Back in the Saddle Again: A Taste of the WIP

vampire attackWell it was a fantastic vacation!  A whole week of lying in the sun and relaxing was just what the doctor ordered.  But now I’m brown as a nut and ready to jump back in. Today was the first day back at the day job and to say I was swamped would be a HUGE understatement.  But me and Murphy are back on the couch and I’m in writing mode.

Last week I really started to connect to my new WIP, a little novel tentatively titled “The Bride.” Its a memoir of the most favored bride of Count Dracula.  I’m sure you’ll all be hearing about it ad nauseum over the course of the next few months.  I have a self-imposed deadline of December 13th to have this bad boy finished.  Why Dec. 13th?  Well… it has to do with “The Desolation of Smaug”, Benedict Cumberbatch and a little dragon-shifter smut book that I’ve had on the back burner for a while.  But I digress…

I thought that to celebrate my homecoming and to give you guys a chance to point and laugh, I’d post a little morsel of what I’ve been working on. Feel free to tell me what you think and by all means, tell your friends!


–From Jonathan Harker’s journal (of course that’s where it has to begin… sheesh…)

Each of these devil brides wear the faces of angels.  The eldest, one called Michalea, is statuesque and dark.  Her heavy black hair falls to her waist in a cascade of fine silk.  Her skin speaks of her exotic heritage.  She must be from somewhere in a Far Eastern land, for her skin is the color of tea and she smells of cinnamon and clove.  I always associate this scent with the opium dens of Chinatown.  Her mouth speaks in strange, lazy tongues that fill me with a sensuality unlike anything I’ve ever felt.  Then there is Theodora.  Upon her death she was practically a child.  When she speaks, it takes on a strange and melodious tone like that of a girl much younger.  Her dark locks frame her round, childish face and it only makes her fanged grin more terrifying.

Then there is Ana.  It is obvious that this one is The Count’s favorite.  Her hair blows around her face in a halo of golden curls that are so unlike the others.  She rarely speaks, but her voice is like low, rumbling thunder.  There is nothing delicate about her features.  Her mouth is full and wide with lips stained blood red.  Her brow is heavy and her cheekbones sharp.  Each time I see her I am struck by her exotic beauty.  She often speaks to me, telling me stories of the ghosts that lurk in every corner, leftover spirits of past miseries.  When she feeds from me, it is so sensual and sweet, that I have no fear of dying.  Mina, I can only pray for your forgiveness.  Please believe that her comfort is out of necessity and that my only conscious thoughts are getting back to you!


So whatcha think?  Waste of time or pure genius?  I’m gonna go with pure genius.  😉  If you just can’t wait, don’t forget that I have lots of vampire stories in my backlist, so feel free to check me out on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks , Mocha Memoirs Press, Purple Sword Publications and anywhere else kickass eBooks are sold!

Vampires and Valentines

I want a vampire valentine.

No sparkling.  No brooding.  No perfectly conditioned hair, but a true vampire valentine.  I want a vampire who is in love with the one thing I have to offer that is more precious than anything– blood.  I want a vampire who isn’t afraid to be who he is.  He drinks blood.  From humans.  And he isn’t sorry about it.  He doesn’t go out in the day because he’ll burst into flames.  He doesn’t have a fireplace because he’s afraid that he’ll burn.  He lives in a dark, damp castle, not an ultra-modern abode.  He has a funny accent and razor sharp teeth.  He can fly, turn to mist and control the creatures of the night.  He never drinks… wine.  He’s a real, honest to God, vampire valentine.

Give me Count Vlad, David, Jerry, Varney and Nosferatu.  They may not have perfect hair, but they still have their balls.  Much  like the star of my current WIP, Seth.  Seth is a vampire that dates back to the pharoahs.  He’s in love with his mate, but make no mistake– when he sees you in an alley, you’re just a cheeseburger.


Willow tensed at his words and he pulled her to him.  “The pain lasts only a moment,” he whispered, his lips moving softly against the puckered skin of her nipple before drawing it into his mouth.  He suckled gently at first, worrying it to a swollen bud until she gasped.  Only then did he prick the edge of the areola with his teeth.  The wound was miniscule and she barely noticed the sting until the tiny pearl of blood appeared.  Pulling back from her, he purred deep in his throat upon seeing the deep red rivulets that ran down the side of her breast, following the curving silhouette of her body.  Before it could reach the sheets below, he swooped down and captured the drops with his tongue, then lapping at the precious fluid.  Willow moaned, her heart beating faster.  She knew she should be afraid, but she was lost in the sensations he created.  He kissed his way back up her torso, alighting on her other breast and biting down hard.  She cried out, instinctively trying to push him away.  He grabbed her wrists and pinned them to the pillow behind her head.  She groaned and struggled, but he was much too strong for her.  Closing his mouth over the breast fully, he sucked at the wound until it was bleeding heavily down her front.  She watched with eyes, blurry with tears, as the thickening sanguine fluid stained her skin.  He drank deeply for a few moments, then tore himself away, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.  Strangely, she didn’t feel drained as she’d thought she would.  Only this heaviness that had settled into her extremities, keeping her still as he slid away from her.  “Is that it?” she croaked sleepily, thinking that perhaps she’d been afraid for nothing.

He gave a dark chuckle as he stood up at the side of the bed.  A smear of her blood stood out as a harsh streak of black against his skin.  “Patience, little one,” he purred, pulling at the button on his jeans.  “I’ve only just begun.  Such a delicious delicacy should be savored, not devoured in one sitting.”  She shuddered visibly and he chuckled again, pushing the restricting fabric over his narrow hips and down until he stood before her, a vision of male perfection.  His body seemed to be carved of stone, every muscle standing out in harsh relief under his skin.  The bones of his pelvis crossed over his hips, drawing her eye down to his cock which stood out impressively, giving away his own lust.  Willow smiled, feeling somewhat empowered by this show of arousal.  She wanted to sit up and go to him, but her body was so heavy.  She felt as if he’d restrained her, but there were no bonds.  Seth threw his head back, his black hair spilling over his shoulders as he inhaled her scent on the air.  “Fucking hell, Willow,” he sighed.  “Your scent… so much fear, so much desire… it’s like a drug.”  He climbed back into the bed, kneeling between her outstretched legs.  “I fear that once I start, I won’t be able to stop,” he murmured, grasping the waistband of the pants she wore. With a growl he pulled at them until they were ripped completely open and he could jerk them down her legs.  “A thousand years of practice and you have me behaving like a fledgling.”

“I’m… I’m sorry…” she stammered, biting her lip as his fingers brushed her thighs.

He leaned over her, kissing just below her navel and swirling his tongue around it.  “You’re not sorry,” he replied, opening his mouth wider and grazing the warm skin with his teeth, opening another bloody gash.  It dribbled slowly down, pooling in the crease above her mound.  She could feel the warm wetness and she reached down to touch it, but he slapped her hand away.  With the flat of his tongue he licked at the blood, tasting it and purring with satisfaction.  It wet his lips and when he looked up at her, he looked like a sinister harlequin with his painted mouth.


In case you’re curious, here are some stalking grounds:

The Southern Belle from Hell:


Fan Page on Facebook:!/pages/Lexxx-Christian-The-Southern-Belle-from-Hell/245839382102904


In case you didn’t know by now, I’m an author of (mostly) paranormal erotic romance.  You can find my work in your favorite eBook format at:  Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Bookstrand and AllRomance eBooks

Six Sentence Sunday: Love You to Death

Good morning, faithful SSS readers!  I hope that you’ve been having a lovely weekend.  I know I have, and it’s gotten me waxing sentimental.  In the spirit of that, I decided to dust off an old WIP that I hope to finish sometime in the near future.  It’s a story of Haitian Voudou and resurrecting the love of your life.  It’s called Love You to Death and I hope that someday it will reach the light of day.  Anyway, enjoy…..


He pressed his body roughly against mine, grinding his cock eagerly against my center.  “Feel that,” he growled fiercely.  “That’s real.”

And I believed him.  Every question that still lingered in my brain was washed away by his lips and tongue.  His kisses became more insistent as they travelled farther south.  His tongue lingered around my navel, teasing it until gooseflesh rose in anticipation.  I wanted him so badly and I knew that he could smell my desire.


ugggh… I have GOT to start working on this story again!!!!  What do you think?

Anyway, enough about me.  Be sure to check out all the other SSS participants at


Six Sentence Sunday: Bloodflowers

I can’t help it… I’m in love with this story right now.  To be specific– I’m in love with Seth, my badass vampire hero.  I predict that you’ll be hearing a lot out of old Seth in the coming months…so I hope you aren’t sick of reading yet.


Seth broke away, purring deep in his throat as he swept her drunken, limp body into his arms.  He carried her swiftly through the labyrinth of corridors and up the stairs, moving with an impossible speed that took her breath away.  When they arrived at the end of the hall, he kicked the double doors, breaking the latch so that they flew open.  Willow flinched at the sound of the wood splintering as the doors hit the wall behind with enough force to leave a dent in the plaster.  He tossed her unceremoniously onto his bed and stood back, watching her with a predatory glare.

“Are you going to kill me?” she whispered, sitting back on her elbows.

“Yes.”  He watched as her chin began to tremble and she started moving backward slowly.  “I’m afraid you’ve been chosen.”


Alright, so it’s a little more than six.  But I just couldn’t stop….

BTW… don’t forget to keep going on this crazy train that we like to call Six Sentence Sunday.  There’s lots of other authors, dare I say– better authors– to sample.  Go check them out at

Something a little sensual for your Saturday

OK… this is more than I could post for SSS, so I thought I’d give a little taste here.  It’s pretty dirty.  It involves lots of blood.  It’s my new vampire story, Bloodflower…


The streaks of blood were a map to her center and he followed it without hesitation.

Her sex was so smooth.  He reached out to touch it, gathering some of the blood that had collected in the corner of his mouth and using it to paint around her opening, then licking it away until she was arching up against his mouth, begging him for more.  He was more than willing and pulled the outer lips of her sex between his lips to kiss each one in turn.  Pulling back, he admired the glow of her skin as the blood rushed to the surface. With two fingers, her pulled and tugged at the dewy petals until they were plumped with it.

“Seth…” she sighed, her voice trailing off into an unintelligible moan as he took each side into his mouth in turn, rolling the moist flesh between his lips, careful not to bite.  As he teased them, they began to part, revealing those secret destinations deep inside.  His fingertips were all too willing to help
them along, pulling the lips wide apart and flicking the swollen nub of flesh
that was carefully hidden behind.  Willow’s breath was slow, coming in shallow gasps as he kissed and nibbled at it.  She could feel the moist heat rush to her sex and she struggled to pull her legs further apart to urge him on, but still, every movement was a struggle as the venom crept slowly through her system.  As he kissed at the tiny clitoris, his fingertips slid up her body, swirling in the pools of blood still dripping from her breasts and belly.  She
looked down, watching as he brought the fingers to his lips, tasting the blood
and then pushing the fingers forcefully into her sex.  He moved them inside in gentle circles, then stroking them in and out until her blood mixed with the slippery wetness of her sex.  He lapped it up like a man dying of thirst.  Willow’s voice rose in octaves, higher and higher as she surrendered to the pleasure of his foreplay.  The loss of blood had made her delirious,
sighing and crying out of her head.  He twisted his wrist slightly, pushing two of his slip-sliding, long and sinuous fingers into her until he could feel that secret place high up within.   His thumb made wide circles around her clit
until he could feel her tensing with her impending climax.  She wanted to scream, but she couldn’t make a sound.  Just as she tumbled over the
edge, he sank his teeth into the vein that pulsed just below the skin at the
junction of her thighs.  She screamed with the orgasmic pleasure and the ultimate anguish as he drank deeply, pulling her lifesblood into him, not wanting to leave a single drop.  She screamed, knowing this was the end but
she didn’t care.  Her whole life was reduced to the pinpoint of light she could see behind her eyes as he made her come.

And then it was dark.


Take THAT, Edward Cullen….

So you think it’s hot enough??

Happy Wednesday!

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen!  It’s Wednesday night and I’m sitting here all relaxed on the couch.  Just thought I’d stop by and let you all know what I’ve been up to over the last couple of weeks.  I know, I’ve been scarce.  I’m really trying  to do better, but working for a living sucks– lemme tell ya.  I’ve been grappling with the day to day so intensely that I really haven’t had much time to write or think for that matter.  I realize I’m not the only person experiencing this phenomenon, but of course– it’s my blog and I’ll  bitch if I want to.

Bitch #1:  Writers’ Apnea.  Why is it that I can’t seem to get any writing done when everyone else I know in the writing world is turning out finished products hand over fist?  I can’t even seem to concentrate on anything long enough to add 1,000 words, much less several thousand.  Do they make a mask for this?

Bitch #2:  The waiting game.  I’ve got two things in submissions right now and neither of which am I SURE is going to get picked up.  Both of which are close to wire with sending me a gigantic rejection email.  I’m not looking forward to it and I can feel myself being on edge.  One of the projects is my last novel, which I love deeply.  A 75K kinky adult version of Beauty and the Beast. What’s not to love, right?

Anyhow, enough of the bitchin’.  I realize how lucky I am to be a writer that other people might actually want to read.  I’m very lucky to have a job and a husband who loves me and a wiener dog that’s lovingly snoring in my lap even as I write this.  I’m lucky to have friends and family to pick me up when I’m down.  Basically, I really have nothing to bitch about so I should just shut it, right?  That being said, have a little snippet of a little WIP entitled “Bloodflower.”


She held onto the rail, leaning way over to stare down at the ice cold waves
beneath the sea wall.  She wondered for a moment what it would feel like when the freezing water flooded into her lungs after she couldn’t hold on any longer.
Would she even know what was happening?  Would she try to fight it, screaming and begging for her life?  Would it hurt, or would it be like going to
sleep?  “No, I have to do this,” she whispered.  “It’s the only way to start
over.”  She put her foot out, as if testing the wind, and her fingers slipped around the cold, slippery railing.  “No!” she gasped, scrambling to  regain her footing.  She wrapped her arms around the cold metal and held on, afraid to let go but still afraid to crawl back to the other side.

“Well just go on and do it then.”

The voice came from behind and Willow struggled to turn and look.  “What?” she croaked.

“Jump.  It’s getting late and you’re in my way.”

“Pardon me?”  It was all she could say.  What kind of a person would interrupt an attempted suicide with such insolence. She looked around to the expanse of empty sidewalk that surrounded them.  “There seems to be no shortage of

“You’re in my favorite vantage point into the harbor.  I come here every night.  So if you’re going to jump, do get on with it.”  He leaned casually on the rail, staring down at her with a pair of eyes that glowed a silvery green in the dim streetlamp.  His stare was a bit unsettling and she had to look away, back towards the glowing eye of the lighthouse on the other end of the harbor.

“Are you planning on standing there to watch?” she asked, trying to keep the tremor of fear from her voice.

“Perhaps.  Though I must ask—are you planning on screaming and begging for your life?  That sort of ruckus always brings the cops around and I’d just as soon keep them out of it.”

Willow narrowed her eyes, turning back to glare at him with unmistakable annoyance. “Are you normally this rude?”

“What do you care?  You’re getting ready to die.”

“Well I’d rather do it in peace…”

“You’re the one talking.”

“You spoke first.”

The man sighed heavily.  “I don’t see the point in arguing anymore.  Just ignore me and do what you need to do.  I’ll even turn around.”  He sighed and turned his back, pulling a cigarette pack from his pocket and shaking one out.  In a few moments, she heard the click of a Zippo lighter and smelled the pungent scent of burning tobacco.


So if you like what you’ve been reading, my books are available from, Bookstrand, allRomanceEbooks and anywhere quality eBooks are sold.  Go check me out!









Such a bad girl…

I have been such a bad girl lately.  With work, trying to write and just generally being tired, I haven’t thought much about updating the blog.  I realize— it’s a crime.  And I will try to do better.  BUT– I will give you a tasty little morsel at the end since you’ve all been so patient with me.

This week I’m starting to think about Fall and all the wonders that come with it.  Most importantly, Halloween.  Halloween is my favorite of the holidays, except maybe for Christmas.  I love the crisp Autumn air, the silly costumes and the spooky chill in the air.  Some of you might know that my husband is an actual ghost hunter– author Tally Johnson– so we always have lots of spooky entertainment going on.  Ghost walks, storytelling gigs, hunts and book signings– its always a busy time of year.

Another fun thing this year will be the “Burlesque Grotesque” Blog Crawl that will be taking place ALL DAY on Halloween (Oct. 31st).  Speaking of which, we still have lots of space for writers that want to take part.  And I’m CALLING ALL WRITERS!!  Not just erotica and romance, but horror, sci-fi, thriller, mystery– if you can imagine it, we want it.  You can post as much as you like on your blog and it could be a blog post, a free read, art, promo– whatever you like, AS LONG AS YOU HAVE A SPOOKY/ SEXY THEME.  The concept is a marriage of the grotesque and the sexy burlesque style– loud, bawdy, and in your face.  So make your posts as raunchy as you like.  Think Dita Von Teese as a zombie.  If you’d like to participate, you can email  me at and let me know.  You’ll need to send me the link to your blog and of course your email so we can send you some buttons and banners to display on your site.  The fabulous Siobhan Kinkade will be getting those graphics out in the next couple of weeks so we can get this thing cookin’!

Alright, as promised, here’s a taste of one of my works in progress called “Bloodflower.”  It’s a little story about a badass vampire whose “dying” of boredom until he meets up with an unusual girl.  Hope you  like it….


Seth wandered down the street towards the bridge. He hadn’t bothered to clean up after himself and if he listened carefully he was sure he could already hear the ambulance on the way.  Not that there would be much left to find.  He licked his lips, remembering her taste.  Nothing was quite so satisfying as the taste of blood laced with fear.  The only thing that could compare was the sharp flavor of lust.  It had a certain sweetness mixed with a spice that burned the throat despite its smoothness.  He strolled towards the other end of town, wondering if he should try to find another meal.  He sighed boredly.  What was the point?  Everything seemed so hollow these days.  After a thousand years, it had finally happened.  He was bored with living.  The life of a vampire was solitary, save for a few sycophants that managed to attach themselves to you at one time or another.  And they all wanted the same
thing:  immortality.  Of course, once it was given, they became these melancholy saps that filled up their days bemoaning their fates.  It disgusted him. Being a vampire was the
essence of freedom.  No death, no getting older, no disease.  You were faster, sexier and smarter than anyone else.  You could be anyone.  Do anything.  And those pathetic fops threw it all away.  They moaned about the loss of old friends.  The loneliness.  The never-ending hunger—all of it seemed to be a small price to pay until the reality set in.  After the last time, Seth had decided that being alone was better.  And most frightening of all, he’d realized that he was becoming that which he hated the most—a melancholy sap.  There was nothing left for him.  Humans had hunted them for so long that their numbers had shrunk to nearly non-existent.  Once upon a time he’d been able to sense those of his race nearby, but now the air around him was devoid of his kind.  The inevitable had finally happened—he feared he was the last.

He’d almost decided to make his way home.  If he hurried, he could make it in
time for the newest episode of “True Blood.”  Their Hollywood interpretations of a vampire’s lifestyle was always good for a giggle or two.  He turned down the alley that would lead him to the river.  At this time of night there would be no one there to see him take flight.  Except maybe a couple of homeless people—and who believed homeless people?  They saw flying people all the time.


Alright, I’m out of here for the night.  BUT… I will be back on Thursday for our weekly Throbbing Thursday post with author Sara York!  I’ve read the post and IT IS HOT!! So be sure to check back with the Belle!

~Alexandra Christian, author of Erotic Paranormal Romance

Check out my latest releases from Sugar and Spice Press, “Second Skin” and Hellsong.  Both available at and wherever quality eBooks are sold.

Six Sentence Sunday: Bloodflower

Ah, Sunday… that day of the week when we get to tick down a list of fabulous writers, reading their best and brightest in six sentence bursts.  Its one of the only things that make Sundays bearable for me.  I’ve never liked Sundays– they’ve always been boring and melancholy for me.  And this Sunday, I think we all have reason for a little melancholy.  Today is, of course, the ten-year anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy.  I’m sure we all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that fateful morning.  I was teaching math to a bunch of third graders.  And I still remember that overwhelming sense of fear and sadness as clearly as if it were yesterday.

I think about my life and how different it is now, and it’s still a bit spooky.  The whole world has changed since that day and we’ve all had to change with it.  My point is— change IS living and going on is all we can do.  It’s the American spirit and that’s what’s gotten us through the last ten years.  BUT… why dwell on past tragedies?  I think we owe it to our heroes to have a little fun today.  To show the world that we’re Americans and can’t be kept down!  So without further ado, a little taste of Bloodflower, my current WIP and amazingly, its a vampire piece!


“We’ve only just met, friend.”  He reached down and grabbed Toboggan Man by the throat, lifting him high off the ground.  “It wouldn’t be polite not to have you for dinner.”  Before he could scream, the vampire bashed him twice against the bricks behind him, shattering his skull and leaving fragments of gray matter and bone behind.  As the man fell limp in his grasp, the vampire stole another look at the girl and saw that she was dazed with the
shock.  He tossed the man aside, leaving him to ooze his blood slowly onto the pavement beneath him.


I love a badass vampire….

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the SSS crew at:  .  And of course if you like what you see, you can find all my current releases at and .

Six Sentence Sunday: Dollface

Hey kids!  I decided to post something a bit different for my SSS entry this week.  Its a piece I’m currently working on called “Dollface.”  Its a story about a lonely woman named Caroline who has a very interesting profession– she’s a cosmetician for the dead.  As if that weren’t strange enough, she finds herself obsessively in love with the mortician’s son with grisly and tragic results.  There’s no erotica, no happy ending– a bit of a stretch for me.  But I hope you’ll give it a taste…


“Hi there, dollface.”  Caroline turned to see Scott coming in the door behind her.    His long legs allowed him to cross the room in two strides and she watched him every inch of the way.  Her heart fluttered just for looking at him.  Everything about him, from his pristine skin to the sharp lines of his
cheekbones was in perfect harmony.  She’d thought of him so many times while alone in the dark: his strong arms around her, his lips whispering softly against her ear.


Short, but sweet.  Its horror, but I hope you like it.  If erotic romance is more your speed, than you can find my other works at, All Romance eBooks, and Sugar and Spice Press.

And don’t forget to take a look at the other SSS Authors!

WIP: Dollface

So it had to be said.  I’m having a writing ailment that I think affects us all.  I can’t settle on anything to work on.  Consequently I have like a million things half-finished.  But I decided to post one that I’m kind of scared of actually.  The story is in no way erotic, except of course that the main character is obsessively lovesick.  And I often think about how I would be in that situation:  dangerously in love with someone that doesn’t love me back.  What would I do?  Would I react rationally or jump over the edge into crazy land.  Its always interested me– that line between unconditional and obsessive love.  Anyway… I’m offering for review….


“Alright, Mrs. Marshall, this won’t hurt a bit,” Caroline said as she began scraping the fine grained sandpaper over the scarring on her forehead.  “Just a little smoothing to make the foundation go on easier.”  She always talked to them—her clients, as she liked to think of them.  It made her feel better about it and justmaybe it would help them on their way to resting in peace.  “You wouldn’t believe all the people in town are just devastated over your passing.  People really loved you, you know.”
It was true.  Almost everyone in town knew Mrs. Marshall and thought very highly of her.

She leaned down and examined the wound closer before brushing off the dried skin away that had flaked off.  “Almost.  Mr. Bauer did an excellent job with these sutures.  They shouldn’t be hard to cover at all.”  A few more passes with the sandpaper and she was done.  She rummaged through the collection of jars in her box until she found a small jar of modeling wax.  “A little of this should be just the thing.”  She smoothed a bit of the wax over the scar and began blending it with her fingertips until the scar was little more than a slight indentation.  “There now, good as new.”

Caroline stood back and admired her handiwork.  She’d managed to cover the bruising and remove most of the blood from Mrs. Marshall’s hair.  “A little makeup and a couple of touch-ups with the hair crayon and you’ll be beautiful.”  She looked down at the old woman and smiled, beginning to see a shade of
the vibrant teacher she had once been.  Mrs. Marshall had been a beautiful woman in her youth.  She could remember her grandmother telling her about how when they were teenagers, Esther Marshall had been the town beauty queen with long, voluminous red hair, a killer smile and a glowing personality to match.  She hoped she could help her family remember those things.

An hour later, she stood over the big industrial sink washing the remnants of foundation and lipstick off of her hands.  She was satisfied with her work today and felt good about it.  People didn’t realize how important her work really was.  Folks wanted to remember their family members the way they were in life.  This would be the last time they would get to see their mother, grandmother, sister or aunt.  It was important to give them a nice memory and Caroline felt that she had done that.