Caroline Cabot dedicated her entire life to raising her two younger sisters. So when the time had come for Vivienne Cabot to marry into a better life, Caroline had no qualms whatsoever. Adrian Kane seemed perfect for Viviene in every way, so why would there be any worries about their engagement? Could it be that Caroline’s youngest sister Portia’s suspicions were correct? According to rumors, Adrian’s never seen during daytime, there are no mirrors inside his home, and he has all of his windows closed shut and covered at all times. It also doesn’t help that he lives in a castle that’s older than its senile caretaker. So...does all this evidence prove that he truly is a vampire set to take more that just Vivienne’s innocence? Impossible, yes. But Caroline had to make sure for Vivienne’s sake; she had to take matters into her own hands and uncover more about this viscount without the assistance of her sister, Portia. Trying to convince her not to “help”, however, was a futile task -- especially after receiving an invite to the Kane residence for supper.....a supper that was scheduled for midnight.
Despite Portia’s warnings about Adrian Kane being the dark and brooding spawn of the devil, Caroline still attends the dinner and makes sure Portia goes with her. Once there, Caroline meets a handsome yet enigmatic stranger who seems to attract more than just her attention. He’s personable, intriguing, and speaks to Caroline in such a manner that makes the conversation seem more flirtatious than casual, and Caroline has no problems with that....until she learns the identity of the enticing stranger she’s been speaking to.
Little did she know that this man was none other than Adrian Kane. With no other choice in the matter, Caroline needed to know more about this man to ensure her sisters’ safety, all while keeping her emotions in check. Thus when Adrian sets off to one of his many midnight trysts, Caroline and Portia jump at the opportunity to observe his every move. This chase leads them to the most celebrated - and notorious - pleasure gardens in all of London, Vauxhall Gardens. But things take a horrible turn for the sisters when they notice Vivienne and Aunt Marietta in the crowds and know they cannot risk being seen out on their own like this. Caroline becomes separated from Portia and ventures into the woods to hide, the woods where all couples escape to for their secret and scandalous rendezvous, lover’s lane. But now, Caroline is left alone with nothing to protect herself from perverted dandies looking for a good time.
As she closes her eyes and hopes for a miracle, who better to appear but Adrian Kane. With his help, they escape deeper into the woods, but this escape soon turns into an even bigger trap as Caroline notices Portia, Vivienne, and Aunt Marietta beginning to draw closer and closer to where they are. Now, Caroline has to make a choice....emerge from the shadows she and Adrian are hiding in and risk her family shunning her for this seemingly disreputable act, or stay within the tantalizing lure of the forbidden. In doing so, she’ll have to conform with her surroundings and kiss the man she’s with. However, what seemed to be an innocent diversion for them became something more for Caroline as she finds herself enthralled by his darkness and the secrets that lie within.
Rating: 4 Full Moons
Teresa Medeiros definitely began her novel with an interesting prologue that perks interests for the story. Even the first paragraph of the prologue leaves the reader expecting more and wondering what the future developments might include. As an introduction to the first paragraph, the prologue does its job of beginning to reveal what this novel is going to entail: mystery, some danger, and a mysterious gentleman who embarks on midnight escapades each night. The beginning paragraphs of the first chapter were successful in introducing the first two characters of the “After Midnight” cast, while also making the main story an easy thing to decipher: eldest daughter learns of her sister’s engagement, hears the doubts of her youngest sister, decides to investigate without knowing of the consequences she may encounter.
Characters (Main couple, of course) :
A caring, but also quite stubborn woman who’s goals and desires tend to be confused within her own mind. She knows which is and is not the right thing to do, but when put into a certain situation - dangerous or not - her grasp on reality and being a rational thinker seem to disappear, and she allows her feelings and heart to take over [like any normal woman would] Caroline always tries to achieve what she believes is best for her and her sisters, so her heart is certainly in all the right places...she just often believes that it is her body which is in the wrong ones [especially during a festival in the Vauxhall Gardens, or when she finds herself within a certain man’s bedroom....]
Definitely has all the characteristics of a macho man character within a romance novel. He’s mysterious, yet charming, witty, yet also mature and strong-willed. When Medeiros first introduces him to the readers, he is presented as the very interesting, but also somewhat odd stranger Caroline encounters at the midnight dinner party, but as the chapters and story progress it is clear that Adrian Kane is more than just an attractive face...and body.
The romance involving Caroline and Adrian was actually quite slow; the plot was more centered on the mysteries of Adrian Kane [Is he a vampire, is he not...is it Vivienne he truly loves, or does he secretly desire Caroline?] There was the flirtation exchanged between the two at the midnight supper, but once Caroline learned Adrian was the man who would soon marry her sister, their relationship quickly became a forbidden one [yet Caroline still held many conflicting thoughts of the elusive Adrian Kane.] Throughout the chapters, their “romance” continued to be interrupted [as would any relationship seen as taboo]. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of incidents within the story that aided in the development of Caroline and Adrian’s hidden feelings towards one another [The scene within the Vauxhall Gardens, Caroline being behind closed doors with Adrian, and many others that cannot, and should not, be revealed by this review.] In the end, the choice is entirely up to you. Looking at the story from the point of view of a serious reader, I did enjoy the plot and developments of all the characters. The mysteries and plot turn towards the end did have me appreciating the novel even more; it definitely was a very good read that I bought the next novel (review to come soon) as soon as I finished After Midnight. So, if you’re impatient and just want to get to the steamy goodness...then you might had to skip a handful of chapters to get there. But, if you’d rather search for a book that deals in the dark attractions and conflicts of a romance novel involving vampires, then you can always give After Midnight a try for yourself.
She inclined her head with a dimpled smile, deciding it wisest to treat his words as the jest they undoubtedly were. “You should be ashamed of yourself, sir. If I confided such a thing, then you would have me at your mercy, would you not?”
“ Perhaps it is you,” he leaned down to murmur, his voice as deep and smoky as a forbidden swallow of scotch whisky, “who would have me at your mercy”
Caroline sneaks into Adrian’s bedroom in the dead of the night...with a stake, and gets caught by a newly awoken [and not fully dressed] Adrian who confronts her on why she would bring a stake to his room...Caroline’s response?: “I don’t suppose you’d believe that I was going to catch up on some needlework?”