A Daring Pursuit (Ruthless Rivals: Book 2) by Kate Bateman

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: May 24th, 2022

Genre: Historical Romance, Romance, Regency

Series: Ruthless Rivals

A Reckless Match—Book 1 (review here)

A Daring Pursuit—Book 2

A Wicked Game—Book 3 (expected publication date: December 27th, 2022)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Davies and Montgomery families have been locked in an ancient feud. But it’s a thin line between love and hate in Kate Bateman’s A Daring Pursuit.

Carys Davies is doing everything in her power to avoid marriage. Staying single is the only way to hide the secret that could ruin her—and her family—if it was revealed. For the past two seasons she’s scandalized the ton with her outrageous outfits and brazen ways in a futile bid to deter potential suitors. Outwardly confident and carefree, inside she’s disillusioned with both men and love. There’s only one person who’s never bought her act—the only man who makes her heart race: Tristan Montgomery, one of her family’s greatest rivals.

Wickedly proper architect Tristan needs a respectable woman to wed, but he’s never stopped wanting bold, red-headed Carys. When she mockingly challenges him to show her what she’s missing by not getting married, Tristan shocks them both by accepting her indecent proposal: one week of clandestine meetings, after which they’ll go their separate ways. But kissing each other is almost as much fun as arguing, and their affair burns hotter than either of them expects. When they find themselves embroiled in a treasonous plot, can they trust each other with their hearts, their secrets…and their lives?

First Line:

Lady Carys Davies dressed to meet her blackmailer in the same way she dressed for every other social occasion: scandalously.

A Daring Pursit by Kate Bateman

I am a big fan of Kate Bateman’s books. So much of a fan that I never turn down a review offer when the publisher sends me an email. I had been looking forward to reading A Daring Pursuit after finishing A Reckless Match. I couldn’t wait to see the fireworks between Tristan and Carys!! This book didn’t disappoint me.

A Daring Pursuit is the second book in the Ruthless Rivals series. While it is book 2 in the series, you can read this as a stand-alone.

A Daring Pursuit is Carys and Tristian’s romance. Carys doesn’t want to get married and does her best to deter suitors by acting and dressing scandalously. Even with that, she only has eyes for Tristian, her sister-in-law’s brother. Tristian has always been attracted to Carys, but their family’s rivalry and her behavior have kept him from acting on it. When Tristian finds Carys’s secret out, she challenges him with an indecent proposal: one week to awaken her sexually. They are both surprised when he says yes. But, as Carys’s secret becomes intertwined with another explosive one, Tristian is the only one she can turn to. Can years of mistrust be overcome? Can Carys trust Tristian with her heart, along with her life? Or will Carys’s secret be exposed?

I loved Carys. She was the exact opposite of what my vision of a Regency woman should be like. She wasn’t a blushing virgin who had no experience with sex. She also was highly educated and a knowledgeable woman who knew what she liked and disliked. So, her keeping such an explosive secret was definitely in character for her. Also in character was how direct she was with Tristian when she dared him to help her sexually.

I liked Tristian, but I thought he was a bit stuffy and very uptight. But, as the book went on and I got some insight into his backstory, I changed my mind. I loved that he saw a vibrant woman whenever he looked at Carys. I also loved that he built his house for her (even if he didn’t admit it at first). By the end of the book, I loved him.

The romance angle was cute. It was a combination of enemies to lovers/girl next door, and I loved it. I did wish that their romance was more fleshed out. But, in fairness, there was a lot of stuff going on in the book, and given Tristan and Carys’s history, I could see why the author didn’t do it.

I loved everything leading up to the sex scenes and the actual scene itself. I did think that Carys had a big pair of cajones for daring Tristan to help her. I was even more surprised that Tristan agreed. The author laid on the sexual tension thick, and honestly, I couldn’t get enough of it. When they finally did have sex, it was terrific.

The storyline with Tristian, Carys, and the indecent proposal was unique (see above). I loved seeing straight-laced Tristian fall for Carys and the other way around. I did think that a week wasn’t going to cut it, but the author made it work.

The storyline with Howe, Carys, Tristan, and the blackmail/treason was excellent. Howe left such a bad taste in my mouth. Every time he appeared, I wanted to throat punch him, and I did give Tristian props for not doing that. That man was slimy with a capital S. I loved how Tristian ferreted out the treason and saved Carys (and the bear…yes, a bear!!) in the end. Of course, Howe got what was coming to him. I cheered when his wife announced her news (and I giggled a little bit). Talk about karma!!

The end of A Daring Pursuit was excellent. I loved how the author brought everything together. I loved how she tied the storylines with Tristan and Carys’s romance. She also introduced the main characters for book 3 (which I can’t wait to read!!!).

I would recommend A Daring Pursuit to anyone over 21. There is somewhat graphic sex and mild violence.

A Reckless Match (Ruthless Rivals: Book 1) by Kate Bateman

Book Cover

Publisher: St. Martins Press, St. Martins Paperbacks

Date of Publication: September 28th 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance

Series: Ruthless Rivals

A Reckless Match—Book 1

A Daring Pursuit—Book 2 (expected publication date May 24 2022)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible |Barnes & Noble | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received From: Publisher

Goodreads Synopsis:

The first in a new regency romance series about two feuding families and reunited childhood enemies whose hatred turns to love.

Maddie Montgomery’s family is in debt, and her hope rests on the rival Davies clan missing their yearly “pledge of goodwill,” ceding the land that separates their estates. With Maddie’s teenage nemesis, Gryffud “Gryff” Davies, Earl of Powys, away, hope is in reach.

But then, Gryff shows up and is stunned that the tomboy he once teased is now a woman. When Gryff and Maddie discover contraband on their land, they realize it can benefit both families. But they’ve also uncovered a dangerous plot, and they need to work together to get out alive. Soon, their hatred for each other starts to feel more like attraction.

Kate Bateman brings crackling banter, steamy romance, and a dash of adventure into the first book in the Ruthless Rivals series.

First Line:

“Nobody’s coming.”

Madeline Montgomery squinted down the empty road as a thin bubble of hope – a foreign sensation of late- rose in her breast.

a reckless match by kate bateman

I know that I have mentioned this here before, but I adore historical romance. I love reading about how people back in Regency England (or any era, to be honest) courted. Among my favorite authors is Kate Bateman. So, when I saw that she had a new book out, I knew I had to read it!!

A Reckless Match is the first book in the Ruthless Rival series. This book has set the tone for the rest of the series. I can’t wait to see how the other books are going to be.

I was thrilled to see that the author had decided to set A Reckless Match on the border of England and Wales. If you think of Regency romances, you automatically think of England and Scotland. Ireland and Wales are not even mentioned unless there is a villain involved. So, yes, I was happy to see that the book was set on the border and that Gryffud (aka Gryff) was Welsh.

An enjoyable family feud (I never thought I said those two words together) explains why Maddie and Gryff’s family hates each other. Because of a King’s decree (200 years previously), a representative from each family must meet at the shared property boundary and shake hands. The meeting happens every five years. If someone doesn’t show up, the land automatically forfeits to the other family. This time around, it was up to Maddie and Gryff to present and shake hands.

The romance angle of A Reckless Match was wonderfully written. It was your typical enemies to lovers trope. What I loved it that Gryff was the first one to realize that he loved Maddie and that it was fairly early in the book. What made the romance angle for me was Maddie realizing that she loved Gryff and all the shenanigans it caused.

Maddie wasn’t your typical English miss. She wasn’t interested in getting married. Instead, she was interested in archeology and getting a specific tome for her father. I liked her and connected with her.

I loved Gryff. Not only was he tall, dark, and handsome, but he was in touch with his feelings. He knew how he felt about Maddie reasonably early in the book. Because of the feud, he decided to keep a lid on his feelings and help her find out about the smugglers. He also wanted to help her, moneywise (her father went into debt with gambling) but couldn’t figure out how to do it without her getting prickly. It was fantastic to read the book from his perspective and to see Maddie through his eyes.

There is a suspense angle of the book that was very well written. The smugglers, who are mentioned throughout the first half of the book, were brought into the storyline in a shocking way towards the end of the book. Everything that happened after the explosion made one of the most sexually charged sex scenes I have ever read (no light, just sensations, was perfect).

The end of A Reckless Match was your typical HEA. In the next book, I haven’t figured out if Hattie and Rhys or Tristan and Carys will be. But I can’t wait to read it regardless of who will be next.

I would recommend A Reckless Match for anyone over the age of 21. There are explicit sex scenes, mild language, and moderate violence.