Promises in the Dark (Shadow Force, Book 2)

Promises in the Dark (Shadow Force, Book 2) - Stephanie Tyler In the second book of the Shadow Force series Stephanie Tyler returns readers to the heart of darkness--Africa, specifically Sierra Leone and the shadowy world of black ops mercenary soldiers. "Promises In The Dark" opens 6 months following the action packed conclusion of "Lie With Me". After witnessing and being powerless to prevent the violent abduction of Dr. Oliva Strohm by the terrorist organization DMH (Dead Man's Hand), Zane Scott has been haunted by her cries for help and a picture of her that he holds close. Zane's brother Dylan, who we met in "Lie With Me" has finally gathered enough intel to enable Zane to find Olivia and bring her home. Zane therefore takes leave from his duties as a Navy SEAL and travels to Sierra Leone, a place that for him holds traumatic childhood memories.

Olivia Strohm is a brilliant transplant surgeon who has been to hell and back twice in her life, once as a child and now at the hands of DMH. Olivia has cleverly escaped her captors and been on the run from village to village trying to do what she can to help people in need. She has been living by her wits and trying to reconcile what she had to do to escape her captors. She is a lost, tortured soul, and trusts no one.

Zane expected Olivia wouldn’t willingly accept that he was there to rescue her and comes armed with a number of tools to nurture her trust. Olivia however, doesn’t want to leave Africa she as is terrified she will not be able to assimilate when she returns home. It takes all of Zane’s patience and strength of character to convince Olivia, a woman whose psyche has been damaged nearly beyond repair. There were occasions while reading this story that I along with Zane nearly gave up on her.

Back in the US, Zane’s brother, Delta Force operative Caleb Scott and his team have received intel indicating software developed by computer genius Vivienne Clare’s father has come into the hands of DMH. The software has the potential to cause catastrophic events at home and abroad if used by the terrorists. Caleb therefore follows orders and brings Vivienne in for interrogation, and while it seems she has no knowledge of DMH or that they have come into possession of the software evidence suggests otherwise. Vivi isn’t at all what Caleb expected and despite being involved in a dangerous mission with DMH breathing down their necks he is sexually attracted to her and she to him.

Readers are also introduced to the enigmatic Dr. J., a missionary with military background who runs a number of clinics throughout the country offering health care to the people in the surrounding villages. Additionally, he recruits mercenary soldiers who are sent to defend the clinics from any number of threats. Dr. J’s right hand man is Tristan, a former Army Ranger with a traumatic history related to his youth and discharge from the service. Tristan is tough, lethal and sexy as hell. While he has not formerly attached himself to anyone or anything, Dr. J has earned his allegiance and Tristan has established relationships with the people in the neighboring villages. Enter Rowan, newly discharged from the Army where she served as a medic in Iraq. Rowan is a widow having lost her husband years earlier under the most horrific of circumstances. These two people can only be described as part of humanity’s walking wounded, they act on an instantaneous attraction and find love under the worst, most dangerous of circumstances.

Ms. Tyler therefore wrote two romantic subplots into the narrative of this story which intersect with the main plot making for a tale that is suspenseful, frightening, sensual and action packed. The personal stories that are crafted for all three couples are bittersweet and at the same time beautiful. I experienced a number of emotions while reading "Promises In The Dark", fear, anguish, I cried, I smiled, but at the end of the day I was relieved. I wasn’t sure until the closing pages whether Zane and Olivia were going to survive. I mentioned in my review of "Lie With Me" that I loved Zane from the first paragraph he was introduced in that novel, that feeling hasn't changed, in fact it intensified. IMHO "Promises In The Dark" is an extraordinary story.

If you enjoy an emotional, fast paced, sensual and dark romantic military suspense, you may like to give "Promises In The Dark" a try. I think this book could be read in isolation because Ms. Tyler does give enough background information for readers to be able to follow along without reading "Lie With Me". However, as with most series I think if you read "Lie With Me" first it would enrich your enjoyment of this story.

My Rating: 5/5 stars

I’m still thinking about this one. ;)