Sexy Beast IV
Chanku Destiny is the 10th story in the Wolf Tales saga.
Chanku Destiny from Sexy Beast IV is available as a single-title ebook novella.
"...With Chanku Destiny, Kate Douglas adds another exciting tale about the Chanku that will have fans of the series clamoring for more...Three enticing tales written by three talented ladies are what readers will find beneath the covers of SEXY BEAST IV. All three stories are enjoyable and intriguing, but my favorites were Chanku Destiny and Abundance. Amidst the sex and arousal, there is also a story within the chapters of these delectable romances."
Rated 4 1/2
"...SEXY BEAST IV is an amazing anthology of shape shifters in the form of wolves, panthers, and a snow leopard. the sexual exploits are hot. Kate Douglas, Deanna Lee, and Dawn Thompson make you feel as if, you are right in the story, who wouldn't want to be around these alpha males. These are stories you can't put down until the last page."
Blue Ribbon Rating: 5
"...CHANKU DESTINY is an amazing addition to the world of the Chanku. Expertly written, as Kate Douglas always manages, I actually felt like I was one of these wolves...The plot line was awesome as always, adding tension and playfulness to the story and characters. For anyone new to the Chanku series, I would not recommend starting here. You really need to read the other books to get the total feel for these characters. Way to go again Kate! I can't wait to read the next installment very soon. I'm drooling in anticipation!"
© Kate Douglas 2007
The morning sun caught his mate and newborn daughter in a flash of light that brought tears to Anton Cheval's eyes. He grabbed the doorframe for support, left weak-kneed by the rush of emotion and sense of well-being. The feeling that he'd never had so much in his life that was so perfect, that gave him joy.
Nor had he ever had as much to lose.
That insidious thought twisted briefly through his mind, then fled beneath the glare of sunlight as Keisha rolled to one side, cuddling their sleeping daughter against her full breast. Lust, dark and powerful, enveloped Anton. Need grabbed his sac in an iron fist. He sucked in a sharp breath with the rush of blood to his cock. Desire swamped him. It left him feeling at once all powerful, yet uncomfortably unmanned. His. These two females, one lush and ripe, the other as pure and innocent as only a newborn can be-both of them, his. Dependent upon him for safety, yet leaving him overwhelmed with an unfamiliar and frightening sense of vulnerability.
Keisha's eyes fluttered open. She blinked slowly, caught Anton watching her and smiled. As she brushed the thick tangle of dark hair back from her face, her thoughts floated into his head, clear as if she spoke them aloud, infused with the intimacy of their mindtalking and the power to raise his arousal even higher.
Lily's out like a light. Do you want to put her in her crib?
He smiled broadly. He couldn't help himself. It had been so long since he'd made love to his mate. If that means I can finally have Lily's mother to myself, by all means. Anton walked quietly across the room, carefully lifted the sleeping baby in his arms and carried her to the small portable crib they still used. She felt warm and tiny and so very precious against his chest, but already she was growing. It wouldn't be long before she was too big for the smaller crib.
He'd had no idea how quickly babies grew, nor how much their presence could change a relationship. Anton wrapped a blanket lightly around the tiny bundle and rubbed her tummy until she settled back into a sound sleep. His heart literally ached with love for her. And, for her mother. He turned around and grinned at Keisha again. His pulse sped with the light from her smile and the powerful sense that it had been much too long since they'd last made love.
Thank goodness for Stefan. Suffering the same fate while his lovely mate healed from the early delivery of little Alexander, Anton's packmate had been a more than willing partner over the past few weeks.
Well, Stefan was on his own today. Shedding his clothing as he crossed the room, Anton was already naked by the time he reached the bed. Keisha held the covers and he slipped in beside her. Damn, he'd wanted her so badly for so long, but now that he lay beside her, Anton realized he was afraid.
I don't want to hurt you.
You won't. I'm healed. I want to touch you. I have to...
He nuzzled the soft, creamy skin under her ear. You're sure? The doctor said at least six weeks. I'm so afraid of...
The doctor isn't Chanku. He had no idea how quickly I would heal. Shifting seems to have sped things along. Those runs in the afternoon have been very therapeutic...and they've left me terribly needy. She kissed the soft skin between his neck and shoulder, ran her tongue along his jaw line and then nipped his chin. Lily won't stay asleep for long, my love. You're wasting time. I need you. Anton...my love. I need you so badly and I love you so much.
Chuckling, Anton rolled over on top of her and found his favorite spot between her thighs. He rested the smooth crown of his erection atop her soft mound of silky curls and sighed with the profound feelings she gave him. “You've convinced me,” he whispered. He leaned close and kissed her. His lips slipped over the soft, slick surface of Keisha's mouth, his tongue traced the seam between upper and lower lip, parting her slowly, deliberately. When he fucked her with his tongue, sliding deep inside her mouth and then slowly withdrawing, she groaned. The sound welled up from her throat and vibrated against his lips.
He felt her fingers tracing the length of his hip and lifted when she sought a path between their bodies. It was Keisha who grabbed the pulsing length of his cock, Keisha who directed him to the hot, slick entrance of her sex.
She lifted her hips and seated Anton inside, surging up against him with a powerful thrust that drove his cock deep, and deeper still until he pressed his sensitive tip against the mouth of her womb.
Anton kissed her, long and hard, his body trembling with the need to move, his desire for Keisha a physical, almost painful reminder of how deeply he loved, how easily he feared.
This first time since Lily's birth, the first time since almost losing his beloved mate when their plane had gone down on the way to Luc and Tia's wedding. Had it only been a month ago?
He shuddered, suddenly overcome with emotion. His body stilled. Keisha's long fingers spread across his buttocks, pulled him close and directed him to move again. When he hesitated, she rolled him to his back. Taking the uppermost position, she straddled him. Her knees pressed tightly against his hips. She rocked lightly against him.
“I love you,” she said, smiling broadly. Her eyes sparkled and Anton knew her tears hovered as closely as his. “How do I convince you I'm not made of spun glass?” She leaned down and kissed him, her tongue boldly slashing between his lips, her hips thrusting forward, driving his cock deep. Her mind opened wide, spilling the sense of Anton sliding through hot, tight flesh.
He groaned at the exquisite pain from so much sensation, so much heat and life wrapped around his cock. He experienced everything Keisha felt, all of her sensations, her feminine arousal doubled over in layers upon his own experience. Her muscles rippled along his cock at the same time he sensed the pressure against his womb, the slow scrape of thick muscle sliding over his clit.
His breath caught as a bolt of heat flared from the small of his back to the taut sac between his thighs, a roiling, flashing slice of pleasure verging on pain. His muscles locked, his back arched and he exploded upward, filling Keisha with burst after boiling burst of ejaculate.
He groaned and tried to hold it back, but it was too late. He'd not expected to come so soon. Had hoped to make this last for her, but now he felt the grasp of her sex, the tight, rippling clench of those deliciously feminine muscles holding him deep inside. Waves of pleasure, Keisha's pleasure, swept over and around him. He sensed her love-so profound, so powerful, it left him shaken. His hands trembled as he brushed the tangled, sweat-dampened hair away from his true love's face.
She looked down at him with an expression of unimaginable bliss. Tears streaked her dark face. The hand she used to brush the dampness from his cheeks trembled as badly as his own. “There are no words,” she said. “No words to express how I feel. What you do to me. For me.”
I know. He pressed her palm over his heart, covering her long, slim fingers with his. Touched her heart with his free hand and knew they raced together, two hearts literally beating as one.
Keisha leaned forward and rested her cheek against his chest. Her body sprawled loose and relaxed and she covered him with her warmth and her delicious feminine scent. Listening to the soft, baby sounds of their daughter in the small crib beside them, Anton put away his worries and gently followed Keisha into sleep.
* * *
Stefan Aragat checked the refrigerator first, sighed softly and then shut the door. The cupboards were filled, but there was nothing that didn't require some form of cooking skill if he wanted a meal. He went back to the refrigerator, grabbed a beer and popped the top off the bottle with a practiced flip of his thumb.
Xandi walked out into the kitchen with little Alex snug in a fabric carrier slung over her shoulder and across her breasts. She was absolutely lovely this morning, in spite of the fact neither of them had gotten much sleep. As tiny as he'd been at birth, their son seemed to think he had to nurse non-stop to add the weight everyone wanted him to gain.
Xandi leaned close and kissed Stefan. “Beer for breakfast?”
He laughed. “Nothing else to eat. We're even out of coffee. I can justify it. There's malt, yeast...”
Xandi laughed, took the bottle from his hand and poured it in the sink. Stefan merely shook his head and sighed.
“I take it Oliver's not back yet.” She tossed the bottle in the recycling bin, opened the refrigerator, stared for a long moment and obviously saw the same empty shelves. “I hate to say it, but if we want to eat today, we really need to make a run into town. Either that, or one of you mighty hunters needs to shift and go kill something.”
“We can always live on love.” Stefan pulled her into a loose embrace that included baby Alex. Xandi's dark green caftan shimmered and flowed around her body, hiding the curves left slightly rounded from her pregnancy. The shape of her nipples showed through the fine silk. Stefan leaned down and suckled one through the fabric. “I assume the beast has been fed?”
Xandi pulled away and kissed Stefan hard on the mouth. “Of course he has. He got there first, but if you do that again you're going to get a mouthful of warm milk.”
Stefan ran one finger over Xandi's nipple. “At least I won't starve.”
She laughed and untied the baby carrier. Then she handed their sleeping son to Stefan. “Sorry, big guy. It's all reserved for the current and future reigning king.”
“I never thought I'd be deposed by a five pound pooping machine.” Muttering, Stefan carried his son to the rocker in the corner of the kitchen. There were two of them, placed side by side so the new moms could sit and nurse their babies together. Settling back in the comfortable old oak rocker, Stefan watched Xandi scrounge around the kitchen. She found enough ingredients to make up sausage, biscuits and gravy for breakfast.
She was right, though. Once Anton and Keisha woke up, they'd really have to make a trip into town. He and Anton could hunt if they had to, but the girls couldn't shift and leave the babies behind, which meant whatever they killed would have to be butchered and prepared for human consumption.
Generally, that was Oliver's job. The little guy was one hell of a cook, and had no problem at all preparing fresh game. Stefan smiled to himself, thinking of the role Anton's personal assistant played in all of their lives. So much had changed since Stefan and Anton had become parents, but one thing remained the same-Oliver'd only been gone for three days on some errand for Anton and his well-organized system was falling apart.
Alex snorted, stretched, and went back to sleep. Well, not falling apart entirely. In fact, Stefan thought, settling back with his sleeping son on his chest, he couldn't imagine his life ever feeling more together. He closed his eyes to the sound of his mate humming to herself as she cooked breakfast, and the soft puffs of his son's steady breathing. Awash in a powerful sense of well-being, Stefan slowly rocked, his mind caught in a lazy vortex of memories as he contemplated how far he'd come since his life as a beast.
“There's a nice, clean mattress in the camper. Sure you don't...?”
Adam Wolf shook his head and reached for the door handle. The pickup with its dented camper shell rumbled and smoked. He could have told her the tailpipe was about ready to fall off, but that wasn't his concern.
The buxom blonde in the driver's seat raised an eyebrow. “Well, then...” She sighed. “Hope you don't mind if I drop you off here. That's my turnoff. The old man'll be waiting.” She nodded toward a narrow side road angling away from the two-lane highway, then reached out and pressed her warm palm against his thigh. Her fingers brushed the line of his partially erect cock. “We coulda had a real good time.”
“I'm sure we could have.” He smiled and thought, instead, of the woman of his dreams...if he could call her a woman. He'd never really had a clear visual of her, but she'd always appeared as something other. That was the only way he could describe her, but she'd been there, with him, sharing his nights for so long.
Where was she tonight? He glanced at the dark blue sky. Night was falling and it was damned cold for June. He felt like some kind of fool, turning down what was so freely offered, but...not tonight. “Well, thanks. I appreciate the lift...and the view.” He winked, smiled and nodded in the direction of her well-exposed cleavage.
The blonde tittered and held her fingers over her ample bosom. Her hand did more to emphasize the dark cleft between her full breasts rather than hide anything. Adam grabbed his beat- up duffle out of the bed of the truck and stepped back from the road. The blonde waved and the vehicle skidded when she punched the gas. She fishtailed into the turn and disappeared down the narrow country lane, spewing black exhaust out of the damaged pipe.
“Well, fuck.” Adam looked both east and west along the empty highway and started walking west, the same direction he'd been traveling. He could have gone either way. He had no destination in mind. If he hadn't figured out the woman was going home to a husband and kids, he might be sleeping in a warm bed between warm thighs, his head pillowed on those exceptionally warm looking breasts. It wouldn't be his first night on an old mattress in the back of a pickup truck, and if the company was right... Just his luck to get a ride from a gal with commitments, whether she recognized them or not.
He heard a car coming up behind him and automatically stuck out his thumb without turning around. Appearing anxious for a lift never helped, but he was beginning to shiver beneath his lightweight jacket. Night would be falling soon.
The classic Ford pickup that passed him looked absolutely cherry, but it sounded like shit. Adam recognized the make and model immediately despite the new black paint with the immaculate chrome bumper and darkened windows. It was a 1951 Ford F-1, a beautiful old machine that appeared lovingly restored, but something under the hood knocked and sputtered and then just quietly died. When the vehicle coasted to a stop some fifty yards ahead of him and well off the side of the road, Adam wasn't sure if the driver had stopped on purpose or not. Just in case someone was offering a ride, he trotted the short distance and reached for the passenger door.
It opened before he grabbed the handle. Adam stopped in his tracks and bit back a grin. The driver certainly wasn't what he'd expected. The man's skin was dark and smooth, his hair slicked down and perfectly combed. He wore an immaculate navy blue suit, a far cry from the typical roughhewn rancher in this part of the state.
“Good evening.” The driver spoke in perfectly clipped English. His voice was soft, a bit high pitched. “I would offer you a ride but my vehicle appears to have chosen this spot to stop working. You're welcome to wait inside where it's dry, however.”
“Thank you, but it's dry out here.”
The little man nodded and smiled. “Not for long. My name is Oliver. Please, get in.”
Before Adam could answer, the first drops of rain caught him. He glanced up. The sky had been cloudless just minutes ago. Now, black clouds roiled overhead. Oliver scooted back to the driver's seat. Adam tossed his bag inside and climbed into the beautiful old truck. “Adam Wolf,” he said, holding out his hand.
Oliver took his in a firm grasp and shook hands, but he held on just a bit longer than expected. Adam felt as if the man saw something in him, something even Adam didn't recognize. Stranger things had happened in his thirty-six years but this brief interlude carried a sense of the surreal about it. The odd little man, the vintage truck, the storm that hadn't even been on the horizon-for a moment it left him feeling disoriented and out of sync, almost as if life had conspired to put him in this place at this time.
Maybe there was another reason he'd turned down the buxom blond. A shiver rolled across his spine as Oliver released his grasp. Adam shook off the simmering unease and leaned back against the rich leather upholstery, his mind spinning lazy circles around the odd sensation of destiny. He glanced at the thick sheets of rain falling outside and relaxed. At least he'd be warm and dry while he waited out the storm and tried to figure out why he was here, now, in this beautiful old truck with this odd little man.
He almost laughed at the convoluted process his thoughts were taking. There was no predestination. There was no determined fate awaiting him. He was nothing more than a man used to living alone, a man who knew how to fix things. Maybe, when the rain ended, he could take a look at the engine and see what was wrong. If it was predestined that he be on this road at this time, his ability to tinker with old motors was probably the reason. Mulling fate versus coincidence and the convoluted questions such thoughts always produced, he pulled his baseball cap down over his eyes and settled back in his seat to wait out the storm.
The driver's voice intruded. “Did you say your name was Adam Wolf?”
Adam raised his cap and glanced to his left. Once more he felt that shiver along his spine. “Yep. That's me.”
He paused so long, Adam sat up and stared at the man.
“Mr. Wolf, are you familiar with a young woman named Amanda Smith?”
The question hung in the air between them. Amanda Smith. Manda? The same Manda who had haunted his dreams for over twenty years? The woman he'd never met, yet who had directed him with nightly visions, bleak and filled with despair. Visions so compelling, he'd dropped out of college and hit the road in a fruitless search to find her some fifteen years ago.
Couldn't be. The coincidence was too bizarre. The odds this strange little man in the wilds of Montana knew something about the woman who had haunted him for so long...impossible.
But what if...? The dreams were gone. They'd disappeared from his life mere days ago, vanishing as quickly as they had first appeared, leaving him with a lifetime of questions.
Adam had nowhere to go for answers. Once again he contemplated the coincidence versus the sense of destiny. He'd never been one to believe entirely in acts of fate, but he wasn't an idiot, either.
“I might,” he said, turning around in his seat to stare at Oliver. “What's it to you?”
“I don't know all the details and I've not met the young woman myself, but I recall your name mentioned along with hers.” Oliver cocked his head and studied Adam for a long moment. “Many things happen without rhyme or reason, yet their poetry is inescapable. You will come with me.”
Adam laughed. “Oh I will, will I?” Hell, where else would he go? It wasn't as if he had any plans, and like the weird little guy had said, things happened. He glanced out the window. The rain literally boiled now, coming down in dark sheets and blowing back up with powerful gusts of wind. Black, oily clouds hid what little was left of the setting sun. Adam turned back to study the driver for a moment. “From the way this truck sounded,” he said, “it doesn't look as if either of us is going anywhere.”
“All will work as it should. You carry tools with you, if I'm not mistaken. When the rain stops, you can fix it.”
Adam blinked. “How the hell did you know...?”
“Your hands.” Oliver gestured with his perfectly manicured fingers. In the fading light, his palms looked ghostly pale. “There is grease under your nails, nicks on your fingers. You are a man who fixes things.”
This time Adam laughed out loud. “That I am. I can fix just about anything, except, maybe, my own fucked up life.”
Oliver didn't laugh, but he smiled and nodded. “That is something I help fix. I'm not good with machines. I do people.”
Adam studied him for a moment, reassessing the man. Oliver was obviously intelligent and well educated, if his speech and manners were any indication. Almost too pretty to be male, with smooth, dark skin and absolutely beautiful, heavily lashed, dark eyes.
It wasn't the first time Adam found himself sexually attracted to a man, though he didn't sense any interest on Oliver's part. He probably had a wife and children at home, wherever that might be. “Do you live around here?”
Oliver nodded. “Northwest of here. I work for Anton Cheval. I'm his personal assistant.”
“Cheval?” The name sounded familiar. “Why would I have heard of him?”
“His name often appears in the financial section.”
“Ah. I remember now. He just took over the board for some wolf sanctuary. It was up north of where I grew up.”
“Exactly.” Oliver turned in his seat and leaned back against the door. The two men faced one another, though there wasn't much to see in the growing darkness.
“What do you mean by that?”
“Only that there is no coincidence.”
“You're saying we were fated to meet.” Adam grabbed a water bottle out of his bag, but he knew perfectly well he was merely stalling for time, hoping for an answer. “Just because I know who your boss is and I've maybe heard of Amanda Smith? I find that hard to believe.”
“Why do you remember the wolf sanctuary? Mr. Cheval is in the news for many reasons. That was merely a tiny mention in a much longer article.”
Shrugging, Adam took a long pull on the water bottle. “I've always liked wolves. Probably because of my name. I feel a kinship with them.”
“Amanda Smith's mother manages the High Mountain Wolf Sanctuary.”
That caught his attention. “And your point is?”
“Nothing, really. Probably just coincidence.” Oliver laughed. He had a soft, smooth laugh that cried out for a companion.
“Crap.” Adam chuckled and leaned his head back against the cold window. “I can't believe I'm having this conversation in a stalled truck in the middle of a Montana monsoon.”
Oliver merely shrugged. “Odder things have happened.” He grabbed a water bottle out of the space between the seats and took a drink.
The rain beat a powerful tattoo against the truck, but it stayed warm enough inside. If they didn't get a late spring snow, Adam figured they'd at least be fairly comfortable until the storm blew over and he could work on the truck. “Hope your boss isn't worried about you.”
Oliver smiled. “Oh, he knows I'm here. With you.”
“You got a signal for your phone out here?” Adam had checked his cell earlier and gotten a no service message.
“I don't own one. I have no idea if there's a signal or not. Tell me, Adam. What do you do? What kind of work?”
“Whatever I can find.” That was weird about the cell phone. How the hell could he tell his boss he wouldn't be home? When had he had the chance to let him know he'd met Adam?
Whatever. “If it's broken, I can fix it. Any make, any model, any kind of machine. I've always had a knack for fixing stuff.”
It took Oliver a long time to answer. “If only that applied to people, as well.”
Adam watched him, guessing there was much more to Oliver's story than met the eye. He sensed a powerful need in the man to talk. Hardly the first time some stranger had unloaded a tale of misery and woe on him. Adam figured he must have the kind of face that pulled confidences out of people. He took another swallow of water.
Oliver stared into the growing darkness. Adam sensed his thoughts were both years and miles away. There was pain in his eyes, a sad, lost look about him that didn't fit the immaculate appearance.
“What's broken, Oliver? You said you don't fix machines, that you fix people. What do you have that can't be fixed?”
Oliver turned and studied him for so long Adam wondered if he'd erred in asking. The flesh seemed carved over the man's high cheekbones and his eyes glinted with fire.
How odd. Oliver's eyes were the same strange color as Adam's. A car came toward them, headlights on high. Oliver's eyes gleamed bright green in the slash of light, then returned to dark amber when the car passed by.
Green. The same way his own eyes changed in reflected light. He'd been teased about that for years. For some strange reason, Adam's heart began to race. His head ached, as if he wore his cap too tight.
Oliver finally averted his penetrating gaze. “I am a eunuch,” he said at last. “Can you fix that, Mr. Wolf?”
“A what?” He couldn't possibly have heard him correctly.
Oliver sighed. “I'm not sure why I'm telling you this. I've never told anyone before. No one knows, other than my employer.” He chuckled, but there was no humor in his laugh. “When I was little more than an infant, my father sold me to a very wealthy man who wanted a playmate for his daughter. I was castrated. The practice was not all that uncommon in my country. I was too young to remember the actual surgery, but it made me a safe playmate for my owner's daughter. As I grew older, I finally realized what a terrible thing had been done to me, that I deserved my freedom. I escaped. I was almost eighteen by then, but obviously the damage to my life was complete. I've never had to shave, my voice did not change and, though I'm small, I'm actually quite a bit taller than many of my people.”
Oliver ran his fingers over the steering wheel and appeared lost in old memories and thoughts. “Castration does that,” he said. His voice was barely a whisper. “A stallion, for instance, is rarely as tall as a gelding.” His voice trailed off.
Rain beat against the truck. Wind buffeted the vehicle. Adam tried to find words but had no idea what to say. Curiosity finally won out. “Did they take off everything? I mean...shit, man. That's horrible.”
“You have no idea.” Oliver actually smiled at Adam. “They took my stones but left my rod. Even so, they took away much more than anyone ever realized.”
“Doctors can use hormones, can't they?”
“Probably. Still, it is too late for what matters most.”
Oliver turned away, effectively ending the conversation. Adam sat beside him in the darkness, listening to the rain, imagining a life without sexual needs, the constant gnawing arousal that defined so much of his world.
At the same time, he couldn't help but wonder. Why had Oliver confided such a ghastly secret to him, a complete stranger? And why, when it made absolutely no sense at all, did Adam have the oddest feeling he might actually be able to help?
Leaning back against the warm leather, he closed his eyes and listened to the storm. His body felt tense, expectant. His sense of destiny was more vivid than ever. He'd awakened this morning with a powerful need to reach something, some place unknown to him. Was Montana that place? Did Oliver's story have a part in whatever was to come?
Maybe Manda would return tonight. He missed her in his dreams. Worried about her and wondered where she had gone, what had happened to the ghostly presence who had been his almost constant nighttime companion for so many years. Oddly enough, he thought of her with love but never with lust. In a life ruled by sexual need and almost constant arousal, Manda was a pool of pure love. She needed, she called out to him, but he'd been unable to do more than try to share his own strength, his own sense of purpose.
Did she really exist?
He hoped she was okay. He wanted to think he would know if she'd died, but there was no way to find out. Not unless he stayed with Oliver and discovered what Anton Cheval knew about Amanda Smith and Adam Wolf.
He glanced at the man sitting beside him. Oliver seemed to have curled in upon himself. Probably regretting the terrible secret he'd shared with a stranger.
Adam sighed. Oliver's secret was safe with him. So was Oliver, for that matter. If he didn't think it would frighten the man, Adam knew he would wrap his arms around Oliver and offer him what comfort he could. He'd wanted to do that for Manda for all these years. Hold her, make everything better.
He did that. He fixed things.
The rain beat against the truck. The windows were covered in steam and the sound was almost deafening, but the storm would pass. They always did. No matter. Now he had Oliver to worry about, and Manda, as well as his own pathetic life.
One more lost soul on a lonely Montana highway.
This is an unedited excerpt.
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