by Tomu Ohmi
published by Viz; $9.99 US
It’s more boss/assistant romance with a forbidden aspect. Midnight Secretary continues by hitting the jealousy button hard.
Kaya is disturbed by the way her vampire boss Kyohei keeps drinking from other women (which also involves turning them on sexually), although he tells her how fine her blood is and how no one else’s can satisfy him the same way. Kyohei has to learn to accept his feelings for her, while she will have to come to believe that she’s not just another bit of food to him. Instead of feeling inferior, she needs to value herself as much as he does. In the meantime, she takes comfort in excelling at doing her duty. And the reader enjoys the sensually portrayed scenes of him feeding.
If he wasn’t a vampire, this would be a standard romance plot: the playboy learns how rewarding true love can be in place of sex with various hotties, while the object of his affection is validated as special by his attention. Since he’s a vampire, the device that keeps them together until they both recognize their true feelings is her job, and her determination to excel at it, along with his desire to drink her blood. He thinks she’s special because her blood is delicious to him, but as another character points it, it’s more likely that her blood is delicious because she’s special to him, although he won’t admit it to himself.
As I hoped, we also get more information on Kyohei’s background. When Kaya meets Kyohei’s mother, she learns how he and his brother came to be of different types. She also gains an example, of a vampire who truly loves a human when most vampires despise their prey.
However, until Kyohei stops being so stubborn, Kaya thinks some time away will be better for her, so she takes a job setting up a new secretarial office at another branch of the company. Of course, that’s just a temporary distraction, as Book 2 ends with a new understanding between the pair.
Although formulaic, I like the pacing of this romance manga. Tomu Ohmi does a good job of spinning out the complications and obstacles without the delays feeling too artificial, and she moves the story along at a good clip without too much wheel-spinning.
The blood setup makes for attractive fantasy, too. In order for Kaya to quench his thirst, Kyohei must pleasure her and bring her to ecstasy. So his needs take second place to hers, which is always a good touch in a series aimed at women.
In Book 3, both are looking forward to Kaya finishing her temporary position and returning to Kyohei’s office, but Kaya’s new boss has other ideas. The separation caused a clarity of decision, but her plans have been upset because she’s too good at her job. That’s a difficult situation for her to cope with, to consider doing less than her best work in order to get what she wants. Kyohei has other ideas about how to handle the situation, though, putting a new scheme in motion. Kaya also has to worry about trying too hard and wearing herself out, a struggle that I could really identify with.
A bonus story flashes back to Kaya’s younger days and shows how her youthful looks have been a detriment to her. I’m still enjoying this series, and although I know where it’s going, the journey is sexy and entertaining. (The publisher provided review copies.)