Second In Command
by Melanie Moreland
It’s dangerous to read books by Melanie Moreland, and I have to warn you that the danger is increasing. Let me explain. In reviews of some of her other books, I’ve mentioned how often her wonderful words can make me cry. Well, with “Second-in-Command”, while I was reading the story, she frequently also had me gasping from moments of anxiety – almost as if I was hyperventilating. Don’t get me wrong – It was awesome. Just be prepared, and along with the usual tissues, have some relaxation techniques ready (or a little paper bag to blow into). This is the second book in the ‘Men of Hidden Justice’ series, but you can read it as a standalone.
The first book of the series was entitled “The Boss”, a designation that belonged to Matteo. He was the leading man in that first story. His second-in-command was Marcus. Some years after the conclusion of the first book, we now get to focus on Marcus, the warrior for justice who moved up in the ranks after Matteo moved on from the organization. It’s an organization with an extraordinarily noble and emotionally exhausting cause; it rescues women from human traffickers by means of dangerous, covert missions. It’s an extremely dark subject. Somehow the author managers to convey the agony of it all without going into gory details.
While on one of these missions, Marcus follows his finely honed instincts and rescues a woman named Melissa (Missy). His discovery of her is an incredible and chilling scene. It’s tempting to describe not only that scene but the whole story to you because it was so excellent. An enthusiastic reader wants to share every nuance of a great story like this one! I’m trying so hard to fight the urge because I don’t want to steal from you the excitement of discovery. Marcus is a hero whose personal story will melt your heart. If we could get him to step out of the book, women everywhere (and some men, too) would shamelessly riot for a chance to get his attention. His connection with Missy is something he feels before he ever even sets eyes on her; he doesn’t understand it, but he can’t deny it. All I will share about Missy is that you’ll want to give her a hug and then a high-five, cheer her up and then cheer her on. She’s sweet, strong and amazing.
Separately, Missy and Marcus are vivid characters, but together they are phenomenal. The passionate chemistry and visceral link between them just about shimmers off the pages. The secondary characters add immeasurably to the overall story. I thought the primary villain was absolutely horrifying. There’s just enough steamy scenes and humorous moments in the story to balance out the painful, serious parts. The ending was both clever and shocking, and the epilogue made my heart happy. At the very end of this book is a sneak peek of the next one in the series. I wish I hadn’t read that part because now I’m stressing out waiting for it to be released … well-played, Melanie Moreland. Well-played.