Rio was one of the Order's most powerful warriors until a shocking betrayal by his own Breedmate endangered the entire team and left him severely scarred both inside and out. After spending months in the infirmary, recovering from his wounds, he was finally well enough to accompany some of his brothers on a mission, which revealed the former resting place of an ancient evil. Telling the rest of the team that he'd be going home to Spain for a while afterward, he volunteered to stay behind to set off explosive charges to forever seal the cave. In reality, he's been holed up there for months, considering ending it all. But then a mysterious woman enters his peaceful hiding spot, taking photos that could reveal the existence of the Breed to the entire world. Unwilling to let that happen, Rio finally completes the job he stayed behind to do and then follows her. After capturing Dylan, he's shocked to discover that she's a Breedmate, and as they spend time together, he starts to feel things again that he didn't think possible. He has no choice but to take her back to the Order's compound, where everything is revealed to her. She's given a choice between going to a Darkhaven or having her mind wiped and going back to her own world. When she chooses the latter, Rio surprisingly finds himself disappointed. However, after discovering that Dylan made the choice because her mother is dying, he wants nothing more than to help her in any way that he can. But then she becomes a target of their newest enemy just as they discover that her ability to see the dead may be the answer to tracking him down, leaving Rio in a race against time to save her.
Ever since childhood, Dylan Alexander has been able to see ghosts who can communicate with her, although it's a gift that has left her with mixed feelings. Dylan's mother, who is also her best friend, is suffering from cancer and not doing well, so she accompanies her mother's friends on a European trip in her stead. While out sightseeing, she's visited by a ghostly woman who directs her to a cave and asks her to save someone. Inside, Dylan finds what appears to be some kind of crypt that sends her tabloid reporter skills into action. She owes her boss a spectacular story in exchange for the time off, and thinks she might have just hit the jackpot. She also finds a frightening man who she think is just a vagrant until he tracks her to another city and demands that she give him her camera and any copies of the photos she took. When she shows him her strange birthmark, he locks her up and insists that she come with him. Rio reveals the existence of vampires, of which he is one, something that Dylan finds difficult to believe at first, but the more time she spends with him and the Order, the more she comes to realize he's actually telling the truth. She also starts falling for the enigmatic, scarred warrior, but when he offers her a choice to return to her life, she has no option but to take it for the sake of her mother who only has a short time left to live. It soon becomes apparent, though, that Dylan's gift may hold the key to finding and destroying their latest enemy... if he doesn't get to her first.
Midnight Rising is the fourth full-length novel in Lara Adrian's Midnight Breed series and it's Rio's story. After being betrayed by his Breedmate and barely surviving an explosion, Rio has been left severely scarred, both inside and out. He's been holed up for months in a cave that used to be a hibernation chamber for one of the Ancient Ones and has decided to end his life while destroying the chamber as his last act for the Order. Then a lovely flame-haired woman stumbles into the cave, snapping pictures. Rio knows he can't allow those photos to get out into the human world, so he reluctantly destroys the cave and follows her, only to discover that she is a Breedmate who stirs him in ways he'd thought no one would again. Since childhood, Dylan has been able to see the ghosts of women, and it was a ghost who led her to the cave. As a reporter for a sensationalist tabloid newspaper, she's awed by what she finds and knows this could be the story she's been looking for. However, after taking her pictures, she realizes that the strange man she met in the cave and thought was a vagrant has followed her. Upon capturing her, he tells her a seemingly impossible story about vampires being real and her being one of their Breedmates. At first, the two don't trust each other much, but that trust begins to grow when Rio takes Dylan to the Order's compound. There it becomes obvious that what he's telling her is true, and he gives her a choice between being placed under protection in a Breed Darkhaven or having her memory wiped and returning to the human world. Although Dylan has started to become attached to Rio, her mother is sick and needs her, so she has no choice but to go back to her own world. But when it becomes apparent that a new enemy has arisen and has Dylan squarely in his sights, Rio finds himself in a race against time to save her.
Rio spent months recovering in the Order's infirmary after his Breedmate's devastating betrayal, but he still bears terrible physical and emotional scars from the ordeal, as well as a traumatic brain injury that causes debilitating blackouts. At the end of the previous book, he went on a mission with other members of the Order to locate a hibernation chamber for the last remaining Ancient One, but unfortunately the cave was empty. Rio volunteered to stay behind to destroy the chamber and told his brethren that he'd be going back to his homeland in Spain for a while afterward. In reality, he's been holed up in the cave ever since, making plans to either end his own life or trap himself inside while doing the job. Just as he's finally resolved to end it, a lovely young woman shows up in the cave piquing his interest. When she takes photos of the chamber, Rio can't let her get away with the evidence of vampire life, so he blows the cave anyway and then follows her. He plans to simply destroy the photos and wipe her memory, but after catching up with her and taking her captive, he's shocked to discover that she's a Breedmate. At that point, he has no choice but to reveal the existence of vampires. At first, she doesn't believe him, but when he takes her back to the Order, she begins to understand. Rio also starts to feel things for her he thought he'd never feel again and he thought she was feeling them, too, so her choice to return to the human world confuses him. Still he respects it, but when he discovers the reason is that her mother is dying, Rio wants to do whatever he can to help her. However, when they discover that a new enemy has arisen and that Dylan's ability to communicate with the dead may hold the key to finding him, Rio will have his work cut out for him keeping her safe from the enemy's clutches. Rio is a classic scarred, tortured hero who is a very sympathetic character. He also harbors a lot of self-loathing that dates back to his childhood and being rejected by his own mother for being a Breed and for his terrible deadly gift. His Breedmate's shocking betrayal only added to his feelings of not being worthy of love, but I was glad that he was able to let Dylan in, learn to trust again, and find peace from the past.
Dylan's father abandoned them when she was quite young. She also lost one brother in an accident and the other has been missing for some time, so for as long as she can recall, it's only been her and her mom, who is her best friend. However, her mother has been battling cancer and not doing well. She was supposed to go on a girl's trip with her friends but wasn't feeling up to it, so Dylan went in her stead. In order to get time off from her job as a tabloid reporter, though, Dylan had to promise to return with a great story. She's come up empty, until a ghost leads her to a cave where she finds a seemingly empty crypt and strange markings on the wall, one of which matches a birthmark on her body. Thinking she may have finally found something worthy of writing about, she returns later to capture some photos and finds a rather frightening man who she thinks is a vagrant. She flees from him and escapes to Prague only to discover that he's followed her. He demands her photos and won't let her go until he's found every person she sent them to. Then after seeing her birthmark, he tells her a wild tale about vampires being real and her being a Breedmate. Initially it's simply too sensational for her to believe, but as the evidence starts stacking up, she can no longer ignore it. After learning all he's been though, she's also starting to fall for the tortured Breed male, but when she finds out her mother is back in the hospital and may only have weeks to live, she can't stay. However, it soon becomes apparent that Dylan's gift for seeing the dead may hold the key to finding and defeating the Order's new enemy as long as he doesn't get to her first. Dylan is a kind woman with a logical mind who I related to well. She loves writing but is basically stuck in her dead-end job with the tabloid and has no real passion for the work. Then Rio come along, showing her a whole new world. I love how accepting she is of him, scars and all, and how she's adamant about never revealing the existence of the Breed to anyone even though she knows it will probably get her fired. Dylan was the perfect person to help Rio get back on track and give him all the love he deserves.
Midnight Breed is a pretty long-running series, and as such, there are a number of key supporting players. Lucan (Kiss of Midnight) is still the leader of the Order, and looking out for everyone's well-being. Dante and his Breedmate, Tess, (Kiss of Crimson) appear in a few scenes, as does Tegan (Midnight Awakening). Russian Breed Nikolai is Rio's best friend who calls him out when needed. He'll be the hero of the next book, Veil of Midnight. Andreas Richen (Ashes of Midnight), the head of the Berlin Darkhaven, gives Rio and Dylan a place to stay for a short time. Newer members of the Order, Kade (Shades of Midnight) and Brock (Taken by Midnight) appear, along with former Darkhaven Enforcement Agent Sterling Chase (Darker After Midnight) who now works for the Order, too. And last but not least, tech geek Gideon (A Touch of Midnight) is always ready behind his computer screen to find information or do a little hacking.
Overall, Midnight Rising was another enjoyable book in this series. It would be impossible not to like Rio who's suffered so much. After what his former Breedmate did to him and the Order, he deserved a happy ending with someone who understands and appreciates him and will be loyal to the end. Dylan is kind and considerate and exactly the type of person he needs to help get his life back on track after all the pain he's been through. She needed a new family to support her as well and I think she's found that in the Order. These two fit together and complemented each other well. I was left with no doubts about their rightness for one another. I was a bit surprised when the Order defeated their nemesis at the end of the previous book and wondered who the new antagonist would be. I wasn't at all disappointed in the new "big bad" who's as evil as they come. I have a feeling it might be a while before they're fully able to defeat him, which should make for some good storytelling in the meantime. Everything just came together to create a good story, so my only small complaint would be that it seemed a little slow to get started. There wasn't a great deal of note happening in the first two-thirds or so of the book, but then all the juicy bits, including most of the romance, the love scenes, and the excitement kind of got crammed into the last third. I felt it might have been nice if it had been spread out a little more evenly, but it was a fun story and a nice addition to the series that has me looking forward to more.
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