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Available 4.15.24

The Pilot's Secret

The Pilot's Secret, February 2024
Cape Cardinale #1
by Allison Leigh

Harlequin Special Edition
Featuring: Sophie Lane; Meyer Cartell
288 pages
ISBN: 1335594558
EAN: 9781335594556
Kindle: B0C8V3HPQ4
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Add to Wish List


"Promising start to a new series"

Fresh Fiction Review

The Pilot's Secret
Allison Leigh

Reviewed by Robin Reynolds
Posted February 18, 2024

Romance Contemporary | Fiction Family Life

I love a good enemies-to-lovers story, and THE PILOT’S SECRET did not disappoint. In a bit of a twist on that trope, our hero, Meyer Cartell, does not actually consider Sophie Lane his enemy and has no idea why she dislikes him and has so much animosity towards him. Sophie was twelve years old when her older sister dated Meyer some twenty years ago, and was left heartbroken. Since then Corinne has struggled with alcohol addiction, and as far as Sophie is concerned, Corinne’s problems lay at Meyer’s feet.
We meet Meyer as he and his half-siblings are learning from their father’s attorney that the only thing their deceased famous photographer father has left them is a vacant, crumbling, falling apart beach house. And they only get that if the four of them live there, together, for a full year. Despite the house’s condition, it’s on prime land, so Meyer is determined that the four of them will get through the year and then sell the property the minute they are legally allowed to do so. I thought this storyline with the siblings, who are not necessarily close to each other, would be more prevalent throughout the book, but since this is the first in a planned series I imagine it will (hopefully) be explored more in future books. The siblings are all so different from each other, and while we don’t get to know the others as well as we do Meyer, they each have their own distinctive personality. All of the characters are well written, not just Meyer and Sophie, but also Sophie’s best friend Meredith and her children.
Of course, the heart of this story is Sophie and Meyer’s relationship, as they find their paths crossing more and more. After the death of Meredith’s husband, who was Meyer’s best friend, Meyer left the military to help Meredith and take over the running of John’s aviation business. Six years on, and Meyer has just as close a friendship with Meredith and her children as Sophie does. This means it’s been impossible for Sophie to completely avoid Meyer over the years, hard as she tries. When Meredith goes away for a long weekend with her new love, the kids stay with Sophie, which throws her and “Uncle” Meyer together even more as he’s very active in the kids’ lives. Much as Sophie wants to stay mad at Meyer and not like him, she can’t help but feel drawn to him and begins to thaw. I understood where Sophie was coming from. What she’s known about Meyer since she was a kid is only what her sister has told her, and of course, she’s going to dislike a man who treated her sister badly. Instead of just holding onto her grudge, I would have liked her to confront Meyer about it, and not just assume he should know why she wouldn’t like him. Because even she begins to realize that Meyer is a good, decent and honorable man.
Misunderstandings abound, all on Sophie’s part, and while I liked her very much, I started to get a little irritated at her for continuing to think the worst about Meyer. I loved Meyer. As the title of the book reveals, he has a secret that he’s struggled with, and can’t bring himself to tell anyone, not even Meredith, or maybe especially Meredith. When Sophie inadvertently learned his secret, I loved how she was there for him and tried to help him. And when she finally learned the whole truth about Meyer and her sister, I would have liked to have seen a little fallout from that. Sophie and Corinne have a strained relationship, but I would have liked to see Sophie confront Corinne, though in the end it probably would have been pointless.
This is the first book I’ve read from Allison Leigh, and I love discovering a new-to-me author. Her writing is very engaging and the pages practically turn themselves. THE PILOT’S SECRET is an enjoyable read, with flawed but very likable characters, a satisfying resolution for the two main characters, and the promise of the same for the rest of the Cartell siblings.

Learn more about The Pilot's Secret


Sometimes the path to love isn’t a direct flight.

Everywhere she turns, nurse Sophie Lane seems to bump into pilot Meyer Cartell. And now he’s moving in next door! Handsome and always charming, Meyer is hard to resist. That’s probably how her sister felt when he cruelly betrayed her years ago. Sophie’s heart may have wings for Meyer, but her head stubbornly refuses to clear it for takeoff.

After his best friend’s plane crashed, Meyer gave up his flying career to ensure the welfare of his widowed best friend and two children. Meyer struggles with his guilt over the crash—and with Sophie’s perplexing grudge. It’s time to get to know his new neighbor. Maybe with the right flight plan, he can clear the runway for happily-ever-after…

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