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Hazards of Dukes #1

Never Kiss a Duke

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A disinherited duke and a former lady are courting much more than business in the first novel in Megan Frampton's newest titillating series, Hazards of Dukes.

Everything he had ever known was a lie…

Sebastian, Duke of Hasford, has a title, wealth, privilege, and plenty of rakish charm. Until he discovers the only thing that truly belongs to him is his charm. An accident of birth has turned him into plain Mr. de Silva. Now, Sebastian is flummoxed as to what to do with his life—until he stumbles into a gambling den owned by Miss Ivy, a most fascinating young lady, who hires him on the spot. Working with a boss has never seemed so enticing.

Everything tells her he’s a risk she has to take

Two years ago, Ivy gambled everything that was precious to her—and won. Now the owner of London's most intriguing gambling house, Ivy is competent, assured, and measured. Until she meets Mr. de Silva, who stirs feelings she didn't realize she had. Can she keep her composure around her newest employee?

They vow to keep their partnership strictly business, but just one kiss makes them realize that with each passing day—and night—it becomes clear to them both that there's nothing as tempting as what is forbidden…

384 pages, ebook

First published January 28, 2020

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About the author

Megan Frampton

40 books971 followers
Megan Frampton's love affair with books began when her parents moved her to a remote town in New Hampshire where there was only one television station. And then the TV broke. She devoured every book of fiction in her well-read parents' library, finding special joy in Georgette Heyer and the fairy tales collected and translated by Andrew Lang. Megan majored in English literature at Barnard College and worked in the music industry for fifteen years. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband (her former intern) and her kid.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 204 reviews
Profile Image for Carole (Carole's Random Life).
1,680 reviews456 followers
January 29, 2020
This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I like to read the occasional historical romance and this one looked like it would be worth a try. This is the first book in the Hazards of Dukes series and I thought that it kicked off the new series quite well. I was hooked by this story in the first few pages and found the book to be a very pleasant read. I am so glad that I decided to pick up this book.

Sebastian, Duke of Hasford, finds his life changed through no fault of his own. Because of a lie his mother told, he is no longer a Duke. He had his life figured out before but now he must find a new path. He has to learn how to do a lot of things for himself that have always been done for him. He is up to the task and doesn't want help from his cousin who is the new Duke or his friend who happens to be a Duke.

Ivy runs a gaming club, Miss Ivy's. Her club is a little different in that she expects debts to be settled right away and anyone who can pay is allowed to play. Ivy was once considered a Lady but she decided to gamble to win back her future which was lost by her father. Ivy's won that card game and her freedom but it changed how others looked at her. She is very competent to run the club and is surrounded by a very dedicated staff but she decided to take a chance and offer a job to Sebastian.

I really liked Ivy and Sebastian. They have both had to deal with some pretty big changes in their lives and are doing what they can to move forward. They are both very invested in making sure that their loved ones get the best in life. I loved the chemistry that they shared and I really liked the way they were able to work as a pair. These two just seemed to fit with each other perfectly.

I thought that the premise of the story was rather unique and very well done. I really enjoyed being with Sebastian as he learned to navigate his new life. He really had a lot to deal with and I think he made the best of things. There was some excitement in the story to keep things interesting. The secondary characters in this book were wonderful and I hope to see more of them in future books.

I would recommend this book to fans of historical romances. I thought that this was a well-done romance with wonderful characters. I can't wait to read more of this wonderful series!

I received an advanced review copy of this book from HarperCollins - Avon.

Initial Thoughts
I enjoyed this book a lot. I liked the premise and thought that watching Sebastian learn to move on with his life now that he is no longer a Duke was great. I thought that Ivy and Sebastian were well paired and I loved their chemistry. It did take a while for things to heat up for them but then everything moved quickly. I would be interested to read more of this series.
Profile Image for Becky (romantic_pursuing_feels).
689 reviews392 followers
January 28, 2020
This is my first Megan Frampton! I have been meaning to try her forever, her story lines always sound enticing and I think her covers are beautiful. This is the first book of her new series, Hazards of Dukes.

I thought this story was so unique in that the hero is no longer a duke. He's been raised to be a duke, was told he was the duke, acted like the duke...until he discovers he is a nobody due to a violated law by his mother. He is plain Mr. de Silva. He's like a newborn entering the world of, well, having to buy things. Having to work. Having to make a bed. Having to figure out how to have a purpose in this life other than what he always thought he had.

The heroine, Miss Ivy, has also lost her social status. Ruined but with a younger sister to care for, she has started her own gaming house to support themselves. Now, this is probably just me and the books I have read fairly recently, but it seems like every girl and their sister owns a gambling house now. I've finished 3 of Suzanne Enoch's series that take place with the Tantalus club, there's Sarah MacLean's Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, and I think some Tina Gabrielle have this too. It's a great plot device but it's not new to me, and honestly I got kind of bored with it.

The book is a little slow moving in the beginning. It establishes what's happening to Sebastian's life and the daily workings of Ivy's gambling house. They come together soon into the book and find they work together quite well. I enjoyed this book overall. There's no crazy plot going taking me away from the characters. It's about them growing and being together and coming to terms with their places in life. It's rather funny in some parts. Very sexy, but it's pretty much all in the second half. I did think the feels/tension were just not connecting the best with me, which is why I give 4 stars. It wasn't a book I couldn't tear myself away from. I will definitely be trying more of her work though.

Frampton does use the F word in this novel a handful of times. I think it's 5-6. Nothing overly vulgar but I know some people really dislike that, so I thought I'd point it out.

I was able to receive an ARC copy complimentary from netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for PlotTrysts.
556 reviews161 followers
August 12, 2021
We're warning you on this one: there are some MAJOR historical inaccuracies in this book! Meg handwaved them away while Laine couldn't get past them. If you're one of those historical romance readers who needs some attempt at historical accuracy (and we're not knocking you if you are) then this book probably isn't for you.⁠

If, on the other hand, you can go into this knowing that the whole conceit of the plot lies on something that is easily disproven but you just don't care because you love the characters, situations, and really hot sex, then you should probably check this one out.⁠

38-Word Summaries:

Laine: A woman gambled away by her dad reclaims her autonomy through ownership of a gambling hell, where a lost aristocrat finds an identity. Historical accuracy matters to me, and it takes like two seconds to use google, people.⁠

Meg: If a duke’s not a duke, what’s his purpose in life? Apparently serving as COO for the baddest boss bitch around will do the trick. Also as fairy godmother for his sister and sex god in the casino.⁠

Profile Image for Daughter of Paper and Stone.
417 reviews43 followers
February 20, 2023

I have moved this book to shelve hell. Book 2 made me hate Sebastian and this whole series. It only gets worse from here. Save yourself.

1 star ⭐️


I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Looking the rating I wasn’t so sure. What can I say? I don’t 100% trust ratings sometimes but that doesn’t mean I don’t trust ratings (Shakespeare currently rolling on his grave because he didn’t think of such eloquent verbiage). I have to say it was rather accurate too. Not because the book was 1 star material but because it was not 5 star material. It was a good 3 stars -give it or take.

The premise was interesting- former Duke and female gambling hell owner- set to prevail upon the world. The delivery was tepid. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, still it wasn’t great either. The middle dragged. Like… draaaaaaagggggeeeed.

This is romance novel, I was promised some tension!! Where was it? The sex was definitely there but without the tension? The emotional turmoil? The following emotional connection? It was like dreaming about water in a parched desert. What am I supposed to do with all this thirst?

I see potential in the author- in her writing- she needs only to watch the push and pull better. And not be afraid of shortening books if she doesn’t know what to do with her spare letters.

My main other issue was that maybe (not maybe, I’m sure I just don’t want to come off too strong) the hero -Sebastian - was a bit too much of beta hero to me. That doesn’t mean I wanted him to be a A-hole alpha; a soft Alpha Hero just with the heroine though? Yes. Going after was he wants? Yes. Being a bit less whinny? Sure. It is not that I don’t care about his fall from grace. I care… just I didn’t care how he went about it much. It is one thing to keep oneself in the pit of misery because you have not rationalized your loss yet, it is another to shut out your family - who clearly loves you - due to your loss of title. Because of silly man pride. Life kicked you in the butt? Kick back. It happens to everyone.

None of them were to blame; in the danger of sounding like Dominic Toretto: familia is important dude!

Nevertheless, I will continue with her books. I look forward to the next one. Nothing screams scandal like best-friend’s sister.


Plot : 1.5 📚💫 Sprinkled around. Making game hell more sexy; make sexy with game hell owner.

World Building(Immersion): 1 🌎 Dipped my toes. It’s London. It’s the past. The went into some unpacked roads. All very riveting.

Angst : ❎ No angst. What can I say? The were dumb but not that dumb. Jk, they were I just put my heart away for the week.

Funniness: 1 🌝 There was a joke, but I didn’t even twitch.

Scariness: ❎ Not scary.

Romance: 2.5 💖💖💫It was there but it was underwhelming. Still cute.

Spice: 3 🌶🌶🌶 Explicit, but not a big part of the story.

Goriness: ❎ No gore.

Sadness: ❎ No sadness.

Overall star rating : 3 ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Enjoyable but there were somethings that fell flat.


The Good Place:
▫️Sebastian. The guy was alright. Not my type of hero. He does have a certain charms (he is tall). He also has certain repulsive traits. Former rake 🙄.
▫️Ivy. She was fun. I was a bit annoyed at her sometimes. Exhibition: Sebastian is about to get out of hand when someone insulted his sister; almost putting the livelihood of a lot of people in jeopardy; doesn’t open her mouth to say a peep. Where is my confident independent woman, huh? Sure the guy deserved to get a botched nose job 👊🏻. Dark alleys are for that, though, not places of employment or places where people could be ruined.
▫️Octavia is amazing. Great sister. Can’t wait for her story. Does she get a story? ( a Goodreads search later = yes!)
▫️Ana Maria. Fun, a bit ditzy. Certainty lacking some common sense. It was made in a endearing way.
▫️Nash. The Dangerous Duke. His waist to shoulder description got me interested. (I’m a sucker for wide strong shoulders 🤷🏼‍♀️)
▫️Thad. Good cousin. Terrible people skills.
▫️Finan. The Irish butler of dreams lol.
▫️Henry and Samuel.

The Bad Place:
▪️Sebastian’s parents. I can’t believe I keep having to write -or say - these words, both in real life and in book reviews; WHAT KIND OF PARENTS WOULD JUST DO THAT?
▪️Ivy’s father. Read the sentence above.
▪️The lecherous Nephew of that certain lady. Don’t care to learn his name. I just know he sucks.
▪️Ivy and Sebastian’s first kiss. Where the heck did that come from? I was caught off guard. Not in a good way. The lack of tension just made absurd they were simply kissing. It was crazy.

Romance Safety:
Safe. Both have only eyes for each other. No cheating. Separation takes place- about 2 months. There was off page OW drama. Slight. This widower lady tried to get with Sebastian while he was away from the heroine, Ivy, he refused her. Happy ending; married in the epilogue.

🚨🚨🚨🚨 SPOILERS 🚨🚨🚨🚨

Some ( Very Random) Moments of Notice Along With (Sometimes) My Very Live Reactions Straight From My Notes App to You:

📌Sebastian shrugged. “Since I might have to do something rather than just be something.” It was a return to his normal insouciant self, but it rang hollow.

📌The anger bubbled out of nowhere, startling both of them. “I’m not powerful and resourceful. I am determined. And I am frightened. Do you think it was easy to do all this?” Ivy said, spreading her hands wide. “To gamble with our very lives and to come here with no guarantee that we would succeed? I wish I were powerful.” She snorted. “Most of the time I just think about what will happen if I don’t continue, and that fear drives me.” And just as suddenly, her anger subsided, and she felt flattened. As if her anger had taken all her energy.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,694 reviews702 followers
January 1, 2020
3.5 stars

I’m pretty much going to read anything with Megan’s name on it, so I didn’t even read the synopsis before requesting.

I really liked Ivy and Sebastian. At first it seems like they’re coming from different places, but I quickly realized they’ve worked to become what they are. She speaks up for herself and he’s learning to be a commoner and it was enjoyable reading them figure it out. I loved Ivy’s sister Octavia and Sebastian’s friend Nash and can’t wait to hopefully see more of them.

Plot wise, it was okay. There isn’t any real sense of urgency or conflict, so the story just meanders along. There were some odd word choices and seemingly repetitive scenes that kept jolting me out of the story. And as much as I enjoyed their HEA, it didn’t seem like anything had actually been achieved.

Overall, it was the characters who kept me reading. Oh, and the promise of what’s to come in the series. I will definitely be reading the second book.

**Huge thanks to Avon for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Hannah B..
745 reviews950 followers
December 5, 2021
✨A fig leaf, a pedestal, and perhaps a gaming table.✨

Megan Frampton is such a cheeky and clever writer. I wrote down so many lines that just made me laugh in such a pure way. The comedy landed for me like a film or even a bit like a sitcom. Just very self-aware and confident. I also felt a cinematic pull from the ensemble cast; this was a very character driven novel.

There was no scheming third cousin who wants to marry the heroine, no alarming mystery or too much drama. It was all about Sebastian reckoning with his own identity and what and who he was without his title and Ivy becoming her own person separated from the internalized responsibility she feels for her younger sister. Ivy has never truly thought about what she wanted and Sebastian has never had to want for anything. The two characters truly find themselves first and then find each other.

At one point, Sebastian basically had his David Rose in a field with a pitchfork moment, completely out of his element. I really liked Sebastians personal growth. Maybe I’m just a sucker for men being thrown to the wolves and coming out to the other side as gigantic cinnamon rolls hopelessly in love and perfectly besotted. Like I said before, I think this book perfectly tempered emotional depth with great moments of brevity and comedy.

Further, the steam was impeccable. I loved how it hinted at their desires and what they intended to do to each other while also delivering. Their chemistry was sparkling and their use of card tables scorching. There was dirty talk, explicit language, and a lot about Ivy discovering her sexuality. The “games” that are referenced don’t pan out into much which was a touch disappointing and I would totally pay for a deleted scenes novella. (RIP to the ribbons because I was so curious as to how that would play out.) However, so much ~else~ was on the page that it didn’t decrease the chemistry.

I loved how the ending was again focused on the two main characters being completely happy with each other and their new more complete lives. Not everything in their life worked out perfectly but their love was a very comfy king-sized bed, always there at the end of the day welcoming them back. I can’t wait to pick up more Megan Frampton. In both cover and content, this one completely reminded me of Lorraine Heath’s Scoundrel of my Heart. Both focus on fallen heroes and dens for commingling and wanton pleasures. I completely judged this book based on its cover and I’ve been thoroughly threatened with a good time.

⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5 🌶🌶🌶.5/5

Okay upon my reread, Ivy definitely NEEDED to let Seb go AFTER Jennings like Stitch let Lilo POUND Myrtle after she went too far. Fuck the club at that point Jennings was a little motherfucker. Idc about losing money he’s got ducal friends who can give them money if they’re so bothered. She’s like “don’t fight with patrons bc other patrons will think they’ll get beat up” and I’m like DAMN STRAIGHT IF THEY’RE COCKSHOT WENCHES. THAT’S RESPECT.

I took a star of my rating and a whole pepper off my steam rating bc I am a different person than I was last year and I’m slightly irked by the experience of rereading this book. Especially since the narrator sounds like Nearly Headless Nick and whispers like we’re in the Chamber of Secrets.

OKAY Thaddeus is the fucking worst another .5⭐️ deducted for that pompous ass.

Also again this narrator is SO BAD she sounds like she’s talking with something in her mouth like deliberately giving herself not a lisp but a mouth sound? Idk but it’s bad
Profile Image for Tracy Emro.
1,755 reviews44 followers
January 23, 2020
In the blink of an eye Sebastian’s life changed, one minute he was Sebastian Dutton, the Duke of Hasford and the next, thanks to his mother, he was Sebastian de Silva, illegitimate son of the former Duke and his cousin, Thaddeus is now the duke. After making Thad promise to take care of his older half-sister Ana Maria, a stunned and more than a little upset Sebastian goes to see his friend Nash, the Duke of Malvern. Nash decides that Sebastian needs a night out and they visit a new gaming club – Miss Ivy’s.

Ivy Holton’s life was also thrown into disarray by a parent, she was born the daughter of a baron, but the flip of a card ruined her – her father wagered her hand in marriage and lost, unwilling to accept that, Ivy took matters in her own hands and challenged her would be groom to game and won her freedom – but the cost was her reputation and standing in society. Upon the death of her father, Ivy took her meager inheritance and her younger sister Octavia and moved to London. She opened Miss Ivy’s with the idea that she could make enough money to buy a cottage somewhere and give Octavia choices that were stolen from Ivy. When Nash and Sebastian first arrive, Ivy is intrigued by Sebastian, but as the night wears on Sebastian begins to cause trouble with the other patrons, but before she has to ask him to leave, Nash steps in and takes him home. Ivy is upset and hopes she never has to see him again.

The next day, Sebastian learns of his actions at Miss Ivy’s and feels the need to talk to her, he tracks her down and apologizes, Ivy is gracious and forgives him, they talk and he has some good ideas that she would like to implement with his permission, he agrees and takes his leave. But later that night, he returns and saves Ivy from being robbed, he is injured in the fight and Ivy takes care of him. When he wakes, she asks if he would like to work for her – she offers him a salary and room/board. Sebastian accepts and then goes to tell his family of his plans.

Nash really has no concerns about his new job, but Thad and Ana Maria are very upset and don’t understand why he refuses to stay with them and basically still run the dukedom. Sebastian tries to explain that he needs to prove something to himself, prove that he is not worthless without the title, but they still don’t understand. Ana Maria is especially upset, Sebastian’s mother was her step-mother and treat Ana Maria horribly, Sebastian was her protector, even though he is younger than she is, she doesn’t want him to leave, but agrees to give him time as long as he promises to visit her.

Sebastian and Ivy settle into a routine and all is going well, until a kiss changes everything. Sebastian knows that he wants Ivy in his life, but when he is offered the chance to return to society and redeem his reputation, will he take it or will he find way to return on his own terms and more importantly, does Ivy want to return?

I really enjoyed this book, it was a fun read and Sebastian and Ivy are very likable, the plot stayed on point, the banter was witty, the love scenes steamy and the ending satisfying. I did find Ana Maria a bit odd – she is older than Sebastian, but since the author never gave the reader any definitive ages, I have no idea how old she is, but she seemed much younger than Sebastian, almost child-like and somewhat needy. I didn’t dislike her, but I didn’t understand why Sebastian felt the need to treat her so gently and wondered if she was mentally challenged, but later I realized that Sebastian felt guilty that she was abused by his mother and became overly protective of her as a result. Anyway, I liked this book and would be happy to recommend this book and I am looking forward to the next book in the series (I think Ana Maria is the heroine in the next book, so I am very interested to see if the author can change my perception of her).

*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an uncorrected eARC that was provided to me by Edelweiss and the publisher.*
Profile Image for aarya.
1,209 reviews
Shelved as 'dnf'
March 12, 2020
DNF at 32%

I DNFed because I was bored and the characters’ chemistry didn’t hook me yet. Maybe things would have improved but I wasn’t invested enough to continue. It’s well-written and I loved the premise (lady gamblers FTW!), so your mileage may vary. I might try again after a while; I really like Megan Frampton’s voice and maybe I’m not in the correct mood for something relatively slow-paced and low stakes.

Also: Sebastian’s moping monologue about losing the dukedom and determinedly not accepting charity from relatives annoyed me. You’re privileged and you have a safety net (not one, but TWO rich duke BFFs); stop whining so much! LOL. He’s not that bad; I just wasn’t in the frame of mind to tolerate a “Poor Little Rich Ex-Aristocrat” stream of consciousness. The heroine Ivy is freaking awesome and the only reason I’d come back to the book again.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Elodie’s Reading Corner.
2,445 reviews110 followers
September 17, 2019
Never Kiss a Duke
A Hazards of Dukes Novel
Megan Frampton
Release date 1/28/2020
Publisher Avon

Blurb :

Everything he had ever known was a lie…
Sebastian, Duke of Hasford, has a title, wealth, privilege, and plenty of rakish charm. Until he discovers the only thing that truly belongs to him is his charm. An accident of birth has turned him into plain Mr. de Silva. Now, Sebastian is flummoxed as to what to do with his life—until he stumbles into a gambling den owned by Miss Ivy, a most fascinating young lady, who hires him on the spot. Working with a boss has never seemed so enticing.
Everything tells her he’s a risk she has to take…
Two years ago, Ivy gambled everything that was precious to her—and won. Now the owner of London’s most intriguing gambling house, Ivy is competent, assured, and measured. Until she meets Mr. de Silva, who stirs feelings she didn’t realize she had. Can she keep her composure around her newest employee?
They vow to keep their partnership strictly business, but just one kiss makes them realize that with each passing day—and night—there’s nothing as tempting as what is forbidden…

My review :

When life’s circumstances are altered, how to go forward when you are stripped of everything you have ever known...

Just by reading the blurb, I could not imagine how a man raised to have it all would do when he has nothing left.
I was even more impressed that the marriage law’s detail, base of the background plot, was true. How it must have impacted many many lives.

Sebastian, former duke, divested from his title and wealth is now plain Mr de Silva, a duke’s illegitimate son. So, how will he rise from this twist of fate?
Sebastian is no arrogant nor haughty man, sure for a commoner he looks like one, after all it is all he had ever known, but as a trained duke, he is rather approachable and easy to speak with.
It is certain, even disowned, his family and friends would have continued to support him, but he can’t face his previous life anymore.
In a way, he ran away from his former self, trying to dig a new road for the new Sebastian. Thus he has to relearn everything from dressing and shaving alone to the cost of things, and also to find a new purpose.
I loved him, he makes mistakes, a lot of them but he tries, he strives. He wants to prove he is worth his title, that the duke of Hasford in him is dead, only remain Sebastian. He does not want to be defined anymore by his late title, only the man he will be.
With Ivy, he thinks he has found the right path, still he is torn between his new life and his life old one when his kin wants him back.
Ivy is not the usual miss of good manners, when she could have hunker down and accepted her fate, she took charge of her own future.
After having broken every rules demanded to a woman of good breeding, she makes her owns.
She is determined to never again be at the mercy of someone else, and to offer her younger sister the choice of her own destiny, when hers have been robbed from her.
With Sebastian, she sees an opportunity for her business, but also a man who stirs feelings she has never encountered before.
Their relationship will need time to be established, with Ivy becoming his employer, they change the dynamic of their association.
Why they have up and down as they struggle to find the right pace. They are attracted to one another, but need to find a common ground to enter a more intimate bond.
It was lovely to see them interact, decide to reach for something they hadn’t expected. They struggle too as by allowing themselves to care for the other, they have to reshape their own expectations.

As a first in a series, it introduces the different protagonists we will see again in the next books, as side characters, they champion their relatives to be the best of themselves even if at time, they do not realize they push them in the wrong direction.
There is no vilain in this story, no need, when they are their worst enemy, overthinking things and muddling their feelings to the point of failing to see what was right in front of them.

I am just not able to place the cover, the yellow dress maybe but a cover with the heroine wearing a daring red gown and a mask would have been a hint.

5 stars for this sensual and romantic tale of family’s love and the resilience of the soul.

I was granted an advance copy through Edelweiss by the publisher Avon, I had previously purchased my own.
Here is my true and unbiased opinion.

Profile Image for Katie.
2,647 reviews143 followers
August 1, 2020
In the category of things an author would've never expected to be an issue: There's a lot of talk about wearing masks the gambling club and, well, it would often throw me out of the story.

I did like this as a story of growth for both the hero and heroine, but IDK. The writing never totally clicked. It's another where I'm interested in other characters' stories and yet . . .


Owned ebook 3/2 for the month
Overall owned book 5/5 for the month
Profile Image for Sarah.
142 reviews36 followers
August 24, 2019
This book had a lot of potential. I really liked the idea of the story of a woman owning a gambling hell and a Duke who is no longer a Duke. It started off good but then seemed to falter. Ivy is the owner of Miss Ivy’s, the daughter of a Baron won the establishment or the money to open the establishment (I never understood which) in a card game with the farmer who won her in a similar card game with her father. So her and teenage sister run this club. Sebastian was a Duke but finds out that his parents marriage is invalidated because his mother was actually the late duchess’s sister. So Ivy gives Sebastian a job. In the meantime Sebastian’s cousin (the new duke) and stepsister ( whose supposed to be older but doesn’t act like it) try and get Sebastian to come home. It was weird that ivy felt the need to tell her sister everything, including that she was thinking of taking Sebastian as a lover. Also I really didn’t like how Ivy flip flops so much on taking him as a lover, first she’s an independent woman and can sleep with whoever she wants, then she’s his boss and it could jeopardize her relationship with an employee, then they KISS and she’s been “intimate” with him. Maybe this would have been better if they had actually had a sexual relationship instead of one night. I’m still looking forward to the next story although I’m not holding out much hope for it.

Profile Image for Kat ❅.
864 reviews73 followers
May 21, 2021
3.75 stars but I did really like this.

After reading this, I definitely want to read more from Frampton. This is my first book from her and I really liked it. the writing was really good and I absolutely fell into the story. I gave this book only 3.75 stars because this book barely had a plot. Normally I that would bother me a lot more but because I liked the writing and characters so much, I could ignore the plotlessness more. I really liked the gambling den stuff and the fact that this book focused more on working people rather than just being about nobility like a lot of historical romances are. I would have liked to have seen a more central external plot but it didn't stop me from enjoying the book.

The real highlight of this book for me was the relationship. When this book started I wasn't sure I was going to like Sebastian. He initially came off as really abrasive to me. I think this ended up really helping the story because we really got to see Sebastian grow as a person and transform with the help of Ivy and it really helped me believe their relationship. I think Ivy goes through less personal development but she does get to figure out what she wants and I liked reading about that. She started as a character I already liked and wanted to see a story about. I actually would have loved to see more scenes with them working but I think the balance of working scenes vs other scenes was pretty good.

As I said, I definitely want to read more from this author. I have the ARC for book four in this series and I'm trying to read the first three before I read it so I will be picking up more books in this series pretty soon but I would also love to branch out to different series. I get why this book has a lower rating but I was happy that I was able to enjoy it.
Profile Image for Joana V..
342 reviews71 followers
April 8, 2020
Review originally published at Romancing Romances.


I received an eARC at no cost from the publisher, and I am leaving a voluntary and honest review. Thank you.

First of all, don’t do like me. I read two historical romances all about gambling places/casinos in a row, and it did not help.

I believe this was my first book by Megan Frampton, but having heard good things, I expected a great book. And I almost got. Almost.

This book is… soft. Not in an “oh no, there’s no sexy times” way (on the contrary), but it just didn’t deliver.

I cared more about the side characters, than the main ones.

Ivy had a great premise, a lady who had a gambling house, who wagered to save herself and her sister, she seemed like she had all that was required for a great character. And that is true for the first half of the book. After that her character just changed in a way that didn’t make sense to me. Yes, we can be confident and still have times when we have self-doubt, and our self-love isn’t as high as it normally is, but is just felt like she Ivy was a completely different person.

For our former duke, Sebastian de Silva, everything seemed to simple. He lost all he had ever known, yet, he gets a job immediately and that pretty much makes the story flow in a way that does not allow him to discover himself, and when at the end he decides to actually do that we get, what? Two pages where nothing happens even if he spent two months thinking and getting to actually know himself and his feelings? It lacked depth.

Ana Maria (Sebastian’s sister), Nash (Sebastian’s best friend), and Octavia (Ivy’s sister) seemed way more interesting than our hero and heroine.

The writing was good, it just wasn’t compelling to me. But I am curious about the next couple in the series so, I might have better luck with the next book.
Profile Image for Jessica Grogan.
463 reviews20 followers
November 11, 2019
Megan Frampton is one of my favorite authors, and this SHOULD’VE been a great title. But it wasn’t, I had trouble getting through it, and I’m not 100% sure why. I liked both the hero and heroine, and the side characters we met. The plot summary was interesting. And I truly enjoy Megan Frampton’s writing style. There just wasn’t anything very engaging in this story for me. Nothing much was happening besides characters talking at one place, and then talking at another, and then another. I think it would’ve been more interesting if Ivy had actually shown Sebastian how to live as a commoner rather than a duke. But I could be wrong.

I will, of course, continue to read Megan Frampton’s titles because I normally love them.

*I received an eARC from Edelweiss and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Janet.
3,577 reviews29 followers
January 28, 2020
Sebastian, Duke of Hasford, has a title, wealth, privilege, and plenty of rakish charm. Until he discovers the only thing that truly belongs to him is his charm. An accident of birth has turned him into plain Mr. de Silva. Now, Sebastian is flummoxed as to what to do with his life—until he stumbles into a gambling den owned by Miss Ivy, a most fascinating young lady, who hires him on the spot.
Two years ago, Ivy gambled everything that was precious to her—and won. Now the owner of London’s most intriguing gambling house, Ivy is competent, assured, and measured. Until she meets Mr. de Silva, who stirs feelings she didn’t realize she had.
This is the first in a new series & whilst in itself is a thoroughly enjoyable read it also introduces us to secondary characters who I hope will have their own stories. I was drawn in from the start & gripped until the end. Well written with strong characters & a story that flows really well. I loved the chemistry between Sebastian & Ivy as well as how their relationship developed. I look forward to more books in the series
My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read
Profile Image for Lori D.
3,503 reviews87 followers
January 28, 2020
Well the first Hazard of a Duke is when you find you are no longer one and that is where the hero Sebastian comes in! Since it is usually the opposite, I really enjoyed this twist and was anxious to see how he would handle the situation. Instead of just hanging out with the new Duke and his sister, he decides to take a job at a gaming house.
Ivy has had her own problems, like being gambled away by her father, a baron, but in her own twist won herself back. Yes, she gambled with the man that had won her. Then she opened her own gaming house and had been pretty successful.
After Sebastian's friend Nash takes him to Miss Ivy's, one thing leads to another and he ends up working for her.
A truly delightful story with several twist and turns and fun secondary characters I look forward to seeing again. I think this is a great start to this new series and cannot wait for the next one!
Profile Image for Fae.
799 reviews23 followers
January 9, 2022
I must say that the plot was interesting and I have never come across a duke being unduked. But, the romance between them felt like it was an insta love. So early in the story and they were already stripping each other using their eyes. Hence it was hard for me to believe in their romance.

However I did like the hero and heroine. It was nice to see Ivy come all the way from almost being sold to an old man by her father, opening a gambling club and having great success with it. As for Sebastian, i liked that he didn’t want the privileges of the aristocrats when he could have so easily taken it from his cousin when it was offered to him. He didn’t want the easy way, he wanted the hard way, to know himself and work his way up. I admired him for that.

I liked the supporting characters as well, Nash, Octavia, Ana Maria, and Nash’s butler because he was so amusing.

But alas, i felt something was missing from this book. Maybe more details on how Seb found himself, or working harder? I don’t know.
Profile Image for John Lustrea.
50 reviews
June 29, 2021
My first romance novel which I read with the friend. It was a fun read. Really enjoyed the word ducal as well as the things the author chose to capitalize. The characters were nice to spend time with and offered the occasional profound bit of wisdom. Not knowing what to expect this felt solid if unexceptional.
Profile Image for Alecia Reads.
504 reviews51 followers
March 2, 2021
3.5 rounded up for GR

Never Kiss a Duke is the first book in Megan Frampton’s Hazards of Dukes series. Overall, I thought the book started off with an interesting storyline- he loses it all and how will he survive but then it fizzled.

Sebastian, Duke of Hasford learns he is not really a Duke. After his entire life fo being waited on and having money he is forced to go out and live like a normal person. The SHAME! Ivy owns and runs the gambling hall he goes to the night his life is changed. They end up hitting it off, he actually has some good ideas for the business. Their business relationship turns personal with some sexy times on a card table, some confusion on what the future holds and they both need to let go of the past.

I liked that Sebastian didn’t go back to his family begging for money, that he actually started to work for a living. His struggle on what normal people did, shave/ dress themselves, iron clothes and go shopping were funny. He bought a bunch of ribbons that we assume he used to tie her up on a card table, which could have been a hot sex scene but it was off the page. I would have liked that scene in the book. Ivy was a wonderful business woman and I liked how she realized that what she thought she wanted, the cottage by the see alone, may not be what she really needed.

I really liked the characters of Octavia (Ivy’s sister), Ana Marie, Nash and Thaddeus, and am looking forward to their books. These side characters provided comic relief and interesting plot lines that I was more interested in that the main characters. Ivy and Sebastian were a slowish burn and when they got together it was hot. While their verbal sparring was good foreplay I wanted a bit more angst.
Profile Image for romancejunkie.
390 reviews80 followers
September 13, 2019
Sebastian has lived his entire life in privilege and has been living as the Duke of Hasford for some months until one day he is called by the family's solicitor and receives the unsetling news that he was not the rightful Duke because his parents marriage was invalid, and the title would go to his cousin.
He is of course shocked and desperate to find something to do and a new place to stay.
When he goes to a gambling house with a friend, he meets the owner of the place, Ivy and becomes intrigued with her. He starts to go there everyday and becomes close to her, and some time later she offers him a job. As they work together on the club the attraction they have for each other becames more hard to deny and they decide to give in to their feelings.
This was a good book, the couple was charming and i really enjoyed their banters with each other. Their HEA was sweet.
I received an arc copy of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review, all opinions here are my own.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
39 reviews4 followers
February 16, 2021
Very mild sex scene spoiler that sums up my problems with the book:

There’s a very cute scene where our hero, who’s never had to shop for himself before, buys tons of differently colored ribbon in excited expectation of his upcoming sexual encounter with the heroine. It’s a great character moment for him, and it’s both fun and great at building anticipation for the reader.

When the time comes, the ribbon is mentioned in past tense, in one sentence, and it just lets us know that they enjoyed it.

Well! Good for them.

The book isn’t bad, and I did genuinely really like the characters and the setting. It just felt rushed. There weren’t many details or quirks or great locations or exciting events to cling too: There was a lot more telling than showing. The book felt like it was telling me about what some interesting people were up to rather than pulling me into the story. I’ll try the other Frampton in my TBR, but I don’t feel a glom coming on.
Profile Image for RachelReadsandSings.
1,212 reviews385 followers
April 30, 2021
I was SO excited to finally read something by Megan Frampton bc I’ve heard that her books have Tessa Dare vibes, and while I agree that at the beginning I felt those vibes/humor, ultimately I was disappointed by this book. It wasn’t bad by any means, but everything from the characters to the romance to the steamy scenes to the plot was just fine.

I was really enjoying the premise of Sebastian having to work at the gambling hell that Ivy runs, but IMO Frampton didn’t do enough with it to keep things interesting/entertaining. I also felt like there was definitely chemistry between the two of them, but I just couldn’t believe that they loved each other by the end. Frampton didn’t develop their relationship nearly enough in my opinion. I might try another one of her books, but I’m starting to understand why all of her works have such low ratings on goodreads.
Profile Image for shoesforall.
213 reviews5 followers
January 19, 2020
I loved this book. It was a nice slow burn that made the chemistry between the characters all the more intriguing. Ivy and Seb were wonderful characters to watch on their journeys of self-discovery. I enjoyed that Seb was the character who needed to figure out who he was. Ivy already knew who she was but she just needed to let go of the limited future she had envisioned for herself and let Seb into her life.

I don't know of a book I have read recently that was more perfectedly paced. The slow build up between the characters, the lack of gotcha moments, and the legitimate misunderstanding all made this romance so much more interesting. The supporting characters, especially the meddling sisters, were wonderful and provided much needed comic relief.

Highly recommended.

I accessed an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Candace.
865 reviews
March 2, 2020
I enjoyed the story of Sebastian, Ivy, Octavia, Ana Marie, Thaddeus and Nash. Sebastian and Ivy were great together. The secondary characters provided the emotional support and the laughter. Even Sebastian's two dogs were a delight. The plot was a traditional romance plot. The subplots were neatly tied up. The break-in at Miss Ivy's gambling business is left for the reader to assume it was either thieves or a business rival. This is never made clear and seemed more like a reason to get Sebastian back into the story. Overall, this novel was a delight to read and it curved my lips into a smile. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Thushara .
291 reviews57 followers
November 3, 2021
The hero's two dogs are named Keats and Byron 🥺💛

This was cute! Our Hero, Sebastian, is such a gentleman. He loses his title in the beginning of the book and is clueless about his future. Then comes Ivy, owner of a gambling house, offering him a job.
There was mutual pining and chemistry with a decent plot that I really enjoyed! This was on the lower side of smut but quite steamy! I loved the familial relationships-felt so genuine! Will definitely continue with the series.
May 4, 2021
I guess I needed to read a historical romance all in the same day (start to finish) to get me out of a little book slump. 🥰
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