A temporary engagement, a lifetime in the making . . .
After years of fending for herself, Kate Taylor found friendship and acceptance in Spindle Cove—but she never stopped yearning for love. The very last place she’d look for it is in the arms of Corporal Thorne. The militia commander is as stone cold as he is brutally handsome. But when mysterious strangers come searching for Kate, Thorne steps forward as her fiancé. He claims to have only Kate’s safety in mind. So why is there smoldering passion in his kiss?
Long ago, Samuel Thorne devoted his life to guarding Kate’s happiness. He wants what’s best for her, and he knows it’s not marriage to a man like him. To outlast their temporary engagement, he must keep his hands off her tempting body and lock her warm smiles out of his withered heart. It’s the toughest battle of this hardened warrior’s life . . . and the first he seems destined to lose. – Goodreads
Kate and Samuel Thorne have never gotten along. They just haven’t and Kate has accepted this fate. Kate has a birth mark, and was left at an orphanage around the age of five. While she has not enjoyed her fate, she has accepted it and has made the best of life that she could. What Kate has never been aware of is the fact is that Thorne? Thorne adores Kate. What she sees as aloof, he views as protecting his heart, because all he wants is her to be happy and she can’t be happy with him.
Then, Thorne shocks her and everyone actually by announcing that Kate and Thorne are in a betrothal. When a family comes forward to essentially claim Kate, something she has wanted from birth, she is in shock and Thorne is confused. Because Thorne wants to protect her, he says they are engaged because he just wants to hold her close. While the fake-fiance is a tale as old as time story prompt, Dare makes it work and oh how I adored it. It also didn’t hurt that Thorne gives Kate a puppy, Badger, and oh Badger, the cutest little puppy ever.
I saw a lot of similarities between Badger, the puppy, and Kate. They’re both not traditionally attractive, they’re rough around the edges, and both have Thorne wrapped around their finger, even if they aren’t aware of it. The problem with the faux-engagement is the fact that Thorne doesn’t believe that he’s able to be loved, and Kate also doesn’t believe that Thorne would ever, ever love her. Amazingly there is communication in A Lady by Midnight which was a refreshing change of pace for a historical romance novel.
What both of them quickly find out is the their counterpart is not the person they thought they are. Kate isn’t this soft, precious character and Thorne isn’t the hardass that Kate was convinced he was. It’s also painful because both of these characters did not have perfect childhoods, and they both believe that they are not worthy of love. They both push and pull at each other and actually strive to make each other a better person, even if the other is in denial about it. Thorne always wants to do the honorable thing when it comes to Kate, or has he calls her, Katie. What he doesn’t expect is the honorable thing to hurt him along with Kate. He just wants to protect her!
While moment of A Lady by Midnight were painful and hurt my heart, I found it a very enjoyable historical romance and not just because of the super cute puppy.