Lady Emily Stapleford longs for a love-match like what her three best friends have found, but because of her father's mounting debts, it has fallen to her, as the oldest child, to save them from financial ruin. Determined to marry only for love and unwilling to marry just for money, she pens a tale that she hopes will bring her a fortune. But unfortunately it has been rejected by every publisher in London, because none are willing to take a chance on a female vampire heroine. Not to be deterred, Emily comes up with a scheme to get the ton abuzz with vampire fever. She decides to masquerade as a masked female vampire at several society parties, which she's certain will get everyone talking, and lead to her story being sought out after all. But she didn't count on American businessman Logan Jennsen, who she views as nothing but an uncouth colonial, getting in the way.
Logan lost his family at a young age, but a kindly mentor took him in and taught him everything he now knows about business. When the mentor died, he left Logan his fortune, which Logan has been able to expand several times over. Three months earlier, he shared an unforgettable kiss with Emily in the library at their mutual friends' wedding, but thinking she's nothing but a shallow débutante, he's been resistant to becoming further involved with her. However, when a chance meeting in the park leads to him finally getting to know her better, his feelings begin to change. But Logan is being pursued by a relentless nemesis who appears to be trying to destroy everything he holds dear. When Emily's life is threatened, he doesn't hesitate to save her, and in doing so, he realizes that the thought of losing her makes his heart nearly stop. Can both Emily and Logan put aside their stubborn pride long enough to admit that they've fallen for the one person they never thought they would?
Tempted at Midnight is the fourth and final installment of Jacquie D'Alessandro's Mayhem in Mayfair series that ended up being a clean-sweep of perfection for me. This book follows our heroine, Emily, the last unattached member of the Ladies Literary Society of London, a book club comprised of four friends who enjoy reading salacious stories. She's paired with American businessman, Logan Jennsen, who has been a part of the series since the beginning. These two shared what was presumably a steamy kiss in the library following their friends Gideon and Julianne's wedding three months earlier and haven't been able to stop thinking of one another since. The author had written a free short story detailing that kiss, but as she and her website seem to have disappeared, it's no longer available. I was slightly disappointed by this, but didn't necessarily find it to be a major detractor. I think she sufficiently showed Emily and Logan's connection that began with that kiss. However, despite their intense physical attraction, they make adamant claims that they don't like each other. Since Emily's father is deeply indebted to Logan, she dislikes him and views him as nothing more than an uncouth colonial, while Logan has vowed not to marry an uppity, society miss, which is what he thinks Emily is. They both get an awakening when they discover hidden depths in each other, but they still fight their feelings until they simply can't anymore. Logan has an old nemesis, though, who's out to get him by taking away everything that means anything to him, which places Emily in a great deal of danger. It all made for another wonderful story in this series.
Emily has watched from the sidelines as her three closest friends have fallen in love and gotten married. She sees how much her friends' husbands adore them, and she wants that kind of love for herself. However, since her father is so deeply in debt, she finds herself in the unwanted position of having to marry for money instead of love in order to save her family from financial ruin. She views Logan as part of the problem, because he's one of her father's creditors. In order to prevent herself from being forced into a loveless marriage, Emily comes up with a brilliant scheme. She's written a story about a lady vampire, but thus far, no publishers are interested. So she decides to "market" the book by masquerading as a female vampire and making fleeting, mysterious appearances at society functions in order to get the ton talking, which she in turn hopes will fuel interest in stories about vampires and lead to her book being published. In the meantime, a few more chance meetings with Logan lead to more steamy kisses like their first and a deeper understanding of the man she hasn't viewed as a suitable marriage prospect despite his wealth. Emily is a very spirited and stubborn young lady, qualities that serve her well in her quest to rescue her family from debt, but which also put up an obstacle to a potential relationship with Logan. At first glance, she seems rather stuck-up, but nothing could be further from the truth. She's a kind, caring, compassionate person who deeply loves her family, is a loyal friend, and also desires to help those in need. Based on her previous appearances in the preceding books and her intense dislike of Logan, I wasn't sure if I would like Emily, but I ended up really enjoying her as the heroine. She has understandable reasons for disliking Logan at first, and as the story progresses, she slowly comes around until she's fully invested in a relationship with him.
Logan lost his parents at a young age and had to survive on the streets alone until a kindly mentor took him in and taught him everything he now knows about being a businessman. He's worked hard to become a wealthy, self-made man, but his life is a lonely one with few friends to share it with and his idea of fun is making business deals. After kissing Emily that first time, she becomes a temptation that's nearly impossible for him to resist, but at the same time, he thinks she's nothing more than a shallow hothouse flower until he really gets to know her. Then he finds a woman who he grudgingly admits he's starting to like, but he, too, can be very stubborn and blind to the feelings he's developing for her. That all begins to change when Emily's life is threatened multiple times, and each time, his heart nearly stops at the thought of possibly losing her. Logan was a wonderful man, who I ended up loving every bit as much as all the other heroes in this series. Like Emily, he has a kind, compassionate heart, and he takes his responsibilities very seriously. He feels accountable not only for the attacks against Emily but also for the loss of two crewmen on one of his ships. I like how Emily challenges him and shows him there's more to life than business. She and her family also offer Logan all the love and affection that he's been missing in his life.
All of the heroes and heroines from the previous books played a part in Tempted at Midnight. Sarah and Matthew (Sleepless at Midnight) are eagerly awaiting the birth of their first child. Gideon and Julianne (Seduced at Midnight) announce a blessed event of their own, while as a Bow Street Runner, Gideon is a great help to Logan in investigating the crimes that are being perpetrated against his interests and protecting those he loves. Carolyn (Confessions at Midnight) fears she is facing a serious health crisis similar to what took her first husband from her, and Emily is the only one in whom she can confide, keeping it from everyone else including her husband, Daniel. Then there's Emily's family members who make occasional appearances, most notably her mother and her younger siblings, along with the adorable family dogs. I greatly enjoyed the supporting characters and everyone added something to the story.
Overall, Tempted at Midnight was another wonderful book in this series. I'm not usually a fan of the enemies to lovers trope or of heroes and heroines who tend to stubbornly fight their feelings for one another, but here both were done quite well and didn't irritate me. It was obvious from the beginning that Logan and Emily had strong feelings. It just took them a while to admit it. In the meantime, they heat up the pages with some scorching kisses and a good bit more in one scene. I loved the theme of them always ending up in a library alone together, which never fails to fuel their passion. If there was any weakness in the story, it was perhaps that Logan's characterization could have been just a tad bit better explored, but even that didn't really take away from my enjoyment of the book. It had all the feels that I've come to expect from this author and was the absolute perfect finale to the series, making me kind of sad that it's over. Even though it appears that Jacquie D'Alessandro might have retired from writing, there are still many of her books left for me to read, and I'm definitely looking forward to continuing my exploration of her backlist.
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