Kyle Wakefield is a young movie producer trying to make a name for himself in Hollywood. He’s also so far in the closet, he may as well be living in Narnia. Kyle doesn’t want to give anyone any excuse not to work with him and his company. Also, his parents are ultra conservative, ultra rich, and ultra influential, and he doesn’t want to rock the boat with them.
Nathan Carnes is the owner of a stunt company called Second Chances. It’s completely staffed with people who’ve spent time in prison. Nathan, himself, has spent time behind bars for a stupid mistake he made when he was a teenager. Nathan is in London because his company has been hired by the producer of a big movie that can put Second Chances on the map. Imagine his surprise when he meets up with Kyle at a pub near the hotel where he and his crew are staying.
Kyle and Nathan were in love when they were teenagers. Kyle’s parents were mortified Kyle would even think of being with a boy from the wrong side of the tracks. The young men had made plans to meet up and run away after Kyle’s birthday, but Nathan got arrested. There were misunderstandings between them, combined with some martyrdom. Because of that, they were both angry and hurt.
Now that Kyle and Nathan are supposed to work together to make the movie a success (and give their companies some Hollywood cache). However, their explosive personalities are making it difficult to do that. They can’t stay away from each other, and people are starting to suspect. Also, Nathan doesn’t want to be Kyle’s dirty little secret. Will they be able to find a balance, or is their second chance going to slip away?
I liked this story. I went into it expecting a second chance comfort read, but I got quite a bit more. Kyle and Nathan were tortured men. They broke my heart. Even as I say that, I have to admit they were difficult to like, and it took me awhile to start caring for them. Both men were angry and held on to old hurts. Kyle still didn’t want to come out of the closet. Nathan didn’t want to crawl back in. They seem to have an intense dislike of one another, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to tolerate them long enough to finish the book. I’m glad I held on, though.
From the beginning their chemistry was explosive. There was a lot of sex…hate sex, angry sex, tender sex, more angry sex. I’m not going to lie to you. Some of the sex wasn’t pretty. I’m not going to call it dub con because nobody said no. It was just occasionally tough to read.
As soon, as the story got deeper, I was able to see inside Kyle and Nathan’s exteriors and was able to see why they were both so angry. Kyle thought Nathan abandoned him, and Nathan sent Kyle away when he came to visit him in jail, telling him he didn’t want him. That of course, was not true, but he had his reasons. There was more angst in this book than I expected. I know some is necessary to move a story along, but I was left feeling heartbroken and sad, and also mad. I wanted to strangle both Kyle and Nathan. They were frustrating to me.
There are a few background characters who played a role in Came Upon a Midnight Clear. Steph is Kyle’s business partner and best friend, Ethan is Nathan’s best friend and business partner, Peter is the director (and arrogant, homophobic ass), and to a smaller extent, Kyle’s parents play a role. While none of them were major players, they all were important. I liked Ethan. He always lent an ear to Nathan. He also kicked Nathan’s proverbial ass when he needed it. Those are qualities I consider to be essential in a friendship.
The pacing was steady and there wasn’t any real lagging. I’ve already mentioned the angst. Those scenes were a bit long, and I would have liked to skim them, but I wanted to make sure I read everything to give an honest review. My personal opinion of the story is that Kyle and Nathan never stopped loving each other, so they’re not necessarily falling in love. I was ready for them to get on with the good stuff, and I think they were too, so when the moment happens, I shed tears of relief.
One other thing I’d like to briefly mention is the action in Came Upon a Midnight Clear. The movie they’re filming is an action movie, and Nathan’s running a stunt company. That means interesting descriptions of jumping bridges, squealing tires, chases past Big Ben, and the final BIG stunt. It’s obvious the author did some research on the subject, and it was well written and interesting.
All in all, Came Upon a Midnight Clear was a good book. I enjoyed it in spite of some of the dragging moments. It’s kind of a different take on a fluffy, feel good Christmas story, and it’s worth a read.
PS…This book is a Riptide Holiday Charity novel. Twenty percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Russian LGBT Network. It is also a lightly revised version of a previously published work.