In One Dance with a Duke, the first novel in Tessa Dare's delightful new trilogy, secrets and scandals tempt the irresistible rogues of the Stud Club to gamble everything for love.
A handsome and reclusive horse breeder, Spencer Dumarque, the fourth Duke of Morland, is a member of the exclusive Stud Club, an organization so select it has only 10 members - yet membership is attainable to anyone with luck. And Spencer has plenty of it, along with an obsession with a prize horse, a dark secret, and, now, a reputation as the dashing "Duke of Midnight". Each evening he selects one lady for a breathtaking midnight waltz. But none of the women catch his interest, and nobody ever bests the duke - until Lady Amelia d'Orsay tries her luck.
In a moment of desperation, the unconventional beauty claims the duke's dance and unwittingly steals his heart. When Amelia demands that Spencer forgive her scapegrace brother's debts, she never imagines that her game of wits and words will lead to breathless passion and a steamy proposal. Still, Spencer is a man of mystery, perhaps connected to the shocking murder of the Stud Club's founder. Will Amelia lose her heart in this reckless wager - or win everlasting love?
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Surprisingly Good Romace
Strong characters, clever dialogue
I loved how there was so much more to both the Duke and to Amelia than there appeared to be upon first acquaintance. These were very well developed characters with believable problems. I enjoyed getting to know them.
Ms. Bellair has a pleasant voice. However, it felt more like I was listening to a friend read aloud to me than I was listening to a professional narrator. She was not able to give distinct voices to the characters, so I had to go back a number of times a listen again to make sure I understood the dialogue correctly. I would have been more aggravated about this had I not purchased the book in one of those surprise, pop-up $4.95 sales. The story and characters were strong enough to hold up against the amateur narration, but if narration style is really important to you, I would suggest buying this book on sale. Like I said, Ms. Bellair's voice was pleasant; I enjoyed the sound of it. I hope she works on developing her craft, especially distinctions in character voice, because she has the potential to be an excellent, five-star narrator.
Yes, I wish I could have. Stupid daily responsibilities.
Ms. Dare gave the characters occasional, short bursts of inner monologue that I found quirky and funny. The characters knew themselves and their own foibles. This technique of sharing their shortcomings made it very easy to relate to the characters. Haven't we all berated ourselves in our own head for saying the wrong thing -- yet again? Or behaving according to a bad habit -- as always -- despite the promises we've made to ourselves? (Oh god, perhaps it is only me. Maybe I've made an idiot of myself for all of Audible.com to read. Probably most people don't second-guess everything they share on the internet, even a simple book review. Why do I even write these things anyway? They are never helpful to anyone, I'm sure. And there I go thinking in absolute terms again, even though I promised myself I wouldn't. This is silly & ridiculous. Pull it together, woman! Just roll your eyes at yourself one last time, click 'preview' and 'submit', and be done with it.)