Midnight Action by Elle Kennedy #Review

Midnight Action by Elle Kennedy #ReviewSeries: #5 Killer Instincts
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Signet on November 4, 2014
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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I wasn’t five pages in and I started mentally kicking myself for waiting so long to pick up this book so thank you, voters. Yep, it was sensational, jaw-dropping, can’t breathe, squirming, all the good stuff romantic suspense. I’ve read many that claim the description of ‘enemies to lovers’ trope, but really didn’t. However, this baby, it was the Real McCoy. These two hated each other and had good reason, but they also had the skills to kill and never get caught so that added some real edge to it all.

This was the fifth installment of the Killer Instincts series. I’m going to pull a ‘do as I say not as I do’ bit of advice and suggest that they get read in order even though this was my first in the series. I say that because yes, I loved it and had little difficulty reading it as a standalone, but there were also times that I wished when little hints or familiar characters appeared in the scene that they had been, in fact, familiar to me. I think that I would have gotten even a stronger connection than I did to the story, characters, and series if I had but read them in order. So yeah, it will work as a standalone, but would be a much better reading experience in its place.

The story opens with super assassin, Noelle, getting contacted to do a hit. She is surprised to discover the hit is on her greatest enemy, ex-Army Ranger and now mercenary, Jim Morgan. Jim used her and betrayed her in the worst way nearly 20 years before, but Noelle is uneasy about the hit and does something unprecedented for her.

Jim is the leader-owner of a merc group that are quickly going from a bunch of single soldiers of fortune like himself to people in strong satisfying relationships. He never wants that for himself, but his latest short-term situation with a woman has ended and he is edgy after the woman speculates about what woman in his past burned him for a second chance. He can’t and won’t share that he once loved a woman and betrayed her love for his country before she revenged herself in a bigger way destroying any feelings he had for her.

Something is coming his intuition warns. And when he finds Noelle in his compound, the source of his edginess is explained. The years roll back and they both remember the past even as they warily circle each other now. Jim is astounded that Noelle has come to warn him about the hit, but no more than she is by her actions. He has to trace the source of the hit and neutralize it before the hit goes public and every assassin is after the reward for his death.

Noelle thought to inform Jim and then leave, but he returns to Paris with her and will not go away even requesting her help, reluctantly and through gritted teeth. Their love was killed long ago and the hate is very hot, but what neither of them anticipate is the heat of passion blazes even hotter. While they follow the clues back into Jim’s past and through the present to the identity of his shadowy enemy, they also are forced to confront their own shared past. Noelle will not give in and let Jim close and Jim wonders if she is too broken to ever love again. Meanwhile, there is one surprising and deadly twist after another waiting for them and their team of helpers.

As I said, this is enemies to lovers at its best. It’s a story told switching between point of views and alternating present with the past. I thought that part was all well done and easy to follow. I liked how it all worked on me so that I was forced to revise my opinion several times with each new surprising reveal. I felt a certain way about the characters and thought I had their motives worked out, but I only got some of it right. I enjoyed the fast pace of the action that still allowed room for introspective moments. And the passion? Good golly Miss Molly, these two channeled all their frustration and emotions into the physical and it was as dangerous and intense as any action scene.

Reluctance creased Jim’s forehead as he roughly placed his hand at the small of her back, so low that he was almost touching her ass. “I fucking hate the waltz,” he muttered.

Fighting a grin, Noelle corrected his pose by shifting his hand further up her back, then rested one hand on his shoulder and tucked her other one into his. When another grumbling sound left his lips, her grin finally breached the surface, because there was truly nothing she enjoyed more than seeing Jim Morgan out of his element. He fit that tux to perfection, moved with a grace you wouldn’t expect from a man so big, and yet despite all that, she’d never seen him look more uncomfortable.

“I think I’m going to lick your pussy when we get back to your place.”

The raspy declaration caught her by complete surprise, which, she realized, was exactly what he intended.

As her pulse raced and her sex clenched, she stared into his eyes and was unprepared for the sensual gleam she saw in them. He no longer looked ill at ease, but confident as hell, and incredibly arrogant.

  1. 98 Jim and Noelle from Midnight Action

The romance was by necessity slow to develop. I was grateful to the author for distinguishing between lust and love. These two were lusty, but the growth of love was something wispy and didn’t become tangible for a long time. Even then, it was the sort of love that was bruised and tentative because of what they had done to each other in the past and because of who they are, hard-core people in the death-dealing business.

“Noelle…” a warning note crept into his voice.

“Now, I’m going to change out of this dress, get in the shower, and wash all traces of you off my body,” she told him, finally feeling calm and centered again. “Please don’t be here when I come out.” Noelle paused. “And just in case it’s not clear enough? Our little cease-fire is officially over.”

  1. 113 Jim and Noelle from Midnight Action

There were a couple other minor character plot threads that I enjoyed, but were also a little distracting because I wanted to stick with the main plot. I think these must be setting up for books following this one.

Speaking of minor characters, there is a whole host of them. There is the plethora of people from Jim’s merc team and Noelle’s assassin squad that mix and match because of previous stories in the series brought them together. They are all lethal operators and yet they form a hodge-podge family. Other secondary characters include the villain group. I liked that the author took the time to develop the villains’ characters and their motives so that their actions and emotions make sense and there is depth.

Alright, so this was one brilliant thrill ride that I hope to repeat both by catching up on the series and continuing forward with it. I heartily suggest Romance Suspense lovers give these a try.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Romance Roundabout #304 RS

Cliché Klatch #190 ‘fallen into a trance’

Mt. TBR #108

New to Me #150 author/series

About Elle Kennedy

A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle currently writes for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Woohoo! Yes! I totally want to do a little silly reader girl jump around with you because yay! I loved this one too and whew yeah she’s good at enemies to lovers. Glad you loved your pick!

    • I love it when I get a good recommend. You were sooooo right about this one.

  • Wow…sounds like a great book. Now I feel like I have to read it!


    • Haha! Then I did my job right as the book temptress, Stephanie! 😉

  • I tried to read your review above a cat’s shoulder, he’s sitting right in front of the screen and won’t lie down ! But I got it : great, romantic suspense, enemies to lovers at its best, exactly what I need these days ! Wonderful review, I’m (trying to – cat) adding it to my list 😉

    • Oh man, they will not be ignored. My Simon’s fur can fluff up so huge when he wants to block my view of the computer and get some attention. I think this book will be exciting particularly for you since its mostly set in Paris. In fact when you posted that pick of the outside cafe tables, I was reminded of an exciting scene in this book.

      • I just love that author and need to read more from her – I took a pic of Triskell in front of the computer with your blog behind on the screen, I’ll show you 😉

  • Glad to hear you enjoyed this one so much! And it was aweosme even while you read it out of order. I always like seeing familair characters make a re-apperance and hence why I try to read series in order. There aren’t many books with an enemies to lovers plot that work for me, but here it sounds well done. Especially with the second chance element thrown in. That’s good the author distinguishes between lust and love. And that the love took a long time to develop. Great Review!

    • You are so right. This would have been much better if it was read in order.

      And, yes, enemies to lovers is a plot that is hit or miss with me b/c sometimes it’s not really what it says it is, but this pair? They wanted to literally kill each other.

      Thanks, Lola!

  • Well, well, well, this one looks good! <3 I can tell you really enjoyed this set of characters Sophia! Thanks for sharing that steamy excerpt. They seem like some great characters and I feel it's alway important to establish the difference between lust and love which I feel a lot of writers don't decipher. 🙂

    • Oh, you are so welcome, Keionda. 🙂

      I felt like pointing it out b/c it is uncommon to see an author distinguish that. This one was an unsaid distinction, but it was there.

  • I need to read more romantic suspense 🙂

    • I said that very thing a year ago and so glad I took action on that one.

  • oh I see I definitely need to give this one a try. I do love enemies to lovers trope, I have ever since I started reading romance. But I can tell from your review how wonderful this book was. I love romantic suspense, and have really been more into that genre of late. So I will need to check this author out at my library soon.

    • Yep, definitely worth a library run. I’ll be trotting in behind you soon to grab books one through four and get caught up. I loved romantic suspense so much when I was younger and then moved away from it and now I’ve returned to it with a vengeance.

  • The best kind of romantic suspense is the type that keeps you guessing, jumping, and engaged, like this one. The chick sounds hardcore, love girls who can be cold and calculating when needed. Very Alpha

    • Oh yes, Nicole, is icy death and not a woman you turn your back on ever. This book kept me in its grip most of the time.

  • I like the sound of this but I don’t think I want to read 4 to get to this one if you say it can stand alone 🙂 I just may have to check this one out. Adding it to GoodReads-thanks for the recommendation and well thought out review 🙂

    • It will work alone. I only felt like it could have been even better to have gotten the previous stories and previous encounters that are mentioned.

      Hey, that’s great, Lorna! Hope you end up liking it.

  • Wow, that first quote was a heck of one. lol Sure sounds like a good book.

    • These two were very quoteable the way they kept provoking each other. I had a good time reading it.

  • vvb reads

    Sounds great! I’ll have to keep this one in mind when in the action romance mood.

    • I hear you! I’m a mood reader, too. I’ll go for months without touching a certain type of book and then suddenly I’m craving it.