It’s 1881, and Jane Montgomery of Halls Pass, Colorado, is a forward-thinking woman. Stifled by society’s conventions and attitudes toward women, and her parents’ expectations, Jane believes she was born for more. Born to learn about mechanical engineering, in fact.
But fate (or is it God?) seems to have other ideas. After attending a dance at the town hall, Jane wakes up on a sofa in Reverend Andrew’s parlour, in the arms of Tyrone Harding, a man she has known all her life, one who always rubs her up the wrong way, even if though he sometimes makes her heart beat faster.
Tyrone is just as appalled as Jane to discover they are married, something neither of them remember happening as a result of drinking too much punch, spiked by Tyrone’s meddling younger sister. (This was a bit of a stumbling block for me. If they were drunk enough not to remember anything - and there was a lot to remember, as described later in the story - then surely they would’ve been incredibly ill the next morning, rather than just have a pesky headache?) But, no matter how it happened, married they are, and to Tyrone’s horror because ‘females are nothing but trouble’, Jane is now his responsibility.
What follows is a lively, engaging story about two people whose most prized possession - their freedom - has been taken away. Jane’s plans to escape the confines of her life have been ruined, as has Tyrone’s resolve to live his life without a female in it.
As Tyrone and Jane negotiate their way around their relationship they encounter emotions neither of them expect or understand. At times, I found their attitudes toward one another a little too up and down and a tad confusing, but the banter between them was really well done and there were many laugh-out-loud moments at the way they unsettled each other. There were many poignant moments too, as the characters’ emotional wounds were poked and prodded until they were made to address them with the kind of honesty that left them open and vulnerable to one another, an honesty that tested and refined their true feelings.
The concept of the dare referred to in the title was a clever one, and I loved the inevitable consequences. Historical romance is not my first choice in the romance genre, but I’d read Lucy’s first book, Mail Order Surprise, and I figured I’d be in for a treat. I wasn’t wrong.