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Graphic Designer, painter, dreamer, fashion addict, unhealthy obsession with shoes and jewelry. Film lover and oh yes....books! :D
At the Duke's Pleasure - Tracy Anne Warren 3.5 stars

Edward Duke of Clybourne is the eldest of the Bryon siblings and has finally decided to get married to his chosen bride since childhood, Claire Marsden. Claire has secretly been in love with Edward for years since she met her husband-to-be as a child. Unfortunately by the time Edward has decided to call upon her to get married, Claire is no longer interested, refusing to marry out of obligation and duty and wishing for something more, love.

This was a struggle to get through and mostly because of the overall dragged-out plot and the heroine's main reservations for marrying Edward. My biggest problem that I can’t wrap my brain around no matter how hard I try is the fact that Claire let one singular encounter she had with Edward when she was sixteen shape her entire decision and form her resolve on not marrying him. I thought it was ridiculous and incredibly lame. Now if it was some life-altering cruel incident then I could understand but this was just stupid. When she was sixteen, she overheard Edward telling a lady friend how he does not want to get married (at the time him being 27 years old) and Claire is just a child in his eyes (which is the truth). Her heart is broken and she quickly decides that she will never marry him cause he doesn’t love her.... and apparently never will. Cause g-d forbid the man had the nerve to not want to get married or love a girl he barely knows at the time which equates to him NEVER being able to love Claire. *crickets* The logic is so ass backwards and asinine that I don't understand why Warren chose this as the overall ‘conflict’ for the couple. Come on! Yes for a young girl it would make sense to be heartbroken but to use that ONE incident and let it shape her entire opinion of him (and it clearly did) and be dead set against marrying him years later because of it I thought was unreasonable and such a poor wishy washy justification to be honest. I was waiting for someone to clue in the poor girl that men DO change their minds and learn things as they get older. She clearly had a lot of growing up to do cause that was one of many things she had no notion of which I couldn't understand and found a little unrealistic.

I wanted to like Claire and understand her but she made it really hard through most of the book. To be blunt, for someone so naïve and innocent she’s a complete idiot. I lost all patience or understanding of her from the beginning when she devised this genius plan of hers to get out of her engagement. She was willing to do anything to get Edward to call off the engagement and I mean ANYTHING. Hence why I call her a naive idiot considering her last and final stunt almost had her raped. Her braziness and complete arrogance and carelessness to what she was doing and the obliviousness to the ramifications of it was just infuriating. Even for someone who's 22 and the eldest daughter she was incredibly clueless and naive about certain things she should know about IMO. I honestly kept looking forward to Edward chewing her out and scolding her like a child cause she was pretty much acting like one.

Plus for someone who’s supposedly ‘in love’ and adores her betrothed I had a hard time seeing it or buying it between all the stupid outlandish stunts she kept pulling to try and get him to cry off through more than half of the book. It dragged on continuously to the point I was tempted to skip parts just to get to the end. I really wish Warren didn't drag all that out till eternity because it left very *little* room for me to believe she did want him or even truly loved him. She was so determined and stedfast on her decision through more than half of the book even while she was getting to know him as a man. That was infuriating to no end. She also seemed to make a lot of grand assumptions and misjudgments when it came to Edward, even when they were married. I understood her insecurity and fear but she needed to have a little more faith in the man she loves and not jump to quick conclusions and think immediately the worse. It's something I hate that authors do with heroines, especially shy insecure ones. They beat the insecurity part over the head repeatedly that it veers off into annoying rather then endearing. I thought here it was heaped on way too much. The constant redundant inner dialogues that would fill up pages of Claire dissecting every. little. thing he would or wouldn’t say, do or didn’t do drove me up the wall. She loved to blow things way out of proportion and stack every little thing against him. RME. If you have fears TALK TO HIM, if you have reservations talk to him don't assume the worst every single time. Clearly you have a mouth, say something and stop being a giant boob.

The only reason I managed to get through it was because of Edward and his colorful lovely family. I loved Edward, loved seeing him handle his family and work all with great ease and confidence and authority. I really enjoyed seeing him interact with his siblings and mother. The family dynamic is one of the reasons why I love this series so much. Edward is a very straight-forward, honest loyal-to-a-fault kind of man which I loved. When he wants something he sets his mind on it and goes after it, full throttle. :P I admired that and it's safe to say he made me melt more than once. He was so charming and sweet and delicious. It just had me wishing more than once that the heroine was better suited for him. Given Claire's over-the-top silly antics I struggled accepting her as his match. But either way, after they did get married they had some pretty sweet tender moments that I enjoyed. I have to say the love scenes in particular were pretty steamy and intimate and playful which I really liked. It's one of the reasons why I love TAW's writing she gives everything even when it comes to love scenes and intimate moments. Very descriptive and just really enthralling. The honeymoon scenes are the highlight of the book for me.

This would have been a 4 star or even 5 if it wasn't for Claire's antics and dragging out of a shallow redundant plot.