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The Judgment Stone

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Overview

What if praying became a curse instead of a blessing?

Former Army Ranger Jagger Baird thought he had his hands full with the Tribe — the band of immortal vigilantes fighting to regain God’s grace by killing those opposed to Him. But that was before he encountered the ruthless group of immortals called the Clan. The Clan is after a prize that would give them unimaginable power — a piece of the Ten Commandments known as the Judgment Stone.

Those ...

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The Judgment Stone

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Overview

What if praying became a curse instead of a blessing?

Former Army Ranger Jagger Baird thought he had his hands full with the Tribe — the band of immortal vigilantes fighting to regain God’s grace by killing those opposed to Him. But that was before he encountered the ruthless group of immortals called the Clan. The Clan is after a prize that would give them unimaginable power — a piece of the Ten Commandments known as the Judgment Stone.

Those who touch the Stone can see into the spiritual world: angelic warriors, treacherous demons, and the blue threads of light that signal the presence of believers in communion with God.

By following the blue beam radiating from those closest to God, the Clan plans to locate His most passionate followers and destroy them.

Jagger quickly realizes his high-tech gadgetry and training are no match for these merciless immortals. But how can he defeat an enemy who hunts believers through their prayers . . . and won’t stop until they’ve annihilated all those close to Him?

In this high-action thriller, best-selling author Robert Liparulo examines the raging battle between good and evil on earth . . . and beyond.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781480545694
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/20/2013
  • Series: Immortal Files Series , #2
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Liparulo
Robert Liparulo has received rave reviews for both his adult novels (Comes a Horseman, Germ, Deadfall, and Deadlock) and the bestselling Dreamhouse Kings series for young adults. He lives in Colorado with his wife and their four children.
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Read an Excerpt

THE JUDGMENT STONE

THE IMMORTAL FILES BOOK TWO


By Robert Liparulo

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2013Robert Liparulo
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59554-172-7


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

The surface-to-air missile blasted out of a rocket launcher resting on the monk's shoulder and streaked toward the hovering helicopter. Fire plumed from the rear of the bazooka-like weapon, bright in the night-time gloominess of St. Catherine's courtyard, momentarily blinding Jagger Baird, who stood behind it and off to one side. Through the haze of bleached retinas he saw the 'copter rise and whirl around with the aerial agility of a hawk and the rocket sail past it. Seeming confused, the projectile corkscrewed toward the moon and exploded. The helicopter moved beyond the compound's west wall, over the monastery's gardens, and vanished.

Jagger watched for a few more seconds. When it didn't reappear, he stepped closer to Father Leo. The youthful monk's splotchy beard, flowing black cassock, and—mostly—the smoking weapon still perched on his shoulder made him look more like a Taliban fighter than a man of God.

Jagger said, "Where'd you get that?"

Leo turned a big grin on him. "If only the rocket had been heat-seeking."

"Any more?"

Leo let the launcher slide off his shoulder and fall to the stone ground. "I wish." He reached inside his cassock and pulled out a black shotgun. He pumped the forestock, chambering a shell.

"I need a gun," Jagger told him.

Leo's forehead creased. "Where's yours?"

As head of security for the archeological dig outside the east wall of the monastery, Jagger should have been armed to the teeth—at least better equipped than the monks—but Egypt enforced strict gun restrictions, especially among foreigners. Still, he had petitioned Gheronda, the monastery's abbot, for a firearm, and the old man had reluctantly given him a Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan, a short-barreled .44 magnum revolver with a wicked recoil. "All the brothers are afraid of it," Gheronda had explained with a slight smile. It was Jagger's under one condition: he had to keep it locked in a pistol safe in his apartment. Far from ideal—how many bad guys waited around while you ran for your gun?—but it was better than nothing. Or maybe not. Not when you were making your rounds when the action started, as he had been just as someone tried to blow open the compound's main gate.

Jagger looked up to his third-floor apartment, where he hoped his wife and son were holed up in a makeshift panic room: a small closet with a bolted metal door, which Jagger had installed after the last attack on the monastery. "Beth has it," he told Father Leo, picturing his wife pointing the weapon at the door in a two-handed grip. Don't mess with Beth.

Leo reached into his cassock again and produced a semiautomatic Glock, a model 17 9mm. He handed it to Jagger, who ejected the magazine, checked it for bullets, shoved it back into the grip, and chambered a round. That done, the two of them turned toward the gate. The inner iron door—one of three that blocked the entrance— bulged inward. Smoke seeped through the edges and streamed up the wall like a waterfall in reverse. Five other monks—Fathers Bardas, Luca, Antoine, Mattieu, and Corban—stood or crouched in a thirty-foot semicircle around it. Three of them wore black cassocks and caps. Luca, obviously rousted from bed, had on a gray flannel nightshirt that fell to his knees; all he needed was a cloth nightcap—and thirty more years—to be Ebenezer Scrooge awakened by a ghost. Corban wore a brown bathrobe cinched tight around his waist; a silver pectoral cross hung over his chest. Each of them was pointing either a rifle or a handgun at the gate. They looked as incongruous and awkward as Clint Eastwood competing in the Miss USA pageant.

"Back away!" Jagger yelled. He gestured with RoboHand, his prosthetic forearm and clamping hook. "Hurry! Move!" The only way anyone was coming through would be if they detonated another explosive, which would most likely send the doors and surrounding stone walls hurling toward the monks.

Apparently, when the first explosion failed to breach the gate, the attackers had decided to use the helicopter to get in. Having encountered Leo's rocket, and with no way of knowing the one shot had exhausted his supply, their next move was anyone's guess.

"Only six of you?" Jagger said to Leo. "Where're the rest?"

"Not all of us are fighters. Not the kind you're used to."

"What kind are they?"

"Prayer warriors," Leo said. "You can bet they're engaging the enemy at this very moment."

"Wonderful," Jagger said. He scanned the grounds. The courtyard was wedge-shaped, about thirty feet at its widest point. It was formed by the front wall; the long basilica, which angled diagonally from the back of the courtyard toward the wall; and a structure built around the Well of Moses. No Disney-cute names here: supposedly it was the very well at which Moses met his future wife, Zipporah. Radiating out from the courtyard was a crazy jumble of buildings— constructed at odd angles, in various shapes and sizes and materials over the course of seventeen centuries—honeycombed by alleys, stairs, walkways, terraces, and tunnels. All of it was crammed into an area the size of a city block, hemmed in by ancient walls sixty feet high and nine feet thick.

Over the multileveled rooftops and terraces he could see the top floor of the Southwest Range Building at the far back of the compound. It stretched the entire length of the rear wall and, situated on high ground—the entire monastery was built on the sloping base of Mount Sinai—it appeared even larger than it was. In addition to a hospice, chapel, and monk cells, it housed a library and icon gallery, second only to the Vatican's in historic importance and monetary value. Whatever the attackers wanted, chances were it was there.

Behind the Southwest Range Building, the mountain on which Moses had received the Ten Commandments rose like a watchful presence, a charcoal silhouette against a slate sky. Jagger was thankful for the moon, which here in the Sinai always seemed closer to Earth than it did back in Virginia. Even in its current half-lit state, its radiance washed away many of the compound's shadows and gave the surfaces a silvery luminosity.

He turned in a circle and stopped when he was facing Father Leo. The monk held the shotgun in one hand, its muzzle pointed up. Feet apart, spine straight, eyes slowly scanning the top of the front wall, he looked ready for anything. No fear, just vigilance. Jagger wondered how many times the man had defended the monastery and if he'd known what he was getting into when he joined the order.

Jagger asked, "What are they after?"

Continuing his visual sweep across the wall's ramparts, Leo shook his head. "I don't know."

In the still air Jagger could hear the blades of the helicopter slowing, its engine dropping to a purr, then cutting off. It had landed in front of the gardens, on the opposite side of the monastery from the archaeological dig. He ran toward the compound's northwest corner, bounded up a long flight of stone stairs, and came to a patio in front of a row of unused monk cells. He climbed onto a railing and hoisted himself onto the porch's steeply sloping roof. After twice almost losing his footing, he reached the flat roof of the monk cells. It was only about eight feet from the porch roof to the exterior wall; "small" didn't even begin to describe the private living space the monks allowed themselves. Crossing it, he reached the compound's outer wall, the top of which came to his chest. He climbed up and crawled to the outside edge.

The helicopter sat in the faded edge of the light from lamps mounted on the outside wall. It was canted on the slope leading to the mountain opposite Mount Sinai, its blades turning as slowly as a rotisserie. The things scrambling out of its wide side door and running toward the monastery made Jagger's breath stop in his lungs.

A single word gripped his mind, momentarily paralyzing him: monsters.

CHAPTER 2

Beth sat on the floor of the bedroom-closet-turned-panic-room, knees bent up in front of her, back to a side wall. By the light of a battery-powered, pull-chain light, she smiled assurances at Tyler, sitting against the opposite wall, frightened eyes, brave smile.

She said, "Everything's all right."

"How do you know?"

"Your father's out there. That's good enough for me." But she didn't blame him for being scared. The last time there was trouble at the monastery, the boy had been shot. That time the attackers had been the Tribe, a small remnant of the original forty who'd been cursed with immortality for their transgressions with the golden calf. They sought redemption by killing sinners, but through millennia of secrecy and violence, their motives and methods had twisted into behavior Beth believed God could never condone. Together the family had discovered that Jagger was like them, an Immortal—a revelation even he had found as startling as the existence of Immortals in the first place. A car crash nearly two years earlier had fragmented his memories, making them neither complete nor reliable. It had also killed a family beloved by the Bairds and taken Jagger's left arm.

Hearing the blasts outside, Beth wondered if the Tribe had returned.

Tyler was now fully recovered from the gunshot wound, largely thanks to possessing a bit of Jagger's incredible healing ability, but he'd almost died and the whole ordeal had been traumatic for everyone. On the bright side, Tyler had snapped out of his need to regress to an age when things were less complicated and scary, when he found comfort in a blankie and his thumb. It amazed her that an event that should have thrown him further into fearfulness and insecurity had instead made him one amazingly courageous and independent ten-year-old. He even wore around his neck the bullet they took out of him. She was proud of him for using it as a reminder of his victory over forces that had tried to kill him. She looked for it now, but his pajama top covered it.

"If everything's fine," Tyler said, "why do we have to be in here?"

"Because we promised Dad," she said. "Remember?"

Rolling his eyes, he made his voice deep and mimicked his father: "'Anything weird happens—gunshots, screams, little green men falling from the sky—get in there and bolt the door. Don't come out until you hear me on the other side.'"

She nodded and glanced at the rectangular metal door set flush to the wall above Tyler's head—the gun safe, just large enough to hold one handgun and a box of ammo. The lock was biometric: to open it, she or Jagger needed only to press a thumb on a square of black glass beside the door. She could get to it in seconds. Jagger wanted her to arm herself whenever she used the closet as a panic room—"If ever," she'd corrected him, truly believing he was being overcautious but loving him for it. She had also told him she'd wait until she needed the gun. Despite his teaching her and Tyler how to handle it safely, she didn't want to accidentally shoot herself or Tyler if something startled her while she was holding it in that tight space.

It was such a tight space, in fact, that if all three of them used it at once, Tyler would have to sit on one of their laps. She tried to imagine a situation in which Jagger ever would join them instead of fighting the threat, and she couldn't.

What had turned the closet into a panic room were a metal door, a special door-length hinge, four commercial-grade deadbolts, the gun safe, a light, and a bunch of supplies like batteries, a first-aid kit, freeze-dried food, two gallon jugs of water, and blankets.

She wished they'd invested in a satellite phone, though she didn't know whom she'd call. She didn't even know what the danger was. She had been washing the dinner dishes, Tyler had been brushing his teeth, and Jagger had been out making his evening rounds when they'd heard an explosion, and a tremor had run through the floor. Both her and Tyler's first inclination was to rush outside to see what happened, but she'd restrained herself and grabbed Tyler's arm. Then they'd heard shouting and doors slamming; that's when she'd guided her son into the panic room and locked the door. Since then, she thought she'd heard a helicopter, gunshots, and another explosion, this one farther off.

On the way into the closet she'd grabbed her Bible. She cracked it open now and turned to the book of John. It reminded her of God's active involvement in their lives, and she felt a tinge of hope. The Bible had been given to them by John the Apostle—also an Immortal and now using the name Owen Letois—who'd appeared at the monastery in time to save Tyler's life. And it was Owen who'd crashed his jet into the Tribe's drone control center, terminating their attack on Las Vegas. That he walked the earth was wondrous and miraculous; that she could call him friend was God bestowing a blessing on her family.

She read aloud: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Tyler smiled, and his face visually calmed. What she wouldn't give to have the faith of a child. The Bible says it, so it must be true. She believed that too, but her adult mind had a propensity to overcomplicate, to put a but after every sentence: But bad things do happen ... but my husband is out there, no doubt right in the thick of whatever's happening ... but I'm still afraid.

"Read more," Tyler said, so she did.

CHAPTER 3

As the assault team came more fully into the light, Jagger realized they weren't monsters, only men—wildly dressed and cosmetically made up. One, two, three, all of them gripping assault rifles, two with big packs bouncing on their backs. They seemed a ragtag bunch, no uniformity.

One was bald with a mustache and long, pointed goatee; black raccoon makeup over his eyes; no shirt, showing off layers of bulging muscles. Another, tall, maybe six five, six six, wore jungle commando garb: an olive flak vest, matching long-sleeved shirt, and many-pocketed pants. Long black hair flowed out from under a camo hat, the soft brim pinned up on the sides. Two dark lines ran diagonally over each cheek from the bridge of his nose: war paint. The massive gun he carried easily, as if it weighed nothing, appeared to be a .50-cal Browning machine gun—BMG—the kind meant to be mounted in the rear of a Jeep. An ammo belt ran from the weapon and looped over his shoulders.

And one, he realized, was a woman. Jagger's stomach tightened, but then he realized she wasn't Nevaeh, leader of the Tribe. Where Nevaeh was catlike, smooth, this woman moved in sharp, fast jerks, twitchy. She could have fronted a rock band: shiny leather vest fastened in front with studs—bare arms and cleavage suggested nothing underneath—studded wrist bands, leather pants.

A fourth attacker fast-walked into the brighter light, arms swinging like upside-down metronomes, and Jagger decided "ragtag" didn't cut it; insane fit the bill better. The guy was a character straight out of a steampunk graphic novel. A tight leather mask covered his face and head, stitches everywhere; round brass-framed goggles; where his mouth should have been, a ribbed gas-mask hose dangled, ending in a canister bouncing against his sternum. He wore a leather trench coat, buttoned from collar to midthigh. The material itself went all the way to his ankles. He was carrying a crossbow, a quiver of arrows on his back.

Movement caught Jagger's eye, and he saw a man standing on the opposite slope in line with the main gate. He seemed to have been there awhile, watching. He wore all black: a tee under a sport coat, snappy slacks, and gleaming dress boots with pointed toes. A fedora angled slightly over a movie star face, dark features, evening shadow, close-cropped mustache, and soul patch. One hand hovered over his chest, a smoldering cigarette between two fingers. The other hand rested on his hip. All casual, just waiting for the show to begin.

Which it did, with an overture of machine-gun fire. Bullets chipped away the stone edge in front of Jagger. Fragments pelted his forehead and cheeks. He scrambled back and jumped down to the roof. Going from there to the porch's roof, in the darkness he misjudged the distance and slope and tumbled forward. He twisted himself around, continued to roll, and felt the roof vanish under him. His right hand grabbed the edge, lost it. RoboHand shot to an upright patio-roof support and clamped it with vise-like strength. He snapped to a stop, dangling fifty feet above a stone walkway.

He hefted himself up and over the railing and clambered down the stairs. He found Leo and the other monks just off the courtyard, huddled together between the Well of Moses and the basilica. They'd heard him coming, and every gun was pointed his way.

"What was that?" Leo asked. "The shooting."

"I guess they wanted me off the wall."


(Continues...)


Excerpted from THE JUDGMENT STONE by Robert Liparulo. Copyright © 2013 by Robert Liparulo. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Robert Liparulo in his new book, "The Judgment Stone"

    Robert Liparulo in his new book, "The Judgment Stone" Book Two in The Immortal Files series gives us another adventure with Jagger Baird

    From the back cover: What if praying became a curse instead of a blessing?

    Former Army Ranger Jagger Baird thought he had his hands full with the Tribe--the band of immortal vigilantes fighting to regain God's grace by killing those opposed to Him. But that was before he encountered the ruthless group of immortals called the Clan. The Clan is after a prize that would give them unimaginable power--a piece of the Ten Commandments known as the Judgment Stone.

    Those who touch the Stone can see into the spiritual world: angelic warriors, treacherous demons, and the blue threads of light that signal the presence of believers in communion with God.

    By following the blue beam radiating from those closest to God, the Clan plans to locate His most passionate followers and destroy them.

    Jagger quickly realizes his high-tech gadgetry and training are no match for these merciless immortals. But how can he defeat an enemy who hunts believers through their prayers . . . and won't stop until they've annihilated all those close to Him?

    In this high-action thriller, best-selling author Robert Liparulo examines the raging battle between good and evil on earth . . . and beyond.

    The 13th Tribe is back and this time they are gunning for blood! Jacob, also called Israel, grandson of Abraham, had twelve sons who founded the twelve tribes of Israel. Mr. Liparulo has conceived a 13th tribe of men, women and children, 40 of them, that were cursed by God to wander the earth as immortals and never see the face of God. These would be the people who not only worshiped the golden calf but tasted the blood of the sacrifice. Somehow this punishment has driven them insane and they believe that if they punish sinners God will find favor with them and reverse His punishment, which, of course, is not going to happen. In the previous book Baird went up against The Tribe, now he faces The Clan and they are even more insane and hate filled. The Clan launch an attack on St. Catherine's Monastery and steal a fragment of the original Ten Commandments, The Judgment Stone. With this Stone The Clan can identify believers and destroy them as well as the angels who protect them. The battle continues and this time is even more deadly than the last! "The Judgment Stone" is a thriller, which simply means that everyone is in grave danger from, practically, the beginning. Mr. Liparulo has given us a really clever story with even better villains. "The Judgment Stone" is full of twists and turns that will keep you flipping pages to find out more. I do not recommend starting this book late at night as you will have to sacrifice sleep in order to finish it. This is an exciting book, extremely well paced and suspenseful. This series is just terrific. I never want it to end and I am so looking forward to the next book.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from The Suspense Zone. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Posted May 29, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    There are some amazing authors that are releasing some incredibl

    There are some amazing authors that are releasing some incredible novels and Robert Liparulo is definitely one of them. In his latest series, The Immortal Files, he began with his novel The 13th Tribe. You will need to read this one before attempting the sequel, Judgment Stone. You need the background that you discover in the first novel to make sense of where the action picks up in the second novel.

    The premise of this novel begins with the story of the Israelite's that upon waiting for Moses to come down from his meeting with God on Mt. Sinai were found worshiping a golden calf thinking that Moses had abandoned them. Those who refused to destroy their idol worship of the golden calf were destroyed from the original 12 tribes. This is where the 13th tribe originated in the first novel. The 13th tribe of men, women and children, 40 of them, were cursed by God to wander the earth as immortals for their sin and never see the face of God. These would be the people who not only worshiped the golden calf but tasted the blood of the sacrifice.

    Now these immortals have split up and gone their separate ways. For some like Owen, he is trying to work out his salvation with God by doing all the good he can in the world. Others like the Clan are running with the darker side and are wrecking havoc on Earth becoming an enemy to God and everyone who is on His side. There are others like we met at the conclusion of the 13th Tribe, that want to give up their immortal life and find a way back into God's grace again but don't know how to get there. They believe that only one person can help them and that is Jagger Baird's wife, Beth. She shared the salvation story with one of the immortals before he died and he seemed a peace where he would end up in his eternity with God.

    Only now, The Clan has discovered a tool that may help them with their endeavor to rid the world of God and all who believe in Him, and usher in the enemy to destroy and rule the world in complete darkness. This is where the Judgment Stone is being sought after. The Judgment Stone is a piece of the Ten Commandments created by God. He who possesses the stone can see into the unseen world of angels and demons. Once you can do that, you can target your enemy in an entirely new way. You can see those who are believers and destroy them as well as their angelic warriors away from the world. Striking back at the monastery where the Judgment Stone has been hidden, the Clan will stop at nothing to make sure they possess this valuable artifact. This is where Jagger will realize that despite all his military training and high-tech gadgetry he is completely defenseless against those who hunts believers through their prayers and with Jagger's family being believers, they will strike where at the very heart of his life.

    I received The Judgment Stone by Robert Liparulo compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. The best thing I enjoy about Robert's series is his ability to tap into the latest in military gadgets like Unmanned Ground Combat Units and exoskeltons that offer the military an edge up on the enemy. I found myself toggling back and forth between this novel to see just how these devices worked and was surprised at just how in the dark I was at where we are at using high tech gadgets in our military. I am impressed by his research into this which greatly enhances this series. Not only do you have Immortals walking the earth that are almost impossible to kill but now some of them are using these high tech gadgets and weapons. Truly scary and unbelievable but make this an exciting page turner til the end. For those of you that love futuristic military combined with spiritual warfare, you will LOVE this entire series. I'd rate this one a perfect 5 out of 5 stars. Now I can't wait for next novel in this series to see how it will all play out in the end.

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  • Posted May 29, 2013

    I loved this book. I did not want to put it down. This book thro

    I loved this book. I did not want to put it down. This book throws you right into the action from the first sentence.

    Now, if you enjoy a sweet romance this book might not be for you. But I like sweet romances but I also like action packed adventure and I found it in this book.

    The Judgment Stone is the second book in a series. The first book is The 13th Tribe. If you start with this book you won't be lost but trust me, you'll want to go back and read the first. I have not read the first but it is on my list to read this summer.

    What I liked about this book was the visual it gives of what happens when we pray, what we don't see. Jagger (the main character) touched the Judgement Stone (a piece of the first ten commandments that Moses threw down when the Israelites made the golden calf) and when the stone is touched you can see into the Heavenly realm. He saw angels surrounding those who were praying and when people prayed it was like lights flowed out of them up into the atmosphere.

    What a powerful visual for us as we hit our knees in prayer and a reminder that our prayers do matter and God is listening.

    Make no mistake, seeing into the Heavenly realm means seeing things that aren't so pleasant either, such as demons, which are as real as angels even though we don't like to talk about it.

    If you are looking for a page turning, get-all-worked-up kind of book, then this book is for you. Men and women alike will caught up in this fast-paced story.


    A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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    Posted August 8, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2013

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