cover image Mistress by Midnight

Mistress by Midnight

Maggie Robinson, Kensington Brava, $14 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-0-7582-5101-5

When the young marquess of Conover is forced into an arranged marriage, he and his beloved neighbor, Laurette Vincent, first swear unsanctioned vows and consummate their relationship. The result is a daughter, whom Laurette keeps secret. Con fathers the obligatory legitimate heir, then abandons his wife and child to travel the world for a decade until his wife's sudden death. Just when Con and Laurette can finally get together, secrets, loyalties, and hurt feelings tear them apart. Con resolves to win Laurette through the odd strategy of blackmailing her into becoming his mistress, all while planning to marry her and bring her into society. Robinson (Mistress by Mistake) mines every tiny shred of conflict to try to make their alienation believable, with mixed results. There's plenty of passion and genuinely likable characters, but the thin plot feels more suited to a novella. (Jan.)