Rating: 2 Stars/DNF What happened to Sarah MacLean? When I read NINE RULES TO ROMANCE A RAKE, I could've sworn I'd discovered a new favorite author. While its sequel wasn't quite up to the same caliber - and I quickly lost interest in reading the last novel in the LOVE BY NUMBERS trilogy - I was excited to give this trilogy a try. Gosh, what a chore.As always, I really adore MacLean's characters. I've found them to be rich, layered, and deep - just the way I like them. I wasn't a fan of the romance angle in this, however. It's that classic forced-into-marriage scenario, but then it's topped by an utterly unnecessary hero-resists-his-lover-and-makes-her-think-he's-indifferent. And I hate those tropes. It's so annoying to see a couple face hordes of problems that are entirely unnecessary. It got up to the 63% mark in this novel before being fed up by it. All the qualities I loved about NINE RULES... - its humor, wit, and steam - were absent in this one. Sadly, I just won't be continuing with MacLean's work in the future. It seems NINE RULES... is the best her work ever gets.