This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Swerve
Released on September 6, 2016
Mercenary is what happens when tender love story meets black 0ps thriller. It is also the companion novel to Rogue happening on the same time line and running parallel to the first book so make sure you get them in order for optimal enjoyment.
While Rogue focused on Kylie and Jaxson’s story, Mercenary turns its attention to Kylie’s sister, Madelyn and Kylie’s fellow operative, Declan. Madelyn is the younger sister. The gentle one. The one who looks for, expects, and sees the bright side. She was hurt by her father’s death and her mother’s illness, but with Kylie going dark and angry, someone needed to keep calm and hold things together. Madelyn, like Kylie wants out of small town Shelby and plans to head off to university to get her marine biology degree and stay by the sea.
Kylie has been acting strangely and now Madelyn has a hardened tough guy silently watching her? Watching over her? She invites the stranger inside for a cupcake and gets her first kiss and on her birthday at that. Then Kylie tells her to run. But instead of being forced to get out on her own, suddenly her stranger is there to drive her to San Diego and deposit her outside the university’s gates.
All is going well, she loves school, her best friend roommate, and life though she secretly wonders about Kylie who has stayed disappeared. Then it goes south fast and she is in danger. A call to her stranger brings him running.
Declan is the coldest and the deadliest of Hayden’s killers. He is furious with Kylie and plans to use innocent Madelyn as bait. Then she calls him not realizing he has already taken care of the threat that has scared her and not realizing that she has placed herself in the crosshairs of a situation that will probably get her killed and at the very least learn that he plans to kill her sister.
A road trip. Mobsters. Assassins. Betrayal. A woman’s hope. Who and what will be left standing?
Alright. As I said, this is a companion story. Because I had read Rogue just recently, I was able to see how this one fit with it tongue and groove. I knew the outcome of the situation for Kylie and why everything was happening as it did. It made this one less edgy than the first book. But for all that, I loved getting what was happening with Madelyn and Declan. It was still a cross between sweet and intense as Madelyn blissfully went forward lacking the knowledge and skills to handle deadly killers, but quietly determined to find her sister while Declan struggled hard with a crisis of conscious and first-time feelings while duty called to him to do what he must no matter how it destroyed his soul.
I am convinced this book would be filled with holes and useless to anyone who skipped over Rogue and tried to read this as a standalone because it closes things out for Declan and Madelyn nicely who have their own adventures and resolutions, but it would leave the reader hanging about what happens to Kylie whose situation permeates this book. In fact, my one niggle is that though I got a resolution at the end of Rogue, I still felt there was a missing piece at the end of Mercenary. Now that I had both sisters’ stories, the two halves needed to be joined for at least one scene. It was a little niggle though and I can always go back to Rogue and re-read that end scene to see it with a fuller perspective.
The romance is an opposites attract or even a beauty and the beast style piece. Madelyn slowly brings Declan’s heart to life for the first time since he’s never known tenderness or love. She patiently waits and accepts all his dark edges and corners- and still loves him. Declan was in a tough situation. He knows the overall situation like Madelyn does not. He knows her sister is the traitor who got his best friend killed. But then he is faced with a woman who quietly stands resolute that her sister is a loyal person and would never betray her word, her promises, or those she loves. And in spite of what he knows and the betrayal he feels, he stands with the opportunity to pull the trigger.
There was a little something else going on with Madelyn’s roommate and Hayden. I so badly want to find out their deal even though I’m also eager for the next book and Diego’s story.
So, while this one wasn’t as edgy as the first book it definitely had its moments of intense, brutal action and slow building passion. Not so much a suspense, but a strong companion novel that fills in the gaps of the earlier suspense. I think romantic suspense fans who like it sizzling hot and action-packed should give this series a go.
I got this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.