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Next to Die    by Marliss Melton order for
Next to Die
by Marliss Melton
Order:  USA  Can
Forever, 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Commander Joe Montgomery is the sole survivor of the worst SEAL disaster in history. Since returning home, the injured soldier has been drowning his guilt in endless bottles of alcohol and isolating himself from his comrades and friends. The only one who isn't afraid to confront Joe is his perky neighbor, Lieutenant Penelope Price. Just his luck that he's been assigned to see the no-nonsense physiotherapist for treatment of his back injuries. It's her positive attitude as well as her refusal to feel sorry for him that push Joe out of the darkness and back into the light - and the ultimate realization that he's not to blame for what happened on that desolate mountainside in Afghanistan.

Their relationship grows from cautious friendship to sizzling attraction. However, both are afraid to take the next step: Joe is determined to have a relationship like his parents had, one filled with love and long-term commitment. That's impossible as long as he's a member of the SEALs. And Penny refuses to believe that a man like Joe would give her a second glance. But when she and her sister are threatened by the man they believe is responsible for their father's murder, Joe is right there to protect her and help her get to the bottom of the mystery before she's the next to die.

Joe and Penny are both very appealing characters and their romance is rich and involving, as is the secondary storyline involving Penny's sister Lia. Unfortunately, the mystery surrounding the death of their father is rather lightweight and it's easy to figure out the culprit, making the conclusion something of a disappointment. Overall, though, Next to Die is another pleasing chapter in Melton's highly addictive Navy SEALs series.

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