A Wicked Game
BY Kate Bateman
Rating: 4.5/5 Genre: Historical Romance Steam: Explicit Publisher: St. Martin's Press Pub Date: 27 December, 2022 Thank you so much St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read an ARC. All opinions are my own. Available: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop
A Wicked Game Synopsis:
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 . . .
A Wicked Game Review:
After reading A Daring Pursuit earlier this year, when I saw this one come out I knew I needed it. I was not wrong. It was lovely! There’s built up tension between the two characters, mutual pining, banter, working class heroine, naval captain, cartography, delicious build up of intimacy, and a great secondary plot too. It was just the installment of enjoyment I needed. Although, this is not the book to sneak read at work… wow did I have to put this book down and save it for later because yeah…
Harriet and Morgan were spectacular in every scene together. From the first page to the last. I loved each bit of banter and how they made a bet out of everything. I especially loved how Morgan turned that bet around and how Morgan was the one that had the authority in each moment. Their relationship was beautiful.
Morgan’s interactions with Harriet’s father and the tenderness he showed with Harriet throughout the book was lovely as well. Just all of the small moments together were swoon worthy. Plus Harriet having a job as a cartographer was a great addition. I loved how passionate she was about her work. It met with some great character complexity moments which helped build some depth to the characters that had a certain level of fluffness to them.
Honestly, the playfulness and longing between the two characters was enough for me to fall in love with this book. The chemistry between the characters was absolutely phenomenal. I adore friends to lovers and this was at the heart of this novel, with a tad bit of family rivalry! All of the jokes and memories between them was everything. Be still my heart. I cannot contain my joy over them.
My only real issue with this book is a small one, I wish that Morgan had a bit more of a chip on his shoulder. Mainly, I didn’t like how quickly “get over” being held captive and tortured for several weeks like it was nothing. That should have some lasting affects on a human!! Not just rapidly moving on. I wanted some tender moments between him and Harriet dealing with this more. But, it’s not really an issue more of a personal taste situation
Long Story Short
Do recommend reading this book? Yes! I don’t think that you have to read the first two in the series to get this one at all. I feel like you’re only missing small pieces of knowledge and not entire plots or such. It would be a great read if you like banter filled historical romance books. That border between teasing and flirting perfection.
If You Like This One…
Obviously, I’m going to put Bateman’s previous novel in this series A Daring Pursuit on the list. Mind you this book involves a BEAR CHASE. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend. Otherwise if sorta second chance romance with a historical navy captain is your thing Emily Sullivan’s The Hellion and the Hero is spectacular. Easily my top read of 2022 I think. Not quite as much banter, but the longing is there as is the sweeping romance. For a contemporary similar vibe I would recommend Jodie Slaughter’s Bet On It. It has a sex bingo bet. Need I say more?