About the Book:
Title: Betting on a Duke’s Heart
Author: Royaline Sing
Page Length: 400
Publication Date: April 19, 2021
Synopsis: Aetius White, the Duke of Saxton, couldn’t save his father, but he’ll be damned if he won’t save the man’s dream. He’ll acquire a Triple Crown–winning horse at any cost, even marriage. Luckily, the lovely lady in mind loves challenges as much as he. Certainly he can win her heart without losing his own…
Hell will freeze over before Miss Dina Campbell agrees to marry a horse-mad man who wants her dowry of a prize stallion, no matter what her father wants. The duke may be handsome, but he’ll have to prove he is a suitable match for her before she’ll even consider the offer. And there’s no way this love-averse man will ever succeed with the wager that she has planned…
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Determined to restore his family name and ensure his place in the equestrian world, Aetius White wants nothing more than to win the Triple Crown, even if it means marrying his neighbor’s daughter to get her prize-winning horse. The only problem is Dina Campbell has no intention of marrying a horseman who is only after her dowry. She wants to marry for love, and not even Aetius’s intriguing competition will change that. However, never one to back down from a challenge, Dina agrees to the competition, and the games begin. However, the competition slowly becomes less about winning and more about proving their love for each other.
Goal-oriented and resolute, Aetius feels much shame over his father’s demise. He also fears rejection. In his eyes, everyone he has ever cared for has left him, and though Aelius is interested in marriage, he is resistant to falling in love. He fears abandonment and chooses to isolate himself and shut his heart to everyone. Respectability is important to him. He slowly comes to see things from other perspectives. It doesn’t change the past, but it does offer him hope and an opportunity for growth. He has to learn to open up to and trust others. This proves difficult, but as he grows closer to Dina, he changes.
Dina is so different from Aetius, which is why they butt heads throughout the story. Dina is tender-hearted, empathetic, and vivacious. She is also outspoken and often bends the rules. Her passion lies in translating, and she fears that marriage will squelch her ability to continue translating, especially since her career is taking off. If she marries Aetius, will he prohibit her from traveling? Will she be able to continue her career in writing? Will he ever grow to love her?
The focus of the story is on the passionate, opposites-attract, enemies-to-lovers romance between Aetius and Dina. Aetius and Dina want different things in their marriage. Dina wants love, and Aetius wants more of a partnership or alliance. This angst-filled couple struggles to trust each other, Aetius because of his past and Dina because of the nature of the engagement. However, as they spend time together, they both start to understand each other, and their feelings grow. They have amazing chemistry, and their interactions are filled with sexual tension.
Each chapter of the book starts with a brief passage from the story Dina is translating. I love this, as well as the other parts of the story that highlight Dina’s heritage and culture. An intriguing mystery that puts Dina and Aetius in danger is another interesting addition to the story. I also like the secondary characters, especially Dina’s closest friends. They are fiercely protective of Dina and extremely loyal, and they prove that you don’t have to be related by blood to be a family.
Another aspect of the story that I enjoyed was the historical references. Political news, new inventions, social changes, and historically significant cultural allusions are fascinating. I loved learning about the popular inventions during this time and how people felt about the major societal progressions and happenings. The changing times and their effects, both positive and negative, resonate with the characters and add depth to the story and setting.
I enjoyed Betting on a Duke’s Heart. It is a well-paced and developed story with interesting characters and a sexy romance. The story also examines complicated family relationships. Miscommunication, lies, and feelings of betrayal are juxtaposed with tenderness and love, showing how complex families, and life, can be. It also has a great love story that historical romance fans will love. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Entangled Publishing, and Royaline Sing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- The romance!! I love enemies-to-lovers romance, and this one is great!
- The historical references.
- The secondary characters.
She never imagined that a person’s absence could exist like a stinging physical wound.
He was beyond caring for her. The fall yesterday had proven as much. It wasn’t due to duty, or responsibility, or even lust, that his heart stopped beating. He felt much, much more. He’d crumble if he lost her.
This is a great story for readers who like steamy historical romances with intriguing characters and a wonderful love story.