Secretly Bound to the Marquess (Harlequin Historical)
In 1810 England, Lady Eliza Varden, trapped in a sexless marriage, meets Nathaniel Thorne, captain in an infantry regiment. They have one passionate night together and then part, leaving Eliza to cope with a pregnancy and raise their little girl. Fortunately, Eliza’s husband is delighted with the situation, and doesn’t ask any questions. Seven years later, Eliza and Nate meet socially in London. She is now widowed, he has unexpectedly become the Marquess of Hale, and Natalie is a happy, healthy little girl. Nate realizes that he is the father, and he longs to become a family with Eliza and his child.
The villainess, Lady Sibyl, and her nasty father, Lord Crafton, exhibit almost cartoonish “bad guy” behavior, as they coerce Nathaniel to make Sibyl his marchioness. Eliza’s first husband had been homosexual, a capital crime in those days, but the threat of scandal does not deter an eventual happy ending for Nate and Eliza.
The Regency world has been done to death, I suppose, but having said that, I enjoyed this light, entertaining read. It moves along quickly, and young Natalie is enchanting.