Setting aside feminist beliefs for the moment, many of us have a weakness (in our fictional heroes, anyway) for an Alpha man capable of swinging a heavy hand (or belt)- to whisk the heroine to safety, to bring her to her senses, to know what's best for her. Take Her In Hand, in other words.... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
Setting aside feminist beliefs for the moment, many of us have a weakness (in our fictional heroes, anyway) for an Alpha man capable of swinging a heavy hand (or belt)- to whisk the heroine to safety, to bring her to her senses, to know what's best for her. Take Her In Hand, in other words. The challenge for an author is how to put today's intelligent, independent, sophisticated woman into such a relationship without making her seem Too Stupid To Live, or even worse, Too Bratty to be Allowed to Live. Sure-easily accomplished in a historical, or if the guy jumps out and bites your neck in the middle of the night-but what about the common woman? The common man? Reluctant Consent is my answer. Implausible, sure. Imperfect-afraid so. But no neck biting. Cut me just a little bit of slack....
Denise Marrow is in trouble. Her parents-who were never really much interested in parenting anyhow-have died, leaving her guardian of three younger brothers. The catch is this: she has to marry Andrew Cross. If she won't her brothers will be shipped off to live with a wicked Aunt who specializes in crushing the spirit of young boys. Raised in a state of benevolent neglect, Denise had begun to realize life was NOT a Reality TV show. She'd flunked out of school, lost her job, discovered her lover was a little too far down the kink scale than she was able to accept. Trying to make some changes, grow up, take responsibility for herself she wasn't close to ready to parent three wild men.
Denise was once in love with Andrew. They were even discussing marriage. But Andrew brought up domestic discipline and Denise left in a hurry. Since Andrew still loves Denise, and because he can spot an opportunity when it jumps out and beats him over the head, he marries Denise. And then he discovers how very chaotic her life truly is and how desperately her brothers need loving but firm structure and supervision. Andrew comes face to face with the reality of being the Head of the House in day to day life and has to face the difficult task of instilling Domestic Discipline in a wife who isn't at all sure she cares for the idea.
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