Rattlesnake Road

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Pub Date May 04 2021 | Archive Date Sep 15 2021

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♥ Named one of POPSUGAR's 12 Best Romance Books to Have a Spring Fling With ♥

From bestselling and multi-award-winning author Amanda McKinney comes her most evocative and twisted small-town Mystery Romance... 

Welcome to 1314 Rattlesnake Road—the perfect hideaway to escape your past.

After leaving her posh NYC life behind, fashion editor Grey Dalton escapes to the small, southern town of Berry Springs to pick up the broken pieces of her life. On impulse, she purchases a rumored-to-be-haunted house where she finds herself thrown into decade-old murder mystery, and onto the rocky road of recovery and self-discovery. Men are the last thing on her mind—until she meets a tattooed cowboy and a dashing businessman. One will steal her heart, the other, her soul.

Rattlesnake Road pushes the boundaries and blends genres in this raw, emotional, no-holds-barred story. 

★ "A dark, edge-gripping emotional read." - Obsessive Reads ★

★ “sexy, suspenseful romance.” - Publisher’s Weekly Review ★

★ "Strong characterization bolsters this profound, romantic tale." - Kirkus Review ★

(Due to serious subject matter and mature content, please be aware that this book might be an emotional trigger for some readers.)

♥ Named one of POPSUGAR's 12 Best Romance Books to Have a Spring Fling With ♥

From bestselling and multi-award-winning author Amanda McKinney comes her most evocative and twisted small-town Mystery...

Advance Praise

★ "A dark, edge-gripping emotional read." - Obsessive Reads 

★ "Strong characterization bolsters this profound, romantic tale." - Kirkus Review 

★ “One of those books where you keep telling yourself ‘just one more chapter.’” – Life According to Jaime 

★ “Raw. Real. Absolutely enthralling. Hand’s down, one of the best books I’ve read.” – Goodreads Review 

★ “You know sometimes the best romances are the ones that rip your heart out, tear it up, and patch it back together even better than before. This is one of those. - Bookbub Review 

★ “I devoured Grey and Declan's emotional story. A truly captivating must-read.” - Mum Reader Dreamer 

★ “Makes your gut clinch and your heart sing.” – BookBub Review 

★ “Intense, emotional, hot sexy characters, and an ending that leaves you breathless.” - Goodreads Review 

★ “A brilliant read.” - Crazy Kalm 

★ “No sugarcoating. No bull. Real life. Real people. Real conversations.” - Kikke Reads 

★ “The most intense book I’ve ever read. Superb storyline, real characters.” - Bookbub Review

★ “I did not see that ending coming. A shocking, five-star read.” - Goodreads Review

★ "A dark, edge-gripping emotional read." - Obsessive Reads 

★ "Strong characterization bolsters this profound, romantic tale." - Kirkus Review 

★ “One of those books where you keep telling yourself...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781735868110

Available on NetGalley

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Average rating from 127 members

Featured Reviews

Amanda McKinney’s first book in the Small-Town Mystery Romance series, Rattlesnake Road, is one long intense ride from start to finish. Intertwined with the darkness and despair of a mystery and Grey’s stumbles of shedding of her old life and embracing a new one, is the journey of discovery and to a HEA that Grey and Declan take. With the quintessential quirky small town characters and charm, this story leaves an impact and a need for more from the series.

This ARC book was complimentary, provided by the Publisher and NetGalley. I am voluntarily providing my honest review.

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This is a beautiful second chance romance between Grey & Declan. Grey has left behind a life of luxury, and a cheating husband, she has been fired from her job and has suffered through a miscarriage which triggered her out of control drinking. Declan is a former wild child and talk of the town, now just trying to run his garage and keep out if trouble, likes to fix things. As Grey starts to renovate her newly purchased run down cabin, her new neighbour can't help but chip in advice and labour in addition to helping Grey work on herself. Instant chemistry with these two and both their characters were well written. This is a new to me author and I will be reading more of her work.

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This is definitely not one of your typical romances. This one actually has some substance behind it.

After the repeated cheating of her husband, the loss of her unborn child due to miscarriage, losing her job to due a drunken speech telling the truth of how all the woman around her got further along faster by sleeping their way up the career chain, and using alcohol to dull the pain of everything Grey has had enough. At 31 Grey is brave enough to start the process of divorcing her husband, leaving her whole world in New York with only 5 bags of luggage and her BMW.

She drives over 20 hours stopping only twice, while detoxing no less, to Berry Springs where she bought a fixer upper online to live in and hopefully start again because she promised her cousin she'd move there if she ever left her life in New York. There she runs into Lucas, a hottie who I can only describe as a snake oil salesman with all sorts of warning signs for woman to stay away from. But when Grey falls off the wagon, he seems to be the one who's there to take advantage of her. Repeatedly.

So it's refreshing when Declan finally comes onto the scene, agreeing to fix Grey's cracked oil pan in exchange for dinner. Declan has his own checkered past and seems to recognize that Grey might need some help. Almost 10 years her senior, he seems to know what rock bottom looks and feels like. Bless the man though, he has a good set of morals he lives by. So he decides to help Grey, both with her house, her car and getting her life back together.

Now what I really like about this book is how Grey's personal struggles really come to play throughout the whole book. It's not some cheap tool to move the plotline along. It IS the plotline. This whole book is driven by Grey's internal struggle against herself and her desire to clean up her life and live it to the fullest. The poor lady has some serious issues and the author does a pretty good job having her address them and struggle against them. Relapses are a really thing.

Declan, attracted to her from the start, just wants to help her as best he knows how. He knows a fair bit too, thanks to his past experience. He's her ex deus machina, recognizing what she needs before she even realizes she needs it, like a professional to talk to about past issues. He helps her with her house, and even when they fight, he comes back when he knows she'll probably need him, without her asking.

Etta, the neighbor down the road, is a great character too, btw. She is this combination of a good friend and a cheeky grandmother that swears and provides some much needed lightness to the plot. Otherwise I would have to describe this book as borderline heavy. But Amanda McKinney strikes the perfect balance of darkness and lightness that brings a hopefully feeling to the book.

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I really enjoyed this book and it's my first time reading anything this author has written, so I'm happily going to check out her back list. Rattlesnake Road is a well written romance with a hint of suspense. Grey moves to a creepy old house near in an isolated country town and she battles her own personal demons throughout.

There's an old murder mystery, the possibility of a haunting and a charming real estate developer that keeps appearing, trying to purchase Grey's property. The first few chapters involve Grey only and how she copes with the ending of her ten year marriage and a miscarriage - it's addictive reading. The entire story is told from her POV. Our hero, Declan, doesn't enter the picture until around 40% into the story. However, this is a pretty long book and their slow burn romance fits perfectly within the last 60%. Full of drama and possible triggers for some.

My thanks go to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC in return for my opinion and I recommend this book for lovers of romance. Publication date is April 2021. 4.5 stars rounded up.

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I really liked this title! It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but so much more. It was nice to see a character hit rock bottom. Too often the difficulties are glossed over. The proper steps were in place for recovery and I appreciated the direct effort this took. Of course, Dec is to-die-for and I am very glad it was a stand-alone title. I know there will be more in a series. This one left me satisfied and waiting for the next!

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To Whom This May Concern:

I would first like to say that this is a standalone book from Amanda McKinney. Also, this is the first time I am a reading a product of Amanda McKinney.

The couple in this book is Grey Dalton and Declan Montgomery. Grey is going through what I would like to say as a mid-life crisis between a divorce, sobriety, and a miscarriage. Things that are completely relatable. I, myself, can deeply related to Grey’s struggle with sobriety and how it ties into her decision for everything that she does. The author eloquently wrote Grey to be somebody that the readers can sympathize and some empathize with. Grey is trying to find her footing in a small town where the last of her family is. On the other hand, Declan was not introduced into this plot line until more than 30%-40% of the story. I felt like his character could have been developed more. Declan just professed all who he was to Grey when there was so much build up to the mystery of himself. It doesn’t deter our interest as readers to him however.

The plot line of the story was not what I expected. The struggles that Grey faced when she was moving into the town as well as adjusting to her new environment was the main focused of the book alongside a small town murder mystery that didn’t really become significant until finishing the book. The “mystery” in the book was so meticulously placed that it never caused the readers to become scared to question if this book was part of the romance genre or not. I would like to give the author snaps for this amazing feat. Also, this book is written only in Grey’s point of view. Furthermore, I would like to mention that there are a lot of chapters in this book. However, there are chapters that are like only 2 to 3 pages. The book is written more descriptively than dialogue based. As a reader, we introspectively learned about the characters and plot than being told what is happening.

The “romance” scene was not very steamy. I will never judge on the amount of romance scenes in a book, but more the quality of the scenes themselves. There are about 3 sexual scenes per se in the book. However, the scenes are very brief. This is more of s l o w burn type of book than intense, grab-the-sheets- type of story.

The ending of the book was well written and ties everything together. However, it felt rushed compared to how long it took to introduce the characters and plot line. There could have been more cushioned towards the end, but still the ending sufficed to give the readers closure.

With that being said, I give the book a 5 out of 5.

With thanks.

Disclaimer: I did get this book for free through NetGalley. However, I did not get paid for a skewed review. This is an honest review with no intentions to sway readers to persuade sales.

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This book really had it all. Cheating husband, starting over, hot guys, love, sex, mystery, and bad guys too. Grey comes from a painful past, alcoholic mother, cheating husband, and loss of a child. She makes a clean break and just leaves and drives to Berry Springs down south. (I don’t think we know where for sure). She buys a cabin on some acreage she plans to renovate. Really, she needs to renovate herself. She goes through many ups and downs, meets new people that both help her and hold her back. She doesn’t trust herself and can’t tell who she should cling to and who to push away.
The book over at a nice easy pace and had a satisfying ending. I just wanted more in the end! Great writing, really pulled me in.

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* Thank you Netgalley for providing an E-ARC of this book, all the opinions are mine*
Rattlesnake Road will grip you from start till the end! This was such a fabulous story of a second chance romance filled with mystery, darkness, edge gripping, emotional read. The emotions and trauma Grey went through gutted me, It was so raw and turbulent. This is definitely not one of your typical romances. This one actually has some substance behind it, This romance book is done extremely well and I prefer my books like this. Grey leaves behind everything after a tragic event and miscarriage to start fresh in a new city, new self, new love, new experience. But her past keeps reminding her of all the things she has endured and she is afraid to move on, but she is determined to leave behind her past where it is. What I really loved about this this book is how Grey's personal struggles really come to play throughout the whole book. This whole book is driven by Grey's internal struggle against herself and her desire to clean up her life and live it to the fullest. It was only at 40% that Declan enters the plot and it was refreshing to see them both work and solve their past. Trying to move on, Declan himself has a mystery and past himself which he keeps it hidden. I wished Declan's POV was more informative and I expected more in the ending, but none the less this book was a ride.

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I really enjoyed this book. There was just something about it that grabbed me from the moment that I picked it up. It is a romance story, but one that opens with Grey, our heroine, taking medication after suffering a miscarriage. It's clear right from the first page that this isn't a light and fluffy romance.
Grey has had a lot to deal with in her life and now she's running away to make a fresh start. When she arrives in her new town, it's not clear if the men that she meets are right for her. There's rich Lucas, who seems to be much like her ex-husband, he might be able to offer her the financial security that she has always craved, but what else can he offer. Then there's reformed, bad boy Declan. He's nothing like the men that she's usually attracted to, but she can't deny the draw she feels towards him.
There is an old mystery woven through these pages as well. This takes a back seat to the story of Grey sorting out her life. It all comes together in the end though.
There are heavy moments to this book, but overall it doesn't feel like a dark and heavy read. Part of this is down to the humour. Etta, one of Grey's new neighbours, is delightful. She actually had me laughing out loud with some of the things she came out with. It helped keep the balance of this read just right.
Overall, this was a brilliant read and one that I highly recommend.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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This book is less of a straight romance and more women’s lit. It follows Grey, an alcoholic who has had some traumatic times including a cheating husband and a miscarriage. She escapes and buys a rundown house on Rattlesnake road. Her destructive behavior continues, although with moments of light and levity as she builds up the house and hopefully herself. In it, she has a relationship with two men (something I admit I don’t like in my romances) and in part, this dynamic is a reflection of her self destructive behavior. So really, the focus of this book is on her growth. I adored Declan, a neighbor who tried to help her, as well as Etta, another neighbor who is so sweet (and brings sweets!) to Grey. Overall, it was a well written story that draws the reader in. Thanks to NetGalley for an early read!

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Best book yet by this author. Strong but flawed heroine, protective good guy, smooth operator not all he appears, danger lurking - just another day in Berry Springs!!!

Grey has put up with a lot from her husband - serial cheating, using her ideas as his own, browbeating her with his money and good standing but the worst and last she'll take - he abandoned her when she was miscarrying their baby!

She is done taking orders from anyone, relying on money to prop up her self-esteem and chase away the memories of her crappy childhood. She buys a house pretty much unseen in Berry Springs and hightails it out of NYC. She's barely in the house before she realises that she has bitten off more than she can chew. But between a hunky mechanic, nosey but caring neighbours and a potential new carer, Grey may just survive this maelstrom.

But there are creepy letters to be found and investigated. Her hunky neighbour may not be the knight in shining armour she thought and then there is the smooth developer, who reminds her all too much of the dirtbag husband.

Grey may not thinks she is much once she strips away the rich-girl trappings but she has a spine of steel and heart made for loving. She has struggles, she fails, just like anyone does. She slips off the wagon and does some damn foolish things putting herself in jeopardy but she never claims to be an angel and she owns her mistakes. Declan may be seen as the bad-boy of Berry Springs but he has a heart of gold and I just loved him! God love an older, wiser, heart-stealing hero! His assistant mechanic comes over all kinds of stalker at first but she is just a teddybear wearing a jaggy suit of barbed wire LOL.

Etta, well what can I say about her except I'd love my own Etta! I just kept envisioning the one and only Betty White I must admit.

I will definitely continue to read everything this author does. Even though all the books have taken place in Berry Springs and the surrounding area, they all have their very own distinct flavour. SUPERB!

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A surprisingly good book with some dark emotional elements. Why surprising? Not all authors can handle the subject matter as dark as this and leave me wanting to continue reading. Half the time, it feels like authors are trying to use darker topics to show how "edgy" they are. No, thank you.

Amanda McKinney handled the darker elements of this book (miscarriage, alcoholism, mental health issues) skillfully enough that she had me cheering along for the heroine as she took the steps towards getting her life back together.

A few things bothered me, and most of them could have been helped by adding considerably to the length of the book. Declan's continued interest after seeing her self destruct and who she did it with didn't make sense to me. I can see him helping her but fully trusting her straight away? Nope don't get that. I felt like she should have had to regain his trust as part of her journey. Plus, the divorce seemed to have come through VERY quickly, not to mention that she's instantly successful in a completely new to her business. Adding some length to the book would allow the author more room to give character development room to breathe. The subject matter was there, and the author seems to have innate skill with weaving a story.

The only other issue I had was the occasional, albeit very preachy, mentions of Christianity. They snapped me right out of the storyline. I would have binged this book in one sitting except for those. They weren't bad enough for me to DNF the book, but this book may not be for you if you're sensitive to Christianity references.

So not a quick, easy read but really enjoyable. I'll be heading off now to check out what else the author has written.

Disclaimer: I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Our heroine in this story is Grey Dalton who moves to a southern town to start her life over. Marriage is over and her career was ruined so Grey did what she thought was best. Buy a cabin and pick herself up by her Louboutins. Little did she know she was about to embark on a complete new lifestyle and along the way meet a host of characters in this new chapter in her life, some good and some who are not what they seem.
I loved the way Amanda wore her storytelling into one of suspense and romance, with twists and turns throughout the book. I love a good romance and mystery and Rattlesnake Road certainly fit the bill.

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This was a good read. A little dark but a strong hero willing to wait for his woman to find herself, Well written and believable, likeable characters. Great mystery solved after decades.

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Rattlesnake Road was a complete whirlwind of emotions for me from the get-go. We are introduced to Grey in the midst of her deciding to leave her husband due to his serial cheating, and lack of support during the loss of a pregnancy, all whilst she is dealing with her own addiction. Completely uprooting herself to deal with her demons she meets 2 men: one rich and reminiscent of the husband Grey has just left, and the other a local man ruled by his own morality. This choice combined with the uncovering of a cold-case as a sub-plot kept me on toes throughout this novel.
This book had my emotions all over the place: sad, happy, and sometimes anger at Grey for acting irresponsibly. It deals with sensitive topics extremely well and was a brilliant introduction for myself to this author. I can't wait to continue this series!

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Wholly Cow, I think Rattlesnake Road is the most intense book I've ever read! The storyline was superb and the characters so real. It took me longer to read this book than most because it was so emotional and mysterious, and romantic that I was emotionally drained after reading several chapters, it was that real and intense. Well done Amanda!

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Thank you NetGalley for this eARC. This book had the two things I love, small town and bad boy. I loved it from start to finish. The small town vibes and the growing relationship between the two main characters. Throw in the small mystery and I was all set! Loved.

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This book will take on a ride. At times dark, but its like driving by a car wreak... you have to look. It's a new beginnings meets getting your baggage in order book. I couldn't put the book down! I would recommend this book to anyone. I love how well written this book is.

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This one will stick with you long after the last page. More than a romance, this is a journey about finding yourself, healing, and letting go. Grey is complex. You can't help but root for her from the very start. Declan is so much more than meets the eye. Every trip to Berry Springs is an emotional rollercoaster of an adventure. This one has just the right amount of suspense and the reveal to the mystery is a shocker. I was sad to reach the end. I wasn't quite ready to let these characters go. But it's a satisfying and beautiful conclusion.

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I really liked this book! The heroine was relatable. The way she handled her trauma was very realistic and her strength was honestly admirable. I liked that she was allowed to be messy and broken and slowly healing. I really liked the hero, he was gentle but also a solid support system for her and it was refreshing to see them become friends before they became more. I liked how this was written. I thought the pacing was a little slow but not enough to really bother me.

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A hauntingly dark story

Grey is starting over after a tragedy forces her to reassess her life’s choices. She ends up buying a house that comes with a lot of secrets that are linked to a decades-old murder mystery. Her rebound relationship was difficult to read about, but her growing romance with Declan made the story worthwhile.

Told entirely from Grey’s POV, she doesn’t engender much sympathy but she does have her heroic moments. Though it has its dark and gritty moments, the book serves up a solid slice of justice followed by a sweet and very satisfying HEA.

More women’s fiction than romance, this story does a fine job of charting Grey’s emotional journey to the life she’s always wanted. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.

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The beginning was sad as I realized what Grey Dalton was suffering and that she was alone, knowing that her husband doesn’t love her and that their divorce is imminent. I so enjoyed her “not quite sober” response to receiving her award, even though it derailed her future. Her move to be near her cousin in Berry Springs was the best decision for the new start that she needed. A home badly needing renovation, a business to start, new friends to uplift her and maybe a new love interest? There is Luke Covington who wants to purchase her home for a new development and Declan Montgomery who has survived his own volatile past. When she finds letters hidden in the closet, she is startled by the feelings expressed by the young writer. The ending surprised me as I thought I knew who wrote the letters, but I was wrong. A gritty romance and mystery that takes the reader through so many emotions, all the while hopeful that Grey will get the future she so deserves. I received an advance review copy at no cost and without obligation for an honest review from the author and NetGalley. (by paytonpuppy)

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OMG. This book was so fun. It was one of The first dark books i have Read by this author, but it will not be The last. I really liked that The book covered dark themes and really showed us people with flaws. But The characters wanted to be a better version of them selves

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Wow. This book ripped my heart out of my chest and stomped on it right from the beginning, and kept squeezing until the end, when it gently healed it. It was that emotional. A fascinating story of righting some wrongs.

The past is ever present here, always weighing on the main characters. It’s a past they must overcome. I loved the real struggles they experience–nothing is easy, but it’s always worth fighting. There’s another past playing a decisive role, the one depicted in the mysterious letters. And there are those strange manifestations in Grey’s cabin…

I found it a bit manichaean to have almost every male character in Grey’s entourage to be a cheater and/or a liar, while most of the women were promiscuous. That painted the main characters in a good light, despite their horrendous flaws–like Grey’s alcoholism. Still, it worked well in the story.

The atmosphere was, in my opinion, the main quality of the book. From the beginning, the reader is forced to experience the places and events through Grey’s eyes–and her unique point of view. Because of her struggles, her personal experiences, and her state of mind, the whole story is colored a certain way that helped connecting with the character and created powerful images.

Thanks to that atmostphere, and the gripping mystery–and my serious need for a happy ending–I was swept away and couldn’t put it down.


- Series: standalone (though there are connections with other series by the same author)
- Hashtags: #romantic suspense #small town romance #love triangle #age gap #opposites attract #ghost
- Triggers: alcoholism, deaths, miscarriage, violence
- Main couple: Grey Dalton & (Lucas Covington or Declan Montgomery?)
- Hotness: 3/5
- Romance: 4/5
- + a perfectly crafted mystery
- – I felt like the introduction of previous characters from the author was unnecessary

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The intrigue, the unexpected. It kept me noting all the details that I knew would be important to predicting what was to come. The author is so talented at creating the twists and turns in her stories, making every character important to the finale. Berry Springs has so many stories behind the doors of every house. And when someone new comes to town, everyone also knows that they must have a story for why they came to this small town. Most of the twists were surprises with just enough mystery to keep you reading the next chapter, and the next. I am in awe of how it all comes together! Sensational story writing!

I was provided an advanced copy by the publisher for an honest review.

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Rattlesnake Road is the first book in a new series by Amanda McKinney. Wow for me this was an amazing book, it took me through all sorts of emotions which I look for in my books. The book has to touch my core, and pull out my emotions to earn a 5star rating. I loved the characters in the book, the book does deal with a couple issues that could be triggering to certain people. This was a new author for me, but I most definitely will be checking out more of her books. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a romantic suspense book.

I received a ARC from NetGalley and the publisher, and this is my honest review of the book.

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A story of having to hit rock bottom before you can climb your way back.

Grey's life has spiraled out of control. After suffering a miscarriage and getting fired after a drunken outburst at work Grey starts to re-evaluate her life and her first step is to leave her cheating husband and her luxury life behind. She buys a rundown log cabin nestled deep in the woods in the small southern town of Berry Springs.

Rattlesnake Road is my first read by Amanda McKinney and I love her biting prose. Grey Dalton's character is fantastic; sarcastic and funny, I was drawn into her life and wanted her to succeed, anxious over her set backs

With two love interests introduced, one promising her the life she had left behind but the one she was used to and attracted to whilst the other offered her a new beginning where she would have to come to terms with her inner turmoil.

Amanda McKinney has not only written a great angsty romance the story is filled with topical issues such as; domestic abuse, self harm, alcoholism and mental illness. It did at times become quite dark and disturbing.
Through a ghost with unfinished business Grey becomes inadvertently involved in a 30 year old murder mystery.

Rattlesnake Road had me glued to the pages, there was plenty of fun banter between the characters, a bit of harmless snark that kept me laughing, a great twist that had my heart racing and one swoon worthy male that melted my heart.

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I loved this small town mystery romance. I was drawn in right from the very beginning. Grey's character development was nicely done. I liked how she was able to pull herself up from rock bottom and put in the work to put herself back together. Declan is amazing and is just the person that Grey needs to help her heal. Declan and Grey's relationship is emotional, raw, and beautiful. This story is deep, complex, and a great read!

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***5 Stars***

The title was the lure and the first line of the synopsis was the hook, but neither prepared me for that first chapter. I thought I read it all, but that...that was totally unexpected, but it kept me in that rabbit hole diligently turning those pages to see how Grey would pick herself up and find her happiness.

Grey. I admired this woman and in the end I really liked her. She’s determined, focused, open even with the walls she erected around herself but she was also her own worst enemy, so it made her real. It made her vulnerable, at times frustrating, but real. I, obviously, didn’t always agree with her choices ~ one in particular kind of baffled me ~ but I liked watching her evolve and find out who she really was regardless of her past and I really liked the woman she became.

As for the ‘romance’ side. Well, there are two choices here and I don’t want to give it all away, but I will say that I was very, very happy with who she ended up with because I kinda, sorta fell in adoration with him from the very beginning.

This is my first read by the author and I’m really happy I took a chance on this book. It had a lot of heavy in it, and it will trigger some readers, but it was balanced out by some amazing characters. Etta is my favorite of them all, but Kai and Cassidy are close seconds. They brought light and depth to the story and through them, brought that small town vibe big time. I did see that there is a Berry Springs series ~ along with a few others which look like they could be connected, so I will be adding them to my very extensive TBR pile when I can, all while keeping my eyes open for upcoming books by this author.

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Real and raw. This is a story of truth, digging deeper, and coming out the darkness. This is what books aspire to be.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this amazing gem.

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I don't know if it was the story, the writing, or if it just came along at the right time and I was in the right mood, but I LOVED this book!

I loved the writing. I loved the characters - I totally wanted to live in that town and hang out with them. I loved the story.

So many contemporary romance novels are all sex, sex, sex. Sometimes I like a little story with my sex. And I got it with this book.
Another thing that we usually get with the contemporary romance is the perfect girl with a jerk guy but it's insta-love. Why? BUt not with this book! I don''t want to sound like one of "those girls" but I am going to for just a second. The H made me swoon! I would grab him up in a heartbeat.

I also loved how the main character was flawed (and boy was she). She was a self described "alcoholic wh%re". And I loved her and her struggles. I loved how she worked to turn herself around.

I looked at other books by this author after I finished this one. They are not typically up my alley, but I am going to try a couple. I liked this book so much that I am pretty sure I will love other books by this author.

Thank you to the author, the publisher and #netgalley for the ARC which did not impact my review. I just really loved this book!

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Thank you NetGalley, author Amanda McKinney, and HH Tisevich, LLC for giving me a free arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
4.5 stars
TW: Miscarriage, cheating, alcohol abuse, unhealthy sexual encounters, Mental health issues such as talks about animal abuse, and cutting.
This was my first book by this author and it will not be my last.
This book is not your typical romance! This story is very raw in some places, but such a beautiful story.
Grey had everything she could ever ask for a wonderful husband, a great career, and a little one on the way. But all that changes with the loss of their unborn child due to a miscarriage, discovering her husband has been cheating on her. Without seeing anyway out, Grey decides to leave her husband and start fresh in a small town. Grey buys a fixer upper house that has a long history and not all of it good. Grey meets two men, whom she is draw to in different ways. One has all the reminders of her former husband, the other is a man with his own dark past and is willing to live by his own morality. I found myself drawn into the story, characters, and the mystery that surrounds Grey's house. This book had my feelings all over the place. Grey was such a well written character. Her reactions to some very hard situations were so realistic. She did not always make the right decisions that had me yelling at my kindle a time or two, but I loved how she was willing to ask for and accept help from Declan and Etta! Declan was such an amazing hero. He was so patient and caring towards Grey! He was always willing to do the right thing even when he had to fight the growing attraction towards Grey, while she was married. The author handled a lot of very sensitive and darker issues with care that had me wanting the best for Grey and Declan! Some of the story line elements seemed to happen conveniently like her divorce coming through so quickly and her business taking off so quickly, but those did not take away from the overall enjoyment of the book. The ending was well written and wrapped everything together satisfactory! I would recommend this book to those who are not looking for your typical romance, but is looking for a flawed yet strong heroine and a little dark hero romance!

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I think this is a great book! Lots of angst with every single character! I feel it is very realistic and has many twists and turns that kept !y attention. This is not the genre I usually read but I am glad I made an exception this time. I recommend this book to everyone.
Thank you to Net Galley for allowing me to read this ARC for my honest opinion.

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Rattlesnake Road follows Grey, a successful editor of a fashion magazine that feels utterly alone in her marriage. After losing her job due to a drunken mistake she decides to leave everything behind (including her cheating husband) and start anew in a small town.

Even though this book is labeled as a small town mystery romance, to me the biggest plot point was Grey’s journey to recovery. She’s a struggling alcoholic that has ultimately reached rock bottom. So seeing her gradually come to terms with her vice and accept help was such a beautiful journey. Even though she makes mistakes and some of her actions were irritating, Grey's character felt so raw. Her guilt and self loathing were written so well that it made me emotional while reading.

“The best things come out of nowhere, that I can promise you. Thing is, most people don’t see them."

As for the romance I loved that it wasn't obvious at first. The love interest didn't show up right away but when he did show up, I was immediately swooning over him! I loved that he saw Grey at her worst and was always there for her. Loved their romance!

This was my first book by this author but definitely not my last. Can't wait for Redemption Road!

TW: miscarriage, dubious consent, animal abuse, and alcohol abuse

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4.5 stars

Grey Dalton is in an unhappy marriage in New York. Her husband is unfaithful, unsupportive, and doesn’t seem to care about her at all. She starts drinking heavily, and undergoes several traumatic events in her current life as well as in her past. Her acceptance speech after winning an award will have readers laughing out loud! That was an early highlight of this book. Anyway, she made a promise to her cousin years earlier, that if she ever left New York, she would move to Berry Springs. So sight unseen, she purchases a fixer-upper home in Berry Springs and moves there. Along the way she encounters two very different men. One is Lucas Covington, a businessman who wants to buy her land and put up a fancy resort. The other is Declan Montgomery, a cowboy/auto mechanic who loves the land and enjoys gardening and cooking. She meets a few other quirky neighbors along the way, and most of them have a heart of gold.

Grey has been damaged along the path of her life. She’s got baggage, and she’s avoided dealing with it by drinking. It causes her to go through some tough things. This story shows her courageous struggle to face those past hurts. She makes some missteps, but she finally figures it out. She gets help along the way.

The tension is moderate, and the pace is as well. Things happen, but not at a breakneck pace. There’s a decades-old mystery that becomes known during the course of the story, and a few unexplained noises that hint at a ghost. This story covers a couple of tough topics with sensitivity and care, and it seems as if this author has done some research on these topics. This book flowed smoothly and was well-written. This would make an excellent beach read!

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I have voluntarily read and reviewed a copy of this book given to me via NetGalley. Rattlesnake Road is the 1st book in the Small time mystery series by Shelly Laurenston. I devoured it in less then 2 days. I love McKinney's writting.Don't hesitate get this book!

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The book starts with Grey's life falling apart-her husband is cheating on her, she has turned to alcohol for solace and she has flushed her career down the drain. As a means of starting over, she moves to a small town and buys a house on Rattlesnake road. Sadly the house resembles nothing like the beautiful cottage online, it's in literal shambles and while fixing the house she comes across mysterious letters that leaves her shocked and these very letters may hold answers about the mysterious man who tugs at her heartstrings.

I must say that the author nailed the mystery aspect. It gave a very spooky vibe to the story and let me tell you this book is on the darker side and there are some pretty descriptive scenes that even I had to just close the book for a moment. So fair warning before going in.

I was really hooked to the story and the pacing was really good, I loved the side characters, the description of the town, it was very easy to visualise the setting of the book and I loved the vibe of this book. But midway the story kind of lost the momentum and again picked up kind of after the 80% mark.

Coming to the men in this book, I was intrigued as in where this book was headed. I do not want to spoil anything in this regard. The storyline was pretty romantic as well.

Just go in this one blind. The blurb is pretty vague and I'm trying to keep it as minimal as possible too lol. I had a good time reading this one.

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Rattlesnake Road by Amanda McKinney
A Small Town Mystery Romance

I believe I have a new favorite author! This book was dark, gritty, gut wrenching, and dark soul destroying and yet ultimately so very positive and uplifting that I still smile thinking about this story and the future that Grey and Declan have to look forward to. I have no idea how Ms McKinney managed to draw me in, sweep me away, make me feel, care and dare to hope as I watched one horror after another occur as I wished I could sweep one character or another up and either hold them tight or lock them up.

What I liked:
* Finding a new author that impressed me and that I will look for in the future
* Grey: a woman with grit, determination, strength, creativity, big heart, a past, dreams, baggage, and addiction to alcohol
* Declan: a man with purpose, a past, anger issues, dreams, a sense of humor, a giver, a fixer, a mechanic, a man with more to give than he realizes – such a good and admirable man
* The mystery surrounding the murdered girl and how it was solved/resolved
* The haunting
* The way the “letters” appeared and the can of worms they opened up
* Etta: neighbor, older woman, gossip, baker, potential good friend
* Kai: works for/with Declan, intriguing, potential good friend, could star in her own story
* Cassidy: cousin to Grey
* The idea Grey came up with for her future
* The meet-cute between Grey and Declan – some of their dialogues were a hoot!
* The way the “hitting bottom” was dealt with/written
* The humanity of the characters and how well they were developed
* The sweet romantic bits
* That it was so REAL and drew me in and made me care and wish/feel I was there
* All of it really except…

What I didn’t like:
* That the murderer was not caught sooner and lived so many years unfettered perhaps killing others
* Knowing that people do hit rock bottom like the character in this book did…and sometimes fall even further.
* Having to say goodbye to these characters and not knowing what will happen next

Did I like this book? Definitely!
Would I read more by this author? Oh my, Yes ~ As soon as I can!

Thank you to NetGalley and HH Tisevich for the ARC – This is my honest review.

5 Stars

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Rattlesnake Road is a great read. This is my first book by this author but it will not be my last. We are introduced to Grey when she is making some life altering decisions like leaving her husband and dealing with an addiction. She meets two men and this is where it starts to get good. This book had my emotions all over the place from sad to happy to even at times angry. I can not wait to continue this series.

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*Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in return for a honest review.*

Trigger warnings: miscarriage, alcoholism, drug use, mention of murder

I thought this book was fantastic. It depected life so well and was relatable in so many ways. I also enjoyed the mystery behind what's behind the walls. It takes a new meaning of everyone having secrets behind closed doors.

Ciry girl, Grey, has hit rock bottom. She decides to leave her cheating husband after she has a miscarriage and loses herself in alcohol. She buys a fixer-upper cabin in the south and moves to the small town of Berry Springs. Everything seems to be falling apart, figuratively and physically, when she arrives at her new home. But, Grey is determined to make a new life and rehabilitate herself.

Through a downward spiral of self-reflection and battling to be sober, Grey finds herself settling down in the small southern town. She keeps her sarcasm and dry sense of humor even going through everything she is having to face.

She finds herself, friends, love and still makes mistakes being a 31-year-old woman, which I found refreshing. And don't let me forget to mention Delcan who is a fantastic character all by himself.

I loved this book's realness, sarcasm and the journey our characters took. It was an emotional Rollercoaster, but that's what life is as well. I love redemption stories and this book did just that!

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Oh. My. God.
It normally takes me at least 20-30 pages to get an idea of how invested I’m going to be in a book. NOT THIS ONE! I was hooked from the second page. My heart broke for what was clearly happening, and I knew I needed to see how the story played out.
This book delighted me the entire way though. There were thrills, suspense, a LOT of humour. And oh boy, did the temperature rise a few degrees at some points! It was sexy and heartwarming. I’m so glad I read this book and I know the author will become a firm favourite!

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I don't even know how to properly write this review. Aside from my die hard, go to authors, which went from 20 to 5 in the last year, it's been a very long time since I enjoyed a book so much or was excited about new releases and looking through an authors catalog.

Somehow I'm new to Amanda McKinney books. And now that I've experienced Grey and Declan and Rattlesnake Road I want more and I'm excited yet nervous that anything else she's written won't hold a candle to the bitter and ugly truth and naked struggle and realness of Grey and her journey to rebuild herself her way, by her rules and expectations and a lot of truth staring back at her in the mirror. Girl is a hot mess and she resonates with me and made me a little squirmy and I had to put my kindle down a few times to work through the feelings I was having.

Declan was seriously unexpected in all of the best ways. He compliments Grey and she him. Their honesty, and it's a struggle for them both, keeps them moving forward. I think every one deserves a Declan to push them forward when things get uncomfortable and help them shove those doors open when what's on the other side is terrifying. To remember the little things and fight for you.

When I started and we are introduced to Lucas I was slightly horrified for Grey. Certainly the author wasn't going to make this the male lead!? I almost, ALMOST, walked away from the book. Thank you Jesus for my stubbornness.

I loved the mystery aspect of the story. I actually didn't see that twist until just before it happened, and I was absolutely ok with how it all played out.

I'm cautiously excited to move onto the Steele Security series and to read Redemption Road when it releases.

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I really didn't expect to be so obsessed with this book. The author does such an incredible job pulling you in from the very beginning. Grey Dalton has had a rough childhood and now living a life where she is thoroughly miserable and needs a new path. The town of Berry Springs is interesting from the start. Southern Charm, romance, and a bit of mystery.

It was impossible not to become emotionally invested in all of the characters - Grey was someone that you would root for from day one and when she fell off the wagon, you couldn't help but want to push her back up yourself. And the romance was just so perfect. It took time to grow, but it was honest and the chemistry was there from the first moment they laid eyes on each other. I could not put this book down once I started it! This was my first book by Amanda McKinney but it definitely won't be my last!

Big thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Ahhhh the feels!! This story really cuts deep and covers so many issues. Grey is such a strong character with a big heart and I was rooting for her the whole time. Great story line and character development. It’s exciting and romantic and I would definitely recommend! I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy.

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I….. didn’t see any of THAT coming…?!

Okay, starting from the first chapter, this book starts on a REALLY HIGH NOTE! Details and events that are displayed churned my stomach and broke my heart simultaneously. I felt for Grey.

What did I like?

Declan. Forget like, I love him. What a freaking man. (Except for the feet fungus. That was hilarious though. )
Engaging story. Though the first half had up and downs, the story was beautifully crafted. I loved McKinney’s writing style. There was an obvious distinction between all her characters. The imagery used was just, beautiful. Starting from Grey’s new house to Declan’s property to the little bridge that connected their land. (So, you can imagine how Amanda was able to clench my heart through my chest when things went bad in the book.)
The angst between Grey and Declan. Two polar opposites. I love that trope.
Dialogues. Do I have to say more?
The amount of research. From gardening to essential oil distillery to tornados?!
Serenity bear. Just, ah… the back story behind that tied it all together.
Murder mystery of the young girl and the letters that Grey found. It piqued my interest in the book. For a part of the book, I thought there would have been no resolution but the ending took me by surprise.
Depiction of mental health & alcoholism. Not very easy to do justice to such deep topics.
What I didn’t like?

Grey. Her actions just pissed me off. (That could just be a compliment to how real the character was and her struggles.- Revealing the real killer and his REASONS left a distaste in my mouth. I don’t think his actions should’ve been justified in any way.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I would most definitely be checking out more of the author’s books.

My Rating: It’s a 4.5/5.

Content Notices: Miscarriage, Adultery, Violence/Self Harm, Alcohol Abuse, Questionable (rape?) sexual encounter, Murder of an animal in the past ( bares no relation to the MC), & Murder of a little girl in the past, ( bares no relation to the MC).

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Complementary copy given for honest review and opinion from NetGalley.
This is a very intense and powerful book. I could not put it down!

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Amanda McKinney did we just become best friends? Yup. Where have you been all my life? This book was amazing, I can't wait to get into the rest of the series.

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Absolutely riveting, I admit I was just expecting an ok read and not to love this as much as I did. The story just draws you in from the very beginning and doesn’t let you go. It’s impossible not to become emotionally attached, the romance was just mwah (chefs kiss). Your heart will break, you’ll laugh and cry, there’s thrills, suspense and so much chemistry, you really need to read this, it’s fantastic

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion

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A huge thanks to NetGalley for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, wow. I've been reading dark romance books for a while now, and Amanda McKinney's "Rattlesnake Road" has been one of the best written books I have come across. Before reading this, however, be very aware of the TRIGGER WARNINGS this contains. That aside, "Rattlesnake Road", to me, was dark in such a different way. As in, it was REAL. We meet our female MC, Grey, when she's hit rockbottom. The things she has to go through on her own in just the few first chapters is gruesome and terribly sad, and THAT'S how the author gets you to understand her mindset. I am very picky about being told that a character has gone through traumatic experiences in books as an explanation as to why they are the way that they are, but we aren't exactly SHOWN how those characters actual cope, or what's beneath their choices. Amanda McKinney doesn't do that for Grey; no, in this, we feel all of the MCs pain, anger, and fear. We sympathize and we want her to live. To find joy again.

This is where Declan, our male MC, enters.

Honestly, I truly appreciated their relationship. Something about it felt perfectly believable. And almost pure in such a dark setting, but that's the point. Second chances. New Beginnings.

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***Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am so grateful as this was one amazing story.

Raw, gripping, real, this romantic suspense is a must-read. This book exceeded all my expectations. It's my first read by this author and let me tell you that Amanda McKinney sure knows how to tell a story. The characters are amazing, well developed and real. The writing style is compelling, with bits of mystery, witty sarcasm and Southern charm. And the title is very telling as to the conclusion of this story.
The story is told by 30 year old Grey. This is a woman lost, an alcoholic at the end of her rope, raised by an extreme alcoholic mother and that never knew her father. She rose above her condition only to lose her marriage and her job in a blink of an eye. "What brought me here? A cheating bastard and two back-to-back losses."
Grey is struggling. She knows she needs to cope with her alcoholism but that's easier said than done. Her fight to find herself again, to start over, to stop drinking, it's beautifully told. It is overwhelming, real, painful, heartbreaking, even frustrating at times.
After a miscarriage, losing her job and deciding to get a divorce, she finds herself in the small Southern town of Berry Springs, in an old house she bought off of the internet in a spur of the moment decision. She has limited savings, no life plan and her struggle with alcohol. As she starts navigating her new life, she then gets caught between 2 men but I didn't really feel there was a love triangle here, more like a good versus bad fight..
Lucas is rich, ruthless, selfish and ambitious. He triggers Grey's bad behavior and with it an onslaught of shame, guilt and pain. Lucas is the one who makes her forget, the easy way out.
Declan is serious, brave, supportive, selfless. He is Grey's polar opposite, he challenges and understands her and helps her stay on track. He is the one that makes her face her issues, the hard way out.
There are also some elements of mystery as Grey finds some letters in the house written by a very disturbed teenager. Also, a ghost seems to be haunting her house from time to time. But all is revealed in due time, in the grand suspenseful finale.

This fabulous book is the kind that will leave an impression long after you finish it. It will make you think. It will make you feel. It will make you cry. And it will make you hope.
Trigger warnings for alcoholism, miscarriage, sadism, depression.

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Thanks to Netgalley, again, for an outstanding ARC. This story is multi-layered and riveting with complex characters and a fascinating plot. Grey, the protagonist, is a sympathetic character while also causing you to yell at the page, “No! Don’t do it!” Of course, as is quickly evident, she is an alcoholic and needs to hit rock bottom before she will acknowledge she cannot quit without help. Declan is a surprisingly compassionate and lovable partner, and I adored the plot twist when they realized they had always been meant for one another. And of course, there’s this gem: “It’s the path. Loss makes us stronger, makes us see things we might not have otherwise. Sometimes loss leads us to what we really need.”

Meanwhile, I feel I must mention that there are some letters from an anonymous source that are truly disturbing. They are written like journal entries, then sealed into envelopes and each time Grey finds one, it is worse than the last. Never mind that it’s unlikely someone would happen to open them in order. That seems irrelevant in light of the contents. I found myself completely creeped out and struggling to get one particular image out of my head. I kept reminding myself it was fiction. Meanwhile, when the writer of the letters was finally revealed… Well, I don’t want to say too much, but I had to pick my jaw up off of the floor.

I am very impressed by the writing in this book and I’ve signed on to Amanda McKinney’s mailing list because I’d like to read more from her. Highly recommended (unless you’re really squeamish).

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4.5/5 STARS

This mindfuck of a book had me wishing for more and more!
I love dark romances so this was nothing out of the ordinary for me and I'm so so pleased with this!

The arc was complimentary and my review is my own.

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