Badge of Honor

Clay Yeager's Redemption

Gage Butler's Reckoning

Just Another Day in Paradise

A Man to Trust

The Return of Luke McGuire

A Whole Lot of Love

As Justine Dare:

Avenging Angel

Dangerous Games

Dangerous Ground

Fire Hawk

Heart Of The Hawk

High Stakes

Night Fires

Wild Hawk

Midnight Seduction by Justine Davis
(Silh. Desire #1557, $4.25, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-76557-6
Midnight Seduction is one of those stories where you truly enjoy the two characters and their interactions, but you grow frustrated with the far-fetched plot and how they are thrown together. This is the third in the “Redstone Inc.” series. Harlan “Mac” McClaren is a billionaire who made his money when he found a lost Spanish galleon. He is a financial genius and loves to invest his money. One person he helped get started is Josh Redstone, who took his dreams and turned it into a multinational billion-dollar company.

Mac has just been involved in some horrific treasure hunt gone bad where he was captured in the interior of Nicaragua by a drug lord and tortured because the man thought he was CIA. Josh sent someone in to rescue him, barely reaching him in time. Now Mac is living in Puget Sound on Josh’s yacht, Seahawk, recuperating. He is hampered by physical injuries and more importantly, mental images that cause nightmares.

Just down the dock from his berth is a dilapidated sailboat named Pretty Lady. It was owned by a down on his luck fellow named Wayne, who seemed to be a druggie and an alcoholic. He is now dead. Mac didn’t know him well, but he wasn’t impressed by Wayne. Wayne’s lovely cousin, Emma Purcell, has now shown up to take care of the effects, and Mac doesn’t bother to tell her who he really is.

Emma hasn’t seen Wayne in several years. What she does know is that as a boy Wayne was in constant trouble, to the point that his parents and hers both gave up on him. She always felt they were too tough on Wayne. Now she discovers that Wayne was not the man she thought he was, and he had, in fact, lied to her about his life.

Emma doesn’t know whether to trust Mac or not. She sees him as he wants her to see him, a man living on a boat that doesn’t belong to him, taking advantage of the generosity of a friend. But that doesn’t stop her from finding him attractive. And from being thankful he is close when she first discovers a small cache of cocaine and then is attacked by two men who are looking for something on the sailboat.

She moves to the Seahawk for protection. It doesn’t take long for proximity to stir up sexual tension. And their friendship, such as it is, since it is based on secrets, starts to develop.

When Emma and Mac are together and they try to help each other heal, I enjoyed the story. They are both wary, yet find something in the other to like and they start to trust (except for who Mac really is, of course.) The romance builds nicely and is explosive when finally consummated – hence the title.

But the plot is ridiculous. First, Emma was completely duped by her cousin for years. To be so duped doesn’t exactly make her someone I admire or feel has a lot of common sense. And her job, nice though it is, is almost too impractical. She runs a non-profit that is barely staying afloat. The purpose? To provide shelter for pets of people who have to go into the hospital or nursing home. Oh yeah, and if you can’t afford to pay, there is no charge. No wonder she has to come claim some sailboat to get money.

What is even more inane is the whole “drug dealer putting her in danger” plot line. And what they are looking for seems both implausible (it’s not the cocaine) and really not worth their time and effort. The solution is even more unbelievable.

If you have been following the series, Midnight Seduction might work better for you. But it is not one of Justine Davis’ best and I cannot really even find it acceptable. Too bad that Mac, particularly, is stuck in this kind of story.

--Shirley Lyons

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