Heart's Desire

The Look of Love

Love's Celebration

A Magical Moment

Midnight Blue by Monica Jackson
(Arabesque/BET, $5.99, PG-13), ISBN: 1-58314-090-5
Midnight Blue, Monica Jacksonís 1997 novel, is being reissued to coincide with the March airing of the made-for-TV adaptation of the story by Black Entertainment Television, Arabesque/BET Booksí parent company. This is the seventh of ten Arabesque/BET Booksí romances filmed.

Midnight Blue is the story of Atlanta cosmetics executive Jessica Sanders and her relationships with two brothers, Tom and Luke Jordan. A relationship with two brothers is difficult to begin with. Jessicaís situation is further complicated by the fact that they are her employers in the family-owned Judith Jordan Cosmetics Company.

When the story begins, Jessica is engaged to Tom -- liar, neíer do well, a philanderer and all around sleaze. Their engagement ends when Jessica, who has never consummated her relationship with Tom, catches him in bed with another woman. Tomís treachery brings on flashbacks of another fiancť years ago and a similar situation. In a fit of jealousy, Jessica trashes his bedroom and mutilates Tomís Armani suit jacket. He shrugs off his dalliance, but submits an invoice to Jessica to replace the garment.

Enter Luke Jordan. The older, nicer brother. Luke has recently come to serve as acting president of the cosmetics line in an effort to straighten out the mess Tom has made of the once-thriving company. Tom resents Luke because he was the favored son. He resents Luke because he was named the heir to the family fortune, corporation and Tomís care and feeding. He resents Luke just because . . .

Although Luke is attracted to Jessica, he is reluctant to get involved with her because of her past history with Tom. His younger brother has created a not-too-flattering picture of Jessica as a gold-digging woman scorned. Her tirade in his bedroom is given as evidence of Jessicaís instability and possessiveness. But as Luke gets to know Jessica professionally, he begins to trust his own instincts about her. A relationship begins between them and thatís when the trouble really begins.

Jessica should be nominated for sainthood for her ability to cope with what follows. In order to build a life with Luke and his adorable daughter, she has to deal with Tomís pathological sibling rivalry, whispers and innuendoes from her co-workers, a loopy housekeeper, Lukeís wicked stepmother and the ghost of his ex-wife. Luke is haunted by the memory of his late wife. Jessica is just haunted as a portrait of Helen Jordan with accusatory eyes leaps off the wall whenever she is around. And thatís just for starters.

It is important to note that this is the authorís first novel and how her work has developed in three short years. Monica Jackson has created a real potboiler with very interesting twists and turns. After a lightning fast beginning, the relationship between the main characters develops realistically. The contrasts between Jessicaís close-knit family and the dysfunctional Jordans are very well drawn.

BET has elected to adapt Midnight Blue from a romantic suspense story into a comedy. Iím dying to see if it works. In the meantime, read the book! Itís worth a look.

--Gwendolyn Osborne

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