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

Some mistakes from the past haunt us forever... unless fate steps in with a second chance.

One 'dear John' letter haunts Bobby Baker's every living moment. It’s the letter he stupidly wrote to his high school sweetheart, Belle, right after he left to join the Army. The letter that he told her that he wasn't so sure if they were ready for forever yet. But before he can let her know that the letter, and his second thoughts, are nothing but a mistake, she up and disappears from the small Georgia town they were both raised in.

Fifteen years later, Belle unknowingly walks back into Bobby's life when her job as an ATF Agent forces her to work with a group of men secretly headed by the CIA to help her track down whoever is involved in funneling black market weapons to a drug cartel in Mexico.

Bobby will use this mission to try and soothe Belle's hurt feelings while proving to her that their love is still meant for forever. He'll use every dirty trick he's learned since he joined the Army to maneuver her back into his life for the long haul. But Belle's not making it easy as she keeps him at arm's length in the hopes that mistakes of her own never come to light.



I was asked a few weeks ago if I would read Secret Maneuvers and I jumped at the chance because I am always looking for something new to read. Like so many of you I mainly read romance and I get in certain moods where I want a bad boy, motorcycle man, rock star, etc. You get the point. The next book I pick up depends on my mood unless I have a deadline to meet. I'm married to a Marine and spent several years in the Air Force myself so I have a soft spot for soldiers! 

Secret Maneuvers starts out in the past where Belle and Bobby are young and in love. She is the town trailer trash and he is the good old boy who loves her regardless. My first thought was great here we go again another damaged female that has low self-esteem that doesn't believe she is good enough for him. Sorry I can't help it but I'm getting a little tired of this same story line. Don't get me wrong I enjoy these books but it feels like that is all I have read lately and I'm tired of weak females. So I was pleasantly surprised when the next chapter jumped to the future 15 years later and Belle was no longer that weak teenager but a strong independent female. I was thinking thank goodness! I always love a strong heroine and Belle didn't disappoint. Bobby may have broken her heart 15 years earlier but she has made something of her life. 

When they were young and in love Bobby made promises to her that he didn’t keep. He decided to let his fears get the best of him and ended their relationship with a letter while he was away in the Army. Belle was heartbroken, the only person she had ever opened her heart to had left her without a second thought. Bobby was young and dumb when he sent that letter and immediately regretted his decision and tried his best to fix his wrong. Unable to find Belle they have spent the next 15 years apart because of a dumb mistake that Bobby will never forgive himself for. It isn’t until she walks into a meeting that they see each other again after all these years. Emotions stir in both of them, Bobby sees it as another chance and Belle is in a hurry to get rid of him.

At first I thought Bobby was a real ass for what he had done to Belle but then I thought about it and realized that he was young at the time. We all make stupid mistakes that we wish we could change, but life doesn’t work that way. You have to live with the decision you make and hope one day you get the chance to right your wrong. His desire to make Belle forgive him drew me to him. I was swooning over some of his confessions to her. Like this one…

“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 the stars blink in the sky that they’ll all still look way to 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.”-Bobby

Because of that and a whole other bunch of sweet lines I was rooting Bobby could break down her walls and they would have a second chance. 

Belle’s walls won't come down so easy though. She has spent the past 15 years grieving for the love they shared and she is keeping a huge secret from Bobby. She knows that once he learns what she is keeping there is no way they can be together. While I understand that this is a book and it is fantasy I still questioned some of the decisions she made. I wondered how she could live with herself for the secret she was keeping from him and why she did what she did. This made me dislike her a little bit. I hate selfish women and although I respected that she was strong her actions really pissed me off. Then I had to remind myself that she was young as well and alone and she did the best she could under the circumstances. One thing I try never to do is judge someone when I have never been in their shoes. Okay some maybe I’m getting a little carried away this is just a book but these are some of the thoughts I had going thru my head while reading this one. 

While these two are dealing with the past and mistakes they have both mad they have a mission to complete. This is the part of the book I really enjoyed. It was nice to read another military book that was suspenseful and there was a good amount of action. I loved the underline story about the Mexican Cartel and gun smuggling. I felt like it added to the plot and made it stand out. When a tragic even happens these two are tested. They find out if their love is strong enough to bring them back together. Warning though this isn’t isn’t the usual sappy romance. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book and rate it 3.5 to 4 stars. I’m looking forward to reading more books from this author and hope to read the next book in the series because there are some interesting supporting characters in this one. I’m always a sucker for an alpha male military man so this series is right up my alley.


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