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Secret Maneuvers (Ex Ops #1) by Jessie Lane
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Secret Maneuvers (Ex Ops #1)

by Jessie Lane

Series: Ex Ops (1)

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Interesting series. Storyline was slow at times and repetitive. The group of EX OP team members are interesting. I'm definitely buying Ripley Sullivan's story. Bobby Baker made a bad decision just out of high school 15 years ago. Now he may have a second chance with Belle and has to find a way to makeup for it. Annabelle Roberts is an ATF special agent now with a big secret. She has to decide if she can forgive Bobby for his mistake and find a way to get Bobby to forgive her for her really big secret. They try to work things out while investigating a major drug dealer who has graduated to dealing weapons and human trafficking. ( )
  twylyghtbay | Sep 16, 2017 |
Secret Maneuvers was not only my first book ever by the writing duo Melissa Pahl and Crystal Leo aka Jessie Lane, but I think this series could find itself among my favorites for romantic suspense. The story begins with a scene from Bobby and Annabelle's past. The hometown golden boy and the trailer park bad girl. It's Bobby's last night as a free man before leaving for Army boot camp. In just a few pages we get the extent of their relationship, their bond, and their future dreams. Everything seems perfect until one day it isn't. Fast forward fifteen years later and Bobby is now a part of an elite Ex Ops teams headed by the CIA. When their next mission involves working with the ATF, he comes face to face with the girl he never should have left behind, but the reunion is anything but warm. In fact, it's downright frosty.

As they work together to investigate black market sales of firearms being smuggled to a Mexican drug cartel, they also have to come to terms with their past. Belle has been keeping a big secret from Bobby. Will he forgive her when he discovers what it is, or will he lose her forever through the dangers of their jobs and his stubbornness?

This book never got boring. Ever. Between the mission, Bobby's attempts to get her alone for five minutes to talk, Bobby's boys giving him a hard time, and Belle's unwavering refusal to listen to a word Bobby had to say, there was never a dull moment. The first half of the book dealt mainly with the elephant in the room, and then her secret was revealed. Things go from interesting to "uh oh" in a heart beat, and suddenly the roles have switched. I could sympathize with both of them, however I definitely found myself on Bobby's side throughout the story. Around the 80% mark is when the action really goes down. It was gritty, uncomfortable and had me white-knuckling my poor Kindle.

If there was anything I had an issue with, it was everyone's treatment of Bobby after Belle was rescued. He didn't have a lot of time or freedom to completely process the changes in his life, but everyone kept yelling at him for hurting Belle's feelings. In my opinion, what Bobby did wasn't all that terrible. He was young, impulsive and scared - good intentions, crappy timing. The fact that he tried to make things right two weeks later was more than enough to redeem him. I especially disliked Teagan. Yes, she was Belle's champion and she had a good reason to be very protective of Belle, but her animosity wasn't the friendly type of "if you hurt her, I'll rip your testicles off and feed them to you" kind of needling. I truly believe she hated his guts and always would, even though Belle chose him. I much preferred Seth's approach to the whole thing. What a fantastic character for one so young. What Bobby blurted out in the hospital was just him being honest. The ending was a little cheesy, but it was perfect for our couple and brought the story full circle.

Overall, I loved this story, and can't wait for the rest of the series and the men of Ex Ops. The story flowed well, it was told from both Bobby and Belle's first person alternating POV. The chemistry between them was believable even with the underlying hostility, and the sex ... oh so HOT! I also thoroughly enjoyed the dialogue. The other men from Ex Ops made enough of an impression that I'm already invested in them and want their stories right now. I would never have guessed this book was penned by two people instead of one.

Book #2 - Riley

Book #3 - Lucas

Book #4 - Declan!!!

Favorite lines:

Finally! Finally, we were going to have this come-to-Jesus talk that was so overdue between us that if that talk itself had been a library book, the late fee would resemble the national debt.
~*~
"That's not the problem. The problem is that she's slicker than snot on a glass doorknob."
~*~
Throwing his hands up in the air, the man stood up and walked towards the door grumbling. "I send him to the jungle one time, where a monkey flings shit on him, and he's yet to let me live it down."
~*~
I pulled together enough sense to hope that I'd fucked the doubts right out of her, too.
~*~

Warning: There is a torture and rape scene around the 80% mark. They aren't graphic, but you might want to skip that part if it's something that is a trigger for you.

My final rating 4 to 4.5

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  MsRomanticReads | Feb 27, 2014 |
This is my first book by Jessie Lane.

I found both main and supporting character likeable.
The story - the beginning-the separation-the mistakes-
the reunion-more mistakes-and the happily ever after.

Both the H and h contributed to the misunderstandings
and kept themselves from each other. The resolution
was sweet and the ending tied to the start; making the
conclusion sweet.

Full of love and misundertandings, finding your own
way and finding you way back to your heart.

Looking forward to the next book in the series.

3.5 stars. ( )
  carrielynn819 | Aug 31, 2013 |
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