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Pleasuring the Pirate

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All it took was a flick of the wrist. A deft touch of his sword point and Drake the Dragon bared her bound breasts. Then with the heat of his hands along her skin, he bared her soul. All the wantonness Jacquelyn had denied herself as a famous courtesan's daughter, all the desire she'd held in her heart while running Lord Gabriel Drake's estate flooded through her at his touch. Not that she could let a bloody pirate know it.

Gabriel may have left his seafaring days behind, but his urge to plunder was stronger than ever. Especially if it involved full, ripe lips and a warm, soft body. Unfortunately, he needed Jacquelyn's help, not her maidenhead, to learn how to behave properly toward a lady so he could marry and produce an heir. Yet Mistress Jack was the only woman he wanted, no matter what her heritage. And everyone knows what a pirate wants, a pirate takes....

302 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published July 29, 2008

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Emily Bryan

9 books20 followers
Emily Bryan is now writing as Mia Marlowe.

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Profile Image for Buck.
158 reviews880 followers
August 14, 2016
Seven Ways of Looking at a Pirate

The Pirate Deconstructed

'Il faut interroger inlassablement les métaphores.’ Never has Derrida’s injunction seemed more urgent than in the case of Pleasuring the Pirate, a text whose figurative economy is routinely disrupted by its own libidinal excess, by a free-floating, predatory jouissance which one might aptly describe as ‘piratical’, and which threatens at every turn to seduce the prim, orderly narrative into an orgy of auto-erotic self-consumption.

The Pirate Parodied

Suddenly, he was beside her in the gathering dusk, his skin giving off that intoxicating, goatish man-smell of his. He was standing dangerously close to her now—so close she could make out the faint Kool-Aid moustache above his upper lip. She had to repress a wild urge to lick it off.

A hand reached out and grasped her bare arm. It was a surprisingly smooth, well-moisturized hand, yet strong enough, she knew, to crush a ripe tangerine with a single firm squeeze. At his touch, something stirred inside her fallopian tubes, something warm and gooey, like the batter in the center of an undercooked muffin.

“Who—who are you?” she panted out.

He stood on tiptoe, bringing his lips to her ear: “An overworked literary construct,” he whispered, “Now let’s get you out of those sweat pants.”

The Pirate Remembered: A Goodreads Reviewer Shares a Very Special Experience

In the summer of 2008, my then-boyfriend and I, while vacationing in northern Thailand, enrolled ourselves in a one-week elephant training course. Total spur of the moment decision. My instructor was this four-foot nothing former drug smuggler named Tiam. A darling man, with a very rubbable bald head. He spoke no English and spent most of the time screaming at me in some incomprehensible tribal dialect. But the rapport he had with those majestic animals was just incredible. Anyway, our first day, they assigned us our elephants (mine was this old bull named Michael Jordan, ha ha, right? Who names these things?) So Tiam shows us how to mount and dismount and whatnot. And suddenly there’s this loud siren thing going off all over the place and we’re like, “Um, what’s that?” and they’re like, “Oh, that mean bath time.” Huh? So they lead us, all of us totally oblivious farang on our massive elephants, down this jungle path and straight into this old stadium right out there in the middle of nowhere. And we’re all kind of looking at each other and going, “What the fuck?” And inside, I shit you not, there were like 500 Thai soldiers sitting in the stands, watching us and drinking Pepsi or whatever. I guess it was like a field trip or something. And that’s when Tiam shouted the command. The “jump in the water” command. I can still remember the words: “Bang bong! Bang bong!” Just like that, twenty odd elephants start charging for this big, muddy water hole in the middle of the stadium. I’m hanging on for dear life, and Michael Jordan goes diving right in. The water’s up to my waist and there are all these, like, huge elephant turds floating around and stuff. Just nasty. I’m soaking wet, I’m terrified, I’m trying to catch my breath, I’ve just swallowed a huge mouthful of this elephant shit water, and then I look up and I see all these soldiers on their feet, clapping and hollering. To this day, I still don’t know what all that was about.

So anyhow, that’s where I found this book, in the elephant training camp. Or wait, I think I found it in a guest house in Phuket the week before. Whatever. I don’t remember much about the book. I left it on the plane. Two stars.

The Pirate Reviewed in the New York Times

Snort. As if.

The Pirate Keelhauled: A Feminist Perspective

Even in a genre notorious for its retrograde ideological orientation, Pleasuring the Pirate stands out for its blithe phallocentrism and outright misogyny. While the hero may be a wooden cliché, the author at least allows him a measure of personal agency: he woos, he fights, he strives etc. The heroine, by contrast, remains nothing more than a receptacle for the male, a uterine vessel waiting passively to be filled. In the novel’s bizarre physiology, her womb becomes the source of sexual pangs and pleasure, a sort of erotic fifth column forever sabotaging her virtuous resolutions. If she is—to use the novel’s crass term—‘rutted’ by her pirate, she is also, on a more fundamental level, screwed by her own biology.

The Pirate Promoted: A Personal Message from the Author

Damn, I’m good! Every time I open one of my books, a jolt of pure delight streaks to my womb.

If you enjoyed Pleasuring the Pirate, be sure to look for its highly anticipated follow-up, Fellating the Falconer.



The Pirate Summed up by Buck Mulligan, Who, in an Unguarded Moment, Talks about his Penis

Alright, I’ll admit it: this book turned me on a little bit. To borrow a phrase, it “nudged my groin to aching life.” Stop snickering, assholes, I’m serious. Sure, The Talisman Ring was superior in every way as literature, but how many boners did it give me? Zero. So four stars for the boners. Minus two stars because they were wasted boners. Um, mostly.
Profile Image for Eh?Eh!.
367 reviews4 followers
March 8, 2010

I'm deeply embarrassed. I read this slightly smutty Romance for the express purpose of laughing at it. I've read a couple other Romances that I had no problem smirking at and was wondering why I was feeling a little uneasy at the start of this one. This passage was a small pop of realization: In the circle of Gabriel's arms, Jacquelyn might be anyone she wished. A lady of noble birth, someone's beloved, someone's naughtiest dream, or all three at once. Escapism! I understand that completely. I read sci-fi and fantasy for a long time for the same reasons I imagine many women read Romances. I could imagine I was someone else, problems would arise but faced down, and the end would be happy or satisfactorily conclusive. I think when I previously read books like this, it was without the deliberate purpose of making fun, a pure sort of teasing. This time, I felt like a big old meanie.* I'm sorry, Romance-readers and Romance-genre. I did view you as being all about open legs but got a lesson in open minds instead.

But. I have a couple bones to pick with this particular book. The title is an exaggeration. This is hardly a pirate novel (heh, thought I would be going after the 'pleasuring' part?). Our hero, Gabriel, is introduced as a pardoned former-pirate and the majority of the book takes place firmly on land. He has a loyal former-pirate sidekick for pirate flavoring and a pirate ship appears within the last 10 pages...I felt cheated. More pirate! And shouldn't one of the fantasy buttons being pushed be a hero who listens to the heroine talk, a hero who can't wait to listen to the heroine? If that was the author's intention, it wasn't expressed all that well...at all. There was one winner of a line, where the hero says something about preferring to 'rut her blind' rather than 'be talked to death.' Not okay.

*I've got to lance this boil – c'mon book! A couple of these situations are too silly to be read. So Jacquelyn is supposed to teach our hero Gabriel enough manners to catch a wealthy wife…and of course proper kissing must be one of the lessons. Bwaahahahahaa! Also, Jacquelyn gets cold after exploring hidden passages with Gabriel and accepts his offer to warm up 'Viking-style,' in the nude, which leads to breathing on her cold bits and toe-sucking...bwahahahaaaahaa! And, certain words and phrases just stabbed into my memory for no good reason, maybe because they're not commonly used?, but these will always make me giggle: throbbing vulva (used 2x!), feral male growl (um, get the tranq gun?), splay. Oh, oh, oh, also!, there was a creepy pedophiliac angle, where the oldest niece's burgeoning bosom was described a few times by the uncle/hero and the villain...12 year old's bosom, ew!


A side note, on the domination of romance on gr:

One of the gr features I enjoy is the Top Reviews, where reviews that have received the highest votes in the week/month/year/all time are listed. I realize that not all the best reviews are listed for a myriad of reasons, but it's generally a quick and easy way of seeing great reviews. Last week, before the current "this week" listing, I noticed that one Romance book seemed to fill half the list. I wish Romance was separated out, but I do admit that most of the Romance ladies write long and thoughtful reviews (I think, my interests don't lie that way so I don't pay much attention to them, but they're long at any rate). What especially caught my eye about this book was that a number of one-liner, undetailed, meaningless 5-star reviews were on this Top Reviews list. Also, most had the same number of votes. Very suspicious. Turns out, they were the same 13 voters. This one had just a slightly different list of voters. BOOO!!!

Update: That book was the subject of some drama! As far as I can gather, the author attacked a negative review and was subsequently removed from Goodreads. Could all the mysterious voters be connected to this??? Who knew reading was such a spectator sport! Thank you, gr, for livening up the workday. Hug.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 29 books13.7k followers
Want to read
April 2, 2010
Hey, what's this barrel doing here? I think there's something inside it... wait... I don't believe it. A fish. Hello fish! No, don't worry, I have nothing against trashy historical romances. Quite enjoy them in fact. Absolutely no need to get paranoid. Uh-oh. This could be trouble. I see Meredith coming this way with an AK-47. Fish, keep very still.

(Sound of footsteps approaching then receding into the distance)

Sorry. False alarm. She was just reading some Russian poetry book. We're cool, but... oops! I spoke too soon. It's Eh! and she looks like she means business. Fish, this is not a drill. Find somewhere to hide, like now. Maybe you can squeeze in under that bit of ripped bodice, and she won't notice you. She's almost here...


Fish, you OK? I'm so relieved to hear that. Close call. You can relax. It's all going to be alright. Oh my God. Oh shit. It's Elizabeth, and she's got... depth charges. What does everyone have against fish today, for crying out loud? I'm sorry, fish, I don't know what to say. I'm going to have to take cover. It's been nice knowing you.


Fish? Fish?? Fish??? Oh well. Oh well. Anyone for sushi?


Hello Ceridwen! Um, no, I was just having lunch... well... it's a long story. What's that you've got there? Excuse me? You're kidding, right? OK, OK, I am staying calm. I'm putting it down. I'm keeping my hands visible and I'm slowly moving away as you ordered. Ceridwen, it's just a fish. It's already dead. You don't need to use a tactical

(Sound of low-yield battleground nuclear device exploding)


Sorry... what was that you said? Oh, just lucky that I saw Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. Wouldn't ever have thought of hiding in this old fridge otherwise. I'm amazed to see that it really does protect you from nuclear blasts!

So, you were telling me you're called... Ellen? and you're leading this million-strong zombie army? You want to do what exactly? My hearing is still a bit off. One more time please. Build a gigantic gas chromatography unit, reconstitute the fish from its radioactive component atoms, and carefully study its anatomy? Did I get that right? Well, fine with me. I think the best place to look will be over there, near the centre of the slowly cooling sea of molten glass...

(Sound of zombie army building gas chromatography unit, reconstituting fish, etc)


Hello... fish? I've got some bad news, some more bad news, some even worse news, some good news, some bad news... I'm getting myself confused. Let me summarise. You were blown to pieces, partially eaten (I'm afraid that was my fault), vaporised by a nuclear blast, and then miraculously reconstituted. Unfortunately, you're not alive but undead, and there's a visitor to see you from the Galactic Federation. She says she's called Miriam. I hope you got all that.

So, um, Miriam says that we have to release you to the Galactics, or Earth will immediately be destroyed. Sounds a bit far-fetched to me. What do you say, shall we call her bluff? I like it! You may be an undead fish, but you've got real fighting spirit. OK, that's what we'll tell her.


(Sound of whole planet being transported through hyperspace and dropped into ten million solar mass black hole)

Fish, I am honoured to have known you.



... though, just as I reach the event horizon, my whole life and several others flash before my eyes...
Profile Image for Mir.
4,862 reviews5,007 followers
March 18, 2010
So many romances featuring pirates, and I've never read a one. I *still* have not read one because this book actually takes place on an estate in Cornwall, where the cover model probably felt quite chilled without his shirt. The male lead (I refuse to call him a "hero") spent some time as a pirate and has been pardoned; accompanying him for added pirate color is his pirate pal Meri, who uses a lot of improbable pirate lingo. Otherwise, the "pirate" background is pretty much just an excuse for Drake to have no manners and be rough with women.

This book illustrates why first impressions are so important. When our protagonists first meet, Miss Jack is trying to waylay and kill Drake because she got an anonymous note asserting his ill-intentions. She totally botches the attempted assassination, of course. So: our "heroine" - reckless, incompetent, and not too bright. Having disarmed her, Drake rips her bodice and gropes her. Because, you know, criminals have no rights. If someone tries to kill you, you can totally molest them if you want, no need to call the police or anything. You didn't know that?

Drake thinks about raping Jack on the spot but decides not to, at least right then. He drags her back to the improbably-named Dragon Caern, where it turns out she is his housekeeper. Great! That means he gets to sexually harass her all he wants, because she is the servant and he is the lord, so what can she do? Plus she is illegitimate and has no family to defend her. And her mother is a courtesan so she must be a slut, anyway. We are also privy to Drake's sexual thoughts about his nieces, the oldest of whom is twelve, his memory of getting turned on at age ten by spying on his uncle having sex, and his opinions about how annoying and incomprehensible women are. And there is wonderfully romantic pillow talk, such as "Can we please talk about it tomorrow? I don't mind losing sleep when you keep me awake rutting you blind. Talking me to death is another thing altogether."
Well, at least he said "please".

So, my point about first impressions is that it doesn't matter if they behave a bit better later in the book, because I already hate them. And, really, there isn't that much improvement. We are supposed to believe they love one another, but this is demonstrated only by their uncontrollable sex drives. I understand that this is not uncommon in romances and is supposed to signal that they are Meant for Each Other, but better romance writers can depict some emotional development at the same time.

Also, I found it hard to believe that an unmarried woman in of this era would not have any concerns about getting pregnant. Especially since Jack tells us that her mother wrote her many letters thoroughly explaining about sex when she was a girl. And yet, she appears to not think about this at all and is totally surprised when after a month or two of being "rutted blind" nightly, she winds up pregnant. Not only does this reaffirm for me that protagonist is an idiot, it also seems to me to be irresponsible on the part of authors (I'm not singling out Bryan because I've seen this in other romances) to imply that if you are really in love you should be swept away by passion and not consider practical matters such as pregnancy and disease. Many people behave stupidly over sex/love as it is, such irrationality does not need to be idealized. Give me a story about with a pair of mature people who respect one another and work to create a mutually loving and supportive relationship -- that's romantic.
Profile Image for Kristi  Siegel.
192 reviews588 followers
March 17, 2010

The subject is sex, and early on, you begin to note a pattern...

The pirate is fixated on Jack/Jacquelyn/Lyn’s bodice. His goal, which he makes plain early on, is to penetrate the cheeky wench’s bodice...and other parts as well; in this mood, he’s portrayed as more animal than gentleman, and our lass fights rather reluctantly to resist him. It goes something like this:


Meanwhile, our heroine--first disguised as a young lad (Jack) which is also her nickname, as she is not fond of her real name (Jacquelyn), and is later dubbed Lyn by the gentleman pirate, now Lord Drake of Dragon Caern Castle--has problems of her own.

Oddly, any touch to any part of her body sends a direct, unbidden, channel of lust to her groin. She just can’t help it.

Example one [Our Lord Pirate is after Jack, whom he’s cleverly deduced is not a lad (duh):]: “His hand splayed across her bound breast. A jolt of something forbidden shot from her nipples to her groin.”

Example two [The Lord Pirate is kissing her hand; he nuzzles “the crevice between her forefinger and middle finger”:]: “A downward spiral started in her groin. Jacquelyn’s eyes snapped open….A jolt of longing, an empty ache, streaked to her womb. She gasped.”

Example three [Here, Jacqueline initiates the response, by evoking a “feral male growl” from the Lord Pirate:]: “Instead of scaring her, his involuntary response sent a thrill of power surging through her. Warmth settled in her groin and smoldered, ready to burst into flame.”

Example four [The Lord Pirate teases her nipple with his tongue:]: "Jacquelyn gasped. The lust in her groin shot from an ache to white-hot pangs."

Example five [Here, Jacquelyn merely dreams of the Lord Pirate:]: "But most dreams didn't leave her with such a heavy, dull ache in her groin."

Example six [He sucks her toe.:]: "When he took her toe into her mouth and sucked, a streak of desire shot up her leg to quiver in her groin."

...I worried about Jacquelyn and the way her nerves were hard-wired to her groin.

I also pondered what was meant by categorizing the book as "leisure historical fiction." How does "leisure" differentiate this book from regular historical fiction. Is "leisure" a code word for sex, or does it imply some kind of dress readers wear, such as leisure suits? Do people who read sexually-laden books have more leisure? Or, do you feel more leisurely when you read these books? I need an answer.

However, I don't have a bone to pick with Emily Bryan. She follows the bodice-ripping romance formula and writes rather well in this genre. She ramps up the story arc with sufficient tension. But the hero is going to hang! Or not?

You'll need to read the book to find out, but I can assure you that Jacquelyn's groin lives happily ever after.
Profile Image for Dina.
1,324 reviews1,213 followers
January 10, 2012
I admit I'm not a fan of pirate stories but, despite the title and the cover, this book isn't really a pirate story - the hero is a former pirate who's returning home to claim his noble life back. As this book has received some interesting reviews and I was in the mood to try a new author, I decided to give it a try.

Gabriel Drake is the "pirate" in question. The second son of the Lord of Dragon Caern, he had his ship attacked by pirates a few years ago and was believed to have died then. But the truth is, faced with the option of being left to drown and die with his ship and the much better option of joining the pirates and keep breathing, Gabriel chose the latter. Somehow along the way, he ends up rescuing King George's royal cousin and, as a reward, he's given the King's pardon - as long as he remains within the limits of his family's lands and never sets his feet in London. So he leaves his seafaring days behind and returns home, only to learn that his father and his older brother have died and he's the new Lord of Dragon Caern now.

Jacquelyn Wren has been managing Dragon Caern since the old Lord's death and, having been warned against the new Lord's arrival, she attacks Gabriel without knowing who he is. When she realizes he's the estate's true heir, she quickly sets up the plan to have him married to a rich heiress so he can have the money to support his property, his newfound family - his deceased brother has left 5 daughters - and his tenants. But Gabriel is - or better, was - a pirate and, thus, needs to be "educated" in gentleman behavior and social etiquette if he hopes to convince a proper lady to marry him, so Jacquelyn starts tutoring him in the matter.

Gabriel and Jacquelyn are attracted to each other from the start and, as they spend more and more time together, the attraction grows and they fall in love. But she's the illegitimate daughter of a courtesan and, even though she's received the education reserved to the most noble ladies, she's not the mistress Dragon Caern needs. So Grabriel must find and marry a lady, and forget Jacquelyn.

In short, that was the basic conflict that kept Gabriel and Jacquelyn from being together, and it didn't work too well for me. I just couldn't buy the reason behind it, because I never felt that Dragon Caern was that important to either Gabriel and Jacquelyn. Okay, they weren't heartless and they did care about the welfare of his 5 nieces and the estate's tenants, but there were at least 2 good solutions to the problem that would allow them to be together without "hurting" anyone. Both of these solutions were presented - and dismissed without much sense - during the course of the story, BTW.

I liked both Gabriel and Jacquelyn, though. They were nice, likable characters, and they had chemistry, which is always good. She wasn't one of those extremely naive heroines - her mother was a courtesan, after all - and that was refreshing. As for Gabriel, he was the average hero, a bit wicked but always caring. I thought he went along with Jacquelyn's plan to have him marry a rich heiress a bit too long, considering he knew he loved her. I mean, what of the old saying, "What a pirate wants, a pirate takes"? Didn't he want Jacquelyn enough to take her and damn the consequences?

At the end of the day, this was "just" an average read. The pace was a bit slow - especially in the first half of the book - and I struggled to get into it sometimes. The writing wasn't bad, but I kept finding myself distracted by other things. And as much as I liked Gabriel and Jacquelyn, I have to say that their love scenes weren't to my liking: there was nothing kinky or offensive about them, I just felt the wording used by Ms. Bryan gave the scenes a clinical feel and that left me cold. The ending was fast paced but uneven, with a few twists that were a little OTT. A more "sedate" ending would have been better, IMHO. Anyway, Gabriel and Jacquelyn got their HEA, so I was happy too.
Profile Image for Meredith Holley.
Author 2 books2,237 followers
March 31, 2010
I was able to check out PLEASURING THE PIRATE from the law school library at the same time as I checked out Анна Ахматова, Полное Собрание в Одном Томе, so that was pretty much the most successful library experience ever.

There was this one day, when I lived in Ukraine, where I was stuck in this town with some friends because another town had exploded, and, unfortunately, it made it so that I couldn’t take the train home. So, we all decided to go to this resort for lunch and really splurge. I decided to play it safe and go for a beet salad and fries, but one of my friends decided to really spend a lot and order a fruit salad. We were all skeptical about this choice. Don’t get me wrong, I pretty much lived on clementines through November and December that year, but this salad boasted of apples, oranges, bananas, and pineapples, all together, as I recall. There’s no way you could put together that combo in Ukraine without something suspicious involved. Nonetheless, the salad arrived, just as promised – apples, oranges, bananas, and pineapples all collected in a little bowl. What the resort didn’t prepare us for was that they were doused in ketchup and mayonnaise. It’s combinations like a mayonnaise fruit salad that make me want to give up on "creativity," and Pleasuring the Pirate was a big ol' fruit salad with mayonnaise.

I admit that it is important to note that my disappointment in this book is in direct proportion to the awesomeness of its title. Also, I wrote a first draft of this review, in which I was prepared to argue that the author was arrogantly ripping off classic works of art, and in making the argument I realized I was completely wrong about that. My apologies to the author for even thinking it. Also, I refused to be put off by the "moist groins", the excessive "splaying", the anachronisms, or even the fact THAT THE MAIN DUDE’S NOT ACTUALLY A PIRATE. What do we expect from romance but moist groins and splaying? I choose to count those things as awesome, despite their off-putting nature. And, as Geoffrey Tennant says, Shakespeare wasn’t worried about anachronisms, so why should we be? He also didn’t mind throwing in some pre-action seafaring, so I can swallow my disappointment on that, too.

I don’t believe that any entirely original art exists, nor do I believe it should exist. I think that if someone came up with entirely new art people would hate it, or not be able to acknowledge it, because we would have no frame of reference for it. So, maybe it does actually exist, but we don’t call it art until someone else fills in the other rungs on the evolutionary ladder. Anyway, I think art, or at least writing, is more like cooking. We’ve got all these ingredients already and people just mix them up in new ways and reinterpret based on their own taste and experience. And this is how we are able to both recognize ourselves in books and expand our minds to include other philosophies and experiences. Really meaningful books are like when you’re watching Top Chef, and one of the contestants combines two ingredients that would never have occurred to you but ends up looking really yummy.

But some combos are just gross. To illustrate what I mean in a literary sense, rather than a pineapples and mayonnaise sense, I’d like to walk you through the story of Pleasuring the Pirate told by the ingredients I believe the author was combining. Again, it is not the fact of her using the ingredients that gets me (although they all are a little half-baked – hardy har), but the combination. Warning: this is full of annoying links, but they’re only meant for clarification if you’re not sure who I’m talking about.

The story starts out with Joan of Arc meeting Gaston and his faithful sidekick Lefou in battle. They all head on home to the castle, realizing the whole spat was just a misunderstanding, and nobody gets violently raped. When they all get to the castle, they switch costumes, and the story becomes all Cinderella on you – with the twist that Cinderella has to work her darndest to get the Prince married off to some wealthy debutante or another. Meanwhile, there is a Goonies side story involving some buried treasure. Not really a booby-trap situation, unfortunately, and Lefou changes hats to become Sloth. The Prince/Gaston’s old bff shows up, too and it turns out that he loves children, in a "fire of my loins" kinda way. Blah blah blah. Awkward bed sandwich scene that the author claims was taken from reality, but that many, including bloggers and Wikipedia, say was probably greatly exaggerated. Prince gets carted off to jail for breaking a minor procedural rule and they reenact The Passion of the Christ (luckily, off-camera action). Then they do the escape-from-execution scene from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Then, in an Overboard twist, there’s a vague reveal that our bastard Cinderella is really the king’s daughter.

So, I’m not sure that any of the above makes any sense, and that’s not really the point anyway. I haven’t told you what the wrong ingredient is yet. All of the above pretty much fits. It’s not, like, garden pea cappuccino with foie gras, black pudding, and pancetta, but it’s an average hamburger and fries. It’s predictable. The thing that sent me over the edge was this one chapter that is almost exactly my favorite chapter of Oliver Twist. So, in PtP, there is a side-character named Mrs. Beadle (yes, immediately reminiscent of Mr. Bumble, the beadle, in Oliver Twist, but I let that go when she first appeared), and she has this awkward falling-in-love scene with Lefou/Sloth. This was completely unacceptable to me. I was prepared to write a review talking about how an omage is so different than a plagiarism with the hopes that your audience is too stupid to catch it. But then I realized that what she did really is more of an omage, and maybe she is hoping that her audience will catch the reference. Here’s hoping. The whole combination of the story, though, was just sloppy and gross to me.

I haven’t talked about the sex because that’s been covered to the extreme by other reviewers and threads. I will reiterate how much I completely agree with Ceridwen that the part when our bastard Cinderella wants the Prince to be rough with her left me kind of bored. The plot line of the sex was meticulously purposeful, where the story was all over the place. Maybe "meticulously purposeful" isn’t the right choice of words. Canned? Instructional? From the passionate makeout sessions that lead the Prince to politely asking for permission to deflower bastard Cinderella, to the no-no on sex with kiddos, to the superior compassion for the courtesan’s homosexual friend, all of the sex issues read like a pamphlet on how people should be.

This leads me to my theory on mass-market romance. I think it started as instructions for girls on what goes on under the sheets and in the kitchen. Maybe this is obviously true or obviously not true, and I welcome any outside knowledge people have. It seems like its main purpose is to be the spoonful of sugar that makes the health-class and home-ec medicine go down. It feels so . . . obsolete. I’m sure there are kinkier variations that are ahead of the times. I guess I’m partly saying this because you hear people say that mass-market romance is girl porn. It feels more like girl video games to me, though. It’s where you go to learn how to be the manipulative bitch to the video games’ arrogant asshole. Keepin’ the genders in their respective spheres one soulful pirate and buxom treasure hunter at a time.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Trin.
1,786 reviews558 followers
March 13, 2010
I love Mystery Science Theater. The clever mocking of ridiculously dumb things is one of my favorite things. I am consistently glad that MST3K lives on in RiffTrax, and I very much enjoy downloading them and chuckling through those wonderful skewerings of cinematic idiocy. Mostly I download them and watch them right away, eager like a kid with a bag of candy. So when the RiffTrax version of the Star Wars Christmas Special appeared, I pounced on it in the same way. RiffTrax! The infamously terrible Star Wars Christmas Special! What could be better?

I watched about 90 seconds of it and then I had to stop. I still have the damn thing taking up space on my hard drive, but I just can't bring myself to watch it. I know it will make me laugh, perhaps frequently, but I can't. I just can't. The wince-factor is simply too high.

I'm having the same sort of reaction with Pleasuring the Pirate, which I was initially really kinda looking forward to reading. I know it will be bad—at times, perhaps, gloriously, magnificently bad—and that sounds fun to me. But every time I pick it up and look at the cover—the rope suggesting fun bondagey times; the woman's slightly drugged expression; the quintessential phallic sword; the man's odd, migratory nipples—I just— gah, I can't, I can't, I simply can't do this to myself right now. It will drive me crazy.

Well. Crazier.

Part of the problem may be that I already read an excruciatingly bad romance novel this month, and I've reached my quota for a while. Jude Deveraux's An Angel For Emily had the honor of becoming the first book I have ever actually thrown at a wall. In fairness, I must admit that it was not actually hurled in anger: my cat was scratching at the door at a special time I like to call threeo'clockinthegoddamnmorning and the book was merely a convenient object to direct at said door to get him to shut up. But honestly, if I'd rolled over and seen a book I actually liked—or even, did not hate—next to my bed, I would have probably thrown a slipper or something.

Anyway, she said in the voice of one deeply traumatized, I just can't go through that again so soon: I can't read another book I know—or at least strongly suspect—from the outset that I will hate. There are simply too many (potentially) good books for me to read. Right now I have on my nightstand (okay, spread all over my floor. Are you happy?): Tokyo Vice, The Razor's Edge, an upcoming book by Samantha Bee, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, the first volume of Your Face Tomorrow, and some dopey-fun thing about time travel. I want to read those books, and many others besides. And normally I could wait the time it'd take me to read one stupid romance novel, but I just don't feel like it. Also, some of them are due back at the library soon.

So there is the story of my (ig)noble (lack of) effort. For my sake, and for my cat's, I'm sure you'll agree I made the right decision.
606 reviews16 followers
March 20, 2010
This is atrocious. The premise is silly, the plot ridiculous, the characters unconvincing. I get the feeling Bryan did just enough historical research to identify a few throwaway references that sound vaguely appropriate, but wouldn't stand up to scrutiny.

Oh,and the sex is dull, too.

Do I have to finish it?


OK, so I did my duty. I took a deep breath and finished it. And that has to be the worst ending of a novel I have ever read! How can I say this without spoilers? So the heroine (who doesn't have a heroic vein in her body, by the way) just happens to be related to someone who turns out to have had an intimate connection with a very, very, very important person - so important that the little matter of a death sentence can be overturned with a word. Well, we'd all love to have a fairy godmother who would wave a magic wand and, voila! - the tables are turned, the bad guys are punished, the criminals are ennobled and we live happily ever after. Sheesh!!

Don't get me started on the mattress sandwich. Did anybody else find the incestuous overtones a little, I don't know, distasteful? I'm thinking of the earlier notice of prepubescent anatomy, as well as the mattress sandwich with the nude 'relative'.

I find this very annoying. Understand, I enjoy light and silly stories. There's no reason that light and silly should mean stupid. Other writers can do light, silly, clever and entertaining. Bryan can, and should, do better than this.
Profile Image for Mia Marlowe.
Author 34 books383 followers
July 28, 2008
All right. At the urging of my friend, Jacqueline George(you didn't think I'd let your involvement in this go unmentioned, did you?)I'm reviewing my own book.

Actually, it's not as odd a concept as it might seem. If I let enough time lapse, when I go back and read my own stuff, I frequently come away saying either "Dang! That was good! Who wrote it?" or "Ew! What was I thinking?"

Now, here's what I think about PLEASURING THE PIRATE, based on other people's reviews. (Sorry. I'm still midwestern enough not to be comfortable tooting my own horn.)

"Emily Bryan has some of the best first lines. For example: 'The next time I decide to kill a man,’ Jacquelyn thought, ‘I really need to find better help.’ For me, you could call this book, Pleasuring the Reader." ~ Barbara Vey, Publishers Weekly Blog

"Bryan's touches of humor, naughty, bawdy dialogue and colorful descriptions capture the era, adding dimension to this charming tale of a landlocked pirate, the hellion who tames him and their wild adventure. The heat rises as their escapades sizzle, and readers' hearts will race to the delightful conclusion." ~ RTBookReviews

"Pleasuring the Pirate is a fabulous, fun romp full of adventure, mischief, mayhem, romance and yes PIRATES! I simply couldn't put it down!" ~ Reviewer Top Pick, NightOwl Romance

"This great Georgian romance is filled with bawdy humor, mindful of Fielding’s classic TOM JONES. The banter between the pirate and the courtesan’s daughter is amusing and heated. The story line is fast-paced and never slows down. Emily Bryan provides a powerful historical as the adventures of the pirate and the courtesan's daughter will pleasure the fans." ~ H. Klausner

PLEASURING THE PIRATE is about love and lust and learning to distinguish between the two. It's about intimacy that says, "I know you and I won't turn away." It's about my characters finding forgiveness and learning to forgive and accept themselves. It's about the absurdity of society's expecations and the sometimes dubious joy of living with children. I wrote PLEASURING THE PIRATE in the hope of giving my readers a wonderful adventure.

My goal is to make my readers laugh AND cry, and unless they do that, I don't feel I've done my job.

OK, now it's your turn. Let me know what you think about PLEASURING THE PIRATE. I already know it's impossible to please everyone, so don't be afraid to speak your mind. Also, I did quite a bit of research on pirates and the Georgian era, so if you have questions, have at me!
Profile Image for Katie(babs).
1,810 reviews539 followers
August 7, 2009
Former pirate captain, Gabriel Drake has been pardoned by the King of England. He has returned to his childhood home, Dragon Caern Castle. His father is now dead and his estate is in ruins. As long as Gabriel doesn't step foot in London, he will be fine. But when he finds a woman there who refuses to let him take over his property, he is shocked. She is dressed like a man and believes the worst in him. But Gabriel is able to take own this spunky miss a peg or two.

Jacquelyn Wren was just defending her home. She lives at the Dragon Caren Castle as a governess for the five little girls now left without a father, who happened to be Gabriel's younger brother, and the girls are his nieces. Jacquelyn's mother is a well off courtesan who made sure Jacquelyn had the best of everything from boarding schools to clothes, but never had the time for her daughter. Now as the chatelaine, Jacquelyn takes care of the household. But all this has changed with Gabriel residing. He must find a bride with a dowry since he has no money and only a run down property to his name. Jacquelyn will help him find a bride even though she wishes to marry him herself. But Jacquelyn is just a daughter of a woman with a bad reputation and not enough money to bring to the table.

Gabriel would like nothing better for Jacquelyn to share his bed and would marry her if he could. Perhaps she will welcome his tender touch in other way without the benefit of matrimony? As these two go through their dance of seduction, there are those who want to finish off Gabriel because of a supposed treasure hidden within the Dragon Caern. If only Gabriel can find that wealth, than all his problems will be solved. As Gabriel and his little nieces go on various treasure hunts, Jacquelyn can't help fall for this man, her pirate who wishes plunder both her heart and soul.

Emily Bryan has done it again with this engaging historical romance. Pleasuring the Pirate is a witty and sexy tale about hidden treasure, the pirate myth and of course a wonderful and lush romance with two people who bring alive the pages with their engaging conversations and luscious lovemaking.

Gabriel is such a wonderful hero and Jacquelyn brings his heart alive. You will be rooting for these two, hoping they will find away to be together. Emily Bryan is one of the bright stars of the romance world and Pleasuring the Pirate is one read that will not disappoint in anyway.
Profile Image for Mandie.
20 reviews1 follower
October 23, 2008
Before I post my review, I must say something about this book. It is a bodice ripping romance novel, and I love them. They are my mental Twinkies, and I gorge myself on them when I get the opportunity. They usually take less than a day to read, they're always fun, and they are never depressing. I can't be terribly intellectual all of the time folks. Sometimes my brain needs a margarita and a cabana boy...or three...

Mistress Jacqueline Wren has her hands full maintaining the house at Dragon Caern in absence of the lord of the estate. Lord Drake has purportedly been lost at sea, and “Jack” is left to raise the five rambunctious daughters left by Lord Drake’s deceased brother, and keep the lands and house together. When news reaches her of a new lord coming to take over the estate, Jack decides to ensure that the Drake family estates stay right where they belong

Imagine Lord Gabriel Drake’s surprise when he finds himself facing down a bare-faced boy hardly old enough or tall enough to wield a sword. His surprise deepens when he discovers that the boy knows his way around a sword more than anticipated. Drake is completely flabbergasted when he defeats the attacker and discovers that this young boy is really a woman, Mistress Jack Wren to be exact.

Jack suddenly finds herself slung across the saddle riding toward Dragon Caern. The new lord of the estate is none other than Lord Gabriel Drake, now known as Drake the Dragon, notorious pirate, recently pardoned by the king. What is even more startling to Jack is that she is irrevocably attracted to the dark-eyed pirate. Even worse, Drake finds out that he needs Jack and her knowledge of social niceties in order to find himself a bride and secure the estate. Jack takes it upon herself to remind Gabriel Drake what it means to be a gentleman…but he doesn’t learn the lesson very well. Drake the Dragon is in for one last surprise, when he finds that he is falling in love with the feisty Mistress Wren!

There really isn’t much to this book but sex and fluff, but the fluff is pretty sexy too. It is exactly what you would expect of a bodice-ripper romance novel, but the characters are more three-dimensional than usual, and the writing is halfway decent. There is humor, romance, and of course plenty of piratical steamy sex scenes to keep a girl in the bathtub for far too long readi…er…I’m sure that others will find it as engaging as I have. A good selection for a lazy afternoon.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sheree.
572 reviews106 followers
February 17, 2009
Mistress Jacqueline Wren, illegitimate daughter of an infamous courtesan & chatelaine of Dragon Caern has been kept busy running the Drake estate and raising the five precocious daughters left by Lord Drake’s deceased brother. Pirate Captain Gabriel Drake, returns to his home after purportedly being lost at sea, to find nothing is as when he left. His father & brother have passed on and Dragon Caern is in a woeful state despite Jacqueline's administrations.
"Jack" is determined that Lord Gabriel will do what's right by his family & tenants, and sets about finding a suitable heiress for Gabriel to marry thereby assuring the salvation of Dragon Caern and saving all from an uncertain fate.

Pleasuring the Pirate was a lively, fun read; a romance with more than a splash of adventure & just the right amount of steamy love scenes between the hero and heroine. The dialogue between Gabriel and Jacqueline is saucy, heated and often amusing.
I was a just a little disappointed that the ending was so obvious early on in the novel and I was hoping that more of Gabriel's pirating days would evolve as the story unfolded. I know it's a little thing but I felt like I was missing something, which lead me to thinking perhaps this was a sequel (when I knew darn well that it wasn't.)
Emily Bryan does a wonderful job with characterisation in this novel, the minor characters are an intricate part of the story & certainly not overlooked. I fell in love with Gabriel's nieces; very mischievious and completely adorable little monkeys and I thought Meri a lovable old salt, his description of a smugglers hole left me giggling and gagging "When the tide is out, a crew brings its cargo in through the sea cave. When the tide comes in...Slick as snot, the door is closed."

Definitely looking forward to reading Distracting the Duchess & Vexing the Viscount.
Profile Image for Scott Rhee.
1,847 reviews68 followers
February 15, 2012
So, I pride myself on my eclectic tastes in reading. The diversity on my bookshelves at home would make any UN member pleased. Unfortunately, it's all a sham. I brag about how I will literally read anything: mystery, sci-fi, fantasy, westerns, how-to, cooking, science textbooks, military history, Oprah's Picks, you name it... except, of course, ROMANCE. I admit it: I have never read a romance novel in my life. Never wanted to. Never had an inkling of an ounce of a slight desire to pick up one of those tawdry bodice-rippers and skim through it. Indeed, how could I call myself an egalitarian reader if I have such a negative prejudice towards romance novels? To correct that, I decided to pick up my first ever romance novel. I found the first one that struck my fancy. In truth, it was the first one that made me giggle hysterically. "Pleasuring the Pirate" (the title has already become a humorous euphemism in my household) by Emily Bryan is, well, a romance novel with---you guessed it---pirates. As expected, it is tawdry and cheesy in parts, with the requisite amount of delicately (and some very bawdily) written sex scenes. Surprisingly, though, it wasn't as horribly ridiculous as I thought it would be. Bryan is a decent enough writer of historical romances. She is good at describing the time period, capturing a naturalistic sense of dialogue, and creating a suspenseful plot. For the guys (not that many guys will actually ever read this), there is enough swordplay and intrigue to keep one turning the pages, but not nearly enough for my taste. Overall, I have to say that "Pleasuring the Pirate" (excuse me, I can't stop giggling...) is an okay read. Whether it is an average or above-average representation of its genre is something that I can't determine, not without reading a few more romance novels. And, honestly, it might be a while until the next one.
Profile Image for ChloeLeeNH.
286 reviews41 followers
January 16, 2009
I was really pleased with this book... it was kept light and moved quickly. The antagonists were never to become utterly horrible. I am looking forward to Daisy's story coming in March!
Profile Image for Deanna.
310 reviews22 followers
September 7, 2009
Complete Review can be found at: Mom-Msuings

I really enjoyed this read as I immediately liked Jack and Gabriel.
Jack is strong-minded, spunky, straight-forward, full of compassion and sense of duty. Gabriel has been a pirate for many years yet shows decent gentleman behavior. He is immediately taken in by Jack’s spunk, wit and compassion. Their attraction towards each other along with their witty dialogue is very satisfying. They are a good match.
I was very satisfied with Jack and Gabriel.

The storyline immediately pulled me in and engaged me for the most part. The story was kept light and moved at a nice smooth pace. My only trouble would be towards the end as I felt certain happenings were a bit too convenient. Regardless, I was very satisfied with this read. I was satisfied with the secondary characters most especially the nieces as their child perspective added some witty dialogue.

Pleasuring the Pirate is a fun, witty and steamy romance story that will keep you reading until the end.

Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Profile Image for Veronika Levine.
166 reviews5 followers
July 22, 2010
About once a year, I really want to read a good old-fashioned pirate romance and this was was just that. Steamy, sexy and fun and full of secondary characters I wish the author would write mores stories about. This is the third book I've read by Emily Bryan and I can't recommend her enough. Her Viking historicals are great and she's a pleasure to meet. If you like historical romances, I can't say enough about this author. Go read her books!
Profile Image for Crystal.
22 reviews4 followers
September 21, 2008
This one started off very slow. I just couldn't get into it. There was nothing bad about it, I just didn't find myself compelled to keep reading. It started picking up towards the end of the book though. This was my first book by this author and I'll definitely give her another try. Even though it took a little while for the plot to get interesting, I did love the characters.
Profile Image for Charlotte.
28 reviews
Want to read
March 23, 2010
Everybody seems to be talking about this (we shall not mention that the talking seems to be rather negative and to make fun of it), I need to read this at one point. Oh, I do.
October 24, 2019
Great book!

I was very surprised at the end. This book has a lot of unexpected twists and turns. The book was a very good read. Something you don't want to put down.
Profile Image for Jane Stewart.
2,462 reviews848 followers
September 25, 2010
Typical romance novel, but some parts were too frustrating to be enjoyable.

Gabriel’s father was Lord of Dragon Caern. Gabriel was on a sinking ship when pirates offered him life if he became a pirate and joined them, so he did. Years later he left piracy and had a pardon from the King as long as he never entered the city of London. He returns to his family home and learns that his father and brother died. Jacquelyn is the illegitimate daughter of a courtesan who was brought up in a school for ladies. She worked for Gabriel’s family. After the father and brother died, she began and continued to manage the estate. She convinces Gabriel that he needs to marry an heiress for money to support the property, crofters and tenants of Dragon Caern. She begins educating him in proper behavior and etiquette.

This felt like a run-of-the-mill romance novel. Nothing surprised or delighted me. The characters, conversations and plot were predictable. I did not like how the author separated the couple on two occasions. In the first instance, Jacquelyn left Gabriel without saying goodbye or telling him why she was leaving or where she was going. Later, Gabriel did something stupid which caused his arrest and put others at risk. I just didn’t enjoy it. I felt like I was reading pieces of stories I’ve read before. I’m looking for something a little different.

Story length: 302 pages. Sexual language: moderate. Number of sex scenes: 7. Total number of sex scene pages: 28. Setting: 1720 England. Copyright: 2008. Genre: historical romance.



A few scenes bothered me. Two of them follow. Gabriel knew he would be hanged if he went to London. He went to London to see Jacquelyn’s mother Isabella. When the authorities arrived to search her place for him, she hid him between her two mattresses with her on top of the bed. Jacquelyn also helped. The authorities couldn’t find Gabriel and were ready to leave, when Cecil threatened to arrest Jacquelyn on the charge of harboring and concealing a condemned felon. He had no proof at that time. He was just guessing. At that moment Gabriel jumped out of the bed saying “Leave her out of it and I’ll go without a fight.” That moment was proof that both women were guilty of harboring and concealing him. Cecil then had the evidence to arrest all three of them, but he didn’t. He just arrested Gabriel. In another scene Jacquelyn used a lot of gold to help Gabriel escape, but then Gabriel gave himself up, again to save Jacquelyn from being arrested. I was frustrated at the waste of gold. These scenes were more frustrating than entertaining.
Profile Image for Slayermel.
850 reviews36 followers
March 20, 2011
I really enjoyed pleasuring the pirate, it was filled with lovable characters, and I looked forward to picking up the book everyday to escape into Gabriel’s world. :0)

Gabriel has returned home to Dragon Caern after having turned to pirating, to find out that both his father and brother have passed away leaving him to pick up the pieces. Now he is forced to become Lord Gabriel Drake as well as assume responsibility for his five wild nieces. To top it all off he's got mistress Jacqueline Wren to contend with who is after him to wed right away so that he can beget an heir to secure the keep. All Gabriel can think about is mistress jack though, as she forces him to learn his manners and meet all the single heiresses in the neighbouring estates.

Throw in some hidden treasures, deceitful old friends and an evil plot to take over dragon Caern to find the lost treasure and you’re in for a fun adventure.

I can't wait to read "vexing the viscount" where Daisy's (Gabriel's favourite niece) story is told. I really enjoyed what little I learned about her, and I think she's going to be a fun character to follow through her own story, not to mention I'm hoping of catching snip bits of the old characters here and there from this novel.
Profile Image for Nenya.
504 reviews16 followers
April 28, 2014
Ooh, I kissed her and she loved it! She kept saying she didn't wanna, but I did it anyway, and she loved it! - I seriously, seriously dislike heroes of this ilk. Oh well... I'm only about a third into it... Let's see how it turns out... 1.5 stars so far (the 5 kids seem to be cute... there's some hope there.)
Update: I did like the overall story. But I could not bring myself to like the hero . The author sort of redeems his character But it's too little, too late for the reader.

I think I'll leave it at 2 stars for now. Though the best part of the novel was the Author's note (about King George I- which I knew, and about Grace Elliott- which I didn't). I'm happy I read Vexing the Viscount first :).
Profile Image for Sarah.
2,031 reviews29 followers
September 6, 2014
I really enjoyed this second book in series. Gabriel come home from being captain of a pirate shop to find his father and brother dead. His brother leaving five young girls behind. The family money has gonna and only reason they are above water is because of Jacquelyn mistress of castle. Technically Gabriel is a pirate anymore but still acts like one so Jacquelyn offers to teach him to be a gentleman so his can marry for money.
This story is good but can be slow is places. I can understand why Jacquelyn and Gabriel didn't just get married when he needed to secure a wealthy bride for the sake of the castle and Children.
Really really good last chapter and final end. Really liked how the writer didn't settle do the usual ending and more girls came into family.
Profile Image for Kricket.
2,260 reviews
Shelved as 'abandoned'
July 3, 2012
YESS! my library has a new ebook download service called freading, and i was teaching myself how to download books onto my phone. i was kind of in a hurry and this was one of the first options that popped up, so...and then i was bored in the car yesterday on the way to the beach...and so...well, anyway. PIRATE LOVIN!

update: it is taking me forever to read this because the only time i read it is in the line at the grocery store/oil change place. but i would guess i am about halfway done, and it is stupid & funny.

update #2: my ebook expired and since i want to use my ebook checkouts for vacation books, i am putting this one aside. i'm pretty sure i know how it ends.
685 reviews16 followers
September 17, 2013
I've read most of Mia Marlowe's book's and where I didn't find this one of my favorite it wasn't the worst book I've read either.

The hero "Gabe" is likable enough but it's hard to like "Jack" the heroine.
The storyline is unique and well written, with Gabe trying to make amends to his father and coming home too late and finding a home ran down, father dead and nieces running a muck.

I gave the book 4 STARs because of the brilliant writing and over all storyline. One character that I couldn't relate to should bring down the whole review.
And for only 2.99 it's still a fun read.
Profile Image for Siona.
436 reviews
February 16, 2016
Great book!! Really liked Lyn and Gabriel! That beginning and ending were on point!! The whole book was great though but I hated the bad characters with a passion! The girls were so sweet. Meriwether and Ms Beadle were so cute! I was only confused about who Lyn's dad was but I was happily surprised by the king being the father. Isabella was honestly just such a cool lady! And a good mom when it counted. Loved the humour in this book! Very happy everything worked out!! It was VERY different to the first in the series but it was just as good! Awesome book!
Profile Image for Jenn.
345 reviews3 followers
August 17, 2014
An absolutely saucy, sexy read. Who wouldn't want a pirate like Gabriel Drake? Ohh, shiver me timbers!!! lol It is fun, hot, intriguing and totally enjoyable. I couldn't put it down and want to read more from Ms. Bryan. The characters are fascinating and I love how she incorporated a true persona with some actual happenings and rearranged them to the story. I even looked up King George I. Fascinating.
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