Book Review: A Wicked Game by Kate Bateman

About the Book:

Title: A Wicked Game

Author: Kate Bateman

Series: Ruthless Rivals

Page Length: 304

Publication Date: Dec. 27, 2022

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Synopsis: A teasing bet.

Shipwrecked and imprisoned thanks to an incorrect map, Captain Morgan Davies has returned to London to exact sweet revenge on the cartographer responsible for his suffering. He’s also vowed to claim the winner’s prize―three kisses―in the bet he made with his long-time nemesis, the prickly, smart-mouthed Harriet Montgomery. His incarceration has clarified his feelings for her, but convincing the infuriating woman he wants to marry her is going to be his greatest challenge yet. When Harriet’s revealed to be the very mapmaker he seeks, Morgan decides to combine revenge and seduction into one delightful package. . .

A dangerous enemy.

Harriet’s always wanted witty scoundrel Morgan, and now he’s back; as handsome and as taunting as ever. She has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s failing eyesight and a rival mapmaker copying her work to play wicked games with a dastardly Davies―however tempting he might be. But when a threat from Morgan’s past puts them both in danger, Harry discovers that she and Morgan might not be enemies at all . . .

LINKS:   Goodreads   |    Amazon

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My Review:

A Wicked Game is a fantastic frenemies-to-lovers historical romance! Kate Bateman writes the best romances with stories that are always so interesting and layered and swoon-worthy! This one follows Morgan and Harriet, and I’ve been dying to read about them!

Morgan has returned from war and intends to claim his prize from a bet he made with long-time nemesis Harriet. Since childhood, this pair has teased and tormented each other, and now Morgan wants to claim the three kisses Harriet bet him. Morgan wants to prove to Harriet that he loves her, but Harriet questions his sincerity.

Morgan and Harriet have amazing chemistry! They have loved each other for years, though neither realizes it, and their connection is filled with humor, exceptional banter, spice, and some lovely, tender moments. The couple challenges and antagonizes and teases each other, and they both thoroughly enjoy it. They make these sexy dares that Morgan uses to prove his feelings. I love that Morgan works so hard to show Harriet how good they would be together. It’s super swoon-worthy when the hero falls first and works to woo the reluctant heroine. I also love that Harriet realizes all the little ways Morgan has shown his feelings over the years. Without ever saying it, he proves his love for her. And their love scenes are off the charts. Steamy, romantic, and beautiful!

He was both the port and the storm, the safe haven and the treacherous deep. And God, she was drowning.

Something else I really enjoyed is the inclusion of cartography. It was so interesting, and I learned a bit about mapmakers and the use of cartographers during war. Other intriguing historical elements, like a certain optical surgery and happening with the French and Napoleon, are also introduced and offer insight into society at that time. And, like the other books in the series, this one has a bit of intrigue. The man who imprisoned Morgan is now seeking a map that was made by Harriet. Known for his vile and sadistic cruelty, he is a threat to both characters.

The main characters, and some of the secondary ones, in the first two books are minor characters in this book, which is great. I love that they are so important in each other’s lives. Morgan and his brothers are fantastic together, and Harriet and her father have a lovely relationship as well. They both have such strong family bonds and friendships, and even their ties to their enemies seem more like antagonistic friendships than true hatred for each other. I also thought it was funny that everyone knows how Morgan feels about Harriet. He’s loved her for a long time, and he didn’t hide his feelings as well as he thought.

I’m loving this series, and A Wicked Game is no exception. It’s clever and fun and entertaining, there’s a little bit of intrigue and a lot of wonderful relationships, and the romance is positively swoon-tactic! Special thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.



Favorite Parts:

  • The romance!!!!
  • The secondary characters.
  • The intrigue.
  • Cartography. So interesting!

Favorite Lines:

“Destroying something is the work of a moment. Creating something that will stand the test of time takes much more effort.”

Everyone, in a sense, was a mapmaker. True, not many of them physically drew the maps they created, as she did, but every human made a mental map of their own, dotted with personal points of interest.

“I love you. I’ve always loved you. Even when I hated you.” His lips quirked and he shook his head at that wonderful contradiction. “You’re etched into me like one of your maps. Engraved upon my heart. You’re a fire in my brain that I never want to put out.”


Want to learn more about the Ruthless Rivals series? Check out my reviews for the first two books, A Reckless Match and A Daring Pursuit!

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