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Carol Burnside: It’s Still Autumn…In December (Excerpt)
Monday, December 5th, 2022

I think I’m backwards girl when it comes to these blog posts. LOL

In October, I posted here on DD’s blog about a new release, Fake Fiancé For Christmas.  Now, it’s December, and I’m posting about an autumn release, Second Chances, that centers around Thanksgiving.

Technically, Fall/Autumn doesn’t end until December 20th. Here in south Texas, the leaves on my peach tree are still turning, so I’m good, right? Okay, then. I’m here to give you a taste of my upcoming release, Second Chances, the fourth book in my Sweetwater Springs series of small-town romances set in a fictitious central Arkansas town.

It’s so much fun creating new characters, growing the community, and revisiting some of the characters occasionally in later books. Do you like to read small-town romances with sexual tension and a good dose sexy-time between the characters? Are you a fan of a series where each book is a standalone? If you answered yes, then you’ll like Second Chances and the whole series.

Second Chances

Mayor Jake Fletcher’s small town of Sweetwater Springs is in jeopardy. Their coffers are drying up, thanks to mother nature destroying the major access to the town. Confessing as much to his constituents brings surprises his way:

—Ideas to fix the crisis flooding in

—Two women willing to spearhead the resulting Holiday Extravaganza. One of them, Dixie Jo DeLuca, is an attractive, outgoing real estate agent with a smile that delivers a gut punch.

There’s no time to waste. Jake and Dixie work together, friendly but cautious around each other, flirting a little, but recognizing they’re divorcees with baggage…and three daughters between them. They need to work closely together over the next two months. Any attempt at a relationship could put a strain on their endeavors and their work is too important to the town to jeopardize.

Despite those concerns, their attraction grows. Soon, they agree to a secret affair. They’re two reasonable adults, right?

But a bigger picture has each of them dealing with family concerns as well. Dixie faces an MIA ex, a teen daughter, and a mom pushing her toward an affair. Jake’s sister is divorcing and he’s her attorney, his unpredictable and self-centered ex is coming for Thanksgiving, and he’s harboring a long-kept family secret that he’ll eventually have to reveal to Dixie, even if his honesty means he might lose her.

Amid the festival whirlwind, their day jobs, and daily life with extended family and three children, can Jake and Dixie carve out enough time to build a relationship? And even if that’s possible, are they open to risking their hearts — and those of their children — again?

Warning: The author is not responsible if pizza and cake (as a meal) give you cravings. Contains two reasonably sane adults feeling out of control, sometimes precocious children, and some hot/sweet loving. It also has a not-quite-normal Thanksgiving dinner. Brace yourself. The folks in Sweetwater Springs are a force to be reckoned with.


They were both uncharacteristically quiet on the way back to Jake’s office. He couldn’t say what was on Dixie’s mind, but he was more nervous now that they’d agreed to… whatever they’d agreed to. Were they going to date? What would that look like when they had three children between them?

Wait. What was it she’d said… that there was the possibility of a second date? Then afterward, she’d done that pouty lip-lick thing that had made his jeans uncomfortable. Had the pout meant indecision? “So, are you not sure?”

He glanced over in time to see her startled gaze.

“Excuse me?”

“I thought you… Never mind. I don’t know what I’m saying.” He pulled into his parking space and killed the engine.

“You’re freaking out,” she accused with a tinge of awe.

“Am not.” A smile bent the edges of his lips, and she backhanded his bicep. “Ow! Okay, okay. Maybe a little. Aren’t you?”

“Damn straight. I mean other than a quick lunch or possibly breakfast, what would dating look like? I was just sitting here thinking that we have kids we barely see now between work and school. I’m assuming your situation is the same.”

“It is. Lunch. Maybe the occasional breakfast. That’s not a very exciting dating relationship, though I guess we’d get fat together.” He rubbed his arm, though it felt more tingly than hurt. “I think you broke me.”

She laughed. “I barely tapped you.”

“That’s what hurts.” He said, the quietness of his voice filling the interior because he hadn’t been referring to his arm. “I want so much more from you.”

Dixie’s chest moved with more force now, as if she struggled to breathe in and out. In and out. “Could we finish this conversation in your office? I’ve got about a half-hour before my afternoon showing. We could set some ground rules or something. Maybe see if logistically it’s even feasible?”

If the tension hadn’t already been thick, he’d have laughed the comment off.

She shaded her face from his view. “Oh, God. That sounded like we’re negotiating a contract or whatever. I guess I don’t know what I’m saying either.”

“Maybe we should stop talking altogether. Come inside where it’s more private.”

Dixie dropped her hand and met his gaze, her dark eyes smoldering. Still holding his gaze, she opened her door.

He hitched his chin as he opened his door. “Stay there.”

Jake exited the truck and crossed to her side, took her hand, and assisted her down, closing the door with the hand that didn’t hold hers.

She looked at him, her gaze soft and luminous, and gestured to the truck. “I could’ve—”

“I know. I just didn’t want any more time to go by without touching you.”


“Is that okay?”


They didn’t speak again, though Jake took every opportunity to touch her. He released her hand to place it at the small of her back, ushering her into his law offices. A sign sat on the small front stand.




Good. Louise would have her door closed.

Jake ushered Dixie into his office, closed the door behind him, and leaned against it. She stood by the first guest chair, barely two feet away. “I want to kiss you. Is that moving too fast?”

Her chin rose. She stepped toward him, her eyes still exuding that smoldering look that made his pulse race. Damn, she was beautiful.

He moved toward her, could hear her increased breathing, like his own. His forward motion was stopped by a sudden palm planted on his chest.

“Jake, I don’t know what this is or what you want from this. Maybe you don’t know. But I’ve not felt this way in a long time. If this is just physical, drop it now. We’ll—”

“It’s not.”

“Oh.” Her palm relaxed over his heart, where he was sure she could feel it racing.

He rested his hands at her waist and tugged her even closer, a thrill shimmering over him at being able to touch her and be touched.

She slid hers to his shoulders as he leaned in and touch his lips to hers.

It took effort not to crush her to him.

He flicked the tip of his tongue over her lips and Dixie opened to him, her fingers tightening above his collarbone. It was the signal he’d been wishing for.

He let go, pouring all he’d been feeling into the kiss, and Dixie responded. Her fingers speared into his hair, lightly scoring his scalp, tightening his groin as if she’d touched him there. The thought of that happening in the future made his jeans quite uncomfortable.

Jake could scarcely breathe through the desire surging over him. Had he ever wanted a woman this much? It was crazy-wonderful. He slid one hand to the small of her back and exerted a slight pressure.

She molded against him, a tiny noise escaping from the back of her throat, possibly the sexiest sound he’d ever heard.

A knock at his door had them springing apart like teenagers caught necking by the police.

I hope you’ll remember to look Second Chances up and snag yourself a copy on Dec. 10th.

About the Author

“Sizzling romance with heart and humor”

Carol is an award-winning author of Sweetwater Springs, a series of contemporary, small-town romances with serious sizzle and a generous dose of southern charm. Her personal second-chance-at-love story resulted in marriage to her high school sweetheart.

Carol has also written several standalone books not connected to any series. Her Tropical Heat novella characters find love and passion on islands and beaches. Writing as Annie Rayburn, she produces Crainesian mashup romances that are sci-fi, paranormal, erotic, contemporary, and alternate history.

Find Carol on the web:

Once again, my sincere thanks to Delilah Devlin for hosting me on her blog today.

Deb Robinson: Early Season’s Greetings! Plus, Mister Tradie!
Sunday, December 4th, 2022

Early season’s greetings from Melbourne, Australia.

We’ve just experienced our first warm weekend for the summer after torrential spring rain has caused parts of our east coast to be devastated by floods. The experts predict there is more rain over the next few months. It’s caused by that La Nina thingy. Maybe one day I’ll have time to learn more about it.

Right now, I’d love to tell you a story…

It was just an ordinary visit to a family member in aged care… or so I thought. There were vans and work Utes parked in the street but I thought nothing of them. Walking through the main living area, I saw a wall being painted by a handsome, dark-haired tradie with arms full of dark ink. I’d discovered a recent fascination for tattoos and his were glorious.

Leaving Tattoo Tradie behind, I entered an adjoining hallway to find all the carpet had disappeared and, in its place, a concrete walkway. That was it. Not a soul in sight.

Sometime early in my visit, there was a knock at the door. Standing there was a sandy blonde with guns worthy of display and legs for days. Mister Good looking Tradie had lovely hazel eyes and a panty dropping smile. I was… well, I was a little dazzled.

He was explaining he’d be laying… no, not going there… the new carpet and I’d have to wait until he was done before I could leave. I was cool with that.

Fast forward fifteen minutes or so, I spied him in the doorway on all fours and yeah, he caught me gazing. I flushed and he grinned.

Fast forward another ten or so minutes, I needed to get to work, so I stuck my head out in the corridor and asked him how much longer he’d be.

‘Give me five minutes and I’ll have the carpet ready just for you.’

Just for me…

‘Pity it’s not red,’ I retorted, deeming myself worthy of a celebrity like entrance… or in this case, exit. I quickly realised that what I’d said out of sarcasm was taken as flirting when Mister Tradie’s grin appeared.

‘I like that comment,’ he replied, eyes full of mischief.

What happened next, I hear you ask?

That moment became the inspiration for Mister Tradie, an Instalove vs. slow burn, steamy novella.

Mr. Tradie

Hollie Leigh has declared she’s off men. Every last one.
She has other plans for her future. Plans that don’t include a brazen, flirtatious tradie with a BIG mouth, no matter how good looking he is.

Self-proclaimed floor specialist, Scott Morgan, is hit by the smokin’ hot babe effect, the instant he lays eyes on Hollie.
But her death stare and acerbic wit, tell him he’s got his work cut out for him.
On a whim, he offers her an arrangement. Three weeks. With him.

As a PA for a law firm, Hollie knows to check the fine print and this deal will allow her to walk away once the three weeks are over.

Fun. Flirty. Sexy. Dirty. Mister Tradie has all that and more in his toolbox. But will it be enough to show Hollie their connection is deeper than just flirty banter and hot sex?

Mister Tradie is the first in a series of Sexy Tradie Novellas and is available now on Amazon and KU

About Deb Robinson

Deb’s just a humble little writer who loves what she does. She lives with her lovely husband in their little haven in Melbourne, Australia. She loves all things romance and believes it takes many forms. Her current catalogue consists of hot, contemporary romance under two series: 5 Shades of Brothers Browne and A Sexy Tradie Novella.

Follow Deb Robinson on her official Facebook page
Follow on Twitter @DRobinsonbooks
Follow on Instagram @debrobinsonbooks

Desiree Holt — 6/29/36 to 12/2/22
Sunday, December 4th, 2022

You all knew her, right? I mean, she was everywhere. A social media queen, a convention diva, a powerhouse writer with more projects going on than the Energizer Bunny. More energy than an octogenarian ought to have. I knew her way back when we were learning to be writers and were both members of a critique group in San Antonio—before we were both published by Ellora’s Cave (when it still existed) and we were on our way. In fact, I have this photo on my desk from an EC convention, not even sure what year, but there’s Desiree in the middle, me to the right, surrounded by lovely men, fellow authors, and having a high old time. And that’s the way I’d prefer to remember her—full of life and energy and hopes and dreams.

She wrote and played online, connected with her friends and readers, all the way up until the end. I’ll be forever proud of the work we did most recently with a series of connected stories inside my sister’s Brotherhood Protectors world. Desiree was our leader through several sub-series. She always had that strong, central vision of what the stories ought to be and how they should be “branded.” My sister called me yesterday while I was at my holiday craft sale to say she’d passed of the same awful cancer my mother had. I haven’t had time to process this yet, but I’ll miss her. RIP Judith/Desiree.

Saturday Puzzle-Contest — Someone’s checking his watch!
Saturday, December 3rd, 2022

UPDATE: The winner is…Eileen! Hope you’re out of the hospital and feeling better!

Today, I’m up at O-dark-thirty to get this blog completed because I have to get a shower and get to the holiday craft show! My daughter and I have prepared for months but were still working up until yesterday because we didn’t feel like we had enough “stuff”—um, we do, but we always feel we could’ve done more. I’m leaving my space a wreck, paints and papers still on my desk and art table. Everything strewn around. I DON’T CARE. I have to shower and get dressed in the most obnoxious Christmas clothing. I’ll dig up a Christmas pin for my jean jacket… Should I bring Christmas fairy lights…? STOP!

I’ll leave you with the puzzle. Solve it. Then tell me how prepared you are for the season for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Brenda Margriet: TURN THE NEXT PAGE – New Release! (Excerpt)
Friday, December 2nd, 2022

The third steamy seasoned romance in my Silverberry Seduction Series released yesterday. An Instagram reviewer recently commented that the whole series is themed around found families, and Turn the Next Page definitely does. Here’s the blurb:

Turn the Next Page

High school sweethearts, their marriage was shattered by tragedy. Thirty years later, a startling confession reignites long banked embers.

On the outside, politician Aubrey Windt is assured and assertive. On the inside, she’s a confused tangle of nerves and regrets. A lost election is the perfect opportunity to reset her life, and she’s going to take it, no matter what anyone says. This time, she means it.

Everything’s fine with Philip Church. Just fine. His second divorce was amicable, his twin sons are grown, and his landscape business runs itself. The fineness is driving him crazy. But reconnecting with his first love provokes an upheaval more potent than he’s ever imagined.

When Aubrey and Phillip learn a startling fact that will forever link their lives, they set out to find the brother Aubrey didn’t know she had. To do so, they must forge a new path, unexpectedly abetted by a stray cat and the eclectic members of a unique book club.


Aubrey (52) is a single child who learns that she has an older half-brother who was given up for adoption sixty years ago and sets out to find him. Phillip (53) lost his parents at a very young age and was raised by his aunt. Aubrey has a beloved stepdaughter, and Phillip has a mature, friendly relationship with his second ex-wife. Even the stray cat finds his forever family!

I am drawn to this theme as a writer in part because of my own found family. On my mother’s side, there are eleven grandchildren (including myself). Of those eleven, six are adopted, including my two brothers. Growing up, we knew this fact, but it was a non-issue. We were cousins and siblings, plain and simple.

I write romance because I need the happy-ever-after (and the hot sex. Don’t forget about that LOL!). I write found families because, in the end, isn’t that what every romance is? Whether it is by blood or love, we all crave connection, and exploring this theme satisfies my soul.

Here’s an excerpt from Turn the Next Page:

Phillip didn’t look at her. Tying the handles of the bag together seemed to require all his attention. Aubrey wondered if she’d gone too far. He couldn’t be angry that she wanted to be friends, could he? That was a pretty innocuous wish.

“Only if you want to, I mean.” The hamburger she’d eaten congealed in her stomach, the meal solidifying with nerves. “I’ll understand if, once this is over, you’d rather we didn’t see each other. Except with Marjorie and Clarence getting married, I don’t suppose we’ll be able to avoid it completely.”

He lifted his chin and gave her a level look. “What exactly have I done that suggests I want to stop seeing you any time soon?”

“Nothing!” Oh, god, now she’d offended him. “You’re much too polite.”

His eyes narrowed. “Polite? You think I’m only doing this to be polite?”

She spread her hands, bewildered. “It’s not an insult. Why are you upset?” Where had she gone wrong? She’d only been trying to give him an out, explain to him—and remind herself—that this new connection between them was temporary.

He jerked to his feet, dropped the trash bag, and kicked it under the desk with suppressed violence. “You sit there, looking like that, and tell me we should be friends?” His pointing finger slashed up and down as if dissecting her.

Her hand flew to the messy knot on the top of her head. “I know I’m a little untidy right now, but what does—”

He leaned over, one hand on the desk, one hand on the arm of the chair, his face lowered to hers. “You look like dessert.” His brown eyes flared with amber coals. “Sweet and luscious and delectable.”

Her mouth dried. Sweat sprang up on her palms. She swallowed, hard, and could think of absolutely nothing to say.

“I could never feel anything as bland as friendship for you.” His conversational tone was at odds with his looming stance. His arms caged her, his gaze trapped her, but she had no urge to break free. She sat rooted in her seat, curled like a seed in its shell, mesmerized by his voice. “Not thirty years ago, not now. That’s one thing that hasn’t changed, for me at least. We can’t erase the past. But that doesn’t mean we’re doomed to repeat it.”

“What do you mean?” She’d meant to sound firm, confident, but the words came out in a hesitant whisper.

He answered with questions of his own. “Is that really all you want, Aubrey? To be my friend?”

Her heart pounded high in her chest, choking her. Her breasts and belly buzzed with tingling heat. His scent dizzied her, warm and potent and male. She wrapped her arms around her bent legs, rocking slightly.

“I don’t know if I can be anything more.”

He leaned in closer as she spoke. Her eyes closed briefly, her senses overwhelmed. “Why not?” It was a challenge, a dare.

“No reason.” Her pulse scurried like a mouse on snow, fast and frantic. “And too many reasons.”

Surprisingly, he nodded as if agreeing to this befuddled sentence. “If, when we met a few weeks ago, that had been the first time…if there was nothing between us but the thoughts and actions and feelings of the present…would you still deny what’s happening right now?”

How many times had she wished she’d never fallen in love with him? How many times had she wished the heartbreak and grief they’d shared, the same heartbreak and grief that had torn them apart, had never happened? Only to feel searing guilt that those same wishes would have erased Samantha’s too short appearance in this world?

“That’s not a fair question. It’s impossible to answer.” Her eyes traced the lines bracketing the corners of his mouth, the grooves dug into his cheeks—proof of just how many years had slipped away. “You said it yourself, we can’t erase the past.”

“But we can use it to nourish the future.” He knelt, tucking in close to her chair, so close his chest brushed her crossed arms where they clasped her knees. “The roots of things often live on, dormant and waiting, even when the plant appears withered, is given up for dead. All that’s needed to bring it back to life is a little attention, a little care.”

She knew he was talking about their marriage, their relationship—but he could have been talking about her soul. For years she’d felt like a dried husk, blown in random directions by whatever wind was strongest. He was telling her it wasn’t too late to find fertile soil and start to grow again.

Could he be right?

Releasing from the closed, compact ball she’d formed, she laid her palm on his cheek. The scruff of his whiskers rasped her skin, ruffled along her nerves. She stroked the curve of his jaw, tracing his bottom lip with one fingertip. His eyes grew diamond-bright and she shuddered when his tongue flicked out to taste her touch. She laid her other hand on his chest, shyly pleased to discover the frantic thump of his heart.

Still, uncertainty frayed the edges of her desire. “What happens if—”

“No.” He tilted his head, resting his cheek in her palm. “No what ifs. Answer me this. Do you want me? Tonight, right now?” He asked the questions confidently, as if he had no doubt of her answer, but his eyes watched her warily. She took heart at this sign of vulnerability.

“Yes.” Her heart swooped into freefall. His hands lay on the cushion of her chair and she lowered her feet, feeling the stiffness of her joints and ruing the aches and pains of age. Spreading her knees just the tiniest bit allowed her to feel his fists like heated embers on either side of her thighs. “But—”

“No.” He was stern. “If you have any doubts at all, tell me now and I’ll go to my own room. If you want me to stay, you have to promise me one thing.”


“That you won’t regret it in the morning. That you won’t feel guilty or ashamed or any other emotion that might taint something so lovely as desire.”

He was right. Desire was lovely, and even more beautiful when felt for someone so honest and trustworthy and genuine. He didn’t deserve to be the subject of her insecurities.

She spoke slowly so he would know she meant every word. “I promise you. I will not regret tonight. No matter what happens.”

“And what’s going to happen, Aubrey?” He leaned closer, their breath mingling, the heat of their bodies entwining. “Am I going back to my room?”

“No,” she said, and kissed him.


If this sounds like something you’d like to read, Turn the Next Page is available at major retailers for a special release week price.

Or, if you’d like to start the series for free, Book One Secrets Under the Covers is available here!

About the Author

Brenda Margriet writes savvy, slow burn, contemporary romances with ordinarily amazing characters. In her own ordinarily amazing life, she had a successful career in radio and television production before deciding to pilfer from her retirement plan to support her writing compulsion.

Readers have called her stories “poignant,” “explicit and steamy,” “interesting, intriguing and entertaining,” and “unlike any romance you’ve read before” (she assumes the latter was meant in a good way).

Connect with Brenda here!
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January Bain: Sin City Wolf — Hellfire
Thursday, December 1st, 2022

Thanks for having me here today, Delilah!

First, I’d better introduce myself, eh. The ‘eh’ is due to being a Canadian writer, but I digress. I’m the author of over twenty published books in the last few years and just as many unpublished. Crafting a story is such an exciting process that I wanted to share with all of you some of my thoughts on the journey.

Why did I begin writing? I guess like so many others, I thought I might have something to say, but little did I know that the experience would require far more hours of learning the ins and outs of what is story than I could have imagined!

Today, I want to discuss creating a character, specifically, the characters in my latest book Hellfire, book 4 in the series, Sin City Wolf. The discovery of the personalities I will be spending months with is a fascinating part for me. I generally start with their emotional wound, which tells me why they are the way they are and allows me to understand their background and how they fit into the story.

Hellfire has two main characters like most romances: Dante and Amara. Dante’s a werewolf and Amara is human. I wanted to explore the idea of a werewolf rescuing a human female just after she’s bitten by a vampire, which makes them eternal enemies immediately. A forbidden love calls to my heart!

As always, I wanted a strong heroine that could give back as much as she was given. One who would fight the good fight. I found her in Amara, a young woman who is able to take on anything the world offers and come out the other side more understanding and wiser about life.

And Dante, a science guy with serious alpha appeal, was the perfect foil for Amara.

I now want to share the blurb about the pair and their unique story…

Sin City Wolf: Hellfire

Amara St. Clair is just out for a rare night of fun on the Vegas Strip. But when she discovers her fun-loving side in the Glitter Palace casino, a life-altering altercation with a deadly ancient vampire leaves Amara lying unconscious in an alley near the famous casino.

Doctor, geneticist and genealogy expert Dante Luceres, dedicated to research that will keep his fellow werewolves safe and healthy, is attending a mandatory yearly event of the House of Luceres. Coming across Amara, he saves her life, though vampires and werewolves are forbidden from interfering with each other in the supernatural world. There are dire consequences for interfering with another supe’s domain, and he expects that soon both the vampires and the werewolves will be after them, but he can’t leave the beautiful, vivacious little human to suffer alone.

Drawn to each other, the pair must hide from the world. But with everyone against them, including Dante’s clan and an evil vampire hellbent on having Amara for his own, how can they find a path to a shared future…and true happiness?

The following is an excerpt from this action-based story that is all about finding yourself and true love…

My feet moved before my mind could form the word. Run. I yanked up my dress and jumped aboard. I grabbed hold of his waist and he gunned the engine. The back tire left the ground as the bike spun out. Too much gas! Oh, my lord, we’re going to spill. Right into a pit of vipers.

Then Dante responded, shifting his weight, the tire grasped the pavement and we were flying through the fast-diminishing space between two of the menacing men in black. Would we make it? One elongated hand reached out to grab me. He missed by the smallest of margins, his cold fingernails grazing my upper thigh. The touch sent an icicle of fear stabbing through me. Worse, the piercing intensity of his red eyes that flashed as we raced by him with inches to spare would penetrate anyone’s armor. Now I knew how real fear paralyzed.

We hurtled down the Strip flat out, Dante driving like a Mad Max character, dodging vehicles, me holding on for dear life, unable to look away. The wind tore at my hair, whipping it all about. All I could think about was how my normally taciturn life had turned on its head. But deep down, I was loving it, this adventure like no other. I was on the high seas, surrounded by possibilities and excited beyond belief.

That I was shocked to discover this about myself didn’t begin to cover it. My body felt electrified, every cell supercharged. On the cusp of something I couldn’t give a name to. Or explain. Me, the one who normally hated change, had undergone a metamorphosis in the space of an hour.

If you wish to read this book, here is the link:

Hellfire (Sin City Wolf) – Kindle edition by Bain, January. Paranormal Romance Kindle eBooks @

Thanks again for having me visit today, Delilah! And wishing all your readers a lovely day!

Hugs, January Bain

Story Cubes: Tell me a story… (Contest)
Wednesday, November 30th, 2022

UPDATE: The winner is…Vicky!

IMG_8426I bought this little brainstorming tool years ago at some writers’ conference. “Story Cubes” is a brainstorming game. You roll the dice and whatever pictures appear face-up are the ones you use to riff off a story.

Now, I’d like you to tell me a story based on what you see on the cubes. Do any of these symbols tell you anything? You can pick some of the images or use all of them.

Have fun with this! Don’t overthink! Here’s the roll… 

To make this fun, I’ll offer a prize—a $5 Amazon gift card—good for purchasing one or two stories…