4.5 rounded up
This was a great story, even without giving it allowances for being a Harley! (Heh!) The heroine made the story, another surprise, even though the hero was still deliciously dark and ruthless (my favorite ;D).
There were oodles of angst and anger, especially in the beginning with that mistress business. There was an uber nasty father (her's) who has to be one of the most evil I've read in Harleyland.
The story is based on the evil daddy blackmailing the hero and heroine into marrying and producing him a grandson. The dude could've done it the usual way and just let her meet someone and have kids. But nooo! Never one to miss an opportunity to bully the heroine, mean, evil daddy had to conjure up a wicked plan, and force her to marry someone, just so he can get his jollies out of emotionally torturing her. SSDD in the life of father and daughter.
However, despite the lifetime of emotional abuse, this was no wimpy, cowed heroine. We got to know the person underneath(which was vulnerable, of course), but for the most part, she never lets anyone put her in her place (more or less, unless you want to get technical)--not the dad, not the hero, not the irritating (but likeable) sister-in-law. Very relateable character.
I loved that the hero was salivating after the heroine something fierce in the beginning and she just blew him off. Of course he did a total 180 once he got snared in old daddy's trap, but that was loads of fun. He did evil quite well, himself.
There's some other little tidbits, but I'll leave them to be discovered. Some WTFery but no real trainwreckiness. Just a well done Harley. Definitely worth the read.