Mistress by Midnight
by Maggie Robinson
For once, the back cover blurb does a good job describing this book. Desmond Ryland becomes the Marquess of Conover at nineteen which is when he discovers what a poor shape his lands, and therefore people, are in. Even though he desperately wants to marry his childhood friend and lover, Laurette Vincent, he knows that the responsible thing is to marry the heiress who wants his title. Seeing no other option, he does his duty and weds, begets a male heir, and then promptly leaves for foreign lands to not be seen again by his Laurette, his wife, or son until after his wife's death.
Meanwhile, Laurent has birthed his daughter without his knowledge and has another family raising her. To her daughter she is just a "cousin." Laurent has also integrated herself into Conover's family befriending his wife and helping to raise his son. So when he returns and immediately asks for Laurent's hand in marriage, he doesn't understand why she denies him. Being a man, and as you can see pretty dumb, he decides that the only way to make Laurent marry him is to debauch her brother and then blackmail Laurent into becoming his mistress.
Yeah, I know. It all seems really silly, but the plot wasn't my main problem with this book. Overall, I really enjoyed this read. The writing was very good, and although I was frustrated with the choices Laurent and Con made, I wanted them to be together. I just wish they had gotten there a lot faster and with a lot less pigheadedness, manipulation, and lies. He wants her to be his mistress. She loves him still, but won't marry him because she's afraid of telling him about her child. He knows about their child but doesn't want to tell her yet. They have a lot of sex. It's good, but she can't forgive his abandonment of her and everyone else he should have been protecting. He can't understand why she would deny them both their happiness, but agrees he's been stupid many, many times. They have more sex. Etc, etc, etc, ad nauseum. For like 100 pages too many.
But (and it's a big BUT), I still liked the characters and wanted to finish the story. Most of the stupid decisions they made I could believe silly people could make. The misunderstandings never seemed like "The Big Misunderstanding" plot device, and I wouldn't characterize either of them as TSTL. They make stupid decisions that real people could make if this (not so real seeming) situation were to ever happen.
Bottom Line: I enjoyed this book, but I can't recommend it. I think it might be one of those rare reads that you decide to read on your own, regardless what other people think, because you either like the author, the plot, or this type of book.
“Two flawed and tortured lovers find that there's still hope when there's love.”
January 2011, 352 pages
As children, Desmond Ryland, Marquess of Conover, and Laurette Vincent were inseparable. As young adults, their friendship blossomed into love. But then fate - and Con's need to marry for money - sent them down different paths. Years later, Con is determined to have Laurette at last. There's just one problem. She keeps refusing his marriage proposals. Throwing honour to the wind, Con decides that the only way Laurette will wed him is if he thoroughly seduces her...Laurette's pulse still quickens every time she thinks of Con. So much has happened since they were last lovers. But how long can she resist the consuming desire that demands to be obeyed...?