The Duchess Deal- Tessa Dare
Release Date: August 27, 2017
Synopsis: 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…
Returned from Waterloo scarred both physically and mentally, the Duke of Ashbury has decided he needs an heir. When his fiancee drops him because of his scars and her seamstress shows up at the ducal residence demanding payment for a finished wedding gown, Ash decides she'll do. Emma at first thinks he's making fun of her, but she's desperate and before she knows it, she's the new Duchess of Ashbury. Emma doesn't mind Ash's scars but she does refuse to fall in exactly with Ash's plans. She won't be a wife in bed only. She's determined to push Ash back into enjoying life, and before she knows it, she's fallen in love with him. Will Ash break her heart or learn to love again?
The Duchess Deal takes the familiar romance trope of a poor but genteel woman who enters into a marriage of convenience with an obscenely rich nobleman and gives it a refreshing, fun reboot as only Tessa Dare can do. Emma may be alone in the world, but she refuses to let life's trials beat her down. She hides her fears, whether she's facing down a strange duke or admitting that she loves him. Few women, no matter how desperate to get paid, would show up at the home of a duke who has just had his betrothal ended and demand that she pay for his former fiancee's gown. Fewer still would show up wearing the dress- and then not kill the man who compares her creation to "unicorn vomit". When Ash snaps at her or tells her she can call him 'Duke' if she has to be familiar, she starts keeping lists of the most ridiculous pet names she can come up with to call him.
Ash is a deeply wounded hero who tries to retreat from the world to protect himself. He's listened to a few people tell him he's a monster and so he refuses to believe he could be anything else. He tries to keep Emma at an impersonal distance, rejecting her before she can reject him. He fights her every step of the way as she drags him back to being himself. But his wicked sense of humor and basic decency still manage to come through- like when he pretends to be a demon and menaces Emma's vicar father.
Tessa Dare (Do You Want to Start a Scandal?) gives us another gift with The Duchess Deal: delightful characters, sparkling wit, and her trademark brilliant sense of humor. This fast-paced enjoyable read will captivate you from page one and refuse to let you go. August's release of the next book in this series (The Governess Game) can't come soon enough! A must read for Tessa Dare fans, romance fans, and everyone looking for a good book!