Release: Nov 30, 2010
A wicked duke’s bed is no place for a lady…
Lady Merryn Fenner is on a mission to ruin the Duke of Farne. A beautiful bluestocking with a penchant for justice, Merryn has waited twelve years to satisfy her revenge against Garrick Farne. Her family name had been tarnished at his hands, her life destroyed.
For twelve years Garrick, Duke of Farne has kept the secret of what really happened on the night that he killed his best friend, Stephen Fenner, in a duel. Now Stephen’s sister is intent on discovering the truth and putting at risk all those secrets Garrick has protected.
When a disaster traps Merryn and Garrick together, white-hot desire stirs between the two sworn enemies. Merryn’s reputation is utterly compromised and she is forced to do the one thing she cannot bear; accept the scandalous marriage proposal of the man she has vowed to ruin.
Beware of scandalous women…
Mistress of Midnight is the third book in the “Scandalous Women of the Ton” series. I requested this book from NetGalley to read and review as I thought it sounded intriguing! It was! I went into this book never having read anything by Nicola Cornick and was so impressed that I am already reading more of her work!
Mistress of Midnight is about Lady Merryn Fenner and Garrick, the new Duke of Farne. These two know each other from many years ago when Garrick was married, and Merryn was an almost teenager. Lady Merry Fenner is now a stubborn opinionated young woman living with her two sisters. One sister is married and the other is a widow (and I would assume the subjects of the first two books) Although her two sisters are noted beauties, Merryn sees herself as quite plain and describes herself as a bluestocking. What her sisters don’t know is she is working as a private investigator for a man named Tom Bradshaw. She feels that Tom is an honest investigator and he is helping her discover the truth about her brother’s death. Merryn’s brother was killed in a duel, but according to the reports they have uncovered he had more than one bullet hole! She wants Garrrick, the newly minted Duke of Farne to hang for her brother’s murder. Right at the beginning of the book, Merryn is found by Garrick while she is searching his house for evidence. Although he doesn’t recognize her, Merryn discovers that to her chagrin, sparks still fly between them. These sparks spur Garrick to discover who it was sleeping in his bedroom and why she was there. The publisher’s blurb actually gives away alot of the story, but doesn’t comment on how wonderfully told this story is!
Garrick has had a rough life. He marries a woman who is in love with his best friend, whom he ends up killing. Garrick’s father was difficult to live with. He had the morals of an alley cat, and the temper of a snake. He brought Garrick up to a life of duty – taking over running the Dukedom when he died. But Garrick is surrounded by illegitimate siblings. Garrick’s own sense of right and wrong has him making some changes when he inherits, yet holding true to some promises made years ago. He is hard and unmoving on the outside, yet a romantic and a man of strong principles on the inside. He does what he feels is correct regardless of what others think of him. Merryn is also a strong, principled character that is innately honest. Although she has faced alot of tragedy in her life, she remains true to what she feels is right.
Nicola Cornick is a wonderful writer. Although the book is over 300 pages, she has the ability to make those words and pages fly by. She can write love scenes that go on for pages, yet you are so engrossed in the story that you don’t notice the time pass. I need to give an example of how Ms. Cornick writes about a kiss.
“He knew he was lying to himself even as he kissed her. If he tasted her response just one more time he would not be able to let her go.
He bent his head and his lips met hers.
That night in his bedroom it had been no more than a brief caress. At the library he had kissed her with ruthless intent. This time he did not hurry to force a reaction. This time he courted a response from her, teasing her lips until they parted to allow his tongue to slip into her mouth, tasting her, drawing out the pleasure. He felt her tremble
and slid his arms about her to hold her still.
It was a thousand times more potent than Garrick had ever imagined. Her lips were soft and yielding beneath his, offering the sweetest of surrenders. Her tentative response, the hesitant way she touched her tongue to his, tempted him to deeper intimacies. Suddenly Garrick wanted to make love to her here and now, throw her down on the bed or taker her on the rug before the fire, he who had not behaved like that with a woman in twelve years and had thought he never would again, the Duke whose emotions were ice-cold and whose only passion was for books and dry documents.
He deepened the kiss, plundering her mouth now, desire leaping to wild desire, passion laced with tenderness. He slid a hand into the bodice of the rose-pink gown and felt the curve of her breast against his palm, small and soft, the nipple tightening against his fingers. It was shattering, hardening his arousal to painful proportions. She made a sound deep in her throat, and her body seemed to quiver beneath his caress. Feral possession ripped at Garrick and set him gasping. He was within an inch of losing control and ravishing her body as fiercely as he took her mouth.
He fought a brief, violent struggle for self-control and let her go, stepping back.
And then he saw her face and almost dragged her back into his arms. There was a dreaming unawakened expression in her eyes and a little smile on her lips as though she had just discovered something new and so fascinating that she was enchanted by it.”
While I read this passage I was drawn to the edge of my seat, engrossed in what I was reading. Finally at the end I slumped back in my seat with the release of tension. My husband was across the room staring at me – “What are you reading? Are you alright?” I was completely unaware that my reading had attracted his attention. It didn’t seem to matter what part of this book I was reading, I was so involved in the story that I was completely unaware of the world around me. I have read many good authors in my time, but few engross me in their story the way that this author does. I have to give this book my highest rating – I was completely taken aback at what this author has produced! This book is due out Nov 30 – get in line ladies!