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SEAL Team 12 #4

Next to Die

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Penny Price dreads the sound of her ringing phone. She's convinced that the person barraging her with threatening calls is a man who got away with murder--her father's. Armed with evidence but branded a target, Penny's only salvation is the playboy nextdoor--Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander Joe Montgomery. The sole survivor of the worst disaster in Special Forces history, Joe has been drowning his guilt in a potent mix of alcohol and isolation. Penny refuses to indulge his behavior and a tentative friendship begins, charged with desire. But as her father's killer sets his sights on Penny, all bets are off. The killer will do anything to protect his identity and Joe fears Penny is...NEXT TO DIE.

352 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published August 1, 2007

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About the author

Marliss Melton

44 books518 followers
Marliss Melton is the author of over twenty romantic suspense, medieval, and inspirational stories. She relies on her experience as a military spouse and on her many contacts in the Spec Ops and Intelligence communities to pen realistic and heartfelt stories about America's elite warriors and fearless agency heroes. Daughter of a U.S. foreign officer, Melton grew up in various countries overseas. She has taught English, Spanish, ESL, and Linguistics at the College of William and Mary, her alma mater., and to this day she lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. Marliss also writes inspirational romantic suspense as Rebecca Hartt. Be sure to “friend” Marliss on Facebook! Visit www.marlissmelton.com or https://RebeccaHartt.com for more information.

* SEAL Team 12

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 96 reviews
Profile Image for Paige  Bookdragon.
938 reviews608 followers
September 19, 2015
You know it's a sign to DNF a book when instead of being engrossed in the story, you're wondering if your Dragon City egg has hatched or if you have to feed your Blizzard Dragon to gain a few XP.
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,183 reviews892 followers
December 13, 2015
Navy SEAL Joe Montgomery was the Officer in Charge (OIC) of a mission gone horribly wrong. He returned hollow and damaged, both physically and emotionally. His neighbor, physical therapist Penny Price, finds her way into his head and eventually his heart, while dealing with her own family nightmare.

The beginning of the story had my heart pounding and I could vividly visualize that ill-fated mission. His mental struggles felt authentic and hooked me emotionally. Penny seemed to be the ideal antidote given her sweet and nurturing nature. I really liked her and her approach to developing a relationship with Joe as he wasn't always easy to like. I also liked her sister Ophelia's romance with Vinny who didn't lack for confidence. It was a nice diversion. The suspense aspect ramped up quickly near the end and was well done. Some parts were completely unexpected, which was a nice bonus.

This series gets better with each book.
Profile Image for Buggy.
486 reviews677 followers
October 6, 2013
Opening Line: “Break contact” Joe whispered through the interteam radio, and he and the three SEALs in his command stepped off the trail to descend as quietly as possible into the wooded ravine.”

Well as it turned out I’m in the minority with Next To Die because I liked the idea of this story more than the actual follow through. I guess I was just expecting more from my dark, tortured hero, who was meant to be “drowning his quilt in a potent mix of alcohol and isolation” after becoming the sole survivor of the worst disaster in SEAL history. This man is intriguing to me, not the one I got. I will however give full kudos to Melton for the respect that she pays to the military and in particular taking inspiration from a very real tragedy (on June 28,2005) putting a romantic spin on its only survivor.

Things started out well enough and Melton can definitely write a top notch combat scene complete with all the accurate terminology, weapons and locations but if I’m being honest as soon as Joe got past the worst of his PTSD/survivors guilt and a couple of messy benders he got really boring. As I said the actual story never met my expectations and in truth I became way more invested in the spicy secondary romance going on between Penny’s sister Lia and her younger, charismatic and very sexy man Vinny. Now there was a relationship worth paying attention to. So while Joe and Penny became “friends” they slipped by the wayside and after a while I couldn’t have cared less what they were up to. In fact once I read Lia and Vinnie’s HEA I could barely be bothered to read the epilogue to find out if Joe and Penny were going to get theirs. I just didn’t care.

There’s also some dubious old fashioned language used here “by hook or by crook, he would prove that he was a worthy future investment.” Who talks like this, except maybe my Grandpa. And for a hardened SEAL Joe sure seems to have misplaced his balls by the end because he’s suddenly crying, whining, going weak in the knees and almost feinting after penny is attacked in her office by an old man. Yeah!? Not sexy.”With a whimper of relief, he bent toward her face to see if she was breathing.” “Joe’s knees jittered. He felt in danger of feinting himself.”

Penny Price is convinced that the threatening phone calls she’s been receiving are from the same man that killed her father. This sends her running into the arms of her “Playboy” –she’s seen him in the hot tub- Navy Seal neighbor. As the threats escalate Penny begins to fear for her and her sister’s life and turning to the FBI only makes Penny a greater target.

Lieutenant Commander Joe Montgomery is the only remaining survivor from the worst tragedy in SEAL history. Suffering survivor’s guilt and a host of medical problems Joe’s laying low while he self-medicates with a bottle of whisky. The fewer people who know he’s responsible for the death of his men, the better which is why he he’s affronted when his nosy neighbor (who also just happens to be his physical therapist at the Navy hospital) barges in one particularly drunken night and makes fixing him, body and soul her business.
Profile Image for Auntee.
1,273 reviews1,374 followers
June 24, 2009
Lt. Penny Price is a physical therapist in the Navy. Her hunky next door neighbor, Joe Montgomery, is a Navy SEAL Lt. Commander recovering from injuries he suffered in a mission that went so horribly wrong that he was the only survivor. Joe is dealing with a lot of survivor's guilt and blames himself for the loss of his teammates and takes to the booze.

His neighbor Penny (who has a long standing crush on him and who he has never really paid much attention to) coincidentally becomes his physical therapist (giving great massages!), then his friend, and eventually, his lover. But Penny doesn't expect much from Joe, because she's witnessed his love 'em and leave 'em lifestyle and she doesn't really expect a commitment from him.

Penny's somewhat irresponsible younger sister Lia comes to live with her due to the threats she receives from the person who she believes to be their father's killer. (Their father worked at a bio tech weapons lab where the deadly chemical ricin was a toxic by-product and some mysteriously disappeared and was sold. They believe that he was run off the road in a car accident because of what he knew.) Both Penny and Lia are now in danger and Joe decides to help protect them.

Penny and Joe's romance develops slowly and believably and becomes passionate, and when Penny's life is directly threatened, Joe questions just what she means to him and what he really wants out of life.

Lia (a bit reluctantly at first) has a romance of her own with a very sweet younger-than-her Navy SEAL. Even though he's younger, Vinny's much more mature, and helps Lia to grow and be more responsible.

Whew...this one really got to me. Two great romances in one book! I was dabbing at my eyes the whole way through! I especially loved that characters from the previous three books made appearances, too. Some, like Hannah Lindstrom working with the FBI on Penny's case, had significant roles. By the end of the book you will find out the latest with Gabe & Helen, Luther & Hannah, Sebastian & Lela, and Westy & Sara. The touching finale is like a scene from a movie.

If you enjoy reading Suzanne Brockmann, I can almost guarantee that you'll enjoy Marliss Melton's books, and I think that this may be her best one yet! 5 stars
Profile Image for Lisa - (Aussie Girl).
1,324 reviews171 followers
November 3, 2017
I was just about to file this series in the 3 star category when Marliss Melton ups the ante and produces a four star read. Three storylines overlap seamlessly and one in particular links this book back to the Seal Team 12 theme. Additionally, the major romance between Ms Average Penny Price and the love 'em and leave 'em Joe Montgomery develops in a very realistic way which makes a nice change from the insta love in a lot of today's romantic suspense novels.

One secondary character I find very intriguing is FBI boss Rafe Valentino hope he gets his story told and a happy ever after to help him move on from his heartbreak by the time the series ends.
Profile Image for Christa.
2,214 reviews418 followers
August 18, 2008
Next to Die was another wonderful romantic suspense novel by Marliss Melton. Although all of the books were great, this fourth book in the Seal Team Twelve series is my favorite so far. I enjoyed the dynamics between the hero and the heroine, and it was good to see several characters from the previous books mentioned.

Joe Montgomery is the only survivor of a SEAL mission that turned tragic. He is having trouble dealing with the aftermath of the incident, and he doesn't appreciate what he sees as the meddling of his neighbor, Penny Price. He is surprised when his physical therapist turns out to be Penny. Penny has had a secret crush on Joe for years, but he hasn't paid much notice to her. She is hurt by his hostile attitude, but she understands that he has been through a terrible tragedy, and she is glad that she can help him heal physically. As Joe and Penny develop a tentative friendship, a person from the past threatens Penny and her sister. Joe is determined to do what he can to protect them, and he and Penny enter into an intimate relationship. As they develop deep feelings for one another, both Penny and Joe are afraid that the other is not interested in a permanent relationship. There is a secondary romance between Penny's sister, Ophelia, and a young Navey SEAL, Vincent "Vinny" DeInnocentis, that was also very enjoyable.

I am already anxious to read the next book in this series. The series seems to get better and better as it progresses. There are some great characters in the series, and this book is no exception. Marliss Melton has definitely made it to my "must read" list.
Profile Image for Shawna.
3,496 reviews4,554 followers
February 26, 2009
4 ½ stars – Romantic Suspense

Next To Die is a really good romantic suspense read. It's obvious that author Melton has a lot of respect for military men and women and tries hard to be as accurate as possible in her depiction of military etiquette and protocol. This is book four in Melton's SEAL Team 12 series, and I read it without reading the first three books, so I was a little bit confused regarding some of the characters. However, I still really enjoyed it and plan to read the rest of series.
Profile Image for Anita.
2,062 reviews141 followers
December 13, 2015
This series just gets better and better. All the books can be read as standalones, but the characters from previous books make appearances as supporting characters, but their stories aren't rehashed. I really, really like that. The romance is slow to develop and the mystery/suspense takes its' time to develop. Unfortunately, I nailed the baddie from the beginning and it made me sad.

Joe is a commander and normally doesn't lead the team on an op, however, his senior chief has a high fever and the intel to be gathered is crucial, so Joe takes the lead on the op. Nothing goes right on this op and it ends in disaster. Joe returns injured both is body and spirit.

Penny is Joe's next door neighbor and has been taking care of his home and cat when his girlfriend flakes on that. He is not very appreciative of her efforts and basically accuses her of meddling in his affairs. Penny also turns out to be his physical therapist. Her loving perseverance and tenacity slowly drag Joe out of his martyr guilt and make him see that the failed op wasn't his fault. Meanwhile, Penny has problems of her own and as Joe grows to realize that his relationship with Penny is becoming more that a casual fling, her life is threatened.
Profile Image for Pamela(AllHoney).
2,631 reviews355 followers
September 6, 2015
My fave of the series so far. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander Joe Montgomery comes home from a tragic mission a changed man. His next door neighbor, Lieutenant Penelope (Penny) Price has a crush on the tormented SEAL and problems of her own. Exciting, yet heartbreaking at times. There is a second romance between Penny's sister, Ophelia (Lia), and Navy SEAL Vinnie DeInnocentis.
Profile Image for Danielle  Gypsy Soul.
3,101 reviews71 followers
December 24, 2015
4.5 Stars! Next to Die is the 4th book in Marliss Melton's Seal Team 12 Series and my favorite book so far.

This book centers around Navy Seal Joe Montgomery who is home after recovering from injuries from a mission in Afghanistan that killed his entire team. He is suffering with survivor's guilt and drowning himself in liquor to get through the guilt he feels. His neighbor is Lt Penny Price a physical therapist in the Navy who has had a crush on Joe for awhile but he hasn't noticed Penny since he's gone a lot and when he's home he has a revolving line of beautiful women.

Penny helps Joe out one night when he injures himself after drinking to much. Joe doesn't react well and is worried that Penny will realize that he is the only survivor from the Seal mission. He blasts her the following day but is surprised and impressed when Penny stands up to him. Penny then becomes his therapist and a friendship blooms. Joe and Penny eventually become lovers but Penny doesn't have high expectations of Joe since she's witnessed his lack of commitment with women.

Penny's younger sister Lia comes to live with her and the two are threatened by an old family friend they believe is responsible for killing their father. Penny finds some evidence in one of her father's old journals and takes it to the FBI who starts to conduct an investigation. Both Penny and Lia are now in danger and Joe decides to help protect them.

The romance develops slowly from friendship to lovers and when Penny's is in danger Joe starts to realize that she means a whole lot to him. I loved that Penny wasn't drop-dead beautiful and it took Joe a little while to really notice how pretty she was once he saw what a sweet and caring woman she was. I found the romance very believable and enjoyable.

There was also a secondary romance between Lia and a younger Navy Seal that was very well done and enjoyable. Although Lia came across as very irresponsible at first she quickly grew up and I liked her character and her story with Vinny.

The characters from the previous books made an appearance in this book but didn't overshadow the story between Joe and Penny. The book had just enough action and suspense along with a sweet romance and just enough heat to make it very enjoyable.
Profile Image for Angela.
Author 2 books11 followers
December 1, 2007
Next to Die
Marliss Melton
Warner Books

Penny Price happily leads a typical, boring life, secretly harboring a crush on her playboy, Navy SEAL neighbor—until her father’s killer begins stalking her, and leaving threatening messages on her answering machine that is. Desperate to help the FBI catch the killer, and keep herself and her sister safe, Penny enlists the help of her handsome neighbor.

Joe Montgomery hasn’t participated in a field mission for years, and just his luck the time he does he’s involved in one of the worst losses ever suffered by the SEALs. Coming home to drown his sorrows, and heal his wounds, the last thing he wants is his nosey, plain-jane neighbor sticking her nose in his business. The fewer people who know he’s responsible for the deaths of his men, the better.

It’s only when Joe sees Penny for the real her, that he realizes keeping his hands, and his wandering eyes, where they belong may be his true challenge. Penny deserves someone better than him, someone who can give her what she really wants—a man who will love her and settle down with the white picket fence.

Next to Die is the best kind of story because it’s not just the story of Penny & Joe, but a whole myriad of interesting characters share their lives with us throughout the pages. Definitely pick this one up next time you’re at the bookstore, you won’t be sorry!

Angela Keck

Profile Image for CD {Boulder Blvd}.
963 reviews89 followers
December 27, 2015
3.5 Stars (rounded down due to grammar irritations, but I may raise to four when I get over my ire...)

One thing that really irritated me (I'm probably the only one but...) a few times the author narrates with "Lia'd vs Lia had" and "father'd versus father had". It felt so off as it wasn't a character's speech pattern but the narrator and it was like nails on a chalk board and pulled me out of the story each and every time. While I was pulled out of the story I would rant and then had to remember where I was in the story which also made me rant.

This story was much better than the 1st book in the series and I did really like the plot and the sisters. Although the older sister, Penny, was actually the female lead I found myself more into her sister's romance with a man a few years younger than her. I'm not a fan of the playboy hero anymore which was the role Joe played and Penny's romantic interest. I have found that the playboy at this level is such a tired and overdone character and Joe's character was very much cliche. His cliche playboy characterization was really sad as the scenes written about his mission that failed were actually very well done. Being the playboy seemed to take what could have been a fantastic character and trivialized it with cliche behavior.

I thought the plot in this book was pretty well done and fit nicely into the series.
Profile Image for Robin.
1,685 reviews60 followers
December 12, 2015
Navy SEAL Lt. Commander Joe Montgomery is having trouble coping with the death of several Navy SEALs under his command. He is not sleeping and is drowning his guilt in alcohol. His neighbor, Penny Price, notices his injuries and begins asking him questions. Joe puts her off with a cold shoulder, but that doesn't last long when he discovers Penny is his new physical therapist. As Joe and Penny get to know each other, he learns that someone is harassing Penny and her younger sister, Lia. They believe Eric Tomlinson killed their father five years ago. Eric is calling Penny and leaving threatening messages. When someone breaks into her apartment, Joe takes it upon himself to provide protection for her and her sister until Eric is caught.

I found the fourth book in Melton's Navy SEALs Team Twelve series very interesting. It has a tortured hero and a heroine who has a long standing crush on him. There is also a secondary romance with Lia and a younger Navy SEAL. The suspense story with the death of the girls' father and the theft of Ricin was very well done. I wasn't sure who was behind it until the end of the book. My rating: 4.5 Stars.
Profile Image for fleurette.
1,330 reviews110 followers
December 1, 2016
I don't think I have read anything by Marliss Melton before but I'm glad I did it now.

Penny has a crush on her neighbour from Navy SEAL Joe who has just came back from the mission only he survived. While Joe is dealing with the demons in his head, Penny has to face her father's killer. It's good she has her sexy neighbour so close.

I definitely liked the characters, they are interesting and well developed despite the fact that the story is quite short. I also like the background romance between Penny's sister Lia and Vinnie, even though it is very quick. I think I liked the other characters enough to read the other books in this series. Plus the writing is really good. The suspense part is not terribly innovative but the proportion between the romance and suspense is right.

This is definitely not my last book by Marliss Melton.
Profile Image for Colleen.
301 reviews14 followers
December 8, 2008
My favorite of the series thus far. Maybe it's because of it's ties to a real mission that went horribly wrong, I don't know, but the main characters in this book seemed so real. Really pulls at your heart strings!!
Profile Image for Luise.
99 reviews
August 24, 2020
Not the deepest story but the protagonist were well written
Profile Image for Jazzypom.
100 reviews
July 12, 2008

If you're tired of mawkish romances, or the pretty pretty sugar spun writings of Ms. Roberts, Ms Melton's books might be up your alley. Currently, she's writing a series of books about men in the elite US Navy organisation - SEALS. Her male characters are different from the other writers out there, like Roberts, Quick ,Krantz, McNaught or Philips.

These aren't the slick, brooding Heathcliff archetype favoured in most other romances, these men are mean and hurting but have their own moral code. It's a refreshing change, although the men might come off as a bit of rough for some. Imagine the kind of male characters that Sandra Brown seems to be writing about now (e.g. Richocet)but with more of an edge. If you like that, you'll like Melton's romances too.

Melton's respect for the armed forces of her country and the men that make up these armed forces come through her writing (the author is an army brat, and married to a vet). Her men work hard, play hard and fall hard.

The plot is what it says on the cover- with Penny trying to hide from a guy who killed her dad, and Joe helps as only he can- but it isn't as threatening/exciting as you'd think except towards the end. You don't really feel that Penny's life is on the line as the writer says it is - a tragedy, because Ms. Melton can do suspense - which is why the book gets three stars. There's some clumsy turns of phrase too, that tends to take you out of the story, that should have been tweaked during editing.

Although the main protagonists were okay,and I respected the pace of the primary romance (the writer gives it space to develop, and it suits both Penny and Joe) I really liked the secondary characters' romance better, Lia Price and Vinny DeInnocentis (he's introduced in Forget Me Not), and enjoyed their interaction.

I found myself rereading their story (which was bits and pieces throughout the book) because it was so much more emotionally immediate than the primary romance. Whereas Joe and Penny were more of a slow burn, Vinny and Lia are like matches on dry tinder: instantaneous and overwhelming. It was fun to see, really.

Vinny DeInnocentis is a trip, he makes me laugh.

A caveat: because the book is basically about the Navy SEALS, there's a fair bit of technical terms and abbreviations that you need to get your mind around. It's good in the sense that Ms Melton doesn't pander to the uneducated, but if you really want to appreciate what being a SEAL is, and why it's a big deal for honour and country, do some research before you start reading her books. If you know what a BUD/S is, as well as ROTC, PO2 and PO1, you're well on your way. If you don't, read up on these while your books are in the post. You'll be glad you did.
Profile Image for Amy.
3,474 reviews78 followers
December 3, 2007
I finished this book at 2:00 this morning -- a great read, part of Melton's "Navy Seals" series, Penny Price dreads the sound of her ringing phone.She's convinced that the person barraging her with threatening calls is a man who got away with murder--her father's. Armed with evidence but branded a target, Penny's only salvation is the gorgeous hunk next door--Navy SEAL Lieutenant Commander Joe Montgomery. The sole survivor of the worst disaster in Special Forces history, Joe has been drowning his guilt in a potent mix of alcohol and isolation. Penny refuses to indulge his behavior and a tentative friendship begins, charged with desire. As her father's killer sets his sights on Penny, all bets are off. The killer will do anything to protect his identity and Joe fears Penny is...NEXT TO DIE.

An interesting side story develops between Penny's sister, Ophelia (Lia) and Vinny DeInnocentis (sp?) another Navy SEAL. The book is crawling with them.
Profile Image for Kristen.
2,064 reviews130 followers
June 24, 2011
If you love great romantic suspense with a twists, you'll join the Navy Seal Series by Marliss Melton. In Next to Die, Lte. Penny Price is a physical therapist, who has deep feelings for her next-day neighbor, Commander Joe Montgomery. But she wants a family and marriage, when he's just a play boy, who doesn't know how she feels. But when he meets her after saving the war, she helps Joe in more ways than one, by talking and listening, and by taking his heart. Montgomery has some emotional guilty baggage from the war, in which Penny helps him ease the pain. Not only that, both Penny and her sister Ophelia, wants the truth to their father's death. When the killer's killed, someone else wants them dead, when the FBI links them to previous matters. Plus Ophelia finds herself in love with a younger man, a Navy Seal, after a car accident. What a great story!
Profile Image for Carrie.
1,635 reviews68 followers
December 3, 2010
3.5-4* Overall very enjoyable, but a little shaky in spots. Two intelligent adults ought to be able to express their feelings to one another. It's called communication! It wasn't a major problem in the book because the suspense plot kept the feelings of the main characters from being the only conflict going on. That's what saved this from being just an average, 3* read. I enjoyed the secondary characters as well. Melton remains one of my favorite authors for a quick, satisfying romantic suspense read.
Profile Image for Stephanie.
822 reviews38 followers
October 20, 2010
Penny and Joe are a great couple. I loved the build up to their relationship. Considering the circumstances the story was based on, it was not too much on the angsty side.

Lia, Penny's sister, and Vinny one of the other SEALS is a great side story.

Marliss Melton knows her stuff and writes very fast paced romantic suspense with medium steam.
Profile Image for Dawn ♥ romance.
1,830 reviews22 followers
February 23, 2013
A good romantic suspense with plenty of exciting action and an enjoyable secondary romance. I really liked the heroines humanity and how she reached out to everyone. SEAL Commander Joe comes home from a terrible mission to find his neighbor Navy Lt Penny has taken care of his cat.
Profile Image for Mareli.
1,034 reviews29 followers
November 12, 2012
Not bad. Truth to be told, Penny is a bit lame for me. I prefer heroines more lively. And, I didn't like the fact he didn't take notice of her until she went knocking at his door... :(

But the story is good.

Onto the next one
Profile Image for Kathrynn.
1,170 reviews
December 9, 2007
Book #4 in this series and I enjoyed this entire military-style, modern, romantic series. There are two wonderful romances going on at the same time in this one. I liked them both.
Profile Image for Sunny.
1,424 reviews
December 28, 2015
I was a little skeptical because I was underwhelmed by book one. However, each book since has been better than the last. I hope the trend continues. On to the next book.
Profile Image for Roger.
3,988 reviews13 followers
October 27, 2021
Next to Die (SEAL Team 12, #4), my seventh read from author Marliss Melton and my first in the SEAL Team 1 series, hey it's what I own. I bought this book back in August of 2014 and now that I've started reading Marliss Melton I'm getting around to reading it. Enjoyable, tightly woven & well-written, focusing as much or more on the female leads as the SEALS. I'll be reading more from this author and in this series as well as her other series. (RIP Marley January 20, 2014 - July 24, 2018).
890 reviews2 followers
December 4, 2018
I didn't like this one as well as I did the other ones. It seemed to drag a little bit. However, it was a captivating, suspenseful romance. I liked how you got a brief update on the previous characters. I would recommend it.
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