CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR by Katie Porter
Came Upon a Midnight Clear by Katie Porter
Gay Contemporary / Holiday
Reviewed by Cassie
Film producer Kyle Wakefield is finally working on a film that looks like it’s going to be a blockbuster. Seeing an opportunity, he makes sure to hire his former lover’s stunt company, Second Chances, a crew made up entirely of ex-cons. Kyle is still fully closeted, but reuniting with Nathan Carnes makes that difficult. Old feelings bubble right back up, and they’re soon embroiled in a wild affair. Nathan wants more than Kyle is willing to give, however, so Kyle is determined that the end of filming will be the end of their affair. Watching Nathan risk his life on dangerous stunts and spending time with him off-set make that a tough resolution to keep.
More than a decade after insecurity and bad choices led Nathan to destroy whatever chance he and Kyle had of staying together, he’s shocked to find Kyle is the man behind the company that hired his crew. At first, anger leads Nathan to want to punish Kyle for keeping their relationship hidden. It’s not long before Nathan’s getting in deeper than he wanted to with Kyle. He’s determined to keep his defenses up.
Can two men scarred by the past find a way to move on together, or will their holiday reunion be short-lived?
Came Upon a Midnight Clear is a bittersweet tale of love lost and found again. I found it a bit difficult to read at first, because there’s so much anger between Nathan and Kyle, especially on Nathan’s part. Their early interactions are so full of anger and bitterness it nearly overwhelms the heat between them. After a while, though, they both begin to lose sight of the past and focus more on the present, where real feelings are being reborn between them.
Kyle’s spent his life trying to please his parents, and the past few years building his business with his partner and best friend, Stephanie. Hiring Nathan’s company for his movie appears to everyone else to be a purely business decision, but Kyle has ulterior motives, which is why he has Stephanie deal with Nate until they’re on set. When he reveals himself, Nate is understandably furious, especially since he can’t just tell Kyle off and leave—his employees depend on him. At first Kyle’s real motives are unclear. I wasn’t sure if he only wanted to reconnect in an attempt to make up for how horribly his and Nate’s relationship had ended the first time, or if he was really ready for something real. Even Kyle clearly doesn’t know for sure, and the uncertainty makes for an unsettled reading experience.
Nate felt like Kyle’s dirty little secret in high school. That feeling led him to make a terrible mistake—one which resulted in jail time. Now all he cares about is making his stunt company, Second Chances, the best in the business. Finding out Kyle’s the man behind the job is a shock to Nate, who reacts poorly. The heat between them is still there, which Nate is happy to take advantage of, but the thought of loving Kyle again scares Nate. He doesn’t want to have his heart ripped out again, so he puts up protective walls and treats Kyle cruelly at several points.
A few times I had to put Came Upon a Midnight Clear aside because Kyle and Nate hurt each other so badly, both in the past and in the present. I kept going, however, hoping there could be a better ending to their second chance. My persistence was rewarded. While they have to go through a lot, Kyle and Nate both grow and learn a great deal about themselves and each other. Came Upon a Midnight Clear isn’t the easiest book to read, but in the end it’s a book I’m glad I read.