Title: One Dance With a Duke
Series: Stud Club, #1
Author: Tessa Dare
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Library (Paperback)
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 ten 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?
I have a bit of a girl crush on Tessa Dare. It was inevitable. After finishing her Spindle Cove series (or what is so far available for her Spindle Cove series — I’m hoping that there are still more to come!) I had to have more. Unfortunately for me, ebook pricing is a bit too pricey, so I didn’t immediately run out and buy all of the other books she had written (although I was tempted!). Thank GOODNESS for interlibrary loans. I put in my request for the Stud Club trilogy and was so happy that they all came in at once — I could finally get my Tessa Dare fix!
Now, to me, this series isn’t quite as good as the Spindle Cove series, but this is only the first book. For Spindle Cove, we’ve had at least four books now and we know the characters, we’ve met current leading characters in previous books, AND we get to see our favourite characters in other books in the series. Stud Club meant a whole NEW cast of characters, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. The great thing is that it’s still set in the regency era with dukes and duchesses, fancy dresses, and a whole lot of properness — not to mention scandals and bribery and so many other wonderful things!
The characters were wonderful in this book. I loved the main character, Amelia, and how she wasn’t perfect. The great thing about her was that she was willing to stand up for herself and tell a man where to shove it, if need be. There was only one thing about her that drove me nuts and that was her relationship to her brother Jack — I don’t want to give anything away, but I felt like her loyalties were off and she was just a little too ignorant to his situation. Perhaps knowingly ignorant. Now, the leading man in this book is the Duke of Midnight, Spencer. Even though he’s totally hard on the outside and has this facade of being a man of steel with no feelings whatsoever, I fell for him almost instantly. I think that he and Amelia complemented each other perfectly.
I also really liked that this book revolves around horses — thus the name “Stud Club” (which sounds ridiculous and is also poked fun at in the book). Horses aren’t really the front and foremost of the book, but Spencer loves his horses and whenever he’d have a scene with a horse, I’d get all antsy, since I love horses. Though, in that same sense, it was kind of hilarious how Spencer tried to get into Amelia’s good books by going in to her like he would a horse … I mean, you obviously don’t just go up to a horse and expect it to like you. He was gentle and he teased and he knew when to back away. I loved it!
This was a great start to the series and I really look forward to trying out the next one, Twice Tempted by a Rogue. Tessa Dare really knows how to rock my socks off, so I know that one is going to be wonderful!