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Saturday, July 27, 2013

ARC Review: Midnight Games by Elle Kennedy

MIDNIGHT GAMES is the third installment in Elle Kennedy’s superb Killer Instincts special operations romantic suspense series, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release since book #2 came out in February. This series, featuring a cadre of badass former Special Forces operators now working as soldiers-for-hire under the illustrious Jim Morgan and a coven of female assassins and undercover operators headed by the fearsome Noelle, is not for the faint of heart. It deals with hard-hitting topics (human trafficking crops up frequently) and boasts the truly heinous villains and violence/deaths that are such an integral part of spec ops romances, but if you like your romantic suspense gritty, super sexy (Elle also writes erotic romance), somewhat profane, and populated by alpha men and kickass heroines, it’s hard to do much better than these books.

Though MIDNIGHT GAMES could, in principle, be read and enjoyed as a standalone, it is definitely advisable to read the previous two books (MIDNIGHT RESCUE and MIDNIGHT ALIAS) first, as plot threads and characters from the other books play a prominent role. In fact, we first meet hero Trevor Callaghan in book #1, fresh off the murder of his fianceĆ© during a home invasion whilst he was off playing mercenary and completely mired in guilt, with no will to live. Despite only being a secondary character in the first two books, he experiences an incredible amount of growth and healing in those novels; when it’s time for his story in book #3, he’s ready for a second chance at love and willing to go to any lengths to get it. Having seen him at his lowest and knowing the guilt he’s borne for two years, his flaws make him come across as alpha without being excessively autocratic or overbearing (which tends to irk me). But, boy, is the alpha sexy—watching him lose his head over Isabel and go all caveman when another man touches her is ridiculously satisfying. Especially because he’s man enough to realise—and apologise—when he’s being an overprotective ass but can’t seem to help himself. Be still, my heart!

Heroine Isabel Roma is also first introduced in book #1 and plays important roles in both the first and second books of the series. A former Mafia princess and former FBI Special Agent working in the organized crime unit (hello friction with the Family!), Isabel is now a ‘chameleon’—an undercover specialist focusing on reconnaissance and intelligence gathering—in Noelle’s assassin outfit. Totally kickass but a bleeding heart deep inside, she bears the emotional scars of the Mafia upbringing, her imprisoned father’s disdain, and the guilt of every person she has been unable to help, including her mother and brother. She’s incredibly skilled at transforming herself into any one of her many personas and hiding her true self, whom she believes is unworthy of love—but it’s that flawed, vulnerable woman that Trevor wants. Watching a woman who is so self-assured in every other aspect of her life and who could probably kill you without breaking a sweat get flustered by Trevor’s candid pursuit and learn to open up and let him in is both sweet and satisfying. I was rooting for their HEA from the moment the two of them crossed paths in book #1, and though the timing was always off with one or the other, the connection between them is palpable throughout all the books. And when they both decide to stop fighting their attraction, the sexual chemistry is truly scorching.

MIDNIGHT GAMES is a fantastic addition to the series, and definitely recommended for all Killer Instincts fans that have been wanting to see Trevor & Isabel get together from the beginning. In addition to the great primary story, we get treated to more of that superbly written camaraderie between both the men on Morgan’s team (the bromance between Aussie playboy Sullivan Port and movie star handsome Liam Macgregor is hilarious) and the women in Noelle’s assassin team, and some more insight into the animosity between Morgan and Noelle. I cannot wait to see how that develops (my guess is theirs will be the final book in the series), and what is in store for the next book. 2014 feels entirely too far away!

Romantic suspense fans who’ve enjoyed Christy Reece’s Last Chance Rescue series or Cindy Gerard’s Black Ops, Inc. series should definitely give Elle Kennedy’s books a try.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository |


  1. I love Elle Kennedy! This books looks great!

  2. Great review. Great details about both Trevor and Isabel. Thanks.