First friends, then enemies . . .
Lady Aurelia hasn't always hated Max, Viscount Camden, her brother's best friend. In fact, as a besotted girl, she thrived under his kind attention— sure that he was the most noble and handsome man in the land. Until her young heart discovered what manner of rogue he really was. Now, though she enjoys nothing more than getting on his last nerve, she can't deny Max drives her to distraction— even if she tries to pretend otherwise.
Now something more . . .
Max cannot recall a time when Aurelia did not vex him. If she was not his friend's sister, he would stay far away from the infuriating vixen. Unfortunately, they are always thrown together. At parties and family gatherings . . . she is always there. Mocking him, tossing punch in his face, driving him mad . . . until one night, she goes too far and he retaliates in the only way he can: with a kiss that changes everything.
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I never review books mainly because I don’t usually feel strongly enough about them to justify a review. This book made me angry. I like Ms. Jordan’s work a lot and find that she usually has strong female characters and male characters with decent character arcs. I like that her female characters are not weak and simpering girls who just let the world flow around them while they dream of a day when their prince will come. I read the whole book, which is only a testament to her prose rather than the characters. I adore the hate-turned-love plot device in most books but this fell far short of the mark.
The characters are terrible human beings. I understand the need to create a rift between them and the one Ms. Jordan designs is very good. But their interactions throughout the story made me cringe. The things they said to each other, the things they did to each other...a few cruel and cutting remarks would have been enough to make the hatred believable but redeemable. For nearly three-quarters of the book they were at each other’s throats with jabs that makes one truly bristle at the idea they would fall in love with someone so monstrous. There were various bridges that were crossed and I kept thinking, ‘this, this is the moment they will realize they are being complete and utter jerks and see how much pain they are causing the other.’ But they kept doubling down, even as they watched as the other one was irreparably hurt by whatever barb was thrown, and they felt little to no remorse for it.
The male lead treats the female lead like a child who cannot make her own decisions, all the way until the last chapter of the book. And, he fails to outline what he wants in a partner and treats her like it’s her fault for not knowing it sooner. ‘Oh, you wanted this thing? Yeah, thats not going to happen ever. Tough sh*t.’ The female lead is quick to anger (which is a character flaw that I love) but her anger usually results in painful hysterics. I ground my teeth during the sex scenes where she repeatedly told him to stop and he kept saying “you don’t want me to stop.” Which usually only makes me cringe in other stories (verbal consent is important!) but in this one, where there was absolutely no reason to believe the other party was interested, it felt far too aggressive. The ending felt like an ‘oh sh*t, they are supposed to be in love’ tack on of about 10 pages that left me riled up. There was no payoff for sticking through the cruel machinations of these two people.
I’m extremely disappointed because I had such high hopes for this book. I was GIDDY to read this book because it was right up my alley, the description was everything I like in a book. I gave it two stars out of deference to Ms. Jordan’s writing abilities.
Just a matter of time
It was just a matter of time for these two to get together. Really good story. Very enjoyable poker game. If only!