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WhiskeyintheJar Romance

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Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

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"She thought it over, but couldn’t see any immediate loopholes other than the threat of her inner slut emerging, and she could darned well control that little bitch."— Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Mercenary by Michele Mannon

Mercenary (Deadliest Lies) - Michele Mannon

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It's Madelyn's 20th birthday and with her acceptance letter to college in hand, all she wants to do is celebrate with her twin sister Kylie. After their mother and father's death though, Kylie has become increasingly distant and now as Madelyn is three days from leaving, she still hasn't heard from Kylie. Thinking the hot guy out in their yard is friends with Kylie, she invites him in from the storm.
Declan's world doesn’t have such naïve and innocent people in it like Madelyn. Looking for Kylie, his boss has sent him to her sister trying to flush her out. As he tries to protect Madelyn from dangers she has no clue about and stay loyal to his organization, he finds himself in the most dangerous situation he has ever been in, falling in love.
You're my dirtiest, darkest dream. You're my hero.
Mercenary is book two in the Deadliest Lies series and you absolutely should read book one first, I did not and was hopelessly lost for the first half. Book one stars Madelyn's twin sister Kylie and that story appears to be running congruent with the story happening here but there you'd get the foundation for what is happening. Due to me not having read book one or other matters, along with feeling lost, the first half had a very awkward start. This is written in first person with our heroine getting the majority of povs and as she has no clue what is going on, what her sister is involved in and why she might be in danger, we as the reader don't either (the few Declan povs help with that somewhat). The secondary characters, who and what their motivations were, along with the hero and the time jumps from Madelyn being in college, becoming friends with her roommate who is not all she appears, and their trip, felt like one jumbled disjointed mess. Our hero apparently works for a security company called TORC (Madelyn finds out her sister does too) and what they are involved is where the suspense arcs are derive from. I’m not really sure about the motivations of TORC, I guess they’re the standard working for the government but outside of it shady group of former military, or not, it’s not really explained here. Until the second half of the story, I felt like the structure was incoherent.
With the action part of the story not working for me I turned to the romance. Unfortunately, that didn't work for me either; our couple suffers from a severe case of inta-lust and love. The first time our heroine and hero meet, Madelyn invites in a complete stranger, who by her thoughts, looks incredibly dangerous and is holding a knife. Declan, who is supposed to be this borderline psycho, incredibly cold and unfeeling killer, decides he must go against his boss and save her. They kiss and everyone's world is shook, within five minutes of being in the same room together. I didn't feel any chemistry between them and as I said in a reading update their whole relationship and story felt like a teenage girl's fever dream; big bad hot dude instantly falls for sweet innocent virgin then precedes to "save" her but also using her as bait to get her sister.
Maybe the author's writing style isn't for me, there are plenty of high ratings for this with very positive reviews but I honestly could not find any redeeming qualities in the story, characters, or romance. The second half of the book had some sex scenes that were more on the racier side but as I couldn't connect with the couple, they did nothing for me. As I said, the first book stars this heroine's sister and there are obviously other characters featured here that will be getting books of their own later in the series. Great for people who liked this one but I'll be jumping ship here.