The Mysterious Miss M is a living male fantasy - alluring, sensual, masked. But when Lord Devlin Steele finds himself responsible for her - and her child - he comes to know the real Maddy: the loving, passionate woman who drives away the nightmares of the Waterloo battlefield.
But this aristocratic soldier can’t support his new family. He’ll only inherit his fortune on marriage to a suitable lady - and Maddy is far from suitable. With the dangers of London’s underworld closing in, how can he protect the woman he has come to love?
I have only read one other Diane Gaston book, but I am well and truly on the path to fangirl status!
Before going off to battle, Lord Devlin Steele wins time with the beautiful prostitute known as the Mysterious Miss M. Memories of their encounter sustain him throughout his time as a soldier. What he doesn't realise is that her memories of him are sustaining her through her own unhappy life.
When he finds her again, he takes responsibility for looking after Maddy, her daughter, and Maddy's friend, even though he really can't afford to, and really doesn't have the space. Devlin will eventually come into quite a lot of money and property, but at this time it is held in trust by her older brother, who will only release the money when Devlin has agreed to marry a suitable young lady of the ton, even as he knows that he is falling desperately in love with Maddie.
Just as in A Reputable Rake, the characters were well developed, complex and unusual, but there are two things that stopped it from being a perfect read for me. One was the way that Devlin just completely accepted responsibility for Madeleine, Linnette and Sophie, and that it was so total and rapid, without even much consideration of the fact that Madeleine was an ex prostitute. The second was that the bad guys were pretty two dimensional, especially in Lord Farley's case (Lord Farley was Maddie's owner before she became Devlin's responsibility!).
The secondary love stories featuring Maddie's companion Sophie, and also Devlin's brother and sister-in-law were both really good as well!
Overall though, this was a really fun read, and I will definitely be reading more from Gaston! By the way, I got this in a two for one book which also included The Captain's Lady by Margaret McPhee, and there will be a review coming for that one shortly!