The Ultimate List of Broken Book Boyfriends…

by Maryse on November 9, 2015 · 36 comments

in Book Recommendations

This is sort of a reader question… or should I say a reader recommendations request, but I couldn’t help but turn this into a list.

Chloë: I have a favor to ask, do you think you and your followers could recommend a few books to read? I go on holiday soon and i’m completely stuck :( Some of my favourite authors and characters are Sherrilyn Kenyon (Nykyrian), J R Ward (Zsadist) and S C Stephens (Kellan Kyle). I love a good wounded alpha male. Please help!

While it can be fun to be the damsel in distress (so to speak) and be saved by the strong, protective, bossy yet tender alpha male (or even sweet and funny male!!), so many of us just LOVE to “save” the hero, even more. *ahem Sherrrrry, Ammmmyyy, Jeannnn and Nancyyyy I’m looking at you guys!* ;) No worries. I’m in there too. :P

Nancy: I can take the forbidden, fractured souls, damaged and broken, recluse scarred physically & mentally, tortured minds & bodies…

Cheryl: My catnip in books, tortured, sweet, bad-a$$…

Maryse: I dunno why, but I love falling for scarred heroes. I’m into the broken bad-asses. And they don’t have to be god-like gorgeous either. Just BIG, strong protectors (even if they’re bad-guys) and reluctantly loving until that one girl comes along and then they give their WHOLE heart. Gah I LOVE that. Z is my ultimate. Travis too (but of course!!) hahaha!! Acheron… definitely. Christian Grey (although I don’t know how much of a “bad-ass” he was). Sebastian from Surviving Raine (YES!!) an even Evan Arden. Terrible from The Downside Ghosts series (and he is another of my perfect examples that he was not a physical beauty, BUT OMG I FELL HARD for him!!!!)

Mandy: Zsadist! Travis! Great pics. I’d have to add Miles Archer from Ugly Love, Kayden from The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden, Lucas from Easy & Breakable, and of course Remy from Real. That’s just naming a few lol

Jean: …you know i love the broken ones and just want to save them!

bev: Jean wanting to nurse another broken one, lol.

Sherry: he’s so troubled and broken…LOVE HIM

Anne: I love a broken hero too :)

MichelleS: He’s now scarred and angry as hell. He’s HUGE and winged! Oh yeah.That’s what I am in the mood for. :-)

Deborah: There is just something about that beautiful, tortured bad boy that grabs you (I wish) and doesn’t let go.

Kim: What is it with the tortured/broken/misunderstood types that I’m so drawn to?

We can’t help but devour the book where he doesn’t “want” to be saved, helped, loved, or healed. He suffers from his own personal demons. He’s tormented, he has shame (often misplaced), regrets, physical and/or emotional scars that have turned him into a recluse of sorts.

And to us? He is PERFECT. A “Beauty and the Beast” love story that captivates us time and time again!

This could be a HUGE list considering just how many of our favorite books out there feature this kind of hero, but let’s highlight some of our favorites. ;)

Mine? Easy!

  • Zsadist (beautiful yet physically scarred vampire with slave tattoos and gashes across his face. The emotional scarring is even worse) and Jean agrees! “Z is my favorite too Maryse….of course the broken one who needs saving….my Virgo instincts! Haha!” and Lesley too! “Z is up there are one of my all time fav book boyfriends, I love his tortured soul to bits and I’m happy to admit his little bonus story Father Mine made me cry like a baby. I love the BDB series but Z will always be my favourite :)
  • Travis (Gorgeous, unattainable, full of attitude and self assurance, an alpha male and an unbeatable fighter that no one wants to mess with… and he has a HUGE heart of gold that he gives completely, albeit rarely. Bad-ass smart college boy with bad-ass brothers that taught him to “be a man” and he misses his mom. He just wants to love and be loved by Abby but Abby is driving his heart CRAZY and he loses it. Ugh I died and fell in love with him more than any of them. GAH!! I love him),
  • and Terrible (just… not the handsome type that we all know and love of our heroes. The heroine even considers him ugly when she first meets him. And he’s an enforcer so he has to do bad stuff to stay alive… so tortured!!)
  • And Christian. Rich, arrogant, pompous, in control. Gorgeous. Perfect, and so terribly scarred. He “needs” very specific things to keep himself level, and OMG he destroys us. I LOVE HIM!
  • Sebastian (an angry drunk ship captain that hates EVERYONE and lets everyone know. Especially the woman stranger that he’s stuck and alone with on a lifeboat looking for land). These are my perfect tortured heroes.
  • Oh and OF COURSE Acheron. As “together” as he seems to be, when we finally got to know him, we BROKE with him. For him. and fabi agrees! “its one of my favorite series of all time and very very popular so you know its gotta be good. Each book focuses on one tortured MC, and boy, are they tortured…

READER RECOMMENDED FAVORITES (I agree with SO many of ‘em. LOVE!!):

Wounded by Jasinda Wilder <— Kirsty is crazy for this one! “it’s very hard to pick this but so far the best book I have read this year is Wounded by Jasinda Wilder.” and Denise agrees! “I read Wounded by Jasinda Wilder which was excellent…” and Sharon does too! “…this is an excellent book,but it has a lot of angst in it as it involves the war in afghanistan, but still a good read…”

Souls Unfractured (Hades Hangmen) (Volume 3) by Tillie Cole <— Jean loves this one! “Souls Unfractured……..oh my…..this book…..Flame and Maddie…..they are both so broken….but so beautiful at the same time….i can’t put this book down! Flame….sigh….i need to save him! Ugh my heart!” and Laura is right there with her! “…oh this poor boy it’s so my kind of book broken boy slightly crazy sweet girl is going to save him it’s killing me some of it is very bad mind u like book in the freezer bad..” Elissa too!! “Oh! My latest is Flame from The Hades Hangman series by Tillie Cole. No one had a harder start in life than this man. His heart has so much anger and hatred I never thought he would be able to love. Turns out he was the sweetest of them all once you broke through.”

Ugly Love: A Novel by Colleen Hoover <— SWEET TORTURED HERO ALERT! Ugly Love. Poor Miles. Poor, tortured, sexy Miles :) and Magan agrees! “I love me an ugly cry. I also love Colleen Hoover books because the plot is always so different! She also makes these good yet bad boys that I want to cuddle.” And Vivian agrees too! “Miles Archer. Because he made me bawl like a bloody baby and crushed my heart.” (my Book Review)

Firebird (The Firebird Trilogy Book 1) by Jennifer Loring <— FAMOUS HOCKEY STAR ALERT! Lisa found us this one! “I’m reading Firebird and its tense and angsty and well written. Not like other hockey hero books that’s for sure. The H is prickly and conceited and wounded (reminds me of Kulti). It’s a second chance scenario with cheating (yikes… Im so glad I didn’t know about ‘that’going in because I don’t deal) but I have a feeling a twist is brewing and it might be painful…..

Walk Through Fire (Chaos) by Kristen Ashley <— EMOTIONALLY TORTURED BIKER ALERT! Bethany loves this tortured biker! “Because he’s still so fresh in my mind, I have to say High from Walk through Fire by Kristen Ashley. He’s so hurt and angry that he’s terribly mean to Millie when she comes back in to his life, but when he realizes the truth of what happened the making up is so damn sweet! It was everything to me. I’ve already been thinking about a reread. Why do I love it when they make me cry? :)  ”

Ride Steady (Chaos) by Kristen Ashley <— THIS BIKER TOO! And Ella says: “Joker from Ride Steady by KA. So tortured!”

RUSH (City Lights: New York City) by Emma Scott <— BLIND ANGRY HERO ALERT! Lisa also loved this one (just like I did!!!) “Just finished Rush and loved it. Not the same level of angst I usually seek but a sweet and beautiful story. Love a jerk who turns into a hero and love it when the H is wounded and troubled and the h heals him. Great book.” (my Book Review)

Unbeautifully (Undeniable Book 2) by Madeline Sheehan <— SCARRED BAD-ASS BIKER ALERT! Amy: Ripper…*sigh* Another physically scarred H who you can’t help but love. (my Book Review)

Night Owl (The Night Owl Trilogy Book 1) by M. Pierce <— CYNICAL RECLUSIVE AUTHOR ALERT! Denita’s choice! “My favorite moody character is Matthew Sky from night owl by M Pierce. Matthew is so cynical and kind of all over the place with his emotions. I love his complexity though. He’s such a deep, wounded in a way, complex person!” (my Book Review)

Leo by Mia Sheridan <— TORTURED HERO ALERT! LisaB chooses this one! “…the author really goes in deep to how wounded he is and I love me a tortured hero!” (my Book Review)

Embattled Hearts (Military Romantic Suspense) (Lost and Found Book 1) by J.M. Madden <— INJURED IN IRAQ ALERT! Laura found us this one! “Just finished Embattled Hearts great Wounded Warrior story.” and Michelle agrees! “J.M. Madden’s “Lost and Found” series, about Veterans starting a private investigation company and dealing with PTSD.”

The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon <— Karen chooses this one! “Moses was my favorite wounded bbf – his cracks were beautiful though and broke my heart.”

All These Pieces Of Me (The Stables Book 1) by C.E. Kilgore <— BIG OLD SCARRED BEAST ALERT! MichelleS was getting a kick out of this one! “I am reading an off-the-wall recommendation, can’t remember from who, called All These Pieces of Me. It’s a beauty and the beast story with BDSM thrown in…. plus Autism and OCD. Okay – what the heck? Let’s see how this all plays out. It was FREE – so no harm, no foul, right? And he’s a big old scarred beast that drives a Mercedes so I am already hot & bothered. AND, Fabi, it takes place in Dallas (they are in Deep Ellum right now) HA!”

Tapestry by Karen Ranney <— HE COMES BACK SCARRED ALERT! MichelleS also loves this one! “Tapestry – he comes back from war scarred and she is utterly unfazed by this… so moving… tearing up now…”

All of Me by Gia Sorelle <— TORTURED HERO ALERT! Sasha HIGHLY recommends this one: “holy crap I think I may have found the book of the summer (or even,gulp) the year ?!! I one-clicked this ages ago from your new release section… finally read it recently. MY. HEART. MELTED. Seriously I ended up bookmarking 80% of the book, and have been re-reading compulsively. It’s “All of Me” by Gia Sorelle. 2nd book came out, also great but my heart belongs to Nathan in book 1. Ladies if you like your hero uptight, tormented and scarred and your heroines loveable you have to read this.” and bev agrees! “All of Me is nice strong heroine, broken hero fun. And like Jean said great secondary characters.”

Broken (The Captive Series Prequel) by Erica Stevens <—- THE AUTHOR BROKE HER FREAKING HEART ALERT!! Amy loved it! “I LOVE the Captive series! I read Braith’s father’s book (Broken) not too long ago, and I seriously went into it believing I would have no sympathy for him whatsoever because he was so awful in Braith’s and Ara’s books. Holy moly!! *I* was “broken” by the end of it. As in crying and snuffling all over Manny and my heart hurt and I just needed a hug SO badly. Not kidding. Erica Stevens broke my freaking heart with that one. And I have a lump in my throat and my eyes are watery now. *sniffle*

Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan <— HE’S MUTE AND RECLUSIVE AND OMG I LOVE HIM ALERT!Cheryl too… Cheryl: “Archer’s Voice- you’re missing out on my poor, sweet broken Archer!” and Elissa agrees! “Even after the isolation he still loved hard. The storyline was written in such a way your heart melted for this man.” Kimmie loves him too! “…despite everything he made so much out of his life. And he was so sweet” (my Book Review)

Lord of the Fading Lands (The Tairen Soul Book 1) by C.L. Wilson <— TORTURED FAE ALERT! Michelles loves these! “tell me you read the Tairen Soul Series? All the other ladies will roll their eyes, but seriously, best Fae book ever. He is the tortured, ancient King of the Fae. The world building is magnificent. I go a little nuts about this. My catnip.”

Captive in the Dark (The Dark Duet Book 1) by CJ Roberts <— DARK TORTURED TORTURER ALERT! <— Diane recommends this one! “Captive in the dark!!! ALL time fave book and tortured hero and just a great storyline when it all came together in the end. Well written, super dark and erotic, pretty perfect for me” (my Book Review)

The Soul Mate (The Holy Trinity Book 1) by Madeline Sheehan <— Danette found us a tortured hero in this one! “Oh, Maryse — these books aren’t good — they are positively GREATNESS!! You must read them ASAP!! Garik is tortured, Xan is sexy, and Trinity is BADASS. She is one of my absolute all-time favorite heroines. Read these! Trust me. You’ll thank me later.”

The Play by Karina Halle <— Luna loves Lachlan:

Luna: “Without a doubt Lachlan McGregor from The Play by Karina Halle. Broke my heart and then melted my heart and everything else. One of my top favorite reads of the year without a doubt. Everyone must meet him!!”

Zandalee agrees! “Lachlan McGregor from The Play by Karina Halle. He’s a new book boyfriend, but should definitely not be passed over. His childhood is gut-wrenching and the pain continues to follow him into adulthood. He doesn’t let his past keep him from being a kind and generous soul. heart emoticon He’s also a rugby star hunk so… Bonus!

Sejla loves him too! “Lachlan McGregor from The Play by Karina Halle. He had a very hard childhood (reading about it made me cry so hard) and went through some personal hell after. What I admired most about him was that despite all the things that happend to him his fragile heart was still capable of so much love. I love him with all my heart!!!”

Second Chance (Last Chance Rescue (Eternal Romance) Book 5) by Christy Reece <— Jackie suggests: “Cole Matheson from “Second Chance” by Christy Reece. But to get the full effect you need to read “Run To Me”"

Dance With the Devil (Dark-Hunter Novels Book 3) by Sherrilyn Kenyon <— HE SUFFERS BIG TIME ALERT!! Jeannie loved this tortured hero! “Zarek from Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon. He was a slave during the Roman Empire and was owned by his father. The abuse he suffered was heart wrenching.” (my Book Review)

Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark Book 15) by Kresley Cole <— And Kimmie loves “Thronos from Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark #14) by Kresley Cole. Even though he had every reason ( in his head) to hate Lanthe he just couldn’t.”

Fighting to Forget (The Fighting Series Book 3) by J.B. Salsbury <— TORTURED FIGHTER ALERT! Shawna chooses him! “Rex Carter from Fighting to Forget by JB Salsbury. he’s in my top 5 favorite book boyfriends EVER! he had an awful childhood full of abuse of all kinds & he can’t see his worth. he thinks he’s repulsive, dirty but really he’s a beautiful, tortured soul who needs love. you just want to hug him!!!!”

Deviant (Blood & Roses series Book 1) by Callie Hart <— BIG BAD WOLF ALERT! Rebecka found us another Z! “I love this seriesl!!! Another tortured “Z” Best Line Ever!!!! “You think I’m right out of a horror film, don’t you?” “Well this is hardly a fairy tale, is it?” “It could be. If you let it.” “Oh yeah? And who are you supposed to be? My Prince Charming?” He snorts at that. “No, silly girl. I’m the big bad wolf.”― Callie Hart, Deviant”

WUTHERING HEIGHTS (illustrated, complete, and unabridged) (plus Jane Eyre) by Emily Brontë & Charlotte Brontë <— OLDIE BUT GOODIE ALERT! Melissa reminds us of this one! “Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is my favorite book of all time. Its what got me to fall in love with books many, many years ago before the e-reader was born. Heathcliff was such a tortured, romantic soul.”

On Every Street (The Artists Trilogy) by Karina Halle <— TORTURED BAD GUY ALERT! Jacque (and me!!) LOVE HIM! “I am angry at myself for feeling so much for Javier… The “enemy”… Aargh!!! He is a poor tortured soul that needs to be saved, right?!?! *sigh* I need to read Sins again now. I feel so conflicted!!!”

This Man (This Man Trilogy Book 1) by Jodi Ellen Malpas <— FREAKING NUTCASE ALERT! And Kim loves him! “Jesse is a freaking nutcase! But I couldn’t help but fall in love with him.”

The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman Trilogy Book 1) by Paullina Simons <— INTENSE & TORTURED HERO ALERT! Hildy (and ALL OF US) love him! “Alexander Barrington from The Bronze Horseman series. *Sigh* the guy can be super douchey, but he’s GORGEOUS, possessive, sweet, intense, tortured, and SO in love. Plus, he buys and makes lots of ice cream. ;)

Easy (Contours of the Heart Book 1) by Tamara Webber <— TORTURED & TATTOOED ALERT! Bobbie loves this “sort” “I loved Lucas!! It has been a while since I wanted to read a book twice (especially the steamy scenes!) I would have to agree that Lucas is the Tortured, Tender and Tattooed type, which is very endearing to me!”

One Week Girlfriend: A Novel (One Week Girlfriend Quartet Book 1) by Monica Murphy <— TORTURED IN COLLEGE ALERT! Jen recommends this one! “Drew Callahan from Monica Murphy’s One Week Girlfriend? Poor tortured college student. The guilt he has in this book is heart breaking!”


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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy November 9, 2015 at 7:58 PM

Soooooo, before I start throwing out my recs I need to know…does Chloe only want the “perfect ending” books, or are the “less than perfect ending” books okay as well?

Jen November 9, 2015 at 8:02 PM

Great list!! How about Drew Callahan from Monica Murphy’s One Week Girlfriend? Poor tortured college student. The guilt he has in this book is heart breaking!

Maryse November 9, 2015 at 8:09 PM

Great question Amy. You know what MY answer would be. I love to live recklessly!!! In books!!! ONLY IN BOOKS. Tee hee!!! :P

Maryse November 9, 2015 at 8:10 PM

Oh Jen YAY! I’m adding him now! :D

Linda November 9, 2015 at 8:19 PM

Great category Maryse!!! There are sooooo many but the first ones that come to me are Remington Tate from Real, Jesse Ward from This Man series and Gideon Cross from Crossfire series!!! Oh and Transcendence. Bless his heart he was so alone. Oh man there are so many!!! Christian and Kellan!!!!

Michelle F November 9, 2015 at 8:36 PM

This is a great list! I’ve read most of the books on this list and must admit that I do love a tortured alpha turned hero. You could add Brutally Beautiful and Cold-Blooded Beautiful, I think Kade Grayson definitely qualifies for this list.

Amy November 9, 2015 at 8:48 PM

Oh yes, Maryse…I know what YOUR answer would be, and I know what MY answer would be, but OUR answers definitely don’t work for everyone. Some people don’t like to have their hearts broken by books. ;)

That being said…BADGER!!!!!!! Beautiful, broken Badger.

Now I’m off to dig up some more broken guys…

Maryse November 9, 2015 at 8:51 PM

OMG HOW could I possibly leave the most tortured of all tortured heroes (other than Z) off this list?!!!!!


Amy November 9, 2015 at 8:58 PM

Did your heart just clench seeing that name? ‘Cause my heart clenched. :( Damn, that one is still raw…

bev November 9, 2015 at 9:10 PM
Amy November 9, 2015 at 9:54 PM

Finn from The Tied Man, Damian from The Paper Swan, Clay from Find You in the Dark…

Amy November 9, 2015 at 9:57 PM

*giggle* That’s awesome, Bev. So, would my pornstar name be Amy Rains? ;)

Ooh! Speaking of songs…MARYSE! Did you ever watch this video? Not just listen to the song but WATCH the video. It still makes me tear up every time I watch it…

Cheryl November 9, 2015 at 10:06 PM

Remember watching that one before Amy, such a tearjerker!

Aww, poor, doomed Badger!!

Maryse November 9, 2015 at 10:07 PM

watching it now… it’s gonna kill me isn’t it?

Maryse November 9, 2015 at 10:11 PM

Amy you’re evil.

Maryse November 9, 2015 at 10:11 PM

I swear I literally choked on my own spit. Or tears.

Or all of the above.

Amy November 9, 2015 at 10:18 PM


*rewatches video*

Right?? Especially @ 1:27…



M’kay, I deserved that. Hugs? PLEASE?!?

Amy November 9, 2015 at 10:21 PM

I can’t help it…I keep snorting out loud every time I glance at that “you’re evil” comment. Sorry. :P *pulls Maryse and Cheryl in for snuffly group snuggle*

Oh, and I have to add that in Broken by Erica Stevens, we meet Atticus when he was amazing and then have to watch him become “broken” which was SO hard to do. Just a heads up.

Kathy P November 9, 2015 at 10:22 PM

Zach ( A Cold Fury Hockey) by Sawyer Bennett. I have to say I love my hockey romances and this was one of her best.

Maryse November 9, 2015 at 10:38 PM

*hugs*!!!! I feel better now… but this was like a mini tear-jerker story and it tried to kill me.

Just sayin’

Maryse November 9, 2015 at 10:49 PM

did you know that was her song to Jason Mraz?

Supposedly that whole album was right after he broke up with her…

it’s all in the comments. He even acknowledges it, supposedly.

Megan November 9, 2015 at 10:52 PM

Yass you guys- Reminton Tate best tortured man ever. OMG what a category name! KA Knight Sebring- has to be top ten.

Donya November 9, 2015 at 11:41 PM

Have to agree with Megan… Remy and Knight are the best tortured men. Sigh….and how about Tristan from The Air He Breathes? Tortured – ✔️ And two other tortured souls …Mia and Dean …Resentment by Nicole London. Two tortured folks for the price of one ✔️.
Not sure of you have this one down yet – definitely one to check out Maryse!

Cheryl November 10, 2015 at 12:01 AM
Donya November 10, 2015 at 12:30 AM

Raze aka 818 aka Luka ….just saying…

Amy November 10, 2015 at 1:20 AM

I know! There was so much devastating emotion packed into that short video. And I just went back and read the comments under the video…I think my heart just cracked some more. BUT! Her song My Oh My is a great pick-me-up after that and is SO fitting as the theme song for Avoiding Commitment. ;)

Oh HELL no, Cheryl!!!! Maryse pulled that video on us one time and then someone mentioned it was fitting for that scene in Arsen (“I’m scared” I think it was) and I wanted to cry the rest of that day!! *sigh* Touché, my dear.

Amy November 10, 2015 at 1:33 AM

Okay, one more…Jude from Crash by Nicole Williams. Bev and I were chatting about it the other day, and ohhhhhh Jude had a rough time growing up and was an angry troublemaker but with a heart. He even had scars on his head from…well, you just have to read it. ;)

I could almost say he was a teenage Travis. ALMOST. Maybe even more than almost. I don’t know…I’d have to read it again to say for sure. Unless someone else wants to read it and decide? *side-eyes the Travis lovers*

Lisa November 10, 2015 at 2:29 AM

Tristan from the Tristan & Danika series….a total hot mess and has to be on this list of tortured hotties.

Jean November 10, 2015 at 9:06 AM

THIS IS MY MOST FAVORITE LIST OF ALL TIME! Many I’ve read, but some I haven’t and already have them. All These Pieces of Me, The Soul Mate, Bronze Horseman….I’ve had these downloaded forever. And Firebird has me excited……a broken hockey player? Yes please!

Remy, Flame, Z, etc…..sigh, they all need us!

Amy November 10, 2015 at 9:28 AM

“…they all need us!” <——– LOL!!!

Fabi November 10, 2015 at 10:35 AM

You guys have already mentioned almost all of my favorites. I only need to add Leigh and Gabriel from The Lost by Cole McCade. Both of them are broken. Gah! Where’s my bubble wrap? Also, Xander from The Locker Room by Amy Lane. My gut still clenches tight thinking about Xander and Christian.

Ella November 10, 2015 at 2:05 PM

Missing Joker from Ride Steady by KA! His back story is heartbreaking.

geraldine November 11, 2015 at 3:37 AM

Ambrose Young from Making Faces by Amy Harmon

Jenn November 17, 2015 at 5:47 AM

I’m a little late in responding to this post but I just read a book “EasySilence” by Beth Rinyu. I think it took me longer to finish the last 20% because I couldn’t see the words through my damn tears such a beautiful story! With that being said I am saying Jaxson! Maryse you need to read this…..I could not put it down!!!!!

Lorna May 6, 2016 at 10:18 PM

I think Unlit Star by Linda Zart should be on here too. Looking for another book i read awhile ago, the h has a cabin out in the woods, is a recluse and the H moved into a cabin next door. I remember she ran through the woods at night with her eyes close because she knew the trail so well. She only talked to the H for a minute or two amd she gets sick can’t take care of herself and has to ask him. I think he was a writer and didn’t want people around

rominew March 11, 2018 at 9:51 PM

A great wounded alpha male bbf is GIDEON from ‘Crossfire’ – Sylvia Day.

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