I liked the story.
I found the characters likable. Credible. Fleshed out.
I liked the prose.
But. Where was the chemistry? The feelings? The love? The romance? The angst? The passion? Anything? I just felt these 2 characters never quite... got there for me. Like they kept their feelings locked inside. Like their nightly sex was a routine to be done. Yes, they said there was passion, but I never felt it. They maintained separate rooms. They kept secrets that even at the end when revealed showed me nothing - I was never convinced they had actually created a relationship that was other than a marriage of convenience. Where was the HEA? Where they happy at the end?
It was too... sterile. And I wondered. And Pondered.
Then I did what I always do and consulted the AAR review - lo and behold, dang if that reviewer and I didn't agree: it was missing something. The reviewer says
I never really felt a compelling connection between the couple until the end of the novel.Well, at least she felt it at the end - I did not.
So while it teetered on 4 stars as I waited and waited to feel something, it ended, and left me with a barely 3 star feeling.
Oh I almost forgot a plot: Rose is a Lady whose brother is a criminal on the lam - he defrauded a lot of nobility out of a lot of money. Kyle is the son of a coal miner with education - now he's a sort of engineer/architect, with some money but not a title. She's outcast and has found herself almost a courtesan - when a Bad Earl auctions her off at a house party, Kyle buys her out of chivalry. Then he is convinced that his marrying her will benefit him by lifting him into Society and will benefit her by saving her soiled reputation. Then we spend the book bringing the brother and the Bad Earl to justice while Kyle and Rose try to have a marriage mostly in separate bedrooms and with a lot of secrets. I dunno, it just didn't work for me.
Also - I didn't do my research, and this is book 3 in a series, so maybe if I read The Rules of Seduction and The Lessons of Desire first it might have made more sense, but maybe not.