The second part of the story would be a 4 stars. But it's irrelevant how much I liked certain parts, the characterization, the way the story seemed to flow. I don't care if he's redeemed and disgusted with himself, there's only so much I would forgive a 'rake' before I give up on him, and I don't know about the others but rape is a big freaking red line. once crossed, there is no coming back.
The reason I refuse to rate this badly (aside from the fact that I loved the narration, and that it got me hooked from the start) is that the author acknowledges all the issues I have with Sebastian and Rachel having a relationship.
The same man who meekly submitted to her ministrations, whose demands on her now were tentative, even courteous, was the same patient, methodical, remorseless lover who had made it a crusade to steal every last shred of her pride. She told herself that if she forgot that or ignored it, she would deserve all the consequences.
She wasn't so naive as to think his about-face was completely unselfish, but she was needy enough to welcome it on any terms. Affection, warmth, kindness—she couldn't have rejected those gifts if an ogre had offered them. Under other circumstances, she might withhold trust from a man who had done to her the things Sebastian had done. But these were her circumstances, and pride and prudence were luxuries her bankrupt emotions couldn't pay for. At least not yet
See, she knows that it's wrong. I guess she's really that desperate.
I tried to dupe myself and tell her that he was merely an ass to her, to pretend it didn't go as far as 'rape'. If it didn't happen I would be happy to give it a decent rating, but seeing how ambivalent I am about it, I'd rather not rate it at all.