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Mira Lyn Kelly

REVIEW:  Never Stay Past Midnight by Mira Lyn Kelly

REVIEW: Never Stay Past Midnight by Mira Lyn Kelly

Dear Ms. Kelly:

Angela James mentioned on Twitter she was reading something really good from Harlequin and I reminded her she had my Kindle address. A few moments later, a book by you appeared on my device. The magic of technology! Angie was right. Never Stay Past Midnight was a sexy contemporary with good meat on its bones.

Mira Lyn Kelly Never Stay Past MidnightLevi Davis is in the midst of opening his newest club, this time in Chicago, Illinois. Levi lives a fantastic life. As a club promoter and developer, he spends his time scouting new locations, setting up new clubs, and moving on to the next business venture. It is not a lifestyle conducive to permanent relationships. Part of his deal with investors is a six month proven track record of profits. He’s at the tail end of his six month commitment and can not wait to get out of town and move on to his next project.

One night he is prowling a bookstore and runs into Elise Porter and they have a one night hookup. To Levi’s surprise, it is Elise that leaves, giving Levi the brush off.

“So, thank you,” Elise said, abruptly levering to sit and then looking around as if taking in a scene she didn’t quite know what to do with.

Something was off.

“Umm, that was really nice…” She winced a little, hesitated and then reached over to…pat his hand? “And I should get going.”

Nice? What the—? Okay. So she was nervous again.

Because she hadn’t done this before. Made sense.

And he hadn’t been prepared for it…because he hadn’t been with someone who hadn’t done this before.

While Elise wouldn’t ordinarily indulge in a one night stand with a gorgeous stranger,  she can’t resist giving herself a sort of treat. Elise is in the process of getting a yoga/Pilates studio opened. She had just submitted her loan for her business and was spending most of her time studying business books, and working 10 jobs at the same time.

Elise ends up babysitter her sister’s dog, a giant brute of a dog, and she needs someone to take care of him during the afternoon. Even though it violates their one night stand, Levi is the only person she knows who does not work during the day. Embarrassed but desperate, Elise calls Levi, stumbles through an introduction because she isn’t sure he will remember her. Levi thinks that it is Elise’s lame excuse to hook up with him again but he’s thrilled she is opening the door to something he had thought was firmly closed. Only Elise’s plea for help was genuine, much to Levi’s surprise.

“YOU’RE serious?” Levi stared down at the leash, empty newspaper bag and crumpled twenty she’d stuffed in his hand and let out a laugh that was equal parts irritation and incredulous amusement. He should have seen it the second she’d swung open the apartment door, greeting him with that wide, grateful smile. No makeup, her hair stuffed in another one of those elastic things. Ratty jeans and a not too tight T-shirt. “This is actually about the dog?”

Elise blanched, her chin pulling back. “You thought it wasn’t about the dog?”

What a chump. This was not how it went with him.

He liked to be in control. Hell, he was man enough to know he needed it. And, this thing with Elise. He was most definitely not in control.

But, based on the Olympic-level hand-wringing happening in front of him, neither was she.

Rubbing the back of his neck, he shook his head. “Not to sound like an ass here, but it usually isn’t. The dog, the lost earring, the house keys—” misplaced thong “—whatever it is, it’s usually an excuse.”

“I swear, that wasn’t my intention. I mean, yes, I like you.”

Ah, hell, he knew where this was going…held up a staying hand, thinking his ego really wasn’t up for the speech he’d given too many times to count.

The problem for both Elise and Levi is that they can’t seem to keep their minds off sex and their hands off each other. Levi knows that Elise is the type of woman who likes boyfriends and walks in the park on the weekends. Elise knows that Levi is the type of man that moves from one woman to the next, the rolling stone that gathers no moss. They promise each other that their relationship, such as it is, will be sex only.

Despite their best intentions, Elise and Levi fall for each other and the conflict becomes how a relationship can fit into both their disparate lives and ambitions. Elise is different than the women Levi has been with in the past. He can’t stop thinking about her and he knows enough about himself to realize that his feelings are beyond just physical.  Beyond the steaminess of this story (and the club scene is super hot), I loved how we were shown the mental progression of lust to love for both of these characters, particularly Levi.  We got to know the characters well, what drove Elise and what drove Levi.  Knowing the characters helped understand why these two in particular fit.  In many books, characters seem so interchangeable but in this one, I really grasped them. I could have lived without the fecund CareBear epilogue though.  Did that fit them? Not so much.  B+

Best regards,

Jane

 

 

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REVIEW: The S Before the Ex by Mira Lyn Kelly

REVIEW: The S Before the Ex by Mira Lyn Kelly

Dear Ms. Kelly:

I believe that someone told me to read this book but I can’t remember who but I would have read it anyway. It’s part of my HP subscription! The S Before the Ex is a reunited lovers story. Claire Brady married one of the wealthiest financier’s in the world but they’ve been apart for the last 6 years. Ryan Brady comes back into Claire’s orbit after she files for divorce. She is refusing to take any part of his assets and Ryan feels so guilty about their break up that he cannot allow them to divorce without her having a full understanding of what he is worth and an agreement she will take a healthy settlement.

The S Before the Ex	Mira Lynn KellyThe plot of the story was thin, but I loved the emotional conflict. Claire agrees to return to Ryan’s California home to go over his assets one by one. Because of his extensive holdings, it takes them quite some time. Together for the first time in several years, they both realized that their passion for each other hasn’t diminished. They use their time to explore each other physically rather than getting the work of their divorce accomplished.

It is during this time of renewed togetherness that they both learn a little more about what really broke them up so many years ago.  Both Claire and Ryan had given up on the marriage, but in different ways.  Claire was beaten down emotionally by the loss of their child, and a few other things, and she could not bring herself to be comforted by Ryan.  She left Ryan and called him to tell him it was over.

Ryan had been everything to her. The rising sun, laughter beneath the midday rays, and love through the star-speckled nights. But after Andrew…at the end, she hadn’t been able to be with him in any meaningful way. Hadn’t been able to talk to him or explain the dark place she’d gone to. Her heart had broken, her body and mind had shut down to everything but grief and a resentment she’d known, even then, she had no right to…and yet couldn’t fight. The shame, sorrow and anger had eaten her alive until all she could do was close herself off from everyone and everything. All she could do was leave. Try not to look back, because she couldn’t stand to see whether it was relief or betrayal shining in Ryan’s eyes as he watched her go.

Believing that Claire had moved on to other men, Ryan was secretly relieved to call it quits as the emotional struggle of being in the marriage had become too overwhelming for him as well. It was both relief and betrayal. Ryan didn’t have to view this marriage as his failure if Claire was telling him to leave.  Claire used the time to grow into herself as an individual rather than a moon that orbited around Ryan’s sun. In some ways, Claire was far stronger than Ryan.

The plot devices used to bring Claire and Ryan together and the use of an old flame to drive them apart again seemed trite given the authenticity of the characters’ autopsy of their failed marriage.  They were both at fault and they both have grown. While it was a book that showcased the contrasts, it also showed the parallel paths they both had taken to get to this point where they could have a happy ever afer. I believed that this time around both were going to make it because Claire was a much stronger person  seven years later and Ryan had faced his fear of failure.

Best regards,

Jane

 

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