I have to say that the ARC was a mess. I thought it had an 80 page prologue because chapter one started on page 81. But yesterday I was comparing the ARC to the final copy and realized that the chapters were mislabeled – or something like that. Also the story timelines in the ARC are way off (this is something that Leigh has had a problem with in the past). Then there is the backstory.
“Midnight Sins” is the first in a new series about three cousins who are the most hated men in their home town. The wealthy and powerful families in the town (to whom the three are related) have made it their mission to makes the lives of these boys miserable and to punish anyone who befriends them. The reasoning behind this is part of the overall theme that pulls the three books together – at least I think it is (hope). The early part of the book discusses how the hatred developed going back several generations. This part, for me, was unintelligible in the ARC. The grandfathers, great-uncles, fathers who married the daughters of the three powerful families, the blood brothers, secret baby given up for adoption, etc. confused me to no end. I actually ended up making a chart as I was reading, which didn’t entirely help.
That leads to yesterday when I received a final copy of “Midnight Sins” – which leads me to last night where I actually spent time comparing the ARC and final copy (a very thankless and un-fun task which I don’t necessarily recommend). And yes, many of the errors are fixed and changes are made to the ages of characters and the timelines. Are they right? I can’t tell you. I would have to read the final copy word for word, and while I will do so at some point, I won’t get to it in a timely enough fashion for my review. So here is my warning, this review is based upon the error-riddled ARC with some minor reviewing of the final copy.
In “Midnight Sins,” Rafer Callahan is one of cousins that the townspeople treat as if they were pariahs. He has deep and seriously lusty feelings for and a complex relationship with Cambria (Cami) Flannigan. She is the younger sister of a woman with whom Rafe once had a relationship (this woman, Jaymi, is murdered early in the story as part of the suspense plot). Several years after Jaymi’s murder, Rafe takes Cami’s virginity before allowing her to run away from him. There is some back and forth following their first sexual encounter. Then years later, she ends up at his house in the middle of a violent snowstorm, and the two resume their heated relationship (this is the beginning of the current time in the book). Yet, Cami is afraid of people's reaction to the burgeoning relationship.
But people do find out and their relationship stirs up the past, bringing things that someone wants buried to the forefront. Cami adds fuel to the fire by asking questions about Rafe’s parents, their deaths and the townspeople’s vendetta against the cousins. The evil that stalked Jaymi quickly returns, and Rafe and Cami realize that they must find Jaymi’s killer if they have a chance for happiness.
Now, I could go on and on pointing out holes in the plot. What exactly happened with the cousins’ ancestors that created this rift? Why did the bad guy feel the need to kill women who were sleeping with Rafe? What was that supposed to accomplish? I’m a bit fuzzy on the romantic suspense plot. So much of it revolves around the larger story arc with the three cousins, so I’m assuming that we should get more answers in the third book. Here’s hoping.
Anyway, I don’t so much require a good plot in my Lora Leigh books. I love her dark, brooding, alpha heroes that can sometimes be assholes – men who seemingly might die if denied the right to worship at the altar of their women’s sacred nether regions. It just works for me. And it is Rafe and Cami’s relationship that is my favorite part of “Midnight Sins.” It is angst-y, full of dark, forbidden longings with a heroine who both craves and fears the hero’s edgy desires.
My suggestion with “Midnight Sins” (and other Lora Leigh books) is to stop thinking and just read. Suspend your disbelief, it helps. They are either books that work for you or don’t. And Lora Leigh’s books make me happy. I will follow her wherever she chooses to go. Because nobody does dark, edgy and dominate heroes like Lora Leigh.