( I received this for free at a convention.)
AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, THE HEAT BEGINS
On a hot southern night, with a storm on the horizon, a family is shattered. Three beautiful daughters—Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina Wilde—go on with their lives, each significantly changed, as they bear the memory of the murder-suicide that killed their parents. For years, they have stayed away from Midnight, Alabama. Until Midnight calls them home.
Savannah is the first one back, when a grueling case in Nashville leads the young prosecutor to seek shelter in the quiet of the once grand Wilde mansion. But when she finds letters casting doubt on her family’s dark, shameful past, she realizes that peace in Midnight is a shallow façade and sinister secrets lurk beneath the surface. Zach Tanner, once the town’s bad boy, is now the new police chief and still has a wild hold over her. Zach can feel it, too, but he hurt Savannah once. As teenagers, they broke every rule together. Now it’s his job to keep her safe, even though he isn’t sure who her enemies are—or which ones might be his own
Midnight Secrets was suspenseful, gritty and intense, and so sexy it had me on the edge of my seat. Savannah and Zach are well-developed and so real, I feel like I know them and I really cared about them. Savannah has returned to Midnight after a ten year absence, forced to hide in her hometown after her Nashville prosecutor job endangers her life, and Zach, who is now Midnight's police chief, must gradually earn back Savannah's trust after his apparent betrayal ten years ago, the morning he left to join the military. Savannah has been dreading seeing Zach again, knowing that in her small hometown they'll run into each other. When they see each other their intense attraction is still alive and well and it's obvious to all that they belong with each other. Savannah's aunt and the town's mayor and his wife are soon match-making like crazy, trying to get these two back together.
But then, about 2/3 of the way in, when Zach has earned back Savannah's trust and everything is going smoothly and they are having wild, fantastic monkey sex, the author throws in a blatant plot device to create artificial-seeming tension. Savannah has not told Zach that she is investigating her parent's deaths after reading her grandfather's old letters mentioning his suspicions over the official murder-suicide ruling. She has been reading old newspaper reports and asking the older folks in town what they remember for old gossip, and wanted to be sure the deaths looked hinky before confiding in Zach. But Zach finds out she's investigating her parent's deaths and FREAKS out, declaring that she obviously doesn't trust him and they'll never have a relationship again until she does. His behavior is so extreme, childish and unreasonable it comes off as contrived and awkward. Savannah's behavior at this point in no way equals Zach's from ten years ago. Apples and oranges. Reading this felt awkward and unnatural - I literally stopped reading and said "WTF?". Up until this point I absolutely loved this book, and I did finish it, but I felt disappointed, because the rest of the novel was the perfect romantic suspense. However, the writing was so good I will definitely read Midnight Lies and check out other books by the author (Ella Grace is a pseudonym for Christy Reece.)
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Check out the author's website HERE.
The 2nd book in the series is Midnight Lies (Samantha's story) and will be released on September 24, 2103.