As they ( you know who they are) say, leave reality behind for these Tessa Dare fairy tales. There was nothing historical in this other than petticoats basically…And at first I didn’t think the determined, intuitive heroine was going to do it for me-or do enough anyway. It was, as so many Dare novels are, a spectacular meet-cute followed up with loosely held plot that uses sexual tension as its glue. This plot is so silly, so fantastical, so…did I say silly? There might as well have been unicorns and pegasus along with witches and, well, actual ghosts. “Even if you did read my father’s stories, I doubt you’d enjoy them. They require the reader to possess a certain amount of…”
“Gullibility?” He suggested.
“Inexperience? Willful stupidity?”
“Heart. They require the reader to possess a heart.”
Izzy Goodnight (I mean, really) met Ransom, the Duke of Rothbury (who has like 4 other names + titles but we all know I like shortcuts) outside his castle, or was it hers? The meeting was the type I’d come to expect from Dare: memorable and funny. The beginning plugged along in a similar vein, but less memorable and more “cute” and I thought, “Well, here’s a two star novel with 5 star sexual tension (and sex).”
Until it wasn’t. It’s not that anything dramatic happens exactly to make this switch. It’s not that she’s fantastic at developing her characters. I don’t think she is generally. It’s actually that she’s so fantastic at showing vulnerability and tenderness. Then she layers it with 5 star sex and memorable dialogue. Maybe in this ridiculous plot she’s poking fun at the genre herself, but in the end-if we leave these where they ought to be-on shelves for ‘adult fairy tales’ (or something) With ridiculously sweet and tender moments-and something just a little more-both characters acting out of regard and respect for the other-being what they didn’t know they’d need…well, I’ll live in that land with those characters for a few hours. Just to prove it…just to get back at him for all his crude, sensual games earlier…she bent over and pressed a tender kiss to his forehead. And she held it, for two heartbeats more.
Take that, sweet man.
Then she pushed to her feet and did her best to cover herself with her displaced corset and the torn bodice. He remained exactly where he was, flat on the threadbare carpet.
“Are you hurt?” she asked.
He let his arms fall to the sides. “I’m slain.”