My Husband's Sweethearts [NOOK Book]

Overview


When Lucy Shoreman discovered that her charming, cheating husband was dying, she came home, opened up his little black book, and decided she wasn’t going through this alone. After all, Artie’s sweethearts were there for the good times—is it fair that Lucy should have to manage the hard times herself? So she dials up the women and invites them for one last visit, never expecting any of them will actually show up. But when they do, along with a ...
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My Husband's Sweethearts

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Overview


When Lucy Shoreman discovered that her charming, cheating husband was dying, she came home, opened up his little black book, and decided she wasn’t going through this alone. After all, Artie’s sweethearts were there for the good times—is it fair that Lucy should have to manage the hard times herself? So she dials up the women and invites them for one last visit, never expecting any of them will actually show up. But when they do, along with a young man who may be Artie’s long-lost son, it’s only the first of many surprises in store.

Filled with heart, humor, and wisdom, Bridget Asher’s unforgettable novel turns a fresh eye on the joys and catastrophes of marriage, family, kindred friendships between women—and the sort of forgiveness that can change one’s entire life in the most unexpected and extraordinary ways.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Faced with the imminent death of her charming, cheating and estranged husband Artie, Lucy Shoreman decides to call the names in his little black book and invite the ladies to his Philadelphia home to say a final farewell. For her part, 30-ish Lucy, who's 18 years Artie's junior, can't decide whether she loves or hates the man, while her much-married mother insists he deserves forgiveness. As a broad spectrum of his ex-lovers arrives, including a surprised mother-and-daughter duo and a troubled young woman Lucy takes under her wing, Artie's previously undisclosed and estranged grown son, John, shows up and seems as wickedly appealing as Dad. Asher, a pen name of prolific author Julianna Baggott, takes the edge off her sharply drawn characters with a succession of familiar sentiments. But flashes of wit and a parade of memorable women keep pages turning as Lucy grows increasingly and endearingly confused about her feelings toward Artie, John and the rest. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
In a darker-than-usual version of chick lit, an angry wife prepares for the death of her cheating husband, whom she still loves. This debut from Asher (pen name of Julianna Baggott) introduces Lucy Shoreman, who recently left her considerably older husband, Artie, after he revealed he'd been unfaithful to her with three mistresses in four years. Now, six months later, Artie is dying of an acute heart infection and Lucy is back, only to learn that there were many more secrets (and women) in his life, including a grown-up, illegitimate son, John. Filled with conflicting emotions, Lucy enlists various women to help her through the ordeal of coping with Artie's final few weeks. Her much-married mother will take care of the funeral arrangements; one of Artie's exes will arrange the "parade of sweethearts" (visits from a sequence of his exes, intended partly to teach him a lesson) and Lucy herself will help unite Artie with John. This job-which includes a "Tour d'Artie," taking John to places where Artie grew up, proposed, etc., in an attempt to display all sides of the man-includes some curiously flirtatious moments, surely inappropriate in the circumstances. Asher uses various diversions to pad out the pages, but we're all waiting for Artie's death, which arrives affectingly, with a dash of truth, forgiveness all around and the way cleared for Lucy's future. Although short on plot, this is a witty, oddly sweet curiosity with a thread of insight and a degree of promise. Agent: Nat Sobel/Sobel Weber Associates
From the Publisher
"Rendered with humor and heart."—People

“Each character in this wry and beguiling book has a fresh take on love: how it tricks and blindsides us, makes us crazy, elated, sad; how we can’t stop giving it; how it ennobles our lives. As Lucy and her husband’s sweethearts reluctantly form a family as unlikely as it is beautiful, I found myself falling—falling hard—for every single one of them.”—Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling author of Love Walked In and Belong to Me

“In this spirited debut, Asher creates an unconventional family…As each character's individual story is revealed, the reader is further enveloped by this humorous yet touching.” —Booklist

“Bridget Asher’s pitch-perfect ear for language, sly wit, and compassionate understanding of what it is to be human and fallible make this novel an undiluted joy to read. My Husband’s Sweethearts is a whip-smart, tender, and eccentric tale that chronicles all the ways forgiveness can come to us. Don’t miss this ride.”—Joshilyn Jackson, bestselling author of gods in Alabama and Between, Georgia

“The narrator of this wry and thoughtful novel observes her world with snappy, unsentimental eyes, and yet she finds a way to soothe every broken heart around her—including her own—with genuine tenderness.”—Katherine Center, author of The Bright Side of Disaster

"A gem of a story about love in its various forms, laced with biting wit and poignant moments.... Once you start, you won't be able to put it down."—Newark Star-Ledger

“Quirky and quick-moving…. Readers will probably fall in love with My Husband’s Sweethearts.”—Associated Press

“A parade of memorable women keep the pages turning.”—Publishers Weekly

“Witty.”—Kirkus Reviews

From the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440338000
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/19/2008
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 564,603
  • File size: 441 KB

Meet the Author

Bridget Asher is the author of My Husband’s Sweethearts. She lives on the Florida panhandle with her husband, who is lovable, sweet, and true of heart—and has given her no reason to inquire about his former sweethearts.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Don't Try to Define Love Unless
You Need a Lesson in Futility

Careening past airline counters toward the security check-in, I'm explaining love and its various forms of failure to Lindsay, my assistant. Amid the hive of travelers—retirees in Bermuda shorts, cats in carry-on boxes perforated with air holes, hassled corporate stiffs—I find myself in the middle of a grand oration on love with a liberal dose of rationalizations. I've fallen in love with lovable cheats. I've adored the wrong men for the wrong reasons. I'm culpable. I've suffered an unruly heart and more than my share of prolonged bouts of poor judgment. I have lacked some basics in the area of control. For example: I had no control over the fact that I fell in love with Artie Shoreman—a man eighteen years my senior. I had no control over the fact that I am still in love with him even after I found out, in one fell swoop, that he had three affairs during our four-year marriage. Two were lovers he'd had before we got married, but had kept in touch with—held on to, really, like parting gifts from his bachelorhood, living memorabilia. Artie didn't want to call these affairs because they were spur-of-the-moment. They weren't premeditated. He trotted out terminology like fling and dalliance. The third affair he called accidental.

And I have no control over the fact that I am angry that Artie's gotten so sick—so deathbedish—in the midst of this and that I blame him for his dramatic flair. I have no control over the compulsion I feel to go back home to him right now, bailing out of a speech on convoluted SEC regulations—because my mother has told me in a middle-of-the-night, bad-news phone call that his health is grave. I have no control over the fact that I'm still furious at Artie for being a cheat just when one might, possibly, expect me to soften, at least a little.

I'm telling Lindsay how I left Artie shortly after I found out about the affairs and how that was the right thing to do six months ago. I tell her how all three affairs were revealed at once—like some awful game show.

Lindsay is petite. Her jacket sleeves are always a bit too long for her, as if she's wearing an older sister's hand-me-downs that she hasn't quite grown into. She has silky blond hair that swings around like she's trapped in a shampoo commercial, and she wears small glasses that slip down the bridge of a nose so perfect and narrow I'm not sure how she breathes through it. It's as if her nose were designed as an accent piece without regard to function. She knows this whole story, of course. She's nodding along in full agreement. I forge on.

I tell her that this hasn't been so bad, opting for business trip after business trip, a few months hunkered down with one client and then another, every convention opportunity—a life of short-term corporate rentals and hotel rooms. It was supposed to allow me some time and space to get my heart together. The plan was that when I saw Artie again, I'd be ready, but I'm not.

"Love can't be ordered around or even run by a nice-enough democracy," I tell Lindsay. My definition of a democracy consists of polling the only two people I've chosen to confide in—my anxiety-prone office assistant, Lindsay, who at this very moment is clipping along next to me through JFK airport's terminal, and my overwrought mother, who's got me on speed dial.

"Love refuses to barter," I say. "It won't haggle with you like that Turkish man with the fake Gucci bags." My mother insists I get her a fake Gucci bag each time I'm in New York on business; my carry-on is bulging with fake Gucci at this very moment.

"Love isn't logical," I insist. "It's immune to logic." In my case: my husband is a cheater and a liar, therefore I should move on or decide to forgive him, which is an option that I've heard some women actually choose in situations like this.

Lindsay says, "Of course, Lucy. No doubt about it!"

There's something about Lindsay's confident tone that rattles me. She's often overly positive, and sometimes her high-salaried agreement makes me double-think. I try to carry on with the speech. I say, "I have to stick by my mistakes, though, including the ones that I came by naturally through my mother." My mother—the Queen of Poor Judgment in Men. I flash on an image of her in a velour sweat suit, smiling at me with a mix of hopeful pride and pity. "I have to stick by my mistakes because they've made me who I am. And I'm someone that I've come to like—except when I get flustered ordering elaborate side dishes in sushi restaurants, in which case I'm completely overbearing, I know."

"No kidding," Lindsay agrees, a little too quickly.

And now I stop in the middle of the airport—my laptop swinging forward, my little carry-on suitcase wheels coming to a quick halt (I've only packed necessities—Lindsay will ship the rest of my things later). "I'm not ready to see him," I say.

"Artie needs you," my mother had told me during last night's phone call. "He is your husband still, after all. And it's very bad form to leave a dying husband, Lucy."

This was the first time that anyone had said that Artie was going to die—aloud, matter-of-factly. Until that moment it had been serious, surely, but he's still young—only fifty. He comes from a long line of men who died young, but that shouldn't mean anything—not with today's advances in medicine. "He's just being dramatic," I told my mother, trying to return to the old script, the one where we joke about Artie's dire attempts to get me back.

"But what if he isn't just being dramatic?" she said. "You need to be here. Your being away now, well, it's bad karma. You'll come back in your next life as a beetle."

"Since when do you talk about karma?" I asked.

"I'm dating a Buddhist now," my mother said. "Didn't I tell you that?"

Lindsay has grabbed my elbow. "Are you okay?"

"My mother is dating a Buddhist," I tell her, as if explaining how terribly wrong everything is. My eyes have filled with tears. The airport signs overhead go blurry. "Here." I hand her my pocketbook. "I won't be able to find my ID."

She leads me to a set of phones near an elevator and starts digging through my purse. I can't root through it right now. I can't because I know what's stuffed inside—all the little cards that I've pulled from little envelopes stuck in small plastic green forks accompanying the daily deliveries of flowers that Artie's ordered long distance. He's found me no matter what hotel room I'm in or apartment I'm put up in anywhere I happen to be in the continental U.S. (How does he know where I am? Who gives him my itinerary—my mother? I've always suspected her, but have never told her to stop. Secretly, I like Artie to know where I am. Secretly, I need the flowers, even though part of me hates them—and him.)

"I'm glad you kept all of these," Lindsay says. She's been in my hotel rooms. She's seen the flowers that collect until they're all in various stages of wilt. She hands me my license.

"I wish I hadn't kept them. I'm pretty sure it's a sign of weakness," I tell her.

She pulls one out. "I've always wondered," she says, "you know, what he has to say in all of those cards."

Suddenly I don't want to find my way into the line at security with a herd of strangers. The line is long, but still I have plenty of time—too much. In fact, I know I'll be restless on the other side, feel a little caged myself—like one of those cats in the carry-ons. I don't want to be alone. "Go ahead."

"Are you sure?" She raises her thin eyebrows.

I think about it a moment longer. I don't really want to hear Artie's love notes. Part of me is desperate to grab the pocketbook out of her hands, tell her sorry, changed my mind, and get in line with everyone else. But another part of me wants her to read these cards, to see if they are as manipulative as I think they are. In fact, I think I need that right now. A little sisterly validation. "Yes," I tell her.

She plucks the note and reads aloud, "Number forty-seven: the way you think every dining room should have a sofa in it for people who want to lie down to digest, but still be part of the witty conversation." She glances at me.

"I like to lie down after I eat—like the Egyptians or something. The dining room sofa just makes good sense."

"Do you have one?"

"Artie bought me one for our first anniversary." I don't want to think of it now, but it's there in my mind—a long antique sofa reupholstered with a fabric of red poppies on a white background and dark wood trim that matches the dining room furniture. We made love on it that first night in the house, the boxy pillows sliding out from under us onto the floor, the aged springs creaking.

She pulls out another one and reads, "Number fifty-two: how the freckles on your chest can be connected to make an approximate constellation of Elvis."

A crew of flight attendants glides by in what seems to be the V formation of migrating geese. A few of Artie's old girlfriends were flight attendants. He made his money opening an Italian restaurant during his late twenties (despite a lack of any real Italian blood in him) and then launching a national chain. He traveled a lot. Flight attendants were plentiful. I watch them swish by in their nylons, the wheels on their suitcases rumbling. My stomach cinches up for a moment. "He actually did that once, connected the freckles, and documented it. We have the photos." I'm waiting for Lindsay's righteous anger to become apparent, but this doesn't seem to be the case. In fact, I notice that she's smiling a little.

She pulls out a third. "Number fifty-five: the way you're afraid that if you forgive your father—once and for all—he might really disappear in some way, even though he's been dead for years."

Lindsay raises her eyebrows at me again.

"Artie's a great listener. He remembers everything. What can I say? It doesn't mean that I should forgive his betrayal and go home to him." Here's one of the reasons I hate Artie. He is so fully and completely himself, his own person, but when I asked him why he cheated on me, he came up with a tired, worn-out response. He constantly falls in love. He thought he could stop when we got married, but he couldn't. He confessed that he fell in love with women all the time, all day, every day, that he adores everything about women—the way they sway when they walk, their fine necks—he even loves their imperfections. And he would get caught up. They confided in him, women did. Suddenly it seemed that a woman was telling him everything and then the next minute she was unbuttoning her blouse. He told me that he hated himself—of course—and that he didn't want to hurt me. At the same time, he loved the women he'd had affairs with—all in different ways for different reasons. But he didn't want to spend his life with them. He wanted to spend his life with me. I hate Artie for betraying me, yes, but I might hate him more for getting me caught up in such an embarrassing cliché.

I was too heartbroken to respond, too angry to do anything but leave.

"Do you think he'll be okay?" Lindsay asks, meaning his health.

"I know," I tell her. "I know. A good person would go home and forgive him because he's so sick. A good person probably would have stayed put and tried to sort it all out, in person, one way or the other and not just run around the country like I did. I know." I'm getting emotional. I take a moment to press the tears from my eyes. I wipe away some mascara. Why did I put on makeup at all? I realize that I'm dressed all wrong. I'm wearing a professional outfit—tan slacks, expensive shoes, a blazer. What was I thinking? I remember getting dressed while packing quickly. I was on autopilot—bumping around my hotel room amid the dying flowers. I'm an auditor—a partner in a firm, in fact—and I look like one—even now when I shouldn't. Trust me, I'm aware of the irony that it's my job to know when someone is cheating and that I was blind to Artie's infidelity for so long. "I'm supposed to know fraud, intimately. It's what I do for a living, Lindsay. How could I have not seen it?"

"Well, he wasn't really handling his risk of detection very well." Lindsay smiles, trying to cheer me. She's recently gone to a lecture on the risk of detection and is proud of herself in this moment. "You'll sort it out, Lucy. You sort everything out. It's what you do best!"

"At work," I tell her. "But my personal history doesn't bear that out exactly. Two different worlds."
Lindsay looks around the airport like she's a little confused—she's wearing her confusion on her face, advertising her confusion, as if she's just for the first time heard that there are actually two different worlds—a twilight zone moment. I've been grooming her for upward mobility. She's going to be taking over while I'm on leave and she'll have to work on her toughness if she's going to make it through. I've talked to her about trying not to display her emotions so readily. I'd give her a little lecture on that right now—but I'm no model of emotional discipline at present.

"You think I should forgive him, don't you? You think I should go home and that we should try to figure it out, don't you?"

She's not sure what to say. She looks side to side and then she gives in and nods.

"Because he deserves it or because he's sick?"

She shifts. "I'm not sure that this is the right reason or not, but, well, because I've never had a boyfriend who could get past three or, maybe, four reasons why he loved me. Not that I've asked for a list or anything, but, you know what I mean. Because Artie loves you like that."

Artie loves me like that—it seems true in this instant, as if she's stripped away all of the gestures that I've taken as manipulation and just seen them purely, as a manifestation of his love—for me. I'm shocked by this way of seeing it—the bareness of it all. I'm not certain how to reply. "I'm sure you'll do fine while I'm gone," I tell her. "I know you can do it."

From the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 21, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read

    After reading The Pretend Wife, I immediately had to find other books written by Bridget Asher. Another great book by Bridget. Couldn't put it down. You grow to love each of the characters is a different way. A must read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2009

    Worth your time...

    My Husband's Sweethearts, a novel by Bridget Asher (pen name of the mighty and prolific Julianna Baggott), is worth your time, my friends. <BR/><BR/>The story is rich with an array of characters, and Asher handles each of them masterfully: you feel like you know each character, and you know what's at stake for them. The refreshing thing here (and you'll find it in Baggott's writing in general) is that each character is treated with a great amount of care and precision; these are people on a journey and Asher seeks to make that clear by taking the time to show the journey. Each character's journey is tied to another character's journey, but Asher doesn't glaze over the loneliness of suffering: her snapshots of each character in their very specific moments of grieving are breathtaking. I dare you to walk away untouched. <BR/><BR/>The prose is witty as hell and always sharp, each scene rendered purposefully. Through Lucy's eyes, we navigate an actual human existence: all the little things and big things that comprise a life. <BR/><BR/>Don't miss the meditation on family here. Asher creates a large group of seemingly different characters and binds them as a unit. Family here is much more than just DNA and obligation. Asher pushes you to see that, to see that families--emotional bonds--are fostered out of the strangest situations (e.g. Lucy becoming attached to some of her husband's sweethearts). <BR/><BR/>Also, while this is such a novel about women, let's not forget the men: Artie and John. Asher writes Artie in a manner that goes beyond ideas of being forgiving or non-forgiving: he's just a man, plain and simple, and he's not perfect. John is the ultimate sweetheart of the novel, a young man who's incredibly earnest and full of heart. Each scene with him is a gift. Arguably, Asher writes men better than some men writing today: her characterizations and scenes lead to a truth worth sticking around for. <BR/><BR/>Know that Asher is a writer who aims for your heart. And she doesn't miss.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2012

    Waste of time

    This book was a waste of time. The plot was both stupid and cliched.

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  • Posted August 9, 2012

    Great!

    I really enjoyed this book! I read it a few years ago and I still think about the characters. After reading this book, I put Bridget Asher on my list of authors to watch!

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

    Posted April 2, 2012

    Sunslash

    I will help. Plese dont judge me by my name

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    Redstar

    *sits down* i am leader of emeraldclan

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    my husband's sweethearts....

    Has got to be one of the best books I've read in a long time.

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

    Posted December 24, 2011

    Lovers

    Getting pass the hurt and pain

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

    Wonderful Story!

    This is a fantastic book that you'll quickly become engrossed in. The writing does a great job of describing very difficult emotional feelings. It takes the incredibly difficult subjects of infidelity, marriage and terminal illness and mixes them together to show how sometimes something bad can turn into something pretty wonderful.

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

    Posted July 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    An Impulse Buy, but a Nice Surprise

    I wasn't sure what I was going to find when I bought this book. I picked it up on impulse though I had never heard of it or the author. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by it.

    There was love, romance, sorrow and so many other emotional journeys. I highly recommend this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Easy Read

    It was an easy book to get into and finish to the end. Good characters, story line and plot. It was an odd way of handling all of her husbands past relationships. Would refer this book to someone.

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

    Posted August 26, 2008

    A great read.

    Lucy Shoreman¿s husband Artie is a cheater. When Lucy learns this she confronts him only to have him confess there have been two other affairs during their four year marriage. To cope with Artie¿s infidelity Lucy leaves home and immerses herself in work for six months to deal with his betrayal. Then she receives a middle of the night phone call from her mother, he¿s gravely ill. ¿Artie needs you. He is your husband still, after all. And it¿s very bad form to leave a dying husband.¿ Lucy returns home but still can¿t bring herself to forgive Artie. After more than a few drinks Lucy picks up the phone, calls up all the former sweethearts in Artie¿s little black book and announces, ¿Artie Shoreman is dying, Please call to schedule your turn at his deathbed.¿ What happens next surprises everyone, the sweethearts begin to show up. From the young, tattooed and pierced Elba to Artie¿s former high school teacher, the elderly Mrs. Dutton with many in between. An unlikely friendship begins to form with some of these women and you¿re pulled along an emotional roller coaster with Lucy. Asher¿s writing is truly amazing. I laughed, I cried and it seemed that I could truly feel Lucy¿s emotion in her words. I couldn¿t believe how fast I got to the end of the book. Along with Lucy¿s road to forgiveness there are two other story lines that develop bringing a surprise ending to this incredible story about love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2008

    bittersweet final grand Tour

    In Philadelphia thirty something Lucy Shoreman loves and hates her fiftyish husband Artie. She left him six months ago when she learned he cheated on her. However, when Artie informs her he is dying, Lucy comes home to help him in his final days. Still she is bitter and finding out other secrets he hid from her increases her acrimony especially his concealing an illegitimate alienated adult son, John. --- She decides life is unfair that she the cuckold one needs to go it alone when he had so many women in his life who shared the good times so let them also share the end times. She calls all the women in his black book and assigns the somewhat stunned females with tasks. She orders her mom, the divorce queen, to arrange the funeral. Finally to herself, she assigns bringing together estranged father and son though she admits to herself he is a chip off the old hunk block. --- The story line is limited as everything focuses on the death countdown however the ensemble cast make up for this with their differing personalities and reactions to Artie and Lucy. The sharp chick lit asides and the often rancorous exchanges are superseded by a sentiment of doing the right thing even if it kills you. Fans will appreciate this bittersweet final grand 'Tour d'Artie'. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2011

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