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Midnight Kiss: An Anthology by Robyn Carr
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Midnight Kiss: An Anthology (edition 2010)

by Robyn Carr (Author)

Series: Virgin River ("Midnight Confessions", 10.5)

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1974120,574 (3.9)1
Midnight confessions. At a local bar New Year's Eve party in Southern California, two lonely revelers decide that the best balm for their broken hearts might be each other. Midnight surrender. When a flirty woman lawyer with a "bad-boy addiction" meets a nice Irish carpenter on Thanksgiving at her friends' home, she is not expecting the sparks that begin to fly between them. Midnight assignment. Working together over the Christmas and New Year's holidays on a bank takeover is made worse for two federal specialists by an ill-advised kiss that re-ignites a lingering spark between them. What will come next?… (more)
Member:cassanbo
Title:Midnight Kiss: An Anthology
Authors:Robyn Carr (Author)
Info:Harlequin Anthologies (2010), Edition: Original, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
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Midnight Kiss (3-in-1) by Robyn Carr (Contributor)

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Midnight Confessions by Robyn Carr - Midnight Confessions is a holiday-themed side story in Robyn Carr's Virgin River series. It features Drew Foley, the brother of Marcie (A Virgin River Christmas) and Erin (Moonlight Road) as the hero. He's a doctor of orthopedics, serving his residency at UCLA Medical and is an extremely outgoing charmer. Sunny, his heroine, is the niece of Nathaniel Jensen (Under the Christmas Tree from That Holiday Feeling) the local veterinarian. Both are in Virgin River visiting family for the holidays, and both have suffered fairly traumatic breakups within the past year. Drew's long-time, live-in girlfriend broke up with him not long after moving with him to L.A., while Sunny was literally left at the altar on her wedding day the previous New Year's Eve. Needless to say, she's pretty down on men and not looking for another relationship. Drew, on the other hand, is pretty upbeat, so when his instant attraction for Sunny leads him to approach her at the New Year's Eve party at Jack's bar, she can't really resist his positive attitude and charisma. They end up ringing in the new year alone in Drew's family's cabin on the mountain where they get to know one another and share a few heated kisses.

I had a really hard time settling on a rating for this story. It is Robyn Carr we're talking about, so I did enjoy reading it, but there just isn't a whole lot to it besides what I outlined above. This was definitely more the beginnings of a romance than one that is fully realized. It takes place over only two days time, so I admit it wouldn't have been realistic for much more than that to happen within the time frame alloted. However, it simply didn't feel as satisfying as all of Ms. Carr's other stories I've read to date. Drew and Sunny spend most of their time together on New Year's Eve discussing their respective breakups, and while that was an area of commonality they shared, it seemed a tad too much information for a “first date.” Aside from them talking and having a mishap with a deer on the road to the cabin, little else happens. Perhaps because of the two main characters, especially the heroine, dwelling on past relationship hurts quite a bit, I didn't feel the connection between them as deeply as I typically do with this author's heroes and heroines. Sensitive readers will appreciate knowing that this is a sweet, kisses-only romance, but the lack of any deeper interactions or the intensely romantic moments that I know Ms. Carr is capable of writing contributed to a sense of distance. Also, the story doesn't exactly have a solid ending, just a tacit agreement that they're going to see more of each other when they both return to L.A. and a hopefulness that something more will come of it. Overall, Midnight Confessions was a decent read that is worthwhile for fans of Virgin River, since most of the main characters from previous books put in appearances at the party, but in my opinion, not a stand-out in the series. Star Rating: ***1/2

Midnight Surrender by Jean Brashear - Midnight Surrender was by far my favorite novella in this anthology. Unlike the other two stories in the book, which take place over two days and one week respectively, this one is stretched out over the entire holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving and ending on New Year's Eve. This extra time made a huge difference in making it a lot more believable. The ending also felt more solid to me, much closer to the HEA I crave, instead of the HFN that the others had. Even though the hero and heroine were very different, I felt a solid emotional connection between them, and can say without a doubt that they'd made a definite relationship breakthrough by the final pages. I could certainly see them being happy together for a long time to come, whereas the other stories didn't leave me with that feeling.

Jordan and I couldn't be more different if we tried. I'm a hopeless romantic, while she believes that true love doesn't exist and that marriage is an outdated institution. She's a hard-edged, high-powered attorney who thinks and acts more like a man, while I'm more like her friend, Marly, a homemaker (turned writer) who's more of a girly-girl. She's a wild party animal, while I'm a definite homebody. She seduces men with her feminine wiles, runs through them like tissues, and then after a night or two of fun, tosses them out like yesterday's news, while I'm a long-term relationship person. Normally, this kind of personality disconnect would be a big detractor for me, because I have a hard time relating. In fact, she's extremely similar to the heroine of Victoria Dahl's story in this same anthology, who I didn't get at all. However, Jordan differs in that Jean Brashear made her characterization deep enough that I could understand where she was coming from even if I couldn't necessarily relate. The author also managed to make her sympathetic. Jordan was the product of divorced parents and was always the rope in their tug-of-war with each other. Even though she doesn't realize it, she's the proverbial lonely individual in a sea of people, which is something that Will recognizes in her right away. Although she has an acerbic tongue and butts heads with Will right from the start, he intrigues her and challenges her in ways no man ever has, which makes her responsive to him. And last but not least, she shows her vulnerability by trying to stay away from him, believing that she's not the right woman for a man with as good and kind of a heart as he has. She also grows and changes throughout the story, which made me believe that she'd finally turned over a new leaf and was willing to work out her differences with Will. So in the end, even though Jordan wasn't 100% relatable to me, which is why I dropped a half star off the rating, she did make a fair bit of sense to me. That, in my mind, is the mark of a good writer.

What really made this story come alive for me was Will. He's an absolute dreamboat, a man who has a soft spot for lost souls, whether they be human or animal. He sees straight to Jordan's heart right from the start, and in many ways, understands her better than she understands herself. I love that he respected both her and himself enough to not allow her to treat him the way she treats all the other men in her life. He keeps her just a little off balance, guessing and intrigued, instead of jumping right into bed with her. In fact, he refuses to make love to her on more than one occasion, because he wants all of her and not just a one-night stand. Although Will doesn't initially view Jordan as the woman of his dreams and believes that their relationship is temporary, his expectations change very quickly as he finds himself falling more and more in love with her. No matter what stage their relationship was at, Will cared enough about her to want to teach her that love does exist and that a man could be trusted with her heart, which is very romantic to me. Although Jordan is used to being in control in everything, he never allows her to get the best of him and pushes those boundaries of control just a bit. He's easy-going and patient with her, more amused by her barbs than angered. Will is sweet, and loving, and gentle, definitely more of a beta hero, although he can get a bit jealous on occasion and has a touch of alpha arrogance that I actually found charming instead of annoying like I usually do. On top of all that, he's a talented craftsman who is a true artist in woodworking. There's just something sexy about a man who's good with his hands. All of his qualities put together made Will a near-perfect hero for me.

With this being my first read by Jean Brashear and the other two novellas in this anthology being just OK for me, I honestly wasn't expecting much when I started reading, Midnight Surrender. I'm so pleased, though, to find that it surpassed my expectations. Based on this taste of her work, I'd say that Ms. Brashear is a good writer who is very talented at developing her characterizations. Between her making me like a heroine who I didn't fully relate to, her creation of a to-die-for hero and some truly romantic and emotional moments, and her leaving me with a satisfied feeling in spite of the story being short, I'm eager to find out what else she can do. Therefore, I'm happy to say that Jean Brashear has definitely earned a spot on my authors-to-watch list. Star Rating: ****1/2

Midnight Assignment by Victoria Dahl - After seeing a number of glowing reviews, I've really been looking forward to trying Victoria Dahl's work for some time, but unfortunately, this first foray into her storytelling left me feeling somewhat underwhelmed. It wasn't a bad story per se, but I just didn't relate to the main characters very well, and it didn't hold my attention in the way that many other romances have. It's the story of two FDIC special agents who are sent in with their team to take over a failing bank during the week between Christmas and New Year's. They have a bit of history together in that they shared a passionate kiss two years earlier that didn't end the way either of them intended. Now being stuck on this case together ignites the sparks between them once again. On the one hand, I suppose I have to give the author some credit for coming up with such an usual storyline, but on the other hand, a government bank take-over simply isn't a particularly exciting romance scenario to me. There was a small mystery in the form of some money that appeared to be missing from the bank and which the investigators were having trouble tracking, but I can't say that I was able to muster much enthusiasm for it. In general, Midnight Assignment was a little too short and the characterizations a little too vague for me to become fully invested in it, but at the same time, I don't think the author could have stretched this one into a more involved story, nor in all honesty, would I have been interested in reading it if she had.

Elise was a difficult heroine for me to like, in large part because I felt her characterization was too uneven. Initially, she comes off as very cold, hard, and unfeeling, an alpha female who thinks more like a man. She even admits that this is how she sees herself, and that she doesn't know how to be 'softer.' Being more of a girly-girl type of female, I just couldn't relate. At one point, Elise mentions being shy and having trouble communicating with people. This makes me think that the author was going for the socially awkward introvert angle, and I suppose there were times when Elise seemed more introverted but there were other times, such as when she's barking orders, that she didn't seem introverted at all. Elise shows some vulnerability with regards to her tomboyishness which she attributes to being raised by her father and two uncles. She also seems to have a soft spot for the elderly lady who was the owner of the bank. These parts made her a little more human to me, but in general, her personality was simply so far removed from my own that she never quite made sense to me. This was only exacerbated by her having made up a boyfriend when Noah backed away from their kiss two years ago. It was supposedly to somehow save face, but it was a move that came off as petty and juvenile to me. I've always been a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person who believes in honesty in all relationships, so I don't really care much for heroines (or heroes for that matter) who play games like that. Elise's actions and emotions were all over the board, making it very hard to become invested in her character.

Noah seemed like a fairly likable guy, but what he saw in Elise was a mystery to me. When she kissed him two years before, it was an eye-opening moment for him. He'd been attracted to her before that, but unlike Elise, he genuinely already had a girlfriend when Elise kissed him, which is why he pushed her away. I thought this was a perfectly honorable way to handle the situation in the moment. However, the intensity of the kiss made him realize that Elise was the only woman for him, and in an attempt to finally pursue her, he immediately broke up with his girlfriend. Then Elise had to go and stupidly claim to have a boyfriend too, which didn't become fact until two months later. Thinking there was no future for them after all and wanting to get away from her, Noah put in for and received a promotion to another city that Elise had been gunning for, which only further alienated her. Despite living two thousand miles away, he's never forgotten her or that kiss, so when the opportunity presents itself to reignite the passion, he goes for it. After one unforgettable night together though, Elise starts pushing him away again, which made zero sense to me. IMHO, Noah's characterization was pretty underdeveloped, because we learn virtually nothing about his background. However, like I said before, he seems like a pretty good guy, someone who is patient and persistent, which was evidenced by his determination to find the missing money. I just wasn't convinced that Elise was worth his effort.

Beside the unsatisfactory characterizations, I found several other weaknesses. I'm pretty sure I recall those glowing reviews of Victoria Dahl's work having mentioned some fairly steamy love scenes, but that was definitely not the case here. To me they came off as too raw, too short, too non-descriptive, and completely lacking any emotion. It felt more like mere lust rather than the love they supposedly professed for one another. The two year long “big misunderstanding” was totally clichéd and completely avoidable if Elise hadn't acted like a wounded teenager after their first kiss. Then after all that time apart and even with Noah's reassurances, Elise still wasn't ready to make their relationship more permanent, which IMO made the ending HFN rather than the HEA I crave. I also found a few continuity errors and last but not least, the beginning made me feel like I was being dumped into the middle of the story. It took me an entire scene to figure out that they were FDIC agents, taking over the bank, and if not for the brief cover blurb, it might have taken me even longer. As I said before, Midnight Assignment wasn't a terrible read, but neither was it anywhere close to being a great one. Noah's sweetness and more easy-going personality helped to save it for me somewhat, but he alone couldn't rescue this novella from its inscrutable heroine and inherent story flaws. Star Rating: *** ( )
  mom2lnb | Feb 3, 2015 |
I liked male pursuing the female in these stories but didn't like females stubbornness. I love Robyn Carr's style and whip through her stories. My first Jean Brashear story and heroine too resistant; I'll take that Irishman. Plot in Victoria Dahl's story was unique; I've not read a story about that branch of service.
( )
  Dawn772 | Jan 29, 2015 |
Fast read. Nice to see Drew again. I have a feeling he and Sunny will show up in the next few novels. ( )
  lesmel | May 19, 2013 |
I got a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley. Apparently I didn't read the blurb on the site, because for some reason I thought this was about vampires. It's way not. I've not read any of these authors before, so can't compare this with their other works. I liked the Brashear and Dahl stories, the Carr not so much.

Midnight Confessions / Robyn Carr -- Sunny is still kind of bitter about being left at the altar a year before and getting stuck with the bill, but after moving back in with her family she realized that women only want independence and privacy in order to have serious relationships anyway. (For real, p. 12 of the ARC.) Drew is a medical resident who suffered a bad breakup himself. The two of them together, after Sunny gives Drew a chance, they're very sweet (like Krispy Kreme donuts), sharing smooches and hopes for a future together. Not to my taste, but I could see Macomber fans liking it.

Midnight Surrender / Jean Brashear - A light mix of sweet and spice that kept me engaged. In food terms, it was kind of like Tom Yum soup. Much to my surprise, I quite liked this and might look up this author if I ever get back into contemporaries.

Midnight Assignment / Victoria Dahl - Since I keep making food comparisons, I'd say this is maybe the Pinot Noir of the bunch. A little richer, a little steamier, and a little sadder than the others. I also liked this and would be willing to read more by this author. ( )
  thewalkinggirl | Oct 3, 2010 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carr, RobynContributorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brashear, JeanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dahl, VictoriaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For Ercel, whose midnight kisses still thrill me. (from Midnight Surrener by Jean Brashear)
This story is for Jenn, because she gets me. (from Midnight Assignment by Victoria Dahl)
First words
Sunny Archer was seriously considering a legal name change. (from Midnight Confessions by Robyn Carr)
"Spill, girl." (from Midnight Surrener by Jean Brashear)
"I'm not going to let you screw this up, Noah James, is that clear?" (from Midnight Assignment by Victoria Dahl)
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Anthology contains:
Midnight Confessions by Robyn Carr
Midnight Surrender by Jean Brashear
Midnight Assignment by Victoria Dahl
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Midnight confessions. At a local bar New Year's Eve party in Southern California, two lonely revelers decide that the best balm for their broken hearts might be each other. Midnight surrender. When a flirty woman lawyer with a "bad-boy addiction" meets a nice Irish carpenter on Thanksgiving at her friends' home, she is not expecting the sparks that begin to fly between them. Midnight assignment. Working together over the Christmas and New Year's holidays on a bank takeover is made worse for two federal specialists by an ill-advised kiss that re-ignites a lingering spark between them. What will come next?

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These are New Year's resolutions worth keeping!

Take a risk.

At the inaugural New Year's Eve party at Jack's Bar, two lonely revelers decide the best balm for their broken hearts might just be each other.

Find the perfect work–life balance.

When a flinty lawyer with a bad-boy addiction meets the quintessential nice guy, sparks fly that consume their expectations of life and love.

Get those finances in order.

Working over the holidays on a messy bank takeover is made worse for two federal specialists by an ill-advised kiss that will never happen again…right?
These are New Year's resolutions worth keeping!

Take a risk
At the inaugural New Year's Eve party at Jack's Bar, two lonely revelers decide the best balm for their broken hearts might just be each other.

Find the perfect work–life balance
When a flinty lawyer with a bad-boy addiction meets the quintessential nice guy, sparks fly that consume their expectations of life and love.

Get those finances in order
Working over the holidays on a messy bank takeover is made worse for two federal specialists by an ill-advised kiss that will never happen again…right?
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