Desmond Ryland, Marquess of Conover, has lived as his uncle's pawn and was at the mercy of his wife's money for 11 years. Finally, he has made his own fortune and has returned to England to to live the life he has dreamed of -- with the woman who has owned his heart forever, Laurette Vincent.
Except, Laurette doesn't want him and has refused his proposal.
Con embarks on a merciless campaign to win Laurie's heart, exchanging payment for her brother's debts with 6 months of her in his bed as his mistress.
Laurette has no choice but the accept and she knows she isn't all that reluctant or unwilling. Laurette has loved Con forever. But 11 years have passed and so many secrets stand between them.
When Con discovers the one devastating secret Laurie has kept from him all these years, he becomes even more relentless and will stop at nothing to get what he has always wanted: Laurie as his wife.
This is a story about second chances -- of getting things right the next time. Con and Laurie have been given an opportunity to complete the love affair they started long ago. Love is not the issue for these two lovers. It is there. It has always been there --
There really isn't anything standing in their way -- except themselves. (Laurie, especially.)
Con is willing to give it another try but Laurie is not. Unlike Con, she has learned the lessons from their youthful indiscretion -- and continues to be burdened by the consequences.
It was wonderful reading about these two weathered lovers navigate through the murky waters of their past as they set a course for their future.
The characters were all very endearing. I especially loved Marianne, Con's wife (who is dead in the story) but whose character is revealed in the flashbacks and through the conversations between Laurette and Con. She was an amazingly realistic woman -- who knew that her husband did not love her but loved him anyway. Who knew about "the other woman" and made friends with her anyway. But she wasn't a saint -- she also had her imperfections.
Maggie Robinson shows us that romance and "happily ever after" isn't just for young love or first love -- but it is also for those who have loved, lost and loved again.
I really enjoyed reading this book and I'm currently reading Mistress by Marriage.
Mistress by Midnight is part of Maggie Robinson's Courtesan Court series.