Sebastian Verlaine is just another bored, jaded aristocrat. Having packed his now former mistress off to London, he's facing the ever-so-boring task of sitting with two other magistrates to judge the latest batch of baddies in his small parish. One of those is Rachel Wade, recently paroled from a ten year stint for murdering her husband. She's got no family left and not able to get a job, so just what are they to do with her? Bored, jaded Sebastian decides Rachel has serious mistress potential, and as long as he's stuck in the back-o-beyond he might as well amuse himself and he takes her on as his housekeeper. Rachel is carrying a lot of emotional damage from her husband of one week, so one has to wonder if being groomed for the next spot as mistress of the manor is the kind of healing she really needs. This is really a hard book to rate, because while there's a lot of good story, there are some things that happen that are going to be a deal breaker for many readers and that's why I'm slightly spilling the beans. Sebastian's idea of *seducing* Rachel includes rape. While it isn't a physically violent rape, Rachel said NO. No means no To top that off, jaded bored Sebastian brings a few friends in from London and they play a particularly vicious game of truth telling and Sebastian just sits by and lets them do it do her. It's hard to feel endeared towards a hero with that kind of mindset. Granted, Sebastian does finally wake up and smell the coffee, and I was warming up to him more, until the big love scene in the garden with a light bit of bondage. It really not bad and was focused on love and trust, but I'm sorry - after being shell-shocked with the 50 Shades books that scene didn't work too well for me.In the end, I did enjoy the book flaws and all, but this just isn't going to be the book for everyone.