I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Secret Maneuvers by Jessie Lane
Series: Ex Ops #1
Published by Jessie Lane on September 23rd 2013
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Amazon | Goodreads
Bobby Baker was the shining star in his small town in Georgia. When he decided to pursue Annabelle (Belle) Smith, it changed her life forever. Until Bobby entered her life, Belle was an outcast, shunned by most because of her tough girl veneer, which she created to deal with her cruel and abusive father. Bobby's plan was to join the Army, become a Ranger and return home and marry Belle. All of her hopes and dreams were tied to Bobby.
The set up
A few weeks after Bobby left for training, he sends 17-year old Belle a letter, breaking off their relationship. She had just taken the last brutal beating from her father and, with nowhere to go, Belle leaves town for good. Fast forward 15 years and Bobby has retired from active duty because of a knee injury and is working for Ex Ops, a covert paramilitary group. In walks Belle, now an ATF agent in San Antonio, Texas, assigned to work with the Ex Ops team to uncover those selling illegal guns to a Mexican cartel.
Two weeks after Bobby sent the letter to Belle he realized his mistake and his efforts to find her were unsuccessful. He’s never given up the search and in she walks in to his meeting. She was pretty damaged by the experience and created a life for herself in spite of the odds. Belle wants no part of the man who destroyed her emotionally but she’s got an even bigger secret in store for him.
What I loved about the story
Belle’s story is a tough one and when she got the letter my heart broke right along with herd. She’s pretty admirable because she saved herself and created an extraordinary life for herself. While Bobby was apologetic and sincerely sorry for what he had done, he had his work cut out for him and Belle didn’t make it easy. His fellow Ex Op team members provided comic relief for the seriously hurting Bobby.
What I found frustrating
Belle’s kept a major secret that combusts this relationship, giving Bobby somewhat equal footing in who was done wrong. I didn’t think agree with that perspective and his high-handed self-righteousness turned him into a jerk, IMO. Even by the end, I was still pretty disappointed In his behavior and he didn’t redeem himself in my eyes. Belle genuinely had great reasons for the decisions she made at 17 and Bobby…not so much. And…I don’t get the cover. It doesn’t quite match the story.
The bottom line
I really enjoyed this story, Bobby’s ass-hattedness and all. There’s a bit of suspense, truly frightening action in the last 25% of the story, just not enough to move this book into that category. It made for a very exciting ending but Bobby’s got to do something in the next book to get me on board. I’m Team Belle all the way and am looking forward to the next story.
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