Erica Ridley and Darcy Burke are two of my very favourite romance authors, so when I found out they were writing a series together, I was over the moon! There are going to be 8 books in The Wicked Dukes series, with Erica writing the odd-numbered books and Darcy the even.
Book: One Night for Seduction by Erica Ridley
Read before: No
Ownership: E-ARC provided free of charge through NetGalley. All opinions my own.
This is a really promising start to the series and a really entertaining romance! As always, Ridley’s hero and heroine make sparks fly immediately – the banter borders on aggressive at their first meeting, which is so much fun to read. The plot is pretty unusual: the Duke of Colehaven takes on a wager that he can get his friend’s unmarriageable sister married (though he isn’t allowed to cheat by marrying her himself). Though wagers are common to kickstart romances, I’ve not seen a hero actively meddle with a heroine’s love life before – it’s usually the other way around! Cole is rather flummoxed by the feisty Diana when he finally meets her, and it soon becomes clear that finding her a husband is not going to be as straightforward a task as he’d assumed.
Diana is a really fun heroine, largely because she has absolutely no interest in catching a husband – not at all, not even in the back of her mind. She has a scientific interest in numbers and a philanthropic interest in the everyday life of the lower classes. I loved how utterly frustrating she finds Cole’s insistence on spending time with her, and her slow realisation that she actually does like him is really well-sketched. These two are so good for each other, with their quick wits, and their life goals are actually really similar, which they would realise if they stopped to think about it. It’s great to see Diana stand up for her views, and for Cole to be so accepting of her unique attitudes.
The side characters are well-defined, and I really love the atmosphere of The Wicked Duke tavern, so I’m looking forward to seeing which of the friends get stories in the rest of the series! This book feels like a great read for a cozy afternoon in with a big cup of tea, which is everything I ask for from a historical romance, so it gets five cats from me!