It was perverse and irrational and likely the sign of some severe mental defect-but the further Spencer displayed his gross incompetence as a sensitive human being, the more he engaged her sympathy. The worse he bungled every opportunity to put her at ease, the greater her own desire to soothe. And the longer he kept her at arm’s length-emotionally speaking, at least-the more she yearned to hold him tight.
This quote basically sums up the heroine Lady Amelia d'Orsay’s character pretty well.
Because who doesn’t like to be constantly treated less than dirt?
Or less than a horse?
And this whole book is this way, Spencer Dumarque the Duke of Morland treats Amelia like shit, or demands she choose between him and her family, or forbids her from helping her beloved brother, or throws said beloved brother out of the house etc.
Whatever he does to her, five minutes later she is hot for him and they have sex…. Sigh.
Despite her anger, she was a breath away from launching herself into his arms and begging him to hold her, kiss her, pleasure her, care for her.
Love her, and understand.
And then quietly, “Jack is already lost, Amelia”.
He’d exhaust his fortunes for an ill-tempered horse, but write off her brother with a single remark?
No more consoling, no more cajoling. No more money. If you’re not strong enough to cut the ties, I’ll do it for you.
Jack his her beloved brother by the way, who has a gambling problem, but instead of helping him, Spencer writes him off as a lost cause, while he spends tens of thousands of pounds to help his lost cause of horse.
But not that this horrible treatment of her family and of her (or his demands that she choose him over her family and cut all ties with her brother) makes Amelia not want to have sex with Spencer literally five minutes later.
“You’ve just threatened to forcibly separate me from my family. Now you expect me to behave as if nothing has changed? Lie back on the bed like a good, obedient wife?”
“No. I’ll take you right here, never mind the bed.”
And of course she does, because that’s what a good doormat does. Let people walk all over her.
Despite all her anger and wounded feelings, she still yearned for the pleasure he could give.
And this pattern is followed through constantly throughout the book, Spencer does something near irredeemable and Amelia “despite all her anger and wounded feelings etc.” still wants him and then lets him have his way with her. All the fucking time.
In the end like the good doormat that she is, Amelia chooses Spencer over everything else. She would set about convincing her husband that she was devoted to him, above all...
Of course, only she promises to put him first, he still has his horses…
I can already imagine how it’ll be when they have children, Spencer being jealous whenever Amelia shows them love or puts them above him, complaining: “but you said that you’ll always but me first!” *storms off to sulk*
I loved Tessa Dare’s other books, which makes this one so very disappointing. I really hated this book, we have insta-love, a possessive, jealous, controlling, and near emotionally abusive emotionally abusive hero, and a doormat heroine who lets herself be commanded around, gets treated badly by her husband the entire time, but still jumps him five minutes afterwards because he’s sooooo hot.
Spencer is constantly jealous of Amelia's love for her family and her brother and wants to take all that away so that he is the center of her world and her number one priority. Their relationship shows many signs of an abusive relationship, including ‘isolating one from friends and family’, ‘unreasonable jealousy’, ‘domination and control’, ‘extreme moodiness’ etc.
I definitely do not recomend this book, unless one wants to see a whole lot of this:
He made a sound of exasperation. “Amelia, turn around.”
She turned. And immediately berated herself for it. Why did she obey his arrogant commands so instinctively? He said “sit”, she sat. He said “stand”, she stood. He told her to remove her bodice, she stripped herself to the waist faster than a master chef skins an eel.