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When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…
Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.
His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.
But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…
ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Tessa Dare is an absolute master at what she does. Of course there are hundreds of historical romance authors out there, but no one quite does it like Tessa Dare. Her books are priceless gems. each one better than the previous one. The Duchess Deal was no exception. Telling the story of two unlikely personalities in a marriage of convenience falling slowly but hardly for each other, The Duchess Deal is Tessa Dare’s most magical, most romantic, and sexiest novel to date.
As always Dare writes characters that are full of heart and soul. Emma, darling darling Emma, is a witty seamstress who has made a life for herself after she’s ousted and disowned by her vicar father. She is a woman with a lot of strength, self-possession, kindness and compassion. Life may have dealt her a bad hand, but she moves on from that and instead channels her grief and disappointment into her passion of making dresses. In many ways, she is the complete opposite of the brutally scarred ass-hat who proposes the preposterous idea of entering a marriage of convenience. Said ass-hat is of course the Duke of Ashbury, a war-hero who is in desperate need of an heir. He is gruff, broody, and angry for the way his life has turned around, but he also somehow finds a way to sneakily settle in your heart and make you swoon for days. Your heart aches for him, and you want him to see himself beyond the physical scars to the hero that he is. Of course, he is a man after all, and an incredibly bull-headed one at that, so it takes a kind, passionate and loving woman like Emma to finally crumble that tough wall he has built around him.
This Beauty and The Beast-esque romance between Emma and Ash is delightful, awkward, and sexy. They both go into the marriage with plans of not falling for each other, and as a reader, you scoff at that because you know from their very first meeting that the kind of attraction they have doesn’t end at lust. It’s fun watching them dance around each other, push each other’s button, and slowly and subtly fall desperately in love with each other. It’s a swoons-inducing romance that will leave you breathless. The clever banter, the hilarious teasing (mostly on Emma’s part ), and the sensuous and steamy love scenes makes it a romance that’s absolutely worth the read, and re-read. As always with Tessa Dare’s novels, there is also a great depiction of female friendships between Emma and a lovely, and quirky group of women who embrace her with open hands. They are a fun addition to the book, and add even more humor to the story, along with Ash’s nosy, meddling staff who only want for him to find love.
The Duchess Deal is for those readers who love a good toe-curling romance between two broken and unlikely souls that fit beautifully together that also has a memorable cast and humor for days. If the rest of the Girl Meets Duke series is going to be anything like this first book, then romance readers are in for a ride.