Midnight Run, by Lisa Marie Rice

>> Monday, October 10, 2005

It took a bit longer than I thought for me to finally be able to read the only remaining book in Lisa Marie Rice's Midnight trilogy, but I finally managed it last week. I can't wait for my ebook reader to get here!

Anyway, Midnight Run is actually the second in the trilogy, but since I started with Midnight Angel, which was book # 3, MR was left to be read last.

Claire Parks has been very sick, but she's fine now—just fine—and ready to paint the town red. Well, pink. On her first excursion into the wild world of dating, she nets Bud, a tall, sexy, good-looking lumberjack. She won him fair and square, her prize for not dying. But after a weekend of wild sex, she discovers he's not what she thinks he is.

Undercover police officer Lieutenant Tyler "Bud" Morrison can't believe his eyes. What's a 'princess' doing in a dance club known for its rough trade? She needs rescuing, and rescuing women is what Bud does best. He saw Claire first—finders keepers. After a weekend of the hottest sex he's ever had, he's definitely keeping this one. When trouble comes her way, he pulls out all the stops to protect her. Except Claire doesn't want Bud at her back. She wants him in her bed.
Like the other two books, this one is heavy on the larger-than-life characters (most especially the very alpha hero) and the fantasy and wish fulfillment. The first part was just amazing, but unfortunately, I thought the story lost a lot of intensity and focus on the second half. A B-.

It's not something I thought I'd ever write, but the story worked just wonderfully as long as Claire and Bud were stuck in her house, setting fire to the bed (and kitchen counters, and chairs, and.... you get my point). LMR is somehow able to develop a romance purely throughout sexual encounters and a bit of chatting in the middle, and of course, the actual love scenes were just amazing.

As I've got used to expecting from this author, after only 2 books, these scenes were hot as hell, not because of the mechanics, but because of the emotions and feelings involved. These are scenes which don't feel like filler or like pure titillation, they're basic to the development of the relationship and kept my attention completely. I don't think I skipped even one line. Oh, hot and funny, too. "...it was definitely the first time he’d ever fucked in iambic pentameter". That line (and that scene!), were incredible!

Bud wasn't my favourite of the three LMR heroes I've read, but I liked his brand of alphaness well enough, at least for the first half. And then came the moment when he became aware of Claire's past, of the fact that she'd spent years and years horribly sick, about to die, really. There's this absolutely hideous scene between Bud and Claire's father, in which Horace basically tells Bud that he "gives" his daughter to his care, that Claire is now his to take care of. And the worst part is that Bud seems to take the guy at his word, and becomes a condescending, patronizing, overly protective monster.

Not only that: at about the same time, the whole action seems to shift and move to what was the suspense plot of the first book, Midnight Man. The action in that one actually started a few weeks after Midnight Run, and in MM you saw some interactions between John and Bud, but from John's POV. In this book we get Bud's POV, and the feeling I got was of distraction. It felt as if the author had lost interest in this book, because the focus moved to what was going on in the other one.

And once this is over, the action moves to something covered in book 3. That one, though, was my own fault for reading out of order, and I suppose I wouldn't have been bored if I hadn't know what was going to happen. But still, the fact remains that this part of the book was more about the other two books than about this one.

The main saving grace of this second half was that Claire gets fed up with Bud's treatment and takes action. And not even this is all good: Claire really never tries all that hard to speak to Bud about what is bothering her. She basically seems to wait for him to read her mind, and when he doesn't, she breaks up with him.

The ending was a bit too abrupt, too. I know we were supposed to assume that things would be all right in this relationship from a little phrase Bud says, but I would have liked to be shown that this was so, that he was going to be treating Claire like a flesh and blood, grown-up woman.

Fortunately, the wonderful first half did make up for the not so good second one, but I can't help but wish LMR had been able to maintain the initial level. This would have been one amazing book!


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