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Olympic-size dreams come at a price. Openly gay college swimmer Ian Harrington feels like he's fighting against a current of tragedy. He's grieving the loss of his parents and best friend, and now he's dealing with a toxic coach and judgmental brother. But he won't let that stop him from chasing his dream: Olympic gold. Ricky Chavez has just about everything he wants in lif Olympic-size dreams come at a price. Openly gay college swimmer Ian Harrington feels like he's fighting against a current of tragedy. He's grieving the loss of his parents and best friend, and now he's dealing with a toxic coach and judgmental brother. But he won't let that stop him from chasing his dream: Olympic gold. Ricky Chavez has just about everything he wants in life: a great career, a supportive family, and a side gig as drag queen Rosie Riveting. The only thing he's missing is a partner to share it all with. When the two men connect after Rosie’s performance, they're immediately drawn to one another. But it's never that simple. Ricky isn't the type of man to hide, and with Ian's coach breathing down his neck, he can't openly love a drag queen without making waves. They'll have to brave deep waters to make it to the finish line.


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Olympic-size dreams come at a price. Openly gay college swimmer Ian Harrington feels like he's fighting against a current of tragedy. He's grieving the loss of his parents and best friend, and now he's dealing with a toxic coach and judgmental brother. But he won't let that stop him from chasing his dream: Olympic gold. Ricky Chavez has just about everything he wants in lif Olympic-size dreams come at a price. Openly gay college swimmer Ian Harrington feels like he's fighting against a current of tragedy. He's grieving the loss of his parents and best friend, and now he's dealing with a toxic coach and judgmental brother. But he won't let that stop him from chasing his dream: Olympic gold. Ricky Chavez has just about everything he wants in life: a great career, a supportive family, and a side gig as drag queen Rosie Riveting. The only thing he's missing is a partner to share it all with. When the two men connect after Rosie’s performance, they're immediately drawn to one another. But it's never that simple. Ricky isn't the type of man to hide, and with Ian's coach breathing down his neck, he can't openly love a drag queen without making waves. They'll have to brave deep waters to make it to the finish line.

30 review for Advance & Retreat

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily Pennington

    Ian Harrington has not been having an easy time of it. Grieving the loss of his parents and best friend, he has a hateful coach who will make his life miserable any chance he gets, and a judgmental rather than supportive brother. But he puts his heart and energies into his swimming to one day go for the Olympic gold. Ricky Chavez has a pretty good life aside from his desire to find a partner to care about. Aside from everything else that he enjoys with his job and family, he has a side gig as dr Ian Harrington has not been having an easy time of it. Grieving the loss of his parents and best friend, he has a hateful coach who will make his life miserable any chance he gets, and a judgmental rather than supportive brother. But he puts his heart and energies into his swimming to one day go for the Olympic gold. Ricky Chavez has a pretty good life aside from his desire to find a partner to care about. Aside from everything else that he enjoys with his job and family, he has a side gig as drag queen Rosie Riveting and is unapologetic to anyone for his choices. Above all, he will not hide who he is. Having attended one of Rosie’s performances, Ian and Ricky realize their attraction to each other. But with Ricky’s dynamic personality and presence, there is no way for Ian to openly date a drag queen without incurring the wrath of his coach. It comes down to his Olympic dream or the man he loves. He evidently cannot have both. Which will he finally choose? This story is so well done that the reader will agonize over Ian’s predicament right along with him. The feelings are real, raw, and heart-breaking. And with no one to turn to for support, Ian has to make his decision on his own with no buffers for the pain. Either way, it’s going to hurt. Grab your copy and allow the author to create this world around you and let you feel what the characters are experiencing. It’s powerful and will pull the reader right in to share every moment. You won’t want to miss this one.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Amy Dufera

    Wow! Advance & Retreat is another stellar book by Brigham Vaughn. The fourth book in the Midwest Series, it's the perfect addition to this series of sports romances. Ian is a wonderfully developed character. He's an openly gay Olympic-quality swimmer, but he knows he can't let people find out he's attracted to drag. As in, he's attracted to drag queens. He comes with some serious baggage. His best friend died and his coach is misogynistic. His backstory is heartbreaking and had me falling for hi Wow! Advance & Retreat is another stellar book by Brigham Vaughn. The fourth book in the Midwest Series, it's the perfect addition to this series of sports romances. Ian is a wonderfully developed character. He's an openly gay Olympic-quality swimmer, but he knows he can't let people find out he's attracted to drag. As in, he's attracted to drag queens. He comes with some serious baggage. His best friend died and his coach is misogynistic. His backstory is heartbreaking and had me falling for him early on. And Ricky. I love Ricky. He's Rosie when he's in drag, and he has a one night stand with Ian. Ricky has confidence issues, as it isn't easy finding men who like both the Ricky and the Rosie sides of him. He's always rejected the morning after. His struggles are real and his story is emotional. Ian and Ricky are fabulous together. Their developing relationship is one of confusion and anger, as well as guilt, grief, and shame. Each man has a interesting story to tell, and together their story is spectacular. The author's writing style is wonderful, with some great characters, an easy flow, and a worthy storyline. The continued appearance by former characters is fabulous. I love seeing Lowell and the others again. Advance & Retreat is a definite must read for any sports romance fans. And for those you don't love sports, but love to read about drag queens, read this book. Brigham Vaughn excels in combining two completely opposite worlds and giving the reader a memorable romance.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Monika

    4.5 Stars This story was a bit long in places but overall I loved it! TAGS -- Sports/swimming -- drag queen -- age difference -- very sweet --light on the sports aspect -- some sadness -- some angst -- friends -- family -- interracial couple -- Loved the MCs... Ian & Ricky -- I need to know what is going on with Jason and Damon! 4.5 Stars This story was a bit long in places but overall I loved it! TAGS -- Sports/swimming -- drag queen -- age difference -- very sweet --light on the sports aspect -- some sadness -- some angst -- friends -- family -- interracial couple -- Loved the MCs... Ian & Ricky -- I need to know what is going on with Jason and Damon!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karolina Cebula

    Ian lost his parents and his best friend in a short period of time. It has been very hard for him and he couldn't count on his brother or his swimming coach. There's still no one who could help him deal with that tremendous loss. Sport is the only thing left for him, but even swimming is no longer the same, since there is no one to share his joy and sorrow with. Ian also has a secret he can't reveal to anyone as it's related to drag queens, especially one of them – Rosie. When due to a few coinc Ian lost his parents and his best friend in a short period of time. It has been very hard for him and he couldn't count on his brother or his swimming coach. There's still no one who could help him deal with that tremendous loss. Sport is the only thing left for him, but even swimming is no longer the same, since there is no one to share his joy and sorrow with. Ian also has a secret he can't reveal to anyone as it's related to drag queens, especially one of them – Rosie. When due to a few coincidences the boy finally gets to know Rosie, who on a daily basis is Ricky, a hotel manager, his life becomes beautiful again. But will Ian be able to find a place in his life for both Ricky and Rosie? I have no doubt that "Advance & Retreat" is a really unique novel as it conquered my heart in the blink of an eye. What's so special about it? Drag queens, my friends. What's important, they are not just side characters, acquaintances or friends of the main characters, because one of the leading characters in this novel is a drag queen. And that's one of the reasons why the story focuses not only on the topic of love, sports career, drama, but also on the life of a person who is a drag queen, on the pros and cons associated with it, daily ups and downs, the reaction of society. What's more, we also get an insight into the feelings and doubts of a person who's attracted to drag queens. Such topics are still rare in the M/M romance novels, or even generally in novels concerning LGBTQ + community. That's why I really love the fact that Brigham Vaughn took up this subject in her novel. To me it's even more important as for many reasons this topic is really close to my heart. "Advance & Retreat" is naturally a love story, so I must also mention love, or at least one of its aspects, which we see in this novel even at the very beginning. To some people love comes just like that, without any major problems, while others must fight for it. To some one look or gesture is enough and before they even know it, they are a happy couple for many years, while others experience many disappointments that do not necessarily bring the expected result. In "Advance & Retreat" Brigham Vaughn shows just those hard to find feelings that the characters must fight for, that bring joy, sadness, disappointment, that are a constant struggle and must overcomes countless obstacles. No less important is the fact that some people have it easy from the beginning to the end, while others sometimes must face some strangers with closed minds who want to destroy their love. Yes, in this novel we see this type of love, which is so difficult to get because it has to overcome hatred, prejudice and fear. I think that a very important issue raised in the novel is also pain that lasts for years after losing someone close and special. The author shows us how difficult it is to fight such a loss alone, when the soul needs time for mourning, but for various reasons it can't afford it. This pain experienced alone is juxtaposed with pain that is shared with another person. Do you know the saying that shared joy is a double joy and shared sorrow is half sorrow? This is exactly what we see in "Advance & Retreat". Although the author doesn't spare our characters the pain of disappointment, at the same time she also allows them to experience the happiness and peace of mind when they finally have someone who understands them to some extent. This need is particularly strong in Ian's case as after losing his best friend he has no one to talk to or share his pain with. What he went through moved me to tears and is the reason why I admire him very much. This boy is really strong. To sum up, "Advance & Retreat" is a really beautiful, deeply moving novel that makes the reader cry. Brigham Vaughn tells us a great story about healing the soul, need to come to terms with the loss of loved ones, starting a new life, unconditional acceptance, overcoming one's own fear of the opinion of other people. It's really an amazing book. _____________________ Ian w krótkim czasie stracił rodziców oraz najlepszego przyjaciela. Jest mu bardzo ciężko, ale nie może liczyć ani na brata, ani na swojego trenera pływania. Nie ma nikogo, kto pomógłby mu uporać się ze stratą. Pozostaje mu tylko sport, ale nawet pływanie nie jest już takie samo, od kiedy nie ma z kim dzielić radości i smutków. Ian ma także pewien sekret, którego nie może nikomu zdradzić, a który wiąże się z drag queens, a szczególnie z jedną z nich – Rosie. Kiedy za sprawą kilku zbiegów okoliczności chłopak w końcu poznaje Rosie, na co dzień będącą Rickym, managerem hotelu, życie znowu nabiera barw. Tylko czy Ian będzie w stanie znaleźć w swoim życiu miejsce zarówno dla Ricky’ego, jak i dla Rosie? „Advance & Retreat” jest powieścią bez wątpienia wyjątkową, która podbiła moje serce w mgnieniu oka. Co w niej takiego wyjątkowego? Drag queens, Moi Kochani. Co istotne, nie są one wyłącznie postaciami pobocznymi, znajomymi lub przyjaciółmi głównych bohaterów, jako że jedna z wiodących postaci tej powieści jest drag queen. Dzięki temu, historia skupia się nie tylko na wątku miłosnym, sportowej karierze, dramacie, ale także na życiu osoby będącej drag queen, na związanych z tym plusach i minusach, codziennych wzlotach i upadkach, reakcji społeczeństwa. Co więcej, mamy też wgląd w uczucia i wątpliwości osoby, która gustuje w drag queen pod kątem seksualnym. Taka tematyka jest nadal rzadkością na rynku powieści spod znaku romansu M/M, czy nawet ogólnie odnoszących się do społeczności LGBTQ+. Dlatego właśnie bardzo podoba mi się to, że Brigham Vaughn podjęła ten temat w swojej powieści. Tym bardziej, że jest mi on z wielu powodów bliski. „Advance & Retreat” jest naturalnie romansem, toteż muszę wspomnieć także o miłości, a przynajmniej jednym z jej aspektów, który poruszono w tej powieści, a który pojawia się już na samym jej początku. Otóż miłość do jednych przychodzi bez większych problemów, zaś inni muszą o nią walczyć. Jednym wystarczy jedno spojrzenie, gest i ani się obejrzą a są szczęśliwą parą od wielu lat, inni zmuszeni są przeżyć wiele rozczarowań, które niekoniecznie przynoszą spodziewany skutek. W „Advance & Retreat” Brigham Vaughn ukazuje właśnie takie z trudem znalezione uczucie, o które trzeba walczyć, które przynosi radość, smutek, rozczarowanie, które potyka się na każdym kroku, pokonuje niezliczone przeszkody. Nie mniej istotne jest także to, że podczas gdy niektórzy mają łatwo od początku do końca, innym kłody pod nogi rzucają czasami zupełnie obcy ludzie o zamkniętych umysłach. W tej powieści widzimy taką właśnie miłość. Trudną do zdobycia, ponieważ zmuszoną do pokonania nienawiści, uprzedzeń, strachu. Uważam, że bardzo istotną kwestią poruszoną w powieści jest trwający latami ból po stracie bliskiej osoby. Autorka pokazuje nam jak trudna jest samotna walka ze stratą, kiedy dusza potrzebuje czasu na żałobę, na którą z różnych powodów nie może sobie pozwolić. Ten przeżywany samemu ból zostaje zestawiony z bólem, który dzieli się z inną osobą. Znacie powiedzenie, że radość dzielona z kimś to dwa razy więcej radości, zaś smutek dzielony w inną osobą to tylko połowa smutku? Właśnie to widzimy w „Advance & Retreat”. Wprawdzie autorka nie oszczędza naszym bohaterom bólu rozczarowań, jednak jednocześnie pozwala im także zaznać szczęścia i spokoju duszy płynącego z faktu, że mają obok siebie kogoś, kto potrafi ich w pewnym stopniu zrozumieć. Ta potrzeba jest szczególnie silna w przypadku Iana, który po stracie najlepszego przyjaciela nie ma tak naprawdę nikogo z kim mógłby porozmawiać, z kim mógłby podzielić się swoim bólem. To co przeszedł wzruszyło mnie do łez i jest powodem, dla którego bardzo go podziwiam. Ten chłopak jest naprawdę silny. Podsumowując, „Advance & Retreat” to naprawdę piękna, poruszająca do głębi powieść, która wyciska z naszych oczu łzy. Brigham Vaughn opowiada nam historię o potrzebie pogodzenia się ze stratą bliskich, rozpoczęcia życia na nowo, bezwarunkowej akceptacji, pokonaniu własnego strachu przed opinią innych ludzi. To naprawdę wspaniała książka.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Brigham Vaughn delivers a compelling end of one of the best M/M sports romance series I’ve read. Everything about this book calls to me. The author delves deeply into emotions and it is the kind of read that is impossible to put down. The characters are amazing. I’ve never read a book anything like this with Ricky and Rosie. I love how the author made it clear both were vital. Then Ian stole my heart from the very first moment. I’m a huge swimming fan and Brigham Vaughn did an excellent job ther Brigham Vaughn delivers a compelling end of one of the best M/M sports romance series I’ve read. Everything about this book calls to me. The author delves deeply into emotions and it is the kind of read that is impossible to put down. The characters are amazing. I’ve never read a book anything like this with Ricky and Rosie. I love how the author made it clear both were vital. Then Ian stole my heart from the very first moment. I’m a huge swimming fan and Brigham Vaughn did an excellent job there. The relationship between the two characters tore at my heart and even demanded Kleenex at times. Not only that but the author truly added depth to each of them individually. Their stories touched my heart. The world-building was flawless and vivid. The storyline is captivating. It wasn’t predictable and I love the author’s ability to weave such a tale. This is the type of love story I want to read, where the characters are so realistic and nothing is taken for granted. While it can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend the entire series. I enjoyed every cameo in this and I’m already waiting for whatever the author publishes next! 5 stars for a beautifully crafted read

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mikki James - Peters

    Ricky is searching for someone to love. He is in his early thirties and currently manages a hotel in Chicago. He loves his job, but he loves the time he has outside of management to become someone else entirely - Rosie, his drag queen persona. Ricky has had multiple relationships but they've always ended because no one wanted to commit to a gay man who also liked dressing up as a woman. Ricky is just about at the end of his rope. Enter Ian - Ian has become fascinated by drag queens ever since hi Ricky is searching for someone to love. He is in his early thirties and currently manages a hotel in Chicago. He loves his job, but he loves the time he has outside of management to become someone else entirely - Rosie, his drag queen persona. Ricky has had multiple relationships but they've always ended because no one wanted to commit to a gay man who also liked dressing up as a woman. Ricky is just about at the end of his rope. Enter Ian - Ian has become fascinated by drag queens ever since his swim teammates took the team to a club as a joke. Ian saw Rosie and was instantly hooked, yet in the past months he has been afarid to go back, not wanting anyone to recognize him there. He's technically out, but his swim coach and teammates still are very cruel and inappropriate when it comes to human deciency and love is love. But on his night out, Ian meets Ricky and a relationship stems from there. Ricky is looking for someone to commit and be open about their relationship; Ian is only 21 and he might not quite be ready for the longtime Ricky is looking for. Do these men have what it takes to make a relationship last? This is the fourth book in the Midwest series. It may be read as a standalone but a lot of characters from the first four books make appearances, especially Lowell and Micah. I found this book quite interesting because I don't really find myself reading a lot of novels depicting romance and drag queens. I don't know if this is the lack of finding these types of books or my own lack of looking; but I found myself intrigued by how the relationship between these two men progressed. It seemed relatable to see Ian struggling to correlate Rosie and Ricky as the same person in the beginning - and I liked how we slowly got brought into Ian learning more about drag and the individuality of Ricky and Rosie. For someone in the dark about these topics it allows you to really see a different viewpoint and I really appreciated that. I would say that I really didn't find this novel compelling as for the romance between Ian and Ricky, it was a very good read to immerse yourself in drag culture. - - - - SPOILERS As far as my opinions go, this book was very slow at some points and I really struggled to keep reading. However I was so compelled with Ricky's story I had to finish it. For that matter, I think Ricky deserved someone a lot better then Ian. Throughout the novel Ian is mentioned as being more mature and put-together because he has been competitive swimming since he was 12. I would deny this claim. Ian was misguided, mean, and he made wrong judgment calls often regarding his relationship with Ricky. I would saw his ego was very large - he had a hard time reconciling his past when he was growing up and the respect he had for his coach, to the man he knew know that was a bigot and homophobe. Ian let his coach walk all over him, he really let the coach walk all over his friend Andy too. I think what broke my heart the most though is that Ian was on his second chance with Ricky and he forgets Andy's goggles. Ricky brings them to the swim meet and obviously things go crazy from there. This part is where my heart shattered because Ricky's heart shattered. He is just such a good, honest and true character. I think Ricky did the right thing dumping Ian because Ian never put Ricky first, and there's only so much you can forgive a person for. When Ian denied Ricky at the meat I was done with him. The fact that Ricky took him back at the end made me angry because Ricky is someone that deserves the world! In addition, I am very much looking forward to the spin-off series from this book. I doubt this will happen but a girl can hope - there was a joke in this book about Irving asking Ian if he had a brother and liking large black men. Ian said no, his brother is straight and likes tiny white women. I think it would be just magical if somehow Chase and Irving could cross paths and get together. I'm also very curious about Chase's mysterious secret he was about to tell Ian in this book - something that his ex revealed that caused issues at his work. What on earth could this be? I am very much looking forward to Chase's story! I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Penumbra

    Advance and Retreat is the fourth book in the ‘Midwest Series’. It stars Ricky Chavez, the manager of The Park hotel in the previous books, and Ian Harrington, an openly gay, Olympic hopeful swimmer. This is told in third person through Ricky and Ian’s povs. 3.5 Stars (view spoiler)[ This book can be read as a stand-alone, but I think it would be better to read it along with the other books because many of the other main characters in the previous stories show up quite a lot in this one. The blurb d Advance and Retreat is the fourth book in the ‘Midwest Series’. It stars Ricky Chavez, the manager of The Park hotel in the previous books, and Ian Harrington, an openly gay, Olympic hopeful swimmer. This is told in third person through Ricky and Ian’s povs. 3.5 Stars (view spoiler)[ This book can be read as a stand-alone, but I think it would be better to read it along with the other books because many of the other main characters in the previous stories show up quite a lot in this one. The blurb does a good job of describing what happens in the book but I’ll include a little more info as needed. I read the first two books in this series, but I wasn’t able to read the third one. However, I still had a pretty good idea of the style of writing the author used for these stories. This book didn’t hold my attention quite as well as the other two. There was too much monologue at the beginning with pages of Ian and Ricky describing their thoughts, their past experiences, how lonely/sad/unhappy they were and why they thought they were. It dragged the story down and my mind would drift. Other things felt over the top and staged, like all the tragedies that surrounded Ian. It didn’t feel realistic. I liked the idea of Ricky getting his own story since he was an interesting character in the other books. We got to see why he loved being a drag queen and how men reacted to him. Ricky is in his early thirties and has been looking for love for a long time. Unfortunately, men love him for being Riveting Rosie, but not for being Ricky. He’s had his heart broken too many times, but then he meets Ian at one of Rosie’s shows. Ian hurts Ricky’s feelings and he has to grovel to make it up to him. Ian tells Ricky that he’s more mature than most of the guys his age, Ian is twenty-one, but I think what he means is he’s more mature in being disciplined in working out and being responsible for staying in shape and eating well. He’s mature for handling ‘things’, but not for handling people and emotional issues. Part of that is because of the tragedies surrounding him and because his brother Chase lives far away. No one is around to support him and Ian is in an emotional holding pattern at the time when each of those tragedies occurred. Current situations with his swimming also keep him stuck. It’s Ian’s relationship with Ricky that finally unsticks him. But first, Ian has to do some growing up and some major groveling. I have to say that the author did a good job of making Ian grovel. I wasn’t convinced reading the first book about Nathan’s groveling. But Ian did well, although the author took the same theme of making a public apology and announcement as the groveling mechanism. The author did a good job conveying the attraction Ian had for Ricky as both Ricky and as Rosie. I enjoyed seeing the characters from previous books show up in this one and this story ended on a HEA. The author mentioned that this was the last book in the series, but I can see there’s a possibility for more. There’s Sam the roommate who moved back in who doesn’t have anyone yet, and there’s Chase, Ian’s brother who grew up and learned a few things. He attended one of Rosie’s shows at the end and liked it. I can see a story of him coming to terms with an attraction to drag queens also. So I see two possible stories, but of course they aren’t based on sports players. I suppose the author could make a series on drag queens. Overall, I enjoyed Advance and Retreat but not as much as the first two books in the series. I’d prefer to give this 3.5 stars, which I can’t on Goodreads or Amazon. On GR and Amazon, I’ll give it a hesitant, 4 Stars. On Booksprout, I’ll give it 3.5 Stars. (hide spoiler)] I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anne Harris

    outstanding read Openly gay college swimmer Ian Harrington has a kink. He likes drag Queens, he found out when he went to a club on a whim with his swimming team for one of there birthdays. They were there to laugh at them but he was blown away with one act and he couldnt get her out of his mind. He knew he would go it was risky. If he seen there it might put his Olympic dreams on the back burner because who would take him seriously if they found out. He also didnt want to risk his coach or broth outstanding read Openly gay college swimmer Ian Harrington has a kink. He likes drag Queens, he found out when he went to a club on a whim with his swimming team for one of there birthdays. They were there to laugh at them but he was blown away with one act and he couldnt get her out of his mind. He knew he would go it was risky. If he seen there it might put his Olympic dreams on the back burner because who would take him seriously if they found out. He also didnt want to risk his coach or brother to find out. But the second time he goes he gets spotted by an old school well he wouldn't call Lowell a pal but he knew of him. Lowell is out and proud and not quiet and Ian went into melt down, Thankfully Micah was there to help. Micah could see that Ian was panicking and managed to get him back stage into the dressing room of the very act he was secretly in lust with. Ricky Chavezut is a happy go lucky guy who is very lucky in every aspect of his life all except his love life. He was a manager in a hotel and he was most happiest when he was helping people. He was also a Drag Queen, and she is very sexy Rosie who was very populator in the night club scene. He/She had the best group of friends who came an supported him when he was on stage. But that night was different. Lowell asked him if her could hide a guy he went to school with in Rosie's room until the crowds die down. She is happy to help. But once they get talking about what Ian was scared from and why he was at the club she found it very easy to talk to him and before she knows it Rosie is taking him home. They click straight away and Ian asks Rosie if he can spend the night with her. But straight after Ian falls asleep so Rosie goes and takes off all her make up before she goes to bed. So Ian went to bed with Rosie and he woke up nest to Ricky. And it messed with his head and he didnt act in the best way to get out of Ricky's flat. Ricky is left very hurt by Ian's reaction but it was 4.30 am and they didnt get much sleep but it just reminded Ricky why he didnt sleep with people in his Rosie character. Ian leaves feeling confused but when he gets a call from Lowell telling him he hurt Ricky he is very upset that was never his intention he was just confused. He makes it up to Ricky and they start spending time together. But will Ian ever be ok with People knowing he is dating a drag queen??? THIS IS A BRILLIANT READ!!!!! HONESTLY I COMPLETELY FELL FOR THESE MEN. THE CONNECTION THEY HAVE IS JUST BRILLIANT. THE CHEMISTRY IS OFF THE CHARTS BUT THEIR RELATIONSHIP IS SO MUCH DEEPER THAN THAT. THEY TRUELY ADORE EACH OTHER BUT ITS JUST WHEN OTHER THINGS GET IN THEIR WAY THAT THE PROBLEMS ARISE. THERE IS ALOT MORE GOING ON IN HIS BOOK THAN I SAID ABOVE BUT I DIDNT WANT TO GIVE TOO MUCH AWAY. MAKE SURE TO READ ALL THE BOOKS IN THIS AMAZING SERIES BECAUSE ITS JUST A WONDERFUL READ!!!! IM GUTTED THIS IS THE LAST BOOK IN THE SERIES BUT IM SUPER SUPER EXCITED FOR THE NEW ONE COMING. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Ian finds maturity and what it really means to love. Sometimes dreams change, sometimes they grow. Finding someone to love you, all of you, is tough enough when you don't have another persona, another facet of yourself that's just as valid as the one that performs your day job. Ricky and Rosie are sides of one person and Ricky is about to give up on finding his person. Ian isn't sure if what turns him on is something he can publicly acknowledge because a history of love and loss has left him p Ian finds maturity and what it really means to love. Sometimes dreams change, sometimes they grow. Finding someone to love you, all of you, is tough enough when you don't have another persona, another facet of yourself that's just as valid as the one that performs your day job. Ricky and Rosie are sides of one person and Ricky is about to give up on finding his person. Ian isn't sure if what turns him on is something he can publicly acknowledge because a history of love and loss has left him painted into a corner, one where the invisible chains are strangling him but he can't see how to break them. Both men need something more, someone to celebrate every part of what makes them unique and special. I think this was my favorite story in the series. While Touch & Go gave me the redemption story that makes me believe, Advance & Retreat gives me the story of acceptance that gives me peace. Ian is mature in some ways, but tragically young in others. He's not had an easy life with so many losses and emotional obligations that bind him to people who don't always see the man he should become. His loyalty is based on a child's need for family and stability and that loyalty almost costs him the one person that supports his soul. He definitely makes a quite a few big mistakes and while I'm not a fan of the begging, I am a huge fan of his willingness and determination to fix his mistakes even if it doesn't get him what he hopes for. Ricky is really great when he explains his feelings, his perspective, and his own part in the huge blow up of their relationship. I thought he was a subtle, soothing presence throughout the whole story even when he was hurting because of Ian's naivety and hurtful reactions. He was interesting on his own, as was Ian, but it was them together that really sold the story for me. The cameos from Micah were my favorite of the past characters involved in Advance & Retreat because they came from someone who knew exactly what it was like to truly hurt the person they loved the most. His story added depth to his advice to Ian and while it's not necessary to have read Touch & Go, I was glad that I did. The entire cast of The Midwest Series showed up here and there and added a well-rounded feel to the support and breadth of experience in their little family. A few other side characters drew enough interest to make me hope for a spin-off series because after finishing this story I'm still not ready to let them all go. I've become attached.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marion

    I just want to start out saying that I absolutely loved this book! I have read a couple of others in this series (this is book 4) but this one is my favourite by far. The story starts out with Ian. An openly gay Olympic hopeful who is having trouble dealing with his toxic coach's abuse and negativity. As well as the recent death of his best friend in a tragic swimming accident. Ian has already endured a crushing amount of hardship with the death of both is parents when he was a teenager. It is ju I just want to start out saying that I absolutely loved this book! I have read a couple of others in this series (this is book 4) but this one is my favourite by far. The story starts out with Ian. An openly gay Olympic hopeful who is having trouble dealing with his toxic coach's abuse and negativity. As well as the recent death of his best friend in a tragic swimming accident. Ian has already endured a crushing amount of hardship with the death of both is parents when he was a teenager. It is just him and his older brother against the world. And right now his brother is adding more pressure and acting so judgmental that Ian feels completely alone. The other lead character is the well loved and put together Ricky. He is a manager for a hotel and loves his job and the people he works with. Once a week he is able to slip into his other half. He performs as drag entertainer Rosie Riveting. He is comfortable in his own skin and has solid family support. The one thing missing from his life is that special someone who will love both sides of him equally. Ricky and Rosie. Lots of people have loved one and tolerated the other. Ricky wants someone with total commitment to all of him. This story has lots of characters intermixed from previous books but you don't have to have read them to follow and enjoy the story. Ricky and Ian meet. Ian is openly gay and it is not a restriction in the swimming world. Ian loves both Rosie and Ricky but having a drag queen partner at his side while he tries to complete for Olympic gold is just a bridge too far for Ian. So in public he asks Ricky to not mention his other persona. Of course, we all know how toxic that will be. This story follows Ian and Ricky's relationship. Ian has to grow up some and do some soul searching before he is ready to really be in a relationship with Ricky. Ricky has to remember how young and inexperienced Ian is. Together they bring out the best in each other. If you are looking for a fun love story, you will not be disappointed. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emily Pennington

    Ian Harrington has not been having an easy time of it. Grieving the loss of his parents and best friend, he has a hateful coach who will make his life miserable any chance he gets, and a judgmental rather than supportive brother. But he puts his heart and energies into his swimming to one day go for the Olympic gold. Ricky Chavez has a pretty good life aside from his desire to find a partner to care about. Aside from everything else that he enjoys with his job and family, he has a side gig as dr Ian Harrington has not been having an easy time of it. Grieving the loss of his parents and best friend, he has a hateful coach who will make his life miserable any chance he gets, and a judgmental rather than supportive brother. But he puts his heart and energies into his swimming to one day go for the Olympic gold. Ricky Chavez has a pretty good life aside from his desire to find a partner to care about. Aside from everything else that he enjoys with his job and family, he has a side gig as drag queen Rosie Riveting and is unapologetic to anyone for his choices. Above all, he will not hide who he is. Having attended one of Rosie’s performances, Ian and Ricky realize their attraction to each other. But with Ricky’s dynamic personality and presence, there is no way for Ian to openly date a drag queen without incurring the wrath of his coach. It comes down to his Olympic dream or the man he loves. He evidently cannot have both. Which will he finally choose? This story is so well done that the reader will agonize over Ian’s predicament right along with him. The feelings are real, raw, and heart-breaking. And with no one to turn to for support, Ian has to make his decision on his own with no buffers for the pain. Either way, it’s going to hurt. Grab your copy and allow the author to create this world around you and let you feel what the characters are experiencing. It’s powerful and will pull the reader right in to share every moment. You won’t want to miss this one.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rhiannon D'Averc

    I was SO READY for this one because I knew it was going to heavily feature our resident series drag queen, Ricky/Rosie - and honey, I am here for more romance books with drag queens! I loved the portrayal of Ricky so much. The way he struggles with both sides of his identity being accepted, contrasted against the security he has in all other areas of his personal life. I almost could switch off from Ian's storyline because I just wanted to know more about Ricky, his friends, and everything in the I was SO READY for this one because I knew it was going to heavily feature our resident series drag queen, Ricky/Rosie - and honey, I am here for more romance books with drag queens! I loved the portrayal of Ricky so much. The way he struggles with both sides of his identity being accepted, contrasted against the security he has in all other areas of his personal life. I almost could switch off from Ian's storyline because I just wanted to know more about Ricky, his friends, and everything in their lives. Not to say I didn't like Ian - his backstory with his parents and best friend was also really interesting and touching. Needless to say, I loved it!  Loved: How Ricky's chapters were in 'he', and Rosie's were in 'she'. Effortless, stunning, and showing us all the way for correct gender representation. Liked: The intrigue all around the other characters. Disliked: Not getting the answers! I mean, I know this is a set-up for the next book, but the next book isn't out yet and I am way too impatient to find out! Burning Question: There are a few, but I'm going to have to go with one - do we get to find out the mystery with the club in the next book?!? I really, really hope so. I'm dying to know what the deal is with Jason and Damon... I received a free ARC copy of this book but my review is my genuine opinion.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Maura

    I ADVANCE AND RETREAT is book 4 in the "Midwest Series" and this is my favorite couple. Ricky has been a thread in the previous books and I have liked him from the beginning. Rosie and Ricky and I would totally be friends IRL. What I loved about this book in particular is that it had a realness about it. I think because of a few of the secondary characters are a little older there was a different depth to this story (Irving, I'm talking about you!!! I want to read his story too) W I <3 Ian and Ricky ADVANCE AND RETREAT is book 4 in the "Midwest Series" and this is my favorite couple. Ricky has been a thread in the previous books and I have liked him from the beginning. Rosie and Ricky and I would totally be friends IRL. What I loved about this book in particular is that it had a realness about it. I think because of a few of the secondary characters are a little older there was a different depth to this story (Irving, I'm talking about you!!! I want to read his story too) While this is book 4 in a series, it can ABSOLUTELY be read as a stand-alone. You will not feel left out or feel like you are missing anything. tags: mm, lgbtq+, booksprout, sports romance, 5 stars I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    I loved this book by Brigham. It made me swoon and sigh and hurt all throughout the book. The characters are amazing and they are so perfectly imperfect as they try to balance who they are with who they love. Ian is an Olympic hopeful who’s had quite a few knocks and he’s just trying to find his feet when he meets Ricky/Rosie Riveting, a drag queen. Brigham brings out the best in these characters and makes you root for them even as you shake your head at a certain person’s stupidity. There is so I loved this book by Brigham. It made me swoon and sigh and hurt all throughout the book. The characters are amazing and they are so perfectly imperfect as they try to balance who they are with who they love. Ian is an Olympic hopeful who’s had quite a few knocks and he’s just trying to find his feet when he meets Ricky/Rosie Riveting, a drag queen. Brigham brings out the best in these characters and makes you root for them even as you shake your head at a certain person’s stupidity. There is so much depth and personality to all the characters. Ian’s not just a closeted jock. He’s a hurting swimmer who’s just keeping his head above water and Ricky wants someone to love both him and Rosie. The book was riveting and I couldn’t put it down. Highly recommend. HIGHLY!! I received a copy of this book for an honest review

  15. 4 out of 5

    C.B.

    Believe in yourself, and there are no limits to what you can do. Ian is a gay swimmmer. He is hoping to compete in the Olympics. He feels alone in the world after having lost his parents and his best friiend, Andy. His coach, Schulz and his brother, Chase are not strongly emotionally supportive. They are homophobic and won't give Ian peace. Ricky, has a fulfilling side gig as a drag queen with the full support of his family and friends. He is happy and fulfiled. He is searching for his one. They Believe in yourself, and there are no limits to what you can do. Ian is a gay swimmmer. He is hoping to compete in the Olympics. He feels alone in the world after having lost his parents and his best friiend, Andy. His coach, Schulz and his brother, Chase are not strongly emotionally supportive. They are homophobic and won't give Ian peace. Ricky, has a fulfilling side gig as a drag queen with the full support of his family and friends. He is happy and fulfiled. He is searching for his one. They recognize each other when they meet. But they come with excess baggage.Can Ian embrace Ricky/Rosie? Will they set the baggage down, so they can engage in a supportive healthy relationship? Can Ian leverage Coach Schulz pressure? Good story. Good friends Nicely done. I received an ARC from Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Heather Rawlins

    I have loved the Midwest Series. Definitely part of US I’d like to visit and I enjoyed reading about some of it in these stories. I really loved Advance & Retreat, it was a nice long story and there was definitely no smooth sailing for Ian and Ricky. I thought it was great to experience Rosie’s side too. I love revisiting everyone from the series and they were very much a part of this story. I thought Ian’s journey was good and I like that Ricky always stood his ground. My cousin’s children were I have loved the Midwest Series. Definitely part of US I’d like to visit and I enjoyed reading about some of it in these stories. I really loved Advance & Retreat, it was a nice long story and there was definitely no smooth sailing for Ian and Ricky. I thought it was great to experience Rosie’s side too. I love revisiting everyone from the series and they were very much a part of this story. I thought Ian’s journey was good and I like that Ricky always stood his ground. My cousin’s children were competitive swimmers and it was neat to read about it. The story was sweet, super hot and sexy and kept me reading, staying up late last night to finish it. I definitely recommend this book and the whole Midwest series.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie W

    Ian -Reaching your goals are never easy, especially for the dreams of a future Olympian. Ian's character was a true reflection of that. Ricky - has a wonderful career, family, and part time drag queen act to boot. Finding love seemed to be his Achilles heel. Ian and Ricky did not disappoint. Though the attraction seemed instantaneous, their path forward was anything but. There was angst, love, drama, and lots of sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed this series. The story line and main characters were buil Ian -Reaching your goals are never easy, especially for the dreams of a future Olympian. Ian's character was a true reflection of that. Ricky - has a wonderful career, family, and part time drag queen act to boot. Finding love seemed to be his Achilles heel. Ian and Ricky did not disappoint. Though the attraction seemed instantaneous, their path forward was anything but. There was angst, love, drama, and lots of sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed this series. The story line and main characters were built as a real world. From beginning to the very last page, you were sucked into their lives. Perfect ending to a four book series. **I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.**

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jennivie

    Another one for the re-read list. This book is a great wrap up to a fantastic series! I know these books were originally supposed to be a trilogy but I am glad this book was written. I always loved the idea of the character Ricky and his drag persona Rosie, but we didn’t get to know him very well in previous books. Getting glimpses of what the other guys have been up to and seeing their relationships with Ricky added a lot of depth to the overall story and cemented Ricky and Ian’s story more fir Another one for the re-read list. This book is a great wrap up to a fantastic series! I know these books were originally supposed to be a trilogy but I am glad this book was written. I always loved the idea of the character Ricky and his drag persona Rosie, but we didn’t get to know him very well in previous books. Getting glimpses of what the other guys have been up to and seeing their relationships with Ricky added a lot of depth to the overall story and cemented Ricky and Ian’s story more firmly into the series. I love Ricky and Rosie so much and Ian is a great compliment to them both. Through their ups and downs, I was cheering them on all the way to the end. I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the characters at the club have coming in the new series!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mrs.V

    I absolutely adored Ricky (and Rosie): he’s a caring, gentle soul who loves hard (often too hard) and has been hurt so many times in the past, but instead of becoming jaded, he remains his kind and fundamentally hopeful self. Ian is an interesting character… despite messing it up with Ricky more than once, I could never really dislike him, because he’s never mean or ill-meaning; he’s just kind of… dumb? Clueless? He just doesn’t seem to immediately realise that his actions and words have consequ I absolutely adored Ricky (and Rosie): he’s a caring, gentle soul who loves hard (often too hard) and has been hurt so many times in the past, but instead of becoming jaded, he remains his kind and fundamentally hopeful self. Ian is an interesting character… despite messing it up with Ricky more than once, I could never really dislike him, because he’s never mean or ill-meaning; he’s just kind of… dumb? Clueless? He just doesn’t seem to immediately realise that his actions and words have consequences and can hurt people. He’s very young, and in time he’ll learn. You can see the effort and thought he puts in to make things right every time. I am so sorry this series is over, it has quickly become a new favourite and it will surely be on my re-read shelf.

  20. 4 out of 5

    AND 1515

    A totally fasinating and a different story... by and1515 Ricky has more pazzazz in his little pinky then some people have in their whole bodies he has the perfect job and great friends. He never expected to meet someone like Ian. With the death of his parents his brother is now the only family he has left and now his best friend is gone to. Then there's the constant pressure to perform well in the pool so Ian found himself trying to please everyone. However sometimes things happen that we never inten A totally fasinating and a different story... by and1515 Ricky has more pazzazz in his little pinky then some people have in their whole bodies he has the perfect job and great friends. He never expected to meet someone like Ian. With the death of his parents his brother is now the only family he has left and now his best friend is gone to. Then there's the constant pressure to perform well in the pool so Ian found himself trying to please everyone. However sometimes things happen that we never intended and now Ian's trying to figure out how to fix the damage he did to their relationship but will Ricky be willing to give him another chance or will he show him the door. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  21. 4 out of 5

    L H

    The Midwest series has been a good one and Ricky and Ian are a good pair to end the series on. It is difficult when you connect and are at different places in your openness about all that you are. Ricky is out, Ian is more cautious. Since Ricky has a drag alter ego and Ian is a swimmer who though out is concerned about how a relationship with Ricky will impact his relationships with his coach and brother - neither of whom is very enlightened. The title is apt as they have to wade through their i The Midwest series has been a good one and Ricky and Ian are a good pair to end the series on. It is difficult when you connect and are at different places in your openness about all that you are. Ricky is out, Ian is more cautious. Since Ricky has a drag alter ego and Ian is a swimmer who though out is concerned about how a relationship with Ricky will impact his relationships with his coach and brother - neither of whom is very enlightened. The title is apt as they have to wade through their individual issues in a heartfelt journey to one another. It was nice to revisit folks from previous stories in this one as well. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    T Paul

    This book offered some insight into the idea of the confidence a drag queen has to have to love themselves both in drag and out. Rosie was delightful, Ricky was amazing. Ian loves them both and therein lies our hero’s story. We enjoy the ups and downs of this romance, we enjoy their love story and have a part in their heartaches. We are privy to the exclusive world of drag friends and see their loyalty to one another. This story’s cast endears themselves to you. It’s easy to care for them. Their This book offered some insight into the idea of the confidence a drag queen has to have to love themselves both in drag and out. Rosie was delightful, Ricky was amazing. Ian loves them both and therein lies our hero’s story. We enjoy the ups and downs of this romance, we enjoy their love story and have a part in their heartaches. We are privy to the exclusive world of drag friends and see their loyalty to one another. This story’s cast endears themselves to you. It’s easy to care for them. Their world is a place of acceptance and love, who wouldn’t want to live there. It’s a beautiful place. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Carvalho

    Ian and Ricky for the win! It was definitely worth the wait for this book. Just like the others in the series, the author gives us a story with true characters, with qualities and flaws, who are willing to grow and recognize - and correct - their mistakes. I really don't wanna spoil the fun, but be ready for sexy hot times, a couple discovering that It is ok to be who you are and not be ashamed of it, Lowell being Lowell and Micah... yeah, that one was a good surprise (specially after the way he Ian and Ricky for the win! It was definitely worth the wait for this book. Just like the others in the series, the author gives us a story with true characters, with qualities and flaws, who are willing to grow and recognize - and correct - their mistakes. I really don't wanna spoil the fun, but be ready for sexy hot times, a couple discovering that It is ok to be who you are and not be ashamed of it, Lowell being Lowell and Micah... yeah, that one was a good surprise (specially after the way he behaved on previous books). For me the best in the Midwest Series. And already looking foward to the spin off... And perhaps a story about a certain friend of Ricky who's just so adorable <3

  24. 5 out of 5

    Edga

    A good addition to the series. I loved Ian and Ricky. Both have oodles of baggage, which takes a while to sort out. I must admit, I got annoyed at Ian with the way he treated Ricky. However, frustratingly, he's been through a lot, so I could also understand why he did as he did. Micah, from book 3, appears in this one, and does actually redeem him self somewhat. Poor Ian really needs guidance in this one, and I loved the way he 'manned up', and took control of his, and ultimately, Ricky's lives. W A good addition to the series. I loved Ian and Ricky. Both have oodles of baggage, which takes a while to sort out. I must admit, I got annoyed at Ian with the way he treated Ricky. However, frustratingly, he's been through a lot, so I could also understand why he did as he did. Micah, from book 3, appears in this one, and does actually redeem him self somewhat. Poor Ian really needs guidance in this one, and I loved the way he 'manned up', and took control of his, and ultimately, Ricky's lives. Well written, decent characters and a well thought out plot. Not sure if there'll be another one in the series, but if there is, I'll definitely read it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    LateciaJ

    A great book and a good ending to the series. I didn't get to read the first book but I did read book 2 & 3 and fell in love/hate with the characters. This book 4 could be read without reading the other three but it was nice to see the other characters still popping in. Ricky and Ian’s romance was bittersweet with all the issues Ian had. Ricky looking for his one and only and hesitant with the younger Ian but willing to try for happiness. Things always have a way of working out in the end with b A great book and a good ending to the series. I didn't get to read the first book but I did read book 2 & 3 and fell in love/hate with the characters. This book 4 could be read without reading the other three but it was nice to see the other characters still popping in. Ricky and Ian’s romance was bittersweet with all the issues Ian had. Ricky looking for his one and only and hesitant with the younger Ian but willing to try for happiness. Things always have a way of working out in the end with both living their truth. I enjoyed this story and think others would too. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jerri

    I love swimming. As a kid, I wanted to be a competitive diver. Watching Ian work hard to reach for Olympic gold, it resonated. I don’t know if you could find a couple more different than he and Ricky. But apparently Brigham is magic, because a swimmer and a drag queen can turn out to be the perfect couple! Who knew? I love the dichotomy of Ricky/Rosie. Each side of him is so well defined and complete. No wonder Ian fell so hard, so fast. I really hope there’ll be more books in this series- I’m not I love swimming. As a kid, I wanted to be a competitive diver. Watching Ian work hard to reach for Olympic gold, it resonated. I don’t know if you could find a couple more different than he and Ricky. But apparently Brigham is magic, because a swimmer and a drag queen can turn out to be the perfect couple! Who knew? I love the dichotomy of Ricky/Rosie. Each side of him is so well defined and complete. No wonder Ian fell so hard, so fast. I really hope there’ll be more books in this series- I’m not ready to say goodbye to this group of friends.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Moser

    The fourth book in the Midwest Series brings Ian and Ricky's story. The author once again brings strong characters with a hot chemistry and weaves an entertaining story filled with drama and anxiety. She takes them on an emotional journey throwing in a few issues along the way they will need to work through and delivers a sweet love story.It's well written with descriptive scenes and I enjoyed reading. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book. All opinions in this review are my own and freely g The fourth book in the Midwest Series brings Ian and Ricky's story. The author once again brings strong characters with a hot chemistry and weaves an entertaining story filled with drama and anxiety. She takes them on an emotional journey throwing in a few issues along the way they will need to work through and delivers a sweet love story.It's well written with descriptive scenes and I enjoyed reading. I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book. All opinions in this review are my own and freely given.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy Weller

    This book is absolutely fantastic and I loved it! The story of Ian and Ricky is a roller coaster ride of emotions as the two navigate a relationship while Ian tries to keep his Coach and his intolerant attitude at bay. It will be a struggle and there are times that Ian fails but in the end, he realizes what is most important to him and figures out a way to continue his swimming career and have Ricky. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne Richardson

    I've read several books written by Brigham Vaughn; she has done a great job at writing a good book; she is becoming one of my favorite authors. I can’t wait to read more of her books. The story line caught my attention at the very beginning and kept me interested throughout the entire book. I loved the characters. I received a free copy of this book via booksprout and I’m voluntarily leaving a review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Nelson

    This was such a fantastic, bittersweet, emotionally charged, fascinating, tug-at-your-heartstrings, poignant, beautiful, sexy, heartbreaking yet hopeful, and totally awesome story. I must admit that I was severely tempted to knock some sense into certain characters, but the HEA ending was well worth the journey. I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

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