Midnight Angel is the third book in Lisa Marie Rice’s fabulous Midnight series, following Midnight Man and Midnight Run. It takes place two weeks after Midnight Man ends and stands alone well, but I’d recommend reading the books in order because this newest release contains spoilers for the older one. I was delighted when I found that Midnight Angel is a Beauty and the Beast romantic suspense, as I adore this storyline!
Retired Navy SEAL and Senior Chief Douglas Kowalski has come to Portland, Oregon to join his former commanding officer John “Midnight” Huntington as a partner in John’s security company, Alpha Security International. Douglas is anything but hunky and sociable – quite the contrary; he is a big, scarred guy who thinks himself ugly. When he accompanies newlyweds John and Suzanne to the opening of a multi-million dollar jewelry exhibition, he doesn’t expect to enjoy himself, much less fall helplessly in love when he rescues the angelic Allegra, a beautiful, talented singer and harp player.
Five months ago, a vicious attack killed Allegra Ennis’s father and rendered her blind. She is haunted by flashbacks but can’t remember anything about the incident. But, her evil enemy fears the return of her memory and is determined to dispatch her.
In Midnight Angel, Allegra and Douglas’s intense romantic relationship outranks the suspense plot, which is rather run-of-the-mill with a stereotypical evil villain. The initial action scene shows off Douglas’s Navy SEAL abilities well, but knowing the identity and motivation of the villain from the beginning of the book, took some of the thrill out of the suspense.
Douglas Kowalski is an almost perfect romance hero. He is a modern, invincible warrior who fearlessly faces danger head on. But he is also kind, compassionate, sensitive, a music and opera lover and an admirer of beauty. His Achilles Heel? His looks. Douglas is big and scarred and utterly self-conscious about his looks. Most women are scared off merely by looking at him. However, when he realizes that beautiful Allegra is blind, that she can’t see his “ugliness,” he loosens up towards her and allows himself to drop his emotional guard. He protects Allegra during danger, then falls hard for her and can barely believe his luck that she seems to return his feelings. Douglas falling in love is the perfect kitschy female fantasy come true. While he feels himself unlovable and unworthy of her, in Douglas’s eyes Allegra is utterly lovable and perfect. Allegra is the first person to see his true, soft, insecure self. However, when a dangerous situation occurs, emotionally vulnerable and sensitive Douglas promptly falls back into tough warrior mode to protect Allegra with his body and life, willing to kill to keep her safe.
Luckily, Allegra is not the perfect angel the besotted Douglas paints her. She is in a deep depression over the loss of her sight and mourning her father and her old life. She hates being helpless and dependent on others’ help, and cannot accept that she might be forever blind. Douglas’s abundant strength and passion make her feel utterly safe; she can’t believe such a powerful man like Douglas would want to be with her, when she feels she is a burden. For her, his fierce desire and imperturbable devotion is a constant miracle.
Douglas and Allegra’s courtship not only brims with tangible emotions, they also express their need of each other through their physical relationship. The sex is neither acrobatic nor exotic, but oh so sensual and erotic. When they made love, I thought I’d go up in flames, too!
I adored Midnight Angel for being the powerful emotional love story it is. Unfortunately, there was some clichéd overkill in the same vein. Although I liked how the author unabashedly went straight for the reader’s emotions, she tried too hard to set up Douglas as the most wonderful hero to ever walk Romanceland. His larger-than-life character and his contrast to Allegra bordered on the caricature often found in a Harlequin Presents novel (my guilty pleasure!). Douglas is so sweet and wonderful and yet his self-image so low, I felt touched and at the same time manipulated. His incredible prowess for instance, is on the one hand a sexy fantasy, but on the other, what woman in her right mind would really want a lover who maintained a constant erection no matter how many times they made love? Furthermore, the repetitive visual of big, rough, ugly Douglas and ethereal, angelic, harp-playing Allegra was rather annoying and made Douglas look like an easily impressed dork.
Did I mind the manipulation? A little. I missed the subtlety. But I also couldn’t turn the pages quick enough to see what wonderful things Douglas would come up with next. I feel sheepish about how easy I am, but Douglas is such an emotionally satisfying fantasy that I could not help myself.
Midnight Angel is an adorable Beauty and the Beast tale if you don’t mind clichés and a touch of melodrama. A perfect comfort read to daydream and recharge after a stress-filled day.