The Hollow (Sign of Seven Series #2)

The Hollow (Sign of Seven Series #2)

by Nora Roberts

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Nora Roberts continues the thrilling trilogy of a town plagued by evil—and the three men and three women brought together by fate to fight it.

For Fox, Caleb, Gage and the other residents of Hawkins Hollow, the number seven portends doom—ever since, as boys, they freed a demon trapped for centuries when their blood spilled upon The Pagan Stone…
Now, as the dreaded seventh month looms before them, the men can feel the storm brewing. Already they are plagued by visions of death and destruction. But this year, they are better prepared, joined in their battle by three women who have come to The Hollow. Layla, Quinn, and Cybil are somehow connected to the demon, just as the men are connected to the force that trapped it.
Since that day at The Pagan Stone, town lawyer Fox has been able to see into others’ minds, a talent he shares with Layla. He must earn her trust, because their link will help fight the darkness that threatens to engulf the town. But Layla is having trouble coming to terms with her newfound ability—and this intimate connection to Fox. She knows that once she opens her mind, she’ll have no defenses against the desire that threatens to consume them both… 

Don't miss the other books in the Sign of Seven Trilogy
Blood Brothers
The Pagan Stone

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780515144598
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/06/2008
Series: Sign of Seven Series , #2
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 17,728
Product dimensions: 6.74(w) x 4.34(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels. She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series written under the pen name J. D. Robb. There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.


Keedysville, Maryland

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Silver Spring, Maryland

Read an Excerpt


Hawkins Hollow

June, 1994

On a bright summer morning, a teacup poodle drowned in the Bestlers’ backyard swimming pool. At first Lynne Bestler, who'd gone out to sneak in a solitary swim before her kids woke, thought it was a dead squirrel. Which would've been bad enough. But when she steeled herself to scoop out the tangle of fur with the net, she recognized her neighbor’s beloved Marcell.

Squirrels generally didn’t wear rhinestone collars.

Her shouts, and the splash as Lynne tossed the hapless dog, net and all, back into the pool, brought Lynne’s husband rushing out in his boxers. Their mother’s sobs, and their father’s curses as he jumped in to grab the pole and tow the body to the side, woke the Bestler twins, who stood screaming in their matching My Little Pony nightgowns. Within moments, the backyard hysteria had neighbors hurrying to fences just as Bestler dragged himself and his burden out of the water. As, like many men, Bestler had developed an attachment to ancient underwear, the weight of the water was too much for the worn elastic.

So Bestler came out of his pool with a dead dog, and no boxers. The bright summer morning in the little town of Hawkins Hollow began with shock, grief, farce, and drama.

Fox learned of Marcell’s untimely death minutes after he stepped into Ma’s Pantry to pick up a sixteen-ounce bottle of Coke and a couple of Slim Jims.

He’d copped a quick break from working with his father on a kitchen remodel down Main Street. Mrs. Larson wanted new countertops, cabinet doors, new floors, new paint. She called it freshening things up, and Fox called it a way to earn enough money to take Allyson Brendon out for pizza and the movies on Saturday night. He hoped to use that gateway to talk her into the backseat of his ancient VW bug.

He didn’t mind working with his dad. He hoped to hell he wouldn’t spend the rest of his life swinging a hammer or running a power saw, but he didn’t mind it. His father’s company was always easy, and the job got Fox out of gardening and animal duty on their little farm. It also provided easy access to Cokes and Slim Jims—two items that would never, never be found in the O’Dell-Barry household.

His mother ruled there.

So he heard about the dog from Susan Keefaffer, who rang up his purchases while a few people with nothing better to do on a June afternoon sat at the counter over coffee and gossip.

He didn’t know Marcell, but Fox had a soft spot for animals, so he suffered a twist of grief for the unfortunate poodle. That was leavened somewhat by the idea of Mr. Bestler, whom he did know, standing “naked as a jaybird,” in Susan Keefaffer’s words, beside his backyard pool.

While it made Fox sad to imagine some poor dog drowning in a swimming pool, he didn’t connect it—not then—to the nightmare he and his two closest friends had lived through seven years before.

He’d had a dream the night before, a dream of blood and fire, of voices chanting in a language he didn’t understand. But then he’d watched a double feature of videos—Night of the Living Dead and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre—with his friends Cal and Gage. He didn’t connect a dead French poodle with the dream, or with what had burned through Hawkins Hollow for a week after his tenth birthday. After the night he and Cal and Gage had spent at the Pagan Stone in Hawkins Wood—and everything had changed for them, and for the Hollow.

In a few weeks he and Cal and Gage would all turn seventeen, and that was on his mind. Baltimore had a damn good chance at a pennant this year, so that was on his mind. He’d be going back to high school as a senior, which meant top of the food chain at last, and planning for college.

What occupied a sixteen-year-old boy was considerably different than what occupied a ten-year-old. Including rounding third and heading for home with Allyson Brendon.So when he walked back down the street, a lean boy not quite beyond the gangly stage of adolescence, his dense brown hair tied back in a stubby tail, golden brown eyes shaded with Oakleys, it was, for him, just another ordinary day.

The town looked as it always did. Tidy, a little old-timey, with the old stone townhouses or shops, the painted porches, the high curbs. He glanced back over his shoulder toward the Bowl-a-Rama on the Square. It was the biggest building in town, and where Cal and Gage were both working.

When he and his father knocked off for the day, he thought he’d head on up, see what was happening.

He crossed over to the Larson place, walked into the unlocked house where Bonnie Raitt’s smooth Delta Blues slid smoothly out of the kitchen. His father sang along with her in his clear and easy voice as he checked the level on the shelves Mrs. Larson wanted in her utility closet. Though the windows and back door were open to their screens, the room smelled of sawdust, sweat, and the glue they’d used that morning to install the new Formica.

His father worked in old Levi’s and his Give Peace a Chance T-shirt. His hair was six inches longer than Fox’s, worn in a tail under a blue bandanna. He’d shaved off the beard and moustache he’d had as long as Fox remembered. Fox still wasn’t quite used to seeing so much of his father’s face—or so much of himself in it.

“A dog drowned in the Bestler’s swimming pool over on Laurel Lane,” Fox told him, and Brian stopped working to turn.

“That’s a damn shame. Anybody know how it happened?”

“Not really. It was one of those little poodles, so think it must’ve fallen in, then it couldn’t get out again.”

“You’d think somebody would’ve heard it barking. That’s a lousy way to go.” Brian set down his tools, smiled at his boy. “Gimme one of those Slim Jims.”

“What Slim Jims?”

“The ones you’ve got in your back pocket. You’re not carrying a bag, and you weren’t gone long enough to scarf down Hostess Pies or Twinkies. I’m betting you’re packing the Jims. I get one, and your mom never has to know we ate chemicals and meat by-products. It’s called blackmail, kid of mine.”

Fox snorted, pulled them out. He’d bought two for just this purpose. Father and son unwrapped, bit off, chewed in perfect harmony. “The counter looks good, Dad.”

“Yeah, it does.” Brian ran a hand over the smooth, eggshell surface. “Mrs. Larson’s not much for color, but it’s good work. I don’t know who I’m going to get to be my lapdog when you head off to college.”

“Ridge is next in line,” Fox said, thinking of his younger brother.

“Ridge wouldn’t keep measurements in his head for two minutes running, and he’d probably cut off a finger dreaming while he was using a band saw. No.” Brian smiled, shrugged. “This kind of work isn’t for Ridge, or for you, for that matter. Or either of your sisters. I guess I’m going to have to rent a kid to get one who wants to work with wood.”

“I never said I didn’t want to.” Not out loud.

His father looked at him the way he sometimes did, as if he saw more than what was there. “You’ve got a good eye, you’ve got good hands. You’ll be handy around your own house once you get one. But you won’t be strapping on a tool belt to make a living. Until you figure out just what it is you want, you can haul these scraps on out to the Dumpster.”“Sure.” Fox gathered up scraps, trash, began to cart them out the back, across the narrow yard to the Dumpster the Larsons had rented for the duration of the remodel.He glanced toward the adjoining yard and the sound of kids playing. And the armload he carried thumped and bounced on the ground as his body went numb.The little boys played with trucks and shovels and pails in a bright blue sandbox. But it wasn’t filled with sand. Blood covered their bare arms as they pushed their Tonka trucks through the muck inside the box. He stumbled back as the boys made engine sounds, as red lapped over the bright blue sides and dripped onto the green grass.On the fence between the yards, where hydrangeas headed up toward bloom, crouched a boy that wasn’t a boy. It bared its teeth in a grin as Fox backed toward the house.“Dad! Dad!”The tone, the breathless fear had Brian rushing outside. “What? What is it?”“Don’t you—can't you see?” But even as he said it, as he pointed, something inside Fox knew. It wasn’t real.“What?” Firmly now, Brian took his son’s shoulders. “What do you see?”The boy that wasn’t a boy danced along the top of the chain-link fence while flames spurted up below and burned the hydrangeas to cinders.“I have to go. I have to go see Cal and Gage. Right now, Dad. I have to—”“Go.” Brian released his hold on Fox, stepped back. He didn’t question. “Go.”

He all but flew through the house and out again, up the sidewalk to the Square. The town no longer looked as it usually did to him. In his mind’s eye Fox could see it as it had been that horrible week in July seven years before.

Fire and blood, he remembered, thinking of the dream.

He burst into the Bowl-a-Rama where the summer afternoon leagues were in full swing. The thunder of balls, the crash of pins pounded in his head as he ran straight to the front desk where Cal worked.

“Where’s Gage?” Fox demanded.

“Jesus, what’s up with you?”

“Where’s Gage?” Fox repeated, and Cal’s amused gray eyes sobered. “Working the arcade. He’s . . . he’s coming out now.”

At Cal’s quick signal, Gage sauntered over. “Hello, ladies. What . . .” The smirk died after one look at Fox’s face. “What happened?”

“It’s back,” Fox said. “It’s come back.”


Excerpted from "The Hollow"
by .
Copyright © 2008 Nora Roberts.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Hollow (Sign of Seven Series #2) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 291 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked Dark Witch, you'll love this trilogy!
Chelsee_the_Bookworm More than 1 year ago
The Hollow by Nora Roberts is a fantastic read. Following Blood Brothers as the second book in the trilogy, it lives up to the expectations the first one created. The battle between the group (Cal, Fox, Gage, Quinn, Cybil, and Layla) and the demon continues with more attacks and truths revealed. As the demon grows stronger as it nears the seven, attacks grow more frequent making it harder to keep up with their everyday lives. Cal and Quinn¿s relationship stays strong, while Fox and Layla¿s grows. The tension increases as the story goes on to find out what will happen next leaving the reader curious to the end and what the next book will bring.
Nora Roberts did an amazing job writing this trilogy so far. The Hollow captures attention and pulls the reader into the story and doesn¿t let go. The writing is phenomenal and there are hardly any dull breaks in the story. Any one can get interested in this book if they give it a chance. You won¿t regret reading it.
robindejarnett on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm really liking this trilogy. This book pairs up the second couple, Fox and Layla. Now, the plot isn't too deep...but the writing is good and fun. Fox is my favorite of the 'brothers,' I think, and his family is a hoot. With that eclectic vibe they remind me of the Weasley family. And there's a very fun, modern task for Fox to consider, outside of the demon hunting... but I won't spoil it for you.This trilogy is a light, fast read with enough paranormal to keep the intrigue up and to challenge the protagonists. On to book 3...'The Pagan Stone'!
shadiphoenix on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm always surprised that I read Nora Roberts at all, let alone pretty much everything she's written. But every time I open a new book of hers I remember why. The lyrical, funny, endearing way that she writes. She writes characters that you care about and can laugh with. And I just love the way that she makes the story real and yet giving it that otherworldly touch. She's great at description by not giving too much, but using as many of your senses as possible. This is the second in yet another trilogy she's authored. While each book using focuses on one particular couple, she has also expanded somewhat to encompass the main group of characters as a whole, as well as the developing relationships and more personal views of each character. While she might have "types" that she uses, I've never actually been able to say that this character was most like that character from another of her books. And I like that. There is a rhythm to her books, but also a uniqueness that keeps me coming back for more. Why do I have to wait till December for the final chapter in this particular saga?!
SunnySD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fox and Layla get top billing in the second installment of Roberts' Sign of the Seven trilogy.As the demon-driven events grow deadlier and folks begin to pack up and leave town, Fox is haunted by memories of a past lover as well as by fears for Layla. Layla isn't in much better straits -- she's doubtful of her own strengths, and distrusts both her own use of her newly discovered talents, and Fox.Not Roberts' best, by a long shot. In between "events" the dialog is strained, Gabe comes across as especially shallow, and Cybil spouts off facts better than an encyclopedia, but is essentially flat -- the other two couples get short shrift, so there's little enough to be entertained by group-wise. The snappy conversation and camaraderie that makes reading most of Roberts' trilogies so much fun is missing here. I'll probably still pick up the third part when it comes out; hopefully, the finale will be better.
nm.spring08.s.west on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second book of the Sign of Seven Trilogy (The Hollow) is, I'm sad to say, not what I expected. The first book (Blood Brothers) was a complete thriller for me, but 'The Hollow' seem to be lacking in some way. I don't mean to say it was a bad read, I didn't want to put it down! But I'm super ready for 'The Pagan Stone' to come out.
Mendoza on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
i think I am finally 'over' Nora Roberts. And I am not happy to say it either. I have enjoyed her books for about 20 years.But, as much as I enjoy her characters (and I continue to reread her backlist reagularly) I am just really tired of the hero and heroine (and the secondary characters) having the same voice. They are really the same basic character from book to book and the author uses the same phrases and slang from novel to novel. I just am tired of it. And, again, I am not happy to be tired of it.So, here i am in the middle of her lated trilogy and don;t think I will have enough curiosity to even buy the last. I am sorry to say that I have found this serious boring and the interaction of the hero/heroines in both books so far to have no passion or personal interaction that makes me believe that are 'it' for eachother.i still give this book 3.5 stars because even on a bad day Nora Roberts still out-strolls most other authors.
Jennalet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read this one and the first one in less than a week. Excellent read if you like the not so usual. Good romance with paranormal ovetones and a mystery to solve. Can't wait for book 3 in December.
Rhea1023 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Due to the fact that I hated the way the first book ended I was very skeptical of this book. But I was pleasently looked as if Nora put more thought into the ending of the book and how "Big Evil Bastard" was to be destroyed. I am actually looking forward to reading the last and final book of the trilogy.
crashingwaves38 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Hollow continues the battle that begin in Blood Brothers and focuses on the romance between Fox and Layla.Fox is probably one of my favorite male protagonists Roberts has created. I feel like he is a more optimistic male than you see in most of the romance genre. His romance with Layla is interesting, and complicated by the fact that she's the only one of the group who hasn't accepted and lived with her gifts her entire life. Watching her stretch her wings and accept it as her normal is a touching process. One of the major altercations with the boy-demon was great to read; very creepy and well-done.However, I feel like the process of Layla's acceptance of herself is rushed. I'm not as fond of Layla's personality as I usually am with Roberts' characters. She almost feels out-of-place in the group, which is not something I have ever really said about a Roberts trilogy. She's also not a well-developed character; I got to the end of the book and didn't really feel like I knew her still. I also felt like it was weird that someone who ends up being a decently major antagonist is only introduced in this book; that introduction felt very contrived.As with the first, it's a decent book; a bad Roberts book is better than a lot of the drivel out there. But it's still not up to what I view as Roberts' standards.
cbandeli on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am a big Nora Roberts' fan. I like her books more when she does not go supernatural but sticks with day-to-day reality. For a supernatural one this is not the best but still a good read if you don't take it too seriously. Since this is book 2 of the series, I will of course read book 3 and can't wait for it to come out.
hoosgracie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Enjoyable mid-series book. The romance between Fox and Layla was good and the paranormal aspects of the series advanced well. Looking forward to the final book.
busyreadin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the 2nd book of the Sign of Seven trilogy. I haven't liked it as wll as some of her others, but it's an okay read.
IceQueenTN on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very good continous storyline, this time telling the story of the second pairing.
elsi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Like the first in the series, there's no mystery that another of the guys is going to pair up with one of the girls. Roberts has developed an intense paranormal setting to set the stage for the romances at the heart of this series. Looking forward to getting The Pagan Stone back from Jaime so I can finish reading the trilogy.
AuthorMarion on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read a few of Nora Roberts' trilogies and they have kept my interest. However, when I picked up The Hollow I had no idea that it was even part of a trilogy. (Guess I should have known better.)I started this book three times and put it down while I read something else. I simply got tired of looking at the darn thing so forced myself to read it. The premise of something evil returning to a small town every seven years should mean the reader is held from page one to the very end. But this reader found trouble right on page one. There was nothing to draw me in nor anything to keep me around. Surprisingly for Ms. Roberts she spends a lot of time on useless filler with her six characters. Too much speculation on the pairing up of the couples and not enough action on the part of Evil. One can only hope that Evil is resting up for the big conclusion in book three. While the characters are interesting, they seemed shallow and incomplete. Perhaps Ms. Roberts should have spent more time on the climactic scene, which seemed rushed, rather than on the endless chatter of Fox and Layla and their push/pull attitude towards an intimate relationship. I thought this one was a great book for putting me to sleep. Recommended by Ms. Roberts: The Three Sisters Trilogy (if you like the paranormal).
onyx95 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The time of their shared birthday was nearing (July 7, 1977) and each of them hoped that this would be the one that would end the nightmares that Caleb Hawkins, Fox O'Dell and Gage Turner had been living every 7 years for 7 days since they had made a blood brother pack on their 10th birthday out at the Pagan Stone. Now with the help of Quinn Black (reporter & Cal's fiance), Layla Darnell, and Cybil Kinski (a paranormal researcher) they may finally find the direction that they needed to stop this evil that has been terrorized Hawkins Hollow for 20 years. After finding a diary of a distant ancestor of the boys (Cal, Fox and Gage), the girls (Quinn, Layla and Cybil) believe that the clues to defeating this evil could come from her but with only the one diary it wasn't enough. The search takes the group to find more diaries and then using the information, mixed with speculations, they return to the Pagan stone to in the hopes of gaining even more information or tools to help them defeat this evil and who has been a part of each of their lives for longer than they knew.Book 2 .... The characters are great, as with most of Nora Roberts series. The different aspects of each one of these six gives the reader the chance to connect with each of them together as a team, as couples and as individuals. The spook end is minor but the relationships make up for it. It is a supernatural experience that they are going through and that is sometimes hard to pull of without being on the edge of horror. This one is more mystery, suspense and romance. With the pairing of the six in a natural order. Quinn is still a whirlwind, Layla is a bit more timid than the rest and Cybil, she is leaving me wanting to know more (always a good sign for a series). I am eager to see Gage and Cybils' story, and the conclusion of this trilogy with "The Pagan Stone"
fairypenguin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
To start, I had trouble getting through this book the first time-it went from weird to boring and back in turns. Fox and Layla are part of a group of six who are on a mission to fight an evil demon that soon threatens to take over Fox's home town, Hawkins Hallow. The are both gifted with unique psychic talents that include the ability to read minds. They find themselves drawn to one another as they work together to fight the demon. Fox and Layla are actually very appealing characters, as are they all. Their romance is fun and fascinating, despite the distractions of the confused plot. This book is hard to get into. It begins to take a departure from logic and reason. The entire concept of the demon becomes less and less credible as the book progresses, and the explanations of it's existence are vague and flimsy. Equally weak are the 'ghosts' that constantly visit characters to deliver vague, fortune-cookie like advice. Overall the concept is good, and there are some amusing portions, but the trilogy falls short of Nora Roberts' usual standard.
thedomestichick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked this one, and it was interesting to read the story as it continues to unfold. The suspense was good, wondering how they were going to solve the problem and even finding myself trying to think up various ways pieces will finally come together at the end. I also like the building of suspense up to the third book - while there is resolution in the book, there is also continued anticipation of just what the Demon can conjure up next.However, for some reason (I can't really put my finger on it), I was not as enthused about this book as I was the first one. Perhaps it was the middle - maybe it was the two main characters - I am not sure. These two characters just didn't seem to have the deep conflict - I couldn't relate to Fox's strong feelings over Carly and how that played with his developing relationship with Lyla. The internal conflict with Lyla just didn't seem to be there either. She was a "flat" character in my opinion, and I really didn't care all that much what happened with her. I found myself more drawn to what was going to happen with Gage and Cybil - and I even found their kiss near the end more exciting than all the kisses and encounters with Lyla and Fox. All in all, I rate this a three - average, I liked it but not outstanding in any particular way.
Silversi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book 2 in the trilogy "Blood Brothers" I think this was the best one.. nice and steamy, plus the whole demon killing planning thing for extra flavor.
shelleyraec on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nora Roberts has an uncanny ability to weave romance, mystery and the supernatural without losing any of the threads. Each develops rationally and pulls you into the story. She creates vivid settings so that you feel you could have seen the places she describes and which creates a backdrop of normalcy, firmly grounding the story.The characters are appealing, with men that have a strong sense of duty and loyalty (which makes a female heart flutter). The women are not simpering wimps and play an equal role in the story. Each of the six has vulnerabilities and frailties that make them easy to relate to. In The Hollow, Fox and Layla are the central characters however the others aren't pushed aside as can sometimes happen, so we begin to build relationships with them also. The story is quite chilling, a creeping evil with the ability to exaggerate the feelings we most often keep hidden - suspicion, despair, anger, and a group who have no real idea how to prevent it being unleashed on the town again but are desperate to defend themselves and their loved ones.There are no conclusions in this book so you wil be eager to read the next to see how it all ends
deep220 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fox and Layla- While the second book in the triology wasn't bogged down the way the first book was with establishing history and character, it still didn't really hit a home run. The Hollow kinda falls into the the book 2 trap in a triology it isn't the beginning or the end just blah in the middle. Luckily I really liked some of the characters, seeing Gage and Quinn's relationship develop and Gage and Cybil trying to maintain their indifference to one another. Can't wait to see how she finishes the series.
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fox is a small town lawyer who loves what he does and loves his town. The only problem is that he and two friends unleashed a demon on his beloved town when they were ten and have been fighting the evil every seven years since. Now three women have arrived in Hawkins Hollow to help in the battle and Fox has discovered an all new reason to fight in the frightened yet determined Layla. I do have to say that I did like this second story of the Pagan Stone demon much better than the first. Fox turned out to be a much better character than I expected. He's got a great personality combining compassion, protectiveness and level headedness. So much of the time attorneys (at least the ones I've read about in romances) are depicted as hard-assed over-achievers or worse, which bugs the heck out of me. On the other hand I often found myself comparing his laid back single-attorney office to the one I work in and there is a world of difference. I'd love to work for that guy! Anyway, the paranormal bits were a little creepier in this one and there were a couple really great scenes which show how connected the six friends now are to one another. I thought Layla was a decent enough character, but mostly it was Fox who carried the story for me. I'll certainly be on the lookout for book three in December!
bookwormteri on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Layla and Fox are up in this book. They fall in love and make plans to defeat the demon, nothing heavy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent. I NEED to get the next book! Love the characters. Love the morals. Love everything about these books (blood brothers 7)