and mostly secludes herself in her room, reading and doing online classes, because of her stutter. She follows her father's demands and unhappily agrees to an arranged marriage
to save her irresponsible brother from going to prison due to a crime associated with Hero's family. 32yo security-specialist Hero used to be a handsome & charming ladies' man,
lauded for his military success.
But he became a casualty of war. His face is now badly scarred.
Forcing heroine in marriage will fulfill his desires for vengeance and to have a wife and children. Given her 1st reaction to his scars and her aversion to speaking to him, he's surprised at how responsive she was to being with him on their wedding night. And she, his tender passion with her.
However, the morning after was a different story.
Except for when it's time for bed, he becomes a very different person.
How does she get him to open up outside of sex?
I like the Harlequin-esque writing of this Sinclaire book. Despite my 2-star rating, I'm still considering sampling other Sinclaire books in the future to see if she writes with the same Harlequin-Presents style but with more explicit sex. This book is full of drama, emotion, & extreme characterization. But this book suffered with OTT(over the top) negative characterizations of Hero and heroine and not enough character growth. I couldn't get past what a jerk Hero was throughout the book. And what a huge doormat heroine was, taking his crap day after day. I don't know how she could get all sexified with him every single night, after he blatantly ignores her most of the day during their 1st month of marriage. Except for 2 activities:
---------SPOILERS: Don't read below if you don't want to know the book's details--------
Hero told her to her face that he didn't care what she did, as long as she was with him promptly at dinnertime and give him what he wants at bedtime. He rejected all her attempts to converse during the day or share lunch or workout together. The times he'd leave during the evening he wouldn't tell her where he'd go and neither did he invite her. She accidentally found out later that some of these events were parties & social events they were both invited to as a couple. But he never informed her about any of them because he thought she didn't want to be paraded around as her father did. What's worse is that she'd merely slink away quietly, feeling sad and rejected. And do as she's told. Grateful...that at least he wanted her at bedtime. Grrr.
Heroine was a virgin on their wedding night. Hero was celibate by force since his injury (about a couple years) because his facial scars repulsed other women: his former lovers & the women he dated after his injury.
Heroine was a doormat. And she acted stupidly. She was intellectually smart but not wise. She agreed to marrying Hero to save her brother from some unknown criminal charges that would send him to prison. Did she even ask what crime her brother was accused of before agreeing to the forced marriage plan? No. Did she ask her father what hold Hero had on him to make him agree to such a plan? Nope. Did she ask her father or brother or Hero (or anybody really) what other alternatives there was to helping her brother aside from her being forced to marry Hero? Of course not. Heroine was the sacrificial lamb who, I guess, turned her brain off at such crucial times. Just because she made a promise to her mother to take care of her brother. The brother who she had no contact with during her years of boarding school. By choice. But, now that she's being forced, she's willing to lay down her freedom (and her brain) for him. Ohhhkay. What's ironic is that she was defending her brother's innocence to Hero, when she still had no clue what her brother was accused of. It was only after Hero confronted her of her brother's crime that she finally started checking out the truth of it. Only then.
Heroine did wise-up a bit later. After Hero's clear statement of indifference to her life, she took advantage of it by getting involved in a few outside activities (i.e, joining a yoga class, pursuing her graduate studies). But it wasn't enough. Her venturing out to do more activities outside the home was more on the sly. As if she was sneaking and going against Hero's approval. Heroine was still very much like a child, who desperately needed her parents' approval and wanted to stay within its boundaries to not risk any more rejection. If she had really become more assertive, she wouldn't have forgiven Hero so easily after he publicly humiliated her during her school conference. With a little sad face, some “I'm sorry”s, and promises to treat her better, all was forgiven. Uh huh.
I minimally recommend this book.