The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke #1) by Tessa Dare

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source: purchased
title: The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke 1
author: Tessa Dare
genre: regency romance
pages: 368
published: 2017
first line: Emma Gladstone had learned a few hard lessons by the age of two-and-twenty.
rated: 5 out of 5
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blurb:
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 thoughts:
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.

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Destiny by Rochelle Wayne

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source: purchased
title: Destiny
author: Rochelle Wayne
published: 1998
genre: historical western romance
first line: James Rayfield, poised in front of his full length mirror, admired his naked physique.
pages: 412
rated: 4 out of 5
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blurb:
Fleeing for her life, Sharla shamelessly embraced the role of a fallen woman. To escape town, she tricked Lance Slade into escorting her to Texas. But she learned the truth about the sexy bounty hunter too late. With Sharla, Lance found a searing passion that tested his resolve as a lawman. If only Sharla could convince him of her innocence–and Lance could learn to trust her. Only then could they find true love together.

my thoughts:
I read Destiny last week while on vacation by the cabin at the lake and it was the perfect quick, mindless summer read. I mean that in a good way. My daughter and I went into a used book shop in town and we found copies of Destiny and Beneath A Western Moon by the same author. We quickly co-read the former. The books are both in great condition for being published in the 90’s. I’ve tried finding out who author Rochelle Wayne is, but no luck. There is no website connected to her and I’m assuming she wrote under a pseudonym. Anyway, Destiny has everything good Harlequin romance should have. Hero and heroine who initially dislike each other but eventually fall in love, a few minor subplots in the mix, a couple of plot twists and turns and a nice dose of bodice ripping on top of it all. Plus, it is set in the 1800’s West which was nice.

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A Week to Be Wicked by Tessa Dare

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source: purchased
title: A Week to Be Wicked Book 2 of 5 in the Spindle Cove Series
author: Tessa Dare
genre: regency romance
pages: 322
published: March 27, 2012
rated: 4 out of 5 stars
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first line: When a girl trudged through the rain at midnight to knock at the Devil’s door, the Devil should at least have the depravity-if not the decency-to answer.

Blurb:
When a devilish lord and a bluestocking set off on the road to ruin…
Time is not on their side.
Minerva Highwood, one of Spindle Cove’s confirmed spinsters, needs to be in Scotland.
Colin Sandhurst, Lord Payne, a rake of the first order, needs to be… anywhere but Spindle Cove.

These unlikely partners have one week
to fake an elopement
to convince family and friends they’re in “love”
to outrun armed robbers
to survive their worst nightmares
to travel four hundred miles without killing each other
All while sharing a very small carriage by day and an even smaller bed by night.

What they don’t have time for is their growing attraction. Much less wild passion. And heaven forbid they spend precious hours baring their hearts and souls.

Suddenly one week seems like exactly enough time to find a world of trouble.
And maybe…just maybe…love.

My thoughts:
A Week to Be Wicked is book two in Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series. Having read and enjoyed book three, A Lady by Midnight a few years ago, I happily dove into this one when I was in the mood for a nice regency romance. I know I’ve been reading this series backwards but they are standalone reads so it hasn’t made much difference.

In this installment we have Minerva Highwood from Spindle Cove who wants to stop  Colin Sandhurst aka Lord Payne from marrying her sister. Minerva thinks the notorious ladies man Payne is not the right match for her sister. She thinks that Payne is looking to marry so that he can get his inheritance so Minerva makes him an offer he cannot refuse.

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How to Seduce a Scot by Christy English

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source: free review copy via Sourcebooks
title: How to Seduce a Scot
author: Christy English
published: Sourcebooks Casablanca (December 1, 2015)
pages: 373
genre: historical fiction/romance
first line: Catherine Middlebrook surveyed the ballroom at Almack’s, looking for a quiet, biddable man to marry.
rated: 3 1/2 out of 5
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He’s the terror of the ton…

Blurb:
The plan is simple:
1. Descend from the Highlands to face the aggravation of a London Season;
2. Foist his wild sister off on some gullible English lord;
3. Retreat before the ladies of the scandalized ton can get any ideas.

Determined to see his hellion of a sister wed, Highlander Alexander Waters is willing to face anything-even the English. He just didn’t expect his own rough manners to cause such a riot…or for a blooming English rose to catch his eye.

Gently bred Catherine Middlebrook must find a respectable man to marry or her family will be ruined. She won’t allow herself to be distracted by Highland barbarians…no matter how her body may thrill whenever Alex is near.

Catherine wasn’t part of the plan, but as their battle of wills escalates, Alex comes to realize this “proper” English girl is as wild as the Highlands themselves…and nothing will stop him from having her.

Broadswords and Ballrooms:
How to Seduce a Scot
How to Wed a Warrior
How to Train Your Highlander

My thoughts:
How to Seduce a Scot was a fun and sweet historical romance and kicks off the Broadswords and Ballrooms series by Christy English.

Catherine Middlebrook is trying to find a husband because her family is in debt. Her dad passed away leaving her single mother owing a mortgage on the house that she cannot pay. Catherine is in London and her need to marry to save her family is dire. She meets Lord Farleigh, an aristocrat with money who would make a sensible match and is interested in her, but she also meets a Highlander named Alexander Waters. Alexander is the opposite of Lord Farleigh. The Highlander is tall, dark, and handsome and straightforward with her, where Farleigh is always reserved.
What ensues is a bit of a love triangle as the men vie for her affections.

Alexander is in town to see that his sister finds a suitable English husband. He is anti-English even though his mother is English and he never thought he’d fall for an English woman himself, so this adds another dynamic to the story.

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The Duchess War by Courtney Milan

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source: purchased
title: The Duchess War (The Brothers Sinister)
author: Courtney Milan
published: September 10, 2013
pages: 283
genre: historical romance
first line: Robert Blaisdell, the ninth Duke of Clermont was not hiding.
rated: totally worth it
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blurb:
Miss Minerva Lane is a quiet, bespectacled wallflower, and she wants to keep it that way. After all, the last time she was the center of attention, it ended badly—so badly that she changed her name to escape her scandalous past. Wallflowers may not be the prettiest of blooms, but at least they don’t get trampled. So when a handsome duke comes to town, the last thing she wants is his attention. But that is precisely what she gets. Because Robert Blaisdell, the Duke of Clermont, is not fooled. When Minnie figures out what he’s up to, he realizes there is more to her than her spectacles and her quiet ways. And he’s determined to lay her every secret bare before she can discover his. But this time, one shy miss may prove to be more than his match…

my thoughts:
I have had The Duchess War sitting in my Nook for a little while now after purchasing it on recommendation from SBTB. They are fans of Courtney Milan over there and it is one of my “go to” blogs for romance recommendations and great reviews.

The Duchess War is my first time reading this author and this is book 1 in The Brothers Sinister series.
For some reason, it took me forever to get through this book. I refused to give up on it and read it over the course of a few weeks in between other reads. I can’t pinpoint why it took me that long, I may just have not been in the mood for it.It is actually a good historical romance, nicely written too. It is smart and sexy. Smexy. Some of these characters are having discussions about science and Darwinism.

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