Cover Image: Common Goal

Common Goal

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Older hockey player Eric. Younger bartender/student Kyle. Eric has never been with a man. Kyle has sworn off older men. When they mutually decide that Kyle can tutor Eric to get him ready for the gay dating scene they tell themselves it’s just lessons. They can’t fall  for each other because (take your pick) Eric is too old, Kyle is too young, Eric is to old.

I liked the story, even though I got tired of Eric angsting about his age. He was a good character and had so much to offer any man but he just couldn’t see it. Kyle (as a character) seemed the more mature of the two. 

Well written book and people from the other books in the series paid visits too. Good hockey, slow-ish love story, and great characters made this a hit for me.
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Once again I just devoured this author’s writing. Each of her books have been different and each has just sucked me into the story and left me with a giant smile on my face. I loved Eric and Kyle. There was so much to love about this story going in - age gap, first times, bi-sexual awakening, and of course hockey. There was also such great humor, I found myself laughing out loud. Kyle was a hoot!  Eric was such a sweetheart and I loved his dedication to his sport, and his teammates. I even found his misplaced worry of being too old for Kyle endearing. Kyle made me smile!  He was such a flirt, and I loved his blooming relationship with Eric. At the same time, these two also drove me almost mad!  Each of these men were champions in their own right  at holding their feelings in and from each other. I really wanted to sit both these guys down and tell them to be the grownups they were, and have a discussion. All the beating around the bush, with neither man willing to tip their emotional hand first.  Eric was so hung up on the age gap between him and Kyle. It put up a lot of roadblocks in their relationship progressing.  As much as I wanted these two to talk out their feelings, I feel their relationship developed just the way it needed to for them. The chemistry between them was undeniably there, and holy hotness the sexy times were HOT!! If you’ve been following along in this series, we get to revisit with Kip and Scott quite a bit, along with some cameo appearances of Ilya and Shane. I loved Eric and Kyle’s story. I’m excited to see what this author has in store for us next. While I wait, I’m definitely going back for another re-read of Ilya and Shane!
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S L O W B U R N!! I previously read Tough Guy when it was released on Netgalley and I didn’t really care for it. Just recently (as in a few days ago!) I finished Heated Rivalry and LOVED it, so I gave this one a chance. I’m not even half way through and I’ve laughed out loud from the banter between Eric and Kyle. Eric is such a standup guy, early 40’s and wanting to dip his toe into the other side of the bisexual pond. As someone who identifies as bisexual, I appreciate how the author goes about explaining Eric’s sexuality. So far so good, and I know it’ll only get better from here!
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Common Goal was very readable, but perhaps suffered from having been read after a string of excellent books. While I read it quickly and enjoyed it while I read it, it hasn’t stayed with me. It also suffers a bit in comparison to Reid’s Heated Rivalry, a book that captured magic. Eric and Kyle’s story is much gentler, and there is nothing wrong with that. It’s a 3.5 star read.

Eric is recently divorced, getting ready for the end of his hockey career and thinking about exploring his attraction to men. Kyle is a grad student and a bartender at a gay bar frequented by Scott and Kip from Game Changer. They meet at Scott and Kip’s engagement party and gradually become friends, initially bonding over art and ignoring their attraction. The age gap between them bothers them both, but for different reasons. Kyle has a history of being attracted to older man and those relationships ending badly. Eric doesn’t want to take advantage of Kyle’s youth.

Eventually, Eric confesses to Kyle that he is bi, but has never dated or had sex with a man. He feels embarrassed by his lack of experience. Kyle volunteers to teach Eric how to pick up men and how to have sex with a man. Part of the joy is reading these two who very clearly have feelings for each other pretend they do not have feelings for each other while having sexy times. Reid definitely has a way with people being dumb about their feelings.

Eric and Kyle are lovely characters, essentially kind and caring. While there’s nothing wrong with Common Goal, it didn’t sparkle for me. It will be someone else’s catnip though.

I received this as an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I've become a fan of Rachel Reid thanks to this series, and Common Goal is the perfect addition. This book was sweet yet steamy, and had just the right amount of chemistry between the main characters, Eric and Kyle. They were adorable (and incredibly sexy!) together, but also on their own individually. Readers will enjoy getting to know both characters, and fans of the series will love the continuation of characters from previous books and subtle "Easter eggs" thrown in here and there. Might want to find a quiet place where you can read this alone and just enjoy all of the chemistry and the journey of two characters falling for one another.
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3.5 stars rounded up (for now)

Eric is a goalie who’s turning 41 and on the verge of retiring. He’s divorced and he’s now attracted to men. (I didn’t think that realization was explored or explained very well.) Kyle is 25. He’s a part time student and part time bartender. He had a bad experience with an older man. Even though he’s attracted to older men, he doesn’t want to be. 

I don’t mind the “age difference” trope at all. What I’m not a fan of is the “I’m too old/young for you so I shouldn’t want you” version of that trope. We got that from BOTH MC’s in this story. 

While I didn’t necessarily like their thoughts about whether or not they should be attracted, I liked these 2 MC’s a lot. I prefer a low-angst story and this fit the bill. I could simultaneously understand and reject their reasons for thinking they weren’t right for each other.

This was Eric’s first time with a guy but not much was really made of this other than Kyle offering to - and then - “showing him the ropes.” It seemed all very matter-of-fact. Eric didn’t express much nervousness or question himself like you might expect. A plus, I must say, is I thought the sex scenes were extremely hot.

I could see the ending and resolution of Kyle’s job situation coming but felt the end was a bit rushed. I’d like to have gotten more dialog and seen it happen rather than being told of Eric’s retirement plans and the outcome. 

I’m rounding up to 4 stars for now since, emotionally, it was a satisfying read. 

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
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Another delightful installment in Rachel Reid’s gay hockey series. I’ve been binging on queer romances lately and Reid is definitely one of the best writers in the genre: compelling characters, solid prose, and believable mix of telling happy queer stories while also acknowledging the challenges of being not-straight in a macho culture.

This one has major mutual pining and friends with benefits, and I absolutely adore how much Kyle and Eric care for each other - even when the other doesn’t realize it.

My main complaint, which may just speak to me as a reader: the sex sometimes overtook the plot. While Reid does a good job of making each intimate encounter add character development, it started to feel a little out of balance. Of course, I adored the demisexual representation in Tough Guy, so it may just be personal preference.

Similarly, the mutual pining was delightful at first but became super frustrating as both men spent so much time caught up in their own heads, repeatedly telling themselves why a real relationship wouldn’t work. And then telling each other that it wouldn’t work. I wish they’d resolved that conflict sooner. 

Overall an enjoyable book, and it was great to see cameos from the rest of the series, but not my favorite of Reid’s work.
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Common Goal is the fourth book in Rachel Reid's Game Changers, Series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone; and as my first introduction to the series and author I enjoyed it. Although it was a little slow paced for my taste. I still found it very engaging, and there were plenty of sexy moments not to mention it was fairly light too, which I really liked, and all the characters were great especially the main two Kyle and Eric. Furthermore, I really enjoyed the fact it was an age gap romance from an M/M perspective. 

Would recommend, and I'll certainly be looking at reading the earlier books in this series.
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*3.5 Stars. This book was a lot of fun. The characters were well written, and I loved how healthy the relationship was. They made sure to constantly emphasize how important consent was, and I loved it. They weren't pushy, and no one tried to convince anyone else to have sex. I do have mixed feelings about the age difference between the characters, however, especially since that was a major part of the plot. I understand that it's different once you're both adults, but an almost 20 year gab isn't "minor." All I could think the entire time was that one was in college before the other was even born. Aside from that, I can't say I've ever read a more understanding and loving relationship before. I will definitely pick up more books by this author in the future.
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Rachel Reid writes great hockey romances and has crafted a stellar cast of characters associated with her fictional New York Admirals team.  If you haven't read any of the books in the series, I think this book can work as a stand-alone, but if you like M/M sports romance, you will definitely want to dive into the Game Changers series!

In this latest installment, star goalie Eric Bennett is nearing 41 and seriously pondering retirement. Recently divorced, living in a stunning NYC penthouse designed to highlight his art collection, committed to his yoga practice and clean eating, silver fox Eric is "efficient in all things - efficient, disciplined and practiced."  But Eric is a fish out of water with his bisexuality and has absolutely no chance in moving beyond the theoretical in the complex gay dating world.

Enter Kyle, 22, unattached bartender / art student and unabashedly fond of men like Eric ... tall, lean ... mature.

"If Kyle had one weakness - and he didn't; he had many - it was confident, attractive older men. Also, confident, attractive younger men. Also, men."

Reid utilizes one of my favorite themes - teacher / student in the gay arts.  Eric thinks Kyle "looked absolutely stunning, like a fallen angel who was only on this planet to teach mortals how to fuck" and once Eric finally decides to take up Kyle's offer, what ensues is a lot of incredibly sensual, steamy, sticky adventures as Kyle allows Eric to relinquish control and gladly shares his extensive sexual expertise and enthusiasm. The heat rating is way off the charts - enjoy!

Since the main focus of the plot is (a) getting Eric to explore his bisexuality and then (b) will he or won't be go all-in on a relationship with Kyle, there is a lot of repetition as each man ponders their relationship for numerous scenes.  But on the whole, this was a rather small niggle and I would definitely recommend this book (and all the other books in the series).  4.5 stars.
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If I’m being perfectly honest, this was probably a 4-4.5 star read for me, but it’s getting rounded up because I enjoyed it more than most 4 star reads, and also: Ilya Rosanov. This couldn’t be less than 5 stars with his cameos. 

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s back up.

What’s this story about? Eric Bennett’s a veteran netminder on the cusp of retirement, still doing well on the ice, but ready for a change. Or, well, trying to be ready for a change. He’s also somewhat recently divorced (amicably!) and very recently considering allowing himself to finally acknowledge his bisexuality and maybe do something about it. Enter Kyle, a mid-twenties bartender and grad student who’s hockey-adjacent now that his best friend is marrying the Captain of Bennett’s team, the New York Admirals. What's the problem? Well, there's a fifteen year age gap that feels like an elephant in the room.

This books is part of a series, but you absolutely do not need to read these in any particular order. Feel free to pick up this book first, though, I’m biased and have to mention that Ilya Rosanov is the absolute best character ever, so I’d personally recommend starting with Heated Rivalry so that you can more appreciate his little cameos in this book. That’s what I did. Read this series out of order, I mean. 

I’d been on the fence about whether I wanted to pick up another book in the Game Changers series after starting with Heated Rivalry – not because I had any doubt that Rachel Reid could write some amazing stories, but just because, after reading Heated Rivalry and falling head over heals for the relationship between Ilya and Shane… I just didn’t think any book could live up to it. And, to be honest, this didn’t. Heated Rivalry will always be one of my absolute favorite books ever, though, so honestly it’s foolish to go into a new book expecting it to be just as good as an all-time favorite. Still, this book very much did not disappoint. This was a super solid read, with great, well-developed characters, and a few fantastic cameos by Ilya himself. I enjoyed every minute of reading it, and will absolutely be picking up other books in the series, now that I know I have nothing to be worried about. 

But enough about the series overall. Let’s break down the book itself.

What did this story do well? This was a super solid, well-rounded story. Rachel Reid has a knack for developing characters that feel real, and have their own distinct voice throughout a book (or, really, throughout a series). The way she delivers information about the character – about their background, their hopes and dreams, etc. – works, and it works well. The romance is fully believable, the plot makes sense, and follows a familiar arc without being too overly predictable. The relationships between characters (including friends/teammates/side characters, not just the main relationship!) feel real and authentic, and some of the jokes from the teammates brought me some good laughs. And Kyle and Eric’s texts to each other? AMAZING. I’m usually not that into that sort of thing in a book, but this one definitely won me over. 

Also, I want to take a moment to highlight one thing I absolutely loved about this book, and that’s the nondramatic, subtle but firm affirmations of important life lessons. The book quietly affirms how one’s sexuality is perfectly valid no matter what their sexual experiences may have been (or not been), and also affirms the importance of consent. It’s not in-your-face at all, but it’s some good, solid, quiet affirmation of important messages everyone should hear often and internalize.  

Also also: Ilya Rosanov. Seriously. Do I need to say more?

What could be better? Honestly, I’m having a pretty hard time thinking of anything this book could’ve done better, of naming anything I thought was lacking. There really wasn’t anything lacking. The story was complete, the characters fleshed out, the editing superb… I just, at the end of the day, wasn’t quite as into Eric and Kyle as a couple, as I’ve been with couples in some of my all time favorites. It’s nothing they or Rachel Reid did wrong. They’re just… not my type. They’re both great characters, who feel real, and I totally get why they’re into each other, but… I don’t know. I just wasn’t particularly won over by either of them. That made the sexy scenes a bit “meh” for me, as well. Again: well done scenes! Some of the better I’ve read, for sure. But I just can’t get super into them without being super into one of the characters. 

It’s not you, Common Goal, it’s me. Others will love you, I promise.

Recommended for fans of light angst, mm, age gap romances, and/or well-done stories about exploring sexuality. Also: people who enjoy the whole let-me-casually-teach-you-about-sex-even-though-we’re-both-worried-this-will-turn-into-more trope. Also: hockey fans. Also also: literally everyone. Honestly, I can’t think of anyone I’d specifically not recommend this for. Though, that said, some potential trigger warnings: this book discusses (not in detail) an unhealthy relationship from one character’s past (not the relationship between the two main characters!), where there was definitely a predatory older man taking advantage of the then-eighteen-year-old character. It’s brought up as part of the character’s past, but it’s not a constant focal point or anything. And, for what it’s worth, it’s handled very well. 

*Disclaimer: I received an ARC from NetGalley, but this in no way affected my rating or my honest opinions shared above.
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Of course I love these hockey boys and the boys they fall for!  Eric is a bit of a silver fox, ready to retire from hockey, super healthy, and divorced.  He's never dated a guy but he's interested, especially in the cute younger bartender, Kyle.  And at the start, Kyle is hung up on someone else.

What starts as super casual leads to these two denying the reality of the real feelings they are developing, and the possibility of more.  I wanted to SHAKE THEM.  So stubborn.  Eric is sweet, and kinda shy, Kyle does bring the fun out in him but he's also sincere and kind.  And the only thing standing in their way is themselves.

Then of course we get to check in with other characters from previous books.  Scott and Kip are SO adorable, I love them.  This made me want to reread their story.  And Ilya cracks me right up, I actually highlighted his moments.  But Eric and Kyle do get a happy ending, and they so deserved it.  And I'm just left excitedly hoping for more future hockey boy on boy love.
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Common Goal by Rachel Reid is the fourth book in the Game Changers series. Eric Bennett is starting to feel his 41 years and 18 seasons in the NHL. He is still feeling the loneliness a year out from his divorce and is getting ready to announce his retirement. As a goalie he's always been in complete control but when Kyle is thrown into his life all that well honed control gets tossed out the window. Kyle is living his life as a grad student and bartender. He meets Eric through friends and their shared love of art brings them closer. Kyle and Eric reach an agreement that Kyle will help him explore his newly accepted bisexuality, but they will keep it casual. They manage to keep things physical for a while but as their chemistry leads to feelings will they be able to make a relationship work when both are so fearful of the future. 

Eric Bennett was an absolute sweetheart. He quickly cares for Kyle both as a friend and a lover. He struggles with both the age gap between them and that he's unworthy of him and would only hold him back for life. Every time Kyle leaves without staying the night your heart breaks right along with Eric's.  Kyle is also a very likable character. He's confident and caring but hesitant with his heart. He has a bad history when it comes to falling for older men which has left him guarded. They both struggle with insecurities when the friends-with benefits arrangement seems to be evolving into more. Kyle's outgoing, fun and flirty personality brought out a lighter side to Eric. I loved seeing him let go and come alive with and under Kyle. When he finally let his feelings be known, and they were able to overcome the past together Kyle and Eric made my heart so happy.

This book had a weird combination of slow burn and steamy hot. The physical aspect was steamy and passionate from the start but their acceptance of their feelings was slow and meaningful. I was so close to give this 5 stars but Eric being so hung up on the age difference between him and Kyle was frustrating. This tends to happen in age gap romance but it was the main point of "conflict" between them. 

Common Goal is a sweet sexy age difference romance that leaves you falling in love with the characters and cheering for their HEA. The whole Game Changer series in general, is a must-read for MM hockey romance fans .
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3 solid i still liked some parts stars.

It is me and not the book.

Here we are, book 4 in the Game Changer series. It's been quite a ride. This is the story of Eric and Kyle. I don't remember Kyle, apparently he is Kip and Mariah's friend from book 1.

This ended up being just okay for me. I wish i had enjoyed it more but that didn't happen. Too bad we can't love them all.

Eric is a Golie- I liked Eric enough. He was an okay, average guy, nothing special to make him outstanding in this series.

Kylie is a Bartender/Student- Hmm! I still don't know where i stand with Kyle. I really tried to connect with him, but i couldn't. His crush for Kip did not help at all. It seemed so fake and out of place.

There were some good moments especially when Ilya appeared on page. The guy is everything.

The banter between the characters was good, kept me entertained throughout.

The chemistry between Eric and Kyle felt okay and off at the same time. The sex scenes felt like sex tutorials. The age gap betwen them became a constant hurdle that took me out of the story sometimes. Eric is 41, Kyle is 25, why is it so hard to get the age thing out of the way and enjoy yourselves? I will never understand why people are always hung up on their age, as long as you are both adults, this should not be an issue.

Overall this was okay but not it! I guess i am still waiting for that Heated Rivalry spark.

ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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Yay!  Game Changers is fast becoming one of my favourite series (interconnected standalones).  I just love these hockey hotties and their stories, and book 4 Common Goal, focuses on veteran goalie Eric Bennett, divorced from his childhood sweetheart and just coming to terms with his bisexuality when he realises he’s attracted to student and bartender, Kyle Swift, 16 years his junior.  Both stubborn in their own ways.  Eric thinks Kyle is too young.  Kyle isn’t looking for a relationship.  Kyle’s been burnt by an older man before, and is only interested in hookups, and of course Eric doesn’t do hookups.  I absolutely loved these characters (and it’s great that we see all the previous book hotties) I can’t get enough of them.  The story is sweet, fun, super sexy and completely addictive.  I’m obsessing about it still, I could not put it down.  I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.  This is my honest review.
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I have Rachel Reid to thank for my love of mm hockey romance so I will never not be happy to read one of her books. That being said, this was probably my least favorite book of her’s so far. Though I think that has a lot to do with my own personal preferences when it comes to romance. *Beware, spoilers ahead!

While I have some issues with the structure of their relationship, I did love both of the characters. Especially Kyle. I was super happy that he finally got his HEA, as he has been pining after Kip for so long! Also, the Kip and Scott cameos were great, it was great to revisit their relationship and see them making everyone sick with their happiness. I liked Bennett as well though I wish he could have made up his mind quicker about what he wanted in his life.

Overall my biggest issue with the story was that we never got to really see these two in a happy relationship! Even when they were enjoying being together there was still this undercurrent of uncertainty about their relationship and as a reader I was constantly waiting for things to go wrong. I wish they could have figured out things sooner in the book and we could have enjoyed them being together (like we did for the couples in book 1 and 2). After while it just gets kind of boring to have characters constantly stressing about their relationship, especially when a couple conversations could just solve everything.

Rachel is a great writer and even though I wasn’t in love with their story, I still enjoyed reading this book. I was rooting for the characters even as they drove me crazy and I wanted them to get their HEA. And bonus points for the awesome Shane and Ilya cameos - I loved Ilya being the dispenser of wisdom to Bennett! Ilya will forever be my favorite Rachel character and I really hope we see his and Shane’s wedding next when they blow up the entire NHL by announcing their relationship.
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Partial review: 

Dear Rachel Reid,

I've been meaning to try your books for a while now, having heard good things about them and I am a fan of hockey romance (notwithstanding that I've never watched a game and know very little about the sport, but you know... details), so I snapped up Common Goal when I saw it at NetGalley a little while back. While it is book four in your Game Changers series, it stands alone well. I didn't feel lost at all. I suppose there are some mild spoilers for book one but that's not the sort of thing which bothers me much.

Eric Bennett is the veteran goalie for the New York Admirals and is just about to turn 41. He hasn't told anybody yet but he's planning to retire at the end of the season before age catches up with him or injury forces him out of the game he loves. He's not sure yet what will be next for him and it's a scary time. He's also about a year post-divorce from his wife of 20 years, Holly. Their marriage was not contentious and neither was their divorce. Things kind of fizzled due to mutual lack of interest over the years. Eric feels lonely and a little lost but he is also interested in exploring his attraction to men - something that has been present since attraction to anyone was a thing for him but which he has never before acted upon. If I have the right of it, Eric and Holly were high school sweethearts and he did not really date anyone before her. They were married for a long time and he's not a cheater so there was never an opportunity for him to explore his bisexuality. I did appreciate that Eric always knew he was bi and that this was not an "out for you" story.

Eric's best friend is Scott Hunter, one of the leads in the first book, Game Changer. Scott is now happily engaged to Kip Grady. Kip works in a gay bar, the Kingfisher, along with Kyle Swift, a 25-year-old grad student and bartender with an interest in mixology. Because of their friendship group, Eric and Kyle are thrown into each other's orbit and the attraction is mutual and deep. However at first, because Eric has yet to remove his wedding ring, Kyle is under the impression that Eric is a married man who may only be interested in a walk on the wild side and Kyle will not go there after a bad experience in his teens.

Kyle is gay and out and proud and, once the initial married/divorced mixup is ironed out, he finds himself being the first person to whom Eric confides his bisexuality. I really liked the way the book validated Eric's sexuality, notwithstanding his lack of hands-on experience (so to speak).

Full review to be posted closer to release date:
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the thing abt this book is that there's enough romance to try to trick you into believing that the relationship isn't fetishized - but then the relationship is built on attraction and a solid 30% of the story was fetishy sex scenes 

by far, not the MOST fetishized relationship, but i still couldn't stand to read a lot of the sex scenes and some of the romance without physically cringing 

thank you to the publisher and netgalley for providing my review copy
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I haven't read the rest of the series but this book prepared me for some goodies!!
Loved the relationship and the couple dynamic!
I can't wait for more!
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I liked this a lot, but I think it suffered from me comparing it to my favorite in the series, and one of my favorites period: Heated Rivalry. I just can’t get over Shane and Ilya. 

Eric and Kyle were fun and sexy together so I wish there’d been more of that. I love a good age-gap and bisexual awakening so it worked for me really well there. 

However, I found Eric making decisions for Kyle to be <I>very</I> annoying; which made the entire end bit a downer for me. Luckily it doesn’t last very long, and their reunion is quite sweet! 

Overall it’s a fun addition to the series, and if you’ve liked the rest then you’ll probably enjoy this as well.
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