Demon's Kiss (Wings in the Night Series #13)

( 38 )

Overview

Even by vampire standards, Reaper is a loner, and his current mission to destroy a gang of rogue bloodsuckers is definitely a one-vamp job. Then fate takes a hand, and before he knows it, he's surrounded by a ragtag crew of misfit helpers: the newbie, the princess, the shape-shifter and the human healer.

Seth is new to immortality, but he's sharp and strong—and he'll risk anything for the rogues' strange female captive, a secretive creature he ...

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Demon's Kiss (Wings in the Night Series #13)

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Overview

Even by vampire standards, Reaper is a loner, and his current mission to destroy a gang of rogue bloodsuckers is definitely a one-vamp job. Then fate takes a hand, and before he knows it, he's surrounded by a ragtag crew of misfit helpers: the newbie, the princess, the shape-shifter and the human healer.

Seth is new to immortality, but he's sharp and strong—and he'll risk anything for the rogues' strange female captive, a secretive creature he doesn't understand but feels compelled to save.

Vixen is confused by the emotions that swirl through her at the sight of her impulsive hero. She only hopes the brutal Gregor and his bloodthirsty renegades will leave her alive long enough to explore them.

Or will Reaper himself be the one to destroy them all?

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The latest from bestseller Shayne (Prince of Twilight) is an interesting, inventive tale of vampires with a world that's almost too fully realized, occasionally suffering from plot overload. Before he became a vampire, Reaper worked for the CIA; now he works solo, as a hired assassin. Reaper's latest commission is the rogue vampire Gregor, who along with his followers is leaving a trail of blood-drained corpses that may, if unchecked, reveal the carefully hidden world of vampires to the blissfully unsuspecting mortal masses. Complicating Reaper's mission is Seth, a newly turned vampire he's compelled to bring along on his assignment. Unfortunately for the self-proclaimed "lone wolf," that opens the door to other unwanted partners: Roxy, a Wicca healer; the vampiress Topaz; and a shape-shifter called Vixen, each of whom has her own reasons for wanting Gregor stopped. Shayne crafts a convincing world, tweaking vampire legends just enough to draw fresh blood. Though her attention to a number of subplots can frustrate, they'll also suck in an audience for the inevitable sequel. (Dec.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

The latest from bestseller Shayne (Prince of Twilight) is an interesting, inventive tale of vampires with a world that's almost too fully realized, occasionally suffering from plot overload. Before he became a vampire, Reaper worked for the CIA; now he works solo, as a hired assassin. Reaper's latest commission is the rogue vampire Gregor, who along with his followers is leaving a trail of blood-drained corpses that may, if unchecked, reveal the carefully hidden world of vampires to the blissfully unsuspecting mortal masses. Complicating Reaper's mission is Seth, a newly turned vampire he's compelled to bring along on his assignment. Unfortunately for the self-proclaimed "lone wolf," that opens the door to other unwanted partners: Roxy, a Wicca healer; the vampiress Topaz; and a shape-shifter called Vixen, each of whom has her own reasons for wanting Gregor stopped. Shayne crafts a convincing world, tweaking vampire legends just enough to draw fresh blood. Though her attention to a number of subplots can frustrate, they'll also suck in an audience for the inevitable sequel. (Dec.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778324973
  • Publisher: Mira
  • Publication date: 12/1/2007
  • Series: Wings in the Night Series , #13
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.62 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

RITA Award winning, New York Times bestselling author Maggie Shayne has published over 50 novels, including mini-series Wings in the Night (vampires), Secrets of Shadow Falls (suspense) and The Portal (witchcraft). A Wiccan High Priestess, tarot reader, advice columnist and former soap opera writer, Maggie lives in Cortland County, NY, with soulmate Lance and their furry family.
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Read an Excerpt

Seth Connor was cornered and low on energy, crouching on the top of a crumbling crypt in the middle of a cemetery. Toxic sludge had seeped in, covering the ground on all sides, so getting down and running for it was not an option. He wouldn't last long if he stepped into that muck. Besides, he was surrounded by zombies—half-witted, yeah, but still dangerous. The sludge didn't seem to bother them, or maybe they were just too zoned out to notice. Still, between them and the bubbling green chemical cocktail down there, he wouldn't stand a chance. He was going to have to try to jump the gaping distance between where he was, and where he needed to be—the roof of the caretaker's cottage. And it was a long jump. He wasn't sure he had enough juice left in him to make it.

But standing still wasn't an option, either. He shouldered the shotgun, emptied it into the mob of zombies, who were already trying to climb onto the roof themselves, just to clear himself a path, then pushed off hard. His body somersaulted through the air, once, twice, three times, poisonous muck flashing beneath him with every flip, and then it seemed to be getting closer. Hell! He stretched, straightened, reached—and just barely caught the edge of the cottage roof with his fingertips.

His legs dangled. Zombies were reaching for him, grabbing on, trying to tug him down. He kicked at them, then managed to draw his handgun. Hanging by the fingers of one hand, he peppered the bastards with lead.

They fell away. He dropped the handgun—a hell of a loss, but he might be able to find another at the next level. Tugging himself up onto the roof of the caretaker's cottage, he took a look around and saw the path to safety: a power line suspended from the roof's far side. He headed for it, hopped on and tightrope-walked his way to Level Nine.

Blowing a relieved sigh, Seth dropped the game controller onto the coffee table, stood up and stretched the kinks out of his back. It had taken a while to get through that last level, but the feeling of triumph, though bright, was only fleeting. It was a game. A fun distraction from the constant waiting that had become his life. He didn't even know what he was waiting for. But the sense of nervous anticipation, that electrical charge just before a lightning strike, that feeling that something big was about to happen, had come on stronger today than it ever had before.

He was destined for something important. He'd always known it. But he was getting awfully bored waiting to find out what it was.

His phone rang. He jumped, that was how tightly wound he was. Then he grabbed it with the half-formed notion that this might be the call that would start him on his way toward whatever it was he was supposed to be doing. A glance at the caller ID box wiped that notion away. It was only J.J. calling from The Hole, the local sports bar where Seth had been promoted to manager.

Sighing, he picked up the phone. "Yeah, pal, what is it?" It was always something.

"Seth, I don't know what to do, man. Tommy's supposed to be on grill, but he went home sick. We're out of grenadine and the dishwasher's acting up again. And we're packed tonight and short on staff."

"Dude, you call me every time I have a night off."

"It's a crisis, Seth."

"No. It's normal. A crisis is when things are unusually bad. This is stuff that happens all the time. Normal, J.J. You gotta learn how to handle it."

"I'm trying, but there's only one of me."

Seth lowered his head, then sighed and figured what the hell. It wasn't as if he had anything else to do. Maybe go to bed early. Maybe dream about her again. The beautiful little redhead with the eyes that looked right through to his soul. The one who had something to do with his destiny. The one he'd never met, but had dreamed of for as long as he could remember.

He sighed. She would be there waiting in his subconscious, no matter what time he went to sleep. "I'll be right over, okay? Meanwhile, call Bobbie to come in and handle the grill. She's closest, and she always loves picking up extra hours. Call Tanya in to wait tables. She goes right by the liquor store on her way in, so have her pick up a couple of bottles of grenadine on the way, and that'll tide us over until the truck arrives tomorrow. I'll be there in five minutes."

J.J. sighed audibly. "Thanks, Seth. You're a freaking hero, you know that?"

Yeah. Some hero. Master of broken-down dishwashers and missing waitstaff, he could leap stumbling drunks in a single bound. He closed his eyes and shook his head, before grabbing his hoodie off the hook by the apartment door and yanking it over his head on the way out.

Four hours later, the bar was closed, stools upside down on the mahogany counter, chairs upside down on the tables, floor freshly mopped and filling the place with the scent of pine cleaner. Seth was heading out for what was left of the night, which wasn't a hell of a lot.

J.J. was beside him, carrying the money pouch, which they would dump in the bank's night-deposit box on their way to the parking lot on the corner. His out-of-control brown frizz was being held hostage underneath a worn-out, stained-up Yankees cap. He shuffled his feet when he walked, and he slouched too much. Seth thought the kid needed a lot more than just on-the-job training if he ever wanted to get ahead in life.

Then again, Seth thought, who was he to talk? Okay, maybe he didn't have J.J.'s lack of self-esteem. But he was still in a job that was going nowhere, in a life that was nothing but filler, waiting for the big fat hairy deal he'd always believed was his destiny. He was meant for something big. He knew it. And tonight it felt closer than ever.

One block to the bank. J.J. was whistling the theme song from the newest Rocky film. Traffic was nonexistent, and the pavement gleamed.

"Can you believe it rained and stopped again while we were in the bar, and we never even knew it?" J.J. asked.

"Yep. The Hole is like its own self-contained world."

"World?" J.J. echoed. "Nah. Small town, maybe. Better yet, it's a self-contained soap opera. It's got all the characters down. There's the dirty old man, Henry, who can't think about anything but his dick and gets away with sexually harassing every female in the place because he's a hundred and two."

"Henry isn't thinking about his dick, J.J. He's trying to remind himself he's still a man. Patting a waitress on the ass when she passes close enough for him to reach is about the only way he can still manage to do that. Although, I think he'd feel more like a man if one of them would smack him, instead of smiling and patting him on the head as if he's cute and no real threat. They could at least pretend to be insulted."

J.J. lifted his brows. "I never thought of it that way. What about Mrs. Brown?"

"Shauna?"

"Yeah. Everyone knows she's married, but she comes in every night, drinks until she's messed up, then hits on every stranger who walks into the place."

"They never hit on her back, though."

"So?"

"Think about it. She's a good-looking woman, J.J. If she really wanted to get laid by some stranger, she wouldn't have any trouble. She's not really trying. If anyone shows any interest, she backs off like mad, until they take the hint and leave. Then she keeps drinking until she starts crying, and then she has me call her a taxi." Seth shrugged. "She's miserable and just wants to be loved. If her husband doesn't wake up, I imagine she'll eventually work up the strength to walk. Until then, she'll just keep being miserable, I guess."

"You really see things about people," J.J. told him.

"What do you see in me, Seth?"

Seth shrugged and didn't look J.J. in the eye, because it was such a sappy and un-guy-like conversation to be having. "A kid with a lot of potential. You can do anything you want to, J.J. You just have to grow a pair, you know? Like tonight, you could have made some decisions, solved some of those problems on your own, and taken the consequences, good or bad, yourself. But instead, you called me, to save yourself from having to take any chances."

"Why take chances if you don't have to?" J.J. asked.

"You know how I got promoted to manager, J.J.?" Seth didn't wait for an answer, just went on. "There was a major crisis at the bar one night. Manager had a heart attack and got rushed to the E.R. Bartender was his wife and went with him. Head waitress had to drive her there. And there I was. But I jumped in and handled it. Made some calls, got some people to fill in for the bartender and waitress, managed the place myself all night, and kept things going like clockwork. Next thing I know, I'm getting a promotion and a raise. That's why you take chances when you don't have to. No risk, no gain, pal."

J.J. nodded. "I think I get it."

The streetlight was flickering. Later Seth would think that flickering streetlight had almost seemed like a warning. But right then, he paid it no more attention than he did the little shiver that tiptoed up his spine for no obvious reason.

Then, in the next second, someone crashed into his back, slamming him to the sidewalk so hard his chin split. Then fists pounded on his head. Pain exploded behind his eyes. Shock and surprise made his heart hammer, but he reacted anyway, rolling and flinging the bastard off him, then scrambling to his feet to take a quick look around.

J.J. was lying on the ground, face-up, with some big SOB kicking him in the ribs. Seth hurled himself at J.J.'s attacker with everything he had, and the two of them sailed bodily into the alley.

He landed on top of the guy. The other one jumped on him before he could even draw a breath. But he managed to shout, "Run, J.J.! Get the hell out of here! Run!"

And that was it. One of the bad asses picked him up, spun him around, then knocked him flat again with a fist to his jaw. As he lay on his back in the alley, he caught just a glimpse of J.J. running for dear life, already a block away. Then the thugs—there were four of them now, and he was damned if he knew where the other two had come from—were all around him, blocking his vision. He couldn't see anything except legs in faded, torn jeans that hung loosely, and the front ends of unlaced Columbia suede work boots, with the tongues sticking out.

"Gimme the money bag, asshole," one of the thugs said.

Seth smiled slowly, but it hurt, so he stopped. He figured his lip was split, and maybe his jaw was busted, too. He wasn't going to tell these bastards that J.J. was the one carrying the bag. Not just yet. Give the kid time to get clear. He figured his own ass was grass, either way. "Why don't you take it from me?" he asked.

"My pleasure."

The beating really began then. And there wasn't a hell of a lot Seth could do about it. He tried to get a few blows in, tried to block the punches and kicks with his arms, but eventually he was hurting too bad and bleeding too much to do more than curl up like a boiled shrimp and wait for them to get tired.

He wondered, after a while, if this was it, the big shining moment he'd always known he was meant for. Maybe his entire purpose in life had been to be here tonight, to take the heat off J.J. So maybe it was J.J. who was truly meant for something big. Maybe he would end up being president or something. And Seth was just a pawn, a sacrifice for the greater good.

Damn. He had always thought it would be something more. And his biggest regret was her—the girl he'd been dreaming about for so long. Could he really die without ever once meeting her face-to-face? It didn't seem possible, but it looked pretty damned likely.

After thoroughly tapping the vampiric grapevine, Reaper's only lead to Gregor was a spoiled rich vampiress who called herself Topaz. She lived in a mansion on Emerald Isle, in North Carolina, and rumor had it that she'd recently lost a substantial portion of her wealth to a vampire con man who'd broken her heart. No one had heard the man's name, but his description matched that of Gregor's sidekick. The M.O. was right, the location was right, and Reaper was pretty sure his gut instincts were right, too. The con artist must have been the vampire known as Jack of Hearts. And if he could find Jack, he could find Gregor and the rest of the rogue band.

So he was on his way to Emerald Isle when the sensation hit him. First it was a sense of nervous energy, a clenching of his stomach, a twitching of various muscles, a surge of epinephrine. Fight or flight. But it came for no reason. He wasn't in danger.

No, but someone is.

He felt pain, then. Excruciating pain. Not his own. And then he sensed the essence behind it, the aura that came whenever one of his kind came into proximity with one of theirs, or whenever one of his kind was in dire need. The feelings were coming from one of the Chosen.

And not just any one of the Chosen. But his. Seth Connor. The young man was in trouble. And the bottom fell out of Reaper's stomach in spite of himself. The kid was always in trouble of one kind or another, but the pain he was feeling now… This was no minor scrape.

"God, now of all times?" Reaper rolled his eyes and told himself that Seth was proving to be exactly the kind of nuisance Reaper had told Rhiannon he was. He told himself that, even as he stopped everything he was doing to race to Seth's aid. He reminded himself that there was no choice. He hadn't been lying when he'd told Rhiannon that he was compelled, as were all vampires, to protect and watch over Seth's kind. If he could have ignored the call, he thought deliberately, deter-minedly, he might very well have kept on driving.

Yeah. Right. And just who do you think you're kidding, Reaper?

So he obeyed his instinctive need to go to the younger man, and go fast. He took an exit, following his senses, his intuition, and as he got nearer, he realized it was a damn good thing he had.

Reaper felt the cold breath of his grim namesake nearby and knew that Seth, his own charge, was near death. He skidded the car to a halt, leapt out, turned and ran, moving so quickly that he was invisible to human eyes. Moments later, he was at the mouth of an alley, where four upright men were kicking and beating one who lay on the ground, curled loosely in on himself.

Reaper didn't speak, he just moved. His first blow sent one man smashing into a wall, where his head took a chunk out of the cinder block it hit. He grabbed the second one by his nape and hurled him through the air, not bothering to watch where he came down, though he heard glass breaking. He grabbed the third by his hair and slammed his face into the ground. And then he delivered a kick to the solar plexus of the fourth that probably split his intestine apart. And all of it in the space of two seconds, possibly less.

Finally he knelt beside the young man, his cast-iron stomach churning as he bent closer. Seth's face had been badly beaten. His eyes were swollen and purple, his nose broken, lips split, jaw unhinged or broken. His own mother wouldn't have known him. Reaper knew him, though. He knew his scent, his essence. His restless, frustrated energy.

As much as he disliked physical contact, there was nothing else for it right then. Reaper slid an arm beneath Seth's shoulders and lifted his head up from the concrete floor of the alley where he lay. His body was as broken as his face, but it didn't show as much to the naked eye.

"Did J.J. get away?" Seth asked. His voice was coarse and soft.

Reaper narrowed his eyes, then probed the younger man's mind and saw the scene unfolding through Seth's memory. The attack. The other, even younger, man, J.J., being beaten. He saw what Seth had done, taking the attackers on himself to give J.J. the chance to escape. He could easily have gotten away himself, but he hadn't. Reaper sensed that J.J. had. "Yes, he's safe," he said.

Seth sighed and closed his eyes. "I'm glad."

Seth was dying. Or else he wasn't. The decision was his.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 38 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2008

    A reviewer

    This book will grab you by the throat and will not let go until the end. It WILL keep you guessing. And it WILL give you a reason to stay in your room and hide away from the world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2012

    Book

    P

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  • Posted September 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This One I'll pass

    I've actually seen and heard about this book a lot- seen it in the bookshelves, been told that it is a "must read for fans of Charlaine Harris and Sherrilyn Kenyon" both of whom I worship, and finally picked it up from the library, only to be disappointed.
    The story was stretched is what I felt after reading it. I loved the sci-fi portrayal of the vampires in it at first, sort of reminded my of the Sookie Stackhouse books in a different manner. I liked the start of the book, and the introduction of Reaper, Seth and Vixen. Then onwards, there was some kind of a downhill slope to the whole book. I didn't like most of the story and felt the plot lacked direction, I didn't like the writing that went from good to okay to mediocre to excellent in jumps and starts that left me unable to form an opinion about the writer and I didn't like the cover.
    THE COVER!
    I know some people loved the cover, but honestly.it looked sort of like something a self taught PS lover could have come up with any day, using a few lightning pictures and some random guy who fit the description of "good-looking broody dude". It didn't capture the energy of the book. It didn't scream "pick me up, pick me up, pick me up" the way some books do. It wasn't true to the book, wasn't true to its spirit.
    THE PLOT and CHARACTERS
    It was just barely okay. Perhaps the problem of the book was the Bond-movie kind of narrative. The women were all way too gorgeous (okay, I get it is about vampires, but can they be a little less tight clothed and over enthusiastic?) and the language was a little too vulgar for my taste. I like a little cussing in books, its fun. Bad language and bad descriptions are DIFFERENT. I couldn't bond with most of the characters as the narrative simply skipped from one person to another. I couldn't get why the villain was so awful (other than the fact that he uses a poker). He sort of seemed stupid and slow to me. Again, is this sci-fi or paranormal? I don't know. Because I couldn't find time to fit into the scenario of the book, or identify with a character.
    Reaper, I felt, was the high point of the book.but in some parts where he was supposed to be scary, I just got the impression of a lumbering big guy. He would have been a great character, if he'd been described a little better. Seth was enjoyably loud-mouthed and had the perfect balance of heroism and immaturity that felt fresh in a character from a book belonging to the paranormal genre. Roxy reminded me so much of some other character.I can't place her yet, but I will, and was described like a Bond movie gone wrong again. Vixen was all right, Topaz was some sort of an emotional thundercloud, Jack was pretty well characterized and Briar.I loved Briar's darkness, one of the main reasons I got through the book. Another thing I loved about this book was the pace. If anything, at least the book moves.
    All in all, I wish there had been better characters and a narrative that settled on one or two characters' point of view. A slightly better plot would have been welcome. There was no why should I care factor in it for me. The cover was deprecating, character descriptions often depressing.

    What I loved: Briar, and Seth. To an extent the character of Reaper. A few character introductions.
    What I didnt: Cover, language, under-done descriptions, shifting third person narrative, no why should I care factor.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Good Characters, Unexpected Twists

    enjoyable interesting read, not captivating but not boring or difficult to follow. A bit more complex than easy reading allows me. not a must read but a good one for anytime you want something new in paranormal relationships and suspense. For those who might reject it based on title, its not really relative to the storyline, only suggestive to add mystery.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 14, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Torture

    Hmmm, let's see. It was a light, easy read. Too easy, like it was written by a 12 year old. The story had a lot of potential but it falls very short. It just didn't grab my attention. The character development was lacking. You couldn't really get into any one character...there were no main characters as they all had equal time in the book. However, it did give a different spin on vampires than any other paranormal book that I've read. Try again Ms. Shayne

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2007

    not bad

    I found a few things about this book that I didn't like. For example, some of the lines sounded cheesey and I had a hard time putting myself in the story. But all-in-all the book was not bad.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    of romantic fantasy will appreciate Maggie Shayne¿s entertaining thriller

    When he worked as a cover operator for the CIA he was human though he preferred being a lone wolf as he felt safer depending on himself rather than the screw-ups of a teammate. Since those days, Raphael ¿Reaper¿ Rivera has become a vampire, but he remains dedicated to being a lone wolf as he plans to live a long time.---------------- Rhiannon hires Reaper to kill rogue vampire Gregor and his pack that are spread all over the southeast United States causing havoc, but figures he is the right person for the job because he is a lone assassin with no emotional ties. Rhiannon says he lies about his feelings as he cares about the Chosen Seth Connor, who he protects. However, he suddenly has an apprentice, just turned undead Seth, who admires Reaper and wants him to mentor him. Not happy to have to protect a sidekick, he soon finds himself with an unwanted pack as Roxy the human healer, Topaz the rich vampiress and Vixen the shapeshifter join his newly formed squad after he rescues the two females from Gregor¿s growing zombie vampires--------------- This is a much more complex tale than described above, as Reaper¿s team pairs off romantically. Although no one stands out amongst the players, each person on Reaper¿s team contains a different personality that the individual maintains throughout whether in danger or love. Fans of romantic fantasy will appreciate Maggie Shayne¿s entertaining thriller, just keep a scorecard handy.--------- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2009

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    Posted December 31, 2011

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    Posted December 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2011

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    Posted September 1, 2009

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    Posted January 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2010

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    Posted December 21, 2009

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    Posted February 21, 2010

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