Type: Romantic Suspense
My Copy: Net Galley
From the hellhole of a Taliban prison to sweet freedom, five brave military heroes have made it home—and they’re ready to take on the civilian missions no one else can. Individually they’re intimidating. Together they’re invincible. They’re the men of ARES Security.
Rafe Vargas is only in Newton, Iowa, to clear out his late grandfather’s small house. As the covert ops specialist for ARES Security, he’s eager to get back to his new life in Texas. But when he crosses paths with Annie White, a haunted beauty with skeletons in her closet, he can’t just walk away—not when she’s clearly in danger…
There’s a mysterious serial killer on the loose with a link to Annie’s dark past. And the closer he gets, the deeper Rafe’s instinct to protect kicks in. But even with his considerable skill, Annie’s courage, and his ARES buddies behind him, the slaying won’t stop. Now it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s next—unless they can unravel a history of deadly lies that won’t be buried.
I have enjoyed Ms. Ivy’s paranormal romance books for years and when I saw she was starting a new series with ex-military alpha men, I was ready to read. Her male characters are always fun, overprotective and sexy and the women are tough and able to hold their own with these men.
Annie White was ten when she went to live with a foster family, her world disintegrated when her father was killed while in custody for murdering several women, he was known as the Newton Slayer. Now 15 years later she is back in Newton because her visions of the murders have returned, a woman is missing and she wants some answers.
Rafe Vargas is a specialist at ARES, a new security business he and his four friends have started. They bonded during a five week period when they were prisoners of the Taliban, where they were tortured both physically and mentally. When they escaped and were out of the service they got in contact with each other and consider themselves brothers.
Rafe travels to Newton to sell his grandfather’s place and is intrigued when he notices a woman in the diner, after finding out her history his interest is peaked and he wants to get to know her. Annie is not sure what to think of Rafe, he comes on strong, but when women start disappearing and she feels she is being followed she is glad for his help and the men who work with him.
This is a fast paced story from an author I enjoy, she writes an intriguing mystery that keeps you guessing until the end.
Annie is a puzzle, she feels lost to me, she suffered a horrific childhood trauma and lived with a foster family that took over her life and were very protective and now she is back where it all began, trying to find answers. I do not think she ever accepted what happened years ago and when women start disappearing again and her visions are just as vivid as before, she is scared and confused, but ready to help. The fact that Rafe believes her from the beginning is important, as she never had that before.
Rafe is a wonderful hero; he lives by instinct, something he traces back to the women in his life, which is why he immediately believes Annie and her visions. He connects with her right away even predicting she will go with him to his ranch in Texas as soon as they solve the mystery. It might be a bit presumptuous of him, but they have chemistry and some smoking hot scenes together and he knows what he wants, he just has to convince her.
Secondary characters play huge roles; the team is so linked together and protective that they almost trip over each other as they drop everything to help when needed. I am not sure I have read a book with a group this connected, many teams have several lone wolves that come and go, but these men were constantly there to help with no questions asked, I kind of like this difference. Another thing I thought was interesting was that the author did not write much about their prison time, just vague references about their ordeal and although I was glad to miss the gruesome details, I felt there was something missing, but maybe she will take us back there when she writes about Max, Hauk, Teagan or Lucas, all true alpha heroes and I look forward to reading their stories.
This story starts with a bang and it does not let up until the end, showcasing a mystery with many twists and turns to hold your interest. There are many secrets that are revealed, hidden pasts and cover-ups that I found it hard to put down until I knew it all. This is a great start to a new series that blends mystery, fast pace action and romance to tempt anyone who loves a good romantic suspense.
I give Kill Without Mercy by Alexandra Ivy 4 stars!