A Midnight Clear

man and woman kissing in night sky over a harbor scene. book title (a midnight clear) and author names (emma barry and genevieve turner)

Annapolis, Maryland, 1948

Frances Dumfries is the perfect admiral’s daughter. She runs the household, hosts the parties, and never falls for the midshipmen surrounding her. Having fun or putting herself first is definitely not on her schedule. And she doesn’t want anyone—particularly not a man too handsome and kind for his own good—to point that out.

Midshipman Joe Reynolds sympathizes: ever since he tumbled headlong into love with Frances, life hasn’t been much fun. With only so much time until he ships out from the Naval Academy, he’s racing the clock, and her refusal to give him a second look, to secure her affection. But this sailor isn’t surrendering in the campaign to win her heart.

Torn between duty and selfishness, it will take a Christmas miracle to show Frances and Joe that love is rare, precious… and worth fighting for.

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“Joe is utterly committed to winning Frances and his efforts on every page are swoon-worthy.” – Cooking Up Romance

“Joe’s proposal – complete with an audience – is about as good as it gets. …and the wedding night scene is even better.” – Dear Author

“[Joe is]selfless, over the moon in love and very, very good at wooing the girl. He had me swooning with his thoughtful gifts and declarations of love.” – For What It’s Worth Reviews

“The novella is sweet and romantic … The conflict and resolutions both seemed real and believable.” – Immersed in Books

“…sweet and sensual,  with really likable characters and a feelgood romance.” – Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews

“This is just the cutest novella… I adored both Joe and Francis. They are both warm, kind people who fall in love and it made me swoon a little bit.” – Smexy Books

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Wait, what is A Midnight Clear? It’s a prequel about Joe and Frances’s courtship that’s set 14 years before the start of the Fly Me to the Moon series.
  • How long is it? About 30,000 words, or novella length. It’s available exclusively in the Round Midnight set.
  • Can it standalone? Yes, while it’s part of the Fly Me to the Moon series, it can be read on its own.
  • What’s the heat level? There are some heated kisses, some mental longing, some minor profanity–and a sweet and scorching epilogue.
  • How Christmas-y is it? Not very. There’s a tablespoon of holiday cheer if you like that sort of thing, but it’s not overwhelming if you don’t.
  • I’d like to review the book. Awesome! We hope you love it, but if you don’t, we support your right to review it honestly however and wherever you want. Reviews are for readers not writers. While bad reviews are unpleasant, Gen and I will live and we won’t harass you about it. Promise.


Two days later, Frances was walking home after dropping lunch by her father’s office, when Joe came barreling across the parade ground toward her.

“Did you come to bring me a thank you note?” he asked as he fell into step next to her. His cheeks were ruddy, but he wasn’t breathing hard. The exercise had brightened his eyes and the smile he flashed at her was delighted.

She focused her eyes ahead and picked up her pace. “I seem to have left it at home.”

“Too bad. I’ll come and retrieve it with you.”

She made a face and ignored him. This didn’t seem to displease him in the least. On the contrary, when she sneaked a peek, he looked like the cat that got the cream—and she, of course, was the cream.

“How did you know I was here?” she asked as she darted across the street.

“My roommate saw you. He reported it to me.”

She whirled around to face him. “He’s reporting on my movements now?”

“Not all the time.” Joe shook his head vigorously. “It was serendipity.”

“And the book shop? And the market?”

“The bookseller’s was luck. The market was, well, a tip from another midshipmen.”

She made a noise of incoherent frustration and kept walking down the street. “I’ve given you my answer. Please stop pursuing me.”

“You’ve given me an answer, but I don’t think it’s the answer.” Joe was the most unperturbed person she’d ever met. No matter how firm and infuriating she tried to be, he simply wouldn’t fall for it.

She gave him a sidelong look. Maybe she could negotiate her way out of this. “So the only valid answer is yes?”

“No.” He seemed aghast at this suggestion. “That is, no is a valid answer… if it’s informed.”

“And my no was uninformed?”


She snorted. “This conversation is why I don’t go out with Navy men.”

“I’m generally supportive of your policy.”

Of course he would be. Whatever he wanted from her, he didn’t want competition for it. “Except with regard to you?”


She buried her face in her hands, but she didn’t let her pace flag. She’d be home soon and that would bring this charade to an end. She crossed her arms over her chest. “I didn’t say yes to walking out with you.”

“And yet you’re doing it.”

Lord, he had one thick skull. “But now having done it, I can present you with an informed no.”

He made a face. “We’ve walked two blocks, and you haven’t asked me anything about myself.” He began ticking off on his fingers. “My birthday is May 22. My platform is aviation. I like green and blue. And my favorite kind of cake is chocolate. But I’d rather talk about you.”

“I’m an admiral’s daughter, and I don’t date midshipmen.”

“See, we’re learning about one another.” He gave her another one of those delighted smiles.

“And with that, I’m giving you an informed no.” Melting smile or not. “Good-bye, Joe.”

He stopped walking and slammed a hand over his heart. “You’ve wounded me.”

But she suspected she’d neither hurt him nor settled matters.

© Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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