Former navy SEAL Joe Harris nearly died—twice—on a medevac helo after being blown up by an IED. He’s not moving too great these days, but if there was ever a woman designed to jump-start a man’s hormones, it would be his new neighbor.
Meeting Isabel—loving Isabel—brought Joe back to life.
Isabel Delvaux came from one of America’s foremost political dynasties, until the greatest terrorist attack since 9/11 killed her entire family. She barely survived the Washington Massacre, only to become prey for rabid reporters. Fleeing to Portland and changing her name was a way out, a way to start over. The only way.
She knows she’s safe with Joe Harris. Not just because he’s big and strong, not just because he’s part of a security team that obliterates threats on the regular, but because he’s been to the abyss and back.
But as they help each other heal—through talk, through touch, through spectacular sex—the past comes back to play. When Isabel’s memory starts to return and a mysterious stranger sends Joe emails indicating Isabel is in imminent danger, he’ll do anything to help her uncover the truth. Even if that truth is the most terrifying thing of all…
This book is approximately 80,000 words
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
Originally published in 2015
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There she goes, Joe Harris thought. Isabel Lawton. The most beautiful woman in the world, and his next-door neighbor.
And she cooked for him.
Isabel Lawton, gorgeous mystery. One huge question mark. And a wounded woman.
Something bad had happened to her, something she never talked about. Of course, she didn't talk about much of anything personal, but she particularly didn't talk about whatever had happened to her.
Joe kept tabs on her. Because she was a wreckweak and vulnerable. And because well, because.
Joe's house was surrounded by vidcams. As a former SEAL, he believed there could never be such a thing as too much security. And he lived by the specops maxim: one is none, two is one.
So he had 360-degree coverage that he could access at any time and was always on view on a monitor in the kitchen. He was sipping a cup of coffee leaning against the sink when he saw movement on the monitor.
Isabel. Dressed for a cold-weather walk. Carrying something almost too heavy for her. He had to clench his jaw and mentally nail his shoes to the linoleum floor to keep from opening his door and taking that heavy thing she was carrying from her.
She wouldn't want that. And he didn't want her to know he was keeping an eye on her.
So he watched as she slowly made her way up his walkway onto the porch and bent slowly and painfully to place something in front of his door, then slowly and painfully went down the steps and down his gravel path to the sidewalk.
When she was gone, Joe opened his door and saw a huge pot. It smelled like it had just been dropped from heaven. He picked it up and carried it into his bare-bones kitchen. It was still hot, she'd just cooked it.
He lifted the top and drew in a deep breath. Beef stew. Sort of. Not like the beef stew in a can that tasted like dog food mixed with dog shit that his dad had opened when he remembered to feed his young son. Which wasn't often. Joe had learned early the fine art of can opening. No, this was perfect beef stew with some kind of special spices that nearly brought him to his knees.
She'd also cooked for an army, so his buddies would get to share, as usual. Maybe he'd call an extra poker night. After eating this, they'd let him win by default. Except maybe for his buddy Metal, nicest guy on earth except when playing poker, when a hidden mean streak always flared up.
Joe always won at poker, always. Drove Metal wild.
He wished he could share it with her, but Joe knew by experience that Isabel wouldn't eat it with him. She was friendly but reserved. Not cold, but gun-shy. It wasn't because of anything he'd done, that was for sure.
Joe was big and rough but he took care to control his voice and his movements around her. On his very best behavior. Any other time, he'd have made a play for Isabel, right from the first moment. Any red-blooded male would have, and his blood was redder than most. But he hadn't. Not because he didn't want to, but because he hadn't had any moves in him when they'd first met. He'd been lucky to be alive and upright.
An IED on the last day of his last mission, a month from separation of service, had reduced him to rubble.
Two months in a coma, four operations and four months of unrelenting hell delivered daily by his best friend and sadist Metal, who oversaw his physical rehab. And now, here he was, almost as good as new.
Now. Now he could go after the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, a woman who intrigued him like no other. But the fact was, she was still in bad shape.
Isabel wasn't as good as new. She was still as shaken and unsteady as the day she'd moved in next door to him three months ago.
She was looking particularly shaky as she made her slow way along the sidewalk. She'd turned left at the gate. Outside the gate there was left and there was right. Left was to a small park about five blocks down, right led eventually to the Green, a big meadow about a mile away where people played Frisbee and flirted in the summer and jocks ran in the winter, with a shopping mall on the other side. When Isabel was feeling better, she went right. If she went left it meant she didn't trust herself to stay out for long.
It wasn't his business, really, but the thought of her falling down on her walk was like acid on Joe's brain. So after texting his buds Jacko and MetalNeighbor lady brought food come for poker if you get back early, otherwise our regularly scheduled transfer of money to me tomorrowhe went looking for his ancient black watch cap and black running gear and suited up.
Once outside, he couldn't run, he'd pass her in a minute and he wanted to stay behind her. So though he felt like a jerk, instead, when he was worried about her, he walked fast then stopped to do stretches. Luckily there wasn't anyone around to look at him, because they'd think he was insane to stretch longer than he walked. He looked like a fool.
Which was cool, because that's how he felt. Awkward and clumsy. Joe was usually pretty smooth with the ladies. He'd never had a big problem attracting them and he'd never wanted one he couldn't have. It had all worked out really well until Isabel.
She tied him up in knots.
A month ago, Isabel had come home limping and he'd rushed out the door. It wasn't a sprain, thank God, but she'd banged her knee badly. He'd patched her up the best he could and had Metal come over to be sure. Metal had been their team medic and what he didn't know about injuries wasn't worth knowing.
No one else had come to her, for her.
Isabel seemed to be alone in the world, which baffled him. She was so beautiful his jaw had dropped the first time he saw her, talking to the moving guys. Good thing she wasn't looking his way otherwise he'd have scared her off. He couldn't take his eyes off her.
She'd been sick, that was easy to see. She'd clearly lost a lot of weight recently. Joe knew all about that. He'd dropped from his fighting weight of 210 to 150 by the time he was released from the hospital. When he'd walked with two crutches outside the rehab unit's doors, the skin seemed to drop off him. If they'd put him in old smelly clothes with a hat and a guitar on a sidewalk people would have been lining up to drop coins in the hat out of sheer mercy.
He'd worked hard and was back to 180, and it was all muscle. He'd get all the way back to 210, most of it thanks to Isabel's cooking.
That first day had started it. The moving guys had been total shitheads. They clearly'd had another delivery before the day's end and had simply dumped her stuff as fast as they could and left. Some things they'd even left on her front lawn.
He'd never forget that sight of her, lost and lonely in the middle of boxes and a few pieces of good furniture shoved up against the wall. He'd knocked on her open front door and she'd turned to look at him and pow! He was lost.
"Hey," he'd said gently, "I'm your next-door neighbor. Joe Harris. Need a hand?"
Bones, his orthopedic surgeon, had given him strict instructions to use the cane until the end of the month. Bones had also said that with anyone else, he'd order the use of two crutches for the next two months. But Bones knew Joe was a former SEAL and he knew it was pointless trying to stop Joe from pushing forward with his rehab.
However, Bones had been really strict on using at least the cane for the next four weeks and had given Joe a long, boring lecture on load-bearing coefficients and fusion time and yada yada. It had all made sense at the time and Joe had been following doctor's orders like a good little patient.
But seeing that beautiful woman trying to tug a couch toward the wall well, he couldn't do it. Just couldn't sit by and watch. He tossed the cane and spent the afternoon helping her unpack. His bones had ached that night, but what the hell. Though he was just back on his feet, he was still stronger than she was. So he'd carried in boxes from the lawn, set up some furniture, unpacked her books and when he saw that she couldn't take it anymore, he'd gone back to his place and stared at the wall for an hour, seeing that face.
The next morning he found freshly baked cinnamon buns and a pan of banana bread outside his front door.
That first week became a pattern. He helped her set up her stuff and he'd find amazing things to eat outside his door.
She didn't talk much and he didn't press her. Something crappy had happened to herhe recognized the thousand-yard stare of someone who'd seen bad shit. The bad shit had gone down fairly recently, too. Once, the sleeve of her sweater rode up and he saw a big scar where something had sliced her. He knew scars. That couldn't have been more than six months old.
Alsoit looked a lot like a knife scar and he'd stopped what he was doing as a fit of rage overtook him.
Someone had knifed her?
Some fuckhead had taken a knife and sliced her? He knew knives, was good with knives. Knew what knives could do to the human body. In many ways, a knife could be more devastating than a bullet.
Isabel had caught his look, quietly pulled her sweater down over her forearm and turned away. It couldn't have been more plain if she had shouted the words. I don't want to talk about it.
She was clearly traumatized. She couldn't talk about it? Fine. He knew all he really needed to know anyway. Amazingly beautiful, really sad, incredible cook.
Messed with his head and his gonads.
The rest would come later, whenever she felt like talking.
And if someone had done this to her and he found out who that fuckhead was? The fucker was a dead man walking.
So Joe had resigned himself to waiting it out until she felt comfortable enough with him to talk about it.
God knew he had time on his hands. He wasn't going anywhere. The doctors wouldn't let him go to work for another month, though he was itching to.
His rehab was hard but he was on the mend and it was a steadily upward trajectory. Metal wouldn't let it be anything else. Sometimes Jacko showed up, too, at the gym, to spot him. Metal knew everything there was to know about physiology and Jacko was a world-class gym rat so between the two of them he was putting himself back together again in record time.
He had friends, he had the full support of his company, ASI.
Who did she have?
Nobody. Except him.
She wasn't looking well at all today. The ground had frozen overnight and there were unexpected pockets of ice.
Joe had good balance but Isabel didn't. Isabel might need him. Joe headed out.
"I think it might be time to pass on to phase two," the voice on the phone said.
"All right," Hector Blake answered and there was a faint click and then silence.
The voice, as always, had been put through an ano-nymizer and was a metallic tenor. It could be anyoneman, woman or childthere was no way to tell. The software program was created to disguise any identifying characteristics. Though Blake would bet good money it was a man.
Blake could bet good money because the voice at the other end of the line had made him several billion dollars overnight, and so he could be an alien from Al-deberan for all Blake cared.
Still, he had a mental image of the man, sitting at a desk somewhere.
The office would be ordered and plush, full of comforts. There was something prissy about the voice. The anonymizer changed the timbre and tone of the voice but couldn't change the syntax, the small pauses, the vocabulary.
So, Blake had built up this image of an elegantly dressed, fussy man sitting in an elegant office, dispensing orders like God. Just about as powerful as God, actually, because the man was planning on bringing down the most powerful country on earth in several stages.
Phase one had been a resounding success. So he supposed it didn't really matter who the voice belonged to.
He remembered clearly the day the voice had called. First of all, he'd called on Blake's personal cell, which was interesting in and of itself. Very few people had his personal number and Blake took care to keep that number low. He had a very busy, highly successful law practice. His office had ten lines and he had twoone for internal calls and one for outside calls. His staff answered his phone at home and very few were forwarded on to him. He had two cells for business and one for personal calls, which he rarely used. The person who'd called that day had called him on his personal cell.
It had been clear immediately that the voice was altered. Right away, Blake had been both intrigued and irritated. He was a busy man and silly games bored him.
Until the caller told him what the call was about and Blake sat up straight, electrified.
This wasthis was illegal and treasonous and immoral.
And yet highly profitable. Almost unimaginably so.
When Blake had asked who was talking, the voice answered, "Call me M."
Blake had hummed the Bond tune but nobody laughed on the other end.
Blake would never have believed that someone would approach him with a plan this terrifying, this audacious. But M had, and over the course of an hour's conversation a day for several weeks, his reaction shifted from never to maybe to yes.
And then they'd started talking details.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In Midnight Secrets (Midnight #6) by Lisa Marie Rice, the romance is hot and the plot is mesmerizing! I have really enjoyed all of the books in Lisa's Midnight series, and Midnight Secrets is no exception. The hero and heroine fit so well together. I liked how their romance was slow to start but once it took off there was no stopping it. Isabel and Joe are both strong main characters, and Lisa pulled me in easily with dual POV's in Midnight Secrets. I felt like I really got to know Isabel and Joe, felt what they were feeling, and went along for the ride with them. Joe is drawn to Isabel the first time he sees her, but he goes slow, holds back...because he knows she is hurting. When she needs help, when she's scared, he's there and things between them heat up quickly and realistically from there. Joe wants to wrap Isabel up in cotton and keep her safe, but he doesn't stop her from doing what she needs to do and standing on her own two feet. Isabel accepts the help when she needs it, she doesn't try to be something or someone she's not. They bring each other to life. I love the maturity of the characters and the lack of angst. It's not a smooth road for either of them...but they just might make it. The suspenseful politically driven plot was very intriguing and a little frightening to imagine! Isabel's background is integral to the suspense and it all unravels in a thrilling, shocking way. Lisa is very detailed in her writing, but not overwhelming, and her knowledge of what she's writing about is obvious, and her descriptions of the people and places are vivid. I liked the surprises in the plot that caught me off guard, the just right doses of humor, and the good feeling that Isabel and Joe gave me. There are quite a few secondary characters, some that have appeared in other Midnight books, but Midnight Secrets can be read as a stand alone (although I recommend the whole series because it is fantastic!!) Midnight Secrets is the perfect blend of romance and suspense, woven together so that each is so relevant to the plot and the outcome. I was hooked from start to finish! I'd highly recommend Midnight Secrets to any romantic suspense lover!
I have enjoyed the series.
The blast took her memory away. But what happens when it all starts coming back? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
Isabel was Joe’s next door neighbor. Something bad had happened to Isabel but she didn’t say a word about it. Joe kept tabs on Isabel to make sure she was OK. Joe was a former Navy Seal and believed there was never too much security. Isabel cooked for Joe and set it outside his door and he did repairs for her or whatever she needed done. Joe wished Isabel would share the beef stew with him that she had just left at his door. But he knew Isabel wouldn’t she was friendly but gun- shy. Joe had almost been killed by an IED on his last mission one month before he was to get out of the service. For two months Joe was on a coma then four operations and four months of physical rehabilitation by his friend Metal that had been agony but Joe didn’t give up and got through it. He was now almost up to par. Isabel had moved next door to Joe three months ago. But Isabel was still in bad shape. Blake had made several billions of dollars from a voice that called him ,the person’s voice was altered so he/she could not be identified and told Blake to call him/her M. Blake thought it was a man. A man who wanted to bring down the whole USA. Blake had also founded a successful law firm. Phase one had been the Washington Massacre. That had been a definite success. Now Blake was to initiate phase two. Isabel remembered nothing from the night the building had come down and she could not sleep since she had lost all her family and she had come close to dying. What was left behind was a shell of a woman who couldn’t eat or sleep or barely walk. Sanity had left Isabel Isabel was attracted to Joe Joe was also attracted to Isabel but he knows she has been through something bad so he helps her instead of hit on her. Slowly Isabel comes out of her shell and metal and Jacko try to help also by being her friend . Isabel eventually remembers a little bit of what happens as Metal’s girl recognizes who she really is even if she had changed her name. Joe and his friends realize it is still dangerous for Isabel and all are trying to make sure that she is still safe;especially when Joe gets an anonymous email saying Protect Isabel. I loved this story It was great . Isabel was so broken and all Joe wanted to do was help. Don’t we all wish we had a Joe, The plot was perfect the writing was good. The characters were awesome. I loved the ins and outs of this story especially the ones including Joe and Isabel. I highly recommend. I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.
Great thriller with romance, too! With multiple agencies involved, a great team of ex-Navy SEALs, international terrorist activities and imminent danger this is a fast paced, highly charged, well written thriller which keeps you page turning to find out what happens next! I had no idea this was the sixth book in the series until I was writing this review, so it works well as a standalone, I didn’t feel I was missing any information as I was reading it. However, it does mean I’m interested in reading others in the series, too! This is a superb mystery thriller with romance, too. It concerns Isabel Delvaux who has moved to Portland after being the sole survivor of a terrorist attack which occurred when her father was about to announce his decision to run to be the next American president. She was injured and has amnesia about the actual event, she left Washington to escape the press and publicity about the event which has been dubbed the Washington Massacre. When she moved into her new home her new neighbour, former Navy SEAL Joe Harris, proves to be a neighbour from heaven - always there to help without being nosey about what happened. She repays his kindness by cooking fantastic meals for him and his buddies. He’s also been through traumatic times as he was seriously injured and nearly died after being blown up by an IED. They are actually helping each other heal though their friendship - and spectacular attraction to each other! When Isabel sees someone peeking through her bedroom window, Joe starts receiving emails warning him to keep Isabel safe and her memory starts to return life is about to get very hectic for them all as they try to discover the truth behind the Massacre and to keep themselves and those they love alive. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys political thrillers with lots of SEALs, action and romance. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley too, for letting me read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I love this series and look forward to the next one. I just wish the author would avoid referring to a Navy SEAL as a soldier.
This is another great read by Lisa Marie Rice. I was totally hooked right from the start with the interesting storyline and the intriguing suspense with cool tech gadgets. One thing that had me about Isabel was her ability to create amazing food. I swear I was fighting hunger pangs each time she began whipping up dishes. Besides the hot alpha Navy Seals, I also enjoyed how the females could just click with no questions asked. It's like there is a kind of understanding amongst them with what they've each been gone through that just allow them to bond together. The way how each female has their own forte and how their forte is put into use in each story are the little things that connect the whole series together. There was also an awesome surprise in this story and a super sweet epilogue. I've only read 2 books in this series and I'll be sure to read the earlier books. This is definitely one Navy Seal series I'll pick up in a heartbeat. I was gifted an advance copy of this book by the author in exchange for a honest review.
Midnight secrets was so good. Lots of action. I loved it. I love all her books.
This is my second book in Lisa Marie Rice's Midnight series and I really enjoyed it. To me, Joe was a great hero, a guy who saw a girl he was attracted to but kept his distance because he could tell that she has been through a lot and at the same time, protects her quietly from afar. Isabel was a broken soul after her entire family was killed. I love how patient Joe was with her and the way they slowly fell for each other amidst their pain and trauma. I love the suspense in the story, especially that last part of the story. It was a great twist and definitely something I didn't expect. Great story by Lisa Marie Rice. Looking forward to the next book in the series. ** An ARC was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review
Midnight Secrets by Lisa Marie Rice is the newest novel in the “Midnight” series and I believe this series is getting better and better with every book. Fans of this author will know that her writing leaves no wishes open. The characters are great and the writing is flawless. The storyline is good and the pace is fast at times. The development of the relationship between the leads is wonderful to watch. Suspense and romance – a wonderful combination I can’t wait to read the next book. > > > I have received this Book as an ARC from the Publisher < < < > > > In Exchange I promised an honest Review < < <
This action packed sexy thriller takes two souls and bodies that need mending and helps them do just that by finding each other. I loved everything about this story from the strength of the characters to the timely plot and sexy love scenes. A hot protective alpha male is a given in a Lisa Marie Rice story, and Joe fits that description perfectly, with the added touch of showing us a hint of vulnerability when it comes to Isabel and the feelings he develops for her. Isabel starts out broken but by the end of the story she is in fine fighting form. Joe's friends, characters from previous 'Midnight' books make strong appearances as well, and it was great to see them and the camaraderie between them as they battle the man who has stolen Isabel's once peaceful life and is threatening her again. There were some great twists and turns to the plot too, unexpected happenings that kept the story on a knife's edge right up to the grand finale. 5 stars for this great addition to the series!
Having read the rest of the midnight series i couldn't wait to read this so when i was given a arc in exchange for a honest review i couldn't wait to read it. My heart just kept breaking for Isabel and joe and i enjoyed having there relationship as the main storyline and the suspense and drama not taking over the story. I would highly recommend this series it will keep your attention all the way through.
I have received an ARC of this book from the author in return for an honest review. Lisa Marie Rice offers a fairly fast paced, suspense filled story that will keep you engaged to the last page. The hero of this particular story is Joe Harris. He is recovering from severe traumatic injuries suffered from an IED explosion. Isabelle Lawton, our heroine, moves in across the street from Joe. She is recovering from her own injuries caused by a terrorist attack that killed her entire family. Isabelle has no memory of the actual attack. Joe watches over her protectively, his heart already given to this beautiful, fragile woman. Isabelle suffers from horrific nightmares, and when she tells Joe about them, he realizes she is actually having flashbacks of the attack. With the help of his teammates, he helps her put the pieces of the past together; to discover an enemy she never would have suspected. When this person discovers that Isabelle is beginning to remember, he decides she must meet the same fate as her family before the truth comes out. Joe will do anything to protect the woman her loves and bring down her enemy. He gets help from and unexpected source, but in the end, Isabelle must find the strength and courage to help save herself. If you haven't read any of Lisa's Midnight series of books, I would suggest you start at the beginning with the first book, Midnight Man. Whereas each book can be read as a stand alone, the characters from the series weave in and out of each others stories. They are a brotherhood of ex Navy Seals, who have formed and work for a very specialized security firm, and as brothers, they have each others backs. Please do not let my opinion on this keep you from buying this book. Once you have read this one, I have great faith that you will go back and start the series from the beginning. This is why Lisa Marie Rice is one of my favorite authors....she always leaves me waiting impatiently for the next book.
They letf questions unanswered