Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Title & buy link: Came Upon A Midnight Clear
Author: Katie Porter
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
Publisher: Samhain
Genre: M/M contemporary
Length: Novel (288 pages)
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

A guest review by Leslie S

Review summary: Real men with bucket-loads of attitude and a whole lot of history go toe-to-toe during the making of a Hollywood blockbuster—what a ride!

Born to old Virginia money, film producer Kyle Wakefield’s conservative upbringing kept him in the closet. Only once did he venture outside: for a tempestuous teenage affair with Nathan Carnes. When Nathan’s self-destructive streak landed him in prison, Kyle slammed the door on youthful hopes. Despite Hollywood successes, he still hides his true self.

He thought he’d moved on, until his production company hires Nathan and his Second Chances stunt crew to work on the London set of a big-budget action flick. Watching Nathan risk life and limb with fellow ex-cons looking for a fresh start makes it tough for Kyle to keep his desires hidden.

Thirteen years have passed since Nathan’s teenage self-doubt led him to sabotage any chance of a future with Kyle. He’s come a long way since then, but despite their explosive sexual chemistry, Kyle treats their attraction like a deep dark secret.

Their matched Hollywood ambitions and a pain-in-the-ass director make cooperation essential. As the London holiday season casts its spell, the two men find themselves on the verge of falling in love again—even as old secrets and pain keep them shackled. The only hope of unlocking their hearts is a Christmas miracle.

Born into wealth and privilege, Kyle turned his back on his family’s plans for him to go into finance and has instead built a film production company with his best friend and fellow Yale graduate, Steph. She’s almost the only person who knows his secret—Kyle is gay, but he’s afraid to come out and has been hiding deep in the closet for over a decade. He tells himself it’s because he’s protecting his career: he wants to make blockbuster films, and despite a few token gays, Hollywood is still an intolerant place. But the reality is something he doesn’t dare admit to himself—he’s nursing a broken heart and still carrying a whopping huge torch for the boy who hurt him so badly when they were teenagers.

Ex-con Nate now runs a stunt company called Second Chances. He’s a tough, no-nonsense guy who wears his heart on his sleeve… except he’s always been hung up on Kyle. Previous relationships have foundered because of his feelings for Kyle, but Nate’s been too hurt and too proud to make contact with his ex-boyfriend.

Thirteen years ago, Kyle and Nate became lovers while they were students at an elite boarding school where Nate was on a charity scholarship and Kyle was the perfect golden boy. They planned to run away from Kyle’s controlling parents, but real life intruded and in a moment of recklessness from Nate, everything went wrong. Stubbornness and pride combined to make matters worse, and Nate ended up in prison. Brought together on the set of the action movie Fast Money, their desire for one another ignites again.

Their obsession burns hotter than before, threatening to rage out of control. Steph has to remind Kyle that while he comes from money, she only has what she earns from work—and Kyle hasn’t been focusing since he picked up with Nate again. Something has to give, and their tempestuous on-off relationship is testing them both to the limits of their emotions and their self-control. It’s only by being brutally honest with one another that they’ll be able to rebuild what was so badly broken—but will they be able to put aside damaged egos to take a chance on their future?

Wow, this was *such* a ride. Katie Porter is a new author for me, but after reading this I’m going to track down her backlist. With a blistering pace and two delicious, emotionally-wrecked leads who literally can’t keep their hands off each other, this was a proper high-octane blockbuster of a book.

I loved both main characters. They’re strong, they’re real, and they both need each other in such a visceral way. Kyle is afraid—afraid of being found out as gay, afraid of how much Nate means to him, afraid that one day it won’t be enough. Hiding from his own truth has almost crippled him emotionally, but he keeps on going, hoping that this time maybe it’ll work.

And then there’s tattooed bad boy Nate, a former carjacker who turned his need for an adrenalin rush into stunt work and who hires ex-cons who want to turn their lives around. Just as much a perfectionist as Kyle, he loves his job and trusts his crew, and knows that loyalty and trust are the things that ensure his survival. He wants the same qualities from Kyle, but he’s afraid that Kyle will only see him as a wicked plaything and discard him at the end of the film shoot in London.

I loved the way they clashed, all raw and potent and with so much sexy aggression. These guys really need each other, but they refuse to admit it on a deep level and keep on making it purely about the sex. And yes, the sex. There’s a lot of sex in this book, and it’s scorching hot—especially the scenes in the club. Kyle and Nate burn off the pages for one another, and though sometimes I just wanted them to actually *talk* to one another, every time they did talk, they managed to screw things up even further!

Their teenage break-up was the result of a Big Misunderstanding fed by Nate’s own insecurities and Kyle’s wounded feelings, and their problem as adults is still that they can’t talk to one another without letting a whole bunch of stubborn jackass attitude and pride get in the way. But that’s guys for you, and if they’d seen sense sooner, the book would be much shorter 😆

Kyle and Nate balance one another, and I really liked the way the action of the film being made, especially the stunt scenes, balances the progress of their relationship. The pacing of the story kept the tension high throughout, and I particularly liked the description of the boat stunt, which had a lot riding on it not only emotionally but also in terms of the film itself.

There’s a lot to enjoy in this book. Aside from the hot guys, the hot sex and the hot stunts, I liked Steph and even sleazy director Peter had his moment at the end. I also liked the backdrop of London, which is integrated well into the action. But for me, Kyle and Nate’s explosive relationship is the thing that really caught my attention and made me read on and on. Great stuff—recommended!

The book is available for pre-order and will be released November 27


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