Summary from Amazon:
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?
If you’ve been following my reviews, I think it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been seriously into the historical romance lately. I’ve especially fallen madly in love with Tessa Dare. I’m usually someone who likes to read things in order, NO MATTER WHAT. But, apparently, I’m all over the place with Dare’s books, because I keep jumping from series to series. And, technically, I haven’t read any of her series out of order, but I’m not sticking to one series. Anyway, I decided to read One Dance with a Duke, mainly, because I thought the pink cover was pretty. The summary looked promising, and it did have Dare’s name attached, so I wasn’t really worried that I wouldn’t like it. You guys, One Dance with a Duke was a great romance, although definitely not my favorite of Dare’s.
I love, love, love when historical romance writers create heroine that aren’t the bell of the ball. Because, you know, I think a lot of us can relate to not being the bell of the ball. And Dare did that with Amelia. She’s resigned herself to being a spinster (oh my gosh I hate that word so much!). As I mentioned, she’s often been overlooked by the men in Town, but she’s not a shy creature. So when she realizes that she has to do something to attempt to save her brother from ruin, she takes matters into her hands.
The Duke of Morland, Spencer, attends balls right at midnight, choses one girl to dance with, and then pretty much leaves. He’s created quite the stir, because he’s a duke, and unmarried. And he sort of is mysterious. But when Amelia learns that her brother owes Spencer money, she decides to make sure that Spencer dances with her, so she can ask him to forgive her brother’s debts.
As you can imagine, Spencer is quite surprised with Amelia’s forwardness, and, against his will, he starts to like Amelia. The ball doesn’t end quite how either Spencer of Amelia planned, though.
As I mentioned above, I liked Amelia. I like that she’s so determined to help her brother, even when he may not deserve it. She loves him unconditionally, and she wants to do whatever she can to help him out. However, her love for her brother causes some serious rifts between her and Spencer. And, honestly, Amelia frustrated me a bit towards the end of the novel. Maybe it’s because I’m thirty, and I could so understand where Spencer was coming from, but I just wanted to shake Amelia, and make her compromise with Spencer.
That said, Spencer needed to work on compromising as well. When we first meet Spencer, he’s quite aloof, and doesn’t always say the appropriate thing. But you guys, Spencer totally grew on me. I mean, seriously, I totally fell for him. Not that he’s perfect, or anything, because how boring would that be. I loved seeing Spencer fall for Amelia, and seeing how he learned how to actually talk things through with her.
One Dance with a Duke was a fun historical romance, but it’s not one that I will reach for again. I think this is one of Dare’s earlier novels, so perhaps that’s why it hasn’t found a place in my all-time favorites pile. But I did still really like it, and I’m glad I read it.