Single title contemporaries are my personal favorites in the romance genre. When I’m picking through my TBR pile to find something to read, my hand inevitably drifts towards the contemporaries. So when a new contemporary title arrives in my review package, I gleefully grab it first. There’s nothing I like better than devouring a terrific contemporary read. Unfortunately, It Happened At Midnight did not live up to my expectations.
Whn the story opens, Michaela Langtry is returning home to the family ranch in the Rockies. Her successful career as a television meteorologist came to an abrupt end when she filed a sexual harassment suit against her former employer. Her live-in newscaster boyfriend of the past two years decided a continued relationship with Michaela would be harmful to his broadcasting career, and he quickly departs. Retreating back to Wyoming seems the perfect choice, except for the presence of Harrison Kane II.
Harrison grew up with Michaela. As the son of a wealthy but cruel businessman and a disturbed mother who disappeared when he was a young boy, Harrison was closer to Michaela’s family than his own.
Especially to Michaela’s mother Faith. Harrison and Faith shared a secret from the past that could destroy the Langtry family should it be revealed.
As an adult, Harrison has been phenomenally successful in a number of fields and has now set his sights on developing the first television station in the area. Michaela’s return affords him the perfect opportunity to offer her a job at the station, allowing him to spend unlimited time with the woman who has intrigued him for most of his life.
Michaela finds it impossible to pass up an opportunity to be responsible for the development of the news program, even if it entails working closely with Harrison. She is inexplicably drawn to him, even if he is cool, logical and rigid. Everything Michaela is not.
Although Michaela fights it, Harrison’s plan of forced togetherness succeeds and the two are drawn into a tempestuous relationship. But will it all blow up in Harrison’s face when Michaela discovers the secret that Faith and Harrison have been keeping all those years?
It Happened At Midnight contains several subplots concerning Harrison’s missing mother, a station investor who is interested in more than just helping Michaela develop a news program, missing gold coins that protect the owner with good fortune, and a detailed account of Michaela’s ancestors. Although all these threads tie together, the narrative jumped and was often difficult to follow. It left the impression of a longer book that suffered from heavy handed editing.
My biggest criticism concerns the characters of Michaela and Harrison. I liked each much better when they were apart. Whenever they’re together, they seemed to bring the worst out in one another. When Michaela first returns home, scarred from the trauma of her near-rape and subsequent firing, Harrison’s first words of welcome were for Michaela to grow up and stop acting like a princess.
There’s nothing I dislike more than a hero who treats the heroine like garbage, reasoning that it’s for her own good. Except perhaps, a heroine who continually goes back for more. Which is exactly what Michaela does. Eventually, their relationship became less volatile, but it was too late for me to feel any connection to the characters.
For readers who like a heroine who is self-focused and petulant, and an old-fashioned hero who feels compelled to be cruel to be kind, then you may enjoy It Happened At
Midnight more than I. But if you prefer a loving relationship that’s truly loving, you may want to pass this one by.