The Italian's Blackmailed Mistress (4), by Jacqueline Baird, finds beautiful linguist Sophie Rutherford and Italian magnate Max Quintano brought together for the second time in their lives. Sophie is forced to become Max's mistress or see her family ruined, so she agrees to his demands -- even while being puzzled at his open hostility. Soon enough, as they travel to his palazzo, passions, feelings and secrets that were long buried begin to re-emerge and Max and Sophie question whether they might belong together after all. This is a well-balanced love story. Baird does an excellent job of developing the characters from their first meeting to their reunion several years later. Max and Sophie are each stubborn and vulnerable, making it all the more exciting for the reader as they find themselves drawn to one another, fighting their attraction -- and failing -- every step of the way.
Reviewed by: 
Stephanie Schneider