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After Midnight    by Teresa Medeiros order for
After Midnight
by Teresa Medeiros
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2005 (2005)
Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Since the tragic death of her parents, Caroline Cabot has taken care of her sisters Vivienne and Portia and their meager estate with brisk and dedicated efficiency. After a successful London debut, Vivienne makes an unexpected match with a Viscount. When the news reaches Caroline and Portia, both are pleased and relieved - until they discover exactly who has expressed interest in their sister. Portia proceeds to greatly embellish the Viscount's habits and odd proclivities, one of which involves him turning into a bat and flying off into the night. Levelheaded and practical, Caroline denounces Portia's beliefs as melodramatic claptrap exacerbated by her current fixation on anything written by Byron. Even so, Caroline is worried and vows to find out more about the mysterious Adrian Kane at the earliest opportunity.

That opportunity soon presents itself when the Viscount invites Caroline and her entourage to a midnight supper and costume ball at his estate. The fact that he lives in a secluded castle, shuns daylight, and disappears on mysterious nightly excursions, only fuels the fires of his guests' imaginations, particularly Portia's. To protect both her sisters, Caroline embarks on her own journey of discovery, but each time she encounters Kane she finds his presence more and more compelling. Adrian too, finds himself drawn to the cool and inquisitive beauty, even though he knows drawing her into his private quest could become dangerous for them both. However, between Caroline's dogged persistent to unearth his secrets and the arrival of an old enemy, Adrian knows his life is about to take a drastic turn.

Teresa Medeiros has already proven that she has a sure hand when it comes to historical, contemporary or magical romance, so it makes sense that she delve into the paranormal. Fine characterization, brisk dialogue and rich historical detail are her trademarks, and are evident again in this story. The practical Caroline and the driven and mysterious Adrian are wonderful protagonists, whose sexual chemistry sizzles. The interplay between the sisters is lively, engaging and often very amusing, particularly Portia's morbid fascination with the fantastic. The truth about Adrian and his afflicted brother Julian falls a bit flat by the end of the story, but overall After Midnight is another compelling tale from a veteran in the genre.

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