title: The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke 1
author: Tessa Dare
genre: regency romance
first line: Emma Gladstone had learned a few hard lessons by the age of two-and-twenty.
rated: 5 out of 5
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…
My first read of 2018 was a good one. The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke 1 nicely kicks off Tessa Dare’s Girl Meets Duke series. It is regency romance with a beauty and the beast vibe to it.
The Duke of Ashbury has been badly scarred at war and lives his life in solitude with his servants as company. He was engaged but it was broken off after he returned from the war. Emma Gladstone is the seamstress that was working on the Duke’s bride to be’s wedding dress and now that the wedding is off, she finally shows up at the Duke’s doorstep hoping to collect the money they owe her for the dress. The Duke has been thinking that he needs an heir to leave his wealth to and he wants to find a wife. When Emma Gladstone comes knocking at his front door the timing can’t be more perfect. He makes her the offer. Marry him and she will be set for life with his wealth, all that he asks for is she provide him an heir. He believes himself unlovable due to the scarring.
Emma initially refuses but afterwards she agrees, knowing the offer is once in a lifetime plus she needs the marriage in order to help her unwed pregnant friend so win win.
Emma is attracted to Ash from the start, she finds him passionate and mysterious. It is a marriage that is convenient for both of them but Emma asks for a little more. She wants to have dinner with her husband every night and she wants to get to know him better. She is curious about him and the scars don’t scare her off. What ensues after the vows are exchanged is Emma pushing towards the duke and his pulling away, always thinking she cannot possibly truly want him. His staff tries to get these two together as well, they want him to fall in love with Emma. Emma meets a set of friends also, and I can see them getting their own books in this series.
First off, I loved the Duke of Ashbury a.k.a. Ash straight away. He’s tall, brooding but sarcastically funny and one half of his body is scarred. I fell for the beauty and the beast trope hook line and sinker. He is cranky at times but has a good heart. Alot of the story-line is about his being able to accept that she truly loves him.
He was striking.
As though a bolt of lighting had split through his body, dividing him in two, and the energy still crackled around him. Emma sensed it from across the room.”
p.14, The Duchess Deal
I also liked Emma. She is straightforward and intelligent and speaks what is on her mind. She has her own painful past and it is slowly revealed as the story flows. The interactions between these two were so fun to read and it was nice watching them fall in love.
“It wasn’t only her body he craved, it was closeness. Acceptance. The feeling of being wanted, and never turned away.”
p.207, The Duchess Deal
Dare adds a nice dose of humor and I laughed out loud during several scenes all throughout the story. These two were really cute together. Oh, and the sexy times were steamy hot. He is a beast after all so he acts like it in the bedroom. And Emma is not a virgin and Ash does not judge her. He wants to beat up the guy who jilted her, but he never judges her.
“If she could glimpse the brutish, primal impulses coursing through him, she would run like a rabbit flees a ravening wolf.
And he would catch her.”
p. 272, The Duchess Deal
As usual, Tessa Dare does not disappoint. She writes couples whose personalities compliment each other and heroines who can take care of themselves and she adds a nice dose of humor to her stories that make them really enjoyable. The writing flows smoothly and whenever I would put this book down I couldn’t wait to pick it up again.
This was a story about how nobody is perfect and about second chances and about loving someone for who they really are. Also, about accepting yourself and leaving the past where it belongs, in the past. I highly recommend her books to fans of the genre or to anyone looking to get swept away into a good romance.
“Most of the time, a girl needed to rescue herself.”
p.1, The Duchess Deal
The second in this series, The Governess Game, is due out this summer and I will have to read it.
Disclaimer: This review is my honest opinion. I did not receive any kind of compensation for reading and reviewing this book. I am under no obligation to write a positive review. I purchased my copy of The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke 1 by Tessa Dare. The book photo here is my own.
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