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Union of the Rakes #2

Would I Lie to the Duke

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When an ambitious entrepreneur pretends to be a lady of means, she catches the eye—and heart—of a duke...

Jessica McGale's family business desperately needs investors, and she's determined to succeed at any cost. But she knows London's elite will never look twice at a humble farm girl like herself. Posing as “Lady Whitfield,” however, places her in the orbit of wealthy, powerful people—most notably the Duke of Rotherby. His influence and support could save her company, but Jess never expected the effect he'd have on her.

Society thinks Noel is a notorious, carefree duke who dabbles in investments, but there's a side to him that only his closest friends see. When he crosses paths with Lady Whitfield at a business bazaar, his world tilts on its axis. She's brilliant and compelling, and brings him to his knees like no woman has before. Trust is difficult for Noel, but Jess makes him believe anything is possible...

As time ticks down on her Cinderella scheme, the thought of achieving her goal at Noel's expense breaks Jess' heart. He doesn't just want her now, he wants her forever. But will her secret end their future before it begins?

384 pages, ebook

First published July 28, 2020

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About the author

Eva Leigh

33 books1,286 followers
Eva Leigh is a USA Today bestselling author who writes novels chock-full of determined women and men who are here for it. She enjoys baking, spending too much time on the Internet, and listening to music from the ’80s. Eva and her husband live in Central California.

Eva also writes in multiple romance genres as RITA-award nominated Zoë Archer. As Alexis Stanton, she wrote the novel on which the top-rated Hallmark holiday movie "A Timeless Christmas" was based.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 421 reviews
Profile Image for Bookishrealm.
2,085 reviews5,072 followers
December 22, 2020
"Get on your knees and receive your penance." What a hell of ride! I mean damn this one was good! 4.5

Would I Lie to the Duke is the second book in the Union of the Rakes series. I read the first book (this was also my first historical romance) earlier this year and also enjoyed it, but ya'll this blew away my expectations. I'm not sure what I was expecting in terms of the storyline; however, this was it! I ate this whole book up. Every single page. Every single line. This second installment focuses on Jess as she pretends to be a member of high society to save her family business. I know that these books are based on 80's movies. During an interview, Leigh stated that she took inspiration from The Secret of My Success and Working Girl and of course the prologue for each of these books takes inspiration from the Breakfast Club.

This book didn't just do well in terms of writing, but the character development was on point. I loved and genuinely enjoyed each one of these characters. Jess, an intelligent and hardworking woman, was willing do to anything to save her family's business. While part of me was aching for her to be honest to Noel, a bigger part of me felt as though she had no choice. Noel, while rich and a high ranking member of society, had a soft and sweet side of him that I didn't expect. There were moments where I felt as though I was falling in love with Noel at the same time as Jess. They had an electrifying attraction that was undeniable. Although Jess had no intentions of falling in love with Noel, she couldn't resist and I don't blame her! It was also interesting to read a romance where our heroine does most of the groveling. I think that most romance books that I've consumed lately entail the hero doing groveling after they make a mistake. It was watching Jess take responsibility for the lies that she tells Noel as well as navigate the agonizing thoughts she has about potentially hurting him. What I love most about Leigh is that she has made this historical series extremely accessible. There is a feeling of modernity that easily allowed me to transition into reading more of this romance subgenre. While it does take place in the past, I think that Leigh keeps her readers in mind when writing and as a newbie I truly appreciate that.

Let's talk about these steamy scenes BECAUSE ya'll!!! There were so many lines in this book that I plan to use in my real life. Remember that this is my first venture into historical romance and I haven't encountered one where the I've seen a submissive hero. While Noel takes the lead in his social, business, financial, etc life he is willingly submissive in his sexual life. And oh was it a glorious thing to witness. These scenes were intense and I enjoyed every single minute of them. These two definitely had chemistry in and out the bedroom.

It didn't reach a full five stars for me because I did find it predictable in some parts; however, it was definitely one of the best romance reads of the year. If you haven't checked out this series I highly recommend it. While I'm not a historical romance expert, I can definitely recommend this as a good place to start.
Profile Image for Madison Warner Fairbanks.
2,373 reviews340 followers
August 2, 2020
Would I Lie to the Duke by Eva Leigh

Historical romance. 2nd book in the Union of the Rakes series. Can be read as a stand-alone. Commoner poses as high society to keep her family business running. Falling is love wasn’t part of the plan. Nevertheless love happened.

Emotionally satisfying and beautifully written, this romance is heartbreaking and enriching. I fell in love with the Duke who had a soft heart and was essentially a nice and generous person. I fell in love with the heroine who was extremely intelligent in finance and business, who also had a soft spot for the handsome Duke. Their collision course was steamy, sexy and entertaining.

I’ve never read this author before and I was highly impressed by the engaging pace and likability of both the main and secondary characters. While historical romance is not generally on my list, I will definitely look for more books by this author.

Thanks to Avon and Kisscon for an advance paperback copy.
Profile Image for Cait Jacobs (Caitsbooks).
305 reviews14.6k followers
January 27, 2021
*Thank you so much to Avon & Netgalley for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review! All thoughts and opinions are my own. All quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change.*

Check out this review (and more) over on my blog!

Quick Stats:
4.5/5 Stars
Characters: 5/5
Setting: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot and Themes: 4/5
Awesomeness Factor: 4/5
Review in a Nutshell: Would I Lie to the Duke is a fun, sexy read that you will want to reread the second you finish.

“Love isn’t a weapon. It’s not a way to blind someone to you or make someone feel obligated. It should be a gift, a blessing.”

// Content Warning: Mature Content //

“You destroy me-- piece by piece. And I welcome it.”

Release Date: 7/28/2020
Publisher: Avon
Page Count: 384

Would I Lie to the Duke follows Jessica McGale, who, in a desperate attempt to save her family business, poses as “Lady Whitfield” to try and get investors. There, she meets Noel, the Duke of Rotherby, and as they grow closer, Jess must decide if her family business is worth breaking Noel’s heart, and her own.

“Every moment with you is the best I’ve known.”

- Writing & Plot -

I love how Eva Leigh writes historical romance. Her books are easy to jump into, with fun banter and and a fast pace. I couldn’t put the book down, it was so addictive. The only part I wasn’t a fan of was all of the lies, but, that’s kinda what you sign up for when you decide to read it.

“You do burn brightly, but there’s more to you than merely a dazzling gleam in the darkness.”

- Characters -

I loved the two main characters and their dynamic. Our heroine, Jess, is strong and determined, wanting desperately to help her family. Our hero is charming and privileged, but aware of it. Noel is just an amazing character, I cannot stress that enough. He deserves the world, and I love him.
There were also a lot of fun side characters, and I can't wait to see more of them in the next book! I especially loved some of the hints at future romance. I can’t wait to find out more about it!!

“It’s so much better to be alive and hurting than dead and numb.”

- Conclusion -

Pros- Great characters, addictive, fun
Cons- If you can’t stand relationships built on lies… this might not be for you
Overall- 4.5/5 stars.
Would I Lie to the Duke was exactly what I wanted it to be. It was absolutely addictive and I can’t wait to read more in this series.

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Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,208 reviews3,691 followers
July 11, 2020
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

If you are looking for a fun and sexy historical romance with a brilliant, dominant heroine and a rakish but sexually submissive hero, you should definitely check out Would I Lie to the Duke! I had a really good time with this one and I like the way the author plays with power dynamics. This is the second in a series loosely inspired by 80's teen movies, and you will certainly see a few tongue-in-cheek references to modernity. Including a very silly business idea that is the regency era equivalent of Twitter.

Jessica McGale's family soap-making business is in trouble and she is determined to do whatever she must to find investors. Even if it means posing as a Lady widow to gain entrance to a business-related event. And even if it means maintaining the ruse, despite her growing attraction to Noel, a notorious duke.

I loved Jessica as a heroine. She is smart, determined, and is dedicated to the people she loves. What's cool about this book as opposed to many other historicals, is the author lets her be dominant in the bedroom, recognizing that there were so few ways for women during that time to have any kind of power. Noel may be the man AND the one with the money and position, but he is (in the words of the author) dirty-talking and sexually submissive. Note that the steamier scenes involve a fairly light version of consensual power play. It's refreshing to see the role reversal when so often we get dominant heroes. In addition, I really liked their relationship development. It's sweet and vulnerable, despite some necessary lies that create understandable conflict. This is definitely one worth checking out. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Ivana - Diary of Difference.
567 reviews732 followers
March 22, 2022
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Thank you to Mills & Boon, for sending me a copy of Would I Lie to the Duke by Eva Leigh, and for the opportunity to participate on this blog tour.

Would I Lie to the Duke by Eva Leigh is the second book in the Union of the Rakes series. It can be easily read as a standalone though.


This is the story of Jessica McGale. Her family business is in need of investors, after it collapses due to a fire. Jessica is determined to acquire investors for her business at any cost. When she realises that London’s elite will never give a chance to a humble farm girl like herself, she does the unthinkable. She poses as “Lady Whitfield” and joins the elite on the table. She especially tries to get close to the Duke of Rotherby, as his influence and support could save her company. But one thing Jess never expected to happen, is to grow feelings for him.

Noel is the carefree and notorious duke, but only his close friends truly know him. When he meets Lady Whitfield at the business bazaar, his world shifts. She makes him want to obey every command she tells, which is something he never imagined doing. He struggles to trust people, but trusting Jess is so easy.

But what happens when the business bazaar is over, and so is the fake portrayal of Lady Whitfield? How do you cope when someone has lied to you, but you want them in your life forever? Read this amazing book to find out!

My Thoughts:

I was so hooked about this book, and I finished it in two days. While the plot is a bit predictable and it has a Cinderella vibe to it, I still enjoyed it a lot.

I could completely understand where Jess was coming from, and in order to save her business, I don’t think there were any other options, given how much rejection she faced in the first chapters. But as soon as she started developing feelings, she should’ve been honest with Noel. The person in me felt uncomfortable for her every single time she would deliberately put herself in an awkward situation and not tell the truth when she had a chance to. And the business trip to the farm? Oh, that got me biting my nails again. I also understand that continuing with the deception was a crucial part of the plot, to produce the drama that it did, but I am just not a fan of dishonesty.

Noel was an amazing character, even though, at times, he seemed like the typical rich boy.

I loved the way his relationship with Jess progressed during the couple of days, and how he started opening up. Honestly, I didn’t believe it at first, given that it was based on a lie. I thought that given the fact how much trust issues he had, he could never get past her betrayal. And for me, his way of coping and resolving the issue didn’t fit with his character. I have the feeling that people who are lucky enough to have a high income and live in the elite societies are much more wary of “gold diggers”, and everything Jess does (even though for a good reason), seems to be for her business. So I wouldn’t have blamed him if he reacted in a way more different way and just told her to “bugger off”.

Overall, I enjoyed Would I Lie to the Duke and it was a very pleasurable short read to get me away from reality. I don’t always dive into historical romance, and this was a surprising change that ended on a positive note. Honestly, I am glad that it sparks a debate in my mind and makes me think of “what I would have done” on either side of the relationship. I would have acted very differently. And maybe that’s the reason I’m not married to a duke (yet).
Profile Image for Becky (romantic_pursuing_feels).
810 reviews696 followers
June 14, 2020
Jess McGale is a farmer's daughter. Her family makes a wonderful honey scented soap, using real honey from their farm, and the product is unparalleled. Just when they were on the verge of having a supportive financial venture with it, part of the farm is destroyed. Now she's desperate for investors to help repair the damage and get the business back on its feet. She decides posing as Lady Whitfield will get her in to the doors she needs to make this succeed.

Noel is a charming, wealthy, fun loving duke. He really is a rather unique hero with his personality. Those tired of the brooding man with a scowl in the corner, come hither. Those looking for the ultimate gentleman, the every so sweet beta hero, charming, witty, funny, loving...DUKE, here he is. Yes, he has had his adventures back in the day, but upon meeting Lady Whitfield, he finds himself acting like he never has before.

I think so many people will adore this book. The focus is all on the two of them. There is no murderer, no villain, no mystery. The dialogue is wonderfully funny and witty. The hero is not arrogant, pushy, self serving. He will not make you uncomfortable with his advances, as he has very clearly made sure he is not taking advantage of anyone. The sex is super hot and explicit (those that prefer fade to black will probably be skimming over a bit of this), there's plenty of language used (f*** used sexually and as an expletive (33 times) , c**t (2 times)). While it's not bdsm by any means, there is some level of dominant/submissive entered into their relationship with the heroine being the dominant one. She's very demanding and stating exactly what she wants from the duke and he happily obliges. There's always quite a bit of dirty talk going on in the scenes. Leigh's writing creates a wonderfully inclusive world where women are entrepreneurs and their opinions are actually entertained and respected. She lifts up racially diverse characters.

Sadly, and this is just pure personal preference, this book annoyed me to no end. And obviously I shouldn't read a book titled Would I Lie to the Duke when I really just can't abide liars. I just can't. I ended up not liking the heroine AT ALL for her behavior numerous times. For me though, it was more than the fib. It was her taking a wonderfully charming hero and making him beg forgiveness for being too presumptuous, which I thought was an absolute joke. The character development was great in this book, but also fell heavily on the heroine. I still feel like I don't know the hero that well and I definitely read romance for the heroes. I'm always sad when they are neglected. The heroine was so dominant and sexually aggressive compared the hero and that's also something I'm just not that into. None of these make this a bad story, just for me, it didn't give me the feels I wanted. I didn't love the sex because I couldn't get over the heroine.

In so many ways this story was better to me than the first in the series. I feel like the relationships of the union of rakes was much better established and here I could actually imagine and see the friendship of the members, unlike the first book. But I also disliked it so much more than the first one. The first in the series left me bored, but overall happy with a few things. This one makes me gnash my teeth.

Thanks netgalley for the ARC. These are all my very own thoughts and opinions on the book.
Profile Image for Pepa.
950 reviews237 followers
July 15, 2023
Una novela entretenida con el tópico entre plebeya y duque
Lo mejor es la forma en la que él se fija en ella, por su mente y no por su belleza. He de decir que ha empezado muy bien, pero al final, la autora no termina sorprendiendo con la historia, todo ha ido avanzando de forma muy previsible para mi gusto.
Interesante, aunque no novedoso, las relaciones entre ambos y el papel del duque, pero tampoco he visto que se profundice nada en el tema y el rol de poderes
Profile Image for Missy.
718 reviews
May 20, 2022
It has a unique storyline but because it dealt with business and investments, I had little interest in the first couple of chapters and skipped them until the H/h first kissed and skimmed the rest of the book. The heroine is intelligent and hardworking. She’s the eldest of three children and feels responsible of taking care of her two adult siblings and their family’s soap making business. Their business is in danger of closing down so she poses as a lady and through some her quick thinking and luck, she’s able to infiltrate a group of investors to promote her family’s business. Of course, it’s not as straightforward as that since I’m just summarizing. I liked how she analyzes and strategizes to make her plan work. The hero is intrigued by the heroine from the start. She also feels an attraction towards him so they flirt a lot. She’s not completely impressed by his grand gestures to woo her into his bed. She takes control of the situation, which he likes…especially when she’s in control in the bedroom. I really liked them together. They were very compatible.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,741 reviews712 followers
July 28, 2020
I really liked the previous book in the series, but this one was even better.

I loved Jess and Noel. She’s well read and smart and looking for control. He’s charming and loyal and looking to relinquish control. Together they have instant chemistry and enough banter to choke someone. Seeing the rest of the Union was fun and I’m really hoping we get to see a certain lady in an upcoming story.

Plot wise it was good. There are loads of scenes with Jess and Noel together. I was absolutely living for their conversations and the longing filled glances. Of course there’s the inevitable break up, but the angsty times weren’t that bad and the epilogue is perfection.

Overall, it’ll definitely be a story I read again and I can’t wait to catch a glimpse of Jess and Noel in future books.

**Huge thanks to Avon for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Bri.
Author 1 book183 followers
April 22, 2021
Ok, Eva has given us rom-com excellence. I enjoyed this book soooo much more than I anticipated (mostly because of the surprise femdom relationship!!). Undercover/fake identity is one of my fave tropes when done well and Eva Leigh truly nailed it with this one.

There is such good relationship buildup between Jess and Noel! They had funny banter and saucy dialogue and their chemistry was hot. The Duke literally dying to serve Jess even when he was mad?? We love to see iiittt.

I also appreciated that Jess had her own character arc separate from the romance. Noel did too, but I found Jess compelling. I admired her willingness to do anything for her family and their soap business.

Ashley (BookishRealm) did not miss with this rec! I’ll be reading more from this author.
Profile Image for Tracy Emro.
1,836 reviews48 followers
July 22, 2020
When fire destroys part of her family’s farm and prevents them from manufacturing their honey soap, Jessica “Jess” McGale takes a position as a companion to Lady Catherton to help her brother and sister financially. But as luck would have it, Lady Catherton wants to travel abroad and has Jessica go ahead to London to make sure everything is ready for her. Jessica decides to visit some shops on Bond Street and convince them to sell her family’s soap and she is returning to the townhouse, defeated, no one is willing to sell her soaps without an endorsement from someone notable in society, when she sees Noel Edwards, the Duke of Rotherby surrounded by men asking his opinion on investments. She catches his attention when she joins the conversation and adds her opinion. He is impressed with her, but before she can talk to him again, he is swept away with his admirers. She continues on her way and again fate seems to favor Jess. There is a letter waiting for her, it seems her employer hurts her ankle and is unable to travel for a fortnight, but tells Jess to stay in London. Jess immediately forms a new plan – she will attend the “Bazaar”, which is an annual gathering to pair investors with companies in need of capital. The next day, dressed in one of Lady Catherton’s gowns, Jess sets out and is unsuccessfully trying to talk her way into the Bazaar, when Noel appears and invites her in as his guest.

Noel hasn’t stopped thinking of the bold woman who he met on Bond Street and vows to find her as soon as the Bazaar is over. He is overjoyed when he hears her voice and immediately intervenes. She is introduced to him as Lady Whitfield, widow of Sir Brantley Whitfield. He takes her under his wing and introduces her to the others. She fits right in to the group and soon the others are asking her opinion on investing. Noel is attracted to her and loves that she doesn’t seem to be impressed with his title and treats him like he is nothing special. He is determined to get her into bed and sets out to win her.

Jess knows that she is walking a fine line and that her lies could be exposed at any minute, so she tries to keep Noel at arm’s length and as much as she wants him, she can’t risk getting attached. But he is charming and kind and oh so handsome – she finds herself unable to resist, especially when it seems he is not only willing to let her be dominant in sexual matters, but actually desires it. And so, begins a very heated affair, but all too soon her lies will come crashing down and whatever feelings Noel might have had for her will be crushed. Has she lost everything or will love find a way?

This was a well written book, where a Breakfast Club hero meets a Working Girl heroine (with a nod to The Secret of My Success) at regency era Shark Tank. I didn’t dislike the premise and I even chuckled at man seeking investors for his Sparrow messaging system, but overall, I was disappointed – this book was supposed to be a regency – but it was a contemporary romance complete with “woke” characters that had no prejudices, 21st century morals and standards, dressed in period clothing. The story itself is fun, Noel is likable, but I never really felt like I got to know him and I had a hard time liking Jessica, who was lying to everyone, but didn’t have a problem telling Noel he was too arrogant and presumptuous. There are cameos with his “Union” brothers, steaming HOT love scenes, interesting secondary characters and a touching ending complete with an epilogue. This is the second book in the series, but it can be read as a standalone with no problems. Personally, I didn’t really care for this book and I don’t think that I will be continuing with the series, but that is based on my own preferences for Historical Romance and not the author’s ability to write an engaging story.

*I am volunarily leaving a reivew for an eARC that was provided to me.*
Profile Image for Fiona.
101 reviews5 followers
June 29, 2022
This one was significantly better than the first, and almost felt like it was by a different author or in a different series. This book was much more sensual and built up to a conflict that was really logical and had a logical conclusion--quite the rarity!
The steam 😮‍💨 was incroyable 🤌, and very unique compared to what one expects from an HR!
Profile Image for Joana V..
349 reviews71 followers
November 11, 2021
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.


Would I Lie To The Duke is a book I had a hard time describing how it made me feel, for a very simple reason: I hate liars. [I like the fake relationship trope because both characters are aware and in on it]. And yet, I enjoyed this book quite a bit, with the exception of the moments I was reminded that Jess was lying, because she had several opportunities to tell the truth.

But let's start at the beginning. Jess's family is in trouble and they might lose their livelihood, which is why she became a companion and is searching for people who will sell her family's soap in London, as well as invest in their factory.

Cue the Bazaar. A place where wealthy people look for their next profitable investments. It would be a dream to be able to present her project there.

After being rejected by Bond Street vendors, Jess meets (at a distance) the also investor and savvy Duke of Rotherby, Noel. And luck has it, he is one of the Bazaar's investors.

So, when Jess decides to try her luck, he is there, and she presents herself as a Lady, even though she is truly a commoner, a farm girl as she describes herself.

She continues her lie during the whole Bazaar, and her acquaintance with Noel, even when he tells her he feels so happy with her because she doesn't lie, and she doesn't want anything from him. She had several opportunities to tell him the truth. Not necessarily to the Bazaar people, but to him at least. And she abandons him after he pretty much pours his heart out. I was heartbroken for Noel.

In the end, I enjoyed the book, but ended up with the feeling that maybe they shouldn't be together. Jess had her reasons to lie, but that still could have changed as they got to know each other.

I was always disappointed with Jess when she failed to tell him the truth. I think he would have understood (as he did in the end) but suffered less if she had been honest. And I believe he would have helped her, if only she had asked. My favourite part (with the exception of the very sexy, very steamy sex scenes) was when Jess' siblings told her she didn't need to be doing all of that on her own. I think she really needed that bucket of cold water to take her down from the mind-set of "I'm essential, nothing will work without me". Because that's the feeling I got when she said to herself, she was doing it for family, they needed her, who would take care of them? But they were all grown ups. So.... there was a lot of lack of communication that could have helped so much.

I did like Noel quite a bit, as well as his friends. He was intelligent, business savvy, he cared about his tenants. Yes, he used to be quite a rake, but he never forgot his responsibilities. He admired other smart minds, no matter their gender. And he had a crooked smile, who can resist that?

I'm sure that when you read this, you'll think I didn't really enjoy the book, but that's a lie. Even with its problems, I laughed out loud several times as I was reading it, I loved the sexy moments, I really enjoyed a business/inventions background to the story, and I did like at least one of the main characters, which was enough to get me through the book with me cheering for Noel the whole time.

Steamy, great hero, and it left me curious about the other men in the Union of Rakes circle.
Profile Image for Jessica Grogan.
470 reviews20 followers
April 12, 2020
The Breakfast Club-esque prologue of this title along with the scenes of Noel, Duke of Rotherby, and his friends are the absolute best things about this title. I laughed out loud for a few of these scenes, and they definitely have me excited for the next title in the series!!

I felt like Jessica’s side of the story was more compelling than Noel’s. I felt like she had far more to lose than he did and that she had more of a personality.

The only thing that kept me from giving this title 4 stars was the insta-lust that Noel and Jessica experienced. It really didn’t feel like there was much keeping them from acting on their attraction and that makes for a boring read for me.

I did find a possible side romance very, very interesting and I find myself wondering if Eva Leigh will resolve it in the next title or if it will have its own.

I loved the first title in this series and I’m very excited about the next.

*I received an eARC of this title from Eva Leigh and her publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for shoesforall.
217 reviews4 followers
April 10, 2020
I obtained an ePUB of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

I was very much looking forward to this book. Unfortunately, this book is beset by several problems. The first is Noel who is the hero. I would say Noel has the personality of a door but that would be an insult to doors. I don't have any understanding of what makes him tick. Jess seems to be motivated mostly by her desire to get her family farm up and running but she is about as smart as my dog. (I don't have a dog.) Confess to Noel. Ask him for a loan. Stop stealing your employers clothes. End of story.

Because the characters are so poorly developed, and the story so poorly paced, the romance has no spark. I finished this book but I was just going through the motions. I really enjoy this author's work but this one is a miss.
Profile Image for b.andherbooks.
2,127 reviews981 followers
March 12, 2020
Jessica McGale needs an investor, quick, for her family's soap making business. Desperate to secure funds before accompanying her Lady on a tour of the continent, she gets swept up in to a fake identity in order to gain access to a private party of rich aristocrats who spend the week looking for ways to spend their fortunes.

Here Jessica meets the Duke of Rotherby, a man as beautiful as he is kind and seductive as hell. As the pretend widowed Lady Witfield, Jessica impresses Noel, but she is reluctant to take his money or his attention, knowing she is actually naught but a farm girl.

As their time comes to a close, both Jessica and Noel succumb to their building attraction, but at what cost to them both?

Super sweet, I enjoyed this tale! I was following along eagerly with the author's writing of this book and while yes, we find out Noel is in to Jessica dominating their bed sport, this is on the very light side of erotic (all talk, both are new to the kink it seems).

But, all in all another sparkling tale from Eva Leigh!

Thank you to Avon and Edelweiss+ for the ARC!

Profile Image for Antonella.
3,468 reviews472 followers
December 31, 2020
I didn't like this one as book one..maybe I didn't connect with the characters maybe it is the narrator..maybe it is both of those things.
Still, if you are looking for your next historical series I recommend Eva Leigh's books!!
Profile Image for Renae.
1,013 reviews283 followers
December 23, 2020
I suppose that a story about a commoner infiltrating the Regency era’s version of Shark Tank should have been fascinating. Instead, it was unspeakably boring. Eva Leigh’s character-building is shallow and dull, and her prose is ridiculously florid and purple. I didn’t dislike the book, but neither did I enjoy reading.

Would I Lie to the Duke is kind of like a meal you get at a fast-food place just because you’re hungry and don’t want to cook and it’s on the way home from work. It tastes okay, but it’s not somewhere you’d go as a first choice in any mood. That’s how I felt about this book.

Primarily, though, I want to complain about the duke. (Rant ahead)

Leigh all but force-feeds her readers the idea that Noel is a “progressive duke” and is therefore good and admirable and “not like other members of the aristocracy.” The problem is: when you advertise that your romance is trying to subvert historical truths, you give your readers expectations. And in this case, my expectations were very much not met.

I mostly don’t have a problem with “regular dukes,” where the source of their vast income is conveniently left a mystery—lots of romance authors do it, and as readers, we all seem to agree to turn a blind eye. But when you tell me repeatedly that your duke is different, I expect him to be different. But Noel was just a regular duke, in spite of all of Leigh and the other characters’ protestations to the contrary.
“The gentry get what they want, and we’re left in the muck. Bunch of blackguards, the lot of ’em.”

“Not all of them are bad, she said automatically. “Some try to do good with the power they’re given.” She dashed a knuckle across her eyes in a vain attempt to stem her tears.

Here, Noel is “trying to do good” by…not investing in sugar plantations. That’s it. That’s all the good he does. Slavery is bad, he tells us, so therefore I don’t invest my money in slavery. Instead, he invests in local business ventures (hence the Regency Shark Tank scheme). Except…investing, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily as altruistic as Leigh wants us to think. Noel is investing in order to make money, not to “help” small businesses. This is made clear, by the way, because his primary goal in life is to spend his money and have a good time:
When he’d become the Duke of Rotherby at the age of twenty-three, he’d had two intentions: enjoy the hell out of himself, and don’t abuse his privilege.

So here we have one of the most powerful men in the British Empire treating life like a fucking vacation. And need I remind everyone that at this point, slavery is still legal in said Empire?! Seems to me that if Noel actually, deeply cared about the oppressed, he could take his aristocratic ass to Parliament, put his money where his mouth is, and try to enact some change via the legal system—which he is uniquely suited to do. Or he could give away his money to charity! The only money he ever “gives” is to those he invests in, which…again….isn’t very selfless in the long run.

Fuck dukes, man.

Although, I must say that this made me laugh out loud:
Just then, he did feel like a human firework, brilliant as it exploded across the sky.

*carries boombox on shoulder, blasting Katy Perry*

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Profile Image for eyes.2c.
2,586 reviews67 followers
July 28, 2020
Actually, Yes!

A young woman Jessica McGale is determined to save the family soap business. The product is of high quality, the only problem is that a fire has destroyed the plant. She and her siblings need investors.
Noel Edwards, the Duke of Rotherby heads a group called the Bazaar who each year hold a week long event looking at businesses to invest in.
Jess is resolved to attend. How she manages this is heart beatingly fascinating. Worthy of Becky Sharpe of Vanity Fair. How Jess manages to keep her ruse going provides delicious tension.
What she didn't understand was how much she'd be attracted to the duke.
Noel is besieged by sycophants and people who want something from him. The only people he trusts are his fellow members of The Union of Rakes, four men he's known since Eton. (How they first come to know each other is nicely drawn.) The Duke trusts very few and Jessica's actions are setup for breaking that trust from the get go. Hmmm!
Of course as Jessica and Noel get to know each other the sparks fly. Endless pages of their saucy interactions provides--well far too much information. There were moments when I wanted to say enough! In fact I found myself skipping their repetitive coupling. Can we get back to the story I'd complain to myself. When the Duke's particular peccadillo of enjoying being mastered, or should that be mistressed, I started to yawn. What do I infer from this? The man who commands wants a change of pace?
Well he gets that along with a woman who certainly lets him down on the 'truth' side of things. Do I blame her, not really she's fighting for farm and family. Still in the end I lost interest. This had the bones of a good story but when the twist was sidelined, so was I.

A HarperCollins ARC via NetGalley
Profile Image for Bookread2day.
2,311 reviews63 followers
September 28, 2020
My review is on my website www.bookread2day.wordpress.com

I always love reading mills and boon romance stories, and Would I lie to the Duke is my first book that I have read by Eva Leigh, that I thoroughly enjoyed so much I couldn’t put the paperback down.

I thought the peach dress on the lady who meant to be Jessica McGale on front of the cover set the book off making the paperback very eye catching, and of course with the dashing Duke in the back ground in smart suit.

I loved reading about Jessica McGale’s business as it was a refreshing idea for a business.

Jessica McGale worked for the Countless of Catherton, she had the job of telling staff what to do. The ladyship was a wealthy peer who paid well and as Jessica needed the money, before she was just a farmer’s daughter.

Jessica was in desperate need of cash as her farm buildings had burned down causing her and her sister to loose their Honey soap business, and now Jessica McGale was trying to earn a deposit to renovate the whole farm, for herself and her sister, to start making their honey soap again.

Things are getting hot and sensitive for Jess and the Duke, when they try to keep it a secret that they have feelings for each other.

My Favourite Line: Goddam him, making her melt like a beeswax candle.

Jess is hiding a big secret if Noel the Duke, decides to invest in her soap business McGale & McGale she couldn’t allow him to think that she had slept with him to secure his money as Jess was desperately in need for investors for her soap business.

When the Duke knows the truth who Jess is, will it only make him view their every interaction as a betrayal?

Risking her heart to guarantee her future.

What will the future hold for Jess will she still plan to carry on with her family soap business or will her heart want the Duke? Or could she have both a business and the Duke?

Or will Jessica McGale leave with nothing?

Fans of Mills and Boon romances you will love Eva Leigh’s page turning strong romance writing, keeping us wondering up until the end how Jessica McGale’s life will turn out, for better or for the worst.
Profile Image for Karena.
175 reviews
March 4, 2020
This was so fun and so sexy. Working Girl meets The Secret of My Success as stated from the author and it works brilliantly. Noel is the Princess archetype from The Breakfast Club and it's so carefully executed. Jess is a wonderful foil for his carefree manner. There are some really great Easter eggs that had me cackling. Eva Leigh does it again. I can't wait to see what the jock in the next Union of Rakes book gets up to.
804 reviews21 followers
January 8, 2023
Would I lie to the Duke is the second book in Union of the Rakes series by Eva Leigh and is the love story of the Duke of Rotherby whom we met in the first book and Jessica McGale, a commoner who would go to any lengths to save her family business.

I enjoyed this for the most part. Noel and Jess shared a fantastic connection and the whole concept of a woman striving hard for her business was pretty novel for a historical romance book. The days of the Bazaar when Noel and Jess spent so much time together was an absolute delight.

I was hoping for Jess to be honest about her identity much sooner and definitely of her own volition rather than her being cornered. I felt that the lie went on for so long that I started resenting her a bit towards the end especially because Noel was being so forthcoming and vulnerable throughout the book.

Their whole relationship started off on a lie essentially and it was a bit unpleasant imo. I would have loved this no doubt if Jess had confided in him since the start and both of them came up with a way to save the business together.

Nevertheless, I admired Jess' resilience and mental strength for working so hard towards her goal. Also, the steamy scenes in this one were something I have NEVER ever read before in such romances and were very creatively written.

3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Lisa (Remarkablylisa).
2,289 reviews1,832 followers
February 13, 2022
Overall, an average read. Our hero and heroine are instantly attracted to each other but i wasn't feeling it from her side since she was lying about her identity all along. I thought the friends to lovers aspect was a bit boring and I wished there was more conflict instead of business talk LOL
Profile Image for Sophie.
1,235 reviews445 followers
August 17, 2020
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via Edelweiss. This in no way impacted on my view.

Would I Lie to the Duke follows Jessica McGale as she navigates London as a companion to Lady Catherton, while trying to save her family's soap making business that burned down a few months ago. After Lady Catherton is delayed in the country due to an illness, and Jess is alone in London, she decides to masquerade as Lady Whitfield, gain access to the exclusive Bazaar, and find some wealthy backers to save her family. She meets Noel, Duke of Rotherby, and together they have such a chemistry that she starts to forget that she's little old Jess McGale, and not Lady Jessica Whitfield. Noel, for his part, has never felt like this around a stranger. He's always been slightly hidden and aloof, apart from with his closest friends, the Union of Rakes, but Jess breaks down all his walls and she the real Noel. When their attraction becomes too much, the spanner is thrown in the works when the Bazaar want to travel to Jess' hometown, to see the business in situ, and her whole Cinderella style dream could come crashing down around her. Will Noel forgive her, or has she ruined everything?

Eva Leigh has been an author I've wanted to read ever since I got into Regency romances, and this book was just fantastic. I was hooked from the get go, and really enjoyed both points of view. Jess was a perfect heroine, and her story was so moving, and I completely understood why she pretended to be Lady Whitfield for so long, and get it a secret from Noel, even though she knew it was likely to turn out in a big mess. She was caught up in the whole experience, and felt like Jess McGale wouldn't be someone that Noel would be interested in, and she wanted that love and attention before it was too late and the clock struck midnight. Noel, on the other hand, was a very complex character, I felt, who had his two different personas, but only with Jess, and the occasional appearance of his fellow Rakes, did his true persona appear, and we really got to know the real Noel, and not the Duke of Roherby. When both of them were apart, they were thinking about the other, and though their attraction and lust was instant, them starting to love each other grew gradually, as the story progressed, and it felt natural. Inevitably, there was a bit of drama and angst towards the ending when Jess' lies caught up with her, but the resolution was just what was needed, and I'm now desperately looking forward to book 3, Waiting For a Scot Like You. I can't wait to read more of Eva's books in the future.
Profile Image for Leanne | Read Sweetly to Me.
59 reviews15 followers
August 23, 2020
I kind of missed calling Rotherby ‘Rotherby’. It took some getting used to to refer to him as Noel…and that is my only critique of this book.

Jessica McGale is in trouble. After her parents death, and a fire on the farm, her family business is in danger of failing and she and her siblings risk being split up. She needs people to invest in their business but no one will listen to a poor farm girl with a damaged farm. A chance comes when she manages to make her way into the Bazaar, a place where wealthy aristocrats invest in businesses. But the only way she gets in, is by posing as a noblewoman herself…

I loved this book. It had the heat that was missing from book 1 (some of those sex scenes were darn steamy). The chemistry between the two was clear right from the start, they were amazing together.

Noel was such a breath of fresh air. For all those tired of dark, brooding heroes–I present you Noel. He is the epitome of a gentleman, he’s fun loving, he’s endlessly charming and, most importantly, he apologises when he does something wrong. He was such a sweet, witty hero and I loved every time he came on the page. It was so lovely to see him wooing Jess and it was heart warming whenever he showed her his vulnerable side.

Also, he’s a sexually submissive Duke. I honestly can’t find fault with him. He was amazing. I knew I’d love him from the glimpses we caught in book 1 but he fulfilled those expectations and then some. Ah, I could honestly praise him for days.

But I can’t forget Jess, our leading lady. She was so confident, both sexually and in her normal life. She knew what she wanted and needed and she was determined to succeed. Whilst some of her actions resulted in pain, both for herself and others, this was about her journey. I loved her character growth, she was such a savvy businesswoman and I adored whenever she had a chance to shine.

We saw a lot more of the other guys in this book, which was brilliant. I loved that we’re gradually seeing more of these guys, and their relationship seemed more real in this book. There were very much part of the background in the previous book so I liked how they played more of a part in this one.

Overall this was such an engaging read, there were some genuinely warm, funny moments. All I can say is I cannot wait for the next Union of the Rakes book!

Also I need there to be a Curtis and Rowe book. I’ll even take a novella! Please Eva Leigh? Pretty please?
Profile Image for Holly.
118 reviews1 follower
May 3, 2020
This is just an absolutely perfect example of a fun, low angst, sexy as hell, hilarious romance. Noel and Jess had such incredible chemistry, the supporting characters felt so well flushed out and wonderful, and it struck a perfect balance between understanding where everyone was coming from and wanting to shake them and be like "GAHHHH TALK TO EACH OTHER." I think that balance was struck so perfectly because they truly are super honest and vulnerable with each other about their feelings and their wants and needs, so even when, plot wise, withholding information is needed, it still feels like they're communicating. I love a brilliant heroine with a mind for business and friendships of her own, and I love a hero who falls for someone who challenges him and has a solid support system of dude friends around him too.

Ugh, I just love this book and I love Eva Leigh. There were at least two relationships that I want to see develop more alluded to in this one and I can't wait!
Profile Image for Elley Murray.
1,164 reviews144 followers
October 14, 2020
I really LOVED the first book in this series, My Fake Rake, and was super excited to read more about Rotherby, the rakish Duke (or Noel, as we come to know - and love him - as in this book). Also, it's a mistaken identities trope and something of a Cinderella story, and you know I'm a sucker for both, so I clearly needed this book in my life.

I didn't love Noel and Jess as a couple as much as Sebastian and Grace in the first book in this series. HOWEVER, My Fake Rake was one of my top 5 favorite books I read in 2019, so it's a VERY high bar. I love how driven Jess is, and how... NOEL Noel is. There's really not another word to describe it. Their chemistry is dynamic, and the slow burn of their heat growing is delicious.

I didn't really like their sort of fledgling dom/sub relationship, though kudos to them being kinky in Ye Olden Times I guess? I guess if you don't have the internet and modern culture to desensitize you, their sexual relationship was likely quite edgy for the times. It just fell kind of flat for me and I found myself skimming through the sex scenes to get back to the story. Maybe it was just that I'm not used to any kink in historicals? I spent entirely too long trying to figure out why it put me off a bit (besides repeated use of the word "quim," bleh) and I just can't pinpoint it. Anyway, the sex scenes didn't really work for me, but the ENTIRE REST OF THE BOOK DID.

Especially because with every mistaken identity trope, there's the reveal of who the person really is. Midnight eventually comes and Cinderella goes back to her rags and her reality. But imagine Cinderella had lied about who she was to the prince for days, and that he was more vulnerable and honest and himself with her than he ever was with anyone before, ever. And then suddenly there she is in rags with her carriage just a smashed pumpkin behind her. My heart, it breaks for them both, and Eva Leigh writes this inevitable crash and heartbreak after the fantasy SO wonderfully that it had me sobbing into my Kindle. (And let's be real, this is a romance so we know it's going to all end Happily Ever After anyway, so it's OK to cut loose and cry.)

Would I Like to the Duke is the second book in the Union of Rakes series, but can be read as a stand alone. Holloway and the others of the Union of Rakes make a bit of an appearance, and there are some very minor spoilers for the first book, My Fake Rake. One of the main characters for book three, Waiting for a Scot Like You is Lady Farris, whom I very much came to love in this book - I can't wait!!

A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

Like this review?
Check out more of my reviews on my blog, Elley the Book Otter
Profile Image for Hannah B..
882 reviews1,317 followers
April 9, 2022
✨Not the audiobook for me.✨

Okay so long story short, I absolutely did not vibe with the narrator. She was fine for Jess, but lord save me from that Noel voice. It was so . . . squeaky, stuck up, bad. Imagine the voice of Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice remarking on the excellence of boiled potatoes. Then imagine him trying to talk dirty to you. It just reaaaaally did not do it for me.

Thus, I couldn’t get fully into this book. I also just really didn’t care about the business conversations and all of that jazz. (Louis Armstrong would have been proud.) There was no real enemy or source of tension besides Jess’s lie, which, when it finally unraveled, wasn’t surprising or shocking.

I probably would have eaten this book up like pasta salad on the Fourth of July if I’d have read the paperback. Jess and Noel’s chemistry could fry an egg on the sidewalk at midnight. I loved how Noel gave himself over entirely to Jess and the trust that existed between them. Their power dynamic was unique and the consent was always there. There was intense dirty talk and the language felt very modern.

I think I’m going to read the other paperbacks in the series because I am SO intrigued by the two friends of Noel who DEFINITELY woke up cuddling when they had to share that bed. I do also believe I would have enjoyed this book far more if I had either liked the narrator or read the paperback. There still would have been issues, but nothing that would stop me from reading the next book.

⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5 🌶🌶🌶.25*/5

*.25 🌶s deducted for the Mr. Collins treatment.
Profile Image for ChasingLeslie.
373 reviews65 followers
July 30, 2020
Miss Jessica McGale and her siblings run a soap business that is desperately in need of capital after a fire halted their production and plans for expansion. On “hiatus” from working as a lady’s companion, Jess poses as a widowed lady in order to sneak into an investor event. Noel Edwards, Duke of Rotherby, inadvertently helps “Lady Whitby” gain entry to the exclusive group. Jess is unlike any other woman Noel has ever known and he’s willing to do anything to bring her closer into his orbit.

This is the second book in the Union of Rakes series. I liked this story better than the first one. It works well as a stand-alone and the couple from the first book is barely mentioned.

I thought this was a hidden identity trope done pretty well. You’re always waiting for that shoe to drop when the plot centers around a lie, but I was just happy it wasn’t another kidnapping!!! I liked the resolution.

This book had some great steam, but I was a little put off by the “sexually submissive duke” narrative. If the author had left it as a dirty talking hero and assertive heroine, I would have enjoyed it more. To me, it felt forced and distracting.

* I received an ARC from the publisher and this is my honest review. Thank you, Avon!
2,347 reviews14 followers
April 24, 2020
Still debating on this one. I think what kept me til the end was the references, since I am an 80's girl I continued. However I dont like relationships that begin and continue with lies, yes I know it is the premise of the story, but knowing that Noel has problems with liars I think the truth should have come out sooner. That being said I get that Jess was willing to do about anything to save her business, well her and family's business. All in all it is an entertaining book to pass the time.

rcvd an ARC at no cost to author..(netgalley) voluntarily reviewed with my own thoughts and opinions
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