Making of a Duchess [NOOK Book]

Overview

A very dangerous attraction...
Julien Harcourt, duc de Valère, is more than willing to marry the lovely young lady his mother has chosen. Little does he know, she's been sent to prove him a spy and a traitor...

And an even more dangerous secret...
Sarah Smith's mission is to find out whether the Duc's trips to the Continent are as innocent as he claims, but the way he looks ...

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Making of a Duchess

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Overview

A very dangerous attraction...
Julien Harcourt, duc de Valère, is more than willing to marry the lovely young lady his mother has chosen. Little does he know, she's been sent to prove him a spy and a traitor...

And an even more dangerous secret...
Sarah Smith's mission is to find out whether the Duc's trips to the Continent are as innocent as he claims, but the way he looks at her is far from innocent...

Their risky game of cat and mouse propels them from the ballrooms of London to the prisons of Paris, and into a fragile love that may not survive their deceptions...

Praise for Bestselling Author Shana Galen:

"An irresistible mix of sexy romance and sharp wit."
-Chicago Tribune

"Spirited characters, lively dialogue, breakneck pace, and great sense of fun."
-Publisher's Weekly

"Shana Galen will leave you breathless!"
-Julianne MacLean, USA Today bestselling author of
When a Stranger Loves Me

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Galen's trilogy, the stories of lost brothers, begins with a fast-paced, action-packed, cat-and-mouse spy thriller that will leave you breathless. Her engaging characters and strong plotline enhance the spirited dialogue and sense of adventure. 4 Star Review." - RT Book Reviews

"Intrigue, suspense, and romance wrapped neatly into a delicious story that will keep the reader going until the very last page." - Affaire de Coeur

"Galen has written a fun romance." - Historical Novel Review

"Galen did a fabulous job!" - History Undressed

"The dialogue, charming wit, the intrigues, and the steamy love scenes in The Making of a Duchess make the novel a page-turner. " - The Long and Short of It

"Galen strikes the perfect balance between dangerous intrigue and sexy romance in her latest deftly crafted Regency historical. " - Booklist

"[A] well-written, historical romance with lots of detail, interesting and engaging characters and plots with twists and turns. " - Thoughts From Lady Tess

"Exceptionally entertaining reading with a cast of brilliantly written characters." - Rundpinne

"Galen paints an excellent picture... a wonderfully exciting read." - Jenny Loves To Read

"The Making of a Duchess has everything I could ask for--romance... spies... mystery... and even some adventure. " - Linda Banche Romance Author

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402254420
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 98,833
  • File size: 949 KB

Meet the Author

Shana Galen is the author of 5 Regency romances and 2 light women's fiction novels. She is a three-time Rita Award finalist (RWA's most prestigious award for published romance fiction). Shana teaches 7th grade English, is active in RWA, and lives with her family in Houston, Texas.
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Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One

France, July 1789

Julien woke suddenly, his eyes wide and focused on the ceiling above his bed. It danced with color, alternating red then orange then yellow. He stared at the colors for three heartbeats: why should his ceiling flicker so?

His gaze darted about his bedroom, looking for anything else out of place. A low fire smoldered in the hearth across from the large kingwood bed he occupied. But it had been banked by the servants the night before and was almost extinguished. It couldn't be the reason for the flickering light. The light was so bright he could make out the lion's head carved into his headboard. His eyes tracked over the rest of the room: the armchair in the corner upholstered in dark green velvet, the kingwood armoire, the wash stand in the corner, the bureau Mazarin he used for a desk. Nothing was out of place, nothing out of the ordinary. He allowed his eyes to drift closed again- And then he heard the shouting.

He bolted upright, tossing the bedclothes aside and rushing to the window beside the bed. He threw aside the heavy velvet draperies and stared into the night. As the eldest of three sons, he had his choice of rooms, and his overlooked the chateau's courtyard. Normally, it was a pretty picture, lined with benches and planted with dozens of flowers. In July, those flowers burst into swaths of red and yellow and pink. As none but the gardeners typically ventured into the courtyard, Julien was certain he was one of the few to enjoy the view. Until tonight.

Tonight the deserted courtyard swelled with people. Peasants shouting and brandishing torches streamed into the square. Julien couldn't understand what they shouted, but he understood what was coming. He turned, ran for his armoire, and pulled out a pair of breeches. Quickly, he shoved his legs into them and rammed his nightshirt in at the waist. Where were his shoes? He should have listened to his nanny and put them away. Julien fell to his knees, searching.

He heard windows breaking now, heard the shouts growing louder, and knew some of the peasants had overpowered the servants and were inside the chateau. In Paris, his parents had tried to shield him from the rumors of unrest among the lower classes, but he'd heard anyway.

Unspeakable things-things he didn't want to think about.

There was another crash and a shout.

Mort à l'aristocratie! That was what the peasants had shouted in Paris before they had torn the nobles apart-massacring them. So many had been killed, even babies were butchered. He had not seen it happen, but he had heard. He eavesdropped on his parents and their friends talking and knew about the fall of the Bastille and the uprisings in the streets. His father told his little brothers this trip to the country was for rest and relaxation, but Julien knew the truth.

And now the truth was inside his home.

Finally! His hand brushed the leather of one shoe, and he snatched it then slipped it on. Where was the other?

Oh, forget it! He had no time. He must reach Armand and Bastien before the peasants did. The twins were only eleven and wouldn't know what to do. He was thirteen. He could defend himself.

He yanked open his bedroom door and immediately threw an arm up. The hallway was already thick with gray smoke, the way to his brothers' rooms obscured.

He would have to breathe through the linen of his nightshirt. Coughing and stumbling blindly forward, he grasped at the sword that hung on the wall opposite his door. It had been his grandfather's sword, and he was not allowed to touch it. Julien did not like to break the rules, but he needed that sword.

It was heavy, so heavy that he could not hold it upright for long. He dropped it to the floor and had to drag it behind him as he moved toward his brothers. Julien had been glad when, upon turning twelve, he had been allowed to move into this far wing of the chateau. He'd felt older, mature.

Now he wished he were closer to the rest of his family. The sound of the thirsty fire licking at the chateau walls peaked and merged with the cries of the peasants. They were coming closer, and they would surely kill him when they found him.

Mon Dieu, s'il vous plaît. Aidez-moi.

Julien was sweating, his nightshirt wet and clingy. It was hot, so hot, and his heart was beating like a trapped woodpecker against his ribs.

Behind him, he heard someone running. Mon Dieu! They had found him. He whirled, squinting through the gray smoke. But he could see nothing. Inside his chest, his woodpecker heart stuttered and flapped its wings while the rapid footsteps grew closer. Julien raised his drooping sword, attempting to strike. But before he could swing, his mother's face was before him. "Julien! Oh, thank God. Thank God!"

"Ma mère?"

She was dressed in a long white robe, streaked with blood and soot. Her hair, always perfectly coiffed, now streamed about her white face in black waves, making her look slightly deranged.

Julien focused on the blood. "Ma mère, are you alright?"

"We have no time. Your brothers." She took his hand and pulled him behind her. Julien noticed that beneath the skirts of her robe she wore no shoes. Even more troublesome: her robe was torn in the back.

The heat around them expanded, the air so thick and pulsing Julien could feel the heat singe his lungs. He fought for each gasping breath. "Hurry!"

They heard footsteps, and she pulled him aside, flattening them both against a tapestry on the wall.

But it was not the peasants. It was a groom and Albertine, his mother's maid. "Duchesse," the maid cried. "You must not go that way. The flames. They are too much."

"Come with us, Duchesse," the groom offered.

"No, thank you. I must reach my sons first."

To Julien's surprise, she spoke calmly and with composure. Despite the chaos and the choking smoke and the approaching cries, his mother managed to appear unruffled.

She put a hand out, touched Albertine's arm. "You go on without me. Get out, and quickly."

Without another word, she pulled Julien past the servants and along the corridor. They were both coughing now, the smoke so thick it was a wall they had to fight through. Julien hardly knew where they were anymore. He was confused and disoriented. His head hurt, his eyes smarted, and he could not stop coughing.

"We're almost there," his mother reassured him. "Don't-"

He heard the shout of angry voices ahead, and his mother slid to a stop, pushing Julien behind her. She retreated until their backs were pressed against the corridor wall. Julien peered behind him and recognized the painting hung there. They were close to his brothers' rooms now. So close.

Through the smoke the enraged voices rose and fell. "Move out of the way."

"Join us or die."

"You think you can protect the aristos? Mort à l'aristocratie!"

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 60 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Set during the French Revolution - a fun and exciting romantic escape!

    The Making of a Duchess grabbed me from the start. It opens in France during the time of the French Revolution. Julien is the eldest of the Duke's three sons and he wakes up to the sound of peasants attacking their home. He runs to help his brothers and his mother but is surrounded by angry peasants -- some of which he's known all his life. Although Julien is able to escape, the violence and hatred of that night marks him forever.

    He and his mother are able to rebuild their lives in England, but Julien cannot forget his brothers who might still be in France. Despite the danger, Julien plans visits to France to search for his brothers and help them escape. Julien is deeply committed to fighting the Revolutionaries who have taken so much from him and his family. When a young French aristocrat -- whose family barely survived the Revolution -- writes his mother, he is willing to marry the young woman. The mingling of noble French blood will be one more victory against the thousands of people that have tried to eradicate his family.

    The young woman, Sarah Smith, is actually a governess who has been manipulated by her employer into acting as an amateur spy. Her mission is to pretend to be an escaped aristo and to find proof that Julien Harcourt is spying for France and against England. Her "handler" is brutal and mean -- and clearly dangerous.

    As Sarah tries to fulfill her mission, she can't find proof of Julien's disloyalty. Instead, she is drawn to his sense of honor and kindness. But if they work together, they must still find a way to overcome the hostility and accusations from the spymaster that is Sarah's employer and handler.

    The book is such a fun read. Each part develops the characters of Julien and Sarah so that I found myself cheering for them and hoping that they'd quickly find a way out of their dilemma. The plot twists, drama, and suspense all come together and make the most of the drama of the French Revolution. The Making of a Duchess is a thoroughly fun historical romance!

    ISBN-10: 1402238657 - Mass Market Paperback
    Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (June 1, 2010), 384 pages.
    Review copy provided by the publisher.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A must read!

    ***review originally posted at Romancing Rakes***

    The first book in The Sons of the Revolution series and it's definitely a keeper. Ms. Galen has a way with throwing the reader into the midst of the action from the very first page. As Julien and his mother tried to get away from the burning barn, I could almost smell the smoke, hear the angry voices of the peasants and feel Julien's adrenaline and fear spike. Oh, the smoke might've just been from my candle but hey, it set the mood. While reading, I may have jumped a few times due to the thumping noises made by my neighbors as I was reading a suspenseful scene.

    My heart went out to Julien as he lost his father, his home and his family, except for his mother, at such a young age. He never for once, believed his brothers were dead and has never stopped looking for them; his mother has given up hope. The search for his brothers has been brought to the attention of the Foreign Office.

    Enter the lovely, orphaned governess Sarah Smith. She's never had a real family, she was left on the steps of the Academy. She takes a position as governess to one, Lord Northrop. He coerces her into acting a spy. She becomes Serafina Artois, the daughter of family friends. Sarah is instructed by Northrop to find evidence that Julien is selling national secrets. She is not allowed to return to her post as governess until she does so.

    As Sarah gets closer to the truth, she must join forces with Julien to help find his brother while trying not to get killed. Julien isn't a fan of Serafina, unlike his mother. She's refused his marriage proposal twice even though their families wanted them engaged. His friend Rigby even brings up that Serafina doesn't speak much Italian even though her family's been living in Italy. There's just so much about Serafina that intrigues Julien but after finding her several times poking around his study, he gets suspicious.

    After finding out that Sarah isn't really Serafina, Julien tries to keep his distance but well, he's a man, she's pretty and he won't be able to stay away for long. While trying to get out of the country to find Armand, his brother, Julien must keep Sarah safe. Their journey to France not only brings them closer, but they both soon realize that station didn't matter if they were meant to be together. After all, his mother wants him to be happy and Sarah makes him happy.

    I went backwards reading this series. I started off with The Making of a Gentleman so there was a spoiler or two. No matter, this book had me wanting to know how Sarah and Julien overcame their differences and problems to a happily ever after. Once again, Ms. Galen has captured my attention from the first page to the last with heart pounding action, adrenaline inducing danger, gasp worthy plot twists, and book gripping and spine breaking worthy seduction. I am looking forward to the last book in the series.


    ***book won from Rants-n-Scribbles blog hop giveaway***

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    Silly characters, cliched plot

    I'm annoyed that I paid for this book. I tried it because B&N suggested it was similar to Joanna Bourne. It isn't. Don't let the gripping first chapter fool you; the balance of this novel is neither engaging nor particularly well-written. The heroine is one of the " too stupid to live" types. Drafted as a last minute spy, because somehow every other female operative in England is busy, she bumbles her way through an attempt to impersonate a French aristocrat. In the first few hours of her mission, she 1) fails to speak with a French accent, 2) forgets hugely important details of her cover story (like the fact that her "father" is supposed to be dying), and 3) becomes so nervous that she vomits into the furniture. I guess her incompetence is supposed to be cute? The hero is little better; he ogles her figure even as he helps her up from vomiting (ick) and refers to her as "the chit" in his internal monologue (double ick). The plot is about as engaging as the lame, two-dimensional chacters. 40 pages in, I had already guessed the "surprise" ending.
    My advice: skip this in favor of a romance that doesn't insult your intelligence and that of women everywhere.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2012

    Do not judge this book....

    This is not your typical 'romance' novel so don't judge it against the others who tout sex over romance and relationship building. Galen's grasp of what it takes to build a real relationship is dead on. This first book in the Valere series got me hooked on a wonderful family who drew me in to their lives.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2012

    Enjoyable story.

    The story captured me right from the beginning and I did enjoy it. I really liked the characters and the plot of the story. I did, however, feel that a few things were a little unrealistic, but overall enjoyed the story and plan on reading #2.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    OMG

    Very good!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    Great Story

    Must read, very good story . Looking forward to book three, this book and book 2 were both exciting to read.

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  • Posted August 19, 2011

    Amazing

    I enjoyed the twist this book had, love the duc. Amazing love story. I also enjoyed the next book on Armand. Would love to hear about Bastien though. Great read!

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  • Posted November 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting Historical Romance

    Sarah Smith is a governess in Lord Northrup's house. An orphan, she is grateful to have the job although she feels untettered and without a family to anchor her. Her contentment is cruelly ended when her employer reveals that he works for the Foreign Office to catch spies, and that due to the injury of another operative, he needs Sarah to pretend to be Comtesse Sarafina de Guyenne. As the comtesse, she will move in with a French noble family that Northrup has suspicions about.

    Julien Harcourt, duc de Valere, has built a life in England. He and his mother escaped from France during the Revolution while his father was caught and eventually guillionted. His two twin brothers were never heard from again, and Julien has brought himself to the attention of the English government by his secret journeys back to France. He is looking for evidence that his brothers still live, but the English suspect him of being a traitor.

    Sarah moves in and begins the deception.. She is skeptical of her mission's success, as she has no idea how to play the role of a comtesse. Even worse, as the days go by, she finds herself attracted to Julien. Can Sarah discover the truth before Lord Northrup becomes too impatient? Is Julien a hero or a traitor to his adopted land? Will Sarah's love be returned or is Julien playing her for a fool?

    Shana Galen has created a romance sure to find favor with readers of this genre. The love scenes are steamy and authentic, and the characters are well written. The fact that the reader learns something of French history is an added bonus. This book is recommended for romance readers.

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  • Posted September 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Duchess Romps

    "The Making of a Duchess" is full of adventure, suspense, romance, and love. Set in London, 1801, the novel's hero is Julien Harcourt, the exiled French due de Valère. Julien is intent on going to France to look for his brother, Armand. Enter the comtesse Serafina Artois. Will the attractive comtesse prove a distraction for Julien and his plans? Julien and his mother barely made it out of France with their lives when the revolution occurred. Julien has been looking for his brother and finally has a tangible lead on Armand. Unfortunately, his activity has drawn the attention of the British Foreign Office and Sir Northrup. When a female operative is unable to approach Julien, Northrup sends in his children's governess, Sarah Smith. Sarah is a capable governess and fluent in French, but she's not a very good spy. Sarah is supposed to pretend to be the comtesse du Guyenne, Serafina Artois, but she's not comfortable acting as a noblewoman. When Sarah meets Julien, she finds herself attracted to him, but doesn't dare give into her feelings. Julien is also smitten by Serafina, and despite her standoffishness, he finds her intriguing. Northrup puts pressure on Sarah to find out more on Julien's activities regarding the continent. Sarah begins to question whether or not Julien is the traitor Northrup thinks he is. Giving into the feelings Sarah trusts, she confesses her duplicity to Julien. Can Julien ever trust Sarah again - especially with his heart? The story is sharp and the plot has several unexpected twists and turns with a surprise or two that will sneak up on the reader. Galen has a crisp writing voice the reader will enjoy. It's easy to picture the novel's setting. The descriptions are vivid and they don't slow the reader down. The dialogue is witty, engaging, and peppered with easy to understand French. The characters are rich and compelling and the novel has a strong supporting cast. Julien and Sarah's individual voices stand out. What makes Julien unique is his French heritage in regency England. He has a nobility to be admired - especially with how patient he is with Sarah and how determined he is to find his brother. Julien is also loyal to the bone to those he loves. It's Sarah who goes through the most growth in the novel. The readers meets her as a mousy governess, but as she takes on the comtesse identity, she learns what it truly means to be noble and find courage. She takes a big risk trusting Julien with her true identify and when she tells him who she really was, I found myself cheering at the page. The love scenes are sensual and capture the wonderment and beauty of true love. "The Making of a Duchess" is a delicious read from the first page to the last.

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  • Posted July 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Duchess is delightful....until the end.

    The Making of a Duchess begins with the perilous flight of a young Julien Harcourt and his mother in the dead of night as they run from the attack on their ancestral home during the "reign of terror" in France by villagers and their own servants. The pages are filled with their terror and feelings of bewilderment and betrayal as they fight for their lives and try to escape the fury and the fire as everything they held dear burns around them. They escape, barely, but not without the loss of beloved family members. Eventually they make their way to the safety of England where they learn to go on with their lives. Yet Julien never forgets his brothers that were left behind, ones that they feared had died that deadly night in France, whom he now secretly searches for in hopes that they too somehow escaped.

    Sarah Smith is an orphan who has finally earned a position as a governess with a respectable and wealthy family.or so she thought until her employer blackmails her into pretending to be Serafina, a young woman whose family supposedly also barely escaped France with their lives and have been living in Italy these many years, so that she can spy on Julien Harcourt and provide evidence that he is a traitor to England.

    I enjoyed The Making of a Duchess, especially the aspect that Julien and his mother were French émigrés. So often stories set in the Regency period are from the English perspective and their fight against Napoleon. Julien is your typical to die for romantic hero. What I loved more though was the heroine Sarah. I found Sarah to be a delightful heroine and appreciated that she was not made instantly into a "super spy", but more like the bumbling, frightened and unsure woman that she was. Never sure who to trust, or how she was supposed to go about with the tasks set before her, and can't lie to save her life. The author does a wonderful job in creating scenes and situations that are suspenseful and fraught with tension without it overshadowing the love story. There was only one element of the story that disappointed me. I don't want to say too much about it because it involves the ending and a revealing of a dark and long held secret, but I felt that it cheapened Sarah's character as well as the story and made it seem somewhat cliché in an otherwise exceptional historical romance. To me Sarah was brilliant as Sarah and didn't need to be more than she was in order to be worthy or acceptable to Julien. While the author's reasons for the change in Sarah's character are justified by the plot, I felt that this added twist to the story actually took away from my enjoyment and left me somewhat disappointed at the end instead of maintaining my feelings of delight when it was all said and done.

    Despite the ending that left a bad taste in my mouth, overall I found The Making of a Duchess to be well worth the reading experience and I am eagerly awaiting the second book in this series, The Making of a Gentleman (Oct 2010).

    Ratings:
    Overall: 4.0 stars
    Sensuality level: 2.5

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  • Posted June 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    Sarah has no idea what it takes to be a spy. How can she possibly gain enough information to prove that the French duke, Julien is a traitor? If she doesn't do this though, her life will drastically change and she is determined to not let that happen.

    At first, her only problem seems to be collecting evidence but as she gets closer to Julien, she realizes that her feelings for him are clouding the job she is supposed to complete. Will they be able to work past this and live happily ever after or will both of them be condemned to a life apart?

    This is probably one of my favorite historical romances. The plot was amazing and Shana's writing technique kept me intrigued from beginning to end.

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  • Posted June 20, 2010

    Delightful!

    THE MAKING OF A DUCHESS by Shana Galen is a delightful historical romance set in 1800 England.This is in first in the Sons Of The Revolution about three brothers and the women who love them. It is well written with detail and depth. It has humor, romance, belonging, sweet sensuality, betrayal, family duty, true love and adventure. The characters are charming, witty, strong, determined and will have your heart and capture your interst from the first page to the last. It is a fast paced page turner and will you not want to put it down. It starts in 1789 France during the French Revoluation and ends in London, England in 1801. The hero is on a mission to find the brother he and his mother throught to be died, he finds true love and more in the process. The heroine thinks she is an orphan and isdoing her duty, but so learns true love and so much more. They are both headstrong and determined. I would highly recommend this book especially if you enjoy a bit of history, danger, adventure and true romance. This book was received for review and more info can be found at Sourcebooks and My Book Addiction and More.

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    Posted August 19, 2011

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    Posted July 28, 2010

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    Posted January 3, 2011

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    Posted December 22, 2010

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    Posted December 7, 2010

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    Posted March 20, 2011

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    Posted January 7, 2012

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