Theodora by Christina McKnight
Christina McKnight is an Incomparable.
This author knows exactly what she is doing when she writes a series about a group of four schoolfriends very different in nature but bound together by the common interest of a skill in archery. Theodora, the intelligent heroine of Book 1 of the Lady Archer's Creed series, is a lady it is easy to root for.
Alistair, the older brother of her friend Adeline? Not so much. At least, not in the beginning of the book. Yes, he's in a somewhat difficult situation with eight wilful younger siblings to manage; Adeline in particular is impossible... I have to say I didn't like her much in this book. Hopefully she'll improve somewhat in the rest of the series.
Alistair starts off being an overbearing ass to Theo, as she prefers to be known. Piqued at being beaten by her at archery (after he admits he hasn't picked up a bow for years) he actually has the gall to imply that he lost on purpose.
However, by the end of the book he has handsomely apologized, and admitted straight out to her face that she is the superior archer. Bravo, Alistair. I'm pretty sure that was the point at which Theo fell in love with him, though it had clearly been creeping up on her for a while.
Having read a few too many books lately where the hero starts off an ass... and finishes an ass, Theodora was like a breath of fresh air. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I'll be looking out for the rest of the series.
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this book for review through NetGalley.