Hold Me Until Midnight
I’m a big fan of the fake boyfriend/fake husband trope, so I thought Hold Me Until Midnight might hit the spot for me, but it was a little off the mark. The characters are likeable enough but the plot was too thin to support them, and left me less than enamored.
Scarlet Ashford is a rich society lady who needs to hire a bodyguard for her father’s wedding to fend off unwanted male attention. She hires Jackson Grayson to pose as her date to help her keep away a guy who isn’t taking no for an answer. When she hired Jackson, his coworker is quick to remind him that their number one rule is no sex with clients. Really? Has that been a big issue in the past? Either way, we all know where this is going. Scarlett and Jackson get naked and naughty post-wedding for a one-night-only affair that leaves both of them wanting more.
I actually kind of like how they awkwardly stumbled from one night stand to relationship. Jackson and Scarlet are both too proud and nervous to admit they caught feelings for the other, so there are several less-than-stellar attempts at love. For example, Jackson tries to refund Scarlet’s payment, and another time he ends up running in to her at the charity she runs.
There is a secondary storyline where Jackson (in addition to his security company) owns a martial arts dojo. At one point the author tossed in that he is supposed to be 26. He’s a year older than me and already owns two successful businesses? Must be nice. So. Jackson’s dojo is being threatened by the same pushy guy that Scarlet was trying to scare off at the wedding. Pushy guy is trying to have a development build in place of some of the smaller, locally owned businesses like the dojo. This part of the plot felt very slapped on. It was like Phillips realized she didn’t have enough plot to make it to the end of the book and needed to shoehorn in a bit more storyline. In comes the threat to Jackson’s dojo, and the whole security business is sort of forgotten about.
If the author needed some kind of storyline to toss the characters together and decided on security guard, I think the rest of the book should have followed suit. Don’t jump ship part way through and focus only on him owning a dojo. I’m not going to say that no one owns two, totally different businesses, but I’m the child of two sole proprietors and running a small business takes up pretty much all your time. I don’t see 26-year-old Jackson being so settled in his security firm that he can devote a big chunk of time to training kids in karate. I think Phillips tried to play it off like he just owned the business but didn’t do the instructing himself, but he sure spent time at the dojo whenever it was more convenient to the plot and that must be one heck of a profit margin that tiny dojo is making to pay an instructor.
However much I enjoyed the romance between Scarlet and Jackson, I couldn’t connect with the book as a whole due to the weird missteps in plotting and unrealistic scenarios. Hold Me Until Midnight was decent, but forgettable.