BOOK: ROMANCING THE DUKE
AUTHOR: TESSA DARE
I give this book 4 stars! ****
As the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.
And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one.
Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?
No, no and… Heh.
Now Izzy’s given up on yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six-year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?
The story begins when Isolde Ophelia Goodnight (Izzy) receives a letter stating that her godfather died and has left her a bequest. She is to meet Lord Archer at Gostley Castle for the particulars.
When Izzy arrives at Gostley Castle, she meets a handsome stranger.
He leaned one shoulder against the archway. “Aren’t we going to continue”
“This game.” His voice was so low it seemed to crawl to her over the flagstones, then shiver up through the soles of her feet. “Am I a Russian prince? No. Is my favorite color yellow? No. Would I object if you were to come inside and remove ever stitch of your damp clothing?” His voice did the impossible. It sank lower. “No.”
He was just making sport of her now.
Izzy clutched her valise to her chest. She didn’t want Snowdrop getting wet. “Do you treat all your visitors this way?”
Idiot. She cursed herself and braced for another low, mocking “no.”
He said, “Only the pretty ones.”
She thinks that she might be hallucinating because she had never considered herself pretty or beautiful. She was just plain. Her hair was dark and so unruly that she couldn’t begin to tame it. She simply thought he must be daft. But she faints right in front of him.
This is the part where I’m hooked. And as soon as Lord Archer arrives and tells her that she’s now the proud owner of the castle, Gostley Castle, she can scarce believe it. What luck! A home of her very own! Property always belongs to fathers, brothers, husbands, son. Never women. Nothing like this ever happens to Izzy. And she’s absolutely thrilled.
The Duke of Rothbury is dumbfounded. There is no way Izzy is stealing the property out from under him. He never sold it to her godfather and now he’s beginning to question how this could have happened. It seems, perhaps, that the answer may lie with in the stacks of mail that he hasn’t looked through…. hasn’t been able to look through. He’s blind. Well, partly. Sometimes he can make out shapes or colors or certain things (and that happens usually in the mornings) but most of the time he just simply cannot see anything. And he’ll be damned if this little chit snatches his castle out from under him.
Does this story not sound good so far? I enjoyed it so very much. Especially when both the hero and heroine refused to leave the castle. They both claimed it as their own.
“This isn’t such a quandary as it seems,” she said. “You want to stay. I want to stay. Until the legal matters are settled, we’ll share.”
“Yes, share. This is a vast castle, built to house hundreds of people. I’ll just take a spare tower or wing for my own. You won’t even notice me.”
He leaned close. “Oh, I’d notice you, Miss Goodnight. I’d notice you. There’s no castle big enough to keep a man like me from being aware, every moment, of a woman like you. You don’t have to speak a word. I can hear the rustle of your petticoats. I can smell the scent of your skin. I can feel your heat.”
Heavens. If he could sense her heat, he must feel it right now. She was hot everywhere.
…”Do you understand what I’m saying to you?” he asked.
“Yes,” she breathed. “and you’re mad if you think I’ll back down from this now.”
They stood in tense silence.
“That’s it,” he said, at length. “You’re leaving this place the same way you came in.”
He ducked, caught her by the legs, and threw her over his shoulder–with ease of a man who’d tossed many a woman over his shoulder. This was definitely not his first go at lady-tossing.
But it was definitely Izzy’s first time being tossed, and she had no idea how to respond. Beat her fists against his back? Kick and scream? Later, she’d think of a dozen things. Witty retorts and clever rejoinders. Right now, all the blood was rushing to her head, and her mind was a hot, throbbing blank.
He bounced her weight, plumping her backside with his forearm. “There’s so little to you.”
The dismissive words jarred her tongue loose.
“You’re wrong,” she said. “There’s a great deal to me, Your Grace. More than you know. More than anyone supposes. You can carry me outside, if you like. I’ll come back in. Again, and again. As many times as it takes. Because this is my castle now. And I’m not leaving.”
Oh, and the banter is simply marvelous. He’s sarcastic and she’s stubborn. It’s a wonderful setting for disaster and all things off limits. Try as they might, they cannot stop the growing feeling they have for one another.
He grabbed her by the shoulders and kissed her again. Harder this time. mainly just to quiet her prattling, but also to underscore the original meaning. If she wanted tender starlight interludes, Ransom was not her man. When it came to physical pleasure, he was aggressive, bold and unashamed of it. If he had to make the point twice, so be it.
But as he kissed her, something went horribly, horribly wrong.
This time, she kissed him back. Not with mere curiosity or artless enthusiasm but with a sweet, unfettered passion that made his ribs ache.
His eyes flew open in shock–not that it made a damn bit of difference. He still couldn’t see, only feel.
Sweet God above, did he feel.
This was… this was not supposed to happen.
Ransom and Izzy absolutely came alive with passion in this story. It was so much fun to read about.
She said, “But that’s what I like most, you see. No one ever talks that way to me. You’re so crude and profane. I… I know it’s absurd, but I can’t help it. I find it perversely delightful.”
She liked crude? She wanted profane?
Very well, then. Crude and profane he could give her.
“Listen to me. When a man wakes up, he wakes wanting. He wakes hard and rude and aching with need.” He shifted, pressing his massive erection against her hip. “Do you feel that?”
She gasped. “Yes.”
“It wants in you.” he said.
“In… in me.”
“Yes. In you. Hard, deep, fast and completely. Now don’t you wake me at this hour again unless you found the perfect retort to that.”
Ransom is a likable hero. He’s rough around the edges but begins to soften a bit. He’s blunt and to the point and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him.
It really is enjoyable to read how they straighten out the problem of who’s castle it is. As with most stories, you’ll find out in the end but don’t skip to the back to read just yet. Enjoy the story. It has humorous parts in it, the love scenes are marvelous, and the characters are wonderful.
And I love when an author has an animal that’s apart of the story. This one would be an ermine named Snowdrop. She doesn’t have a huge role in the story but the parts she’s in are hilarious.
I simply love Tessa Dare! You can hardly go wrong with one of her novels.