August 2008, Series Romance
Sil Romantic Suspense #1526, $4.99, 211 pages, Amazon ASIN 037327596X
Jennifer Morey makes a promising debut with The Secret Soldier, offering an interesting tale of romantic suspense that moves from Afghanistan to a Greek Island, and on to a small town in Colorado.
Sabine O'Clery is working as a contractor in Afghanistan when kidnapped by terrorists, who also nab her partner. Locked in a small cell, she watches her captors torture and kill her partner, then faces threats that she will meet the same fate.
Sabine's powerful and mysterious estranged father calls in Cullen McQueen to rescue his daughter. A deep undercover black ops specialist, Cullen sees the mission as nearly impossible, but, since he owes the older man his life, he can't say no. Making the mission even more complicated, her father doesn't want Sabine to know that he hired him.
Cullen manages to get into Sabine's cell, but things don't go smoothly from there. First, their helicopter is shot down while leaving the area; then, terrorists meet their plane in Egypt and kill the pilot. Cullen must fly the plane out of Egypt with Sabine as his only passenger - the result is their plane crash lands on a small Greek island.
I was afraid the rescue would encompass the entire book, but it doesn't. After Sabine recovers from her injuries on the island, she and Cullen share one brief, passionate, night, but both leave the next day for their separate homes. Although a clear, palpable attraction developed during their short stay on the island, they both have baggage from their childhoods and neither wants to risk a relationship with the other. Moreover, Cullen needs to keep his involvement with the operation secret.
But Sabine isn't safe once she returns to her small Colorado hometown. People are still after her and she isn't sure who they are. Even more problematic, the press has decided Sabine is a heroine and they're looking for more on her and her rescuer.
For the most part, I enjoyed both Sabine and Cullen. Although it happened quickly, I found the attraction between them to be completely believable. The book would have earned a higher grade, however, had Sabine not done something toward the end that resulted in unnecessary danger for both.
I'm rather squeamish and, while I like romantic suspense, I can't tolerate much graphic violence. Sabine faced some awful things in captivity, but they are not described in detail, so I had no problems with the book's level of violence.
For a short book, there's a lot going on, including an interesting hero and heroine who each manage to grow over the course of the book. Throw in a few brief days on a Greek island, and you've got a fairly enjoyable read.
-- LinnieGayl Kimmel
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