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Monday, November 26, 2012

A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan

A Night of No Return by Sarah Morgan
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (187 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Money, charm and sensual skills don't make up for a heart colder than ice…

Wild parties, wanton women, relentless work—nothing helps tycoon Lucas Jackson escape his dark and haunting past. Arriving at his rural castle in a snarling snowstorm, he craves only complete isolation.… But it seems oblivion can take an unexpected and highly intoxicating form!

Personally delivering the vital file left on her boss's desk, secretary Emma Gray starts to seriously regret her dutiful overtime mission. She never expected the dark side of the usually controlled Lucas could generate such a primitive, powerful—and entirely inappropriate—reaction.

How do you heal a man who is in so much emotional pain that he deals with it by getting drunk as a skunk on the anniversary date of the tragic event? How does a woman get beyond the fortress that surrounds that man’s heart and reteach him how to live and love again? With a little help from his friends, even ones he didn’t realize he had.

It’s a believable pain that Lucas, the hero, suffers and once I found out what it was, it was very sad. The sniffles came towards the last half of the book when one of his best friends hatches a plan that, although risky, produced feelings of tentative hope and happy tears because of the participants in that scene. I wouldn’t put it past readers to melt into a pile of goo when it comes to the toast part.

One of the participants of the drama is Emma, the intrepid heroine. I say intrepid because she has such a strong sense of duty, she ends up personifying the Mailman’s Creed, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from being as dedicated as the mailman…”. Truthfully, Emma ends up taking things a bit farther than expected and the results are scorching. Then they become the elephant in the room. How she navigates these passionate feelings for her boss is one of the more entertaining and fascinating elements of this story.

Of course, a tycoon and a savvy and powerful businessman has to have a wary and cynical view of the world. Women don’t want Lucas for his brains and art but what lines his pockets. There’s the requisite troublesome female but what I liked about Emma is her ability to see through their shenanigans. The author side-stepped that cliché quite thoroughly by making the heroine smart, capable and pretty much a type A personality – gold-digging she-cats don’t stand a chance against her. Nor does, Lucas. When Emma is guided by secondary character Avery Scott in how to dress, it was awesome. Why? Because a reader gets to see Lucas, a very self-contained man, come unglued. He starts acting very unlike himself and it was adorably entertaining.

This book also refers to the Ferrara family and it was a treat for me because I’ve been able to read quite a few of their romances. I adore world-building like this because when an author does include previous heroes and heroines from past books to help the present protagonists, it gives me the warm and fuzzies. Probably because they were awesome books in and of themselves and Ms. Morgan knows her characters so well, a reader gets little reminders of why they appealed in the first place. They have ‘presence” and Lucas fits in perfectly.

A Night of No Return romances a reader’s emotions with a wonderful and touching story spiced with the special kind of loving Ms. Morgan writes so well. It’s a book about people. She once again explores what makes us human, and our ability to be healed by the love of our friends and that one special person that cares for us deeply despite and in spite of all our faults. If a reader is looking for a “feel good” book, then this one satisfies.