At twenty-nine, Matt Sky is trying to return to normal, having faked his death and come back to life. He and Hannah move to a simple house in the suburbs, and strive to grow their relationship into something durable and honest. They become more and more entangled, in the best ways possible.
At twenty-eight, Hannah finally has the life she’s always wanted: she’s pursuing her career as a literary agent at Granite Wing Agency, she is writing her first solo novel, and she is living with her hot, passionate lover. For the first time, Matt and Hannah are able to explore intimacy without inhibitions—without lies, secrets, or jealousy—and the results are explosive.
Still life together is not as easy as it seems. Matt is estranged from his brothers in the wake of his cruel stunt; Seth Sky, embittered by his failed pursuit of Hannah, makes a play for Hannah’s sister; and the topic of Hannah’s novel—her relationship with Matt and the Sky family—is driving a wedge between her and Matt. The lovers are devoted to one another, having come through many ordeals, but is their bond strong enough to last a lifetime?
As you guys know, I’m not necessarily a huge fan of contemporary romance as genre, I lean more toward the paranormal/urban fantasy part of the spectrum. But there are some contemporary reads that just make my little black heart shiver with delight. After Dark is one of those reads. In fact, now that the conclusion to the trilogy is out, I can safely say the whole Night Owl series is one.
Hannah and Matt come a long way in this novel. Their chemistry was explosive as usual, with uber hot one on one moments, but also a lot of emotional growth (on both sides). Their relationship evolves into a truly happy ending, though not everything works out for the best for everyone. I was heartbroken at one point during the read, and while in the end things worked out great, I’ll say there’s a lot of heartache in After Dark. I mean, this is the end of a trilogy, as an experienced romance reader, lol, you expect a twist. You expect it, you know it’s coming, and yet when it does happen it’s just BAM! in your face.
Probably because of the mood, and the Virginia Woolf quote, it made me think about The Hours, which is my favorite movie of all times. I got chills down my spine right before the end there, I cried like a baby, and I desperately wanted that HEA for Matt and Hannah. And there it was.
It feels like the road here was long time-wise (with always too much waiting between novels, lol, though a short time calendar-wise – strange how that works, huh?), dramatic for sure, very emotional, heart wrenching in places, and oh so good 😀 After Night Owl and Last Light, I had these sort of mixed feelings about After Dark. I loved Matt hardcore after the first novel, almost hated his guts after the second, and now, after reading the third, I’m back to loving him hardcore all over again.
M.Pierce is one hell of a writer, there’s no doubt about it! Apart from the cleverness of metafiction, the wordgasm moments I had mostly during Night Owl, but also during After Dark (huzzah!), reference to one of my favorite all-time people (Virginia Woolf), and a stupendous end to a truly awesome trilogy, I just want to make this clear: if you have even the slightest inclination toward reading romance and contemporary, if you love complex, uber-charismatic even if slightly nuts characters, smart dialogue full of exquisite humor and so many FEELS, and have a strong heart (because the FEELS!! Ohhhh, the FEELS!!!), then you simply must read this series if you haven’t done so already. Stop thinking about it and just do it. Then come back and thank me.
I’ll leave you with one wordgasm I had while crying my eyes out, (because Seth *sniffle-sniffle* and Matt *cries*):
“This is the big breath before you go under.
I ran barefoot down the dirt road.
Stones and burrs tore at my soles.
Get on the grass, I thought, and I did, but the grass was dry, full of points and toothy vines. Nothing is kind.
I searched for the creek. I don’t know why. Everywhere, I thought I heard its whisper.“
I fully recommend this series from the bottom of my very FEELS-invaded heart. M. Pierce, you rocked my socks off!