Read Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare Online

romancing-the-duke

In the first in Tessa Dare's captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .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 crosIn the first in Tessa Dare's captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .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 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 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?This one....

Title : Romancing the Duke
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062240163
Format Type : ebook
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Romancing the Duke Reviews

  • Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
    2018-11-11 16:08

    ...and Khanh's heart grew three sizes that day.This book makes me smile. It left me with a goofy grin and eyes misted over with stupid unshed tears. It makes me want to believe in starlit kisses, in moonlit romance. It makes me want my own fairy tale.Goddamn it. This book was just too fucking cute.Yes, I realize that the cursing is completely uncalled for!! Let me curse!! I need an element of foulness in order to retain the vestiges of my usual anger and bitterness. This book has left me a silly, sappy fool, and I can't say I regret it.I regret nothing.The Summary: With a name like Isolde Ophelia Goodnight and a father who wrote a series of children's stories, you would expect Izzy's life to be a fairy tale.It wasn't.Isolde prefers to be known as Izzy. Izzy is not ugly, but neither is she a beauty. No Prince Charming has ever shown up for her. And at 26, her life is as far removed from enchantment as you can imagine. Life---and romance, has always passed her by.And for as long as she could remember, Izzy had been waiting—with dwindling faith and increasing impatience—for that part of her life to begin.Instead of a charmed life, Izzy is now a spinster. Her father is dead. She is broke; completely destitute. She has no home. She hasn't eaten in days. Izzy is no longer a girl with stars in her eyes. Her present is cold, harsh reality.Her cravings for romance were gone. Now she’d settle for bread. What fairy tales were left over for a plain, impoverished, twenty-six-year-old woman who’d never even been kissed?Right now, Izzy's entire existence hinges on a letter, a letter that arrived, promising her survival. Her late godfather has left her a bequest.That bequest, as befitting a fairy-tale girl, is a castle. But it's not an enchanted castle, by any means. It probably needs an exorcism, more than anything.This castle didn’t welcome or enchant.It loomed.It menaced.She almost worried it might pounce.And that castle comes with its own beast. A crippled, blind, scarred duke. A monstrous, terrifying masterpiece.There were things in nature that took their beauty from delicate structure and intricate symmetry. Flowers. Seashells. Butterfly wings. And then there were things that were beautiful for their wild power and their refusal to be tamed. Snowcapped mountains. Churning thunderclouds. Shaggy, sharp-toothed lions.This man silhouetted before her? He belonged, quite solidly, in the latter category.Well, shit. The castle in question is his, and Ransom, half-monster and 100% man---is naturally, not that eager to hand it over to her. The castle has been in his family for generations, and due to a misunderstanding, it has been sold. Now, his ancestral home has been handed over to a chit of a girl, and damned if Ransom's going to hand it over on a silver platter.Nope.Ransom has a comfortable life as a secluded hermit---as fairy tale Beasts often do, and the last thing he wants is a woman invading HIS personal space. Nope. Nope. Nope. He literally throws Izzy out.“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 the ease of a man who’d tossed many a woman over his shoulder. This was definitely not his first go at lady-tossing.Unfortunately for him, Izzy is not the frail, shrinking violet sort he expected.Izzy may have the name of a damsel in a fairy tale, but she is a grown woman. She is hungry, she is desperate, she has nowhere else to go, and this woman is standing her ground.He bounced her weight, plumping her backside with his forearm. “There’s so little to you.”“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.”Ransom and Izzy comes to an uneasy agreement. She will stay and be his secretary and sort out his long-neglected correspondances (blind men can't really answer letters), as well as figure out the legal fiasco that led to his castle being sold in the first place.He pays her very well---200 pounds a day, the sooner she figures it out, the sooner they can move on with their life. Only there's just one problem. Izzy starts to grow on him. The easiest way to get to a man's heart is through his belly...and Izzy can make pancakes. Pancakes.She poked around, making busy clanging noises. “I don’t suppose there are eggs? If I do say it myself, I make a very good pancake.”Oh, no. This just grew worse and worse.I make a very good pancake.Appalling.What was even more appalling was that Ransom found himself suddenly hungry for a very good pancake. Starving. Ravenous. Damn it, he was faint with yearning for a very good pancake.All alarms are sounding inside Ransom's head. This woman is dangerous. I MEAN, PANCAKES. His instincts are screaming at him. GET. OUT. NOW.Get out now. The threat is coming from inside the castle.Naturally, they find themselves gradually growing fond of each other. But there are, naturally, obstacles to their love. Someone is trying to get rid of Ransom, steal his inheritance. There are secrets in Ransom's past that threatens to overwhelm their trust of one another.And then there are the fanboys and fangirls. Seriously. When your childhood self was written into a bookas a fairy-tale character, this is what you get. A fanclub of your very own.The armored riders dismounted in unison, and the carriage doors opened, spilling forth about a dozen young ladies in medieval dress. Banners waved briskly in the morning breeze.Heaven help us!The Setting: A MOTHERFUCKING MEDIEVAL CASTLE, Y'ALL. HOW COOL IS THAT? It is not a pretty castle. It is one of those evil, lurching, looming, scary ones. It comes with scary noises...Once again, she woke to darkness, her heart pounding with terror and her throat scraped raw.Strange noises assailed her from all sides.As well as bats. Lots and lots of bats. Bats that turn a potentially romantic interlude...“There’s a rule about sunsets in this castle, Miss Goodnight.”“There is?”“Yes.” He turned her to face him. “And a man and a woman standing in this very place are compelled to heed it. No choice. There’s only one thing to be done.”“What’s that?”Her pulse stumbled. Surely he couldn’t mean to...He lowered his head and made his voice a seductive whisper. “Duck.”Duck?INTO AN OH MY GOD SWEET MOTHER OF JESUS GOD IN HEAVEN OH FUCK A DUCK SAVE US NOW...moment.“Oh, no.” She stiffened. “Those can’t be...”They were.Bats.An entire colony of them had been roosting in the highest reaches of the canopy. Now they took wing one by one, then ten by ten...and then hundreds all at once.Clearly, the castle, like its master, needs a whooooooole lot of maintenance to get shipshape.Izzy: You know Alice Liddel? Little Alice who inspired Alice in Wonderland? Izzy is like that. She is famous. She has been written into her father's very famous fairy tales, and the whole of England knows about her. But like Alice, nobody wants to read about Izzy Goodnight as a grown up, with her own hopes and dreams. They want to think of Izzy Goodnight as a sweet little girl, forever a child, forever a fantasy.The Lord Archers of the world didn’t want Izzy to be a grown woman with her own set of likes and dislikes, dreams and desires. They wanted her to be the wide-eyed young girl of the stories. That way, they could continue to read and reread their beloved tales, imagining themselves in her place.Reality is harsher than that. Izzy is not that little girl. She is a strong, determined woman. Izzy is not a faint-hearted girl, but she is not a timid little thing. She may be strong, but she is never, ever a bitch. That is what I love about her.Izzy has so much inner strength. She is scared of a lot of things, she has had a challenging life, with a neglectful father and a nation who wants her to remain a little girl for all of eternity. Izzy used to dream of fantasies, of a love sprung from fairy tales. She is no longer that little girl. Izzy, the woman is all grown up, with a backbone made of steel.He might be wealthy, powerful, angry, and big. But on at least one score, Izzy had him outmatched. Buoyancy. She knew how to handle prickly creatures, and she knew how to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation.When thrown in the pond, she learned how to swim.Ransom: You rusual dark, brooding duke, but he is just so loveable. He is never a brute. He growls, he snarls, but he never, ever crosses the boundaries. Ransom is all bark, no bite.He wanted to throw her out, the castle is his, after all, but Ransom has a heart, no matter if it has been broken. He cannot throw Izzy out. Ransom is gentler than he lets on.But was this truly all that was left of him? A cruel, unfeeling brute who would cast a defenseless young woman out into the night?He didn’t want to believe that. Not yet. He didn’t surrender anything lightly, and that included what few shards remained of his broken soul.Ransom, like most Beastly Dukes, have a scarred past. He doesn't allow himself to be loved.It was so foreign to him, this unsolicited tenderness. Incomprehensible. And much as he craved it, it scared him like hell. With every caress he permitted, he was piling up debts he could never repay.You don’t deserve it, came that dark, unforgiving echo. He’d heard the words so many times, they were part of him now. They lived in his blood, resounding with each hollow beat of his heart. You don’t deserve this. You never could.But insidiously, without him realizing it, Izzy, with her wild mane and her good heart and gentle nature, finds her way into his home and his heart. And they're pretty much the same thing.If not for her, this room would still be filled with rats and bats. If not for her, he’d be sitting unshaven and drunk in the great hall, morosely counting his steps to nowhere. And if not for her, he would have no reason to fight this battle at all.The Romance: LOVED IT. This book has plenty of steam, of the sweet, sensual sort. There is no extreme OH LET'S FUCK WITHIN THE FIRST 50 PAGES sort of shit. This is a grown woman who has to slowly understand her own lust.She growled in frustration. “I know I’m not. It makes no sense at all. I’m not a silly little girl who dreams of knights. I’m a woman. A woman who’s inconveniently, completely, and for the first time in her life, in lust. Just burning with desire for the worst possible man. A profane, bitter, wounded duke who refuses to leave her house. Oh, you are dreadful.”Who demands that her first kiss be fucking PERFECT, dammit. And if it's not, well, you better make fucking sure you do it right the second time around. And it still counts.Her grip tightened on his shirtfront. “You’re not going to ruin my first kiss. I won’t let you. You’re going to kiss me again, right now. And make it better.”He shook his head, incredulous. “It’s over. It’s already done. Even if I did kiss you again, it wouldn’t be your first kiss anymore.”“It counts,” she said. “So long as it’s part of the same embrace, it all counts as one.”Bloody hell.There's my girl!The romance is so sweet, so genuinely adorable. The writing is absolutely delightful. Nary a page passes when I didn't find myself grinning madly. This book is filled with humor, full of delight.Somehow, he’d wound a lock of her hair about his finger. There it was. Right This Moment. And he had no recollection of doing it, either.What was he coming to, when a woman sat in his lap, he gave her a stern what-for...and then ten seconds later, oopsy-daisy and la-di-dah, he went and twirled a finger in her hair?That was not ducal behavior.You will fall in love with this book.

  • Jill
    2018-11-01 10:12

    "Release the ermine!"Isolde (Izzy) Ophelia Goodnight. Motherless. Fatherless. Homeless. Penniless. Friendless. Plain, twenty-six year-old Izzy, who has never been kissed let alone courted, inherits Gostley Castle. With her pet ermine and little else, she travels to Northumberland to seize inherit the castle.When she arrives she's surprised to find Ransom, Duke of Rothbury (and former owner) still in residence. Seven months ago, thirty year-old Ransom was injured in the face in a duel and has been hiding out in his declining castle ever since.Ms Dare really does have one of the very best voices of humorous historical romances. Here she cleverly weaves in the fairy tale theme with her heroine's father, a writer of fictional tales, the hero (albeit a brooding) knight-in-shining-armour, the plain, penniless but quick-witted and resourceful heroine, and the setting in a castle. There's also a very funny, re-enactment society, fans of Izzy's father's stories.This is your very typical Tessa Dare historical. Well-written, well-plotted, funny. And historically inaccurate. Which doesn't usually bother me. But this time it seemed the characters' attitudes were just a little too modern. Insert two twenty-first century characters into a gown and breeches and you'd have Izzy who was just too keen to (often) jump the Duke's bones and Ransom, who specialised in toe-curling, dirty-talking sex. At least they were well-matched I guess. I debated between 3.5 and 4 stars as I was a bit disappointed in the anachronistic values and mores, especially of the leads. But decided on 4 stars, since it is well-written, funny and entertaining, with two really likable, charming (highly-sexed) protagonists. Not Ms Dare's best in my opinion, but a whole lot better and more enjoyable than most historical romances, and written with a quality of humour almost second to none in romance. Steam: 3ARC courtesy of Avon via NetGalley

  • Navessa
    2018-10-24 11:25

    4.5 starsI honestly don't even know if I can be trusted to seriously rate historical romances. Mostly because where certain trends and tropes seriously piss me off in EVERY SINGLE OTHER GENRE, in HR...In fact, I actually look forward to certain HR tropes. They're like mental check boxes, and the more of them are checked off, the higher I'm likely to rate the book. Take this book. It had witty banter, hilarious moments, a disheveled duke, a virginal yet non-prudish female lead, hate to love relationship, hawt schmex, insta-lust, goddamn near insta-love, a drafty castle, and a plot I can hardly remember even though I just finished it. Do you know what that translates to? CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK. CHECK.This review can also be found at The Alliterates.

  • Anne
    2018-10-31 13:11

    Wanna read a story about a moody blind guy who pushes everyone away from him?Scarred heroes aren't my thing. They tend to be angry pricks, and I'm just not turned on by mopey and/or dark dudes.Guess I'm just funny like that...However, humorous historical romances with plucky heroines are my thing, and that's what made Romancing the Duke a big win for me!This story? Well, it's filled to the brim with stuff that I hate.Handsome blind hero and plain/ugly duckling woman.. Hero is physically & emotionally scarred.Hero is calloused and mean. Each of those are things that make me want to ask: How many fingers I'm holding up?Now, I know a lot of you love the stuff I mentioned, and even actively seek those sort of books out, but I'm soooo glad I didn't know about them until I already had the book in my hot little hands.BECAUSE IT WAS SO CUTE! No, really!Izzy was just so spunky, and funny, and cute. Her life has been less than amazing, but she just never gives up. Ever.Every time Ransom (<--that's the guy) tries to get rid of her (because she's inherited his family's castle), she just ignores his dismissal and pretends he's kidding.Which, naturally, drives him nuts.Of course, he tries to scare her off by threatening to ravish her with kisses. As men do. *snort*But she turns the tables on him by being REALLY open to the suggestion.So, yeah. He's sorta gotta put up or shut up.And then there's this whole storyline about Izzy being the daughter of a famous children's story writer and the (basically) cosplayers who follow her around! I'm totally serious.Sounds crazy, but Tessa Dare makes it work.This may not be my favoritest story ever, but if you're looking for a cute romance to pass the time, you should check this out!

  • Jessica's Totally Over The Top Book Obsession
    2018-10-17 12:20

    4.5 Goodnight StarsRomancing the Duke is my first Tessa Dare book and I loved it. I really enjoyed her writing style. Her hero Ransom was a foul mouth, damaged, sexy, asshole. The heroine Izzy was a funny, spunky, outgoing woman that I couldn't help but love and root for. Ransom and Izzy had a cute romance and the smexy time was hot! I laughed a lot while reading this book. I love any book that can make me laugh! I loved the plot and I loved the ending. I am so glad I give this book a change and I can't wait to read more books by Tessa Dare!

  • Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
    2018-10-26 11:03

    ► 07/01 : LAST WEEK OF THE YEAR = In need of laughs/smiles/swoon = Reread of Izzie's story! Verdict? EVEN BETTER! Still 4.5 stars but I round up at 5. ☑ After reading a crappy romance : anti stalker effect guaranteed! Meet Ransom-the-hilarious-grinch instead :p “For God’s sake. Don’t do that.” “Don’t do what?” “Smile.” “How do you know I’m smiling?” “I can hear it. Hell, I can feel it. It’s all warm and sweet and . . .” He scowled. “Bah.”BAHAHAHAHA. I loved him even more the second time around. He is FAR from perfect, can be such an infuriating jerk, and I might be more tolerant because it's HR. But. I. Don't. Care. Yum. Love him.☑ Before deciding that all romance MC are boring : Izzie can read in voices (yes, it's important), says what she thinks, all the time, really, isn't afraid to stand for herself and says cock. ☑ Before swearing you'll never read an historical romance : because. Just because.☑ Before/During/After vacations : whenever really. ☑ RIGHT NOW. “Why must this be so mortifying? Oh, that's right. Because it's my life. ”▒ ORIGINAL REVIEW : 4.5 stars ▒ You know I'm not an historical romance girl. And yet, Color me surprised : That was all kind of adorable and I fell in love with this story.Sometimes we love characters because they aren't like us - see Penryn for example : did I need to remind you how much I wouldn't survive in the world after? Nope, I don't think so - and other times, we come across some personality traits which remind us so much of ourselves that we can't help but relate to the character. That's what happened to me with some sides of Izzie. Not everything, but enough.- She's spontaneous, that is to say, happens to say everything she has in mind when she's stressed. Yeah, I know the feeling. - She knows what she wants and isn't afraid to ask for it. Personal story time! - you can skip it if you don't care.When I was a kid, sometimes I was grounded (I know, shocking). The fact is, I used to wait a bit (like, half an hour) and after this I always went to my dad to ask him if I could go out. Sometimes he said yes, other times he said no. Whatever. It depended on the stupidity I'd done, I guess. Well, all of that is this to say that I asked what I wanted, contrary to my sister who waited that my parents told her to go out.Why am I telling this to you? To point out that I was a spoiled brat? Hmm... No. Maybe. I don't know. Not the point. Actually I'm telling this because here's what I learnt and remembered : In life, if you want something, you're going to have to ask for it, because people aren't going to guess for you.And that's what annoys me the most in heroines and makes me often want to shake them : that's a rule I apply in my life, and it's pretty simple : if you ask for the opposite of what you want, you'll probably obtain... the opposite of what you want. If you don't know what you want maybe you have to think about it before asking. And finally, if you want something, go for it and ask. Of course that's not because you ask that you will obtain what you want, OF COURSE. But you're increasing your chances here. That's why I loved Izzie.She knows what she wants and she isn't afraid to fight to obtain it. In her straightforward way, she's freaking courageous and her bluntness is incredibly enjoyable. She's a woman, not a spoiled brat. Romanced since her childhood by her writer of a father, she doesn't believe in fairies tales and her only and true goal is to be noticed. To be seen entirely. Even if she's inexperienced as hell, she doesn't shy away and just asks for what she wants. How exhilarating is that?And we have Ransom. Ah, Ransom. What a perfect broody hero you are! Let me tell you : his inner monologues full of venom were hilarious - that's simple, he's always trying to get rid of someone, in one way or another. And wow, how badly he takes people intrusion! That was precious. Like here"How did one get rid of these girls? They were like fanned-away horseflies. They just kept coming back."Or here"Certainly you can. It's bad enough that they pester you with letters and questions. Draw a line, Goodnight. Go out there and tell them you're a grown woman who can sling about the word 'cock' with the ease of a courtesan, and you don't appreciate unannounced visits. Then invite them to sod off, the bunch of clanking idiots. If you won't, I'll do it."Moreover he's protective and so. fucking. hot. And above all that, he's a broken man who doesn't believe in love and who's incredibly afraid to open his mind and his heart to feelings - and yet he craves for them. Literally. Damn, that's safe to say that he stole my heart completely : I loved everything : his grumpiness, his struggle to love, his hotness, and he earned his batch of Awwwwwwwww from me. "What was he coming to, when a woman sat in his lap, he gave her a stern what-for... and then ten seconds later, oopsy-daisy and la-di-dah, he went and twirled a finger in her hair?That was not ducal behavior. It certainly wasn't normal behavior for him."Their banter was wonderful, full of repartee and yet never filled with disrespect. This brings me to the absolutely delicious conversations between Izzie and Ransom : man, that was hilarious. Between their comments and the awkward situations they're put into (the Army guys. Precious. I'll let you discover it), I couldn't help but laugh out loud like a total fool. That was fucking great. Moreover, the story takes place in a castle (which is awesome) but in a wrecked castle (which is even more awesome). Since his accident, Ransom never had the occasion - and never wanted - to make a home of this castle and guess what? A lot of things will change with Izzie's arrival, much to Ransom's despair!Finally, as a not-so-fond-of-historical-romance girl, what I often despise when I read a book like this is the writing and the pacing. Truth being told, I end bored more often than most and have a hard time enjoying the My Lady and other Your Grace. Good news! Here's I never felt overwhelmed by an heavy writing, that's quite the opposite : I was captivated from the beginning to the end. Bravo! I cheered at the end. I. CHEERED. I don't know what else I can tell you to convince you. Edit : To you specialists of historical,I have a request : If you know others books like this, aka, without too many stereotypical sayings and great characters, please, tell me. I'm like a kid who's discovered ice-cream right now. For more of my reviews, please visit:

  • Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
    2018-11-07 10:21

    *4.5 stars*I will always credit Tessa Dare as the author who got me hooked on historical romance. If it wasn't for her Spindle Cove series, I might have gone the rest of my life thinking that historical romances were not for me. How VERY wrong I was!I listened to this book on audio, and I shelled out big bucks for it, something I rarely do. However, I listened to all of the Spindle Cove books and feel totally in LOVE and so I didn't want to ruin a good trend. The narrator of this book was Carmen Rose, which was a big change from Carolyn Morris, who was a PRO narrating the Spindle Cove books. It took me a little while to appreciate Carmen Rose's narrating style. While she did nice voices and had great range, something about the cadence or reading abilities felt more forced to me. However, the narration grew on me as I listened on and on, and I ended up really enjoying it. I plan on paying more big bucks (*grumbles*) to continue the series in audio. As for the plot... just wonderful. I have a STRONG weakness for a hero with a disability, especially a grouchy hero, and I simply adored Ransom. Ransom and Izzy were a great match, and I loved how their relationship changed and grew over time. But what I love best is how Tessa Dare keeps me on my toes. She keeps the plot going with some twists and turns that I wouldn't have guessed, and with engaging, extremely witty dialogue. It was an excellent story, and though it was a touch on the long side, I enjoyed every minute of listening. Another Tessa Dare success.

  • Felicia
    2018-10-24 10:31

    I think this is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars for me, but it got 4 because it has some yummy steamy stuff in it. If you are intrigued by the idea of a period romance with LARPers in it? This could be your jam! We read this for Vaginal Fantasy and it was overall really enjoyed by all!

  • Ally
    2018-10-14 12:21

    This was a re-read or in this case, I listened to it the second time aroundSeries: IndeedSexy times: Seriously, some of the best HR sexy times ever. Should win awards in my most humble of opinions. Plan on reading more by the author: Hell yes. Synopsis Isolde ends up penniless and hungry at the door of a castle where Duke Cranky Pants catches her when she faints. He takes her inside and treats her with love, adoration and perfect manners, NOT. Whereupon she finds out she is now the owner of said castle and Cranky is all "hell no" and she convinces him to let her stay so she can help him work out his correspondence and obvs problems with his solicitors. Along comes her enterouge of followers not followers, who are really folks totally into re-enacting her "father's" stories. See her daddio wrote a series of stories about a Knight, a Lady and adventures. And they all star Isolde in a manner. Anyhoo, here they come in armor and carrying banners and all the stuff. And they basically invade, not invade Duke Cranky Pants' inner sanctum. See, it turns out someone is doing him wrong and they just wanna help him straighten life out.So will CP ever get over himself and find love with Miss Goodnight? Or will he continue through life staring blindly into the sun. Damn, that was one hell of a crappy synopsis. Time for another glass of wine because apparently I have not had enough. Heroine: Izzy. Goodnight. Awesome. With a head of hair that resembles an octopus to a partially blind man. She's tough. As in she's got backbone tough. And she's not taking any of Cranky's crank without dishing it right back. God, I loved this woman!Hero: Ransom. Duke Cranky Pants. Hotty hotty hotterson!Ok, he probably was not that hot, but those aforementioned sex scenes must have done it for me. Why it did or didn't work for me: I adored this book the first time I read it. I super adored it the second time around. It's just plain damn fun and all of the characters were delightful and enjoyable. Did I mention the sexy times? I have no idea why Ms. Dare gets my number when it comes to fun times, but she does. All around. Signed, Waiting for my own Duke Cranky Pants. Please be quick about it.

  • UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish
    2018-10-24 15:16

    5 "Bright, brilliant, life amid the ruins" stars!There are just so many things I love about this story! There were kisses that made me smile, touches that made me tremble, starry nights that gave me goosebumps, and confessions that made me want to weep! From the first page to the last, I was swept up into this delightful, romantic, sexy story, and "Doubt not, my lady, I shall return!" for more of the Castles Ever After series!! A copy of this story was provided by Avon Books and in return I gave them an honest review.

  • Paula
    2018-10-14 13:30

    Romancing the Duke is the first installment in Tessa Dare’s newest historical romance series and… WOW! Just WOW! This is a spectacular start to another brilliant series. In my eyes, Tessa Dare can do no wrong. I’ve been enchanted by Dare’s unique, captivating writing style for some time now and she has become my go-to author for super sexy and charming historical romances. Isolde “Izzy” Ophelia Goodnight is a twenty-six year old spinster who has never been kissed, thinks she’s an ugly duckling, motherless, fatherless, penniless, homeless, and famous. She’s famous for being the daughter of the author who wrote “The Goodnight Tales"--a story of love and romance that has captivated many hearts in England. And the readers believe Izzy is the innocent, doe-eyed girl written in the stories. When her father died, Izzy is left alone with no home and no money, until her godfather bequeathed her Gostley Castle, a bat-infested, crumbling castle that’s barely livable. While excited to have a home of her own, she wasn’t expecting to have the Duke of Rothbury as her castle-mate. Ranson William Dacre Vane, the eleventh Duke of Rothbury, has been injured in a dual. He’s surly, ill-tempered, and scarred. He’s been in hiding from society for seven months in the old decrepit castle along with his valet, Duncan. He doesn’t know how Izzy ended up owning the castle but he is determined to find out. He tries to kick Izzy out upon arrival but she’s just as stubborn as Ransom and refuses to be pushed out. And the more he tries to push her out the more he wants her to stay. So, Ransom ends up hiring her on as his secretary to find out who is behind the selling of his castle. Of course, he didn’t expect to fall for the feisty, interesting woman who has taken over his castle and inserted herself into his heart.I adore the way Tessa Dare wrote Ransom and Izzy’s characters. They are such a hoot together! Izzy is quirky, endearing, and optimistic about life, while Ransom is gruff, grumpy, and damaged. Oh, but he’s not without his charms. Believe me, Ransom charmed my panties off and Izzy’s too as she finds herself utterly drawn to him – emotional baggage and all. I love how Izzy handles Ransom’s prickly side; seeing right through his façade. He needed someone to treat him like a man, not a Duke. She gave him the type of love and affection he’s always craved. And while Ransom is no prince charming, never hiding who he is, Izzy, on the other hand, is nothing like England’s innocent sweetheart they’ve depicted her as. No, this little sweetheart hides her true self from the world, which weighs a heavy burden on her, as she lives in two different lives. But she can be herself with Ransom. She loves the way Ransom makes her feel sexy and wanton with his lewd and shameless ways, never treating her like a doe-eyed innocent, instead happily obliging her naughty side. “Curse tenderness. To hell with emotion. I’m not the man to fulfill your heart’s desire, but I can give you everything – everything – everything you body’s craving.” – RansomThere are so many delightful things I love about this this story that I found myself swooning and laughing non-stop. These two very charming characters have an exciting and interesting courtship; hot and spicy yet quirky and beautiful at the same time. I love the crazy fans obsessed with “The Goodnight Tales” and how this romantic tale was infused within the actual storyline. I love how Izzy’s hair is described as wild and alive, like an octopus. I love Izzy’s pet ermine: “Release the ermine!” And I absolutely love all of the sensual kisses that led to some very passionate tupping. I could go on and on about how much I just love and adored this story but this review would turn into a book. Romancing the Duke is packed with passion, loveable characters, and clever and witty writing. Tessa Dare excels at writing charismatic characters that spring off the pages with big, quirky personalities. Her humor is always off the charts hilarious. And the writing is always so intelligent and so addictive. This book captured my heart and didn’t let go until the last page and then I was looking for more at the very end, hoping for a little sneak peak at what’s to come next. Do yourself a favor and grab this book the moment it’s released. I know historical romance lovers will fall head over heels in love with Ransom and Izzy’s swoon-worthy romance. Rating: AHeat: Warm-- A Romantic Book Affairs ReviewFind us on Twitter and Facebook too!

  • Robin (Bridge Four)
    2018-10-16 14:11

    I absolutely adore books about the slightly quirky unconventionally pretty girl who becomes the object of affection for a scandalous man. I don’t care how many times I read it, there is always something about it that calls to me.Izzy has been immortalized in stories as a child think Fred Savage in The Princess Bride. Her father wrote a selection of stories that have a huge active following the historical fiction equivalent of LARPing and Izzy remains a child to all of them even if she is twenty-six. She grew up on fairy tales and hoped to one day be swept away like those princesses and maidens. But at still she has never been kissed and so all those fanciful dreams have fluttered away. That is until she travels to claim and inheritance from her godfather.Ransom has been licking his wounds for some time now. He is mostly blind and haunts a castle that has been in his family for generations. He wants to quietly brood away, but when Izzy comes to his Castle she changes everything. “Of course one kiss changes things. If it's done right, a kiss changes everything.”Now Ransom can’t seem to get Izzy out of his castle or his mind. He is trying his best to show her she isn’t safe left alone with him and his rakish ways but she thwarts him at every turn. She reacts differently than any other woman he has met before and maybe just maybe he doesn’t want her out of his life as much as he first thought.“It’s true. Every time you wake up, you let fly the most marvelous string of curses. It’s never the same twice, do you know that? It’s so intriguing. You’re like a rooster that crows blasphemy.”“Oh, there’s a cock crowing, all right,” he muttered.The push pull between Izzy and Ransom is fantastic. The more he tries to scare her away the more heated things between them become. I loved the sexual heat and tension between these too. I smiled like a stupid school gill through so many of their interactions and couldn’t wait for them to discover that they were perfect for each other. Each had their own hang ups to overcome, Ransom his blindness and Izzy her confidence but together they made a very strong pair.“Astonishing. In the morning, when she sat working at that table of correspondence, silhouetted by sunlight . . . Her hair truly did look like an octopus. It was the way she wore it, he thought. Or maybe the way it wore her. It all sat perched atop her head in that big, inky blob. And no matter how strenuously she pinned it, dark, heavy curls worked loose on all sides, like tentacles. Of course, it was an entrancing, strangely erotic octopus. Ransom worried this might be how fetishes developed.”There were plenty of romantic moments, funny moments and moments that just made me smile. I loved Izzy’s attitude to just make the best out of everything and move along. This was my first Tessa Dare book but I look forward to reading more of her works.Great book for happy stupid fairytale smiles and redeeming of rake by the right woman.

  • Mo
    2018-11-10 10:29

    3.75 stars[image error] 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 by one.Ugly duckling turned swan?Abducted by handsome highwayman?Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?I found it hard to get into this one. Not sure why. A new author for me. Had got get used to the writing style, the humour maybe? But I ended up liking it.“Listen to me. When a man wakes, 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 wake me at this hour again unless you’ve found the perfect retort to that.” “These kisses... they were confessions. Tastes of everything she had stored inside her. Everything she could give a man if he was brave enough to accept. Kiss by kiss, she was baring herself to the soul.”“He was beginning to understand how those ridiculous tales had made her a prisoner of others’ expectations.” There were some funny moments and overall it was a sweet read.

  • Carol *Young at Heart Oldie*
    2018-10-13 12:10

    I didn’t think anything could possibly match Tessa Dare’s fabulous Spindle Cove series but her new series, Castles Ever After, promises to be just as wonderful. The first book, ROMANCING THE DUKE is enchanting, romantic, sexy and funny and I was totally captivated from the first page to the last!I love Tessa Dare’s writing… so rich in warmth, emotion, and humour. She brings each scene to life with such vivid imagery. This is one of my favourite descriptions:It started to rain. Fat, heavy drops of summer rain— the kind that always struck her as vaguely lewd and debauched. Little potbellied drunkards, those summer raindrops, chortling on their way to earth and crashing open with glee.“I’m no one’s hero, Miss Goodnight. You’d do well to remember that.”Ransom is certainly my kind of hero but then I do have a soft spot for scarred, emotionally wounded heroes. I just knew that under that gruff exterior beats a vulnerable heart and it just needs the right woman to break down his defences. Izzy is just perfect for him with her warmth, passion and gentle heart.I adore Izzy. Tired of being treated like the wide-eyed girl of her father’s stories, she longs to be seen as a grown woman with her own dreams and desires. It is Ransom who is able to see the real Izzy – a beautiful temptress of a woman, with interesting ideas and sensual wit.I enjoyed the initial sparks and tension between Izzy and Ransome. They were such a delightful couple and watching their romance unfold was a joy. I loved sharing their…Charmingly wicked banter:He leaned one shoulder against the archway. “Aren’t we going to continue?” “Continue what?” “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 every stitch of your damp clothing?” His voice did the impossible. It sank lower. “No.”Tender moments:Izzy didn’t know if these gentle sweeps of her fingertips could erase his pain— but they were dismantling the safeguards around her heart. She soothed her touch over his brow and scalp, making shushing noises and whispering what she hoped were comforting words.Sigh-worthy moments:It was oneness, and it was glorious, and it was perfect, and it was her. All her. God, he loved her.Poignant moments:…since she was there . . . he couldn’t deny that a scarred, neglected part of him craved that softness. Hell, he ached for it, straight to his bones.Hot sexy moments:“Oh, I mean to do this everywhere. I plan to have you in every room of this castle. And why stop there? On the ramparts, beneath the stars. In the park, on a blanket spread amid waving grasses.” He pushed her skirts to her waist. “But we start right here, right now. I’ve been dreaming of taking you on this table for weeks.”There are some rather delightful but unusual secondary characters…The Knights and ladies of Moranglia who offer their loyal support when it is most needed (all will become clear when you read the book).Snowdrop, Izzy’s pet ermine, who seems to have got to grips with a certain duke!I loved Ransom’s devoted valet, Duncan, especially in the scene where he douses Ransom with freezing cold water!Tessa Dare continues to wow me with her beautiful writing, heart-warming stories and loveable characters and ROMANCING THE DUKE will definitely be one of my favourite books of 2014. Now I just have to wait for book 2, SAY YES TO THE MARQUESS!REVIEW RATING: 5/5 STARSDisclosure: I received a copy of the book through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.This review is also posted on my blog:http://rakesandrascals.wordpress.com/...

  • Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
    2018-11-01 15:12

    Here's the book most of my friends praise. While it's very funny and lovely, I could not help feeling like it's a parody of the HR genre. Some things were over the top.In the first in Tessa Dare's captivating Castles Ever After series, a mysterious fortress is the setting for an unlikely love . . .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 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 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?This one.So, there's Izzy, our desperate 26 years old virgin. She wants a shag so bad that she's shameless when it comes to sexual related things. Don't get me wrong. I hate those heroines who say no and mean yes! just get on with it. But Izzy is a bit too obvious, a bit too desperate. Romancing the Duke is either about laughing or about sex. I cannot believe I'm saying this, but maybe there is such a thing as too much when it comes to frolicking in HR.Then there's Ransom, our most infamous duke. "Oh, you... You...""Cruel bastard? he suggested. "Heartless rogue? Blackguard? Villain? I've been called all of the above and more. My favorite is 'knave'. Fine word, 'knave'."He's visually impaired, so he's quite cranky and annoying. He also didn't get laid in more than seven months, so he's desperate, too. Ransom knows just the right buttons to push when it comes to women. Izzy doesn't stand a chance (not that she wanted to anyway). As a result there's a lot of kissing, petting and, eventually, sex.The ending is the most unbelievable (impossible) thing in the novel. That's one more reason I cannot take it seriously. But it's definitely a fun, relaxing read. So I recommend Romancing the Duke for those days when you're feeling down.

  • ♥Rachel♥
    2018-11-06 15:20

    So utterly delicious! The writing was beautiful, and wickedly sensual! Izzy was a thoroughly likable and determined heroine who wanted her own HEA after being immortalized as an innocent child in her father’s beloved writings. Ransom was the devilish, bad-tempered, scarred rake with a tender heart underneath all the rough and gruff. At first he wants to drive Izzy away by being rude, suggestive, and shocking. Little does he know that Izzy has dreamed of being debauched! The banter between Izzy and Ransom was so delightful and naughty, but the two ended up with more emotions shared between them than just passion. *sigh*The narration was sheer perfection! Carmen Rose definitely propelled this truly fun story into brilliance! I’m pleased that the next book in the Castles Ever After series is also narrated by her. Yay!This review is also posted at The Readers Den.

  • Blacky *Romance Addict*
    2018-11-08 12:16

    Best book ever.

  • Shawna
    2018-10-24 16:07

    5+ stars – Historical RomanceOne of the best, wittiest historical romances I’ve read in quite a while. I loved it from start to finish! 5 utterly enjoyable, charming stars!

  • Jilly
    2018-11-01 10:20

    A young girl who is made famous by a book by her father. He gets rich off of her, but leaves her penniless. This never happens!!okay, maybe rarely...okay, maybe often.Izzy is stuck in the mold that her father made for her. She has lots of fans, but they want her to be the little girl from the stories, not a grown woman. One older fan dies and leaves her a broken-down old castle because the child in the story lives in one.Cool! A castle, right?Maybe not so much. A couple of problems arise. First, the castle is a piece of crap that is completely a mess and she doesn't have a cent to fix it up. But, secondly, and most importantly, the castle is not abandoned at all. The previous owner still lives there. And, he says he never sold it, so she has to leave. Considering she is penniless and homeless, she isn't going without a fight. This is her crappy castle now, dammit! Bats and all!So, we get a glorious co-habitation between the Duke - a guy who was damaged and blinded in a fight so he locked himself away from the world in a crappy castle; and our heroine - a girl who is famous but hasn't even had any food to eat in days by the time she arrives at Castle Craptastic.They live there together as they try to figure out what happened and see who is the rightful owner of this huge, moth-eaten, bug-ridden, broken-everything, monstrosity. It's like a contest over who gets to eat the meal your dog cooked. You aren't exactly sure what's in there, but you know it won't be pleasant. Our male hero is named Ransom and was a beautiful rake until he was scarred and blinded. Now, he's just an ass. Izzy loves waking him up in the morning and her reasoning is awesome:"When you wake up, you let fly the most marvelous string of curses. It's never the same twice, do you know that? It's so intriguing. You're like a rooster that crows blasphemy."Note to self: find cursing rooster alarm clock. ....."You're so crude and profane. I...I know it's absurd, but I can't help it. I find it perversely delightful."I agree with Izzy. Profanity is perversely delightful. And, so is this book. Really fun, really cute, sometimes smutty - a total win.

  • Zain Otoom
    2018-10-26 17:32

    3.5 stars. This book was just so cute! With a couple of sexy scenes as well ;) My only complaint was how fast the relationship was moving. But other than that this was pure fun! Just what I needed to catch up with my goal for the year.

  • Mandi Schreiner
    2018-10-31 12:33

    Hero - blind, scarred, recluse.Heroine - more plain, adorable, so confident.They meet at a ruined castle. There is adorableness. There is sexiness. There is more adorableness. There is much more dirtiness ;)Sweet, funny, romantic, sexy. A truly fabulous romance book.

  • Amy (Foxy)
    2018-10-29 17:12

    Romancing the Duke was a great audiobook. A good story can either be enhanced by a narrators ability to make the story pleasing to the ear or ruined by the way the narrator portrays the story. Luckily, for me, this one worked and had me listening to it in my spare time. The story was a Beauty and the Beast, sort of, retelling which captured my curiosity. Izzy Goodnight finds herself in a castle with a wounded duke who wants nothing to do with her or the outside world. Prior to ending up in the duke's castle, Izzy had lived with her father until he died and left her penniless. Izzy was the daughter of a well-loved author whose fairy tales were published throughout the countryside. Unfortunately, at the time of his death, his will had been that the next closest male relative would inherit Mr. Goodnight's fortune. There was a slight twist towards the end of the book that added to the fun of the story. Overall the story was a good fairy tale in its own right.Romancing the Dukeis the first book in the Castles Ever After series. Lovers of fairy tales and historical romance will enjoy this tale between a 26-year-old virgin and a surly duke. Their steamy connection and witty banter will keep readers engaged in their story.Follow Foxy Blogs at: Blog ♥ Twitter ♥ Instagram ♥ Facebook

  • KatLynne
    2018-10-13 10:17

    4.5 Magnificent Stars!Tessa Dare has once again fed my addiction and provided an afternoon of pure delight with her first installment in the Castles Ever After series. The story centers on Isolde (Izzy) Ophelia Goodnight who grew up dreaming of knights, castles and damsels in distress. She believed in fairytales and the kind of love that leaves one swooning…..However, the lessons learned from the harsh realities of life have dashed those childish dreams. Having neither friend nor family, her financial circumstances are now desperate. An unexpected surprise offers a glimmer of hope and brings Izzy to a vast, run-down castle…… Here, in this desolate place, she meets Ransom; scarred, unshaven, a true wreck of a man. Even in his neglectful state, he’s still extraordinarily made, raw in his masculinity, commanding and thoroughly male.Ransom William Dacre Vane, the eleventh Duke of Rothbury is an impressive hero. In the beginning Ransom is a far cry from anything remotely resembling romantic chivalry….…”Curse tenderness. To hell with emotion. I’m not the man to fulfill your heart’s desires, but I can give you everything - everything- your body’s craving.”As Izzy’s body hungers for his scorching, erotic touch, Ransom delivers! Soon, this powerful, broken man begins to let go his pain and anger, resulting in a passionate romance and a hero who easily fulfills Izzy’s dreams. Tessa Dare never fails to give a well written story along with complex, lovable MCs. This tale is surrounded by blazing chemistry, includes serious moments as well as tenderness and lots of humor. The icing on the cake is the unlimited supply of dialogue filled with witty banter and an Epilogue. I loved it and was hooked from the get-go!

  • Dina
    2018-10-24 15:27

    Trust Ms. Dare to gift me with my first 5-star read of the year. Woohoo! 2014 will no longer be the dreaded year with no winners in Romancelandia.Note: 2015 RITA Winner - Historical Romance (Short Romance)

  • Jess
    2018-11-06 17:29

    Review posted: Happily Ever After - ReadsBlog rating: A“You come down here and torment me at the crack of every dawn. Now you’re making me tea. And flicking fluff. Is this some kind of coddling? I don’t want any coddling.” “It’s not coddling. It’s not meant to be tormenting, either. I just…enjoy greeting you in the morning.” “That’s impossible.” Ransom would have believed just about any other excuse. But she couldn’t expect him to credit that she stole down here in the misty, early dawn for the pleasure of his company. “It’s true. Every time you wake up, you let fly the most marvelous string of curses. It’s never the same twice, do you know that? It’s so intriguing. You’re like a rooster that crows blasphemy.” “Oh, there’s a cock crowing, all right,” he muttered. Izzy has nothing. After her story writing father passed away, he never updated his will include her, so everything, every single thing is left to Izzy’s horrible cousin, a man who took much glee in torturing a young Izzy growing up. So much so that she still has an intense fear of the dark, one of the many tortures she had to endure. She receives sudden word that she’s inherited a castle, but much to her dismay the castle is possibly haunted, has been looted, is in horrible condition and comes with its past owner still in residence, Ransom the Duke of Rothbury.Ransom has been somewhat of a recluse of late. He was injured badly in sword fight and has been recovering in his home with only his manservant, Duncan, as company. His injuries impacted his sight, which is all but gone, he’s withdrawn from society and seems to be content wandering the dark castle halls for the rest of his life, withering away. Now Izzy has blown into his life, a woman with nothing to lose and she refuses to leave the castle that she believes to be hers. But Ransom won’t leave as he claims that he never authorized the castle be sold in the first place and until they figure it all out, they’re stuck. Ransom takes some pity on Izzy and reluctantly offers her a position as his secretary. He needs someone to read his correspondence, the mountains of it, where in lies no doubt, the truth about what’s happened to the castle and he’ll pay her enough daily so that she’ll be able to move on once it’s proven that he’s still the owner. Izzy agrees because she plans to use the money to help restore the castle one it’s proven that she’s the owner. What they end up uncovering is that someone far greedier may be taking advantage of Ransom.I loved this story. I loved everything about it, starting with the set-up of these two lonely misfits finding each other. Random with his blindness and Izzy with her self-proclaimed plainness, two people with nothing to lose who refuse to give in and forge an unlikely friendship that leads to much more. Izzy lived her childhood in fairytales and dreams, and she’s famous for being the little girl who stars in her father’s stories that are well loved by the public. But no one actually sees her as the woman she’s become, she’s always “little Izzy Goodnight” to them, but even without sight, Ransom is the first person, the first man, to really see her. And with a few bumps along the way and some situations that weren’t handled as well as Ransom could have, he vows to find a way to keep her in his life.For Ransom, his mother died giving birth to him and his horrible father never let him forget that. He grew up without feeling loved, without being hugged or touched and now he’s almost starved for affection. He pushes Izzy away at first, that’s what he’s always done, never hoping or believing that anyone, especially now with his disability, would ever stick around long enough to love him, but Izzy is unlike anyone he’s ever met. They get each other, I know that sounds clichéd but on page they have so much chemistry, their dialogue snaps and they ended up being exactly what the other person had no idea they needed.“Don’t stop.” He sucked in his breath as a fresh wave of pain nearly knocked him cold. “Don’t stop.” “I won’t stop,” she promised. Izzy’s heart twisted. There was something so moving about seeing a man so big, so powerful, curled up like a puppy on the floor, damp with perspiration and writhing in evident pain. His arms laced tight about her waist. She’d been alone for a long time. In some ways, since well before her father died. And she was well enough acquainted with loneliness to understand that the worst part wasn’t having nobody caring for you – it was having nobody to care for.There are a few other fun revelations that come up as the story goes along, supporting characters who are colorful, fun and add just enough to the overall story to make everything flow together so well. The romance is sweet and tender, seeing both of these people finally find someone to love and watching Ransom come to life all because of Izzy’s influence. I loved everything about this story, as if you hadn’t already caught on to that fact!Tessa Dare brings the humor and heart that I’ve come to expect in her stories but it hit a little deeper with Romancing the Duke. There’s some very vulnerable about both Izzy and Ransom and it was so incredibly satisfying to see these two strong characters let themselves be vulnerable to each other and find love when they never thought it possible. I loved this book and it’s one I’d highly recommend to all romance readers.

  • Mei
    2018-11-12 13:24

    This is such a funny, fanny book!I loved the main characters: Izzy and Ransom! Both of them were excellent in their own way!Izzy, with her disillusions, with her very derogatory view of herself. But with her wit and her smarness she's very able to face everything life throws at her.“Why must this be so mortifying? Oh, that's right. Because its my life.” She know what she wants: her castle and she's not afraid to go against a very angry duke. She challenges him at every turn, until he's forced to concede. It was so wonderful to read!Ransom is angry at life. At himslef, at his blindness. He wants to be left alone to brood. So when a little tenacious woman appears in his riuned castle he's furious. He tries to throw her out, but she won't have it. He's grumpy, he's offensive, he's rude. “He let his eyes flitter over her. “I don’t see anything ‘precisely.’ I can tell you’re slender. I can see you’re wearing white, or some light color. Your face is pale, your lips are reddish. And there appears to be a dark brown octopus attacking your head.”“That’s my hair.”Ransom shrugged. “You asked what I see. I see tentacles.” He's ready to resort to violence but something is keeping him back...Her hair truly did look like an octopus. It was the way she wore it, he thought. Or maybe the way it wore her. It all sat perched atop her head in that big, inky blob. And no matter how strenuously she pinned it, dark, heavy curls worked loose on all sides, like tentacles. Of course, it was an entrancing, strangely erotic octopus. Ransom worried this might be how fetishes developed.” Their attraction grows day bay day and Ransom's grumpiness slowly disappear."I don't know what to make of you this morning. Where's the surly man who greets the dawn with a curse? What about 'Good grief, Goodnight?' Where are those carming maritime endearments?"He pulled on a lock of her hair. "Octopus.""Well, that's all wrong. You said it so fondly."There were a lot of funny moments: the ermine, Snowdrop, the Moranglians, the vicar's daugther, the vallet...The romance is sweet and lovely and their moments together were hot, but I would have liked the book even if they were absent.It is not as good as her Spinder Cove series, but it is still worth 5 stars for me! :)

  • Iliada
    2018-10-30 10:17

    3.5 stars Tessa Dare can write funny, quirky historical romances like no other. We all know that she uses anachronisms, which, personally, I don't like though I know it's not an opinion most readers share with me. However, her books are so good that I usually manage to overlook said anachronisms in most of them. Here, I'm not so sure I can.There was a uniqueness and a darkness in this story that I loved and I was impressed at the beginning. Until I hit the halfmark, I thought this was going to be a 4.5 stars book for me with a potential for 5. Unfortunately, things didn't work out that well in the second half of the book.I'll start by what I loved:-As I said before, to me this story is quite unique. It takes place in a derelict and dilapidated castle. It has this great gothic atmosphere in it. The duke who lives in this castle is a recluse and a little rough around the edges. I loved that the hero was blind. It's not the kind of hero I've ever read about before and it gave a whole different dimension to the book.-There was very good, incredibly funny dialogue. “Oh, but this gift isn’t the same as an ermine. This is property. Don’t you understand how rare that is for a woman? Property always belongs to our fathers, brothers, husbands, sons. We never get to own anything.”“Don’t tell me you’re one of those women with radical ideas.”“No,” she returned. “I’m one of those women with nothing. There are a great many of us.”Funniest moment in the book:“You come down here and torment me at the crack of every dawn. Now you’re making me tea. And flicking fluff. Is this some kind of coddling? I don’t want any coddling.”“It’s not coddling. It’s not meant to be tormenting, either. I just…enjoy greeting you in the morning.”“That’s impossible.”Ransom would have believed just about any other excuse. But she couldn’t expect him to credit that she stole down here in the misty, early dawn for the pleasure of his company.“It’s true. Every time you wake up, you let fly the most marvelous string of curses. It’s never the same twice, do you know that? It’s so intriguing. You’re like a rooster that crows blasphemy.”“Oh, there’s a cock crowing, all right,” he muttered.What I didn't like so much:-The heroine. I'm sorry but there was something that bothered me about Izzy. Maybe it was that she was so desperate to find a man and feel attractive that she never convinced me she fell in love with the man and not the idea of a man that finds her attractive. I'm not sure she wouldn't fall in love with any man who noticed her. And how lucky she is that our hero is blind.-The anachronisms and the humour got a little out of hand in this book. The army of Moranglians with men and women dressed as people from the Goodnight Tales, a fantasy story that Izzy's father wrote, bordered on ridiculous and I didn't think it was funny at all.-The eagerness of the heroine to be kissed and get rid of her virginity. We must not forget that virginity was something valuable for women back in the 1800s and reputation was extremely important. They didn't risk these things as easily as that. (And I've noticed this is always an issue I have with Tessa Dare's novels.)I believe I've whined enough. There were parts of this book that were absolutely wonderful and others that didn't do it for me, but it's still highly recommended to fans of this writer. It's not Tessa Dare's best book, but if you've liked her other novels, chances are that you're going to like this one too.

  • Mary - Buried Under Romance
    2018-11-09 12:09

    Review to come. What can I say? This might just be my top book of 2014, even with all those other good titles soon to arrive.

  • Heidi Hart
    2018-10-14 18:23

    Tessa Dare is one of my favorite authors, but I'm not sure what to make of this first book in her new Castles Ever After series. I couldn't tell while reading it if Dare meant for this to be a gothic romance. It certainly has gothic elements -- penniless ingenue in desperate straits at the mercy of bitter, scarred, misanthropic (but tall, dark, and handsome) man, set in a creepy, crumbling, isolated old castle that might well be haunted -- but if Dare was aiming for gothic, she missed her mark. Despite the creepy ambience, this book doesn't have the dark, spooky, suspenseful tone of a gothic novel. Instead, I think (hope?) Dare was spoofing the old gothics, and if that was her intent, she hit the nail on the head, because the gothic tropes seem not so much eerie as entertaining (example: the story is set at Gostley Castle, and the heroine's solicitor asks whether that rhymes with "ghostly" or "ghastly.") The heroine, Izzy Goodnight, finds herself destitute after her father fails to provide for her in his will. She's down to her last shillings when she learns she's inherited a crumbling castle in Northumberland. Unfortunately, the castle isn't empty: Ransom, the Duke of Rothbury, has been convalescing (read: hiding) there since being gravely injured in a duel with his ex-fiancee's lover. Rothbury contests Izzy's inheritance, since he owns the castle and didn't authorize its sale to the guy who bequeathed it to Izzy. However, he's ignored his correspondence for the months since his injury, and both agree that there might be some clue to the dilemma amid the pile of letters awaiting Rothbury's attention. Since Rothbury's condition still doesn't allow him to read his mail without assistance, Izzy agrees to act as his secretary while they sort out the mess. The reader has to be willing to approach this story with an open mind, because much of it is just absurd. That a gently-bred, unmarried woman would be willing to stay, unchaperoned, in a ghost- and pest-infested old pile with a cranky, unmarried duke (and said duke would be willing to let her) is the first of many disbeliefs the reader must willingly suspend. (It helps that Izzy is penniless: she hasn't really got any alternative; it also helps that Ransom's injuries are significant enough that, duke or not, he's not a hot commodity on the marriage mart anymore.) Izzy is penniless, but she's not alone in the world. Before his death, her father published a serial novel which is so popular it inspired LARPers to tour the countryside, re-enacting the scenes. To this band of misfits, Izzy is a celebrity -- though they don't know, and don't want to know, the real Izzy; they just want to know the timid, innocent little girl immortalized in the novel. Though Romancing the Duke is undeniably entertaining, and there were several points where I laughed out loud (Izzy has a pet weasel, and come on, how often do you find LARPers in romance?), much of the plot didn't really work for me. Ransom is attracted to Izzy, and eventually his number one priority is to see to her well-being, but he's really slow in getting there: in the first scene, she is literally fainting because she hasn't eaten in days, and when Ransom learns that, he doesn't try to feed her or even seem worried that she's gone hungry. Later on, Ransom uncomfortably close to a bodice-ripper-style angry-sex seduction scene, and while I should have trusted Dare to avoid a dubious consent love scene (as she eventually does when Izzy calls halt), it was a close call and turned me off to Ransom as a romantic lead.Worse, there's a huge hole in the plot. Ransom and Izzy come together to try and sort out his correspondence and who owns Gostley Castle, and it's rapidly clear that someone has been taking advantage of Ransom's inattention to his business affairs to rip him off. Figuring out the scheme and unmasking the thief should have been the climax of the novel, but instead it was barely touched upon, only glancingly mentioned as an afterthought in a final scene that was a chaotic shitstorm of badly-plotted WTFery.

  • Ashley
    2018-10-20 18:14

    Good god, people. This was an impulse audio checkout from the library, and it completely consumed every minute of free time I've had in the twenty-four hours after I checked it out. I've never read a romance novel on audio before, and it was so entertaining. This particular book was very charming and swoonworthy, and I ended up loving it.I mean, I was pathological about this book. I listened to it every chance I got. At one point, I for real snuck my iPhone into the bathroom at work just so I could listen to the last couple minutes of a chapter. I don't think I've ever finished a novel-length audiobook in less than a day before. I guess the lesson is romance novels are just as addictive, if not more so, in audio form than they are in hard copy.(Shhh, don't tell anyone about the iPhone at work thing.)So, the actual book: Romancing the Duke is the first book in Tessa Dare's Castles Ever After series, which are books that all features heroines who inherit castles unexpectedly, often run down ones. It is in parts very, very silly, but it made me swoon hard. It hit me in my swooners. I loved both of the main characters, also. Isolde (Izzy) is the poor daughter of one of England's most famous authors, now deceased. Her father published fantastical stories in the form of bedtime stories to a fictionalized version of Izzy, so she is famous in her own right. She inherits a castle from her godfather upon his death. Only, it turns out the castle wasn't his to buy. It's still occupied by its rightful owner, the titular Duke, who disappeared from society under mysterious circumstances months ago, and has been presumed dead. Watching them fall in love with each other was delicious.(Note: I had no trouble at all with Izzy's "fans". I was easily able to suspend disbelief, even though it did get very silly at a couple of points. Plus, it was soooo steamy.)I will definitely be checking out the rest of this series in audiobook. I had to wait five months for the library audio copy of this one, while the paperback copies were available. So that might tell you something right there . . .Anyway, good show. Good show. Bring on more.[4.5 stars]