Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Oh soldier, how did we come to such a place?”
Midnight’s Kiss picks up right where Night’s Honor left off. The Nightkind (vampyres) demesne is currently engaged in a battle over the throne, with Julian Regillus, the reigning king, and Justine, a powerful council member, at it’s center. Melisandre (Melly), heir to the Light Fae throne, is kidnapped by Justine in hopes of bringing Julian to heel when he hears his former lover is in trouble.
Julian and Melly had an explosive three month affair over twenty years ago that was destroyed when Julian accused Melly of betrayal. Unwilling to believe her innocence, Julian breaks it off and never speaks to her again unless absolutely necessary. Over the years they have danced around their pain, trying to get over their love for one another and move on with their lives.
Melly is convinced Julian will not be rushing in to save her anytime soon, so she is shocked when he appears in the neighboring cell. Now both he and Melly are prisoners with no hope of rescue in sight. Forced to work together to escape, they find their past intrudes on their present when the passion they thought long dead flares to life. But can Julian forgive Melly’s betrayal? And if so…will Melly forgive his?
I have wanted to learn more about Julian since Serpent’s Kiss. His appearances so far has painted a picture of a ruthless, arrogant, unfeeling man who would do anything to secure his absolute rule over the Nightkind. In here we finally get Julian’s backstory, learning everything there is to know about his life, his turning, his broken affair with Melly, and the true reasons behind his push for the throne. Harrison gives us Julian’s side of the story, which paints a very different picture of the events that surrounded Julian and his past actions.
Suspense, mystery, humor, and dramatic romances makes for a delightful series that continues to engage and intrigue with each new installment.The smooth storyline and personable characters immediately drag you back into Harrison’s supernatural world as though you never left. Heavily character driven, the world building continues to expand and evolve though Harrison tends to set boundaries; evolving certain sub worlds within the ongoing storyline in a series of installments. Right now we are fully submerged in the Nightkind demesne and its ongoing political upheaval.
Midnight’s Kiss embodies a trope I enjoy-second chance love with a bite. Two former lovers who have turned enemies. Pain, sorrow, anger, and distrust are the emotions that brew between Melly and Julian. I love when two seemingly indomitable wills meet and clash. Watching the hero and heroine go from antagonists to lovers is a delicious storyline; made only better when there is a volatile history that precedes it.
“I shouldn’t care so much. I shouldn’t care at all.”
In Night’s Honor, Melly came off as a bit of a diva. An actress and Light Fae princess, you got the feeling she was a pampered, spoiled, self entitled, brat who got what she deserved when Julian left her. Only Melly isn’t any of those things. She is intelligent, down to earth, loyal, strong, and very resourceful. Kidnapped and terrorized, Melly instantly takes stock of her surroundings and begins to plan her escape. She has a great sense of humor and a formidable arsenal filled with snarky goodness. Seeing Julian has actually come to her aid is a shock to her emotional grid. She still loves him but the pain he left her with keeps her from falling into his arms and begging for a reconciliation.
“You are delusional if you think I would ever let you take me again, after the way you treated me. You see this?” With her free hand she waved her fingers in the air down the length of her torso as she shook her head. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. You’re neeevvver getting this goodness again.”
Julian is centuries old and his attitude reflects that. Born during the Roman Empire, this former battle horned soldier is an uber alpha wrapped in a thin veneer of civility. Sexy, morose, sarcastic, and a wee bit inclined to drama, he rules the demesne with an iron fist, hiding his emotions behind a mask of supposed indifference and boredom. Only two people have been able to see behind his mask-Carling and Melly. Melly was the first woman for whom he was willing to change his life for. Willing to give up his throne and whatever else was needed to keep her in his life. Her betrayal devastated him. Already feeling he wasn’t even close to being good enough for her, discovering proof of that broke something crucial inside of him.
Before her, he hadn’t known that he had been slowly expiring of thirst over the centuries. No matter how many people he tasted or how many lovers he had taken, he’d been dying inside. Dying. Then she had lit everything up inside of him-only to snatch it all away again, leaving him bereft and alone…
The reconciliation blends gently with the on going conflict. Being trapped in a prison isn’t conducive to any smexy times, it does however allow them to spend time together with no outside interference. Their chemistry is as strong as ever and the scenes drip with sweaty bare-chested alpha male posturing and some reluctant internal swooning on the heroine’s side.
She made another sound that was purely sexual, husky and needy, and the warmth of her body nestled against him. The soft curve of her breasts pressed against his bare chest, her hips brushed against his painfully hardening cock. […] The ravenous hunter in him took fierce note. All the signs were there. She would be his for the taking, all his again.
Non stop action speeds the story along as Harrison reveals each new subplot. As each scene unfolds, we watch Melly and Julian face their fears and overcome obstacles while dealing with the external factors that try to stop them. Neither plot nor romance is sacrificed. They balance and complement each other through the entire arc; merging together towards the end.
It does take some time for our hero and heroine to make nice and finally discuss what occurred 20 years ago, which I found a little strange. I will admit I guessed early on what had happened and was put out by how easily Melly and Julian forgive the situation. Harrison gives a reasonable explanation for the choices they make but I still wanted to see something besides perfuctionary understanding and forgiveness. It fell flat considering the build up that received.
The ending is a dramatic undertaking as a series of events lead us to an admirable conclusion. Harrison gives us a brief look in to Graydon’s story-Shadow’s End (Elder Races, #9), set to release December 1, 2015-that had me bouncing in my chair. I am SUPER PSYCHED FOR THIS BOOK!!
Harrison continues to write stories that any paranormal romance fan who loves action, suspense, humor, and a sizzling romance is sure to enjoy.