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Review: One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare

Once Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare

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?


Over the past several months, Tessa Dare has become my go-to for historical romance. Her novels are so much fun and full of quirky characters and plots. They have some the familiar tropes of any historical romance, but with fresh scenarios and more liberated characters.

One Dance with a Duke starts off rather slowly, but it sneaks up on you with its sweetness. Early on in the novel, Amelia is waiting at a ball to approach the Duke of Morland to see if he will forgive her brother's enormous debt. He has what is essentially a panic attack in the middle of the dance floor and carries the fight (Amelia) outside with him. From there we go on to a tragic killing, a rushed wedding, a postponed honeymoon, shared secrets, and stubbornness. And a goofy-named club centered around some prize horse.

I loved Amelia and Spencer's banter so much. They keep each other on their toes but also share some incredibly sweet and tender moments as they both come to realize what this marriage means to them. Their marriage may begin as one of convenience, but soon neither of them want it to remain that way--but haven't yet figured out how to let the other know. There are some moments that will gut you as you wait for these characters to get their acts together.

Should you read it? If you love historical romances, then yes! Tessa Dare is a queen of the genre and you'll fall in love with her steamy romances and sweet characters.

5 Stars

Published by Ballentine Books on May 25, 2010.

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