Man After Midnight

Man After Midnight - Devyn Quinn Danicia “Dani” Wallace is broke and in debt. She strips for a living and lives in the basement apartment of her brother Brendan and his wife Líadán’s home. Dani is a Wyr-witch, belonging to “an ancient clan called the Gwyd’llyr, or seers of purity”. Both she and her brother are direct descendants of the Wyr bloodline, through their Scotch/Irish heritage. What I like about this heroine is her wit and the story is laced with it, she isn’t a stereotypical ‘kick ass’ heroine, in fact she admits when she is frightened out of her mind and knows her limitations. Essentially, Dani has a wonderful sense of humor and she uses it to deal with her insecurities, fears and goofs as her spells usually go awry.

Then, an enigmatic, mesmerizing gentleman Dani refers to as ‘Butterscotch’, because of the color of his hair, hires her for a private strip session. Dani isn't a hooker, in fact, it has been a long time since she has been with a man. She knows her admirer wants her, he has been in and out of the club where she works on numerous occasions watching her perform, and the sexual tension and attraction between them increases each time she has seen him. When he finally speaks to her, his speech is courtly and ‘quaint'; his touch is electrifying. She finds ‘Butterscotch’ irresistible and as her dance becomes more erotic and enticing a reader can feel the sensual heat boiling between them.

Following a night of wild passionate lovemaking with 'Butterscotch', a mystery man Dani never expects to see again, she awakens in her apartment in the late afternoon the following day. She daydreams about seeing her magnificent lover again when the bellowing of her brother to get her “freaking ass up here right now”, startles her. Dani enters the living room to find the very man she was daydreaming about, flanked by two bodyguards and another gentleman who is engaged in an animated discussion with “Counselor Nash”, her tutor in the magical arts and Wyr representative. All the 'visitors' are dressed in Victorian era garb...

Dani is astounded to learn that her mystery lover is “Prince Casedren Teraketh of Sedah”, and he has come to propose marriage. Following an absolutely hilarious exchange with Brendan when he learns his sister has been intimate with the ‘prince’ it is explained to the Wallace's that Sedah is a dimensional world interwoven throughout earth. Counsellor Nash also explains that Casedren and his people are extremely long lived and experts in the ways of magick as well as being shapeshifters. The Jadians and Wyr had a long history of battling until a treaty was struck. Jadians, you see can only produce male heirs. Therefore in exchange for the Jadian's not 'raping and pillaging earth', the Wyr allow them to select females from earth as mates. Casedren is next in line to the Jadian throne and he needs to present himself with a suitable consort if he is going to succeed. Why? Casedren has an evil, and I mean evil younger twin, Cellyn, who is bent on ascending the throne by whatever means. With renewal of the monarchy so too is the treaty renewed if the new king chooses. If Cellyn succeeds in contesting Casedren's right to the throne and becomes the next Jadian king it is expected he will tear up the treaty bringing about an apocalypse.

In spite of being unsure and frightened Dani accepts Casedren’s proposal, leaving all that is familiar and travels to Sedah. She doesn't understand the inexorable sexual draw she feels for Casedren, which crackles whenever they are in close proximity, however she is swiftly becoming addicted to his touch.

Here is an example of Devyn Quinn’s wonderful prose as Dani travels through the wormhole to Sedah with her Prince.

“Stepping through the dimensional gate was like stepping in front of a freight train and being hit head on. The forces within the vortex were trying to push her away, spit her out like something foul and terrible.

Struggling to keep hold of Casedren’s hand, Dani clenched her eyes shut against the wave of nausea ripping through her. Dimensional currents spun around her, shards of light and psychedelic colors slashing through her lids, invading her brain. The ground disappeared beneath her feet. Casedren’s hand slipped from hers as another force seized hold of her. Invasive claws dug into her bowels, even as strange flashes of illumination smacked her eyes from inside her closed lids.

The gate wanted her out. The gate wanted her gone.”

Man After Midnight © Devyn Quinn

Dani is plunged into a cold, icy, dark medieval world that reflects the old king’s depression. King Bastien, Casedren’s father, is mourning the recent loss of his wife. The bleakness of the land reflects his mood and grief. Shortly after her arrival she is introduced to Cellyn who is evil incarnate, dabbles in black magic and mind walking. Dani is drawn into a power struggle between the good twin, who she grows love desperately and the evil twin, a depraved sociopath.

There are, however positives in her new environment, Casedren shows Dani that simple thought can physically manifest itself throughout the realm. By simply imagining furniture, clothing etc. it will appear. There are little dragon messengers, servants shift walls and move through them, she is treated as a princess. I thoroughly enjoyed the fantasy element in the narrative of this novel.

Casedren, is a complex hero who I found to be beautiful, artistic, gentle, and tortured. He has no desire to ascend the throne of Sedah, but will do so to preserve peace and a decent way of life for his people. Casedren has been besotted with Dani for longer than she realizes and the erotic scenes penned between them are off the charts hot, explicit and intense. Devyn Quinn writes amazing erotica and this heroine and hero share a psychic as well as physically intimate connection. The old king tasks Casedren with opening “The Eye of Devine Wisdom”, to prove himself worthy of the ascending the throne. Casedren and Dani learn opening the eye requires conjuring ‘sexual magic’, and, well get out the ice water and fan ladies.... ;)

The catch is that they must succeed opening the ‘eye’ or Casedren will be put to death and by default Dani will become Cellyn’s, a fate worse than death. However, old King Bastien is a clever, wily old fellow and manipulates them all bringing about a surprising plot twist and climax to the story.

Cellyn, I will say, invades Dani’s mind in an attempt to seduce and torture her.

“Man After Midnight”, has magical fantasy, as well as science fiction and paranormal elements combined and woven into a beautiful erotic love story. I found it to be an exciting, occasionally frightening and at times a bittersweet read. There are biblical historical references in the narrative with respect to the origins of Casedren's people that I thought was quite brilliant.