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Our Review

‘If she wanted it, she could have it. My hand. My heart. My life. She took my hand, and that was enough.’

Wow! We loved this contradiction of a story! Mercy is difficult to categorise and in some ways had a bit of an identity crisis. If you were to go off the synopsis, you’d be thinking this was a particularly sinister, dark read – for us, it wasn’t. Yes, there were dark elements, especially in the last 20% of the book, however the story was essentially one of never ending love, acceptance, destiny, redemption and courage; interspersed with guffaw type humour, loads of emotion and some really sweet romance, all delivered with this authors fabulous ability for gripping and entertaining storytelling.

Mercy is the story of Fenix Churchkey and Rebecca Dixie Stiles. Two children who had a very brief interaction, yet it’s one that would stay with them and have a particularly lasting effect on the young Fenix (Nix). Becca and Nix were a destiny, a love story in the making – written in the stars if you like.

“Sweet girl, I’m covered in ink. I’m broken. Things happened to make me this way. I have trouble being with myself, so I can’t imagine that anyone else would want to spend time here.”

Fenix Churchkey is a man weighed down with misplaced guilt over the death of his mother. Vengeance be thy name, because Nix has a score to settle with his Dad, the man who brutalised him as a child and who was responsible for the death of Nix’s mother. We couldn’t call Nix an antihero per say, although there was darkness in what he did for a living, the man himself however was a protector, a loyal friend and all round sweetheart, driven to his actions by a punishing past.

“In my head she saves me.”
“You don’t need no saving. You’re real. Be yourself. It’s enough.”

The tenacious little Becca stood up to Nix’s cruel father and when she showed Nix kindness and uttered the words “Are you okay?”  Those words would stay with him forever. The story then shifts to fifteen years later when we meet the very mixed up Nix who is working as a hit man and Becca who is adrift in her life working at a bar. Nix always made a pact to never let Becca see him, to always protect her, thinking up ingenious ways to be a part of her life, to watch over her without actually being a part of it. Well, that was all about to change when Nix, at the coercion of his best friend Animal, seizes an opportunity for Becca to get to know the man beneath the menacing appearance, to know the man inside.

‘I could never meet her. I would never touch her. But I was hopelessly in love with her.’

Debra Anastasia didn’t rush the romance between Nix and Becca, instead treating us to a slow build, allowing us to get to know the characters before the feverishness of their feelings took hold, summoning our emotions through Nix’s past and his healing process. We loved this man! Nix begs the question, what is normal and he shows us how we need to dig beneath the surface to find the jewel. Their love story was intense, exhilarating, sweet, honest and beautiful, if not a little chaotic and crazy.

“Wait for me?”
“I thought you’d never ask.”

The secondary characters were fabulous – in particular the relationship between Nix and his best mate Animal. This huge big brute of a man who spoke so sweetly and sometimes had the hilarious demeanour of a little old lady won us over. Animal soon became a crucial part of the story and bloody hell, we cannot wait for his story and to learn who his love interest is, though we have some idea!

The only issue we had is one that readers will either love; or not -which is our case- it’s a personal thing, however for us it’s one that took us out of this story for a moment or two. We have a bit of a pet peeve when Authors bring their ‘online real life’ into their books with people and/or their conversations. The dialogue between certain characters in Mercy made us feel as though we were reading a Facebook thread, not living this particular moment of a fictional story, but thankfully Debra soon pulled us back in and overall it didn’t take anything away from our enjoyment of this gripping, sweet, intense and tumultuous love story that had our hearts bursting with romance one minute whilst fiercely beating with anticipation the next as Nix’s past crashes into his present!

Synopsis

He taught me to kill. Murder is in my blood now. It runs through my veins and though I hide the monster I see in the mirror with ink, it doesn’t keep him from coming out.

My street name is Mercy, but I never show any. Except for her. I watch Becca, though she doesn’t know. She saved me a long time ago; the day my father killed my mother. Her bravery turned her into a target.

My father holds a grudge and knife with the same proficiency, and Becca is the focus of his hatred. And I’m the only monster who can save her.

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