Published by Avon on February 27th 2018
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
What happens at the infamous Vega Club . . .
Sophie Campbell is determined to be mistress of her own fate. Surviving on her skill at cards, she never risks what she can’t afford to lose. Yet when the Duke of Ware proposes a scandalous wager that’s too extravagant to refuse, she can’t resist. If she wins, she’ll get five thousand pounds, enough to secure her independence forever.
Stays at the Vega Club . . .
Jack Lindeville, Duke of Ware, tells himself he’s at the Vega Club merely to save his reckless brother from losing everything, but he knows it’s a lie. He can’t keep his eyes off Sophie, and to get her he breaks his ironclad rule against gambling. If he wins, he wants her—for a week.
A week with Jack could ruin what’s left of Sophie’s reputation. It might even cost her her heart. But when it comes to love, all bets are off . . .
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
When twelve-year-old Sophie Graham was orphaned, her grandfather Viscount Makepeace unceremoniously shipped her off to school, and at eighteen she was on her own. At twenty-four, now Sophie Campbell, she is a professional card player, halfway to the ten thousand pounds she needs to be independent, and hopefully marry a nice man. Jack Linderville, Duke of Ware, is at Vega’s to pay his brother Philip’s debts, again. It happens that the beautiful woman Jack has been ogling is partly responsible for Philip’s debts, and Jack is immediately smitten with Sophie; he is fixated on her bosom, he wants her. So Jack, who doesn’t gamble anymore, proposes a wager: five thousand pounds if she wins, if she loses, Sophie has to spend a whole week with Jack.
MY ONCE AND FUTURE DUKE started off so well; the prologue is enchanting, and I loved Sophie until she behaved stupidly. She’s a professional gambler, she has been successful for years; Jack had lost all their games until his scandalous offer. I ask you, what are the odds that he would lose again? That Sophie accepts went against everything I had been told about her: the logical woman suddenly became entirely irrational, greedy, and risked her reputation; the Sophie I had encountered before would not have behaved so foolishly. This was not going to go well. I disliked Jack’s attitude: he’s arrogant, and basically buying her, although mentally he is not. He is teaching his brother a lesson … Okay, then. And I hated Jack. Sophie accepts the wager, and when she loses, she has the nerve to be offended! I mean, woman, acknowledge your loss and your idiocy, and be done with it; she had basically agreed to prostitute herself for a week, at least that’s the way I would have seen it. But Jack is so handsome. Hmmm. I thought they deserved each other and that was the purpose of the exercise, wasn’t it?
The forced proximity situation had to be reinforced in another way to make matters more palatable, I suppose. Jack and Sophie talk and get to know each other, which was lovely and charming, and I don’t think it was deliberate from the author, but Sophie came off a little bit like a fortune hunter because of how she gushed over Jack’s country home. So, they talk and chat, but God forbid they should tell each other everything or ask the questions that beg asking, to avoid misunderstandings later on. Had I been able to forget Sophie behaving so out of character at the beginning, the romance might have worked for me, but I simply could not. Especially when Sophie agrees to something later on that irked me and went against her lifelong ambition. Instead of the sordid wager, Sophie and Jack could have been made to work together to stop Philip’s gambling; my problem was that Sophie acted in greed, and not like the professional she had been, and it all felt it was only for storyline purposes.
I really liked Philip, as a character in spite of his many shortcomings; he was foolish but interesting. And the poor Mr. Carter. Then there was the whole Lucinda episode that was entirely superfluous and needlessly upsetting, and one of Sophie’s school friends, Eliza’s escapades, which I suspect is to set up the next book in the series. I also hope in the final edition “vingt-un” will have been corrected to “vingt-et-un”; I can’t recall having seen that mistake before.
If you like your Regency romance with steamy sex and you have no problem with the premise, you will love MY ONCE AND FUTURE DUKE, because the writing is gorgeous, the descriptions visions of loveliness, and the dialogues inspired.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.