Could she possibly refuse a duke’s hand—in favor of a sardonic, sinful rake?
Lady Betsy Wilde’s first season was triumphant by any measure, and a duke has proposed—but before marriage, she longs for one last adventure.
No gentleman would agree to her scandalous plan—but Lord Jeremy Roden is no gentleman. He offers a wager. If she wins a billiards game, he’ll provide the breeches.
If he wins…she is his, for one wild night.
But what happens when Jeremy realizes that one night will never be enough? In the most important battle of his life, he’ll have to convince Betsy to say no to the duke.
James's fourth visit to the Wildes of Lindow Castle (after Born to be Wilde) struggles to incorporate mental illness, social stigma, and trauma into a fluffy Regency romance. Lady Boadicea "Betsy" Wilde's reputation is tainted through no fault of her own: she's believed to have inherited her mother's debauched and licentious nature. To compensate, Betsy transforms herself into a model of propriety. An engagement to the future Duke of Eversley should be the culmination of her efforts until her brother's best friend, Lord Jeremy Roden, interrupts her conquest. Jeremy, devastated by his wartime service, endured a stint in Bedlam that only made things worse. Little alleviates his depression until Betsy proposes a bet over a game of billiards: if she wins, Jeremy will escort her on a daring, disguised journey around London; if he wins, he gets one night in bed with her. Even after their tryst turns into love, the demons of the past make a happy future seem impossible. James creates blistering chemistry between her protagonists, but her light tone betrays the deeper, complex issues of trauma and shame that her characters are forced to face. By not integrating the romantic plot line and the journey of psychological recovery, this story falls short of its ambitions.
I was very excited about this one, I feel like a vast majority of the book was a re-write if the scene from the previous book. Would have loved more dialogue with Betsy and Jeremy regarding his war experience in the colonies, but all in all I enjoyed. Definitely some pretty bad typos though when Parth and Lavinia should have been referenced instead of Diana and North.
I have been a fan of Eloisa James for years but found myself not exactly enjoying this series.... that was till I met Betsy and her Jeremy. They are perfect together and I have found myself anxiously waiting for the next Wilde pairing....
Say No To The Duke
My least favorite James book. She got to the end realized that she didn’t have a plot, so she tacked one on in the last two chapters. An editor should have caught this. Quality matters more than speed, please.