Pre-Order on Amazon: Midnight Secrets: The Wildefire Series (Wildfire) (eBook)
Release Date: April 30: 2013
Midnight Secrets (Wildefire #1) by Ella Grace
For fans of Maya Banks, Allison Brennan, and Lori Foster, a thrilling new romantic suspense novel from Ella Grace
AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, THE HEAT BEGINS
On a hot southern night, with a storm on the horizon, a family is shattered. Three beautiful daughters—Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina Wilde—go on with their lives, each significantly changed, as they bear the memory of the murder-suicide that killed their parents. For years, they have stayed away from Midnight, Alabama. Until Midnight calls them home.
Savannah is the first one back, when a grueling case in Nashville leads the young prosecutor to seek shelter in the quiet of the once grand Wilde mansion. But when she finds letters casting doubt on her family’s dark, shameful past, she realizes that peace in Midnight is a shallow façade and sinister secrets lurk beneath the surface. Zach Tanner, once the town’s bad boy, is now the new police chief and still has a wild hold over her. Zach can feel it, too, but he hurt Savannah once. As teenagers, they broke every rule together. Now it’s his job to keep her safe, even though he isn’t sure who her enemies are—or which ones might be his own.
Midnight Secrets is the first book in Ella Grace’s new Wildefire Series. This debut novel is well-developed, combining mystery, suspense, and romance that covers a time span of eighteen years. Through flashbacks and ample exposition, the author immerses readers into the fictitious lives of the prominent Wilde family and prepares them for the rest of the series.
The setting for this series is Midnight, Alabama, a small, overall, peaceful southern town, until Beckett Wilde apparently kills his wife Maggie, and then commits suicide. Left behind and forever emotionally scarred are ten-year-old triplets: Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina who are raised by their grandfather, Daniel Wilde.
The suspense-filled prologue takes readers back eighteen years ago to the night of the alleged murder-suicide, describing the event as it actually occurred and establishing the mystery behind the couple’s deaths that serves as one of the main conflicts explored throughout the remainder of the book.
Midnight Secrets is Savannah’s story and starts with a flashback to the Wilde sisters’ teenage years, where Savannah is depicted as quiet and reserved. Unlike her sisters, Savannah doesn’t have much experience with boys until Zach Tanner enters her life by rescuing her from a dangerous situation. Their immediate attraction to each other leads to a sweet, tender romance between this unlikely couple. Zach’s lower socio-economic background and his reputation as a town troublemaker make him feel unworthy of being with someone like Savannah. However, she is wise enough to look beyond the gossip and see the goodness in Zach.
When Zach leaves for a stint in the U.S. Army, Savannah is crushed when he leaves without saying goodbye or staying in contact with her. The flashback ends with Savannah questioning why Zach would behave in this unexpected manner. Although, the beginning of the book starts off slowly with this back story, it is needed to transition to the present where Savannah and Zach will meet again, thus establishing a second major conflict in the book.
Savannah, now an assistant district attorney in Nashville, is forced to take time off from her job, and she reluctantly returns home to Midnight to settle the Wilde estate, since her grandfather has died. She dreads going home because of the sadness from her childhood that still haunts her and because she knows she will inevitably run into Zach Turner, Midnight’s new police chief.
Their initial meeting is awkward and tense. However, alternating between Savannah’s and Zach’s point-of-views, the author makes it evident that both characters still care deeply about each other and deep down wish there could be a second chance. Zach seeks redemption for abandoning Savannah, but her wounds are deep. Both have kept surprising secrets from the other that must be revealed before their relationship can truly move forward.
Circumstances are presented that lead Savannah and Zach to work together, first to solve a series of break-ins and vandalism around town and then to uncover the truth behind the death of Savannah’s parents. As they spend more time together, the sexual tension between them leads to the rekindling of a more mature, sexier, and steamier romance.
The pace of the story picks up after Savannah begins investigating how her parents really died. Samantha and Sabrina are brought back into the story, along with some of Zach’s former Army buddies as they all work together to unravel the mystery. Unexpected twists and turns keep readers engrossed in the story and guessing about the outcome. Although the resolution of the parents’ deaths is somewhat predictable, the author did keep me on my toes by trying to figure out who was involved. I was disappointed, however, by the underlying motivation for killing, which I thought to be petty and shallow.
Overall, this was a satisfying read because of the in-depth plot and well-rounded characters that bring the story to life. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Midnight Lies, which is Samantha’s story.
I received an ARC copy of this book from Random House Publishing- Ballantine Books via NetGalley for an honest review.
About the Author
Ella Grace is a writer of steamy southern suspense, wife, mother of five fur-kids and one reclusive turtle. She loves to write, read, cook the occasional meal, go to the movies and travel when she can. She’s thrilled to be writing a series based in her home state of Alabama.
Ella Grace is the pen name for NYT Bestselling Author Christy Reece.
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