Tessa Dare is the reason I read historical romance (in the most literal way possible).

I’m relatively new to the genre, and it’s all thanks to a single moment at the 2013 American Library Association’s Annual Conference. I was waiting in line for a signed copy of a cookbook when a friendly librarian in line ahead of me pointed to a quickly diminishing pile of free books next to us. “Oooh, Tessa Dare is my favorite!” she exclaimed while grabbing a copy for herself and handing me one. It was a copy of Any Duchess Will Do and it proved to be a GATEWAY DRUG to the world of historical romance novels. After reading the entire book in one evening I quickly found myself working my way back through her entire Spindle Cove series, which may or may not be my favorite series of all time (it is; it really is).

Needless to say I was jazzed to find out her first novella, originally published under the name The Legend of the Werestag, was available for as a FREE download. After finishing it, I can only say, if you’re a Darette like me, you’ll totally enjoy this story.

Cecily Hale and Luke Trenton, Viscount Merritt find themselves reunited at a house party after a four-year wartime separation. No longer the carefree young people who once shared a sweet kiss in a garden, Cecily and Luke are struggling to make sense of their lingering attraction to one another and the deeper emotions that are bubbling at the surface. Throw in a potential werestag (like a werewolf, but a scary deer-man) lurking in the woods, some entertaining friends with a thirst for adventure, and you have a classic Dare tale filled with humor, great dialogue, and plenty of warm fuzzies.

Cecily’s an onion–it’s a good thing, I promise–a little sweet, a little strong, with lots of layers, and Luke does that tortured hero thing we all love so well. If there is a brooding war-scarred hero in the mix, I will love it. In just a few short pages you’ll sigh along with Cecily and fall in love with Luke before you even realize it’s over.

Oh, and if you’re a fan of Goddess of the Hunt be sure to keep an eye out for a reference to the Earl of Kendall and The Memoirs of a Wanton Dairymaid.

Rating: A (with a little happy-face sticker on top because this novella totally made my day)

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