Shadows at Midnight by Elizabeth Jennings
August 3, 2010
Paperback, 308 Pages
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: He hadn’t had sex in a year so he’d probably come in the first five seconds but that was okay, no way he’d lose his hard-on. In fact, he might sport his hard-on forever, the way he was feeling right now.
Maybe be buried in a closed casket because they couldn’t get it to go down.
Claire Day wanted an adventure and she found one as a spook or a Defense Intelligence Agency analyst. She finds herself working at the US Embassy in Laka, Africa on Thanksgiving Day. And things are about to go from adventurous to very dangerous.
Marine Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Weston has finally made it to Laka, after briefly being introduced to Claire a year before. From the first glance he knew, absolutely knew, he had to be with her. And now, they have both made it to the same place, and they are under siege. The Red Army, a very chaotic out of control mob is flooding the streets and Dan has whisked Claire into Post One, the safest room at the Embassy. Claire has no idea Dan has been doing everything possible to be relocated to be with her. As they sit, minute after minute, hearing the horrible guns go off in the street, the tension is so strong Dan can barely believe he actually has Claire with him. Waiting out the gunfire eventually leads to a kiss. But as fate has a funny way of screwing with people’s lives – that kiss is short lived.
The Embassy is bombed. Claire is thrown into a coma for three months. Dan receives information that she is dead, and has to deal with his own physical recovery. Devastated, Dan leaves the Marines and opens his own private security firm in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, Claire moves to Florida, where her father recently passed away. She is absolutely alone, and in bad shape. Awful nightmares, the Post Traumatic Stress is in full gear – she deals with panic attacks, nausea, is very weak and worst of all, has absolutely no memories of the bombing. When she happens to catch the name of Dan Weston on the news, his name jars her memory. She realizes he was at the Embassy at the same time she was. She is desperate to piece together those missing memories and in an act of spontaneity, books a flight to Washington DC. Fate is about to bring Claire back to Dan. But they will soon find out, the bombing may have not been a random attack, and Dan is going to have to pull out the big guns to keep Claire safe.
All I have to say about Shadows at Midnight is WOW!! Okay, maybe I have a few more words to use. This is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Jennings (aka Lisa Marie Rice.) I was blown away by the dynamics between these two characters. Dan is so alpha, so lethal, so obsessed by Claire and Elizabeth Jennings writes his internal dialogue of his struggle so well. In just a few pages she takes us from a Dan who is so excited to have finally found Claire in Africa, to a heart rendering kiss, and then suddenly thrusts us to a Dan that has lost his love for a year – a devastating year. And then finally we get a Dan that has another chance – although with a Claire that is physically and mentally in a bad place.
We get such a contrast with the hero and heroine. Dan is the overpowering, extremely muscular, just overwhelming presence. And Claire, post bombing is a shell of a human. Can barely eat, can barely be around people. But Dan always knows exactly what she needs. As he tells himself, he is the “Big Man.” He is there for all her needs. He allows Claire to feel human again. To feel safe.
Dan slid his hand back across the table. “We okay?” His voice deep and quiet.
She looked into his dark eyes and found not a trace of censure of worry. No hint whatsoever that he’d invited a lunatic to dinner. A woman any other man would have dumped back on her doorstep in an instant.
None of that. If anything, his body language was warm and welcoming. He leaned forward, watching her, a faint smile on his face.
“Yes,” she said. “We’re okay.”
His internal struggle to not throw the frail Claire on the floor and take her is amusing, as many mentions of his “steel rod” swelling to massive proportions is written. Dan had been celibate for the year while he thought Claire was dead, and oh boy is he ready for some action. While we don’t necessarily get an abundance of hot sex scenes, the sexual tension, is written so well, I didn’t need the sex. Like their first kiss post bombing:
He lowered his head, slowly knowing that this was going to be momentous. It would divide his life into a before and an after. So he took it slow and easy. Just a touch of their lips at first. He felt an electric charge down to his toes.
Elizabeth Jennings also does a great job with the suspense in this book. The action scenes were nail biting and fit in perfectly with the over sensitized romance. The villain in this book is bad news, and holds nothing back to get to Claire.
If you take a step back, the romance is over the top – Dan’s obsessive feelings towards Claire are really over the top – but damn it, I loved it. I honestly had the best time reading this book. I loved every word and every page and I am totally going to hunt down her other books (in both pen names) because I think I just found a new favorite author.