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

November 21, 2013 Review 1

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.

Title: Secret Maneuvers
Author: Jessie Lane
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Secret Maneuvers
Series: Ex Ops
Other books in this series that we've reviewed: Secret Maneuvers
Published by Self
Source: Author
Published: June 15, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 290
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website

Stars: two-stars
Flames: three-flames

The prologue was a bit of a rough journey for me. I steer clear of books with alcoholics of any capacity in them. Belle’s father is an abusive alcoholic. I also stay away from books written in first person point of view. This is first person point of view of from both Belle and Bobby. Readers will never be confused by the switch though. Every time Bobby and Belle switch pov it is actually noted with the characters name as you go into the new section. I found that a bit odd.

I could not put Secret Maneuvers down. The cliches that we see in far too many romance novels never stop and are often so over the top I had to keep reading to see just how far down the road of ridiculous this book could go. It managed to go run out of road and on to some unknown path of absurd. The Ex Ops team packing for the romantic night time picnic is reason enough to read this book.

We’ll start with the girl from the trailer park. Of course her father is an alcoholic who beats on her and killed her mother. The boy is the all star, blue eyed, good ole boy. His father is a farmer but someone was able to afford to see this teen in a 1967 Shelby GT500 (at some point he also had the back bed of a truck to romance her in.) They of course are head over heels in love. Teens know all about love and making good solid decisions. The good ole boy is leaving for the ARMY but promises to come back for his one and only. He also directs her to see his parents if she is hungry and there is no food at her house.

Flash forward thirteen weeks she gets the kiss off letter.

Flash forward fifteen years and they are working an illegal arms, human trafficking, and maybe drugs operation. That part of the book gets lost to our hero and heroine until the very end. Belle is now ATF and Bobby is Ex Ops. No one ever saw a problem with these two working together. There is a huge conflict of interest there, but for romance sake it was looked over. The added bonus is that the entire Ex Ops team dishes out amazing relationship advice to the clueless Bobby. Some of it even comes in the form of Sun Tzu war tactics for advice for getting the girl.

I like condoms in my romance novels. Considering that Belle is hiding Bobby’s fourteen year old son from him she should too. The first time our couple gets after each other Bobby tells her “Nothing between us, Belle.” The next time he’s up for bat (yes the sports analogy is okay I’m getting to that) there is “victory dance in celebration of my upcoming touchdown of the naked variety.” Readers are also treated to Bobby’s wisdom with “playing Marco Polo with his night vision goggles and her body parts.”

Condoms, I digress. Belle manages to get knocked up again! I wanted to like Belle. I’m not sure how she’s made it this far in life though. Although Bobby sees her as “slicker than snot on a glass doorknob.” I cannot bring myself to have any compassion for someone who hides a child from its parent. She has the most bad ass bestie ever. Teagan is a former football star now Marine. Teagan is also the hidden child’s godmother and a grade A bitch. I’m pretty sure she will be the heroine of one of the future books in the Ex Ops series. She has after all sought revenge on Bobby by sleeping with one of his friends.

I tried to figure out where the authors are from or where they have lived. I would love to know if they believe all southern people are this unrefined or if it is from their personal experiences. Belle of course drives a jacked up dully, blaring country music, and wears cowboy boots all the time. She cusses like a sailor yet says “dag gon” in place of damn. I’m a southern girl, born and raised and the majority of the characters in this book appeared to be backwood hicks and an embarrassment to all southern people.

I am pleased to say that the hidden child, Seth was entertaining and perhaps the most mature character in the book. Seth is wise beyond his fourteen years. I have no idea where it came from considering the mess that raised him.

 Jessie Lane

One Response to “Review: Secret Maneuvers (Ex Ops #1) by Jessie Lane”

  1. Sophia Rose

    Oh lord! Let it out and exorcise that demon. Sorry this one was so frustrating. I thought this one sounded good in the blurb, but the way you describe where the focus is at and how unrealistic the plot and characters are for this sort of backdrop…I’ll wait on this one, thank you very much. ;D I see this hiding a kid from their parent plot a lot lately. I get it if the person’s abusive or stalkerish, but just a normal guy? Nah!