Review: The Duke I Tempted by Scarlett Peckham

Reviewed by Jen

There is more to cheating than just having sex with someone. I say this because other readers might argue with me when I say there is cheating in this book. But there is. And for me, it ruined what was otherwise a very well written, sexy, and angsty read that was so cracktacular, I had to fight the urge to open my Kindle app while I was driving home from work. IT RUINED IT. And it’s the kind of spoiler I don’t feel bad about writing, because if I had known this was going to happen before I started reading, I would have walked the other way. I would have never chosen to invest in these characters, to yearn with them–and for them–the way I ultimately did.

I would have never been so thoroughly disappointed.

So now you’re warned. Let me go back to the beginning.

Archer, the Duke of Westmead, is in need of a wife, but he isn’t looking to fall in love. He’s had that once before and lost it under devastating circumstances. He’s never stopped blaming himself for their deaths and the only way he can find solace is by being whipped by a domme at a specialty club for those with needs like his own.

Let me stop here and say that I don’t enjoy BDSM in any form. I got a hint that he might be submissive in the blurb because of a line about how he likes to spend his nights on his knees. I almost opted to DNF after an early scene with him in his club, but I wanted to give it a chance. Then I got to know Poppy, the heroine, who is a botanist who just wants to make a life for herself cultivating plants. She is hired to decorate for a party thrown by Archer’s sister. And when she twists her ankle, she ends up staying with them to get the job done.

But here’s the thing… I loved the way Poppy and Archer interacted. Neither thought they would ever want to fall in love, but their dynamic was undeniable. Archer was so down on himself, so convinced he could never say the right thing or do the right thing. But he saw the value in Poppy. He respected her. And every single time they touched, they set the page on fire. On FIRE.

By the time they got together for real, I needed it so much. They wed in a marriage of convenience, with promises that it’s a business arrangement, but they clearly fall in love with each other. They share their bodies. They bare so much of themselves to each other… all except Archer’s need to be whipped. Poppy sees the scars; she hears the rumors, but still he hides. Then, they have a huge fight. And at 85% into the book, she walks in on him, naked from the waist down, with a raging boner, getting whipped by another woman.

I understand that this secret of his “perversion” was his internal conflict. I just can’t be ok with him finding a sexual outlet with another woman, especially this late in the book. I felt punched in the stomach. I HATE THAT FEELING.

And the resolution was way too easy.

I hate saying this because there was so much magic here otherwise. But this, straight up, made me read the last 10% of the book with my face all twisted up.

Maybe you don’t consider this cheating. Maybe you have a higher threshold for betrayal than I do. If so, really, the rest of the book is so good. But if cheating of any kind is a hard no… just keep right on walking.

*ARC provided by author

Click to purchase: Amazon

The Duke I Tempted
by Scarlett Peckham
Release Date: July 31, 2018


  1. Ana Johnson says:

    Thank you for the warning. I really appreciate as I also would have hated to invest in the characters and then find out he is a cheater. Big time. I agree with your opinion on cheaters.

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