Book Blitz - Secret Maneuvers (Ex Ops #1) by Jessie Lane on Sale for $0.99 ~ Excerpt and Ava's Review
“Lunch was nice, Ace. Thanks for the talk, as well as the apology. There’s something else we need to talk about real soon, but after hearing about my dad, I need some time to myself today. Before I go, though, I’ve got to be honest with you. I’ve got someone in my life that makes it impossible for us to patch things up. I’m sorry. We can move on to being friends, though—if you want—when all of this is over.”
I hung my head as a wave of pain ripped through my chest. Friends? She wanted to be fucking friends? All because she had a man in her life? Where was this someone in her life yesterday morning when I’d been so deep inside her that I wasn’t sure where she begun and I ended? I’d be damned if I was going to let her ignore what we had and try to categorize me as a friend. Without thinking, I reached over to snag the back of her neck, bringing her closer to me. Before Belle could protest, I slammed my lips down onto hers, kissing her senseless.
She gasped in surprise and I took the opportunity to thrust my tongue into her mouth. I put all of my love, frustration, pain and desire into that kiss. Sliding my tongue against hers, causing her to moan at the touch. My brain felt fried as a burning sensation traveled through my entire body at the simple touch. Sparks ignited behind my eyelids and I knew, without a doubt, that no one had, or ever would, feel like this to me again. Belle’s hands fisted the fabric of my shirt. When my head was swimming from lack of oxygen, I finally pulled back enough to break our kiss. Foreheads still touching, lips hovering over hers, breathe sawing harshly in and out of my chest.
“Friends don’t kiss like that, baby. You can’t tell me that this is something you really want to walk away from. No man will ever love you like I do.”
She was silent for a second, but when her voice came out, it was hoarse with a slightly choked sound. “You can’t know that, Ace. Someone may come along for you in time and, whoever it is, she’ll make you happy. You’ll move on.”
Shaking my head in denial, I rasped, “No, Belle, you’re wrong. No one will ever make me feel the way I do with you. I know this with the certainty that the sun will set today and rise again tomorrow. The kind of certainty that when the moon rises and the stars blink in the sky that they’ll all still look way too dim to me. They’ll always look too dim because you are the brightest star in my life and, without you, everything else seems cloudy. I only seem to see things clearly when you’re around and I know all of that because you are my soul.”
*I received an ARC in exchange for my honest review.*
I will begin by saying I am a fool for a man in uniform especially a military man therefore, I knew I had to read this book. With that being said, I am a romance junkie and story lines that include the armed forces or special ops need to have a strong romance element to keep me hooked and I was so pleased Secret Maneuvers was perfectly balanced. We had the story of Bobby and Bella and all that had gone on between them while simultaneously their mission was playing out as well. There was just the right amount of mystery and suspense along with love and passion.
Bobby and Bella were childhood sweethearts and Bobby promised Bella the world. He promised he would save Bella from her abusive alcoholic dad and as soon as he was done with his initial army training he would return, marry Bella and sweep her off for the happily ever after she deserved. So imagine Bella’s devastation when the last thing she received from Bobby was a ‘Dear Jane’ letter. Bella fled from their home town, trying to escape her father’s clutches and the heartache Bobby caused.
Then we skip 15 years into the future and I was pleased to see Bella was a strong girl, she had carved quite a career for herself and she created her own HEA albeit her heart would always ache for Bobby, the one that got away. So it was a shock to them both to come face to face after all those years apart when their careers caused them to join forces to take down a firearm smuggling operation.
From the moment they were back in each other’s company it was clear the chemistry was still there and although they were both still mad and nursed hurt feelings they couldn’t deny their attraction. Bobby was desperate to explain to Bella about the huge mistake he made and the fact he had spent his life trying to track her down to explain his regret and to declare he always wanted her. But Bella was faced with the realisation of her secrets coming to the surface now that Bobby was on her home turf and the devastating effects it would have on their already fragile relationship.
I had guessed quite early on what Bella had been keeping from Bobby and I was pleased to see that he also found out soon after as I think there is nothing worse than reading a book and constantly waiting for the bombshell to be dropped. When Bobby did find out I instinctively felt a little mad at his reaction and the way he treated Bella but the more I thought about it, I came to realise it was actually one of the more realistic reactions and I liked the way it was handled as it could have been so easily glossed over and rectified quickly like a mushy romance novel and that wasn’t what Secret Maneuvers was about.
From then on Bobby and Bella’s relationship hung in the balance but they still had a job to do and being the professionals they were they had to get on with it. There was drama towards the end and I liked the suspense it added to the storyline. It felt believable to me and my heart was in my mouth for poor Bella.
I also liked the secondary characters in the story. Bobby had great camaraderie with his fellow op soldiers Riley and Declan and Bella had her fiercely protective childhood friend, Teagan who was ready to cause Bobby a world of pain the moment he did anything to hurt Bella again. We got glimpses into the other character’s lives and I do look forward to reading about them in future books.
Just when I thought the worst was over and it would be plain sailing Bobby had to go and be a douche again. I still don’t really understand that point in the storyline and wanted the drama to be over for the couple but I’m glad to say it was soon rectified and the story ended on a great note.
I have read a few Adult contemporary novels lately and found them to be slow or not gripping enough, I had begun to wonder if New Adult had ruined me but I’m glad to say Secret Maneuvers has restored my faith that Adult novels can still be fast paced, sexy and engrossing all at the same time.
This was my first book by the writing duo that is Jessie Lane and I really enjoyed it. The story was well written, they created some great, frustratingly real characters all with romance, danger and happy endings thrown in. I am looking forward to book two and Riley’s story.
If you want a change of pace and read a great Adult contemporary novel then you really should give this a read.
Jessie Lane is the writing team of Crystal Leo and Melissa Pahl. The two sisters-in-law share a passionate love of naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them.
Crystal lives in Kentucky with her husband and her two little Rock Chicks in the making. Melissa lives in Minnesota with her husband and two fur babies, Yuffi and Lolo. Crystal is now trying to talk Melissa into “polar bear” swimming in Lake Superior, but so far Melissa is adamantly telling her no.
Their first YA novel, The Burning Star, was released in May 2012, but they pulled it from the shelves to send to an editor. This book will be re-released in March 2014 and will read like a brand spanking new book! Big Bad Bite was their second novel, but their first adult paranormal romance, and released in January 2013. Their third book, Secret Maneuvers, released this past June, and will be the start of a new adult contemporary romance series (Ex Ops Series). They are now working on their next three novels, Walk On The Striped Side (Big Bad Bite Series #2), Stripping Her Defenses (Ex Ops Series #2) and The Frozen Star (Star Series #2).With these projects underway, they are looking forward to showing the rest of the world their crazy stories, heroes and heroines that often plague their minds until written, and hope you will join them on their journey!
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