Shadows at Midnight, by Elizabeth Jennings

>> Friday, September 07, 2012

TITLE: Shadows at Midnight
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Jennings (aka Lisa Marie Rice)

PAGES: 320

SETTING: Contemporary US
TYPE: Romance
SERIES: None (I don't think)

She was just a shadow of her former self.

Until he came back into her life.

U.S. intelligence agent Claire Day and former Marine Sergeant Dan Watson must solve a deadly conspiracy-or forfeit any chance of having a future together.
Shadows at Midnight starts in an African city, Laka. It's Thanksgiving, and intelligence analyst Claire Day has stayed behind in the American embassy to work while everyone else is off celebrating. And then, suddenly and unexpectedly, a rebel army enters the city and besieges the building.

Marine Daniel Weston is one of the few guards left on duty, and his first thought when the danger becomes apparent is to protect Claire. Even though she doesn't know it, because the sweet dear has been adoring her from afar, Daniel is madly in love (and lust) with Claire, to the point that he moved heaven and earth to get himself assigned to Laka just because she was there. They finally talk to each other properly while trapped in the building, and it's clear Claire is very attracted to Dan, as well, but this interlude ends when a bomb falls a bit too close.

Months later, Dan, who was injured in the attack, believes Claire has died. He's left the military and has set up a security business. Claire, meanwhile, doesn't remember a thing about that day, and has found it very difficult to go back to normal life. Recovery from her injuries was bad enough, but the mental ones are even harder. She suffers from crippling nightmares and is withdrawing from the world, and can't seem to stop the process.

And then, one day she sees a programme on TV featuring Dan Weston, who, being the heroic type, has just made yet another heroic rescue (saved some people from a burning building, if I remember correctly). Claire recognises his face, even though the memories still don't come back fully, and she decides to go find him to see if this will bring anything back.

But there was more to the embassy attack than meets the eye, and Claire contacting Dan prods the villain into action again.

I loved this. It was exactly what I expect and want when I read a Lisa Marie Rice: a completely over-the-top hero who's madly in love with the heroine and worships the ground she walks on, sexual tension so thick you could cut it with a knife, a strong, clever heroine, and an interesting suspense subplot. I got all of that here, and I was one happy reader.

Dan's devotion to Claire was remarkable, even for a LMR hero. Normally the whole love-at-first-sight deal would be cause for much eye-rolling, but here, I found it romantic and sigh-worthy. In fact, that's my neverending refrain when I read LMR: "Normally I'd say I hate element X, but when LMR does it, I eat it up with a spoon and ask for seconds". Yup, still true.

So, if you've read this author before and liked her, this is vintage LMR and I highly recommend it. If you have read her books and they don't work for you, don't bother with this one. And if you haven't tried LMR before, you should, even if you don't normally like over-the-top, larger-than-life macho-man heroes. This is a good a place to start as any.



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