters. Each of the book's characters seem to have a unique voice. Shannon is very believable as a teenager, the sheriff sounded just like you would imagine a smalltime, suspicious sheriff to sound, and Sandra the owner of the bread 'n' breakfast sounded properly and mildly snotty. Ruth's mannerisms and dialogue was fun, reminding me of some of the energetic elderly ladies that I've always been in awe of (for their energy). Corinne's narrative was peppered throughout with zingers about other characters.HOWEVER! Once in a while, Corinne would come up with a word in her narrative that yanked me out of the story - like cynosure. I had to look this word up. Now, I don't consider my self to be a super-brain, yet I'm not illiterate either. I've done a lot of crossword puzzles, and crossword puzzles almost have a dialect of their own (aka "crosswordese" = e're, o'er, din, elan, era, tern, etc) so I do know a lot of words that are a part of the English language, and yet are not used on a daily basis in everyday conversations....like "cynosure", abstraction, etc. Not a big deal, but enough for it to be at the back of my mind (thinking, who talks like this? professors). Anyway - small potatos compared to the rest of the book which was pretty kick-ass.Kilmer is a creepy little town, with little progress - no internet, no fast-food chains, no growth.... The townspeople that Corinne comes across in the first half of the book are seriously creepy - in a small town-no-one's-stirring-after dark way. Chills and Goosebumps! Then there's the forest - with a heavy atmosphere of it's own. Some seriously good creepiness in the story. It reads like a bigger and better version of one of those old'fashined gothic mysteries...bigger and better! Ms Aguirre gives us plenty of descriptions that add to the build up of creepy/scary (repetitive use of "creepy" by me!) from the moment Corinne and Chance drive down the tree-lined street that leads to the town. Ann Aguirre has a way with words that gives a real feel of the place, even down to what it might smell like.But then there's the relationship angst. It didn't bother me in Blu
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hello i wish to join. I anm a minotaur from waist up and a dragon from waist down. I have a gokden sythe feel bo pain and am bloodthristy
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are only three books out in this series but number 4 is due out in early April. I have given this series as a recommendation to all my friends and so far everyone has loved them. The charaters are great and the mysteries are good. There are no vampires or werevwolves but lots of magic and mayhem. Don't miss this series.
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pateleo More than 1 year ago
The beginning of this book started off much like the previous book, slow when it shouldn't be. About halfway through the book, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the story line was moving along nicely. As anticipated, the second book in the series was better than the first. Although I've never been a fan of love triangles, someone's heart always gets broken in the end. The end of this book of course is no different, I was so sad for Chance. I really loved his character, even with all of the mystery and feel like it is a shame that we never learned his secrets. As it would be truly difficult to bring him back, I can only assume that the story continues in Mexico with Jesse involved in some way. Overall, I was pleased with the book, although it was darker than the previous book. It also moved along much more smoothly. Props to Aguirre for progressing the plot more evenly this go around.
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