Lizzie knew she’d made a pact with the devil when she agreed to meet the Beast every midnight and allow him to debauch her.
Every Midnight, my new historical release from New Concepts Publishing, is a sensual comedy about sex. Yes, sex every midnight. I was halfway through the book when I decided I should have called it Every Other Tuesday, or Every Fourth Thursday, or Is It Midnight Again? It made me very conscious of time … and how each day must be filled with plot before another midnight loomed.
It wasn’t long before the hero was leaning over my shoulder as I typed, to remind me it was midnight. Dace is a Regency male with a Felmont nose, a sense of humor, and a very strange friend called Angel—as in Angel of Death, because he kills men to protect women from them. But will he think Lizzie needs protecting from Dace?
Here is an excerpt from the scene in the library where Lizzie and Dace are discussing marriage and sex. The pact they make is central to the book and the reason it is called Every Midnight.
“It would not be–when you please or how you please.” Lizzie had heard of some of the disgusting ways men used women when her stepfather had raved in madness. She held her head high and lied like a Felmont. “I shall never marry you if you insist on a mistress. As for your appetite for sin, I might consent to endure it occasionally. Once a month is all I offer. Surely you can live with that–it isn’t as if you find me the least bit attractive.” Lizzie saw him try to quell his laughter as he signaled his refusal of her offer. She slid into her chair before she spoke again. “Then once a week, if you are going to insist on being depraved.” He gave a half shrug with his one good shoulder. “Lizzie, I’m a Felmont. I can only promise not to bother you more than I have to.” “No! There must be rules!” She arranged her dark skirts to make sure her ankles were not showing.
“Set them at your peril,” he warned in a gentle voice. “If you insist on fidelity, you get all of me and I get you, to please as often as I yearn to. Think well before you demand fidelity, Lizzie.”
He set down his glass as a tremor shook him. A drop of brandy drizzled down to wet his hand. “Tell me your rules, and they had better include every day and every night–or allow me a mistress.”
Every night? To use her as he pleased? It cheered her to think he found her so unattractive that he shuddered with disgust at the idea. How could she endure him? Yet she must give in to get him to live by her rules in this matter, to win some measure of safety. She’d agree to whatever she must to be safe from that dreadful disease. There was no choice about marrying him, so she had to make him agree to be faithful.
What was the least he’d need her? Every night if she had to, but not every day. Surely, even Felmonts could find other interests during the day?
She took a deep breath. “I will come to you at midnight and you can behave like the Beast you are. After you have finished, I shall return to my room and you will have to wait until the next midnight to satisfy your horrid urges.” What was she saying? Could she even endure it once? How was she going to stand his attentions night after night?
The fire sighed in the hearth as he whispered, “Every midnight, you’d come to share my bed?”
She answered in a rush. “I shall leave after you have finished and you must content yourself with waiting until the next midnight. I shall not be importuned any time you feel like using me. My mother was never left alone.”
Lizzie gave a great shudder at the thought. “I could not live, worried you might decide to have an urge. Never knowing when–fearing to be subject to your lust at any time, Felmont. I could not endure it.”
“So we are agreed, every midnight you are mine?” He propped his chin on his hand, devilment written on every plane of his face, though he tried to hide it.
“Stop looking at me like that,” she snapped.
“Like what, Lizzie?”
“As if you are having an urge!” Lizzie couldn’t meet his amused gaze. “Be warned, I shall leave you if you are not faithful. That is part of the pact. You must agree to let me go.”
“Dearest Lizzie, I shall agree to your terms, on one condition. During the day we appear to be a devoted couple. You do not abuse me verbally. You dine with me–every meal, including breakfast. If I cannot have a wife who cares for me, then let me have one who pretends to. If you drink tea at any time, night or day, you must invite me to join you. And, Lizzie, you must never strike me.”
“The same rules apply to you.” She tried to think of something she could deny him.
She saw him place a hand on his heart. “I’ve never struck you, Lizzie.”
“You have never stopped verbally abusing me, not for an instant.” The look of injured innocence on his long face made her furious. “If you wish to share my tea, then you must agree to drink only the brandy I pour for you. And you must promise the instant you stray–I am free.”
“Agreed!” He leaned forward to toss the dregs from his brandy glass into the fire. Flames blasted from the hearth as if she’d made a deal with the Devil.
Every Midnight by Maggie Jagger (Historical Romance)
I was born in Yorkshire near Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters whose books inspired me with a love of historical romance. The dark and gothic phase didn’t last long, because I love to laugh. My character driven plots have humor, lots of dialogue, and heroes to die for—and did I mention sex?
Jagger is a pen name, though there are Jaggers in my family. I’ve always liked the name—and no, I am not related to Sir Mick Jagger, but I did curtsy when I wrote his name.