Midnight Rose - Shelby Reed My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...

I don’t usually read vampire novels and I knew there must be some reasons behind it. I gave this one a try because Shelby Reed’s The Fifth Favor was such a smashing hit for me, I thought WTH. But, I couldn’t really come to terms with a few things; one was the eww-type vampire rituals. Then, the H/h’s chemistry. It was lacking. Lust was there everywhere but love, I wasn’t really convinced. Also, for some reasons I couldn’t bring myself to like the heroine Kate.

The first scene, Kate’s arrival at the spooky Sister Oaks was very interesting, got me really hooked. In the dark, the house looked like one of those from horror movies. Kate’s a divorcee and still good friends with her gay ex-husband. Well, don’t get me wrong. I’m glad that they’re friends but I’d rather not know about it. I didn’t really like it that she’d call the man, who left her for another man (she caught them together), every time something distressing happened throughout the book. She still uses his surname for crying out loud! Anyway, she knows the owner of the house just moved in a few months ago, a widower and keeps to himself mostly. His house keeper, a woman in her late 60s hired Kate when she was going through the motions in her life, needed a change and replied the ad for home schooling for a 13 yr old boy. Kate is welcomed by Mrs. Shelton too. Inside of the house takes her breath away. It’s very apparent the owner, one Mr. Renaud is very wealthy. Mrs. Shelton shows her around for a while and then in the downstairs kitchen, talks a bit about her job and her new student, Jude. She learns Jude’s mother died just after he was born, that Jude has PCT and he can’t endure sunshine. So Jude is totally homebound, if goes out, mostly around the house at night. Kate sympathizes with this info and interested to start her job ASAP. In her room she changes and goes out to the balcony to have a look. The place looks eerie with think fog and moonlight all over it. There a big pool, with a pool house close by, also a tennis court. In the shadow, she sees a man, all naked and glorious, who walks to the pool and takes a dip. Kate is breathless. She gets a bit scared when the man doesn’t surface soon. But when he does, Kate can’t help staring at him. Then she understood that the man saw her too, and even in the shadow, there was a smile on his face. This is how Kate met Gideon.

Now, I was happy so far. The next day she wakes up, calls her ex to report about her new life. Kate has given herself a 3 months time to see if she can do it. Downstairs she meets Gideon and somehow knew this is the man from last night. Then in the kitchen she meets Jude, a lanky, dark haired and eyed teenager, who looks very much like his handsome father. Then when Gideon shows her around, they start flirting and it was very apparent (from her thoughts) that she’d throw her panties out, if only he’d ask. I mean WTF woman? You just met the man! From this moment, I started disliking her. It wasn’t all about the so-called Vampire charm I think. Gideon returned it fully. It wasn’t subtle or worshipful, but really... eh, whatever! Then, I guessed already that he’s hiding something. Then he and Martha, Mrs. Shelton, whose been his housekeeper for 40 yrs, talk. Yes, he’s a vampire. And you know the kind of life he’d led on his first years of becoming one, raw and pretty distasteful; full of sex with more women that he could count; both mortal and vampires, blood sucking and killing innocents. *shudders* But the most yukky scene is still to come!

I get that Gideon’s been trying to live a ‘good’ life since Jude was born 14 yrs ago. He loved his mortal wife, Caroline but hid his true nature from her. When she learned of it, she started hating him and then the baby was sucking the life out of her too, which led to the tragedy of her death. Gideon’s tried to control his urges, as sex inevitably brings the hunger for blood and now, he only does this with vampire females, one of which we meet very soon. He’s scared for Jude, not knowing which part of his being he’d prefer when the time comes. It’s apparent he’d been attracted to Martha too when she was young but it never blossomed into anything because Martha sensed something about his darker side and Gideon never pushed, respecting their friendship. Gideon lives as a botanist, his façade to get by, enjoys attending conventions and so on. He works in his own greenhouse, researching roses mostly. Martha isn’t, at all, approving of his relationship with this blonde vampire bimbo, who makes everyone uncomfortable with her presence. Gideon has ‘seen’ her many many times over the decades, still does, though hasn’t been regular recently. She keeps calling, as Martha informs him. Gideon is intrigued by the new governess and lust rears it’s head, so he takes the bimbo’s call, from which some stuffs about their relationship comes out; how they were together before he moved or how Jude would be asleep at daytime, which is when they f*cked yada yada yada. But, to Gideon, it’s his sustenance and nothing else. Then I believe he kisses Kate in one scene, then goes to visit the bimbo at night. Yes, that’s the yukky scene I was talking about and lord, it was distasteful. All the talks and insinuations of f*cking and blood sucking at the same time, with their mutual disgusting past was just a big no no! Gideon has lived 150 yrs it seems. From this moment on, I decided to feel nothing for Gideon and just get through the book somehow.

Then comes another awful scene that killed whatever fun was left for me. That night, Kate couldn’t sleep so she explores the house alone. She guessed, from how Gideon avoided looking at her when he was going out, that he’s out on a date. She is jealous. Then she’s in this music room, which plays remnants of music when one walks into it, to play piano. Gideon showed this room to her earlier and she was pretty astonished to hear the ethereal music and how it floats but have no logical explanations for it. There is also a painting, a hunting scene, in the foyer of the house, which changes every time they’d look at it. Come to think of it, there wasn’t much about the history of Sister Oaks in the book; was it haunted from the beginning or became haunted after Gideon started living in it? I don’t know. Anyway, so Kate finished played the piano when Gideon appeared from the shadows. The man has a tendency to appear out of nowhere or disappear so swiftly, that Kate doesn’t know what to think. Gideon sits beside her and talks; first about the piano, then their kiss and mutual attraction. Whoa there, wait a min! It’s been only a day or two since she’d arrived but really, that was too much! Kate even asks him about his ‘date’ and he acknowledges being with another woman. HOW COULD YOU let him touch and kiss you after knowing it Kate? HOW? She still didn’t know anything about Gideon so he’s just another guy to her, a handsome one mind you... but hello?! They were about to do it on the piano when Gideon decides it’d only end in disaster for him. Apparently, he cares for her a bit more than the other women he f*cked during his hellish lifetime, maybe except for Caroline.

Kate’s lessons with Jude were going well. Kate liked him. Though the boy was a bit reserved with her but soon, it was apparent that he likes her too. Most of the times when Jude talked to her or Gideon, I couldn’t quite believe he’s a 13 yrs old. Jude, knowing he likes Kate and his father’s interest in her, asks Gideon to leave her alone sometimes later in the book. I mean, I was laughing thinking the son is warning the father for misbehaving. God! Anyway, Gideon tells Kate that he won’t be seeing that bimbo anymore and they dance around sleeping together for a while. Gideon would kiss her and then push her away. Kate would let him and would get hurt by his rejection, then let him kiss and fondle her again. Gideon even once touched her in her dream too. Kate wasn’t sure if it was an erotic dream, until she saw the love bite on her body. She calls her ex again and whines about it too. No, not the dream or anything, just how confusing it is for her to be here. Meantime, Gideon shows her his greenhouse and a rose he’s been researching for a long time called ‘Midnight Rose’. It’s a very dark red rose, which looks black at first glance. He even gives her a bud to perfume her own room. By now, I was kinda bored because I felt nothing for the main characters. Though the premise of the story and those paranormal going-ons I found interesting, I still didn’t like Gideon or Kate.

One day, when Gideon was out to attend a convention, three people come to Sister Oaks; two men and a woman, it was the same bimbo. The bimbo’s been trying to convince Gideon to get back to his earlier lifestyle and let Jude accompany them too. Gideon swore to himself that he’d protect Jude at any cost. When they arrive, Jude already sensed who they were. Of course he knew the bimbo from before but not the two men accompanying her. Gideon comes home to find Kate playing the hostess, not knowing the danger she’s in. One of the vampires, Jakome is clearly ‘interested’ in her. Davide isn’t though he won’t pass the chance. And the bimbo, well, she’s pure evil and Gideon knew of it. So they talk and ‘drink’ a special drink (yah, don’t ask what). The bimbo was a bartender sometime, somewhere (and before that a courtesan as I understood) so she serves the drink. They all wanted to see Jude so Gideon asks Kate to bring him. When she goes out, they talk about their pasts. Jude didn’t like those people but makes an appearance anyway. It seems like the bimbo can’t take her eyes off Jude. He’s a ‘potential’ to her of course! She makes a drink for Kate. Kate already guessed that this is the woman Gideon has been with a few nights ago. She’s jealous again but has no problem interacting. That Gideon had sex with this woman isn’t a problem to her (or that’s how I felt while reading their interactions) but only in the last parts of the story when they didn’t but Kate thought they did. It’s a long story, which I’ll get back to later. Anyway, as Gideon asks Jude to go back to bed, the bimbo, making excuses to hug or something goes close to Jude and brushes her lips all over his face. Gideon knew she was doing something so he asks her to cut it off. Jude comes out of his stupor and goes to bed. Then they dance. Kate becomes a little kitty Kat lmao. Gideon guessing something’s wrong, takes her back to her room. On the stairway, she started acting crazy. She was clearly aroused and would f*ck on the stairway if Gideon would do it. Well, can you tell, I was annoyed. Somehow that doesn’t happen. Coming back downstairs, Gideon attacks the bimbo, knowing she did this. She kept saying she loves him. She did it out of sheer jealousy and anger from Gideon’s rejection. I have NO idea what to feel for these two. It was pathetic. Gideon actually bites her neck and sucks blood (he was going without sustenance for sometimes now), when Jakome and Davide interrupt. They ask him about Jude again but Gideon is determined not to give into their demands.

At night, after they left, Gideon brings out the blood of a Saint a Franciscan gave him after Caroline’s death, knowing about his damned soul. It can give him back his mortality but there’s always the caution; if the one drinking it killed anyone, that person would only either die or remain the same. Gideon never tried it ever, doesn’t know if he can ever do it. But circumstances are becoming dire, so is his attraction to Kate. He already suspected that he might come to care for her a lot, even more than Caroline. Gideon brings out his century old photo and diary, also few other things including the blood of the Saint and decides to let Jude know about their heritage. He leaves them in Jude’s bedchamber. In the morning, disaster follows. Jude is angry, scared and hurt, with a lot of disbelief about what he learned. He confronts his father, condemns him. They fight and Jude runs out in the sun, only to be burned severely. Kate was asleep but when Martha woke her up and informed her, she runs out to the hospital. She has no idea what happened. We already knew about Gideon’s own life before he managed to have a little ‘control’ over his almost diminished humanity. He was just like Jude before he found out about a cure, which is why he can go out into the sun, but he has to wear his sunglasses. It was eating him alive that he can’t share this cure with his son. And, also with a lot of practice, he can eat a little food, not that he needs it but just to convince others. I’ve already talked about his ‘bloodlust’ thing. When Kate is there and manages to see Gideon, he’s broken and sad. Yet, he knows the doctors would question how come the severe burn injuries Jude sustained is already healing, in a matter of hours? He blabbers on about these things but Kate feels clueless. Still, she hugs him, tries to comfort him.

They get back at night. Kate goes to Jude’s room to have a look and finds Gideon there. After this, they make love because Gideon couldn’t hold it back anymore while Kate’s been willing since the day she saw him. It was hot and somehow Gideon managed to keep his bloodlust in check. He was amazed that he could keep the monster at bay! Other than Caroline, it never happened before. So was it love then? Then, Kate says ILU to him. Later, Gideon goes to another convention of botanists or something when Jude asks Kate to take him for a ride at night. Kate calls Gideon for his permission. When she drives Jude to some mall, Kate asks him to meet her again in two hours. After watching a movie, Kate comes out but Jude was nowhere in sight. She panics, looks for him for about an hour then calls Martha and breaks down into tears. She knows Gideon will never forgive her if anything happens to Jude and she can call her new relationship goodbye. Anyway, Martha and Kate returns from the police station to find Jude waiting for them. Apparently, he met some kids of his age and went with them. Next day, Gideon returns but is angry at Kate for letting it happen. Kate was hurt but soon they talk and resolve it. When Gideon confronts Jude, it seems like the boy has a new understanding on his life and the powers he inevitably felt flowing through his veins. Father and son argue and Gideon knew which side Jude favors. That night, after Kate fell asleep, Gideon talks to Jude again. He seemed more himself now, even if a bit uncertain and petulant. And the next day, he was gone.

Gideon goes crazy with worry but couldn’t find Jude anywhere. He had runaway. The whole household falls apart. They call the police, searches for him; Gideon even calls the bimbo because he had some suspicions. She never answers. Gideon suspected that the bimbo put her spell on Jude, possibly on the day she visited Sister Oaks. If she decides to ‘train’ Jude to step into his heritage, Gideon knew he’d lose his son, once and for all. So he follows their trail to the bimbo’s apartment, only to find it’s empty. It was too late though; Gideon could sense and smell it everywhere. He comes back a few days later, weary and heart sick. Gideon tells Kate that Jude will come back soon, only he won’t be his teenage son anymore. No one knows it better than Gideon himself, what it feels like when one’s new to it. Kate doesn’t really understand why Gideon isn’t informing the police about the bimbo but she keeps her distance eitherway, sensing his troubles. And yes, Jude comes back a few days later, asking for entry through the library window since he was floating. Gideon is really angry and won’t comply but he loved his son so much that he complies anyway. Jude tells him he’ll abide by Gideon’s rules, such as no killing under his roof. But Gideon knows Jude’s obedience has got nothing to do with sentimentality anymore. Jude also tells Gideon that the bimbo is hiding in the pool house. Gideon felt like killing her but Jude makes him promise that he won’t hurt her. Jude totally believes in the crap the bimbo fed him about his heritage and Gideon kept saying he’ll regret it someday no doubt; just he himself is doing now. After questioning his more, he also got that the bimbo had the vial with the blood. Anyway, it was almost dawn and Gideon knew the bimbo can’t go anywhere now so he confronts her. Another yukky scene follows. The bimbo, again, said that she loves him and believed it when Gideon, in the throes of passion, said he loved her too. Lord, I liked Gideon as a father but that’s all because everything else is just... whatever! Anyway, Gideon again denies that he loves her. The bimbo is angry and asks him to f*ck her like the old times, in return he can have all the ‘sustenance’ he needs. Gideon had to get hold of the vial somehow so he acts as if he’d relented. And they start cutting each-other and ... eww just gross!

Meanwhile, Kate woke up and sought for Gideon in his bedroom and found it empty. No one in the house knew that Jude came back. Martha said she doesn’t know where Gideon is. Kate decides to grab a glass of juice for him and have a look into his greenhouse. On her way, she was sidetracked by the pool house and you can guess what she saw and thought they’re having sex. Gideon has already got the vial so he runs out after her, threatening the bimbo to get out of the pool house and their life in the evening, otherwise he’ll kill her. I’m not sure how though. Anyway, Kate feels betrayed (lolz, they weren’t having sex and now she feels betrayed!). Gideon takes her to the library to explain. He informs her that Jude has come back, then goes to tell her about his own past; when he was born, that he was very sick and dying when his father took him to some Slavic land for cure out of desperation. There he was seduced by this beautiful woman (I thought it might be the bimbo though he never clarifies it), who after it was all done, sucked his blood and turned him into what he is today. Kate listens to it, denies it and then decides to believe in him. This is where I kinda understood how desperate Gideon was for her acceptance and how much he wanted her to stay. He even asks her if he’d lost her but before she could answer Jude interrupts. At night, she calls her ex (again) to pick her up as she’d decided to leave the job. But later that night, she goes to see Gideon and decides to make love to him for one last time. *rolls eyes* The man radiated desperation and again asked her not to leave him. But at his climax, Gideon couldn’t hide his Vampire side and Kate gets scared. She runs out of the room, hides for a while and then calls a cab and leaves. WOW but I was irritated. I know it’s logical what she did but still, I was angry at her when I saw she tried to get on with her life, to forget Gideon, even tried dating for a while. I was more annoyed by her and her ex’s interactions, which was full of his own love affairs. It gave me headaches. On the Christmas day she finally felt like calling to Sister Oaks. Jude takes the call and informs her that Gideon is very ill, maybe mortally so. Mortally? The answer is revealed at the end as she drives back to Sister Oaks once more...

Anyway, I tried explaining why this book didn’t work for me. I’ve decided to give it a 3.5 star, though it was a 3 before. I think I came to like Gideon in the end but Kate? Nope. She was a coward IMO. Yah, whatever!