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The Midnight Hour: A Madaris Novel

The Midnight Hour: A Madaris Novel

4.3 75
by Brenda Jackson

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Sexy, dangerous, unforgettable. . .the Madaris family and their unlikely band of friends captured readers' hearts and souls. Now, in The Midnight Hour, bestselling author Brenda Jackson brings us another breathtaking novel featuring the Madaris family and friends.

One, CIA agent Sir Drake Warren gave his heart to a woman---a fellow Marine whose


Sexy, dangerous, unforgettable. . .the Madaris family and their unlikely band of friends captured readers' hearts and souls. Now, in The Midnight Hour, bestselling author Brenda Jackson brings us another breathtaking novel featuring the Madaris family and friends.

One, CIA agent Sir Drake Warren gave his heart to a woman---a fellow Marine whose death in an explosion left him aching for justice. Drake vowed he would never love again. But his devotion to his former lover is tested when he meets his mysterious new partner, Agent Victoria Green. With golden-brown eyes and skin like melted chocolate, Victoria leaves Drake yearning for the love he lost---and flirting closely with the white-hot passion he once knew, he's sure he'll get burned. . .

Few people know that Victoria was once a Marine named Sandy Carroll. . .and that she was embroiled in a fervent love affair with Drake until an explosion nearly killed her. Her life-saving surgery gave her a new face and identity---that of CIA operative Victoria Green. Now, Victoria is bound by duty to keep her true identity a secret, especially from Drake.

Paired on a deadly mission, Victoria's senses are awakened by Drake's every move. But just as the passion she's denied for so long threatens to boil over, Drake begins to put together the pieces of the puzzle. And when he does, will Victoria lose him forever?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The Madaris family is one that fans will never tire of!” —Romantic Times

“A super-hot hero, a kick-butt heroine and non-stop action! Brenda Jackson writes romance that sizzles and characters you fall in love with.” —Lori Foster, New York Times bestselling author of Say No to Joe?

The Midnight Hour is a roller coaster read of passion, intrigue and deceit with the perfect happy-ever-after ending.” —Sharon Sala, New York Times bestselling author of Out of the Dark

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
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Madaris Family Novels , #12
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The Midnight Hour

By Brenda Jackson

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2004 Brenda Jackson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-0578-7


Five months later

Drake Warren stepped into the elegant lobby of the Diamond Bay Resort and removed his aviator-style sunglasses. The chandeliers overhead made him squint against the startling intensity of the lights' brightness. Glancing around he released a deep, ragged sigh.

After being on a six-month medical leave, he was back. The doctors had given him a clean bill of health and he was itching to return to the field. His experience with his "angel" had been his wake-up call and had assured him of one major thing. He still had work to do. After all, Solomon Cross was out there, wasn't he? And Drake intended to find the man and make him pay for all he'd cost him.

While lying in that hospital bed as pain racked his body, it had been so much easier to give up and escape a world that had been so cruel to him and caused him so much pain. But he'd been pulled back from the threshold of the dead, given another lease on life and he planned to take full advantage of it.

He smiled when he thought of Ashton and his friend's thoughts of "Drake's angel." According to Ashton the woman had been real, flesh and blood. That thought didn't bother Drake any, but it had bothered Ashton and Trevor. Drake could only assume that neither of his good friends had taken the time to watch the television show Touched By An Angel. It was one of his favorites and whenever he was in one place long enough he made time to see it.

Everybody knew that an angel could take on many forms and if his angel had decided to be a doctor that night instead of just materializing in his room dressed in white, wearing a halo and showing off her wings, that was her business and he definitely wasn't going to question her mode of arrival. He was just glad she had shown up when she had and had talked some sense into him.

For the first time in years he felt like a blessed man. He had his health back, and years ago he had inherited a huge track of land in the Tennessee mountains from his grandparents; land that kept him connected to his roots. Then there were the smart investments that he'd made over the years that had put him in a good financial position.

Checking his watch, he saw he had an entire hour to kill before his meeting with his new boss now that Hawk had retired. An unexpected encrypted message had been left on his computer that said he needed to report to Diamond Bay immediately for this urgent meeting. At the time he had been in Houston, visiting with Trevor, Ashton, and their families.

He couldn't help but smile. After he had gotten discharged from the hospital, Trevor's wife, Corinthians, and Ashton's wife, Nettie, had decided he would come to Houston to recuperate. While he was there, Nettie had given birth to triplets, all boys, as Ashton had predicted. Babies and mother were doing well. He had attended the christening ceremony for Ashton's sons where he and Trevor had become their godfathers.

Deciding he needed a caffeine fix, Drake walked across the lobby to the coffee shop. After his purchase he took a seat at one of the tables that overlooked the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. He was about to raise the coffee cup to his lips when a woman, who entered through the revolving doors of Diamond Bay, caught his attention. From where he sat she could not see him, but he had an excellent view of her. His gaze moved over her tall, lithe, curvy figure in pure male appreciation.

His breath suddenly caught when she walked over to the check-in desk, tugging a piece of luggage behind her. There was something about her walk ... that for a minute he couldn't move. Maybe it was the way her hips swayed with each step she took, or it could have been the way she held her head with such a proud tilt to it.

For a brief moment, she had reminded him of Sandy. He blinked and breathed in slowly, telling himself that Sandy was dead. In five years, this was the first woman who reminded him of her; not in her looks — she looked nothing like Sandy — but there was something about the way she moved ...

She was wearing a pair of khaki shorts and a tank top and carried a cased tennis racket under her arm, giving an outsider the impression she was a vacationer who intended to play a few games of tennis. But he knew that the majority of the people who walked through Diamond Bay doors worked as operatives for the CIA under one operation or another. He wondered if she was an agent and if so, what department she worked for. He had never seen her before and could only assume she was a new recruit.

His eyes were drawn to her legs and he wanted to release a slow whistle of admiration, but doing so would have drawn attention. She had a gorgeous pair of legs, the kind that had always driven him crazy on Sandy. He slowly shook his head, again not believing he was comparing this person to the woman he had loved almost to distraction.

His gaze slowly moved back to her face and when she removed her sunglasses, an odd sensation hit him right in the gut, almost knocking the air out of him. He couldn't understand the sudden jolt that went through his body, but her eyes were a gorgeous shade of dark brown ... just like Sandy's had been. They were so dark it seemed they were creamy dark chocolate, and totally complemented her cocoa complexion and dark brown shoulder-length hair. Then there were her lips, full and luscious, and painted a sultry red. A total turn-on.

For the first time in five years, he had had such a powerful and immediate reaction to a woman, and he quickly decided his reaction to her was purely a male response to a beautiful woman and had nothing to do with the things about her that reminded him of Sandy.

He thought about the other women he'd been involved with over the past few years. He hadn't been celibate, but he had remained emotionally detached. Any woman he slept with had understood up front that whatever they shared in the bedroom stayed in the bedroom, and after a day or night of good mind-boggling sex, it didn't matter to him if their paths never crossed again. They'd scratched each other's itches.

And he didn't see that changing anytime soon. All he wanted now, all he had wanted for the past five years was to find Solomon Cross and personally put the bastard out of his misery. Drake knew Cross was out there somewhere and it would be just a matter of time before the agency or the boys over at DEA tracked him down. And when that happened he was determined to make sure Cross never lived to spend even one stinking day in jail. He would not be satisfied until he avenged Sandy's death.

Drake's hand tightened around the cup he held, trying to rid his body of the anger that seeped through his veins whenever he thought of Sandy and how she had perished in that explosion. For a long time he had blamed himself for allowing her to go on the mission and not keeping a closer eye on her. No amount of therapy and counseling the marines had mandated that he undergo had been able to erase the sounds of her screams in that burning building just moments before he'd been knocked out cold by a flying piece of wood when the place had exploded. They were screams that he could not erase from his mind no matter how he'd tried.

Afterwards, he hadn't wanted to see a therapist as Hawk had suggested. He hadn't wanted to talk to anyone about the tragic event and had faced his hell alone. There had been the nightmares that would leave his body drenched in sweat, and the hours he would spend awake, reliving every detail of that day and refusing to let anything or anyone break open the wall of grief that surrounded him. Instead of facing his emotions, he threw himself into his work, using that as a way to purge the unforgiving emotions that were eating him alive. He had witnessed such a horrendous amount of ugliness and brutality that it was hard to get a grip on how life could possibly be for him again.

Closing his eyes briefly as tension seeped through him, he slowly opened them moments later after he'd gotten his mind and thoughts back on track. It was then that he noticed the stunning-looking woman was gone. He was again flooded with an unfamiliar feeling. There was something about her that had piqued his interest and already he had marked her as someone he intended to get to know.

He would definitely make it his business to find out who she was.

Tori stepped into the elevator cautious and alert. Her senses were seldom off and for a few moments while standing in the lobby she had felt someone watching her, although when she had glanced around she had seen no one.

Because Diamond Bay was set up like an actual resort, the first five floors were exclusive-looking condos used as temporary housing for agents coming and going on assignments. The sixth through the tenth floors were where the administrative offices were located. Diamond Bay's sister resort, The Blue Topaz, was located on the West Coast right on the Pacific Ocean in San Diego. The two resorts also housed new recruits for training.

Tori wondered about the summons she had received to cut her vacation a month short and return immediately to Diamond Bay for this urgent meeting with her new boss, CIA Station Chief Ronald Casey. Casey was Hawk's replacement and she hoped he was at least half the man Hawk had been.

Hawk had known the agents who worked for him like the back of his hand and had always been open to their ideas and suggestions and oftentimes it seemed he had the ability to read their minds. He also understood the dangerous demands some missions could make on a person. Most of the senior agents who worked for him had once served under him while in the marines and although they knew he was tough, they'd always known he was fair.

From Tori's last conversation with Hawk when she had talked to him on the phone from her home in Stinson Beach, California, he had told her the Agency had decided to bring in Casey, a man who had headed up an operation on the West Coast instead of going with Hawk's recommendation of the man who'd been second in command under him. That announcement hadn't set too well with Hawk but he felt that things would eventually work out.

He told her he would be retiring to a ranch he had purchased years ago in New Mexico and had given her his phone number just in case she ever needed him for anything. Finally, he told her that he had made a decision not to tell Casey about her past history and that she should consider his suggestion that she transfer to another operations so her and Drake's paths wouldn't cross.

When the elevator stopped on her floor she glanced at her watch. She would have time to shower and change clothes before she was due in Ronald Casey's office.

Ronald Casey released a long, mental sigh. It was obvious that the man standing across the room was madder than hell. It was just as well they cleared the air between them now so Drake Warren would know what Casey expected in the way of tolerated behavior. Everyone had warned him that working with Warren wouldn't be easy and that Abram Hawk had pretty much let the man do whatever the hell he pleased. But Warren was going to find out that he wasn't Abram Hawk and under no circumstances would he allow him run roughshod, which was something Hawk evidently had done if all the stories he'd heard about Warren were true. And looking at Warren he had no reason to believe they weren't.

News of Drake's daredevil antics had spread all the way to the West Coast. He was considered a modern-day Rambo among fellow agents. Hell, some of them even admired him for the risks he took. Personally, he thought the Agency could do without men of Warren's type. They were unpredictable, lived dangerously on the edge and were like a time bomb just waiting to go off.

Warren definitely had a commanding presence. He stood a tall six-foot-four inches and was muscular and well-built. There was a look about him that seemed dangerous and warned he wasn't a person to toy or trifle with. He had a hard look, one made of stone as if nothing and no one could move him or stir his frozen blood. His rock-solid jaw added to the granite look, and besides looking like he probably ate nails for breakfast, he also gave the appearance that he consumed snakes and snails for dinner. Casey was reminded of something else he'd also heard about Warren. Somehow and someway, he'd always gotten whatever man he went after ... except for one, Solomon Cross.

Hawk had briefed Casey on Warren's history so he knew all about how he had suffered when he'd lost a team member on an assignment five years ago; a team member who'd also had been Warren's lover. According to Hawk, Warren still grieved for the woman. Warren's hunger for revenge was the driving force behind his determination to get the elusive Cross.

But Casey felt Warren's hunger would be quenched in good time since there was no one in the Agency who didn't want to bring Cross to justice, including him. However, Casey had a feeling Warren would want to dish out his own brand of punishment on Cross, which wouldn't be a pretty picture. In the meantime, Casey refused to let Warren continue to operate a one-man show, especially in this particular situation.

"Evidently I didn't make myself clear, Casey," Warren said, breaking into Casey's thoughts and reclaiming the man's attention. "But I don't do partners and never have. I work alone. Those were the terms I gave Hawk when I signed up. I stopped working in a team when I left the marines as a Recon five years ago. I'm surprised Hawk didn't tell you that."

Casey shook his head. "He told me but with this particular assignment I didn't take that into consideration. On this mission you'll need to take someone else along."

Drake's eyes turned cold, hard as steel. "Then get another agent because I'm not interested."

Casey flinched and sucked in his breath. Disrespect and insubordination were two things he would not tolerate. Coming to his feet he stared long and hard at the man standing in his office. He would have loved to tell Drake to get out of the office and never come back and that his days with the Agency were over, but Casey knew he couldn't do that when he had direct orders from the president himself. Apparently the vice president, who'd been impressed with Warren's rescue of him, had put a bug in the president's ear and the commander in chief wanted Warren on this particular assignment; no other agent would do.

"It doesn't matter if you're interested or not, Warren, you're going."

Evidently no one had ever told Warren what he would or would not do. He had just given the man a direct order and refusing to comply could mean him his job. However, it seemed that didn't mean a damn thing to Warren because he crossed his arms over his chest and said, "The hell I will."

Casey also crossed his arms over his chest and said, "And the hell you won't. The order comes directly from the president so to decline is not an option."

Drake unfolded his arms and lifted a surprised, dark brow. He cocked his head, zeroing in on what Casey had just said. "The president?"

"Yes. His niece was snatched off a beach in Costa Rica this morning by a group of revolutionaries. She was mistaken for one of the president's daughters, who luckily had decided to skip the beach to stay inside the villa to read." Casey sighed. "The reason we hadn't acted sooner was because we didn't know the exact location of where she was taken. Now thanks to an informer, we do."

Anger consumed Drake like it always did whenever he heard of a kidnapping. He remembered how a few years ago Trevor's wife, Corinthians, had been a victim and how he, Trevor, and Ashton had raced against time to find out her whereabouts. "Where are they keeping her?"

"At a fortress-type house in the middle of the jungle. My guess is they don't know they grabbed the wrong girl, which is a good thing. From what I understand she's been drugged and as long as she's unconscious she's okay. But if she wakes up and starts talking, claiming she's not who they think she is, she'll unknowingly place her life in danger since they won't have any use for her after that. There's no telling what they will do then."

Drake nodded. He didn't want to think about that part of it. Rebels were known to have fun with their female victims before slitting their throat.

"When do you want me to leave?" Drake asked, already gearing up to go. Adrenaline poured through his veins at the thought of getting back into action.


Excerpted from The Midnight Hour by Brenda Jackson. Copyright © 2004 Brenda Jackson. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Brenda Jackson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels, including the Westmorelands series and, from St. Martin's Press, Some Like It Hot, Taste of Passion and The Playa's Handbook, among others. She was the first African-American author to have a book published under the Harlequin/Silhouette Desire line of books and the first African-American romance author to make USA Today's Bestseller's List and the New York Times Bestseller's List for the series romance genre. Jackson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University, and worked for thirty-seven years in management at a major insurance company. She now divides her time between family, writing and traveling. She has been married for thirty-seven years to her childhood sweetheart, Gerald, and they have two sons. She lives in the city where she was born, Jacksonville, Florida.

Brenda Jackson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of numerous novels, including the Westmorelands series and, from St. Martin’s Press, Some Like It Hot, Taste of Passion and The Playa’s Handbook. She was the first African-American author to have a book published under the Harlequin/Silhouette Desire line of books and the first African-American romance author to make USA Today's bestsellers list and the New York Times bestsellers list for the series romance genre. Jackson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University, and worked for thirty-seven years in management at a major insurance company. She now divides her time between family, writing and traveling. She has been married for thirty-seven years to her childhood sweetheart, Gerald, and they have two sons. She lives in the city where she was born, Jacksonville, Florida.

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Midnight Hour (Madaris Family Series) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
IndigoLuthien09 More than 1 year ago
This is my all-time favorite of Brenda Jackson's books and it is very highly recommended!!! This story's got passion, love, danger, friendship and adventure all in one! Drake Warren, a US marine captain lost the love of his life in a rescue mission in Haiti and as a result no longer fears death. He takes on the most dangerous missions just for the thrill. Unbeknownst to him, his fiancee Sandy, now named Tori is actually alive but can't be with Drake because of the danger. But when Drake's life is on the line Tori risks everything to visit Drake. Things get passionate when Drake and Tori are paired on assignment together as Drake remains drawn to Tori not knowing she's Sandy and Tori can't help but reach out for what she lost. Things get dangerous as the man who wanted Drake and Tori dead in the first place, Solomon Cross resurfaces intent on finishing what he started. I love angtsy romances and this one's got it in spades! Drake is so intense and a total alpha male but he's so vulnerable with Tori. Speaking of Tori, I love how strong and independent she is. She loves Drake but she takes matters into her own hands and is a force to be reckoned with in her own right. She tries to take on everything by herself but Drake is hellbent on protecting her no matter what.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really really liked this book. It was filled with lots of passion, love and action. There was constant action. I really liked it. I finished this book in 2 days. Read it you wont be dissapointed
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this story about Sir Drake! It is one of my all time favorites by Ms. Jackson.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book I loved it. I mean I thought it was really outstanding I really like the book cover the lady is pretty. I thought these two people make a cute couple. I love the book thought about reading it again over and over again. My mother has meet Mrs. Brenda Jackson she is talented writer. I have two of her books!
loveandlife More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book so much, I could not put it down, this book had suspense, action, redemption, and most of all the best love story ever. This is my favorite of all the books so far.I have read all but 3 books and I was spell bound by the frienships and the way everybody comes together. GREAT BOOK!!!! I READ IT IN ONE DAY!!!
msdukes77 More than 1 year ago
I reall enjoyed reading this book. It was real page turner. I would not mind reading it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
OMG, I admit, it took me a minute to get through because of my schedule, but every moment that I could grab, I was in this book. It was a wonderful continuation of the Madaris Family and Friends. This is my favorite 'book family' to read about. The characters are all so real, and although what they go through may not always be totally true, the emotional struggles are always ones that I relate to. I absolutly loved Drake and Tori/Sandy's story. It was wonderfully written, and with just the right amount of mystery and 'other story' to keep you interested in the main story, but begging for the others to have their story as well. The passion, fire, and commitment that the two main characters had for each was just amazing, I'm talking 'feel it in your heart, even though it's only fiction' amazing, and I would highly recommend this one to others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mrs.Jackson was able to take a love story and add a twist!A book that hooks you from the start.With pages that burn passion and mystery.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was one of the best that Brenda Jackson has written. I just couldn't put the book down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I simply love the Madaris Series, I have to say this was my favorite one, followed by Whispered Promises. Brenda is one of my favorite authors, and she has not failed me yet. Keep up the good work Brenda, and keep the books coming.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Brenda Jackson is one of my favorite authors; I have all of the Madaris saga titles. Plot, characterization, setting and dialogue -- so very believable! If you haven't read anything by Ms. Jackson, you've truly missed a good read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great story. Brenda does it again. The story will not hold as much meaning if you haven't read all the books of the Madaris series. The series is so well written and captivating that you feel like the characters are family and friends. I am anxiously awaiting the story of Christy and Alex. However, isn't it amazing that there is no drama in the lives of any of these characters? If only I could be so lucky!:)
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely captivating...I couldnt put it down until I was finished, and when I did finish I was soo dissapointed......because it was over!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Five years ago US Marine Captain Sandy Carroll died while on a rescue mission in Haiti. Her beloved Drake Warren never recovered as he takes on impossible CIA missions that psychiatrists would say were death wishes. His latest endeavor in Tikrit, Iraq ends with him evacuated seemingly close to gaining his wish as he totters near death in Bethesda. That night an angel pretending to be a doctor visits him encouraging him to live. Miraculously Drake recovers.................................. After being lectured for her nocturnal visit, CIA Agent Tori Green must stay away from Drake, the man she loves Drake since she barely survived that explosion in Haiti. She knows that Drake and drug lord Solomon Cross blame each other for the deaths of their respective loved ones and she would become a pawn if she surfaced on her cherished one¿s arms. However, five months later, Tori and Drake are paired off on an assignment, which stuns him because he is attracted to his partner, which means Solomon will return.............................. IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR is an exhilarating romantic suspense tale that also includes elements from a second chance at love tale. The story line is fast-paced, but belongs to the two males who detest one another, but a ¿new¿ female pawn in Tori ups the stakes to such a degree that the audience knows the final confrontation between them will leave one dead. Though the logic of keeping Tori and Drake apart for their safety seems strange, fans will enjoy this terrific tale of intrigue............................. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What can I say, but this was one of Brenda Jackson's usual great stories. It was full of romance, eroticism, adventure, excitement, and dedicated friendship. It has been a while since I have read one of Mrs. Jackson's books and was happy to reacquaint with the Madarais' and friends. I look forward to reading about Alex and Christy's romance and adventures. LA-TXN
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LOVED THIS BOOK!!! I have never enjoyed reading as much I do now and it's all because of Brenda Jackson and her books. Keep on writing.......PLEASE!!
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They are all great I need more...
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I love the story line....
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