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Friday, March 27, 2009

Sealed With a Promise by Mary Margret Daughtridge

Sealed With a Promise by Mary Margret Daughtridge
Publisher: Source Books, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (363 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Camellia

Can the strength of her love temper his need for revenge?

Navy SEAL Caleb Delaude had a less-than-ideal childhood. His biological father abandoned his family at Caleb's birth and left them to a life of poverty, refusing to help even as his mother lay dying. So when he is assigned to protect the powerful senator who he suspects is his father, his vicious grudge turns into a strong urge for revenge.

But then he meets biology professor Emmie Caddington, a close friend of the senator's daughter. He thinks he'll use her to spring the secret of his illegitimate birth on the senator's unsuspecting family, but his interest in Emmie begins to get complicated.

He's a SEAL 24/7, and that doesn't leave much time for women or love. Her fascination with him finally makes him feel good about himself, but when the truth finally comes out, will their budding relationship be nothing more than a means to revenge... or is she the key to his salvation?

SEAL, alpha male, genius Chief Petty Officer Caleb Dulaude aka “Do Lord” finds Emmie, his perfect ticket into high society where he needs to be to fulfill a promise made at age fifteen. As best man for his friend and commanding officer, he meets her and makes plans. Battle hardened, not averse to lying to complete a mission, yet having a unique integrity, Caleb makes an intriguing hero. He says he is an “Alabama cracker raised in a trailer located on the hind end of nowhere” which may be true but is far from who he really is at this time in his life. He learned to be tough, streetwise, and pragmatic at an early age. He came to believe in honor, accountability, trust, and pride through his training as a SEAL. The vulnerability, longings, and sensuousness that Ms. Daughtridge reveals about him along with his ability to be in two realities at the same time makes him even more complex. Yet, his obsession with Senator Teague Calhoun is the flaw that threatens to be his undoing.

The bridesmaid Emmie, ugly duckling among swans, is Caleb’s perfect ticket. Unassuming, academic, and an expert at fading into the background, she has a poor opinion of jocks “who have a sense of entitlement and are unwilling to take seriously anything that didn’t directly impact their own egos”—a category she feels the arrogant SEALs fit into. She has many facets to her personality that emerge as the story unfolds, facets that she is not aware of because of self-esteem issues that started when she was twelve years old. Her loyalty and willingness to go to any length to help those she loves is beautifully depicted by Ms. Daughtridge’s smooth, unobtrusive writing style. The metamorphosis of Emmie is amazing, the emotional, physical, and social change in Emmie lifts the spirit and makes one want to cheer. She is “priceless” in so many ways not the least of which is her sense of humor that astounds.

Mary Margret Daughtridge’s descriptions awaken the senses to a level that makes a reader gasp for breath and sigh with satisfactions. Primal and earthy at times, sensual, enchanting, and tender at others, the love scenes simmer, sizzle, and soar. The mirror scene is truly magically and tells so much about both Emmie and Caleb.

Some of the secondary characters such as Aunt Lilly Hale, Pickett, Grace, and Vicky add depth to the happenings in Sealed With A Promise. Family values, friends’ unswerving loyalty, and the innocence of children and their need to be protected from the self-serving actions of adults, all create sub-plots that stir the conscience and intensify the story as events force life changing decisions to be made by Emmie and Caleb.

Sealed With a Promise is beautifully written and tells a fantastic story that if full of intense emotions. EXCELLENT!