At First Blush :: Review

Today I’m working along with the awesomeness of Once Upon An Alpha, in a Blog Tour for Jeanie Grey.

If you are familiar with Jeanie Grey’s work, you know it involves the paranormal…… vampires come to mind. If you know me at all, you know I gobbled up those vampire novellas.

If you know Jeanie Grey, you know she writes erotica (she’s one of the few erotica authors I read 😀 ).
Ms. Grey has outdone herself with “At First Blush”

I couldn’t put this novella down. Seriously, my kids made me lunch because I couldn’t move. I barely ate my sandwich because I was so far into being a fly on Nick’s wall.

Let me tell you a little about this story that absorbed me and spit me out feeling all tingly inside.
Serran Winters is a high school English teacher, but she does some moonlighting. In her free time she’s bestselling author Jane Garfield. While promoting her newest contempary romance she’s sent to her home town, where fate will have her meet her childhood crush Nick Enfield.

It sounds like it could be a good thing, see her old crush. Maybe chat with him a bit, find out what his feelings of her were. Under her alter ego she could have some fun, and that’s what she plans on doing when he asks her to dinner.

That isn’t how it works out though. As Jane and Nick have dinner at his house, a dinner he made, she starts falling for him again. She realizes this and wants to leave as soon as dinner is over, but Fate has a different idea. A hurricane is coming which forces Jane to stay at Nick’s house for a few days. As the novella goes on he’s falling for her too. It’s all sweet and hot. They talk about their pasts, and we the flies on the wall, start realizing there’s something more than a crush Serran felt for Nick, and find out Nick crushed on Serran too. Not only did he crush on her, he felt the same “thing” that Serran felt.
Before “At First Blush” starts getting too lovey dovey, shit hits the wall and big time! Nick finds out Jane is really Serran and feels betrayed. They have a big fight and it looks like “my” happy couple is about to end. Serran goes back to her hotel and prepares to fly out to her next tour stop. This “thing” (a supernatural connection they share, sometimes called Soulmate) that both Nick and Serran felt as teenagers isn’t going to let them both out of its grip that easily.

The novella ends on a happy.ish note. They’ve decided a long distance relationship is the best option for them.
I really enjoyed this novella, and recommend any romance/erotica lovers to get a copy.

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At First Blush Cover

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“There was no such thing as a soulmate. As for the intense connection…well, it must have been her imagination. There was no man who would instinctively understand her, no man who could read her mind. No man who could turn her on with just a look or a word, no man whose touch would override her reason and turn her into the embodiment of passion. And the sooner she let go of that fantasy completely, the sooner she could approach romantic relationships with a clear head and appreciate what she had instead of pining over everything she imagined she was missing.”

SERRAN WINTERS is determined to let the fantasy of Nick Enfield go. So why does she find herself asking him to dinner while on tour with her latest romance novel? Perhaps it’s because she feels safe in disguise as her pseudonym, Jane Garfield. Besides, it’s only a couple of hours…until a hurricane leaves her stranded at his house for three days.

Despite NICK ENFIELD’s deep hurt and growing bitterness since his divorce, something about the romance author entrances him from the first moment he sees her. But when he discovers she’s married, he’s determined to resist the intense attraction between them in spite of her mixed signals. If only his body’s reaction to her weren’t making it so hard to keep her marital status in mind.

At First Blush is a story about fantasy versus reality in love and romance, the nature of attraction and connection, and the reasons we choose to fight or follow our impulses.

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Nick stepped into the bookstore, slightly dazed, and blinked under the lights. The clouds had come in heavy already, dimming the sky to a twilight despite the fact that it was only four-thirty in the afternoon on an August Monday, and the bookstore was comparatively bright. It was also, he noticed, unusually busy. A line of maybe forty people snaked around and between shelves, ending at a sturdy oak table covered in stacks of paperback books. A sign was propped upright on the table, and he could just make out the words, Author signing TODAY! Odd then that there was no one behind the table. Maybe the author was late.
He glanced next at the register and saw a second line almost as long as the first.
Forget it. Between the crush of bodies and the long line for the register, it would take him ages to find a book and get out of here. He didn’t even really want to read tonight anyway. He’d much rather have a few beers and put on an action flick that would drown out the sounds of the storm.
He was about to turn around and walk back out the door when something—a shift in the air current or movement in the corner of his eye—caused him to look toward the back corner of the bookstore just in time to see the bathroom door open and a woman come out. As soon as he saw her, his heart kicked, his chest constricted, his breath hitched, and his pants got a little tighter in the crotch. Time slowed.
She had full, rosy lips, a round face, and a severe black bob that must’ve been dyed because her eyebrows were several shades lighter. The color of her hair threw into further contrast the paleness of her skin; here was a woman who probably couldn’t tan if she tried. She was full-figured, with wide hips, a round ass, and long legs. She wore a cream-colored skirt down to her knees, red heels, and a white button-up shirt with a high collar that opened in a narrow but deep V and showed a hint of ample cleavage. There was something unconsciously sensual in her movements as she strode across the store, shoulders back and chin level, making eye contact with everyone in her path and smiling as if she owned the place. He didn’t think he’d ever met a woman like her, and yet there was something vaguely familiar about her.
Unconsciously, Nick moved forward three steps. When she passed right in front of him, she was looking in the other direction. Nonetheless, he could make out the color of her almond-shaped eyes: a cornflower blue that reminded him of a summer sky in a painting of the Dutch countryside.
And then she was past him, leaving in her wake a faint aroma of vanilla and spice. He inhaled deeply, the tightness in his chest telling him he must’ve been holding his breath. His eyes followed her, and he was entranced by her sashaying hips as she threaded her way through the crowd. When she reached the book signing table, she sat down behind it.

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button About the author

Jeanie Grey writes sophisticated, steamy, unconventional romance and erotica for readers who like to think. A person of relatively simple pleasures, her list of favorite things in life includes dark chocolate, foreign films, Lady Grey tea, men wearing sweaters, and curling up in bed all day with a delicious romance novel. Jeanie is the author of the Lilly Frank trilogy and Crouch and Other Short Stories. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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My Writing Process Blog Tour

The AMAZING Nina D’Arcangela nominated me last week. You can go Here to read her post. You should, you’d then understand why I call her amazing. Not only does she write for herself and Pen of the Damned she also writes for (and edits- she a co-owner) of Siren’s Call Publications But that isn’t all she also owns a photography studio.

See she’s amazing!!!! If you don’t already follow her. . . first let me pick my jaw up off the floor, second go and follow her, third follow her on all social medias.

Now for all my juicy secrets.

What am I working on?
I’m working on Among the Shadows a sequel to In the Shadows (the novel I just finished -that’s being beta read right now)
Adriana married one of the vampires – James, and helped the vampire coven stop the zombie virus, that she started –yeah it gets deep. In AtS the High Witch Council has declared war on vampires because they are keeping Adriana from standing trial for her part in the zombie outbreak and for breaking witch rules. I’ve just started writing so there isn’t much to tell.

I’m trying to finish a few other novels when AtS gets annoying –I’m talking to you James! I’ll start revising a vampire novel soon (I don’t wanna, revising is hard and writing is fun). There’s two anthologies I’d like to submit to in December, that I need to get working on.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Why my work differs from others, that’s a hard question. I’d have to say, because my children are different from other children, my writing is different from other’s. It’s a part of me, no matter how small that part might be. They are my imganiary friends and they’re as strange as I am, that’s why they came to me to write their stories. I think all writers are different from eath other (even in the same genre) because they are different people from different paths. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t have so many authors.

Why do I write what I do?
Why I write what I do? Why not? Write what you know, as writers that’s always part of the advice we read. I know vampires, so that’s what I write, mostly. I know witches, and other supernatural creatures, guess what else I write. 😀 I know romance and heartbreak, I know motherly love and the fear of losing a child. I know the gut wrenching sorrow of watching your child suffer and doctors doing their best to keep the alive for something as simple as a food allergy. What I don’t know I learn. So why do I write what I do? Because I take what I know and love and twist it until it hurts to love it and in that way I heal my own wounds, insecurities, and give myself strength to face it all again.

How does my writing process work?
Process? LOL, there is no process. Once upon a time I tried to create a process I rarely wrote when I did that. Homeschooling four kids, I’ve learned to write when I can. Jot notes or record my thoughts on a scene. That recording my thoughts worked twice until I had little demons running around saying “Note to self…… and repeating my scene.” I try to wake up extra early and write, but sometimes that doesn’t work well after I’ve spent most the night writing. When I write at night, there’s usually a scented candle burning. There’s nothing like writing by candlelight, the flickering of the flame casting eerie shadows across the wall. The Muse lurking in the corner of the room, shrieking at times.

Now for my nominees. Actually I’m only choosing one.

Jeanie Grey
Photo on 2012-01-16 at 12.49 #2
About
Jeanie Grey is a feminist writer and reader of romance and erotica currently working on three romance novels – a scifi-vampire-suspense, a contemporary, & a historical pirate – scheduled to come out in 2014. She’d love to connect with you via Twitter (@jeaniegrey) or Facebook. You can also email her at writejeaniegrey (at) gmail (dot) com.

Awakening 3 Deleted scene

I told you all, I’d hook you up with links to buy your won copy of Awakening 3, but Jeanine Grey gave us something better!
I’m stepping aside and letting Jeanie take over.

Guest post by Jeanie Grey: Exclusive content – Deleted scene from AWAKENING 3

Thank you so much for letting me do this guest post on your blog in celebration of the release of Awakening 3, Mari! 🙂 I’m thrilled to offer you a deleted scene that’s available nowhere else. But first, a little about my new book!

Short description: A suspenseful science fiction vampire romance, Awakening 3 is the final book in the Lilly Frank trilogy, intended for readers 18+.

Books synopsis
Nearly fifty years after the events of Awakening 2, Lilly decides to stop running away and returns to Italy only to find the threat of a vampire civil war growing. With the help of Beth, Carrie and Jamie, Lilly learns how to face her feelings about her tragic past and to accept that, whether Torren wants her or not, her heart wants him. But when she finds Torren in Rome, not only is he still with Vittoria, he doesn’t seem to remember Lilly at all.

Can Lilly convince Torren to leave Vittoria to be with her and help the Organization find a peaceful solution to the conflict, or will Vittoria and a vampire war come between Torren and Lilly and their happily ever after?

Format: e-book
Length: 44,700 words (approx. 150 pgs)
Language(s): English
Price: $0.99 USD
Buy links: Smashwords – Coming soon to Amazon, the iTunes store, B&N, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, Oyster & Scribd!

Deleted Scene
Lilly’s chest constricted and she began to tremble.

“Lilly! What’s wrong? What is it?” Beth reached across the table and took Lilly’s hands in hers.

“I— I’m so afraid, Beth. I think I’m a rogue vampire.” Lilly took a deep breath and found her courage even as the tears began to spill from her eyes.

“What do you mean?” Beth said, her eyes wide.

She’d been living with the guilt long enough, and if vampire law dictated that she had to die for her mistake, then at least justice would be done.

“I’ve killed someone.”

***

She’d been roaming the wilds of Canada for several months. It was harsh country and food was scarce, but it gave her an opportunity to test how long she could go without feeding. It had been several weeks at this point, and she was definitely feeling the effects. She was disoriented and shaky. She might have been hallucinating. There was a storm coming and she was making herself a shelter. The knife slipped and she cut herself. The blood took several seconds to ooze to the surface, and when it did, it was nearly clear. Lilly panicked. The experiment had gone far enough. She half-stumbled, half-ran. She didn’t know where she was going until she came upon the cabin and heard the heart beat. There was a horse in the stable, but as soon as she smelled the human she knew she had to have him.

The next thing she knew she was inside, the man cradled in her arms as he exhaled his last breath. His eyes were open and staring at the ceiling. They were blue and lifeless. His blood was still warm in her throat and belly, but his body was starting to cool. She’d left the door open and the freezing-cold air whipped around the room as the storm gathered speed.

It had been an accident. She hadn’t meant to kill him. She’d run from the cabin, run out into the storm that raged around her as her guilt and fear raged in her chest, had washed his blood from her hands and face in a stream so cold it burned. She’d left the wilds again and fled to civilization, ending her time of self-testing, but the guilt had followed her wherever she went.

***

By the time she finished telling them the story she was sobbing. She’d never been so ashamed of herself in all her life. Beth had come around the table and was holding her, rocking back and forth and making soothing noises. Carrie had tears in her eyes, too, and looked like she wished she could do something.

“Oh, Lilly. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry that happened to you.”

“To me?” Lilly squeaked, incredulous. Hadn’t Beth been listening? She’d killed a man!

“You’re not the first to make the mistake of going too long without feeding, Lilly. Other vampires have tested their limits and lost control.”

Lily sniffled and sucked in a few shaky breaths. She waited until she thought she could speak again and said, “And then what?” Her voice broke again on the last word. As guilty as she felt for having killed the man, she didn’t want to die for it, and she felt even more ashamed to realize that she hoped she could somehow get out of it. Is this how all criminals felt?

“Lilly, it is written in The Pact that a vampire shall not kill a human because the founders of the Organization recognized that in order to stay hidden and avoid war with humans, we needed to respect human life and not leave bodies drained of blood lying around—“

A chill as cold as ice formed in Lilly’s solar plexus and she began to tremble more violently.

“—but an amendment clarifies that in order to be considered a betrayal of The Pact it has to be an act of willful murder, intentional and without a direct order from the Organization. The Pact was created to keep the vampire community safe, not to punish vampires who did not know their limits and lost control.”

“Really?” Lilly said. She sniffled again and began to calm. Then the image of the dead man’s eyes came back into her head and she began sobbing again. She realized she had never allowed herself to mourn him before. Who had he been? Had he had a family, perhaps a daughter who loved him the way Lilly had loved her mother? Who had found him? And what about the poor horse? What had happened to it, without a human to care for it?

She cried long and hard while Beth merely held her.

Eventually her breathing slowed and she could speak again. “But if I remain unpunished, what justice is there?”

“You must live with the knowledge of what you have done. Do you not think that is punishment enough?”

Author bio: Jeanie Grey is a feminist reader and writer of romance and erotica who lives in Oregon. Her short stories have been published on deadlyeverafter.com and thedarkerhalf.com. For more about her work and her views on writing romance and erotica, please visit her website at http://jeaniegrey.blogspot.com You can also connect with her via Twitter (@jeaniegrey), Facebook fan page (https://www.facebook.com/authorJeanieGrey) , or email (writejeaniegrey@gmail.com)

*** UPDATE *** Your link for A 3
Awakening 3 (Lilly Frank Series)

Vampires Vampires Vampires

As the sun sets tonight, I’ve crawled from my coffin. Um, I mean, I’m sitting here after a long day of writing and researching….

We’re starting a little late, but I have some vampire fun for you this month. I’ve got a crypt full of writers chatting, goblets of Sangria in hand. Dylan J. Morgan is here talking about “Blood War”, he’s agreed to a giveaway! Nina Mason, is here to talk about “The Queen of Swords”. Brian Moreland is here to talk about “Dead of Winter” not vampires. . . cannibals!! He has a giveaway too. Caris Roane, is here to talk about “Embrace The Passion” the newest book in “The Blood Rose Series” she’s also got a giveaway for you. Jeanie Grey will be here with the last book in “The Lilly Frank Series” “Awakening 3” I’m so sad to see Lilly go, but I’m so excited for her. We also have Daven Anderson and his second book “Vampire Conspiracy”. I’ve also got Karen Soutar, I couldn’t do anything vampire (or witch for that matter) without her. Peter Davis-Parker is here, with an awesome poem!

I’ve asked some other authors, but these ladies and gents are being fashionably late.

So grab your crystal goblet and some red or O+ for those of you so inclined. Sit back and enjoy Vampire month.

***UPDATE*** Juliette Kings, aka Vampire Marman is here, she was lurking in the shadows. I think she was enjoying the calm atmosphere. She has teenage vampires at home, they can get noisy, believe me I know. I’ve sent my fledglings away for the month.

Salud

Salud

Interviews with Vampires Lilly and Torren

I’m so happy today to be sharing the chance I had to interview Lilly and Torren from Awakening 2.

 ***

Lilly sits alone with Mari at the large table in Beth and Carrie’s kitchen, two weeks after the end of Awakening 2.

The change was hard on you. Can you tell us a little more (not mentioned in the book) about it?

After everything that’s happened, that seems so long ago now. *Shudders* I, uh…I suppose “It was difficult” is an understatement. Just so much stimuli all at once. *Closes her eyes* Imagine being in the middle of a crowded room where everyone is yelling and there’s really loud experimental-industrial music playing and people keep touching you with strange objects you can’t see and the air is thick and there are all these smells being pumped into the room that are vaguely familiar but you can’t quite identify and there’s a really bright light shining directly into your eyes but the rest of the room beyond is pitch dark. Times a thousand.

Now that you’ve adjusted a little more, what do you think of being a vampire?

*Opens her eyes* Right now? It really sucks. I mean, sensory-wise, it’s not as bad as it was those first few months. But I’m still healing from…the incident. I have a scar across my chest. *Gestures from her left collarbone down below her right breast* It aches all the time. And Torren kind of broke my heart. Not to mention the fact that the whole reason I became a vampire in the first place was to feel safer. *Snort* Needless to say, that didn’t really work out as I planned.

What are your plans?

*Looks down at her hands* I don’t know. I need some time to think. To figure out what to do with the rest of eternity. *Her voice quavers* I’m staying at Beth and Carrie’s right now. Part of me hopes that Torren comes looking for me, but part of me doesn’t want him to. I’m–I’m a little fucked up in the head right now. *She begins to cry* I’m so sorry, Mari. I need to be alone. Please go. *Rises and leaves the room*

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Milan. Torren is sitting on a couch next to Vittoria, who looks at him adoringly. They are holding hands.

How long ago were you turned?

Torren: I’m not sure exactly. My memory of that time is still unclear, though it’s coming back, little by little. Vittoria is helping with that. *Squeezes Vittoria’s hand and looks at her with stars in his eyes* How long ago was it, my love?

Vittoria: Five hundred twenty years. It was the year 1492.

Do you remember anything about it?

Torren: *shakes his head* No, not yet.

Can you tell me the difference between human blood and animal blood?

Torren: Human blood has a subtler flavor compared to animal blood. To someone who does not have vampire senses and has never tasted blood, it is hard to describe. Drinking the blood of an animal, such as a deer or a horse, leaves a sharp taste on your tongue. Their blood is a little bitter. Human blood, on the other hand, is almost sweet. It’s more full-bodied than animal. More complex.

*Vittoria licks her lips and looks longingly at Mari’s beautiful, long neck*

Do you use human or animal blood regularly?

Torren: Human blood. Vittoria and I go hunting together.

*Vittoria smiles warmly at him*

Can a vampire survive from feeding off another vampire? Is it done for pleasure only?

Torren: *thinks for a moment* I’ve never heard of a vampire subsisting on another vampire’s blood. It is not a thing that is done. I imagine you could, but it would be difficult to find vampires who were willing to be another vampire’s food. It’s seen as…degrading.

What is it like changing someone?

Torren: I don’t know. I’ve never Changed anyone.

Vittoria: *pulls Torren up off the couch, eyes flashing at Mari* Basta! Torren, we go. Immediatamente!

Torren: *looks confused but follows Vittoria toward the door* I–I’m sorry, Mari. Thank you so much for having us here, but we must leave now.

***

Oh, I was almost worried there for a bit… I don’t know why but I don’t trust Vittoria.

This leaves so many questions doesn’t it??

If by chance you haven’t had a chance to read Awakening 1 or Awakening 2 or started following Jeanie here are the links..

Find Jeanie at these places
@JeanieGrey / Blog / Facebook

Check Amazon for Awakening and Awakening 2 prices.

Vampire mythology in the Lilly Frank series

Today I’m so happy to have a great vampire author here to guest post for me. (Jeanie you are the first person to guest post here, and the first to ever take over Vampire Wednesday.)

Jeanie was kind enough to tell us a bit about the mythology of her series. Jeanie Grey has a great vampire romance/erotic series. If you haven’t read Awakening and Awakening 2 you can buy them on Amazon. I definitely recommend them.  

Now on to Jeanie’s guest post

I’ve been fascinated by vampire mythologies since I read Christopher Pike’s The Last Vampire series and L. J. Smith’s Vampire Diaries as a teenager. Since then I’ve read every book and seen every movie about vampires that I’ve come across, and one thing I’ve noticed is how the vampire mythology changes—slightly or drastically—with each author.

In some stories, vampires can’t come out during the day (e.g. Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, Blade, and Underworld), while in others they can (e.g. the Twilight series). Some vampire mythologies claim that vampires can only drink the blood of human virgins (e.g. Blood for Dracula, aka Andy Warhol’s Dracula), or that being bitten by a vampire either kills a person or turns them into a vampire (e.g. From Dusk Til Dawn). In some stories, humans and vampires can be bound to each other by the exchange of blood (e.g. Octavia E. Butler’s Fledgling). In others, a psychic exchange accompanies the exchange of blood: vampire and human can see each other’s memories, hear each other’s thoughts, experience each other’s feelings (e.g. Annette Curtis Klause’s The Silver Kiss). There are rules about crosses and garlic and holy water. About stakes and beheading. Rules about whether being bitten is pleasurable, erotic, or painful. About shape-shifting and controlling the weather. And these rules change from story to story as each author creates his or her own mythology.

But there are three constants: vampires are stronger and faster than humans; they live a lot longer than humans (unless killed); and they drink blood.

When I started thinking about creating a vampire mythology for the Lilly Frank series, I knew I wanted to do something a little different, but I also wanted strong ties to the more traditional mythologies. I knew I wanted my vampires to be able to go out in daylight, but I asked myself, “Are there conditions under which vampires could go out in daylight but people would think they couldn’t?”

That’s how I came up with the idea that vampires are hypersensitive, especially in their first few years of vampirehood. (Is that a word? Well, it is now.) If vampires were hypersensitive to heat and light, it would make coming out during the day really uncomfortable, so they would prefer the nighttime.

(Vampirehood… I love it. I in the name of all that is vampire, on this day of the vampires, hereby state that vampirehood is now a word! At least on here it will be!)

The hypersensitivity would also explain their aversion to garlic: it’s a strong smell and offends even some human noses, so if vampires had a much better sense of smell, they might want to stay away from it (though it doesn’t kill them).

Here are some other characteristics of the Lilly Frank vampire mythology:

• Vampires can eat human food, but it does not sustain them; they need blood to stay alive, and human blood is best.
• Being bitten by a vampire can be either pleasurable or painful, depending on technique, but it neither kills you (unless they drink too much) nor turns you into a vampire. It takes a significant exchange of blood to become a vampire.
• Crosses and holy water have no effect.
• Wooden stakes hurt a lot (remember heightened sense of touch), but they do not kill a vampire. Vampires are immortal and heal quickly, and the only way to kill a vampire is to deprive them of blood for an extended period of time or to behead them and make sure the head and body stay far away from one another.
• They cannot control the weather or change themselves into bats, wolves, or other animals.
• Drinking blood from a human or vampire allows one to feel the blood donor’s dominant emotions—this is what happens when Lilly tastes Torren’s blood in Awakening.
• Drinking or exchanging blood does not create a bond between two individuals; bonds form between individuals for other reasons.

The one that surprised me the most, when I was writing Awakening 2, was the idea that there are more than five senses that can be heightened and that each vampire has a “gift”—one sense that is heightened more than all the others and whose sensitivity does not lesson through the years. I totally did not see that coming.

Jeanie Grey is a feminist reader and writer of romance and erotica who lives in Portland, Oregon. Her short stories have been published on deadlyeverafter.com and thedarkerhalf.com. She self-published her first book, Awakening in the summer of 2012. Awakening 2 was just released on Monday, July 1, 2013. Both are ebooks for Kindle and available to purchase on Amazon.

For more about her work and her views on writing romance and erotica, please visit her website at http://jeaniegrey.blogspot.com You can also connect with her on Twitter (@jeaniegrey) or email her at writejeaniegrey@gmail.com

I love your mythology, Jeanie. Some of it I’ve proven to be ancient lore here on this very column. Thank you so much for sharing with my readers.

Jeanie has agreed to another 2 posts regarding vampires in the following two weeks make sure you come back.