DEADLY FUN – (Thriller Novel, Woman Sleuth)
Exotic luxury cruises to the Bahamas are supposed to be fun and exciting. This trip is just a routine investigative job for a woman who works in disguise and undercover, using her beauty to entice men to reveal their secrets. The exciting and sometime harrowing is expected, but this job will be like no other.
Her boss is aboard—as is a mafia enforcer with murderous ties to her own family. She chases suspects through the tropical islands, gets into physical confrontations with knife, fist and firearms. By the end of the cruise, the deck is awash in blood. Can she survive a deadly fun cruise—and her boss—who may prove to be more dangerous than the Mafia gangsters?
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was in the midst of writing Deadly Memories when ‘writer’s block’ hit. It was so complex, tying all the threads together plot-wise for the ending, that for relief I started to write an idea about a woman sleuth. It was so much fun! It turned out to be this book, Deadly Fun.
Eventually I finished both books, taking turns working on one and then the other.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Lolita came to me in bits and pieces as I wrote the novel. First I described her. I didn’t know she was in prison until I wrote it and made sense for the plot. She wouldn’t give information on her beloved deceased husband in a court case and was imprisoned for obstruction of justice.
Lance also came to me as I described him through Lolita’s eyes. He’s her boss and the head of an investigative service that works through the FBI. He’s tough, in a loveless marriage, and hides his feelings, like most men.
DEADLY FUN – (SNEAK PEEK)
“The fringe comes off.” His voice was soft and implacable.
Lo looked at him without expression, thinking, you’ve got to be kidding. “It’s better to go slowly,” she said.
“We have time limits.”
Lo gazed down at the dress she was wearing. It was low cut. Without the fringe over the bodice it would almost be indecent. But he was the boss. She didn’t like it, and turned away from him to strip off the offending border. It came off neatly and cleanly with a soft xylophone popping sound as the threads broke. She fastidiously picked away the little strands that had held it in place.
Moving across the room to a full length mirror in the floating hotel room, Lo peered at her reflection. The dress was now visibly molded against her breasts, blatantly suggestive of nakedness.
The long gown was strapless and form fitting, a shimmering off white color. It contrasted nicely with her tan, she thought. Her hair was still in a ponytail. Lo pulled out the tie holding it in place and shook her head. She pushed it away from her forehead and it fell dark and straight, just past her shoulders. It was her natural color. Lo didn’t like it natural when she was working. However, as he had said, this was a rush job.
Lo could see his reflection behind her, looking her over critically in the mirror. The big bed loomed between them.
There was a loud blast of the horn, a few thuds she could feel through her feet, and a tiny lurch. The ship had begun moving. Florida scenery, palm trees and pastel buildings, floated slowly past the three portholes in the cabin. She had a momentary, panicky, claustrophobic feeling of being trapped. No place to run away on a ship. Then the feeling disappeared as she looked at his image behind her, still watching her in the mirror.
They had never met before. His manner over the phone had suggested a courtly old grandfatherly type. The only other communications had been by encrypted email, which had been courteous in the extreme, again suggesting an older person. But he was young, with thick dark hair, shaggy black, and eyes such a light blue they were like looking into clear water. Kind of spooky, those eyes, which were impassively and objectively examining the effect of the evening gown without fringe. He was a scary guy. A spook, in the real sense.
“It’s better.” He nodded judiciously, studying her up and down like a slab of beef. He didn’t appear hungry.
Lo turned away from the mirror and faced him.
“I don’t usually do this sort of thing, as you know,” he said. There was a small sigh, like he didn’t intend to ever again. “But our target requires a couple.”
“The thrill of the chase.” Lo said, smiling briefly, and thinking her boss was perfect for the part. He could have been a blue eyed young Sean Connery in an old 007 movie. His appearance was still a surprise. He was thin and tall and the white evening jacket and slim black pants looked good, and expensive.
“Yeah. Wresting the prize from another man,” he said.
“Thereby verifying his manhood.”
That provoked a quick smile, but he didn’t look like he did it often. “Sit down a moment. I need to tell you a little more. My name is Dan. You’re Linda. I’m sorry about how fast you had to get here. That last one got a little hairy, but the opportunity was too good to pass up. My clients want this one real bad. Steven Marconi is on vacation, his guard will be down. Anyway, we’re married.”
He was throwing Lo’s identity on the bed. A driver’s license, credit cards, pictures; the usual. She looked them over with a critical eye. The photographs of them together were false, but they appeared real. She snapped the documents into a beaded evening bag that matched the gown. Lo never carried identification when she was traveling, unless it was false.
“Our last name is Duncan. It’ll only be a week or so. Then you can have some time off.”
“That’s fine,” Lo said. “Nice to meet you, Dan Duncan. It’s a good name…sounds stupid.”
Dan smiled briefly and falsely, with deep dimples and brilliant white teeth. “You know the routine. I’m the possessive married man. You’ve got a roving eye. I think he’ll bite.”
“Lots of pretty women on a cruise.”
“None like you,” Dan said. It was a compliment, sort of, but his face didn’t say so.
She watched him take a breath. Then he said with a rush, “I’m going to have to act like a husband. Don’t be afraid to touch me.”
Lo was positive he was gay. She’d gleaned some pointed rumors hunting through the internet, and he came off that way; much too handsome, too particular with details, like his buffed nails and the shoes that glowed black with polish. He was probably a wonderful dancer. She could envision the two of them dancing in one of the ballrooms aboard this vessel as it floated over the sea. It was kind of a nice image, although she couldn’t let preconceived notions prejudice her. Extreme caution was the only code of behavior. He had her career, such as it was, in his well-manicured hands.
“I arranged for wardrobe, but mostly it will be casual clothes.”
She knew; the revealing little shorts and tops, the bathing suits which were merely strings tied together. He certainly knew her size after the last few jobs. This dress fit like snake skin. That part of the job was depressing and a bit demeaning. She never wore clothes that revealed anatomy in her normal and quiet life in Carmel, California. But her assets would be used in whatever way deemed necessary for this job. To a certain point, of course.
“You’ll have to be careful,” he said. “Steven Marconi’s a dangerous guy; ties to the mafia, organized crime. His reputation is brutal with woman. Can’t keep his hands off them. Rough hands. And he’s young and strong. Reputed to have done some contract killing in the past. Also, there’s no escaping a ship at sea. You can’t disappear if it gets risky.”
Lo assumed with near certainty that Dan had a fallback, a back-up cabin aboard this ship. He wouldn’t tell her unless there was an emergency. From past experience with him as her operative, she knew he took extreme precautions to keep her safe. It wasn’t personal. She had great assets. He didn’t want to lose them. Neither did she. These jobs were lucrative, but her career would be short. She didn’t intend for her career, and her life, to end simultaneously.
“He’s traveling under the name Mason.”
Oh, goody, she thought, we’ll all have assumed names. “Does he have anyone along that I’ll have to watch out for?”
Dan nodded with a sardonic, dismissive smile. “Hard to miss. Stereotypical bodyguards. One looks enough like Marconi to actually be his brother, but I’m still checking. They have adjoining cabins. So you can’t go to Marconi’s. You’ll have to use this one.”
“Would he chance it?”
“He’s a gambler…likes taking risks. A married woman, whose husband might walk in, ups the excitement a tad.”
He started to the door, then stopped and took a small envelope out of his pocket. “Almost forgot.” He emptied the contents in his palm and threw the envelope into a wastebasket. He took one ring out of his palm and handed it Lo. The other gold ring from the envelope he put on his finger.
Lo looked at it. “Fabulous fake,” she said as she slipped it on her left hand.
Dan gave a quick smile. “Try not to lose it. It’s genuine.”
Lo felt her eyebrows go up in surprise. It fit perfectly, at least two carats. The sparkles were mesmerizing, dazzling, and she had to pull her eyes away from the gorgeous ring.
As he crooked his arm to lead her out of the cabin, she thought she would probably be safer on this assignment than the usual ones, when she worked alone. Yet she liked working by herself; enjoyed the careful preparation for the role she was to play, which could sometimes take months. The physical risks were higher, but no one was watching. She had little doubt that her boss had planted video cameras in their stateroom.
As they walked along the long corridor she wished she could have taken the time to change her hair color, at least. Dan would be discreet, she was sure, but knowing you’re being observed, and videoed, made it more difficult to be a good actress.
As they exited the long hallway, Lo tried to map out the corridors in her mind. Passenger cruisers could be like mazes. It’s easy to get turned around. Later tonight she would tour the whole ship. It was critical to find out where all the stairways and elevators were located. Lo didn’t want to think about the possibility of being chased down one of these long hallways, panicked and out of breath, and finding herself trapped at a dead end.
They strolled past expensive gift shops and Lo peeked into the large, noisy, floating gambling casino. Marconi liked taking risks. He’d probably spend some time in the gaming rooms. She could hear the tinkle of the slot machines and wondered about the people inside using the first hour of a cruise in those bright and utterly garish rooms, filled with artificial neon displays of chance.
They went up a broad flight of inside stairs to get to the dining room and joined a throng, also climbing. Many were older couples. This cruise was expensive. Lo could feel Dan’s forearm under hers, hard as steel. His name wasn’t Dan, but she had to think of him that way. In addition, she was glad to be Linda. It was better than her real name.
“I arranged for the late dinner, same as Marconi,” Dan said, leaning down to whisper in her ear. She glanced up and saw him smiling like he had whispered an endearment. He had a cleft in his chin, sensuous lips, and she caught herself wondering if he was married. Then she remembered he was gay. Dan was already playing his role, and damn good at it.
Lo noticed the people on the stairs looking them over. There was a little good humored jealously from the grey couples, probably because she and Dan were assumed to be part of the smart, young and wealthy, beautiful generation. She sensed female disapproval vibes coming in waves. The dress was too exposed, even for the first night on a cruise, when everyone dressed formally.
There was always a crush getting into the dining room on the first night. The maître d’ was consulting a seating chart, showing each couple and the few single people aboard where their tables were located. The large dining room had been made up elegantly with tables covered in pristine white linen and fine silver, crystal goblets at each place setting and beautiful flower displays.
“He’s at our table,” Dan whispered in Lo’s ear and she braced herself, still resentful that she hadn’t had time to study Marconi. Lo hated going in blind. Usually, by the time she was in the territory, she knew what the target looked like and his preferences in food and women and how he spent his leisure time. Marconi was a connected thug, but she had no idea what to expect.
That thought sent a flashback of her previous job, which had ended two days ago. Her target had been middle-aged, with a big gut, pinkly florid skin and sparse white hair. He looked like a big mean pig, with squinty eyes and a tiny turned up nose. You could look him in the face and see right up the hairy nostrils. He had been stronger than he looked. It had been her mistake to underestimate his strength. But people underestimated her, too. Lo was tall, narrowly built, and naturally slim. There was a continuous fight to keep her weight up, to hide muscles beneath a layer of fat. Although it was the fashionable thing to be very thin, men never seemed to mind a little extra padding in the right places.
Dan was pulling out her chair at a large round table and Lo chastised herself for letting her mind wander. There were four couples already seated, so she assumed that Marconi hadn’t arrived. But there weren’t any spare place settings. Then she understood. The target had brought along a companion for the voyage.
She scanned the men quickly, searching for someone who didn’t fit, who seemed wrong. Dan was still standing, shaking hands all around. There was that wonderful movement of waves gently swaying the whole ship as she nodded and smiled at each of the couples, memorizing names. Their table was right next to the window, and the sea far below was a pastel palette of blues, pinks and dark purple shading in the burnished glow of the setting sun. The small sounds of discrete meal service were all around as she locked gazes with Marconi.
Dan was right about removing the fringe, Lo thought. This guy was attracted to conspicuous flash. A little disappointment clouded her first impression. He didn’t look particularly dangerous, just horny. The fact that his companion looked like a pretty brown wren had nothing to do with the fact that his large black eyes had fastened themselves to her bodice. His gaze slowly lifted to her face. She felt a momentary stab of repulsion as she smiled and nodded at Marconi, when Dan said, “Mr. Mason, this is my wife, Linda.”
“Call me Steven,” Marconi said. It was his real first name and Lo was glad. It got tricky remembering a lot of false names.
Dan was smiling down at Lo with proprietary pride and gave her shoulders a squeeze, proclaiming to the whole table; this is mine. Then he sat down and picked up a gold engraved menu the size of a map.
“Maybe when you grow up, you’ll look like her,” Marconi whispered to his date, loud enough for the whole table to hear.
Lo looked at him, astonished at his insulting bad taste. Mason’s girlfriend, who appeared about eighteen years old, soft and gentle, gazed up at him with melting tenderness. “Yes, maybe.”
Then she looked at Lo, still smiling with the innocence of a child. “Your dress is beautiful, Linda. My name is Gwen.”
Of course, Marconi had failed to introduce Gwen. She looked like her name, with short petals of light brown hair and large brown eyes. Lo wondered if Gwen was for real, as innocent as she seemed, or privately seething about the remark Marconi just made.
What in the world was Gwen doing with Marconi, anyway, Lo thought as she surreptitiously studied the improbable couple. He was attractive enough, with dark eyes, thick brows and black hair. But unlike her boss, Dan, who exuded elegance, Marconi seemed degenerate, coarse and crude. The flesh was too loose around the jowls, hinting at extravagant indulgences, and his lips were lewdly thick, almost purple in color. He looked to be in his mid-thirties, massively heavy around the upper torso, reminding her of a bull; clumsy in girth, but potentially lethal. He was dressed in a white dinner jacket with wide lapels, a black shirt and white tie. He certainly didn’t seem the type to attract a simpering innocent little girl, although Gwen was probably past the age of consent.
“Gwennie and I are getting married after this trip,” Marconi said, slapping an arm around her shoulders and squeezing too hard. Lo could see her wince. Marconi had already been into the sauce. She recalled Dan’s warning about rough hands, cringing at what was in store for that little girl.
“Congratulations,” Lo said, smiling brilliantly, hoping she didn’t sound as unenthusiastic as she felt.
“This is our pre-honeymoon,” Marconi said, again leering at her chest.
An adequate response seemed impossible, so Lo picked up her menu. The other couples were deep in conversation about golf courses they had mutually visited. They were animated silvers, nice older couples, probably happily retired. Dan was still hiding behind his menu.
Mealtimes were going to be interminable and tortuously boring, Lo concluded, as she smiled and winked into Mason’s eyes when he glanced back at her. His reaction was a momentary lapse into perfect stillness, as he sat there with a stupid look of surprise on his face. He abruptly dropped his arm from around Gwen and visibly puffed up like a toad, actually believing that she was flirting with him. It was exactly what he was supposed to believe. Sometimes her work was extremely distasteful. In this situation, Dan had been right. With another woman in the picture she had to shovel on the temptation. There would be no time for flirtatious niceties. It was imperative to go in for the kill swiftly.
Lo managed to perk up when she saw the choices on the menu. When the waiter came she ordered shrimp cocktail, lobster tail, and a chocolate mousse for dessert.
Lo continued giving covert little glances under her lashes at Mason throughout the dinner, and he was eating it up, along with a big steak. Gwen was picking at a salad. Dan was regaling the silver retirees with boredom, explaining his job, selling prime life insurance. She didn’t see how they could swallow that for even a moment, but they seemed to.
In between sending suggestive looks to Marconi Lo was behaving like a restless and bored wife, tapping her lips, playing with the silverware and glancing around the room. She was obviously ignoring her husband. Marconi was getting the message loud and clear that she was available, and ignored poor little Gwen.
At the end of the meal, Gwen leaned across the table. “Will you go to the Ladies’ with me?”
She looked like a pleading puppy, with the big dark eyes. Lo was feeling guilty about manipulating the man she obviously adored and nodded and smiled at her, although she was simultaneously thinking that this woman could reveal information she would never find from another source.
Lo opened her handbag before she stood up and turned on the tiny tape recording machine embedded inside an ornate looking pen. A field test was in order for the small device. She enjoyed the tricky little gadgets she used while working and always shopped the amateur ‘spy’ stores for the newest miniature camera or video equipment. She was seriously contemplating a newer and smaller type of night-vision goggles. The item was indecently expensive, but probably worth the extra cost.
On the way out of the dining room she gave a little extra twitch to her walk, knowing both Dan and Steven would be watching their backsides.
Standing beside Gwen in front of the mirror in the Ladies’ room, Lo speculated that they appeared like parallel species with diverse evolutions. Gwen resembled a chubby, domestic tabby cat; Lo was the lethal and wild white panther.
“I’ve never been on a cruise before. It’s so exciting, isn’t it?” Gwen disappeared into one of the stalls. There was tinkling, flushing, and she came out. Lo pretended to comb her hair as Gwen fussed in front of the mirror, applying lipstick.
“You and your husband, Dan, look like models from a fashion magazine. And how in the world do you stay so thin, Linda?”
Gwen had turned to a side view in front of the mirror and was obviously trying to hold in her chubby stomach.
“I run about three miles, every day,” Lo said. It was the truth. She didn’t mention the excruciating workout with weights that was also a part of the daily two hour regime.
“I knew it! The way you were eating,” Gwen said. “I never could get into exercise. It’s so…strenuous and painful. Are you going to run on the ship?”
Lo nodded. “Would you like to come along?”
“I could never keep up.”
It didn’t take much persuading to get the plump woman to agree to meet her on the Lido Deck the next morning. Poor thing could use the exercise. Lo made plans to run Gwen into the ground and then pump her for information. It would be perfect. No one would pay any attention to two women taking a little exercise and gossiping. There was very little possibility that they would be overheard out in the open, or that Marconi would be inclined to join them. The way he’d been putting away the wine, he would probably be in bed suffering a blinding hangover.
As they went back into the dining room, Lo was wishing she could get enough information from Gwen so that she wouldn’t be forced to manipulate Marconi himself. Gwen probably didn’t know enough, though. He would hide his real business from the potential wifey until after they were married. Sometimes the wives suspected, but never knew the whole truth about the brutality of their husband’s profession.
Lo’s work consisted mainly of obtaining information. She never appeared in court. It was unthinkable that a government agency would be forced to admit to using someone like her. The expertise she provided was a secret shortcut for the upper echelons of law enforcement.
Lo thought Dan probably worked for the CIA or the FBI, or even an organization hidden within the government to oversee those agencies. When he said his ‘clients’ wanted Marconi badly, he was referring to one of those groups. Using Lo’s talent was somehow justified within their budgets. A full blown investigation, with many operatives, could be hundreds of times more expensive than a lone woman, and sometimes not as effective. Lo was dammed expensive herself, and worth every penny. She had proven that if there was evidence, she would find it. If not, the evidence didn’t exist, or it wouldn’t be found by any number of operatives.
Her targets might vow mortal revenge, but they were usually embarrassed when they finally figured out how the information had been procured. She’d never had one come after her, that she knew of. Her cover identification paraphernalia was always expensively impeccable. But most important, she always disappeared before the target could figure out that pretty woman he was trying to impress or seduce had revealed his secrets to the authorities.
Being a domestic spy, because her talents were seldom used abroad, sounds exciting. Usually it isn’t. Rarely did she have to do any actual snooping, B & E style, although she had. Lo had also been in actual battles, with guns and sometimes bare hands. That was rare. Physically fighting for her virtue was not. Mostly, she spent lots of time on the computer, doing research, and worked hard to stay in shape in case one of the targets decided to use physical force with a woman.
Walking back to the table, chattering with Gwen, she spotted the two men with Marconi. The blond man had hair so short it bristled, with pink scalp showing through, and a neck the size of a tree trunk. The dark man beside him did resemble a pallid, younger version of Steven Marconi. Neither had dates; neither appeared visibly swishy. Just good buddies out for a fun cruise.
Lo decided it was time to give a little demonstration of what Marconi would miss if he didn’t ditch Gwennie and take up her invitation. Hoping her boss would understand, Lo leaned over and kissed his ear, and then his cheek as she sat down. Dan’s shoulder muscles suddenly became rigid as steel under the arm she had draped around his neck. The tension was gone in an instant. He turned his head, smiling, and kissed her cheek, saying, “I missed you, darling.”
He’s quick, Lo thought, as she sat down with one arm still wrapped around Dan’s shoulders. She leaned her head against his shoulder and whispered in his ear, “I missed you, too.”
As the meal progressed slowly to its end, with cognac for the men and crème de menthe for the women, they acted like lovers, sending false smiles back and forth and holding hands. Lo pointedly ignored Steven Marconi.
Dan knew exactly what she was doing and was so adept in his role it was almost fun. Their acting was like a dance two naughty adolescents might play together to arouse jealousy in another lover. This time the stakes were high indeed. Dan wouldn’t be here unless Marconi had planned something as horrid as it was illegal.
Lo was surprised at the little flutters in her abdomen when Dan picked up her hand and kissed the palm warmly before they got up to leave. He was very convincing as a besotted husband, and certainly an attractive man. She just bet every woman aboard the cruise was throbbing with jealousy.
Dan looked down into the most exquisite face he had ever seen smiling up at him. He put an arm around Lolita as he escorted her out of the dining room. He reminded himself that he had to make the name Linda real, but Lolita fit. The fictional character had been an adolescent seducer, unaware of her fatal attraction. This woman had honed the role of seductress to precision. It was ironical that Lolita was her real, given name.
The touch of satiny skin against his hand as he guided her through the tables was what he supposed every male yearned for. She was a chameleon; every man’s living dream. He sensed he might be falling under her spell as well, and wished she didn’t affect him the same way. It was demeaning, and more to the point, he was her boss. They would be staying together in one small cabin for the next several days. It was going to be awkward, at best.
Momentarily, he decided his reaction was caused by the provocative dress, but he knew better. His first impression, when she had walked into their state room, had been purely visceral. He knew she had to be tired after traipsing across the whole country, and especially following that last assignment, which had proven to be harrowing. But when she finally got to their cabin, just a few minutes before departure time, it was as though a heat wave hit him hard in the gut.
She had been dressed in worn jeans, beat up running shoes, and a black clingy tank top covered with a loose unbuttoned shirt. Her hair was tied back severely from her face. It was not the typical portrait of male fantasies. Still, the jeans had emphasized her long lean legs and the tank top hinted at lushness beneath the folds of the covering shirt. Lolita had an aura certain actresses possess. They come on screen and you can’t look away.
At first glance, he thought she could pass for eighteen, although he knew she was in her late twenties. Her face was bare, no make-up he could discern, and his vision was better than 20/20. Her mouth was what he noticed first. The only way to describe it was curly. The full lips tilted upward on the ends, even when she came hurrying in their cabin door and then stopped dead still, as though surprised to see him there. She had stared at him seriously, maybe warily, her lips curving up naturally in repose.
Dan removed his hand from Lo’s back and dropped it to his side. Impure thoughts would be banished, now. He immediately felt her hand slide inside his. She gave him a squeeze and a little jerk to get his attention. He plastered a smile on his face and looked down at her.
“He gives me the creeps,” Lo said quietly, so she couldn’t be overheard. She was smiling falsely also. “You were right about the fringe.”
“Good acting,” Dan said quietly. “I think he’s going to be sniffing around.” Like a dog in heat, his mind added resentfully.
After dinner there was a Las Vegas type production for entertainment in a gigantic show room. Dan and Lo followed Steven and Gwen casually, within a large crowd also headed to see the show, and sat through an hour of singing, dancing, and comedians, keeping an eye on the target, seated near the front of the room. Lo kept nodding off and jerking herself out of a comatose state. She had received an email regarding this assignment only yesterday. It had been tricky making travel arrangements. She had just thrown a few clothes into a carry-on, knowing Dan would take care of everything else. The dogs went to Lo’s grandmotherly neighbor, who was thrilled every time she got to babysit the canines.
Since there had been no timely flights available from Carmel to Los Angeles, where she would catch a plane to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she had to make the long drive that night. Arriving in Los Angeles at midnight, Lo had stayed at the Airport Hilton, sleeping only fitfully, with nasty nightmares about the previous assignment with the Mean Pig. He had been one of the few intelligent targets who figured out what she was doing before she could get away.
Later that morning, still exhausted, she had taken an American Airline jet for the five hour cross-country flight. Before going to the cruise ship she had to take a detour to buy an essential and illegal item. She had lucked out with a wild taxi driver who got her to the ship just in time for final boarding.
“You can rest, I’ll watch.” She felt Dan push her head onto his shoulder and wondered, briefly and groggily, if he was reading her mind. She closed her eyes and saw the hypnogogic visions you sometimes receive in that peculiar state between wakefulness and sleep; phantom faces with metamorphosing expressions, changing from benign indifference to screaming terror. It wasn’t pleasant, but at least she got a little rest. She planned to be busy tonight.
Pam lives in West Hollywood, California. She has a degree in Psychology from Northridge State University. She worked as a property manager for Nansay, Corp. a multi-national corporation, been a dance teacher for Arthur Murray and Fred Astaire Dance Studios. The Most Fun! She has five novels and two children’s books available on Amazon Kindle.
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