Final Target

( 32 )

Overview

The President’s daughter...
The women determined to save her...
The man with the power to betray a nation...

Melissa Riley arrives at her sister’s isolated Virginia country home to find herself plunged into a deadly drama. There the renowned Dr. Jessica Riley is attempting to draw the daughter of the President of the United States out of a severe catatonic trauma. The last thing young Cassie Andreas saw was an...

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Overview

The President’s daughter...
The women determined to save her...
The man with the power to betray a nation...

Melissa Riley arrives at her sister’s isolated Virginia country home to find herself plunged into a deadly drama. There the renowned Dr. Jessica Riley is attempting to draw the daughter of the President of the United States out of a severe catatonic trauma. The last thing young Cassie Andreas saw was an organized team ruthlessly murder her nanny and the Secret Service agents sworn to protect her. But to free Cassie, Melissa and Jessica must trust a mysterious, charismatic man.

Michael Travis made his fortune in the international underworld. He risked everything to save Cassie during that terrible night of bloodshed. And he has entered into a secret bargain with the President. But is his show of concern all a treacherous charade? Melissa and Jessica have no choice but to accept Travis as their ally—and to follow a dangerous plan that will lead them into the world of a killer who’ll destroy anyone standing between him and the...Final Target.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Passion, power, and political intrigue clash with deadly results in Iris Johansen's latest tale of romantic suspense, Final Target. At the heart of this fast-paced thriller is the seven-year-old daughter of the president of the United States, who has witnessed something so awful it's left her in a catatonic state. Now, the woman who hopes to save her must trust her heart and her life to a mysterious man with a nefarious reputation.

When masked intruders break into a presidential stronghold and try to kidnap the president's daughter, Cassie, the child witnesses several brutal murders. She survives, thanks to the efforts of Michael Travis, a man who skirts the law and makes a living in the international underworld, but the shock leaves her dwelling in a state somewhere between consciousness and death. The president puts his daughter in the hands of Dr. Jessica Riley, who helped her younger sister, Melissa, recover from a similar condition a few years earlier. Though fully recovered, Melissa's bout with catatonia left her with a curious side effect: the ability to merge her mind with the consciousness of others who are catatonic.

As Cassie's condition worsens, her only hope lies with two people: Melissa, who can get into Cassie's mind, and Travis, whose presence has a calming affect on the child's life-threatening seizures. But there's a problem: Travis has a host of deadly assassins breathing down his neck and isn't inclined to stay, yet his conscience won't let him desert the child, either. So he takes Cassie, Jessica, and Melissa with him, sneaking them out of the country and into Europe, where he becomes embroiled in a deadly game of international intrigue. With the president's forces now breathing down his neck in the belief that he has kidnapped Cassie, and his attentions increasingly drawn toward Melissa, whom he has come to care for, Travis becomes distracted enough to make a deadly miscalculation. The tragedy that results will have a monumental effect on everyone involved and may mean the end of any hopes they hold for the future.

Johansen is a master at keeping her readers on edge, and Final Target is a perfect example of this master at work. The pace zips, the plot twists, and each turn of the page brings a new surprise. But the best part of Johansen's latest effort is her characteristically explosive mix of chilling terror and heated passions. (Beth Amos)

Beth Amos is the author of several novels, including Second Sight, Eyes of Night, and Cold White Fury.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At the center of Johansen's latest suspense thriller (after The Search) is the Wind Dancer, a priceless gold statue of the winged horse Pegasus. The statue has been in the Andreas family since the fall of Troy and now, centuries later, U.S. President Jonathan Andreas is in Paris to lend the family heirloom to a museum. On the night of the ceremony, his daughter, seven-year-old Cassie, is awakened at the family's farmhouse in the south of France by masked men who murder her nanny and her nurse, intent on kidnapping Cassie and ransoming her in exchange for the Wind Dancer. Cassie is saved in the nick of time by the arrival of Michael Travis, international underworld information dealer, but eight months later, the child is being treated in the Virginia home of psychiatrist Dr. Jessica Riley and Jessica's psychically extrasensitive sister, Melissa, for severe catatonic trauma. She hasn't spoken a word since the raid and has retreated into an imaginary tunnel where the Wind Dancer rescues her from pursuing monsters. Michael Travis then reappears and lures Cassie and the Riley sisters into a web of intrigue, taking them to Amsterdam, Paris and eventually back to the scene of the crime. There's a lot going on here, what with the telepathic dream sequences, a demented art fanatic determined to steal the statue, a subplot involving the Russian diamond cartel and the romantic tension between Melissa and Travis. Johansen's fans will enjoy the swirling plot lines, staccato dialogue and abrupt scene shifts that mark her style. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553582130
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/26/2002
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 308,722
  • Product dimensions: 4.75 (w) x 6.76 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Iris Johansen

Iris Johansen is the New York Times bestselling author of Killer Dreams, On the Run, Countdown, Firestorm, Fatal Tide, Dead Aim, No One to Trust and more. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia.

Biography

After her two children left home for college, Iris Johansen decided to devote her new found free time to writing. Since she loved reading romance novels, she penned a love story, and found to her surprise that "I was just as voracious a writer as I was a reader." During the 1980s, her name was emblazoned on dozens of slender volumes featuring spirited adventuresses, passionate mystery men, and smoldering love scenes. These days, Johansen is one of a posse of former romance writers dominating the New York Times bestseller lists.

Early on in her career, Johansen developed the habit of following characters from book to book, sometimes introducing minor characters in one novel who then become major figures in another. She developed families, relationships, and even fictional countries in her romance novels, which "stretched the boundaries of the standard formulas," according to Barbara E. Kemp in Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers. In 1991, Johansen broke out of category romance (a term for short books written to conform to the length, style and subject matter guidelines for a publisher's series) with The Wind Dancer, a romantic-suspense novel set in 16th-century Italy. She followed it with two sequels, Storm Winds and Reap the Wind, to form a trilogy, then wrote several more stand-alone romance novels before The Ugly Duckling was published in 1996.

The Ugly Duckling was her first book to be released in hardcover -- and the first to significantly broaden her readership beyond her romance fan base. Since then, Johansen's plots have gotten tighter and more suspense-driven; critics have praised her "flesh-and-blood characters, crackling dialogue and lean, suspenseful plotting" (Publishers Weekly). Some of her most popular books feature forensic sculptor Eve Duncan, who first appeared in The Face of Deception in 1998. But Johansen seems equally comfortable with male protagonists, and her books have crossed the gender division that often characterizes popular fiction. Indeed, Publishers Weekly called The Search "that rarity: a woman's novel for men."

Good To Know

Johansen rewrote the ending of Reap the Wind for its reissue in 2002. "I couldn't resist tightening and changing the climax to correspond with my changed ideas on plot structure but the story is basically the same," she explained in a Q&A on her publisher's web site.

Many of her early novels were written for the Loveswept series from Bantam Books; bestselling authors Sandra Brown and Kay Hooper also wrote for the series.

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Read an Excerpt

St. Basil, Switzerland

June 14, 1991

The jeweled eyes of the Wind Dancer, secret, enigmatic inhumanly patient, gazed out of the black and white photograph at Alex Karazov.

The uncanny impression that a mysterious sentience exuded from the statue had to be a trick of light the lens had captured. Alex shook his head. Impossible. But now he could understand the statue’s mystique and the stories that had grown up around it. The book he held was over sixty years old and the picture probably didn’t even do the statue justice. He skimmed the caption beneath the picture.

“The Wind Dancer, recognized as one of the most valuable art objects in the world. The famous ‘eyes of the Wind Dancer’ are two perfectly matched almond-shaped emeralds 65.60 carats each. Four hundred and forty-seven diamonds encrust the base of the winged statue of Pegasus.

In her book Facts and Legends of the Wind Dancer, published in 1923, Lily Andreas claimed there were historical references indicating the Wind Dancer had been in the possession of Alexander the Great during his first campaign in Persia in 323 b.c.; later, it was said to have passed to Charlemagne during his reign. Andreas’s book was the subject of controversy. She claimed that a host of the most influential figures throughout the ages had not only possessed the Wind Dancer but asserted that it had contributed decisively to their success or failure. Both the antiquity of the statue and its history were challenged by the London and Cairo museums at the time.”

Alex impatiently closed Art Treasures of the World, pushing it aside as Pavel set a stack of five more volumes on the desk. He already knew the contents of Lily Andreas’s book. He remembered Ledford quoting it chapter and verse as if it were the Bible.

Pavel raised one busy black brow. “No luck?”

Alex shook his head. “Too early. I need facts, not legends.” He reached for the top book on the stack, flipped it open to the index, ran his finger down the chapter headings until he found the one labeled “Wind Dancer,” then thumbed to the correct page. “For God’s sake, you’d think the damn statue had disappeared from the planet.” Speed reading through the chapter, he muttered, “At least this book gets us out of the roaring twenties. It mentions the Wind Dancer’s confiscation by the Germans in 1939 and its discovery in Hitler’s mountain retreat after World War Two.” He slammed the book shut. “But I’m wasting time. Call the curator of the Louvre and...”

“Ask where the Wind Dancer is now,” Pavel finished for him. He shook his head, an amused grin creasing his weathered, heavily jowled face. “You know, of course, they’ll probably try to trace the call and notify Interpol. I imagine the management of the Louvre is a bit touchy since they ‘lost’ the ‘Mona Lisa’ yesterday.”

“Maybe,” Alex said, abstracted. He stood up and walked across the room to a long table on which a number of headlined newspaper articles had been cut out and arranged like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

michelangelo’s “david” disappears from florence terrorist group black medina assassinates cardinal on way to vatican police baffled at rembrandt’s “night Watch” theft from amsterdam museum terrorist group black medina kills three in bombing at charles de gaulle airport “mona lisa” stolen from louvre

Several other articles lay under a jade paperweight, and Alex glanced at them as he tried to decide whether he was interested enough to commit to it. If he was right, that call would cause even more furor than Pavel believed.

Oh, what the hell. Why not? He couldn’t just sit there on this damn mountaintop and let his brain grow barnacles. “Phone anyway. Give my name and say I’m doing research for a novel. I need to know where the Wind Dancer is right now. The Andreas family lives in the U.S., but I recall an article a few years ago about French public opinion on the Wind Dancer: the average French citizen considers it a national treasure. Find out more about that, if you can. Oh, the Louvre curator’s name is Emile Desloge.”

Pavel nodded, his black eyes twinkling as he studied Alex’s intent face. “I call the Louvre and you get another piece for your puzzle.” He gave a mock sigh. “And when the statue is stolen, at whose door will the police come knocking?” He lightly tapped the massive bulk of his gray-sweatered chest with one hand. “Pavel Rubanski’s door. You bring me nothing but trouble. If I had any sense, I’d leave you and find a job with someone who offers less pay and greater job security.” “You’d be bored as hell.” Alex grinned as he sat down at the table and drew the latest article toward him. “God knows I am.” Lumbering to the door, Pavel halted and looked back at Alex in surprise. “I’m glad you’re finally admitting it. Now I can do something besides feed you information for your infernal puzzles. What’s the use of being a rich man if you don’t spend your money? Instead of calling the Louvre, I’ll phone the travel agent and arrange a nice, sunny vacation in Martinique. You always enjoyed going to Martinique at this time of year.” His tone became coaxing. “Or we’ll send for Angela and one of her friends to come to the chalet for a pleasant little weekend orgy. Sex is as good as a vacation anytime.”

Alex’s lips twitched as he looked at the hopeful expression on Pavel’s face. “And you’re betting one or the other of those distractions will take my mind off the Wind Dancer.”

Pavel nodded. “You may be under KGB and CIA blankets of protection, but I’m not so favored where Interpol is concerned. I’m a peaceful man who wants only a little sunshine, a little sex, maybe a fine gourmet meal now and then...”

“Now and then?” Alex smiled affectionately. “You haven’t stepped on the scales lately.”

“That’s not fat, it’s muscle. I’m a big man and I need fuel. Besides, what else can I do up here in the mountains but eat? Now, on Martinique I could just lie on the beach with a piña colada and not have to worry about snow or ice—or Interpol asking me uncomfortable questions.”

“Interpol’s too busy clutching at straws and chasing after every clue in sight to bother with you.” Alex thought about those recent newspaper headlines and frowned. “I wonder if that’s part of it . . .”

“Part of what?”

Alex didn’t answer, his mind busily sorting out information, drawing conclusions, discarding them, moving the information to new positions, drawing other conclusions, and fitting pieces together until they formed a picture with which he could be satisfied.

“Never mind,” Pavel grumbled. “I might as well live on this blasted mountain by myself. No one can talk to you when you’re working on one of your puzzles. It’s not as if you had to do it for a living anymore. You’re a damn addict.” He swung the door shut behind him.

Was Pavel right? Alex wondered. Probably. He had worked at the task too long and knew too well the heady exhilaration of finally solving a puzzle. After Afghanistan he had thought he would never delve willingly into a project again, but he hadn’t counted on the habits the years had formed. Since he had come to St. Basil he had drifted back into the pattern of gathering information and projecting events for his own amusement on subjects as widely varied as the rise and fall of the New York Stock Market to which countries would host future Olympic games.

But this new puzzle was much more intriguing than any he had ever run across, and Alex could feel the adrenaline begin to flow through his veins as excitement gripped him. He felt alive, functioning at the top of his form once more.

One hour later Pavel entered the study and tossed a legal pad on the table in front of Alex.

“Here it is. The Wind Dancer is owned presently by Jonathan Andreas.”

“Where is it?”

“At the Andreas compound in Port Andreas, South Carolina. Andreas is one of the wealthiest men in America and the compound is bristling with bodyguards and security people. The house has a state-of-the-art security system.”

“So did the Louvre,” Alex said dryly. “It didn’t prevent thieves from stealing the ‘Mona Lisa.’ “ He looked down at the notes on the yellow legal pad. “What’s this about Vasaro?”

“Vasaro, the estate, is located near Grasse in France and raises flowers for the perfume industry. The family Vasaro is distantly related to the Andreases; it was the French cousins who convinced Jonathan Andreas’s father to lend the Wind Dancer to the Louvre in 1939 to earn money to ransom eleven Jewish artists held hostage by the Germans. Five years ago, while she was attending the Sorbonne, a Caitlin Vasaro did a research paper on the significance of the Wind Dancer in history that was used as the cornerstone for a doctorate study by Andre Beaujolis.”

“Do the Vasaros have any claim to the Wind Dancer?”

Pavel shook his head. “But the French government challenged the Andreas family in 1876 on the grounds that Marie Antoinette’s gift wasn’t legal under the revolutionary assembly. They lost the suit.” He paused. “You think the Wind Dancer is going to be heisted next?”

“Probably not.”

“Then may I ask why I’ve spent almost an entire hour on the phone with an extremely suspicious French curator?”

“Every art object stolen has been of major cultural importance to the countries of Europe. The statue of David in Italy, the ‘Night Watch’ in Holland, now the ‘Mona Lisa’ in France. The Wind Dancer would be a prime candidate for theft if it was still in Europe.” Alex shrugged. “But it’s not likely to be a target while it’s safe on U.S. soil. Too bad.”

“I’m sure Jonathan Andreas doesn’t think so.”

Alex chuckled, his blue eyes suddenly sparkling in his tanned face. “Why the hell are you so glum?”

“Because you’re not. You’re excited as hell and operating on all cylinders. You’re on the trail of something. I know you, Alex.”

Alex gazed at him innocently.

“Why did you have me call the Louvre when I could have found out what you wanted to know by tapping Goldbaum or one of the usual newspaper sources?”

“Interpol won’t bother you, Pavel.”

“But you did want me to stir something up when I made the call.”

Alex nodded. “I had a hunch and wanted to leapfrog a few obstacles. Don’t worry, it won’t put your neck on the line.”

“I’m not worrying. My neck has been on the line before.” Pavel smiled. “Remember that prisoner at Diranev? I thought I’d had it for sure before you stepped in and chopped him.”

“You owed me money. I had to keep you alive to collect.”

“And all this time you had me convinced you’d done it because of the nobility of your soul.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 5, 2010

    Kind of disappointing

    The plot line seems very interesting, but I found the book full of very cheezy parts. The characters are very superficial and you really don't feel any sympathy or excitement.

    I just didn't get a feel or satisfaction from the book. And most parts annoyed me. Like, if a character has never gone to another country, how the heck are they going to move around and find a place so easily? Everything just seemed so easy, it felt boring and very cliche.

    I don't recommend it. To me it was a waste of time, but you be the judge.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2007

    Make a movie of this book

    Someone should make a movie about final target. It was the best on I've read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2005

    BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Couldn't put it down. I finished in a matter of hours. One of, if not, her best

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2003

    FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!

    this was one of her best books ever!!!! it's IMPOSSIBLE to put down. excellent plot. it had a perfect mix of romance, thrill, and suspense. definitly recommend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2002

    IT WAS GREAT!

    it was great! All of her books that I've read have been great.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2002

    Pretty Good

    This was a little hard for me to get into, but once I did , it sure was a good book. This is the first book that I read with the CD's for the book, very nice to read this way, exspecially if your driving, since you can't read when your driving you can listen to the story. Then read when you get home!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2002

    Another Outstanding Book!

    I could NOT put it down. Talk about a book that takes ahold and doesnt let go. The plot twists and turns make for an exiting read. Tho I think Galen needs his own book. He needs more action.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2001

    Sounded better than it was

    I picked this up in the new book section of the library, and the beginning was quite promising. However, I found the plot to be boring and the romance uninspired. I may try one or two other books by this author as perhaps this was an exception for her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2001

    Good Book

    I thought the book was very good. Not quite up there with Ugly Duckling (my favorite Johansen novel), but a good read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2001

    FAST PACED COULD NOT PUT DOWN ENDED TOO SOON

    This was one of her best I have read. Her characters are so real and different, that you get caught up in them real quick. This was such a quick read I was not ready to put this down and alas the ending came too quick. I sure hope Ms. Johansen writes a sequel to this novel,there is still so much she could do with these characters. You will enjoy this book very much.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2001

    SUSPENSE AT FULL-THROTTLE

    In Vasaro, France seven-year-old Cassie Andreas, the U.S. President¿s daughter, awakens to find a heinous massacre taking place in the family¿s farmhouse estate. Everyone, including her Secret Service bodyguards and her nanny (who ended up betraying her) has been killed. She begins a desperate search for a family heirloom called the Wind Dancer, which she feels will provide an emotional escape from the bloodshed around her. Just as she finds the statute, she is saved from certain death by a mysterious stranger named Michael Travis, and slips into catatonic trauma. We learn that Travis is an elusive underworld ¿information¿ broker and thief. President Jonathan Andreas is not sure if Travis is the hero he appears to be, or if he had another reason for being at the estate that evening. Andreas moves Cassie to the Virginia home of Dr. Jessica Riley, who helped her own sister Melissa come back from the same condition. Jessica doesn¿t seem to be getting anywhere with Cassie, but when Melissa returns to visit at the same time that Travis bargains his way back onto American soil, things begin to heat up tremendously. Although it appears that Melissa has a ¿special¿ connection with Cassie that Jessica cannot understand, it is Travis who holds the key to Cassie¿s recovery. He soon launches a deadly game of Russian roulette with the little girl¿s life, drawing them all into an international nightmare in which one of the main characters is brutally murdered, and the others are left to create the bait that will flush out a killer. FINAL TARGET starts with a bang and escalates from there. This is a solid chase that features restrained passions, coolly determined characters, and unspeakable danger. 4 Stars. This is a solid, entertaining read. The characters are very well developed and the dialogue is sharp. However, a little more information about catatonic trauma would have added more depth and believability to the plot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2001

    dissappointed

    I was really dissappointed with Final Target. I found it contrived and silly dialogue..no depth at all! Certainly not up to par when compared to her previous books. Please bring back Eve Duncan! This book was like reading a fairy tale but poorly done. Joanne, I know you can do better..please lose this format!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2001

    Don't waste your time

    Normally I enjoy Iris Johansen, but this book was quite awful. A contrived, silly plot with lousy dialogue and characters I really cared nothing about. Seems like she was trying to recreate elements from The Ugly Duckling (which I loved), as well as some of her other, better books. Not very suspenseful, and the token romance was forced and uninteresting. Sorry to be so negative, but I was really disappointed.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Exciting romantic suspense

    In Vasaro, France, Michael Travis aborts an attempt to kidnap Cassie, the daughter of the American President. Many men die while her nanny, a traitor, tries to hand Cassie over to the terrorists. Cassie goes into a catatonic state. The President has many doctors try to bring Cassie back but they all fail. President Andreas is forced to turn to Dr. Jessica Riley for help. Jessica once succeeded in pulling her own sister Melissa out of the same condition even though it took years to accomplish that feat. <P>Travis knows Europe is too hot for him to remain there so he maneuvers the President into giving him a ride back to the States to guard Cassie. While watching over Cassie, a psychic bond forms between Travis and Cassie. When Travis returns to Europe, Jessica, Cassie, and Melissa accompany him. While there, Melissa obtains quite an education having to shoot someone and dodge the good and bad guys all the while falling in love with Travis. <P> Years ago, Iris Johansen wrote the ¿Wind Dancer¿ trilogy and that statue play a prominent role in this book. FINAL TARGET is a thrilling romantic suspense novel that will have fans of the author ecstatic and bring Ms. Johansen new readers. A secondary player deserves his own story be told especially with the nastiness that he goes through in this exciting tale. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted January 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2011

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 32 Customer Reviews

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