Top 10 Lesbian Romance Novels (Currently on My Kindle)

When I was gifted a Kindle for my birthday this year, I did something that I admit, shamefully, I’ve never done in a bookstore: I perused titles in the “lesbian” category. After sifting through pages of poorly titled erotica, I stumbled across a terrible/AWESOME genre: lesbian romance.

The first lesbian romance novel I purchased was for a laugh; it had some spectacularly tragic cover art and a synopsis that sounded awesome but in the “so bad it’s …” way. But then after burning through three of these books in just one weekend, I was forced to admit that I’d become legit hooked. Lesbian romance novels are my new pastry crack.

The Lesbian Romance Formula

Lesbian romance novels are typically will-they-or-won’t-they slow burners loosely based on the following premise: Girl A meets Girl B and thinks she’s cocky / reckless / mysterious / looking very Shane today. An often work-related situation forces the girls to spend every waking moment together, and Girl A realizes that there’s more to Girl B than nice arms and a smokin’ hot swagger.

However! Despite their sexual tension, Girl A keeps Girl B at arm’s length as she undergoes a brief but intense struggle to overcome her deep dark secret and/or crippling emotional baggage. The tide changes when a confusing figure from either girl’s past shows up and/or a tragic accident forces Girl A to consider life without Girl B in it. They say “I love you” and have “earth-shattering” sex. The End.

With their dark and mysterious protagonists and their “devil may care” grins, these stories have, for better or worse, replaced films starring Anne Hathaway and movies with dance-offs as my preferred method of escapism. So now, at the risk of damaging my street cred, let’s talk romance novels!

Top 10 Lesbian Romance Novels

(Currently on Crystal’s Kindle)

 

Fated Love by Radclyffe [2005]

Twenty-eight-year-old Quinn Maguire is a “dashing young trauma surgeon” who transfers from a top tier New York hospital to Philadelphia Medical College, a hospital that only seems to hire homos. Her new boss, ER Chief Honor Blake, believes that Quinn is hiding a deep dark secret because apparently there could be no other reason for someone to want to work at this particular hospital.

The sexual tension between Quinn and Honor is sparkish from the get-go. However, there are numerous obstacles on the path to make-out town.

Tags: work-related circumstance, near-fatal illness, tragic accident, deceased lover, raunch

 

 


And Playing the Role of Herself by K. E. Lane [2007]

Actress Caidence Harris plays a lead detective on 9th Precinct, a new police television drama that is reminiscent of Law & Order. Her co-star, Robyn Ward, is a tall, husky-voiced lady with an angular face and slightly cleft chin who is reminiscent of every actress who has ever starred in Law & Order. These are their stories. DUN DUN.

Caidence, a closeted lesbian who has not yet acted upon her sapphic impulses, is infatuated with Robyn but keeps it under lock out of respect for Robyn’s perceived-hetero relationship with tennis star Josh Riley. When the producers make Caid and Robyn’s characters hook up on screen, the shoot goes swell. Will Caid and Robyn confess their feelings before some sort of conflict or near death tragedy tears them apart forever?

*SPOILER ALERT* yes.

Tags: work-related circumstance, tragic accident, hot lady cop, confusing figure from the past


Above All, Honor (The Honor Series) by Radclyffe [2004]

I thoroughly enjoy any story featuring a smokin’ hot lady protagonist who wears a tailored suit and holds a position of authority. Luckily, so does every writer in this particular genre.

Cameron Roberts is a Secret Service agent who is charged with leading the task force that is assigned to protect Blair Powell, the promiscuous and rebellious lesbian daughter of the President of the United States. Blair pursues Cameron like a tiger. However, Cam, who is carrying the unbearable weight of a deep personal tragedy, has no time for privileged brats who sneak off to gay bars to have meaningless sex with leather-clad butches, no matter how cute or misunderstood they may be. That is, until a series of life-threatening situations compel these ladies to admit that they want to tear each other’s clothes off.

Tags: work-related circumstance, lesbian power suits, tragic accident, raunch, hot lady cop, deceased lover



Thief of Always (Elite Operatives series) by Kim Baldwin and Xenia Alexiou [2009]

Mishael Taylor, alias “Allegro,” is a race car driver by day and secret spy by night. Allegro is one of the Elite Operative Organization’s top agents, a danger-loving lady who chases thrills and women as a way of distracting herself from flashbacks and other psychological effects associated with being an assassin.

Allegro is tasked with stealing the Blue Star Diamond from a cute Dutch countess, Kristine Marie van der Jagt. Unfortunately Afghani terrorists and German Neo-Nazis are also on the hunt for this diamond, and so, in an effort to locate it first, Allegro takes a job at Kristine’s mansion as a live-in construction worker. Cue porn music.

There are several novels in the Elite Operatives series, each one focuses on a different operative with a really cute code name.

Tags: work-related circumstance, tragic accident, hot girl has swagger


High Risk by Jlee Meyer [2010]

Kate Hoffman, a famous actress, takes some time out from her flashy Hollywood lifestyle to help her queer sister launch a new hotel in San Francisco that caters exclusively to womyn. Enter Dasher, an out A-list Hollywood agent who coincidentally is also taking time out to help with the launch of this hotel.

Kate and Dasher do not get along, mostly because Kate is a straight lady with queer fear who gets flustered at the sight of Dasher in a power suit. But team work is dream work, and they need to get along for the sake of the hotel. This novel has some sort of secret society sub-plot but I can’t tell you about it because curiosity got the best of me and I skipped ahead to all of the Kate/Dasher scenes.

If you want to know more about this womyn’s hotel then you should read Hotel Liaison. It’s not nearly as dull as the Amazon summary may lead you to believe.

Tags: work-related circumstance, lesbian power suits, confusing figure from the past



It Should be a Crime by Carson Taite [2009]

When celebrity defense attorney Morgan Bradley’s long-term girlfriend strays, Morgan f*cks the pain away with the help of a smokin’ hot bartender whom she meets in an alley behind a queer club.

Weeks later, Morgan starts her new job as a guest lecturer at the local university and discovers that the hot bartender is Parker Casy, one of her law students. Awkward. Morgan and Parker are forced to work closely together in order to get an innocent man freed from prison, and while neither lady can forget about their hot one night stand, they try really hard for at least 50 pages.

Tags: work-related circumstance, lesbian power suits, tragic accident, confusing figure from the past, hot girl has swagger

 

 

Wasted Heart by Lynn Galli [2010]

After spending years pining for her married best friend, Austy Nunziata decides that the best way to move on is to become the new Assistant US Attorney for Washington, which is 3,000 miles away. It’s there that Austy meets Elise Bridie, an attractive FBI agent with whom she partners on a case that just so happens to also involve the woman that Austy moved interstate to avoid. It’s complicated, okay?

Lynn Galli has written several novels focusing on a posse of Virginian lesbians and their love interests. If you like this you’ll also like Imagining Reality, Blessed Twice, Finally, and Uncommon Emotions.

Tags: work-related circumstance, lesbian power suits, hot lady cop, confusing figure from the past

 

 

Trauma Alert by Radclyffe [2010]

Beau Cross is a cowboy firefighter who leaps into dangerous situations at every given chance. Dr. Ali Torveau is a widow with a strong appreciation for human life, so she rejects Beau’s advances. Beau is my brother’s name, and I feel weird using it in this context, so I’m just gonna cut-paste the synopsis.

“Firefighter Beau Cross shows up in Dr. Ali Torveau’s ER and sets her carefully ordered world aflame”.

Boom.

Tags: work-related circumstance, near-fatal illness, tragic accident, raunch, hot girl has swagger

 

 

Death by the Riverside (Micky Night series) by J.M. Reddman [2001]

Micky Knight is a private detective who enjoys casual sex and drinking bourbon until she blacks out. It’s the only way she can deal with the deep dark secret that haunts her from her childhood. Mickey is not a romantic or overly likable character; she’s a hot mess on a good day and a bit of an asshole to the people in her life including Cordelia, a pretty lady doctor who Micky meets on a case.

Death By The Riverside isn’t really a romance novel. It’s more crime fiction featuring lots of lesbian sex. While there’s a definite will-they-or-won’t-they question hanging over Micky and Cordelia, most of the suspense in this novel stems from the question of whether Micky will get her shit together.

Tags: work-related circumstance, tragic accident, hot lady cop, raunch, hot girl has swagger

 

 


Gun Shy (Gun series) by Lori L. Lake [2006]

When police officer Dez Reilly saves Jaylynn and her housemate from a vicious home invasion, Jaylynn is inspired by Dez’ butch gallantry, and decides to take up a career with the St. Paul Police Academy. As fate would have it, Dez is assigned as Jay’s training officer. Jay wants Dez to train her in how to have hot lady sex. Dez refuses because she is noble and also because the Academy does not permit trainers to have steamy affairs with their protégés. Sad face.

Tags: work-related circumstance, hot lady cop, tragic accident.


Are you a fan of the lesbian romance genre? Do you know what book I should read next? Fess up in the comments below.

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Crystal is Autostraddle's HR Director. She resides in Sydney, Australia, where she wears black clothing almost exclusively and listens to Green Day as enthusiastically as she did at 13.

Crystal has written 296 articles for us.

158 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    This is relevant to my interest for the following reasons:
    1. I got a kindle for my bday too (thanks to my awesome coworkers/friends :))
    2. Im on a vacation and i need to make full use of my kindle
    3. Lesbian romance = guilty pleasure and i’m all for that.

    Thanks Crystal!!

  2. Thumb up 3

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    I really wish the people who designed these covers would take some time to make them NOT look like Romance novels so I could buy them in a bookstore without wearing sunglasses and a headscarf…

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    These covers make the part of my brain with the blatantly smug sense of superiority die a bit inside and the part of my brain that’s a randy opportunist say “I’m so drunk right now, wanna make out?”

    Yeah, that does make perfect sense.

  4. Thumb up 1

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    You all need to check out Nightshade by Shea Godfrey! I read it last year and loved it. The author is currently working on the sequel.

    http://www.amazon.com/Nightshade-Shea-Godfrey/dp/1602821518

    From Amazon.com

    In a land where two countries have been torn by war for generations, Princess Jessa is sent as a peace offering to the country of Arravan, understanding all too well that she is being sacrificed upon the altar of her father’s ambitions—and condemned to an uncertain and possibly short-lived future, if the machinations of her own family are any indication.

    But what she finds at Blackstone Keep is most certainly not what she expects, and for a daughter of royal blood who has known little of freedom and even less of love, the members of the Durand family are proving to be a very pleasant riddle to be solved—the youngest daughter, Darrius Durand, is the most surprising of all. A captain in the King’s elite guard and filled with humor and good nature, Darry’s considerable charms pull Jessa rather happily into an unexpected friendship that quickly becomes something more, promising passion and the fulfillment of her deepest desires.

    Jessa and Darry’s relationship threatens the fragile peace, and the future of two countries might very well hang in the balance. When family secrets and hidden agendas begin to surface, as well as an ancient majik that Jessa has been preparing to use since the day she was born, a prophecy is set in motion that will thrust both lands into a bloody war of revenge and retribution—a war that love alone will not be able to stop.

  5. Thumb up 2

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    Seriously just finished Above All, Honor & the second book, Honor Bound for the first time. Apparently, there are about 5 books in that series.

    I’ve also read Love’s Melody Lost & Love’s Tender Warriors by Radclyffe. Seems like she follows the pattern you’ve outlined in everything so far, but it’s hot, and reading is fundamental, so yeah…

  6. Thumb up 2

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    Lesbian romance novels are one of my vices. When Crystal outlined the formula, she wasn’t kidding: you generally read romances for the characters and sex / romance, not the intricate plots.

    Even though they feature lesbian characters, these are still romance novels with most of the flaws inherent to the genre. If you can get past that, the good ones are engaging, most if not all of the major characters are lesbian / bi, and if a character is experiencing angsty self-loathing it’s not about being queer for a change.

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    If anyone likes fantasy I’d recommend Sarah Diemer’s books.

    She just released a full length called “The Dark Wife” which is a lesbian twist on the story of Hades and Persephone. And also she’s doing a series of novellas, the first of which is released on Amazon called “Sugar Moon”.

  8. Thumb up 1

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    If you want to try a lesbian romance novel, Lynn Galli’s “Wasted Heart” from Crystal’s list is $5.99 for the Kindle version. (This is a discount – confirm before you buy.)

    Since bad romance novels are really awful – and not in a funny way – here’s an Amazon link to lesbian romance novels rated 4-star and up sorted by bestselling.

    Crystal, if you haven’t read “The Lonely Hearts Club” by Radclyffe, I liked it. It’s about three friends as much as the budding romance at the center of the book. The other two friends play significant roles and have their own lives and romances.

    Tags: lesbian power suits, sperm, softball, deceased lover, double life, hot girl has swagger, raunch

  9. Thumb up 2

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    Who else recognized half of those stories from the Uber section of “The Royal Academy of Bards” website? Although, I guess if you’re not into Xena or fanfiction or fanfiction for Xena you’ve probably never heard of the site before…

    Anyway, “And Play the Role of Herself” was one of my favorites. I’m going to go buy that now.

    I wanted to add something witty here to finish this off, but I have nothing.

  10. Thumb up 1

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    I haven’t read a lesbian romance novel in 15 years. Dang. The only one I remember the title of is “Paperback Romance.” It’s a little Victor/Victoria only in this case Victor/Victoria is a lesbian.

    http://lesbrary.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/anna-reviews-paperback-romance-by-karin-kallmaker/

    Buying queer books at a major bookstore was a thing I did when I was a teenager just to prove I could do it. It’s a good exercise in becoming comfortable in your own skin. The experience was probably worth more than the books.

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      Book covers can be misleading. I find its good to read the short they put on the back maybe even read a couple pages before saying thats a crappy book. For instance the Honour Series by Radclyffe is Great! The cover sucks but all in all a great series.
      I remembering reading another book called the witches familiar that didnt have an appealing cover. However a good book. I just wish there was a second. Radclyffes Justice Series is pretty good to, but I understand that its not for everyone.

  11. Thumb up 1

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    It’s been a long-standing dream of mine to pen a (straight) Mills & Boon novel, but thankfully congenital laziness has always prevented me from doing it.

    However, these amazing reviews are re-igniting the proverbial loins of my dyketrash-writing passion, if only I could get over characters with such preposterous names.

    Totally loved the deadpanness of this, and very much hope that WORK-RELATED CIRCUMSTANCE becomes a thing.

  12. Thumb up 1

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    i published a story in a book radclyffe edited, same publishing company, the cover art was hilarious, i think it won a lambda literary award for best erotica anthology

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    True Facts:
    Anything on this list by Radclyffe started out as Xena fanfiction, and there is A Pile of this cached in odd corners of the internet.

    Hilarious Facts: It’s totally possible to read an entire library of lesbian romance novels on an iPod Nano G2. In linked text files. On the bus. Maybe that’s why I need glasses.

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    Uhm, Catherynne Valente’s Palimpsest has got lots of queer people in it? No kiddin’ tho, basically one of my favorite books.

    Between life and death, dreaming and waking, at the train stop beyond the end of the world is the city of Palimpsest. To get there is a miracle, a mystery, a gift, and a curse — a voyage permitted only to those who’ve always believed there’s another world than the one that meets the eye. Those fated to make the passage are marked forever by a map of that wondrous city tattooed on their flesh after a single orgasmic night. To this kingdom of ghost trains, lion-priests, living kanji, and cream-filled canals come four travelers: Oleg, a New York locksmith; the beekeeper November; Ludovico, a binder of rare books; and a young Japanese woman named Sei. They’ve each lost something important — a wife, a lover, a sister, a direction in life—and what they will find in Palimpsest is more than they could ever imagine.

    Shit, y’all, it is so good.

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    Lesbian romances are my dirty little secret because usually I wouldn’t be caught dead reading a romance… and then I discovered one one day and it was like wow! I have several by Karin Kallmaker, She was the first author I discovered in the genre I guess so I pretty much stuck to her. Hers can be hit or misses but she has a couple that are actually really good…. Now I have this desire to go look up a couple of these other authors and books to check them out!!

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    great article & oh so true.It’s my guilty public secret. Hell I came out late & I just dont give a damn.

    My fave writer is Nene Adams who writes historicals, “Flowers of Edo” is a fantastic ghost story set in Japan with a female samurai.The research is first rate.
    ttp://www.amazon.com/FLOWERS-EDO-Ghost-Story-ebook/dp/B0046A9TXO/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&

    Bosomfriends is my go-to place for leshistfic reviews.
    http://lesbianhistoricalfiction.blogspot.com/?zx=a5f1593b5ecbb56f
    o

  17. Thumb up 1

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    i read an article in the L.A. Weekly years ago about the authors of gay (male) literature like this, and some slightly more erotic stories, and how most of them are women.
    They’re very successful and pretty much have the market cornered on that shit but have to hide the fact that they’re women in order to succeed. It was a mildly interesting article. Sometimes they picked pseudonyms that are obviously fake. Some of these names reminded me of those and given all the fake lesbians we’ve uncovered lately……i’m just very paranoid now.

  18. Thumb up 1

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    I’ve read a few books on this list and they’re not bad, but my favorite isn’t here at all! Seriously, check out “Homecoming” by Nell Stark. It’s ridiculously sweet and yes, there’s sex. Not as hardcore as Radclyffe, but it’s still good. But the main thing is that if you read it, you really will be faced with an attack of the Warm And Fuzzies.

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    Jessica; go over to Bold Strokes & you can see pics of the authors, plus Nene the rest have facebook pages. Lesbian writers are a small community, I can tell you who the male ones are: Geonn Cannon, so no worries.

    go out get your paperback crack and enjoy;-)

  20. Thumb up 1

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    It so happens that I’m trying to write a thing featuring a smokin’ hot lady with a tailored suit and a position of authority.

    Guess I’m not as original as I thought. Apparently I’m just an average homogay. Maybe I should make it into a romance novel then.

    Career change, y/y?

  21. Thumb up 1

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    AH this is my favorite genre for summer reading! And I’m totally not ashamed to admit that.

    Love Lynn Galli. Also: Gerri Hill (fav. is _One Summer Night_ #softball), Kate Christie (_Solstice_ #soccer).

    Meghan O’Brien has a sex-packed book called _Thirteen Hours_ and it’s difficult to not love both of the main characters. And I do mean sex-packed.

    KG MacGregor is ok too, but I always feel like she’d appeal to a slightly older gay-lady audience (I’m 30, so, you know, I’m youngishkinda).

    I’ve read one of Ali Vali’s (_Second Season_) and remember liking it, mostly.

    Um, basically, I’m just really happy I’m not the only person who indulges in this genre.

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    The Devil Inside by Ali Vali
    Spanish Pearl by Catherine Friend
    Branded Ann by Merry Shannon
    Of Drag Kings and the Wheel of Fate by Susan Smith
    Witch Wolf by Winter Pennington

    These are a few of my favorites and deserve a read

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  24. Thumb up 1

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    Lookit all the queers already reading romance in these comments! This is awesome! Let’s stop being ashamed of romance novels. Romance novels are the shit. Corny, silly, tragic, erotic, filled with heaving bosoms and work-related strife, I heart romance novels and I am not ashamed to be seen reading them.

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    Oh, the only downside is that some of it is suspiciously close to Xena/Gabrielle fanfic. Which is actually kinda fun the first couple times, but it gets a bit repetitive when all the characters start looking the same…

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    Some of the stories are quite entertaining but throw in the old cliche of the “femmish” and the “butchish” and it ruins it for me. Fickle as it sounds to some member of the community, I’d rather read about a love story between two beautiful women than one about a beautiful and a handsome (yawn) one.

  27. Thumb up 1

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    This is to all the ones bitching about the covers. If you think you can do better, invest in a high-end graphics program, hire yourself out as a book cover designer and STFU!!!!

  28. Thumb up 1

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    “spelling Mississippi” my fav book ever and im kinda looking for something with th same kinda style if anyone can recommend sumthin? tryna find books that have th whole build up thing going, that dont jus drop th lesbianism on ur face (giggles)

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    I just want to say that the first novel on here, I’ve read and loved…and I cracked the hell up when you wrote that PMC only hired homos hahaha. But Radclyffe worked there in real life and seeing as how shes the author and a fellow lesbian…it kinda sorta makes sense :P

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    I don’t usually read the straight up romance novels but the thing about any lesbian fiction is that it always has some level of romance. How gritty and detailed you want it is up to you which is awesome. I stumbled upon the wonderful world of lesbian fiction while closeted away in the military. It was theraputic in a way. I’ve gathered a few names to share but I’m a geek so the genres tend to be more sci-fi, fantasy, western and historical. Also, if you’re low on cash most of these authors started out with fanfics or have unpublished works on the interwebs.

    D. Jordan Redhawk, Sarah Champion, C. Tyler Storm, Shea Godfrey, L-J Baker, Merry Shannon, Verda Foster, Vada Foster, BL Miller, Jean Stewart, Jane Flettcher, Kim Pretekel, Nene Adams, and LJ Maas are just a few. Also, 2 pretty big sites are The Athenaeum at xenafiction.net (more than just Xena stories) and the Academy of Bards at academyof bards.org

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    The author Penny Hayes has some good books, my favorites are Montana Feathers, Yellowthroat and Kathleen O’Donald. The Grass Widow by Nanci Little is also an excellent read. Pembroke Park by Michelle Martin is a good choice. Not so much a “romance” as the above article or these titles an super author is Mellissa Good who did the Dar and Kerry Series that starts with Tropical Storm. My final suggestion would have to be Madam President by Blayne Cooper and T. Novan. I adore reading lesbian romances, have read hundreds. I hope these titles are found to be just as enjoyable by new readers.

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