"The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke" by Tessa Dare


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…

Although some reviewers complained that this book wasn't compliant with the era said to encompass, I still loved this story! The main characters' depth and imagination impressed. Witty repartee and chemistry abounded between Ash and Emma; their teasing banter made me laugh, and heated love scenes burned up the pages. Each had emotional wounds and sympathetic backstories that shaped their personalities and kept them from surrendering to their feelings; Ash's physical scars held him captive in a world of loneliness. Although he cast himself in the role of a monster, his kind tenderness and intellectual curse words won me over. Several whacky sub-characters also rose; even the cat had a persona that added to the amusement. Yes, it contained silliness, and I didn't always believe the era portrayed factually, but it entertained.


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