Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Perfect 10:

MIDNIGHT SECRETS – Lisa Marie Rice 
A Perfect 10 
The Midnight Series 
, Book 6 
Carina Press 
ISBN-13:  978-1-426-89992-8 
June 2015 
Romantic Suspense 

Portland, Oregon – Present Day 

SEAL Joe Harris nearly died—twice—after getting blown up overseas, and yet somehow survived. Two months in a coma, numerous operations, and four months in the hospital, and how he's in Portland trying to build himself up.  He started out with a cane, but with the help of his SEAL buddies he soon threw it away and is getting stronger.  When he is released from the doctor's care he has a job with Alpha Security International run by his SEAL friends Midnight, Senior, Jacko, and Metal.  But right now Joe is concentrating on Isabel Lawton, his neighbor.  Isabel brings him food she's cooked that tastes like heaven, and has surely put weight on him and improved him physically.  He saw her the first day she moved in, and noticed her physical frailty, but looking in her eyes he knows the blank look of fear and nothing left to live for.  He helps her around the house, but doesn't dare cross the line into romance because of her delicate hold on life.  Joe tries to remain friends until he hears a bloodcurdling scream from her house and runs over to find out she saw a man with a black cap on and buggy eyes in her bedroom window.  Joe knows those bug eyes were night vision glasses, and something bad is happening. 

Isabel Lawton was once Isabel Delvaux, and her father was about to run for President of the United States, but the night her father was going to declare, black clad men came into the hotel and shot Isabel's entire family, parents, and relatives, in front of her.  She was talking on the phone in a corner and survived with amnesia and many injuries.  Yes, Isabel survived the Washington Massacre as it is called, and when she was released from the hospital she changed her last name and moved across the country. What is left of her life with no family?  Isabel, after six months, can still barely walk a block, gets weak, has hot flashes, dizziness, no appetite, and constantly asks herself how can she live life with no family to love?  When she meets Joe and he helps her around her house, her love of cooking stirs and she enjoys taking food over to him for his poker games with several friends.  She does notice Joe is hot, hot, hot, but her mind is so messed up, there is no way he could be attracted to her; she has nothing to give, she's a shell of herself. 

Hector Blake was once a supposed friend to the Delvaux family, but it is clear he was behind the Massacre.  He longs to be President, but has decided getting a weak politician in office and making him his puppet will ensure he is in total charge of the country. Plundering the country's wealth and bringing it under his power is an intricate plan he has carefully put together.  He knows Isabel survived, but feels safe as long as she is weak and still has amnesia, but he has someone watching her carefully and reporting back to him several times a week.  Little does he know Kearns was spotted by Isabel with his night vision glasses, that now many SEALs are protecting her and that he can't get near her again. 

Lisa Marie Rice will never disappoint you in dealing with the characters in her novels.  The most important thing in my opinion is that there is no game playing, no keeping secrets or being afraid to tell each other what has happened in their lives to make them who they are.  Joe got wounded as a SEAL and has been trying his hardest to recover and go on with the rest of his life.  With other SEALs surrounding him with help and encouragement he has made great strides learning to walk again over the past six months.  Isabel has been down a well of torture ever since the Massacre.  She can't deal with her entire family being gone, yet she's surviving her physical weaknesses.  She can't believe how inferior she feels compared to Joe as he has made himself stronger, and she hasn't gone anywhere but down mentally and physically. 

Secondary characters are all Joe's former SEAL friends and co-workers: Jacko, Metal, Midnight, Felicity, an IT Goddess and Metal's girlfriend, and Senior.  Each man and his girlfriend or wife is willing to do whatever needs to be done to protect Joe and, through him, Isabel.  Joe could have no better friends to rely on.  Hector Blake is obsessed with bringing down America and making himself leader as part of a carefully orchestrated plan.  Every citizen will do as he says, and of course he looks forward to all the money and power he had been dreaming of while he makes his devious plans come to fruition slowly but surely. 

OK, I readily admit I am not impartial when it comes to Lisa Marie Rice's books, and especially the Midnight Series (MIDNIGHT MAN being my favorite.)  She shows great delicacy with Isabel and the mental and physical trials she has gone through and how Joe's love for her brings her out of her nightmare.  In the end, Isabel will do something that brings out a side to her that surprises everyone. MIDNIGHT SECRETS has become my second Perfect 10 of the year, and I am sure will continue to keep its excellence in the next chapter of the Midnight Series , MIDNIGHT FIRE (September 2015).  I would tell you who the main character is, but it would spoil the surprise ending of MIDNIGHT SECRETS.  If you like emotion packed stories and powerful passion, snap up MIDNIGHT SECRETS this month in print or e-book edition.  It will leave you with faith in love and overcoming great loss. 

Carolyn Crisher

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