The Darkest Hour
by Maya Banks
Paperback: 304 pages
Available: September 7, 2010
Genre: Romantic Suspense
It’s been one year since ex-Navy SEAL Ethan Kelly last saw his wife Rachel alive. Overwhelmed by grief and guilt over his failures as a husband, Ethan shuts himself off from everything and everyone.
His brothers have tried to bring Ethan into the KGI fold, tried to break through the barriers he’s built around himself, but Ethan refuses to respond …until he receives an anonymous phone call claiming Rachel is alive.
To save her, Ethan will have to dodge bullets, cross a jungle, and risk falling captive to a deadly drug cartel that threatens his own demise. And even if he succeeds, he’ll have to force Rachel to recover memories she can’t and doesn’t want to relive—the minute by minute terror of her darkest hour—for their love, and their lives, may depend on it.
“Your wife is alive.” If you received a note like that on the anniversary of a loved one’s death, would you believe it? Would you believe in second chances? This is the chilling start to The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks.
Ethan Kelly has just returned from visiting the grave of his dead wife, Rachel. It’s been exactly one year since her death and he still mourns her deeply. All he wants to do is drown his grief in liquor and numb himself enough to have the rest of the day slip by in a haze. Once Ethan opens the FedEx package that arrived earlier in the day, the bottom of his world drops out and the numbness he initially sought is an afterthought. The package contains documents, pictures and a simple note that reads “Your wife is alive.” What Ethan quickly learns is that a woman who looks exactly like his wife is being held in a hellhole in the South American jungle. Ethan’s emotions spin out of control after seeing the information. Fury and hope. He is torn between it being a sick joke and the possibility that his wife might actually be alive. Ethan immediately takes the information to his brothers, Sam, Garrett and Donovan who run a special ops group, KGI, knowing that they will help him find the truth. KGI is a private, rescue and recovery team that is trained to go into extreme situations and kill or blow up anyone or anything that gets in their way. Ethan, his brothers and KGI back-up travel to the remote jungle, ambush the camp and sure enough find that it is Rachel that has been in captivity for a year. Thanks to her captors who have been forcing drugs in her system to subdue her, Rachel is addicted to heroin, which has also caused her to have partial amnesia. When Rachel is rescued she vaguely remembers Ethan and Garrett but the reasons are sketchy, though she does have a sense that she is safe with them and that they care for her. After returning home to the States, Rachel focuses on overcoming her drug addiction, her emotional frailty and her broken memories and nightmares of her past. Ethan is overwhelmed that he may have a second chance with his wife, but is also hiding a secret that could be detrimental to his future with Rachel if all her memories return. And though Rachel is back home, she is not out of harms way.
Ms. Banks conveys a complex and intense bundle of emotions as the Kelly family tries to rebuild a relationship with Rachel who doesn’t remember them. While the family sees it as a miracle to reconnect with the woman they have come to love as a daughter and sister,they also struggle with the guilt and anger of her captivity and the fact that they all believed she was dead. All six Kelly brothers (the KGI brothers and Nathan and Joe who are at home on leave from deployment overseas), as well as their parents, have strong personalities. And the Kelly family is a tight, close unit that covers each others backs. We see a vivid display of love and protectiveness toward Rachel by not only Ethan, but all the brothers. There is also great focus on the reconnection both physically and emotionally between Ethan and Rachel as they try to reestablish their marriage.
I have been a fan of Ms. Banks since reading her Sweet series (erotica) and all of my friends know that Damon from Sweet Persuasion owns me! So naturally I jumped at the chance to review her first romantic suspense book in the KGI series. While this story is not of the erotica genre, Ms. Banks still delivered passionate, intimate and sexual moments between Ethan and Rachel. They shared an intense attraction, an almost magnetic chemistry that made them crave the other’s comfort and touch. So in many ways there were erotic moments, but on a deeper level. In the end Ms. Banks creates a heartfelt story of love, loss, overcoming extreme adversity and forgiveness. She also gives us a look into the individuality of the other five brothers as well as a “stray” who ends up becoming a part of the Kelly family. With this cast of strong, believable characters, I look forward to more of the fierce and sexy Kelly brothers!
“Will you take a bath with me?” she blurted.
He blinked in surprise, and for a long moment he didn’t say anything. He seemed to struggle with exactly what to say, how to respond.
“You used to wash my hair, I remember you touching me.”
Fire built in his eyes, sparking the blue until it resembled a storm front.
“Are you sure, baby? I don’t want to do anything to make you uncomfortable.”
She shrugged, hating the awkwardness of asking her husband, her husband, to be intimate with her again.
“I just want you to hold me.”
Other books in the series:
No Place to Run December 7, 2010
Hidden Away March 2011
Other reviews on GoodReads
I have one copy of The Darkest Hour by Maya Banks to giveaway. Leave a comment on Amy’s review for entry with email address if it’s not part of your profile. (Go ahead and comment even if you don’t want to enter, just indicate that you don’t want to be entered.) Giveaway is open until Sept. 17, winner announced soon after. Open to everyone.