by Tomu Ohmi
published by Viz; $9.99 US
If you didn’t like the boss’ possessiveness in previous volumes, then the battle over Kaya’s work in Midnight Secretary Book 4 will likely drive you crazy.
Kyohei has set up his own business, and Kaya is now even more the “midnight secretary” of the title, since she’s working a day job for the company he left and nights for him. Given the toll on her — and the conflict of interest — this situation can’t continue for long. It’s Kaya’s loyalty and exceptional work ethic that won’t allow her to simply quit a contract, even though she’d rather follow Kyohei. The two powerful men she works for finally have a showdown over which one she “belongs” to.
Her new boss even goes with her to pick out furniture for Kyohei’s apartment, which causes her to realize how her tastes for sunlight and warm, bright rooms don’t match with the vampire she loves. Typical of a romance, the characters spend a good deal of time telling themselves and each other what we already know in order to make the conflicts more poignant. Although the questions about their compatibility may be raised, it’s too early in the series to answer them — and by the time we get to the conclusion, they’ll likely be forgotten, since we’re supposed to hope that love conquers all.
Another creepy scene is when she chooses Kyohei (not a spoiler — this is a romance!) over all her other co-workers. She thinks about how much she’ll miss working with them, but all I could think is that this is a classic sign of abuse, causing someone to drop all their friends and connections in favor of the one controlling person. He calls her names and touches her even when she says no, but she’s willing to put up with it all because of how much she loves him.
As I’ve said, this is common to the genre, so whether or not it bothers a reader may depend on how much they like romance types in general. I wish there had been a bit more to stand out differently here. In general, this volume felt to me like it was treading water, spinning out the series longer to sell more chapters. My favorite part of the book was how cute Kaya’s outfits were; I’d like to wear some of her clothes to work. (The publisher provided a review copy.)