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

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Synopsis:

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…

Review:

Tessa Dare writes such fun old-timey romances! I love them! The characters, the stories, everything is so much fun!

Emma doesn't have a lot, but she is surviving. She is a seamstress and she loves her job, especially when it is helping someone who doesn't have a lot of means look like she does. It is a hard job, she works hard, but she loves it. She is good at it. It enables her to live. Only she is getting into a dire situation when one of her clients doesn't pay for the wedding dress she ordered. And Emma needs that money to pay her bills this month. So she goes to get what she is owed. She is so strong and when she needs something she figures out how to get it. Nothing puts her off. If she has managed to survive this long something like an unpaid order is not going to get in her way.

Ash is a bit adrift himself. He was supposed to be married, but then he went to war and his face got disfigured and now he is a monster. Someone no one would want to be around, but he needs an heir. When Emma barges into his house and demands to be paid he makes her an offer of marriage. Because she will do nicely. He can bed her a few times, hopefully she will get pregnant, have a son, then he can never see them again and everything will be right in the world.

These two were so much fun. Emma likes Ash, really likes him, and his scars don't scare her away. If anything she is drawn to him and them. She is attracted to him and she doesn't understand how anyone couldn't be. She is so sure of herself and doesn't bow to his overbearing ways. She gives as good as she gets and she loves to tease him. Her pet names she would make up for Ash were awesome! Oh, Emma was amazing. She was just plain fun to read.

And Ash has a lot of understandable insecurities, but he is really a great guy underneath. He tries to be all big and tough and nothing can touch him, but he is a teddy bear underneath. Especially with Emma as she slowly starts to creep under his skin. But he can't let her get too close and he is not sure he could deal with her running off afraid on him like everyone else. He broke my heart, but luckily he found the perfect lady for him. The one that won't let him just hide away in the shadows forever. These two were great together. I loved all of their adventures and mishaps. Trying to consummate the marriage was hilarious. Oh, I really enjoyed this story. I loved Tessa Dare, she is another author that I am kicking myself for not reading sooner as everything I have read by her has been wonderful. And this one was no different. I love a good, fun old-timey read!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2

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