Lady Amelia Bertram disliked Thomas Armstrong since she first met him and even though she finds him very attractive, she wastes no time in making sure everyone knows of her dislike for him. Despite his initial attraction to Amelia, her prickly exterior and bad judgement calls have led him to avoid her at all costs. Unfortunately his dealings with her father, Harry, make this difficult and when Harry goes to America he begs Thomas to take care of Amelia in his absence. Thomas refuses until he overhears Amelia loudly and publicly belittling his rumored prowess in the bedchamber. With the help of his friend, Alex, Thomas decides to teach Amelia a lesson by watching her while her father is gone, making her work for him, and seducing her until she begs him to take her. Amelia is horrified at the prospect of staying with Thomas, but when her father threatens to send her to stay with nuns, she reluctantly agrees. Thomas' mother and sisters are going to be her chaperones and around her Amelia is completely different than around the other members of the ton.
This new side to her doesn't hamper him from going through with his plans and her beauty doesn't make seduction hard. Amelia's dislike of Thomas stems from her belief that her father loves him more than he loves her and her father's neglect since her mother's death. Amelia is humiliated when Thomas puts her to work on his files like she was a secretary, but she worries what he would do if she refused to do what he asked. Her work for him makes her mother suspicious so he agrees to do some non-work related activities for her such as horse back rides. It becomes increasingly difficult for them to keep their hands off each other and even while they both believe they cannot stand the other, they are taking every opportunity they can find to be alone together. Suddenly Thomas is wondering if he has completely misjudged her and if it would be possible for the two of them to have a life together. But when he sees her with one of her former suitors he believes he has been taken for a fool and it will take important efforts from both of them to get around their former hatred and admit their love.
Amelia comes across as incredibly immature as she has had two failed elopements with completely unsuitable men and very little attempt was made to explain why she had tried to elope. Her hatred of Thomas was seemed purely mean spirited and I wanted to slap her father for having allowed things to have progressed to the point where his daughter was so awful. Her insults are supposed to be "honest" and "original" but they just came across as horrible and unpolite in every aspect. I wanted her to grow up as the book went on but I wasn't completely convinced she did. I admired her ability to be honest about her feelings surrounding her father as they were very complicated and her resentment for his “abandonment” and subsequent dislike of those whom her father does like seemed genuine, even if it didn’t warrant the amount of venom she spewed at Thomas. Despite my dislike of Amelia, I was horrified by the humiliation she endured at Thomas’ hands while she was working for him. It was painful to read and there were times when I wanted to put it down purely because of the embarrassment.
Thomas’ plans to almost seduce Amelia to get back at her for insulting him and his making her work for him did not endear me to him. But Amelia was really such an awful person that it was difficult for me to completely disagree with his motives or his methods. Despite his pretending to hate her he wasn’t opposed to going off half-cocked whenever another man so much as glanced in her direction. Also- I am not a big fan of romances where the hero engages in sexual activities with another woman, even if it occurs before he and the heroine are involved. He was always looking for the worst in Amelia, even when she was being good and it made it difficult for me to see how he fell in love with her. And his behavior made it equally hard to determine how she fell in love with him. Granted there was a ton of steam between them and the sex between them was absolutely scorching and there was quite a bit of it. I enjoyed the presence of his mother and sisters and especially her father and the interesting relationship he had with both his daughter and with Thomas.
Rating: A fairly terrible book all around, with two atrocious characters who had some hot sex, but the writing style was well done.