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ARC Review: A Wicked Game by Kate Bateman

Publication Date: December 27, 2022

Synopsis:

If there’s one thing impossible for a Davies to resist, it’s a challenge from a Montgomery. . .

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 . . .

My Review:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Maybe I’m out of practice reading romance novels, but I was disappointed in this one. The previous books in this series had more plot, as I recall; this one was nothing but seduction and foreplay from the first page. The conflict seems to be that each of them wants the other but thinks they have to convince the other to want them. Which would be fine but… I don’t know. The writing isn’t quite up to the standards of the other books. Or maybe it’s so focused on the bedroom scenes and seduction that everything else suffers. I was willing to forgive it its flaws at first because there was a hint of plot beyond the seduction, but as it progressed I became more and more bored. And the writing became full of his “masculine” this and her “feminine” that and his large body looming over her and it just. Is not my style. At all. I finally gave up when I passed the 50% mark and no plot had shown up to distract from the seduction.

I did enjoy some of the banter and rivalry and one-up games Morgan and Harriet played, and the flashbacks to when they were younger, but I think this book could have been far, far better with some plot. There was a hint of some, in the beginning, with the maps and the treasure and the revenge… but it all gets swept away by lust. Since I don’t actually read romance books for the bedroom scenes (and prefer to skip them most of the time), this book wasn’t it for me.

I also never connected with either Harriet or Morgan. They both felt really flat to me and I was never convinced of their chemistry. They didn’t have a lot to their personalities or motivations except lust for each other which left it all feeling sort of hollow.

*Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an early copy for review.

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