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By Cat Johnson
Thom Grande is a Navy SEAL. He, along with other members of his SEAL team are on a mission to capture "Jihadi John", the executioner of many British and American prisoners. As they land and begin to disembark from the Blackhawk helicopter, there is a loud explosion. Thom blacks out. He wakes up in the hospital and finds out from his friend Brody that the helio was hit with an RPG and the hatch door hit Thom. As a result, Thom has a brief case of amnesia. After speaking with Brody for a while, his memory returns, including the memory of his kids and nasty divorce. As he recuperates, Thom decides to surprise his family by arriving Christmas morning for breakfast in Massachusetts. There is a snowstorm and traffic is slow. Knowing the area, he takes a side road. All of a sudden a deer is in the road, he swerves and ends up hitting a tree.
Virginia Starr, or Ginny as she likes to be called, is a freelance editor and an aspiring author, with a habit of dating losers. While looking for a new apartment, Ginny comes upon an ad for a house sitting position in Massachusetts. She calls, and gets it, after all, "she can write anywhere". As Christmas draws near, Ginny is feeling a little sorry for herself because she doesn't have a boyfriend and she is experiencing writer's block. She watches a show that gives her advice on how she can make changes so that she can begin to meet new people. She decides to begin after New Year's.
Because of a storm, the lights go out in the house. She realizes that she forgot to bring in some firewood. While she is out there, she goes to shut the barn door that keeps banging and grab the snow shovel. Out of nowhere a hand grabs her around the mouth. She hears a male voice telling her to "shhhh, they will hear you." "Who " Ginny asks? "The insurgents" is the reply. After a little more conversation, Ginny tells the person that they are in Massachusetts. She realizes that the man is cold and wet and invites into the house to get warm. Ginny does this even though she thinks that she is one of those girls that are "too stupid to live" from horror flicks. They spend the night talking. Thom wakes the next day a little disoriented and snuggling Ginny. One thing leads to another and they end up making love. Thom goes down to check on his car leaving a note where he is and will be right back. His friend Chris is waiting for him by the totaled car. Chris tells him that they have to leave now because they have intel where Jihadi John is located. Thom doesn't have time to go back and tell Ginny that he has to leave. Weeks go by and she hasn't heard from Thom. Ginny decides to write a different kind of book than the one she already started, one dealing with finding a SEAL with amnesia. Eventually after the mission, Thom returns. He explains to her where he was and they tell each other how they feel and decide to begin a long distance relationship. After all, "she can write anywhere".
As always, I love Cat Johnson's stories. Poor Thom, amnesia twice. I thought Ginny's character was funny, especially when she found Thom in the barn and kept telling herself that she was like one of those "too stupid to live girls" from the movies because she takes Thom into the house and for all she knows, he is a lunatic. This story was also very timely as Ms Johnson discusses ISIS and the military's efforts to capture the Jihadist who executed American civilians. Ginny and Thom take a risk in order to find happiness. I look forward to hearing about them as Ms Johnson continues this series. I highly recommend this book.
Virginia Starr has had no luck in the dating department. Alone and introverted, she takes a house-sitting job for the winter, moving away from family at Christmas time. One night, Ginny finds a stranger, frozen and clearly distraught, hiding in the barn. Bringing him inside to warm him up, the pair find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another.
NOTE: Potential spoilers in this review
I have mixed feelings about SEALed at Midnight. After loving the first two books in the series, I had high hopes for this one. And while the story moved quickly and the romancing was sexy, I had some issues with the plot.
First, I was a bit disturbed at how Virginia and Thom meet… he clearly has psychiatric issues, and Ginny not only just lets him into the house that she doesn’t own, but cuddles up to him. I don’t care how frostbitten the boy was or how cute he may be, this just doesn’t sit well with me.
Second, the pair spends very little time together, yet by the end of the book, they are ready to try a long distance relationship. I felt it was too soon, in that the author hadn’t truly established a strong connection between the pair. I needed a few more scenes with Ginny and Thom together, talking, smexing, whatever, but something more.
Overall, SEALed at Midnight is a steamy story, but left me unsatisfied. This story is full of promise and easily could have been a B+ or better, but while I enjoyed reading the novella, the story felt cut short and left me hanging. I don’t know if I would even classify the book as an HFN (happily for now), due to the fact that the couple didn’t even meet until after 50% mark and shared only a handful of scenes together. I’m hoping that Ms. Johnson takes the time to finish Thom and Ginny’s story in a future title.
My Rating: C+ Liked It, but I had issues
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About