The Wallflower Wager (Girl Meets Duke Series #3)

The Wallflower Wager (Girl Meets Duke Series #3)

by Tessa Dare

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New York Times and USA Today Bestseller

They call him the Duke of Ruin.

To an undaunted wallflower, he's just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbor demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Done, Gabriel says. How hard can it be to find homes for a few kittens?

And a two-legged dog.

And a foul-mouthed parrot.

And a goat, an otter, a hedgehog . . .

Easier said than done, for a cold-blooded bastard who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse. Soon he’s covered in cat hair, knee-deep in adorable, and bewitched by a shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. Now she’s set her mind and heart on saving him.

Not if he ruins her first.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062672162
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 08/13/2019
Series: Girl Meets Duke Series , #3
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 11,117
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Tessa Dare is the New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of more than a dozen historical romances. A librarian by training and a book-lover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she shares a cozy, cluttered bungalow with her husband, their two children, and a pair of cosmic kittens.

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The Wallflower Wager 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
gaele 8 months ago
At twenty-six, Lady Penelope (Penny) has hopes of being firmly ‘on the shelf’, and left to her own devices: rescuing injured and mistreated animals of all types, and finding homes for the kittens she seems to collect by the dozen. She’s never been particularly gregarious, and with the exception of a few very close friends, she’s also not all that interested in the goings-on of the tonne. From a childhood scarred by trauma and a disastrous debut at Almac’s involving a hedgehog and a reluctant dance partner, she’s also never been interested in marriage – thinking herself not quite good enough. Gabriel Duke was born in the slums of London, never knowing his father, being sold by his mother to pay for her gin habit: he’s scrapped and clawed his way to riches, bringing many of the tonne low due to their profligacy and debts. Known as the Duke of Ruin, he’s got no real title, but money and a ruthless need to do what must be done to win, he’s doing a “fixer-upper” of a house he’d claimed in lieu of debts from another member of the peer. Knowing that the biggest draw for the house beyond its size and grandeur is the proximity (as in next door) to a “real” Lady, he’s planned to market the house to upstarts and social climbers, using the connection to Penny to fuel the sale. If you can believe it – I was a long-time reader of Dare’s contemporary titles, never making the connection to her historicals. But now, I’m totally hooked: smart, sassy, laugh-out-loud funny situations with characters that are, from the first pages, destined to “be”, this books was no exception. Penny is a lovely and sweet character, a bit naïve and introverted, but curious, kind and determined to make life better for those in her proximity. She’s collected the aforementioned hedgehog, a steer, a goat, a two-legged terrier who does “doggie things’ with the aid of a cart, endless kittens, an otter and, most recently, a parrot that previously lived in a brothel (with all of the inappropriate utterances one might expect). But a deadline from her aunt and brother have her struggling to find a solution to her ‘single’ status Enter Gabriel (or – the parrot leading Penny into Gabriel’s bedchamber) and the hijinks begin. His return on the investment on the house will be severely diminished should Penny be sent to the family home, yet he can’t seem to understand her need to collect all the animals, or her refusal to part with them. On and on they clash, with Penny’s essential goodness taming and calming the anger that rages through Gabe – much to his distress and distraction. From first to last – you’ll laugh at Penny’s rather naïve view of the world and the situations she encounters, as well as Gabe’s inability to quench the building attraction – or Penny’s growing affections. With visits from the other women (and men) we’ve met in the series, and Penny’s biggest challenges to date – you will breeze through the story, ready to go back to page one as soon as you finished. Grab this series, each book has been “more” as the series continues: more sexy, more heartfelt, even funnier as these characters will place this series firmly on your keeper shelf. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Melissa_W 7 days ago
Hello, yes, new Tessa Dare book, with SO MUCH banter. I love it - banter between Penny and Gabe and, my favorite, banter between Gabe, Ash, and Chase in one scene that made me laugh so hard I almost fell out of my chair (there’s also a dirty-mouthed parrot and a clear homage to Mrs Danvers). But there’s also a darker side to this book, one where both Penny and Gabe have old wounds and scars that have to come to light. Penny is lovely and brave, a vegetarian and animal lover who cares for the creatures that no one seems to want. Gabe grew up poorer than poor and has made his own fortune as the Regency version of a real estate "flipper", which makes him desired and reviled by the ton. And there’s a tiny hook for Nicola’s book which, drat it all, I need it now! A small content warning: there is childhood sexual abuse that is recounted at one point, it is not graphic, but may be a page or two to skip if that is triggering for you.
Jo_Anne 3 months ago
Good writing. An easy read. I felt the romance was a lot of lust that never showed a development into love. Great sex, but the emotion wasn’t there for me. In the end, love was sort of assumed. The heroine’s backstory was difficult and not fully developed, nor did she have a chance to work through it. It was just quickly resolved, which was unlikely for the type of trauma she experienced. For a ruthless hero, Gabe was a surprisingly nice guy, which was fine. I loved the bawdy parrot. I enjoyed the wit. I liked the story a lot; I just didn’t love it. Tessa Dare will definitely remain on my excellent writer list.
Shelley Murray 6 months ago
Content warning: childhood sexual abuse (remembered) I have been looking forward to this book ever since The Duchess Deal when I learned that Penelope has an otter. AN OTTER, YOU GUYS. *squee* And OK, while I wish Hubert (the otter) had played a bit of a bigger role, The Wallflower Wager delivers in Tessa Dare's usual low-angst rom-com fashion, even when dealing with some really sensitive themes. Gabriel is basically a burned Hufflepuff that has been hurt and betrayed in the worst way in the past, but deep down he WANTS love. I'm kind of a sucker for a burned 'Puff. Surprisingly, I like Penelope as a character a lot less than I expected to. She's this contrast between flighty and strong, and while I appreciate that people contain multitudes she feels less multi-dimension to me and more just... scattered. I do like the different take on their relationship that Tessa took with this book, giving Penelope a lot more agency in moving the relationship forward than many heroines in Regency romances have and making her sometimes more the pursuer and Gabriel the pursued. The tone of the book as a whole definitely felt more sweet and fluffy than hot/sensual, and I'm not sure if that's always how Tessa writes or if it was something about these characters? There's still plenty of on-page sex, I just... I don't know, didn't feel the heat and tension as much as I expected to. And then there is a HEALTHY dose of suspension of disbelief required for so many aspects of this book, mostly Penny living alone in a house with only ONE servant, and her entire animal situation. Also Gabriel appears to also have only one servant, plus what seems to be a live-in architect? By far my favorite parts of the entire book are the bits with the main characters from the first two books in the series making an appearance, specifically Ash and Chase. Emma and Alexandra suffer from the all-too-typical fate of heroines from previous books in a series reappearing as side characters in that they're sort of watered down and matronly and not at all memorable, but Ash and Chase are hilarious. To the point where I kind of want to go back and reread this book just for those bits. This is the third book in the Girl Meets Duke series, and while it can be read as a standalone the characters from the first two books do make an appearance as side characters in this one.
Anonymous 7 months ago
very enjoyable
Anonymous 7 months ago
Anonymous 7 months ago
“Reaching our takes courage, and holding on takes even more.” The Wallflower Wager is book three in the Girl Meets Duke series by Tessa Dare. This might be a little presumptuous since the last book isn’t out yet, but this book is my favorite in the series. One of the reasons I love Tessa Dare’s books is that her characters are imperfect and real. She doesn’t shy away from tough subjects which helps you connect with characters even more. Lady Penelope “Penny” Campion has led an ideal life at least at first glance. Her biggest gift is her ability to care for those around her. When she meets her new neighbor, Gabriel Duke, she’s immediately attracted to him and wants to heal his past hurts. Gabe is equally flabbergasted with Penny’s need to collect every unwanted animal within the area and frustrated with want for her. Penny’s aunt delivers the news that she’ll be sent to country, and she’ll only help her stay if Penny comes out in society again. Gabe wanting to protect his investment, agrees to help Penny meet her aunt’s stipulations. Their attraction builds to a boiling point the more they work together. Let the hand fanning begin. But both Penny and Gabe have secrets and pasts that stand in their way of happiness. Gabe doesn’t quite trust Penny’s love, but she shows him how strong it is. My favorite part of the book is when Penny confronts her past and takes takes control over it. Some of the scenes could be triggering for some people, but it’s beautifully written and sensitive to the subject matter. You’ll love this book! Bookstagram:
Anonymous 7 months ago
super enjoyable
Anonymous 7 months ago
Lots of chuckles
beckymmoe 7 months ago
I feel like I waited forever for this book! (I didn't really. But Tessa Dare ratcheted up my need for it with all of the cute baby goat pics she put up on social media. Plus all the podcasts she went on, talking about the book. Not to mention the hints we got at Penny's story in book 2, The Governess Game . I was chomping at the bit, I tell you.) Penny and Gabe's story was all I had hoped for and more! The grumpy guy next door who "won't be tamed" and the wallflower who collects (literally or figuratively) wounded animals like they're playing cards light up every page they're on together. The witty banter! The swoony romance! The steamy sex! The mutual tending to fluffy (or feathery) creatures! It's all here, and it's as awesome as you could have hoped for. Plus: Nicola, Emma, and Alexandra are back. And they brought Ash and Chase with them--Ash, Chase, and Gabe on the page together are pure gold. The Marigold in labor scene (sorry, Penny, it seems she is exactly that type of goat...not that there's anything wrong with that) was brilliant. There was 100% snort laughing going on over here--if only I hadn't been walking the dog at the time... There are some heavier issues dealt with here as well. Gabe's backstory is pretty rough, and Penny suffered abuse at the hands of a family friend when she was growing up. These parts were hard to listen to, but Ms. Dare dealt with them well, and knowing what they went through to get to their HEA made the ending even sweeter. My favorite line of the book goes to Aunt Caroline this time: "Now that was satisfying. I never knew until this moment how much I wanted to have henchmen." Frankly, Aunt Caroline, same. The audiobook was delightfully read by Mary Jane Wells. Whether she was voicing the men or the women, she did a wonderful job and made this one even more of a joy to listen to. Bring on Nicola's book; I'm ready! Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
NovelKnight 7 months ago
I’ve been a fan of the Girl Meets Duke series since the first book, and The Wallflower Wager was no exception. But while I enjoyed the third installment in the series, I have to say it’s probably my least favorite. The previous book, The Governess Game, sets up for this one perfectly and makes for the perfect lead-in to Penelope, lover of animals big and small. She’s appeared in the other books and I enjoyed her as a side character but as the protagonist, I just wasn’t as big a fan. Frankly, I found her a bit annoying and really just wanted her to come off whatever cloud she’s been living on. Penelope made a great quirky best friend but wasn’t holding her own in The Wallflower Wager. Though I appreciate the fact that she cared for so many animals that others wouldn’t have. Her counterpart, Gabe, was unmemorable. He filled the role of the handsome neighbor who falls in love with the girl next door but I couldn’t tell you much about him beyond that. What was more memorable in a not-so-good way was the romance. Yikes. I’m cool with insta-lust and attraction but it needs to go somewhere and it. . . didn’t. For quite a while. And then suddenly they love each other? I felt like the pacing with their relationship was off. Some parts were dragged out and others rushed and it just didn’t work. Which is a shame because I really liked the whole set-up for a romance between neighbors (like what happened in The Earl Next Door) But don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed this book. It features the banter I’ve come to know and love from Dare’s books, and while it followed a formula (with a twist), I didn’t mind because the writing is solid and I read romances for the formula most of the time. Plus there were some moments where I was just dying. The parrot, who you meet early on, for example, came from a brothel. And said some. . . interesting things. Little stuff like that made the book fun. There were also a few moments that touched on more sensitive topics that I think should have been given a bit more time to break down and handle more carefully. Those moments came off as thrown in for effect rather than the larger role they clearly played with those characters and their decisions. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book, but loved that the families all came together in some regard. While you can read the books in this series as standalones, I do recommend reading in order since several characters overlap and it provides a bit more context. Plus the books are good! The Wallflower Wager is perfect if you’re looking for a light, quick romance. I can’t say I was all that impressed with it compared to the first two books but I ultimately enjoyed it and absolutely plan to read the next in the series!
Anonymous 7 months ago
Loved this book as much as the others! Penny is 26 and on the shelf but a handsome someone has just moved in next door. Gabriel Duke, known as the Duke of Ruin has raised himself up from the gutter to be a very rich and powerful man. He had bought the place next to Penny's and is redoing it so he can sell it for a mint. He needs the help of Penny to do that but getting rid of her rescued animals! But it's Gabriel's heart that gets rescued instead! Another wonderful book from Tessa Dare!
Anonymous 7 months ago
A true story of overcoming! Such heartache and hard times Penny had gone through before she found someone who changed her world, but he also helped her to stand up for herself! Lots of humor helps lighten the hard parts of the plot. Great read!
Anonymous 8 months ago
Every once in awhile an especially great book comes along. This is such a book. Gabe and Penny will steal your heart somewhere between all her pets and his drive to accumulate more money. A surprising twist and a little help from their friends from the first two books makes for superb reading. I highly recommend this book and the entire series. This one is a keeper. Kudos to Ms. Dare!
Anonymous 8 months ago
The Duke of Ruin and Penny's story is serious and funny. Nice job of giving them their HEA, lNow about Nicola...
Anonymous 8 months ago
Excellent book! Nothing about it disappoints. There is passion, humor, and a bit of sadness when it comes to the past of the hero and heroine. But in the end, love and happiness wins. Definitely a worthy addition to the series.
Anonymous 8 months ago
a departure from the usual, but true to ms dare. humor, heat, great characters and great plot and will enjoy it!
Anonymous 8 months ago
this series was awesome. truly enjoyed the characters but my heart ached for penny. ms dare grandly handled an indelicate subject with finesse. will recommend highly.
Timitra 8 months ago
I don't know how she does it but every book I've ever read by this author is always captivating and highly entertaining. The Wallflower Wager was that and so much more. It was funny, sweet, sexy and dealt with some serious issues. There wasn't anything I didn't like about Gabe and Penny's story, to me it was utter perfection and I highly recommend it.
Loves_books_13 8 months ago
The Wallflower Wager is the third book in the Girl Meets Duke series, and while it’s a stand alone story it is in my opinion better read after the first two books. The character from the first two books reappear frequently, which is delightful. Lady Penny is a quirky animal lover who takes in every abandoned creature she comes across - for good reason, as we find out later. Gabriel Duke (Mr. Duke, not His Grace), is a merciless business man who has just moved in next door to Penny. In a slightly too convenient plot twist, the two meet, and sparks fly. Between the animals, Penny’s friends, both of their backgrounds, a complicated relationship ensues. The story is entertaining, funny at times, dramatic at others, and is very much worth reading. It does have a trigger, hinted at fairly early on, and described in more detail at around 75%. More detail would be a spoiler, but something to keep in mind if you have triggers. While I did very much enjoy the book, I had to give it four stars rather than five for its historical inaccuracies and very modern thinking. It didn’t ruin the story, but it did make it a little harder to become engrossed in. I would still recommend the book, and the entire series. I was provided with an eARC of this book in return for my honest review.
Noire 8 months ago
I received an ARC of this book through Edelweiss+ to read in exchange for a fair review. The Wallflower Wager by Tessa Dare is the third book in her Girl Meets Duke Series. It can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend the first two books and the characters from those books are in this book too. Gabriel Duke is the boy next door, man next door actually who has raised him self from a childhood in the workhouse to become a wealthy entrepreneur who buys up debt and gains the lands and houses of members of the ton hence his nickname The Duke of Ruin. Lady Penelope Campion (Penny) had a disastrous debut at Almack’s that involved a hedgehog and she has retreated from society and spends her time with a menagerie of pets and her good friends (characters from the first two books). From the moment they meet when she sneaks into his house chasing her wayward parrot sparks fly. Delightful banter and adventures that involve a runaway otter, a pregnant goat, a two legged dog who frequently needs rescuing, the aforementioned parrot who has a quite salty vocabulary as well as a plethora of kittens make this one of my favourite books that I’ve read this year. Medium Steam. Publishing Date August 13, 2019 #EdelweissPlus #AvonBooks #TheWallflowerWager #TessaDare #AvonRomance #HarperCollinsCanada #HistoricalRomance #Bookstagram
Joana_Varela 8 months ago
4.75* Review originally published at Romancing Romances. I received an eARC at no cost from the author, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you. Reading a book by Tessa Dare is always a pleasure. There are always funny, romantic moments with her books. Penny is one of the most adorable characters ever. She’s an animal lover, and a vegetarian – in the 1800’s! She takes care of animals that were hurt, or that no one wanted. She’s one of the most lovable people, she’s caring, and sweet, and a great friend. She’s someone we would all love to have in our lives. Gabe (Gabriel Duke) is fantastic. He’s ruthless, but, to be honest, it’s one of the things I like about him. Let’s face it, people take advantage of other people, and he just collects what they thought they could always owe. And the ton doesn’t like it. Too bad, if you ask me. Not his problem. Don’t like what he does? Then don’t give him the chance to do so, by not having debts everywhere! Anyway. Penny lives next door to this handsome Duke of Ruin. And their first meeting is hilarious! Penny has a parrot, the parrot flies away to Gabe’s house, and she follows, and his… pretty much naked. And what a scene! Tessa Dare is one of the best writers for sexy scenes – mind, not necessarily sex scenes, but everything before, after and the sex scene itself. It makes us readers feel as good as the characters. They strike an unusual friendship with attraction at first sight – not love, attraction. Loves comes later. Penny has the best of friends, but lately they have their own families, and their free time is limited. And Gabriel decides to help her with her new predicament. Penny’s brother wanted her to leave London, and go back to her family’s estate in Cumberland, and Gabriel doesn’t want her to go, because her presence as a neighbour would help him sell his new house. And Penny doesn’t want to leave her house, and she has a past that she doesn’t want to re-live, which might have happened if she left for Cumberland. Gabe helps Penny, and he’s ambitious, relentless, and he gets things done. Penny is so assertive about what she wants, she doesn’t leave things to chance. And when she wants Gabriel, and he wants her, things heat up! And wow! They have such sweet, romantic, sexy moments. Like I mentioned before, there’s something in Penny’s past that could have made her a scared, sad person, but no. She’s such a happy, tender, devoted person. It’s handled beautifully, with the hero feeling angry about what she had to go through, but I really liked that the women got together, and Penny handled it on her own – she’s fierce! So, read this book! You won’t regret it.
book_junkee 8 months ago
I had loved the previous books in this series, so I just knew I would enjoy this one. I love love loved Penny and Gabe. She’s giving and all heart. He’s a crunchy marshmallow who might need a little tenderness. Together they’re both so stubborn and absolutely perfect for each other. The button pushing and chemistry was fantastic. Plot wise, it was nearly all fluff. There’s a lot of sweetness and love, but there is a bit of heartbreak I wasn’t expecting. The best part could be seeing everyone rally around their happiness and doing whatever it took to make things happen. Overall, it was beyond fantastic. I have loved this group of friends and I know I will read them forever. FYI: there is a backstory about a character being molested as a child. **Huge thanks to Avon Books for providing the arc free of charge**
AboutThatStory 8 months ago
I absolutely adored everything about this. The Wallflower Wager was a fast-paced, flirty delight. A highly entertaining read full of wonderful moments, great friendships, and so much love. It filled my heart and left me with a huge smile on my face. I loved every second! There was such a priceless start and I was instantly in love. I can't begin to explain how much I loved Penny and Gabriel. She is such a joy with the biggest heart ever. Her compassion knows no bounds. She's so sweet and a bit naïve, but she's kind and strong and knows her own mind. I loved her quirkiness. Gabriel was all gruff and sexy, and very intriguing. I smiled my way through the dialogue and entertaining moments they shared. They had wonderful chemistry and I loved that simmering passion between them, the build was off the charts. Seriously, this sucker was on fire! I'm not sure how I was laughing one minute and teary-eyed the next but that’s what happened. It was incredibly entertaining but also filled with these heartfelt, emotional moments I adored. I felt that pain and heartache when they opened up. I loved how Penny really blossomed and gained this unwavering confidence. I loved Gabriel, how he faced things from his past and truly accepting what he was worthy of. I loved the Wallflower women together; how sweet they were and the family they formed. All the men were extremely funny. Chase and Ash with Gabriel were a riot. It was just a well-rounded, well thought out story. I loved the adorable animals and the side stories happening too. Hints of Nicola's story have me beyond excited, that was a heck of a teaser woven in. Can’t wait! This was brilliant, funny, sweet, and sexy. I love a story that pulls me in and hours fly by before I even realize it, I devoured this! It was filled with witty banter, entertaining scenes, a lot of emotion, and holy wow with the heat. An excellent read! Complimentary copy received for honest review.