She can’t fall for the duke.
Easier said than done.
Big Duke Energy, an all-new hilarious, opposites attract romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Emma Hart is out now!
I received this book for free from Social Butterfly PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Big Duke Energy by Emma Hart
Published by Independently published on October 23, 2022
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance, Adult Romantic Comedy
Source: Social Butterfly PR
When bestselling romance author Ellie Aarons finds herself with chronic writer’s block, she’s pretty sure all she needs is a change of scenery. A beautiful lakeside cottage with her cat seems like a good idea.
She’s wrong. She needs more than a change of scenery—she needs a muse.
Which is why it’s so irritating that she’s drawn to the enigmatic but grumpy Duke of Windermere who owns the estate she’s staying on.
They don’t get along—not in the slightest. They could not be more different, which is why it’s so irritating that Max seems to be the muse she’s been looking for. No matter how hard she tries, she can’t help but picture him as the hero in her next book.
Oh, well. There’s really not a lot she can do about it. The muse wants what the muse wants.
Except Sir Winston Purrchill keeps exploring the goat barn, and Max’s delivery of him for the fiftieth time means he sees her manuscript open on her laptop.
He knows instantly that she’s writing about him. The story she’s written reflects their entire relationship until now, but that spicy scene?
That hasn’t happened. Yet.
Max is ready to compromise—he’ll give her the inspiration she needs for her novel, but she has to stop asking why he’s so against the relationship his grandmother desperately wants him to have.
With her deadline looming, Ellie has no other option but to agree.
She just hopes that she won’t do what her heroine is doing.
And fall in love with the duke.
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“Can… Can I have a go?” I asked softly.
Max looked over his shoulder at me, one eyebrow quirking. “You want to feed them?”
“I’ve never done it before. I only kept chickens as a kid, and the local farmer never let us feed his goats. They used to bite. Or so he said.”
His lips twitched into something that might’ve vaguely resembled a smile. “All right. Come here.”
I walked over to him.
“They can be quite aggressive,” he said. “Not in an attacking way, but they’re really quite fond of their food.”
I felt that on a deep level.
I, too, was fond of my food.
“Get a handful and hold your hand flat before you offer it to them,” Max said gently. “They’ll shove their heads through, but they’re just greedy.”
I swallowed and scooped up some food, then slowly moved my hand towards the goats. They all did as he’d said and shoved their needy heads through the bars, even tilting their heads to the side to get their horns through, and I inched my hand closer.
“Hold it flat,” Max reiterated.
I uncurled my fingers, pausing. “Like this?”
“No. You’re still bending your fingers.” He stepped towards me and took hold of my wrist. His left hand held it steadily, and a tingle danced up the inside of my forearm. His right hand controlled the gentle uncurl of my fingers until my hand was fully flat. “Like this,” he said softly, with his body right next to mine. “Or they might bite your fingers.”
“You might have told me that a moment ago,” I mumbled, holding my hand back from the goats.
He had full control over my hand; make no mistake about it. He was solely responsible for the unfurling of my fingers and the slow movement of it towards the goats.
And his body…
Well, he was right beside me. It was strong. Firm. The kind of body you could press your back against and feel safe with.
Not that I was noticing.
Max moved his left hand to cup my elbow and used his position next to me to turn me towards the goat. “I prefer to feed them this way,” he said in a low voice. “With my thumb facing away. Less things for them to munch on.”
“You’re not instilling confidence in me.” I swallowed. “They won’t bite me, will they?”
“The correct answer was no.”
“Shh. You’ll scare them.” He moved my hand towards the goats. “Ready?”
“Absolutely fucking not,” I replied.
He laughed. “You asked for this.”
“I rescind my request.”
Max pushed my hand towards a goat. I squealed, shutting my eyes. My entire body tightened with apprehension, and I even leaned back into him a little.
Was I leaning into him or away from the goat?
I’d never tell.
The goat licked my hand, snaffling up the feed pellets.
It… was like a very large cat.
I opened my eyes to see a pair of very large lips lapping at my palm.
“There’s no need to look so scared.” His words were almost a chuckle in my ear.
“You just said they’d bite my fingers off.”
“Only if you don’t keep your hand flat. They’re not the smartest.” He scooped a handful of feed back into my palm. “Keep your fingers flat. Like a board. And keep your eyes open, because if they’re going to nibble you, then you can see it.”
I made a little grunting noise to express my displeasure at the idea of having my fingertips nibbled on by a goat, but I slowly put my hand in front of them. Vincent van Goat lapped up all the pellets gently, and I pulled my lips up into a smile.
He wasn’t that bad.
“See? You were scared for nothing.” Max’s lips tugged up before he quickly schooled his expression back to one of no emotion. “And there’s something on the hay bales that you’ve been looking for.”
I jerked my head around to the bales. “Winston, you little bastard!”
Okay, from the excerpt and teaser image above, anyone who knows me would know that this book would be a perfect read for me. Between the sarcasm and “witty” comebacks with Max, not to mention the arguments/conversations with her cat Winston Purrchill, she’s kind of a bit like me. I have many, many, many conversations and often one sided arguments with my dogs. So I definitely need someone like Max who will not only learn to accept my funny quirks but maybe even begin to have his own conversations with my pets, lol.
I loved the author aspect of Ellie’s character so much! I wonder how much is based on the author of the book’s own writing habits, because some of it was inspiring to me and made me think about how I need to fix what I do and maybe I can start writing and finishing my own stories. I know the part about playing The Sims is from the author herself. I loved the part about killing Max’s Sim character. I must admit I might have done it in the past when I still had the game and had some very annoying coworkers, bosses, and even students sadly. Although I don’t know if I did the freezing thing in the pool, lol.
The romance was good. The way the author used Ellie’s own romance author background for how she dealt with all of the relationship was really a unique way to do the story. It made for less of the drama for drama’s sake that occurs in so much romance and that I complain about a lot. And Max, his background, once we got what had actually happened was a tough one. I liked how he figured out that he might need someone to talk to. I like that when he did try to get out there with his feelings it wasn’t done in a picture perfect way, it was kind of blurted out and just seemed so real to me.
The wait for this book was long, since this summer, but it was definitely worth it. My only complaints were that it was a little long, and the ending dragged a tiny bit for me. The epilogue was nice, even if it didn’t necessarily have anything big going on in it like they do usually. But I loved the glimpse into their lives after the HEA moment. But still, loved it, the characters including the wacky elder generation in the town with Max’s grandma, the punnily named animals, the small town, and our the two who gave us our couple in love.
About the Author
Emma Hart is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over forty novels and has been translated into several different languages.
She is a mother, wife, lover of wine, Pink Goddess, and valiant rescuer of wild baby hedgehogs. She lives in North Wales with her family, three cats, one very large dog, and an undetermined number of chickens and ducks.
She’s known for her hilarious, sarcastic romantic comedies with wildly inappropriate grandparents, and has been dubbed “The RomCom Queen” by her readers.
Connect with Emma
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