Review: The Night is Mine by M.L. Buchman

This military suspense romance pulled me in before shoving me away.

The Night is MineCaptain Emily Beale is the best helicopter pilot Major Mark Henderson has ever seen. He’s her commanding officer in Afghanistan, where they both fly for SOAR, the elite group of helicopter pilots who get special forces into—and out of—the most dangerous missions.

Mark has to be careful to hide how much he loves flying with Emily, not just because it could cost one or both of them their careers in the Army but because she deserves better than to have to deal with advances from colleagues.

But when Emily is whisked away with no explanation, and Mark discovers she’s now the personal chef to the First Lady, he can’t stop himself from going after her. There’s no way his best pilot could waste her skills that way, and no way he can let her go.

Emily’s new assignment as the First Lady’s chef is a personal request from the President himself—or, as he’s always been to Emily, the boy next door. But Emily quickly realizes there’s more to her assignment than she can let anyone know—someone is repeatedly attacking the First Lady, and Emily may be the only person who can save her life.

I loved the setup of this story. Emily is ultra-tough and has earned the respect of her fellow pilots (mostly through threats and beating them up). I really loved how careful Mark was not to show his attraction to her. He comes across as an honorable man from start to finish, and I couldn’t get enough of reading his character.

My problem came when the story shifted to D.C. Okay, Emily’s an incredible pilot. She’s had to become the best to compete as a woman in a man’s field. Okay, she’s such a skilled cook that she can convincingly pull off a gig as the First Lady’s personal chef. Hey, Emily’s the daughter of the Director of the FBI, so I can sort of believe she’s had all the schooling and privileges necessary to cook to that level. But Emily’s “best in the world” skills kept mounting until I felt like they were more a plot convenience to impress me as a reader or to get herself and Mark out of trouble.

When I got to the point where Mark said, “If Emma wasn’t one of the ten percent of people who can smell potassium cyanide, she’d be dead right now,” I thought Really? Really?

Because Emily is practically perfect in every way, I couldn’t relate to her. More than that, I started to resent her.

The Night is Mine is incredibly detailed when it comes to military life and flight maneuvers. For many readers—especially those with military experience—this will probably be a selling point. For me, the details bogged down the story until I found myself skimming paragraphs because I knew I wouldn’t understand them anyway.

I love reading romantic suspense (with or without military involvement), but because I couldn’t connect with the heroine and had a hard time believing the setup, I found I couldn’t get swept up in this story. The final frustration for me was when the baddie’s motivation is glossed over in a couple of sentences at the end. I still don’t understand what there was to gain from all the effort of repeatedly attacking the First Lady.

In the end, I found myself wishing Mark and Emily had stayed in Afghanistan. Once the story moved to D.C. it asked me to suspend far too much disbelief.

Rating: 3 out of 5
Heat: 3 (sensual)

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