A Night of No Return
I rolled my eyes for the first few pages of A Night of No Return; a billionaire hero with an emotional scar that just won’t heal was a bit too much. But once the heroine was introduced I got into the story. In fact, I expected to give this a higher grade until close to the end when the heroine changes for the worse, and the hero grows largely off-page. However, despite some flaws, I can still recommend this.
On a snowy night right before Christmas, Lucas Jackson heads out of London to spend the night alone at the castle he’s restoring in rural Oxfordshire. Lucas has spent years trying to avoid horrible memories on this night. He’s tried escaping with wild parties and women, but that didn’t work. Now he’s settled into spending the night drinking alone.
Emma Gray has been Lucas’ assistant for two years. She thinks of him as a cold-hearted workaholic, but loves her job. Lucas’ firm designs major international buildings and Emma has had the opportunity to travel to many of the sites. Emma is looking forward to the start of her of her annual two-week’s off over the Christmas holidays, so is not pleased to discover that Lucas left a critical file on his desk. She tries calling him and getting a currier to deliver the file to no avail. Finally, Emma realizes that her only option is to drive the file to Lucas. No, this isn’t a PA being silly over a trivial file. Lucas is leaving in a few days to attend the opening of a posh resort he built in the Persian Gulf, and the file contains documents relating to the trip. Emma would rather be home than driving through a snowstorm to get to Lucas’ place. Things only get worse when she finally tracks Lucas down and finds he’s drunk and angry.
In general, I don’t like office romances, so didn’t have high hopes when Lucas and Emma have sex in the castle. But instead of falling madly in love with Lucas on the spot, Emma sees the episode as inconvenient and embarrassing. We learn that Emma has absolutely no illusions about Lucas. Early on she says to him, “I’ve never seen you remotely emotional about a woman. I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re no more than an accessory to you. A bit like your cufflinks. You wear different ones, depending on the occasion.” I like Emma; she stands up for herself, loves her job, loves her family, and is responsible.
As more of Lucas’ past was revealed, I came to understand him more as well. What was interesting is that despite their current differences in circumstances, Lucas and Emma have rather similar pasts.
As this is a romance, it’s a given there will be a happy ending. In this case, after initial trepidations, I was eager to see how the Ms. Morgan would get there. Unfortunately, the latter part of Lucas and Emma’s journey wasn’t quite as enjoyable. Emma uses some rather heavy-handed manipulations to help Lucas recover from his past. And worse yet, most of Lucas’ big realization about his feelings for Emma occur off page. I gave a B to the author’s 2010 release The Twelve Nights of Christmas. I didn’t enjoy this quite as much but can still give it a qualified recommendation, based largely on the heroine.