Review: The Duke with No Smile by Claire Ballentine (2021)

The Unobtainables, Book 1

Heat Factor: There’s one very lengthy but also vanilla interlude after 60%

Character Chemistry: It took a long time to put them together and he remained largely opaque

Plot: She’s a lot and he’s humorless and there’s just a TON of other stuff going on

Overall: At the end of the day I think this one tried to do a little too much

Continue reading “Review: The Duke with No Smile by Claire Ballentine (2021)”
My First Smut

My First Smut: Escape into a hot, sexy romance

My First Smut is a recurring feature where we talk about our formative smut experiences. These short confessionals may include such details as: What book did you read? How old were you? Were there other people involved? What made the experience special? What role does smut play in your life?

This week, romance author Claire Ballentine talks about getting hooked on smut with her older sister. (Ingrid can relate.)

First romance novel you read:

Jilly Cooper – Riders

How old were you?

Early teens

How’d you get your hands on the book?

My older sister. Wild and adventurous, with a feline curiosity and devil may care attitude – she paved the way for many of my firsts and encouraged me to follow. She was, and still is in many ways one of my all-time favourite heroines, and my go to. What she didn’t know back then, she made up and always left me wide eyed with fascination. Taboo should have been her middle name.

What was the reading experience like?

Fun, and far more exciting than I could have imagined – quite an awakening!

What made the experience special?

Giggling with my sister later as we tried to make sense of everything we’d read.

What role does smut play in your life?

I absolutely love it. There is no better place to escape than in the pages of a hot, sexy romance – I like the slow burn, the building sexual tension as the couple navigate their way towards the climax – in both ways. I love most genres as long as the characters are engaging, but my all time weakness is Georgian / Regency. Dreamy setting, witty banter, all prim and proper on the surface but smoldering underneath.


Originally from England, Claire now lives in the beautiful Whitsundays in North Queensland – Australia. An avid reader of most genres, her all-time favourites have always been historical romance, and after a lifetime of daydreaming about becoming an author, she finally plonked her bum on a chair and started to write… and has no intention of ever stopping.

The Duke with No Smile is Claire’s first book in the Regency Romance Series – THE UNOBTAINABLES.

Connect with Claire: Website | Instagram | Facebook

Thanks Claire! We look forward to reading The Duke with No Smile – sad Georgian dukes are basically Erin’s catnip. And we’ve gotta say it, holy cow, Riders has some of the most amazing cover art we’ve ever seen, so that delicious snack is going straight to the TBR.

Have an early smut experience you’d like to share with us? If you’d like to see your story featured, send us an email or fill out our questionnaire and we’ll post it in an upcoming week.