Monthly Archives: March 2016

Vickie McDonough and Heart of a Cowboy

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Bestselling author Vickie McDonough grew up wanting to marry a rancher, but instead married a computer geek who is scared of horses. She now lives out her dreams penning romance stories about ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and others living in the Old West. Vickie is an award-winning author of more than 40 published books and novellas. Her novels include the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, and End of the Trail, which was the OWFI 2013 Best Fiction Novel winner. Whispers on the Prairie was a Romantic Times Recommended Inspirational Book for July 2013. Song of the Prairie won the 2015 Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Her latest series, Land Rush Dreams, focuses on the Oklahoma land runs.

Vickie has been married forty years to Robert. They have four grown sons, one of whom is married, and a precocious nine-year-old granddaughter. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, antiquing, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit her website:

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Here’s the blurb for my novella, The Hand-Me-Down Husband, which is the 4th novella in Heart of a Cowboy.

After years of herding cattle for other ranchers, Lance Garrett has finally purchased his own ranch in Northeastern Texas. Life is perfect, until a freak summer storm changes everything. When a tornado hits, his home is severely damaged and his wife is killed. He still has a ranch to run, but now he has a motherless one-year-old to care for—and he’s lost the will to go on.

Ellen Stewart despises Lance Garrett. If not for him dashing into her little sister’s life, stealing her heart, and filling her head with his dreams, Isabelle would still be alive and safe in St. Louis. After receiving a letter from Lance requesting help with Tessa, Ellen rushes to Silver Springs, intent on taking her young niece back home with her. A rugged ranch is no place for a motherless baby. But when she realizes the depth of Lance’s despair and his love fore his daughter, she can’t leave him alone. Though everything within her wants to flee back to the big city, something makes her stay. Tessa needs her father, for one—and Lance needs her.

When some local church members make a stink about Ellen living at Lance’s ranch, he proposes. Ellen never wanted a hand-me-down husband, but could the marriage be God’s will for them both?



Margaret Daley and A Baby for the Rancher

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Margaret Daley, a USA Today’s Bestselling author of over ninety-five books (five million plus sold worldwide), has been married for over forty years and is a firm believer in romance and love. When she isn’t traveling, she’s writing love stories, often with a suspense thread and corralling her three cats that think they rule her household. To find out more about Margaret visit her website at

Awakening from a months-long coma, Ben Stillwater is met with a big surprise: the footloose bachelor cowboy is a father! Ben tries to adjust to life with baby Cody and decides what the child really needs is a mom. Sheriff Lucy Benson does not seem a likely candidate—she already has her hands full closing in on the thieves who have been targeting the ranches of Little Horn, Texas. But the closer Ben gets to Lucy—and the closer they get to solving the mystery—the more it seems the free-spirited rancher and the determined officer could be the perfect match.
A Baby for the Rancher-1Excerpt:

Sheriff Lucy Benson carefully replaced the receiver in its cradle, in spite of her urge to slam it down. Frustration churned her stomach into a huge knot. Where is Betsy McKay? None of her lawenforcement contacts in Texas had panned out. She’d been sure that Betsy was in Austin or San Antonio, the two largest cities closest to Little Horn in the Texas Hill Country.

Lucy rose from behind her desk at the sheriff’s office. She grabbed her cowboy hat from the peg on the wall, set it on her head and decided to go for a walk. She needed to work off some of this aggravation plaguing her ever since the series of robberies had started months ago in her county. She still hadn’t been able to bring in the Robin Hoods, as the robbers had been dubbed since many gifts given to the poor in the area had mysteriously started not long after the cattle rustling and stealing of equipment began.

Stepping outside to a beautiful March afternoon, she paused on the sidewalk and relished the clear blue sky, the air with only a hint of a chill. They needed rain, but for the moment she savored the bright sunshine as a sign of good things to come.

She was closer to figuring out who the Robin Hoods were. They were most likely teenagers who were familiar with the area and ranch life. Of course, that described all the teenagers surrounding Little Horn. But there also seemed to be a connection to Betsy McKay. The ranches like Byron McKay’s were the main targets. The owners of each place hit by the Robin Hoods hadn’t helped Mac McKay when he needed it. Could this be mere coincidence? Mac’s death, caused by his heavy drinking, had sent Betsy, his daughter, fleeing Little Horn her senior year in high school.

The Lone Star Cowboy League, a service organization formed to help its ranchers, could have stepped up and helped more, although Mac hadn’t been a member. But even more, Byron McKay, the richest rancher in the area and Mac’s cousin, should have helped Mac when he went to Byron for assistance.

Lucy headed toward Maggie’s Coffee Shop to grab a cup of coffee, and then she had to come up with another way to find Betsy. As she neared the drugstore, the door swung open and Ben Stillwater emerged with a sack. His Stetson sat low on his forehead, and he wore sunglasses, hiding his dark brown eyes that in the past had always held a teasing twinkle in them.

But that was before he had been in a coma for weeks and struggled to recover from his riding accident. The few times she’d seen him lately, his somber gaze had held none of his carefree, usual humor. He had a lot to deal with.

Ben stopped and looked at her, a smile slowly tilting his mouth up as he tipped the brim of his black hat toward her. “It’s nice to see you, Lucy. How’s it going?”

“I’m surprised to see you in town.”

“Why?” The dimples in his cheeks appeared as his grin deepened.

“You just got out of the hospital.”

“Days ago. I’m not letting my accident stop me any more than necessary. I’m resuming my duties at the ranch. Well, at least part of them. I know that my foreman and my brother have done a nice job in my—absence. But I’m home now, and you know me—I can’t sit around twiddling my thumbs all day.”

For a few seconds, Lucy glimpsed the man Ben had once been, the guy who played hard and wouldn’t stay long with any woman. He’d never been able to make a long-term commitment. How long would it take before he reverted to his old ways? Yes, he had been a good rancher and put in a lot of work at his large spread, but still, he had never been serious about much of anything except his ranch. And helping teens. “How’s the Future Ranchers Program at your place going with your absence?”

“Zed and Grady have kept it going. I’d been working a lot with Maddy Coles, Lynne James and Christie Markham before the accident, so they knew what to do.”

Maddy had been Betsy McKay’s best friend while she’d lived here. Did she know where Betsy was and wouldn’t say? “What are you doing in town?”

“Picking up my prescriptions. I had to get out of the house. I hate inactivity even if I have to work through some pain. I’m going stir-crazy, and I promised Grandma that I wouldn’t go back to work until I’m home a week.”

Again those dimples appeared in his cheeks. “What was I thinking? Only thirty-six hours, then I’m a free man.”

“How’s Cody doing?” She still couldn’t believe that Ben was a father, although the DNA test that had come back could only state Cody was a Stillwater, a son either of Grady or Ben, identical twins. The eight-month-old was staying at the Stillwater Ranch, and Ben seemed to accept the fact he was the boy’s dad since Grady had said the child couldn’t be his. She’d always thought of Ben as a playboy, happiest with no ties to hold him down, but a baby could certainly do that.

Ben removed his sunglasses, his dark brown eyes serious. “A little man on the go. I think he knows the house better than I do.”

She’d wanted to ask him about the letter, addressed to Ben, that she’d given Grady to give him. She’d found it in the wreck outside town where a young woman had died. Was she Cody’s mother? What did it say? The words were on the tip of her tongue to ask him when she spied Byron heading for her.

Ben glanced at the tall man with a large stomach and wavy strawberry blond hair coming toward them. “He looks like he’s on a mission.”

“Yeah, I’m sure he is.”

“Do you want me to stay?” Ben put his sunglasses on.

“No, he’s my problem. You don’t need the stress.” The less others heard Byron’s tirade the better she would feel. If she could escape, she would.


“I mean it. Listening to him is, sadly, part of my job. Take care.”

Ben tipped his hat and strode toward his truck, pausing a moment to speak with Byron, who frowned and continued his trek toward her.

“Sheriff.” Byron planted himself in Lucy’s path. “What kind of progress have you made on the thefts occurring?”

“I have a few leads I’m following.”

“Like what?” he demanded in a deep, loud voice.

Lucy glanced around, wishing this conversation could take place in her office, not on the main street of Little Horn. “I have a possible lead on where the cattle are being sold. Without brands, it’s harder to track the stolen cows.” The rustlers had stolen new cattle that hadn’t been branded yet.

“Yeah, we all know the thieves know what’s going on here. Maybe when you find them, we should elect one of them sheriff next year when you’re up for reelection.”

Heat singed her cheeks as a couple slowed their step on the sidewalk to listen to the conversation. “That would be a brilliant idea. Put the crooks in charge.”

“Sarcasm doesn’t become you. I help pay your salary, and I want to see this settled. Now.”

The drugstore door opened, and Lucy looked to see who else would witness Byron’s dressing-down. His twins, Gareth and Winston, came to a stop a few feet from their father. Winston’s eyebrows slashed down while Gareth’s expression hardened.

Holding up a sack, Winston moved forward. “Dad, we’ve got what we need for the school project. Ready to go?”

A tic twitched in Gareth’s cheek, his gaze drilling into his father.

The twins weren’t happy with Byron. Lucy couldn’t blame them. He’d been going around town, ready to launch into a spiel with anyone who would listen about what should be done to the rustlers and why she wasn’t doing her job. His ranch had been hit the hardest.

Her gaze swept from one twin to the other. Maybe the boys knew where Betsy was. She needed to talk to them without their father. Anytime the conversation turned to Mac or Betsy, Byron went off on one of his heated outbursts.

Byron nodded at his sons, then turned to her and said, “Think about when you run for sheriff next year. Do you want me as a supporter or an enemy?”

“Dad, we’ve got a lot of work to do tonight,” Gareth said in an angry tone, then marched toward Byron’s vehicle across the street.

Lucy watched Winston and Byron follow a few yards behind Gareth; the middle-aged man was still ranting about the situation to Winston, whose shoulders slumped more with each step he took. Did those twins have a chance with Byron as their father? They were popular, but stories of them bullying had circulated; unfortunately, nothing she could pursue. It wouldn’t surprise her because Byron was the biggest bully in the county.

With long strides Lucy headed again for Maggie’s Coffee Shop. She needed a double shot of caffeine because she would be spending hours tonight going over all the evidence to see if she’d missed anything.

Ben Stillwater sank into the chair on the back porch of his house at his ranch near Little Horn. He cupped his mug and brought it to his lips. The warm coffee chased away a chill in his body caused by the wind. To the east the sun had risen enough that its brightness erased the streaks of orange and pink from half an hour ago.

Ben released a long breath—his first day back to work after his riding accident that had led to a stroke caused by a head injury at the end of October. He had gone into a coma, then when he had woken up, he’d faced a long road with rehabilitation. The accident seemed an eternity ago. He’d just discovered a baby on his doorstep, and he’d been on his way to Carson Thorn’s house to figure out what to do when his world had changed. He couldn’t believe months had been taken from him. An emptiness settled in his gut. He wasn’t the same man.

So much has changed.

I have a son. Cody.

But who is Cody’s mother?

He was ashamed he didn’t know for sure. His life before the injury had been reckless, with him always looking for fun. Was the Lord giving him a second chance?

When he had come out of the coma, he didn’t remember what had prompted him to go see his neighbor that day of the accident, a trip he’d never completed because his horse had thrown him and he’d hit his head on a rock. But lately he’d begun to recall the details. Finding the baby on his front doorstep. Holding the crying child. Reading the note pinned to the blue blanket with Cody’s name on it. Your baby, your turn.

Grandma Mamie had told him in the hospital the DNA test had come back saying Cody was a Stillwater, which meant either he was the father or his twin brother, Grady, was, and Grady knew the baby wasn’t his. The news had stunned him.

That leaves me. I’m a father.

He’d known it when Grady and Grandma had brought Cody to the hospital to meet him. In his gut he’d felt a connection to the baby.

Grady had gone into town, but the second he was back they needed to talk finally. One last time he had to make sure his twin brother wasn’t Cody’s father before Ben became so emotionally attached to the baby he couldn’t let him go. And if Grady wasn’t Cody’s father, then that brought Ben back to the question: Who was Cody’s mother? He should know that.

He sipped his coffee and thought back to seventeen months ago. He’d been wild before his riding accident. He’d worked hard, and he’d played hard. Not anymore. He had a little baby to think of. Lying in that hospital, piecing his life back together, he’d come to the conclusion he couldn’t continue as he had before, especially because of Cody.

The back door creaked open, and Ben glanced toward it. Grady emerged onto the porch with a mug in his hand. Although they were identical twins, when Ben had stared at himself in the mirror before he’d shaved this morning, he’d seen a pasty-white complexion that had lost all its tan since he was in the hospital. His features were leaner, almost gaunt. A shadow of the man moving toward him with a serious expression, his dark brown eyes full of concern.

“I’m not sure I want to ask what’s wrong,” Ben said as Grady folded his long body into the chair across from him.

“Grandma said you were talking to her about Cody and his parentage. Are you having doubts you’re Cody’s father?”

“Are you?”

“No,” Grady said in a forceful tone. “I didn’t really think it was your child.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because you’re the serious twin. You’re the one who does the right thing. I’m the rogue of the family. Everyone knows that. I was wondering more about who is Cody’s mother. Sadly I don’t know for sure. There’s more than one woman it could be.” Ben shrugged, then set his mug on the wicker end table near him. “Grandma said you had a letter for me.”

Grady frowned. “She wasn’t supposed to say anything. I was.”

“I think y’all have waited long enough. I’ve been awake for weeks.”

“Trying to recuperate from a stroke and head trauma. I didn’t want to add to the problems you were facing with rehabilitation.”

“I’m not fragile. I won’t break, and I don’t need protecting.”

His twin started laughing. “You must be getting better. You’re getting feisty and difficult.” Grady reached into his back pocket and pulled out an envelope with Ben’s name on it. “This is for you.”

“Where did you get it?”

“The sheriff gave it to me for you.”

“Lucy Benson? Where did she find it?” Why didn’t she say anything to him the other day when they met in town? He intended to ask her that when he saw her.

“She found it on the front seat of a car involved in a wreck. The driver, Alana Peterson, died. There were also several bags with baby items in them on the floor.”

Cody’s mother was Alana? Ben had liked her and had had a lot of fun with her, but there had never been anything serious enough to lead to a marriage. He had a lot of mistakes to answer for. “When did this happen?”

“A week ago.”

“You’re just now getting around to it?”

“Yes.” Handing the letter to Ben, Grady pinned his dark eyes on him and didn’t look away.

Ben snatched it from his grasp but didn’t open the envelope. If this was from Cody’s mother, he would read it in private.

“Aren’t you going to open it?”

“Later,” Ben said while gritting his teeth.

“I know this is a lot to take in after all that has happened—is happening—but Chloe won’t always be able to watch Cody.”

“I figured when you two married she wouldn’t be Cody’s nanny for long. Y’all have your own life.”

“She can for now, but she’ll be having her own baby soon, and she wants to open a clinic. I want to see that dream come true for her,” Grady said in reference to his fiancée, who was pregnant with her ex-husband’s baby.

“She should have that clinic. She’s been a great physical therapist to work with. I can’t avoid doing my exercises each day here at home since she lives here. And I know you’ll be a good father to her child.”

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Land of my Dreams with Norma Gail

Final cover front 3-24-14Land of My Dreams book excerpt:

 Selected scene from Chapter 3:

Driving toward their hotel, they saw Kieran ambling down the street, carrying a duffle bag and bundled in sweats. Janet pulled over. “Co-ghàirdeachas, old friend. You outdid your young competitors again.”

“Aye, it’s more difficult every year, though.” The hair curling in damp ringlets around his face fit better with the tender side Janet portrayed in telling about his wife and infant son than with the brute strength he exhibited in competition. Bonny wondered how it would feel to run her fingers through those curls. Get ahold of yourself, girl. You don’t even know the man.

“Do you want a ride to your car?” Janet asked.

“Thanks, but I’m parked ‘round the corner.” He pointed a short distance ahead. “I’m driving to Beauly to visit my parents.”

Janet grasped the hand he held out. “Tell them hello. I thought Brennan Grant looked like he might carry on the grand tradition of champions from Fort William. He’s a tough competitor.”

Kieran shook his head. “Brennan’s a nice lad, but he’ll never replace me as the greatest champion ever to come out of Lochaber.”

“That seems a bit presumptuous. Janet said it’s only his first year in competition.” Bonny hadn’t intended to say it out loud. His high opinion of himself sounded just like Adam. Did a big ego always have to accompany the good looks and athleticism she found attractive?

Janet turned and glared at her with narrowed eyes. “I’ve been explaining the games to Bonny all day.”

“Dr. Bryant.” He bent to peer farther into the car. “I wasn’t aware you were an expert on our Highland Games.”

“I’m not, but it seems you would be glad to see a young competitor from your part of the country following in your footsteps.” Bonny felt the heat rising to her cheeks.

“Just because he’ll never best me doesn’t mean I don’t think he’s a decent competitor. I just don’t see the same fire in his belly I had at his age.”

“You have to admit he did himself proud with the caber today.” Janet spoke up to Bonny’s relief.

“Aye, he’s passable. He doesn’t have the stomach for hard work, though. He’s been working on the farm part-time. I should know.” Looking right at Bonny, Kieran grinned, apparently enjoying their little tete-à-tete.

“You seem to have a very high opinion of your own accomplishments, Dr. MacDonell.” Just like Adam. Well, she needn’t waste any more time dwelling on him, no matter how much she was attracted by his physical attributes. Never again would she allow what met the eyes to blind her to the man inside.

With a loud boom of thunder, the sky opened up again. Kieran smiled, his gaze meeting Bonny’s. “It was nice talking with you, Dr. Bryant, Janet.” He paused, nodding at each one as he spoke. “I’d better head to the car before I’m drookit. Guid eenin.”

Janet rolled up the window and turned to Bonny before she headed up the street. “What was that about?”

Bonny shook her head. “He may be your friend and a great competitor, but I prefer a man with a less-exalted opinion of his abilities.”

“He’s not like that at all, Bonny. He’s sweet and humble, and he’s right.” Janet steered through the crowded street in the direction of their hotel. “Brennan isn’t the competitor Kieran was, but he’s the best Fort William has at the moment.”

“Have you known Kieran long? You two talk as if you were good friends.”

“Oh, aye, since we were children. He’s a dear friend. I sometimes think he’ll spend the rest of his life alone. He still grieves and only someone special will succeed in breaching the fortress he’s built. All the women envied what he and Bronwyn had. A love like that is worth waiting for.”

“I envy people who find their soul-mates, as if they’re two halves of the same person. I don’t believe a love like that is out there for me.” Bonny turned her face to the window, trying to control the emotions warring in her mind. Kieran was an attractive man, but she would just as soon not spend time around him after what she just heard.

“You came down kind of hard on him. I think you two would discover a lot in common if you ever got to know each other.”

“He reminds me of someone I prefer not to think about anymore. That’s all.”

Turning into the car park at the Deeside Hotel, Janet said, “I hope you don’t mind sharing a room. There aren’t a lot of hotels in these small towns.”

“Oh, no problem.” As long as I don’t have to listen to her talk about Kieran all evening. I got that out of my system.

Janet set her suitcase under the window, turned down the spread, and curled up on the pillows at the head of her bed. She crossed her arms and cocked her head to one side. “You mentioned there had been someone special once. Would I be prying if I asked what happened?”

Bonny busied herself straightening her suitcase. “In one year, my life changed much more than it did when I moved to Scotland. I can heal and grow stronger here, away from the reminders. Right now, I need some sleep.” She pulled her nightgown over her head. “I’ll tell you about it another time.”

Climbing into bed, she pulled up the blankets, feigning sleep. Images of the handsome Highlander kept playing in her mind. Until today, she had pictured him as a gentle giant of strong character and commitment, able to love someone other than himself, a man worthy of her respect. It was disappointing to discover he was no different than Adam.

The next morning, Bonny discovered a missed call on her phone. A cold lump settled in her stomach when she recognized Adam’s number. She deleted the voicemail without listening. He had showed no qualms about destroying her world. It was over.

 Land of My Dreams Book Blurb:

Alone and betrayed, American professor, Bonny Bryant longs for a haven of peace. She accepts a position at a small Christian college in Fort William, Scotland, craving escape from her painful past. The passionate love which develops when she meets fellow professor and sheep farmer, Kieran MacDonell, is something she never anticipated.

Kieran harbors a deep anger toward God in the face of his own devastating grief. When Bonny returns to New Mexico for her best friend’s wedding, her former fiancé reenters her life. Four thousand miles away, Kieran’s loneliness draws him to an attractive former student.

How will Bonny decide between her two rivals? Can they set aside the past to make way for a future?

 Land of My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.

 Norma Gail - AuthorAbout the author:

Norma Gail is the author of the Christy Award nominated contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and the New Mexico Christian Novelists. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 40 years. They have two adult children.

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The Cowboy’s Bride Collection with Davalynn Spencer



Spencer.WranglersWoman 2016One of nine novellas in The Cowboy’s Bride, “The Wrangler’s Woman” tells the story of widowed rancher Josiah Hanacker who hires spinster Corra Jameson as a lady-trainer for his young daughter, Jess. He fears losing Jess to his wife’s sister if the girl doesn’t meet her aunt’s ladylike expectations. Turns out, Corra has everything Josiah needs for his daughter. He just never figured she’d have what he needed for himself.

Corra Jameson’s feet tingled. She paused mid-stroke in her sweeping and looked toward the open front door. A growing vibration worked its way into the soles of her shoes, and teardrop crystals on the hallway lamp trembled. She leaned the broom against the kitchen table and went to investigate.
Like a wasp buzzing down the hall, her niece flew by and out the screen door. Hard on the girl’s heels, Corra yanked her back from the narrow yard fronting Main Street—now a churning, bellowing river of cattle.

Horns clacked together and dust churned, coating Corra’s lips. Two young outriders, one on either side, flanked the mass. Corra pressed Alicia against her skirts, the girl’s excitement pulsing beneath her hands.

“I saw them coming from my window upstairs.” Quite an event for an eight-year-old. Not much happened in Ford Junction, other than the arrival of trains, stages, and wagons for church socials. Certainly not a cattle drive through the heart of town—if a small store, depot, and boarding house could be called a town.

But Corra’s pulse beat as rapidly as the girl’s. She’d never seen the like, though tales of wild cowboys and life in the West were half the reason she’d come to Colorado. The other half propped up the porch on which she stood—Baxter’s Boarding House. The only meal and bed at this juncture of the Denver and Rio Grande and the Texas Creek stage road.

She tightened her grip on Alicia’s shoulders and craned her neck for sight of the end. A dirty red dog and a third cowboy followed. From the back of his dark horse, he appeared to command the whole procession, eyes roving over the cattle, flitting from side to side until they locked with Corra’s. She could not look away.

Everything about him, from his dirt-colored clothes to his piercing gaze matched the pictures in her mind, painted there by dime novels and newspaper stories. He passed not ten feet from her and nodded, touching his hat brim. She watched until the last cow’s tail flicked around the bend in the road and only the dust remained, stirring around the flurry in her heart.

davalynn-spencer-media-4Multi-published author Davalynn Spencer writes inspirational Western romance complete with rugged cowboys, their challenges, and their loves. She is the 2015 recipient of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Western Inspirational Fiction, second place winner in the 2014 Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, and a 2014 finalist for the Holt Medallion and Selah Awards. As a former rodeo-market and newspaper reporter, she has won several journalistic awards and has over 100 articles, interviews, and devotionals published in national periodicals. She teaches Creative Writing at Pueblo Community College and pens a popular slice-of-life column for a mid-size daily newspaper. Davalynn makes her home on Colorado’s Front Range with a Queensland heeler named Blue and two mouse detectors, Annie and Oakley. Connect with her online at: