I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.
I'm at the first riding scene, and my secondhand embarrassment is pretty intense. Between this and the tea incident (and later, with the shooting, death, and bone breaking), I still can't believe Bren put himself and Jase at Ilisidi's mercy in the third book.
Also, Bren is pretty good at lying to himself, isn't he? The few mentions of Barb so far make Bren and Barb's relationship sound fairly casual, but that doesn't quite gel with his reaction later on.