The Wallflower Wager

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

Another fabulous read from Tessa Dare! 

Having loved the two previous books in this series, I was eager to read ‘The Wallflower Wager’ and discover Penny’s story. I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed. 
In the four friends that this series covers, Ms Dare has created warm, loveable heroines who know their own mind and what they do and don’t want. They’re feminine but determined, whether they have come from the lowliest of backgrounds or aristocratic ones, as is the case with Penny in this book. 
Lady Penelope Campion is an animal lover of the highest order and nothing is too much trouble when there is a furry creature in need. Gabriel Duke was born on the streets and has worked his way up to become a very rich man, but he has no desire to become part of the elite. In fact, he detests their ways and their way of life. However, he knows what they look for and this includes the right address. A house next to the daughter of an Earl – even if said spinster is reclusive and unattractive. That won’t matter to them. They will still be the neighbour of aristocracy. 
But when Gabe unexpectedly finds Penny in his bedroom, chasing an errant parrot, he immediately discovers that she is most certainly not the old, unattractive spinster he’d imagined…
As usual, Tessa Dare has delivered a wonderfully romantic, and incredibly sexy book laced with humour that although historical, also feels very modern. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone and look forward to the fourth, and last book in the series.
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I’m actually meant to now sum this book up, aren’t I? Easier said than done with Tessa Dare. She’s my little girl fan crush and this book is perfect. Perfect I tell you. I didn’t know how Dare would work Penny’s story, Penny was the oddball of her little foursome of friends and her story is not entirely what I expected. It went above and beyond what I thought it would be. Penny as a character has real depth, she’s kind, compassionate, yet strong beyond anyone’s imagining and her connection to the wounded animals she takes in, the reasons she feels the need to care for them is heartbreaking, to say the least.*

Our hero of this piece is Gabriel… Gabe…The Duke of Ruin. Whatever you want to call him this Debutante wouldn’t mind being ruined by him in the least. *Coughs*

Gabe is a self-made man who has worked for everything he now has, brought up from the slums and workhouses of London, he isn’t the least fond of the aristocracy. Much less the tantalising goddess he finds himself neighbours with. Nothing like a forced close proxy to make the sexual tension simmer to boiling point. I loved the dialogue, it’s witty, humorous and sexy beyond belief.

I really do admire Tessa Dare, she brings together the perfect blend of historical detail, romance, humour with a sprinkle of modernity. Her characters are well fleshed out, they have real issues, feelings, and obstacles to overcome. Dare makes them work for their happy ending and I applaud her for it. I just love Tessa Dare and can't wait to see what she writes next!

*(I won’t spoil this but I will say please do read the author warnings on the author website for this one, as it does deal with sensitive topics that may be hard for some readers. I personally found it a tough subject, but I can say the author handles it with the utmost care.)
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Once again Tessa Dare has blown me away with her wonderous way with words, again and again she proves that she is in a whole league of her own when it comes to historical romance, there isn’t a single negative thing that I can say about her work, she is pure class and this one maybe the best I have read to date, it is unbelievably good.

This is the third book in the Girl Meets Duke series, and the best yet, in my personal opinion. What makes this my personal favourite is the fact that our hero is a regular self made man, instead of an aristocrat, he has worked hard to pull himself out of the gutter to become such a powerful tycoon. I don’t anyone who reads my reviews will find that a surprise that I prefer regular Mr. Duke to an actual Duke, but seriously though this man is….well, I think I need a gif to say what I think of Gabe…

Lady Penelope, what a fabulous character she is! From the first page when she was trying to coax a stubborn parrot from the windowsill with a biscuit, I knew that I had found a kindred spirit, she is brilliant, she babbles on from one topic to the next, she loves her animals and will do anything in her power to look after them and she will fight tooth and nail to protect them, she is kind, caring and very misunderstood by the ignorant people of society that find her odd – Penny, you are not odd, you are unique! She has gathered a menagerie of animals a fact that her family are at odds with and soon give her an ultimatum; if she wishes to stay in London and live independently as she is now, then she must be rid of the animals and enter society or she goes home to become the much loathed role of spinster aunt. Enter Gabriel Duke, the notorious Duke of Ruin who has just moved in next door and after an hilarious first encounter offers to help her, but it is while helping her that sparks start to fly and our unlikely duo become more then just ‘acquaintances’

Gabriel Duke, I think you all know what I think of him; sexy, ruthless, protective, brooding, growling, hard-working, self-made man, enthralling, mesmerising…he is just so damn hot, I need a bucket of water thrown over me!! I don’t think I can take the heat that radiates from this testosterone fuelled hulk of a man.

Mmmm!! …..Where was I? Gabe, yes…he has clambered , dragging himself out of the dirt and the gutter to become this powerful, ruthless tycoon who doesn’t take no for an answer. He has just bought the house next door to Penny and plan’s to do it up and sell it for a huge fortune, and he knows that with the house being so close to the beautiful spinster’ Penny he will get so much more for it as every young buck and rogue will want to live next door to her. The only problem with his plan to renovate the house and bring it up to date is none other then the girl next door – if he hasn’t got enough to deal with, now he has to deal with a house full of animals.

This is just so good, the relationship between Penny and Gabe is brilliant, they are laugh out loud funny and the chemistry is off the charts sizzling hot. I loved them because they are so different, I wouldn’t never have believed that they would work as well together as they did.

This is everything that we all have come to love about Tessa Dare books; humour, twists and turns, sexual tension, fabulously engaging plot, gorgeous couple all entwined with that unmistakable Tessa Dare gift for mesmerising story-telling. Honestly I cannot recommend this book enough, it will appeal to all Dare fans and also for those who haven’t read a Tessa Dare book yet – really is there any one out there who hasn’t read on of this fine authors work? – then this is the perfect introduction to her wonderful work.
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“ Fancy a foxglove?”

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CONTENT WARNINGS: Childhood sexual assault. 

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Tessa Dare can be relied on for mixing humour, historical Romance, Strong females, and sexy times. I've really enjoyed her earlier books in the series ( number one is one of my all-time favourite romance novels) and from the get-go, I was a sucker for Penny. We have a ray of sunshine vs grump trope at play here, Penny ‘I never met an animal I couldn’t rescue’ Campion, lives in a house in Mayfair avoiding society whilst caring for her ever-growing menagre, The “Duke of Ruin” himself Gabriel Duke moves next door. He is equally revered and feared having risen in Society from very humble beginnings he uses his power for good but more often to Ruin families. 

Having moved next to Penny, they engage in a little “  Pygmalion” with a side dish of “ Doctor Dollitle” trying to improve Penny's chances of marriage and acceptance back into polite society. Penny finds Gabriel's softy underbelly and love ensues.

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What I liked: Penny our wonderful, vegetarian with a kind heart who brings people together.  I was such a sucker for her, I loved he strong inner strength. The scene with the Goats killed me and i was giggling out loud.

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What I disliked: Quite honestly as a crafted author I really think Tessa Dare should have handled Pennys Trauma a lot better. There has been a lot of discussion on both reviews and online about the use of content warnings and where to place them. Tessa and her publisher decided not to open her novel with them and only the sexual abuse trauma came to light through reviews and Dare doing a very clumsy twitter thread ( this was later retracted and handled better).

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The “ abuse” is only mildly hinted at throughout, Tessa novels have a wonderful frothiness to them and this is what the readers are going in to enjoy. This was poorly handled to just come out the blue on chapter 24.

Spoiler section- Skip ahead if you have not read. 

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Penny after telling Gabriel that she had suffered abuse from her father's friend was made to feel the horrible layers of self-abuse, neglect and withdrawal. This alone cannopt fully be captured in a chapter ..She goes on to meets her abuser again at a ball, he is also now her brother's father in law. I hade to stop reading and unpack the last few chapters, what of Alice this abusers daughter and Pennys brothers wife? What horrors were not addressed? Penny mentioning about their daughter and being the company of this man. Horrible handling of this issue.

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Tropes- Sunshine Vs Grump, Quirky heroine, Soft hearted hero, Animals, Wallflower, Opposite attracts, 

Rating: 💗💗💗💗

Sexytimes:🍆🍆🍆

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ARC provided by Edelweiss and publisher in exchange for an honest review and also the Mills and Boons Insiders for this chance to read an early copy.
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I found #TheWallFlowerWager rather different to other romances in the market (in a good way) and very humorous. 

The lead characters are engaging and rather unique, and it was a joy to watch the relationship develop between Penny and Gabriel who come from vastly differing backgrounds, and have both endured the scorn of society at large, for being their peculiar themselves.

As an animal lover, TheWallFlowerWager was doubly relatable and enjoyable.
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I've enjoyed all the books in the 'Girl Meets Duke' series, stories of independent women, and damaged, romantic men. Penny and Gabriel's story is my favourite so far, perhaps because Penny takes in waifs and strays, and has an unfailing love of animals, something I can relate to.

There are scenes in this story which are hilarious, particularly, the rescuing of Delilah, the foul-mouthed parrot, which occurs at the beginning and sets the scene for what's to come. Penny and Gabriel's meeting at this time also sparks the passion that grows between them and is so enjoyable.

Gabriel, the Duke of Ruin, is not from the aristocracy, but many fear him, he is driven, dangerous and damaged, but he has so many redeeming qualities, and it's impossible not to fall a little in love with him. Penny is honest, loving and generous, but she too is emotionally damaged, and her guilty secret, means Penny and Gabriel have more in common than he first supposed.

The plot is full of historical detail and moves effortlessly along, the characters are engaging and believable. I enjoyed the witty dialogue and the simmering passion, and most of all the happily-ever-after, even though I was sad to come to the end of Penny and Gabriel's story.

A delightful, historical romance, amusing, original and shamelessly romantic.

I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon in return for an honest review.
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This book was an absolute treat and a half to say the least. I was hooked from the opening moments and found that I simply couldn't put it down, for even a moment, which says it all really. The writing was witty and wonderfully seductive with a dry sense of humour served on the side for good measure.The narrative pulled me into its midst of seduction and love and I read with baited breath at the passion burning off the pages. 

Lady Penny was a dream character who I absolutely adored, hedgehog and all. Her wilful ways, stubbornness and ever expanding heart shot her straight onto my list of favourite characters and I do believe that she made this book into the shining success it was. Her passion and chemistry with the dashingly devilish Gabriel Duke was everything and more that a regency romance should be and I was addicted to their blossoming romance from the start.

The Wallflower Wager is everything you could possibly want in a romance.....it is pure perfection on every level and a book that is not to be missed. I sincerely hope that this is not the last time we hear from the Duchess of Ruin that's for sure.
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The Wallflower Wager is part of the Girl Meets Duke series, and is Penny’s story. Gabriel Duke and Lady Penelope Campion meet when she breaks into an apparently empty house to catch a runaway (flyaway?) parrot. And it just gets better, sexier, and funnier from here.

Penny is an amazing heroine. She's spent the time since her disastrous debut in rescuing all kinds of animals. However, she's now forced into finding homes for them when her aunt decides to give her one last chance to re-enter society . If she doesn't, then she will have to return to the family home to become a spinster aunt. She's apparently scatty, naïve, ditzy - but hidden underneath is a truly strong character with a caring heart.

Gabriel is...he's...what can I say about a hero this wonderful? He's from the slums, self made, and as sexy as hell! Called the Duke of Ruin because he financially ruins members of the aristocracy, he decides to help Penny with her aunt's wager, because he knows that having a real 'Lady' living next door, will add value to his house. He's apparently got a heart of stone, but it soon becomes clear he's got integrity, as well as morals.

They both have secrets, both are scarred by their past, and lonely. Yet, they are equals and so perfect for each other.
This review wouldn't be complete without mentioning Delilah the parrot. I have a sneaky affection for her - she's such a brilliant creation. The interaction between them had me in stitches.
It is a glorious caper of a book! Tessa Dare has the rare ability to write real romantic comedy. It's effortless, unforced, and done in such a way that you really will cry with laughter. The interaction between hero and heroine veers between witty dialogue and sexy shenanigans, but always with that underlying spark of real, sensual, attraction. It's breath-taking!

The Wallflower Wager is the first Tessa Dare I’ve ever read. I loved it! So much so, I went and bought the first two in this series.

*Don't buy this if you are a traditionalist, and don't like 'modernised' language and characters. 
*DO buy this if you love humour, fun, sexy, and parrots brought up in brothels!
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So much to love about this well crafted story. Tessa Dare’s writing is engaging, her characters well developed and her descriptions pull you into the time and place. Absolutely recommend for some time away from the real world. Perfect escape.
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I enjoyed this. I was worried that Penny was going to be just a bit too much in the quirky stakes, but actually she was a lot of fun.  Gabriel is a good hero, the dialogue is witty, the banter with the previous heroes is fun, the animals are hilarious and it's got a really satisfying happily ever after.  I don't think I love it quite as much as The Governess Game - but then doll funerals are a high bar to pass, although the goat and the dog on a trolley run it close.  A lovely summer read.
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She is an Endearing heroin and he is rather bewildered Duke as he tries to rehome her motley collection of rescued animals. This book is such fun but with  a serious undertone and is well worth reading
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I enjoyed this very much. Engaging characters, and beautifully written.

Read on holiday in one sitting.

Thank you to Mills & Boon Insiders and to Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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There is always something so delightful about Tessa Dare's books, and I am never happier than when I am reading one of hers - a fact definitely not changed by The Wallflower Wager, which is as wonderful as the rest of the series that precedes it. There's a joyful irreverence about her stories, with comical details at every term, but she also doesn't shy away from emotional depth - and this is one of the more emotional I've read of hers. Penny is the kind of friend you long to have - sweet, loyal and a touch eccentric - and from the very first page, I was rooting for her happy ending. And, of course, Tessa did not disappoint!
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This book was a joy to read. As always with Tessa Dare, the words flow smoothly and whisk us away to another time and place.

I so enjoyed seeing Penny and Gabriel learn to love and trust one another. It was great to see characters from previous books in the series pop up too, the friendships between the characters elevate the story above many other regency romances. There are plenty of chuckles along the way too.

I’d recommend this book to anyone wanting a romance with heart and healing, who doesn’t mind a few steamy scenes.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Available now: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wallflower-Wager-irresistible-Regency-Governess-ebook/dp/B07NCS1DJ6/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=wallflower+wager&qid=1565886998&s=gateway&sprefix=wallflower+wager&sr=8-1
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Lovable engaging characters with romance, drama and fun makes for an enjoyable easy read.
My thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
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At first, I thought this was going to be a lighthearted read and don’t get me wrong, there was plenty of humour. I had quite a few chuckles. However there is a serious side when Penny and Gabriel talk about their past. There were a number of heartfelt moments. I loved the motley collection of animals with all their peculiarities and the scene when the three men were helping the goat is well worth reading again! The main characters were extremely likeable and characters from previous books make a welcome appearance. I’m looking forward to Nicola’s story. I received a copy and have voluntarily reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I do love reading historical romances, especially the funny ones! Tessa Dare wrote one of my all-time favourites, When a Scot Ties the Knot, but this one comes a close second!

The Wallflower Wager is the third in the Girl Meets Duke series but it can also be read as a stand-alone. While the heroes of the first two books were a duke and a duke's heir, the hero of this one has Duke as his surname (a neat twist!). Being a self-made man also made a nice change!

Lady Penelope lives alone in a large house in London, apart from her servants, her elderly companion, and a positive menagerie of rescued animals. The house next door has been bought by Gabriel Duke, who intends to renovate it and sell it at a vast profit. While one huge selling point is the aristocratic neighbour (Lady Penelope) an equally huge minus is her mini-zoo. But the only way Penny will agree to part with her pets is if Gabe promises to find new owners for them. How hard can that be?

The thing I enjoy most about Tessa Dare's books are her lovable, engaging characters and their funny banter. I also loved Delilah the parrot - her language is a running joke throughout the book - and I thought the ending was a nice twist on what usually happens in romantic novels (no spoilers!).

Recommended if you love your historical romances modern, funny and sexy, and enjoy reading authors such as Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas. I thoroughly enjoyed The Wallflower Wager and have no hesitation in giving it five stars.


Thank you to Tessa Dare and Mills & Boon for my copy of this book, which I requested from NetGalley and reviewed voluntarily.
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Tessa Dare’s latest installment in her brilliant Girl Meets Duke series is the fantastic ‘The Wallflower Wager’ which made me laugh, made me cry, had me sitting on the edge of my seat, and needing to take a break to find a tall cool glass of water.
‘The Wallflower Wager’ tells the story of the charming Lady Penelope, Penny to her friends, and the broodingly curt Mr. Gabriel Duke. At the start of the story, they’ve recently found themselves to be new neighbors, something that could make Gabriel a lot of money, as long as all goes accordingly to plan. And, we all know how the best laid plans can go! Penny, along with her delightful menagerie simply want to stay in London. Gabriel needs Penny to stay in London for his plan to work, so tells her that he’ll achieve her miracle for her. Neither of them are quite prepared for the miracle that would be worked on the two of them! Dark pasts, loneliness, true friendship, seemingly insurmountable obstacles (sometimes a giant heap of coal!) and more stand in the way, and simultaneously signpost the emotional rollercoaster that is the journey to HEA that Gabriel and Penny take us on! The wonderful co-stars in the form of secondary characters from the two books already out in this series, and the upcoming book for the fourth lovely lady, Nicola, keep you engaged, and remind you why you already love all of them so dearly, and Gabriel and Penny add to that effortlessly!
I adored this story. It’s about people making the most of their circumstances whilst simultaneously not letting their circumstances dictate who they are, what they want, or who they wish to be. Though Gabriel and Penny deal with it in vastly different manners, at the end of the day, they are both looking for the same thing, and in the most delightful roundabout way, they find it together, though there are plenty of obstacles, misunderstandings, and rascal pets that get in the way! Besides, who doesn’t want a Delilah in their lives?
As I would with any and all of Tessa’s works, I highly and wholeheartedly recommend this book. I was invested from the very first page, and have no regrets about the fact that I’ll likely read it again within the next day! What are you waiting for?
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You know when you finish a book and just want to hug it close? That was me after finishing this book.

I mean, this was Tessa Dare’s latest release so I never had any doubts that I would adore it. She could write a to-do list and I would probably end up singing it’s praises which probably doesn’t fill any of you with hopes for an unbiased review, but really? Don’t come here for a balanced review of books, you come here for honest reviews where I am either 100% a fan of a book or feeling meh or DNF a book. There is no middle ground in my world!

It was just so utterly satisfying to read. It had fluff, romance, sexy times, drama and fun. I am so glad I read it and will happily read it again and again. I've never been disappointed by Tessa Dare and there was no concern that would happen here either. I loved reading Penny's story and she so deserved this book.

At the start, you know little of Penny apart from her large collection of unwanted animals (and when I say that, I mean unwanted by others, Penny adores her animal family). From a goat to a dog with a cart due to his back legs not working. There was an otter, a hedgehog, and a Highland steer. And let's not forget the parrot with the dirty mouth. This, rather large, collection of animals was the family she didn’t get to have. And she cared for them even more as her close friends grew to have families of their own, she felt a little abandoned so these animals gave her purpose and a chance to care for someone. Throughout the book you learn that she was not just a crazy animal lady (cat just didn’t fit here) but there are so many reasons for the person she was. She did adopt every sorry animal she came across and she did it for many reasons. She had grown distant from her family and these animals gave her purpose. Luckily for her, Gabe moves in next door and if there was ever a man in need of a little saving (and a whole lot of love) then it was him. And she needed the level of stubbornness and care he could offer too.

I love when a romance has sparks flying off the page as soon as the couple meet and we definitely had that in this book. I mean, when the opening was Penny breaking into the neighbour's house to retrieve her parrot (who turns out to be a foul-mouthed fiend) and closes the night bumping into her neighbour fresh from the bath (and in a revealing towel). I was cracking up laughing from the very beginning and the book only went up from there.

Honestly, the friendship between Penny and her friends was already well established but it was so much fun seeing Gabe slowly become integrated with their husbands. Especially when Ash and Chase were wholly against Gabe being anywhere near Penny from the start. I mean, come on! If that doesn’t convince you just leave now. There’s no hope for you.

In the end, as you can plainly see, I adored this book. It was absolutely genius and I cannot wait to read it again and again.
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The Wallflower Wager is the third book in the Girl Meets Duke series by Tessa Dare. Although part of a series it can easily be read as a stand-alone book.

Gabriel Duke was brought up in the slums but was determined he would not stay there. Clever thinking amongst other things has made him a very wealthy man whose only desire is to ruin the aristocracy, the people that have always looked down on him and haven't offered any help to those less fortunate than themselves. He also likes to make a profit from other things such as buying houses, doing them up and selling them. The latest house that he has bought and is having refurbished has a 'Lady' spinster neighbour. People will pay a lot of money to live next door to somebody like her, so the house is a perfect investment. That's what he thinks until he realises that the aforementioned is practically running a home for unwanted animals in her house.

Lady Penelope Campion loves animals and won't see a wounded or unwanted one come to any harm. She has 13 kittens, an otter, an adorable dog that gets around with the aid of wheels for back legs, a steer, a parrot, and a goat! She takes the latter out onto the green in order for her to graze.

Gabriel first meets Penny when her parrot escapes into what she believes to be his unlived in house. I won't give spoilers but let's just say the house is not empty and that the first meeting between Penny and Gabriel had me laughing out loud. What a fun start to a fabulous story.

Gabriel wants to calm Penny down, for her to be the perfect 'Lady' otherwise he believes that his property won't sell for as much as he hoped. He wants her to rehome all her animals too, something that she says she will never do. Her aunt has something to say about it all though. She wants Penny to settle down and to marry, to have another season in London as her first didn't go well. She gives her an ultimatum, either she gets rid of the animals, updates her wardrobe and starts being more social, or she will have to move back home.

Gabriel offers to help her with the animals because it suits her purpose too, he even thinks he can help her with being more social. He says he will do anything to keep her there in order to sell his house. But soon it becomes more than about making money. The problem is, even if he let himself seduce Penny it couldn't go anywhere because of his background. They are worlds apart. Penny couldn't disagree more. The more time they spend together the more she lusts after him, maybe even is falling for him.

They both have histories that are holding them back from what could be if nothing else a hot, sexy affair. They may give in to their carnal lust, and they may have hot fantastic steamy times, but can that be enough for either of them?

I absolutely loved this book, I haven't laughed so much reading a book in a very long time. From the very first scenes, I was laughing. Each funny moment involved one of Penny's animals. One of the funniest involving the goat and 3 men including Gabriel. That's a scene I won't forget in a hurry!! Amongst the fun times and the romantic times, there were also some poignant and sad times. I had tears in my eyes at one point, but no spoilers. You will have to read the book to see what got to me. The book may have sounded a little modern at times, but it didn't bother me in the slightest. When a book is so good it's easy to forgive little things like that.

So, if you aren't a stickler for 100% correct historical writing this is the book for you. You won't regret reading it I am sure!
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