With a book like Midnight Caller by NJ Cole I get to feeling like a broken record (and yes, I’m so old that I remember the vinyl origins of that idiom.) So here I go again: if you like this sort of book, you’ll like this book. You may even love it. Which means, of course, that if you love the Twilight series (but aren’t totally fixated on vampires,) and if you’re turned on by the 50 Shades of Grey saga (but don’t mind a bit of a paranormal element,) you’ll probably enjoy Midnight Caller.
We have Rebecca, the pretty young thing with a submissive streak who would seem virginal if it weren’t for her frequent energetic bouts of masturbation in her glass-walled high-rise apartment. And we have Oliver, the somewhat jaded dom who watches these bouts from a window in the next building, able to see intimate details no human could make out, because, of course, he’s not human at all. His Bocaj ancestors came from another planet in another galaxy eons ago, and, though they look like humans, Oliver (AKA “Sir”) tells us that, “we were more similar to the trees of Earth in our biology than any mammal on the planet.” This, however, does not appear to apply to their sexual proclivities, which are very mammalian indeed. Oliver goes on to say, “The greatest difference between our kind and humans, besides the fact that we absorbed the energy needed to sustain life from the sun and the small amount of food and water we consumed, was that our lifecycle was more comparable to that of a redwood tree. The average life expectancy for my species was nearly two thousand years.”
Oliver himself, we discover, is only about two hundred years old, which may account for the fact that in spite of his dominant nature, he occasionally seems closer to adolescence than adulthood, as when he gets all flustered mentioning oral sex in the presence of his mother, who clearly has far more experience in all things sexual and/or kinky than he can yet claim.
For the most part, though, Oliver is exactly the masterful type that Rebecca longs for, and she’s perfect for him, more dangerously perfect than he realizes at first. He had grown bored with his previous submissive because she was too perfect to give him reasons to punish her, so Rebecca’s not-so-perfect tendency to get flustered is just what he thinks he wants.
Of course the Bocaj folk are immensely strong, with venomous bodily fluids (although apparently some fluids aren’t necessarily as venomous as others,) so he has to be careful not to injure her too badly, or possibly kill her. For quite some time the relationship is limited to his phone calls letting her know that he can see her masturbate, and his own masturbation inspired by hers, so that one hopes that in spite of the aforementioned small amount of water required by the Bocaj, both of them are getting enough liquids to replenish those emitted in such mutual gushing, flowing, geysering abundance. Eventually he gives in to temptation and appears as a colleague at her workplace (owned, of course, by his people) without letting her know that “Oliver” and “Sir” are one and the same; and she, of course, in the best Superman and Lois Lane tradition, doesn’t catch on.
I really shouldn’t be sounding so snarky. Chalk it up to being old enough to remember actual broken records. Midnight Caller is well-written enough, with prose that flows smoothly, characters worth the necessary suspension of disbelief, and very few typographical errors. The sex flows, too—did I mention the geysering abundance?—and the D/s relationship, while a bit on the light side, is likely to be many reader’s cup of…well, tea. I was annoyed for a while by the way almost every scene was described twice, once by “Sir” and again by “butterfly” (Rebecca,) but I got used to it.
Midnight Caller was published almost two years ago, so I suspect it was influenced by the Twilight series more than by Fifty Shades of Grey, which had itself originated in Twilight fan fiction. In the “About the Author” note at the end of this book we’re told that there were over two million reads of NJ Cole’s online work in the previous six months, so it seems fair to conclude that she too has some experience in the world of fan fiction. It’s also fair to conclude that she has a very wide and appreciative fan base, which emphasizes my initial point that if you like this kind of book, you’ll probably love this one.[A guilty admission: when Oliver mentioned the closeness of Bocaj biology to that of trees, especially redwood trees, I thought of the rash of books about sex with dinosaurs, Bigfoot, any and all types of super-powerful and therefore presumably sexy monstrous beings, and wondered for a moment whether something like “Ravished by a Giant Sequoia” would be a viable title. Hmmm…well, nevermind.]