Publish Date: 11/30/10
How I got this book: NetGalley
Lady Merryn was gently raised, but has a secret that no one knows. She has been working undercover as an inquiry agent, using her charms in the ballroom where her boss can't be. Her main goal is to take down the Duke of Farne, her older brother's former best friend, the man who allegedly shot him in a duel.
Garrick, the Duke of Farne has been living with an equally huge secret, and will do anything to make sure it never comes out. But when Merryn starts looking into the details surround the duel with her brother, he worries that she may soon discover the truth. He does everything he can to thwart her investigations.
When the two are caught in a very compromising position, Merryn must accept his marriage proposal. But will they be able to actually go through with the marriage, without the truth between them?
Having never read Cornick before, I really enjoyed her writing. I have to say that the mystery surrounding the details of the duel kept me on edge, and as someone who can usually guess the mystery correctly, it was good to be in the dark for so long. Once the secrets were revealed, it was a little bit of a shock, and I could see why Garrick wanted to keep it a secret, and why Merryn was upset with the details.
The relationship between Garrick and Merryn was fun as well. I always love stories when the hero and heroine start off with some kind of animosity between each other and can get past those to discover that they really are great together. All that sexual and romantic tension just makes the story so much better for me, and Garrick and Merryn were full of it.
I did wonder for awhile there though if Merryn and Garrick would be able to overcome all their obstacles. Garrick's hang-ups with his first wife's infidelity, Merryn's somewhat disillusioned view point of her brother, her all consuming hatred of what she assumed Garrick did, Merryn's work with the inquiry agent, the list goes on. The fact that they were able to overcome, despite being shoved together through a scandal, was a hard process. I found myself tearing up at times.
The supporting class of characters were amazing as well. I enjoyed Merryn's crazy sisters, and watching them go from seemingly ditzy women, to two warmhearted sisters who genuinely cared about what happened to their youngest sister. Garrick's butler provided some great comedic relief for me as well, constantly comparing poor Garrick to his over bearing father.
Although this is the third book in The Scandalous Women of the Ton Series, I didn't feel as if I was missing anything by having only read this book out of the series.
All in all, I give Mistress by Midnight 4 out of 5 mysterious duels.