Midnight Secrets (Wildefire #1)
by 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 published as Ella Grace, a pseudonym for Christy Reece, one of my favorite authors. I've been looking forward to trying out this new “author” and seeing how these books differ from the Typical Reece novels. I was not disappointed! Midnight Secrets is a great beginning to a new series and intro to a subtly new writing style. This book was full of the typical small southern town issues, but seen from a whole new point of view, with lots of crazy plot twists and a shocking ending.
The story begins with the brutal murder-suicide of the Wilde Parents, a shocking crime that leaves the town on edge and unable to understand how such a heinous crime could happen in their small town to two people so obviously madly in love. Jumping ahead eight years, we meet the eighteen-year-old daughters of the victims. On the night of her prom, Savannah Wilde’s life changes for all time. Saved from a terrible fate by Zach Tanner, the town bad boy, Savannah is instantly smitten and finally musters up the courage to start a relationship with Zach. Love hits them both quickly and the two months of their summer of love flies by. But when the time comes for them to take the next step in their futures, tragedy strikes and tears them apart, though neither of them ever expected not to be together forever.
Ten years later, Savannah is a bitter and lonely prosecutor, faced with a death threat from her newest defendant. Knowing she has to get out of town, her boss demands she take the next two months off and head home for her safety. But returning to the home with so many memories—some good, but too many bad—leaves her reluctant to make the return trip. Knowing that Zach has returned makes her decision even more terrifying. But when she arrives and is instantly faced with the man who she once loved, she’s unable to put up enough resistance to keep her mind and heart separate. But when she starts to question the truth of her parents’ death, putting her life in danger, Zach isn’t willing to step back again. This time he’ll keep her forever, no matter how hard he has to work to convince her to forgive him and accept him back into her life.
I honestly loved Zach! Getting to see the relationship both previous and current was awesome and it was wonderful to see how sweet Zach always was and remains. He is a strong man for sure, but his depth of emotion, especially when it comes to Savannah is sexy. He is a war hero, honest lawman, loving brother, and is determined to be the man that Savannah always believed him to be. When we learn why he broke her heart all those years ago, the tears are impossible to prevent. I was so moved by those scenes, as well as the ones when Savannah explains her own mistakes that I think I’ll have to read it again the next time I'm feeling lonely so I can enjoy the emotional connections to make myself feel better. Savannah is a very embittered and angry woman; feeling betrayed by the one man she’s ever loved, and unable to understand how he could have broken her heart. She was naïve in the beginning and I think that time was needed for her to grow up, so she could be the woman Zach always needed. Though I feel the pain of her losses, sometimes those tragedies are needed to allow people to grow. The emotional connection between the H/H was there from the beginning, and the passion between them—both the youthful passion in their pasts and the grown-up heat flaring between them later—was off the charts, even if the kinds of passion changed.
Overall I LOVED this story and am happy I was able to add another series to my list. Zach and Savannah are the perfectly quintessential childhood sweethearts, forced apart due to their own naiveté and bad choices, but thankfully they are able to come together again as adults to form the lasting bonds they always desired. The connection between the triplets was fun to read as well and I am seriously looking forward to reading their stories. The mystery surrounding the death of their parents, one that changed all three Wilde girls in ways they never foresaw, was full of twists and turns, and I was completely surprised when the real killers are uncovered I found my draw dropping at the unexpected identities. Great job once again Ms. Reece…er… Ms. Grace. :) I look forward to many more novels in this series and written under this name. Thanks for reminding me why I love living in a small southern town.