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This paper proposes a new secure routing protocol, named secure optimal reactive routing protocol (SORRP) for mobile ad-hoc networks. The work is based on ORRP, reported in one of our earlier works. In spite of being a reactive protocol, SORRP does not use flooding and at the same time finds the optimal path in terms of minimal routing distance. The current work improves ORRP in a two-fold approach. While it removes some of the limitations of the original protocol, the most significant contribution is in incorporating the security mechanism in route detection and data transmission. The SORRP endorses security to protect the end-to-end confidentiality, integrity, authenticity and non-repudiation on the shortest route of communication for MANETs.