The November Challenge was historical romance. Well, if you insist…
- Title: Guilty Pleasures
- Series: Guilty, Book 1
- Author: Laura Lee Guhrke
- Published: January 2004
- Source: Purchased
- Format: Ebook
- Length: 388 pages
- Tropes: Plain Jane, Bespectacled Bluestocking, Stuffy Duke, Deep Dark Secrets, Secret Longings
- Quick blurb: Plain-Jane bluestocking finds her voice and stuffy duke loses his shit.
- Quick review: Kelly’s Book Crack
- Grade: A
Amazon informs me I purchased this on July 5, 2012. I waited four and a half years to read this book, and I could have been reading it EVERY MONTH for FIFTY-ONE AND A HALF MONTHS. Why do I do this to myself?
On the other hand, I bought High Energy by Dara Joy at the same time, and I have no regrets about leaving that unread.
I loved Daphne and Her Duke. And I say this as a cynical side-eyer of Dukes-A-Million historicals. Nearly everything about this book was perfect. I’m sure there was something iffy about it somewhere, but I’m too enamored right now to really care.
Daphne is our orphaned, plain-Jane, bespectacled bluestocking heroine. She’s working as an antiquities curator for a scholarly duke who’s excavating Roman ruins on one of his estates.
Anthony is our stuffy dukish hero who became dukish way too young and expects everyone to fall at his feet.
She’s had a secret crush on His Noble Shirtlessness (he lifts things, you know, with his muscles) and can do no more than stammer in his presence. But then she overhears him describing her as a stick insect, and her self-esteem mechanism finally kicks in. She cries it out, and then she gets mad.
You can hear the Kelly’s Book Crack Radar pinging from all the way over here, can’t you? IT JUST KEPT GETTING BETTER.
She decides to quit, he orders her to stay. She mouths off, he negotiates an extension. And he keeps negotiating. He starts paying attention to her to determine how he can get more work out of her.
“I am toying with you because this is a game. I will not let you win, but I can teach you how to play.”
Something in those words made her shiver with excitement. “I really do not know what you are talking about.”
“The real question is, what do you want? Do you want to be a proper young lady, or do you want to be Cleopatra?”
“Ah. That is an interesting answer, and brings with it an even more interesting question. Can a young lady be captivating and alluring, and still be proper, do you think?”
“Why not, indeed.” His lashes lowered until his eyes were half-closed. “If I do give you back your spectacles, what do I receive in return?”
“The satisfaction of doing the right thing?”
He laughed low in his throat. “Not good enough.”
“What, then?” she asked. “What do you want?”
His gaze moved to her mouth, lingered there. “What are you offering?”
Daphne licked her lips, and she heard his sharp in-take of breath. “Three days,” she whispered. “You may have three more days.”
And OF COURSE they wind up having sex on the workroom table and breaking a priceless ancient vase and he insists they marry and she slams the door in his face and he woos her with flowers in front of all of London and then there’s this ending that’s all like OH DEAR GOD <swoon> *thud*.
I adored every minute of this book, and it took me hours to write this half-assed squeeing review because I had to sneak-read the whole damn thing again at the dayjob.
You should read this book. Trust me.