Tessa Dare returns with the third installment in the Girl Meets Duke series – and possibly my favorite of the series (that I’ve read) so far.
The Wallflower Wager
At twenty-six, Lady Penelope (Penny) has hopes of being firmly ‘on the shelf’, and left to her own devices: rescuing injured and mistreated animals of all types, and finding homes for the kittens she seems to collect by the dozen. She’s never been particularly gregarious, and with the exception of a few very close friends, she’s also not all that interested in the goings-on of the tonne. From a childhood scarred by trauma and a disastrous debut at Almac’s involving a hedgehog and a reluctant dance partner, she’s also never been interested in marriage – thinking herself not quite good enough.
Gabriel Duke was born in the slums of London, never knowing his father, being sold by his mother to pay for her gin habit: he’s scrapped and clawed his way to riches, bringing many of the tonne low due to their profligacy and debts. Known as the Duke of Ruin, he’s got no real title, but money and a ruthless need to do what must be done to win, he’s doing a “fixer-upper” of a house he’d claimed in lieu of debts from another member of the peer. Knowing that the biggest draw for the house beyond its size and grandeur is the proximity (as in next door) to a “real” Lady, he’s planned to market the house to upstarts and social climbers, using the connection to Penny to fuel the sale.
If you can believe it – I was a long-time reader of Dare’s contemporary titles, never making the connection to her historicals. But now, I’m totally hooked: smart, sassy, laugh-out-loud funny situations with characters that are, from the first pages, destined to “be”, this books was no exception. Penny is a lovely and sweet character, a bit naïve and introverted, but curious, kind and determined to make life better for those in her proximity. She’s collected the aforementioned hedgehog, a steer, a goat, a two-legged terrier who does “doggie things’ with the aid of a cart, endless kittens, an otter and, most recently, a parrot that previously lived in a brothel (with all of the inappropriate utterances one might expect). But a deadline from her aunt and brother have her struggling to find a solution to her ‘single’ status Enter Gabriel (or – the parrot leading Penny into Gabriel’s bedchamber) and the hi-jinks begin. His return on the investment on the house will be severely diminished should Penny be sent to the family home, yet he can’t seem to understand her need to collect all the animals, or her refusal to part with them. On and on they clash, with Penny’s essential goodness taming and calming the anger that rages through Gabe – much to his distress and distraction. From first to last – you’ll laugh at Penny’s rather naive view of the world and the situations she encounters, as well as Gabe’s inability to quench the building attraction – or Penny’s growing affections. With visits from the other women (and men) we’ve met in the series, and Penny’s biggest challenges to date – you will breeze through the story, ready to go back to page one as soon as you finished. Grab this series, each book has been “more” as the series continues: more sexy, more heartfelt, even funnier as these characters will place this series firmly on your keeper shelf.
Title: The Wallflower Wager
Author: Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #3
Also in this series: The Governess Game
Genre: Animals, British, Family Saga, Friendship, Historic Elements, Historical Romance, Humor elements, Regency, Setting: Britain
Published by: Avon
Published on: 13 August, 2019
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 8 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
They call him the Duke of Ruin.
To an undaunted wallflower, he's just the beast next door.
Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.
Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.
When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.
Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?
And a two-legged dog.
And a foul-mouthed parrot.
And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .
Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.
Not if he ruins her first.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.