This is a novella written by Tessa Dare. It is a standalone story that isn't related to any of the author's series of books.
As novellas go, this story is pretty short, it spans through several years and you have a few chapters that start with one year later so a lot of the story is 'missing'. Basically, all of the parts where the characters would be able to grow and develop new characteristics and make us feel more attached to them are missing. Instead, we just focus on a few encounters of the main characters and of course their insta-love.
Miss Eliza Cade is the youngest of four sisters and she isn't allowed to officially come out in society until all of her sisters are engaged/married. She did something mischievous when she was 14 so her dad doesn't trust her and is worried that her coming out sooner would take the attention away from her sisters and possibly ruin their reputation because Eliza is loud, likes to show off and likes to be center of attention and can get into mischief easily.
Mr.J.Harrison Wright is a scoundrel, the duke's heir who spends his life going from one woman to the next and doing things a respectable heir of a duke wouldn't do which is why the duke cut him off and he has to wait until he inherits to come into money. At least that is how we first meet him. But of course that is only how he appears to be, not what he is. He has reasons for becoming the way he is and that turns out to be redeemable for him in the end.
They meet and they fall in love and then spend the next couple of years dancing around each other believing the other to be less than he/she is but eventually learning different and getting together. No surprises, no twists, no suspense.
"She was alone with the scandalous, dissolute, no-good—
“Mr. Wright,” she whispered.
He inclined his head most civilly. “In the flesh.”
The way he said that word, “flesh,” pushing it into the air with a cavalier flick of the tongue . . . it made Eliza’s skin prickle.
There was a dangerous beast in this room. And it wasn’t her.
Mr. J. Harrison Wright and his colorful misdeeds were the stuff of all the scandal sheets and the talk of every drawing room. He was heir to the elderly Duke of Shiffield, to the Duke of Shiffield’s quite public despair. There were the usual tales of drinking, gambling, wenching, and general dissolution. And then there were the true scandals—the staggering debts of honor gone unpaid, his expulsion from a famed gentleman’s club, and whispered tales Eliza could never quite manage to hear.
The one constant in all these stories?
Mr. Wright was a scoundrel."
So you might wonder why I gave it a 3* rating if I am not that passionate or thrilled about it. Because for what it is it was alright. You have to rate books by many standards, not just oh, it didn't sweep me off my feet so that's a 1*. This book is very well written, it has some good moments that make you smile, the couple has good chemistry, there are some laughs to be had and it is entertaining for a short read.
All in all, I recommend this read for the historical romance lovers who are short on time and they want a short cute story to pass the time but for something more this isn't the answer. If you want to enjoy yourself more, try full length novels by Tessa Dare, that should do the trick.