Series: Fatal Truth #1
Genres: Dark Romance
Source: ARC, NetGalley
Also by this author: Race the Darkness, Hunt the Dawn
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First in a chilling new paranormal romantic suspense series from award-winning author Abbie Roads
He's found her at lastCain Killion knows himself to be a damaged man, his only saving grace the extrasensory connection to blood that he uses to catch murderers. His latest case takes a macabre turn when he discovers a familiar and haunting symbol linking the crime to his own horrific past-and only one woman could know what it means.
Only to lose her to a nightmareMercy Ledger is brave, resilient, beautiful-and in terrible danger. The moment he sees Mercy, Cain knows he's the one who can save her. He also knows he's beyond redemption. But the lines between good and evil blur and the only thing clear to Cain and Mercy is that they belong together. Love is the antidote for blood-but is their bond strong enough to overcome the evil that stalks them?
No one does psychopathic, twisted tales like Roads. I was a huge fan of her Fatal Dreams duet so I was thrilled to grab Saving Mercy.
Mercy is the sole survivor of a serial killer who took out her whole family when she was a child. Killion, said serial killer, had a son. Now, both Cain Killion and Mercy are adults and still dealing with the fall out of their traumatic childhoods. Cain can get into the mind of a killer by touching blood. Mercy has a 6th sense for when people mean her harm. Cain works for the FBI and a case comes up that has a parallel to Mercy’s case from her childhood. Until now, these two, whose lives are bound together, have never met.
Roads is great at the tortured hero. Seriously, her male characters are so broken! They are also very dynamic, deep characters. Their torture isn’t the standard “my parents didn’t love me” or “my dad beat me” or “I grew up on the streets” kind of tortured hero. Her heroes have legitimate DAMAGE! Cain struggles with not wanting to be his father, yet knowing that a part of him is exactly like his father. He tries to fight the good fight and turn towards helping instead of hurting, but he lives in shame knowing that he is drawn to blood and death in a very unnatural way.
I can’t even imagine Mercy’s life. Witnessing your family being killed, having your own throat slashed, and then later in life having the cops show up and commit you to a mental institution where the head doctor is like Dr. Arkham at the Arkham Asylum. Or Dr. Crane. Or pretty much any of the doctors who ran that place (In case you aren’t getting my reference, its from Batman). So, when Cain ferries her away from the place, she is (eventually) happy. But, going through the medication withdrawals, then finding your savior has the exact same face as your attempted killer has a way of messing with a girl.
I wouldn’t say I “liked” either Cain or Mercy. I don’t know that the reader is meant to like them; I understand them in an odd way, and I wanted them to find peace in their very messed up world. But, with two characters as damaged as them, ‘like’ isn’t really a possibility. And yet, that doesn’t impact my enjoyment of the story at all! You get swept up into finding out who this new killer is and will Cain and Mercy ever be free from all this horrible stuff that plagues their life. The plot is very layered and its impossible to feel ‘bored’ when reading a Roads book. Seriously, you are constantly trying to read between the lines and find the clues.
If you like books that take a different turn, include some darker, psychopathic material, and give you characters who are truly and rightly broken, Abbie Roads is an author you need to check out. Saving Mercy is another example of why her books will always fascinate me!
- POV: 3rd
- Tears: no
- Trope: paranormal ability
- Triggers: View Spoiler »Well, there is the whole serial killer thing; there is also a creepy scene where Cain takes the blood at a murder scene and rubs it all over his face; Also, Mercy was being abused by her shrink « Hide Spoiler
- Series/Standalone: stand alone
- Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »no but there are a few things left open for the next book « Hide Spoiler
- HEA: View Spoiler »yes with a sweet epilogue « Hide Spoiler
“Do you remember where you are?”
“Ward B of The Center of Balance and Wellness. The name doesn’t fit. It should be called The Center of Indifference. No one here cares—except for Liz. You know Liz?” He opened his mouth to answer, but she bulldozed over him, her words coming out in a rush. “She looks like Nurse Ratchet, but her personality is all Mary Poppins. She always lets me stay up past lights-out since it’s the only solitude to be had in the whole place. Once, she snuck a cupcake in on my birthday. Now isn’t that sweet? She—” The words were speeding out of her mouth.
Not that he was complaining. He preferred her hyped-up over out-of-it, but she might backslide if she didn’t stay somewhat calm. “Whoa whoa whoa. Slow down. Take a breath. We’ve got all the time in the world here.” Had to be the meds or lack of meds—some strange part of the withdrawals—causing her diarrhea of the mouth.
She grabbed in one good breath, then tossed off again. “You know there aren’t many people to talk to in here.” She turned her voice down to a whisper. “Everyone’s crazy. I mean really crazy. Certifiable. It’s hard to carry on a rational conversation with someone who keeps talking to the demon that lives in their ankle. You ever have that happen? Where you’re talking to someone and all of sudden they lift their foot up in front of their face and start having a conversation with it? It’s a bit off putting, if you know what I mean.”
Her expression was full on seriousness, and he probably shouldn’t laugh—definitely he shouldn’t—but couldn’t help it.
A smile—no, it wasn’t quite a smile—tipped the corners of her mouth, giving her a look that said she was thinking about something pleasing.
“We’ve hit a new phase of your withdrawals. Speed talking.”
“Oh, my. Your voice. Wow. It reminds me of dark chocolate, a hot bath, and sex and—”
“Apparently your mental filter is malfunctioning.”
“—sweaty, dirty, hard fucking.”
Holy Christ. Just the words sex, sweaty, and dirty had his dick going all skyscraper inside his jeans, but when she said hard fucking—he blacked out for a moment. When his mind came back online it decided to flash him images of what sweaty, dirty, hard fucking would look like with her. Her nipples brushing against his chest as he rammed into her with a pace and depth and exuberance he’d never experienced.
He needed to change the subject, but couldn’t remember how to get his mouth to form words. He might’ve swallowed his damned tongue.
“Why do you suppose your voice sounds like sex on a summer day? It’s because I’m horny. I haven’t had sex in five years. That’s a long time you know. I have needs.”
He finally figured out how to flap his lips, while making sound to form actual words. Maybe he’d had a stroke. “Jesus Christ woman.” The words exploded out of him. “You’ve got to stop talking about sex.” He scrubbed his hand over his eyes, trying to wipe out the mental images that still played. “You’re speaking every single thought that floats into your mind. No goddamned censor. It’s gotta be the meds or the shock treatments causing it. Something.”
Her bottom lip pushed out in an utterly inappropriate—but adorably kissable—pout. “I don’t see anything wrong with talking about how I feel. Maybe that’s why I can’t get out of this place. I won’t open up. Won’t let Dr. Payne-in-my-ass into my mind. Maybe if I—”
“Christ on a crapper. You’ve got to stop for a moment.” She opened her mouth to argue—he cut her off. “I need you to listen for thirty seconds. A minute tops. Then you can talk about sex, Dr. Payne, and your feelings all you want.”
“You can’t go putting sex, Dr. Payne, and my feelings in the same sentence. Wrong. So wrong.”
“Won’t argue about that. But I need you to keep your lips closed.”
Pain pinched her features as she lifted her hands, placing them over her mouth. It should have been a comical gesture, but all he could see was her hurting. It had been five days since Dr. Payne had injured her and the fact that her body still suffered scraped his justice bone. If he ever got the guy alone, he just might uncage that part of himself that thirsted for blood.
He cleared his throat and emptied his mind of those thoughts. “There’s some things you need to know right now. Important things. Like you’re not at The Center. You’re safe in a cabin in Southern Ohio. You’ve been withdrawing from the meds for the past two days. Your short term memory is shit from the shock treatments. I’ve been taking care of you the whole time.” He spoke the sentences as if there were a list he’d memorized—probably because he’d said the same thing so many times before. “That’s why we keep having this same conversation and you can’t remember it.”
She lifted her hands off her mouth. “Cool. That works for me. Never liked that place.”
Ooo…kkaayy… She obviously wasn’t fully grasping reality. “You’re not going to remember any of this are you?”
“Probably not. Not when I’m feeling half drunk.” She put her hand back over her mouth, but her eyes sparkled with laughter.
She might be more coherent, but she definitely wasn’t fully functional. “I just want you to know. You are safe here. I won’t let you go back there. And I won’t hurt you. I would never hurt you.”