She's not supposed to think he's hot.
Em has known Ward Knightley all her life, and she's never thought he was hot before. He's always been only a family friend--thirteen years older than her and far too bossy. He gives her brotherly advice and lectures her when she does something silly, and the rest of the time he just laughs at her. Sure, he's smart and handsome and funny and kind. But he's not hot.
He's really not.
He's not supposed to be anyway. But once Em starts seeing him in a new way, she can't think about him the way she did before. She's usually good at arranging the world around her. She helps her friends find jobs and romantic partners, and she always has herself under control. But nothing is controlled about the way she's now wants Ward as so much more than a family friend.
If only he didn't still think about her as a little girl.
Pemberley House is a series of modern reimaginings of Jane Austen novels, and the books are set in a historic mansion in Virginia that has been converted into condos. If I Loved You Less is loosely inspired by Emma.