The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Pages - 384
Publisher - Mills & Boon
Source - Review copy
Blurb from Goodreads
‘I am a Duke. I’m not asking you to marry me. I am offering to marry you. It’s a different thing entirely.’
When the Duke of Ashbury returns from war scarred, he realises he needs an heir – which means he needs a wife! When Emma Gladstone, a vicar's daughter turned seamstress visits wearing a wedding dress, 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 secrets and some rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she's seen the man beneath the scars, he can't stop her from falling in love…
When a girl meets a Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…
Can I just say you this is absolutely going to be a marmite book, you will love it for what it is or pick holes in it and hate it. Emma is a seamstress and comes across the Duke of Ashbury when she has to go begging payment for a job she did for his wife who called off the wedding. Swallow her pride and go looking for payment or loose her home and security. The Duke has his own business deal, be his wife, no romance, no pretence, nightly visits in the dark until she gives him an heir and she need never worry about money again!
I loved Mills and Boon as a teen and it isn't books I pick up often these days so it is nice to reconnect or read a new author. Emma is fiesty, smart and has the offer of a lifetime however she has a huge heart and can't help but see by the Duke's angry and bitter persona and his terrifying scars left from battle. The two try to stick to their terms of the deal but attraction sneaks in, he has been in a self imposed prison and she has kept herself busy after being shamed and rejected in the past.
There are a lot of quips, retorts, bad language used from Shakespeare plays, some humor including a feral kitty which whilst playing a small part in the story did steal the show with his brief appearances. There is erotica too, the book reminded me of a mix between 50 shades and beauty and the beast. Some of the scenes are very explicit so if you are offended by sexual content there is a heads up on the chapters you can skip. Some parts of the story I wanted to skelp both Emma and the Duke, sometimes they had me chuckling. I love the house servants, Breeches the kitty was a token character but who doesn't love an animal with attitude. I really enjoyed reading this, it infuriated me, made me laugh, blush, cringe and want to keep turning page after page to see how it would all end. 4/5 for me this time, this is my first dance with Dare, it won't be my last, thanks to Mills and Boon for sending me the book and introducing me to a new author. A perfect book for poolside reading or February, if like me you try to read romantic(ish) books for the month of love!