STROKE OF MIDNIGHT Olivia Drake
The Cinderella Sisterhood , Book 2
St. Martin's
ISBN: 978-1-250-00209-9
June 2013
Historical Romance

London, England, 1848

Ten years ago Laura Faulkner and her father fled England when Martin Faulkner was accused of a horrendous crime.  Laura's beau, Lord Copley, arrested Martin after finding stolen jewels inside his desk drawer.  Alex refused to listen to Laura; he insisted her father was guilty; so, with the entire ton thinking Martin was surely guilty, he took Laura and fled England.  They lived quietly in Portugal until Martin recently decided to return to England.  Now Laura has followed him, only to learn her father died a terrible death after being set upon by street people.  She is sure he came to England to expose the person who framed him.  Determined to clear his name once and for all, Laura decides to find employment and quietly investigate her father's death and the robbery of the Duchess of Knowles's jewels.

Alexander Ross, the Earl of Copley, is surprised to find none other than Laura Faulkner working as a paid companion to his aunt, the Lady Josephine.  Lady Josephine has become forgetful and frail in her old age, and it is Laura's job to oversee her daily activities. When she took the job as the lady's companion, she accepted a gift of a pair of jeweled red slippers from Lady Milford.  She never expected to have the opportunity to use them, but now she finds herself invited to accompany her mistress to parties.  But she is shocked to learn that Alex is Lady Josephine's nephew, and he plans to attend each and every gathering with them!

STROKE OF MIDNIGHT is the second book in the Cinderella Sisterhood Series, following IF THE SLIPPER FITS (June 2012).  Totally engaging, this second Cinderella story is a winner!  Laura has returned to England, exposing herself to danger, and even the possibility of arrest, if any of the ton were to recognize her.  She wears fake eyeglasses and dowdy dresses, and no one is the wiser, until Alex unwittingly sets an action in motion that unveils everything.  People still believe her father stole the Duchess's jewels, but Laura knows he was innocent.  Why would they have lived in strict poverty if Martin had any means to provide well for them?  Laura is single-mindedly pursuing the real culprit, sure that one of the ton is the guilty party, she just has to uncover the truth and find him, or her.

Alex decides that he needs to keep Laura out of trouble once the ton gets involved, but he can't do that unless he can keep her close, so he chooses to take her as his bride, if only to stop the gossip from flowing.  At first, he has to persuade Laura to go along with his plan, but now, he has to stop her from this dangerous investigation where she is poking into the ton's secrets.  Surely, if she continues on the path she's on, there is nothing but danger waiting in the wings.

Passionate and full of mystery and romance, STROKE OF MIDNIGHT is sure to please!

Diana Risso