Review: Dark Mercy by Zoe Winters + Excerpt

Dark Mercy

by Zoe Winters
Editions: ebook
Published March 3rd 2012 by IncuBooks
Source: review copy
1955, Las Vegas, Nevada
Angeline has been on the run from her sire, Linus, for centuries. She’s tired, and she’s lonely. High from mescaline-induced blood, she sees a sign—a church that seems to glow in the distance—and she knows. Her future mate is in that building.

Important Author’s Note:
Dark Mercy is the beginning of Hadrian and Angeline’s story, not the end. Their HEA will happen later in their own full-length novel. This story is important both for the overall series and for this couple, but it’s not their HEA. Just a mild disclaimer so no one goes in with false expectations for this story.

Goodreads Blurb

I’m tempted to say short and sweet, except it’s not quite sweet, this is more of a bada$$ read. Short and dark, definitely. I’m all for dark generally, as you know.

For me this read split into two different parts, basically. The first half or so of it was, for me, a 5/5 read. Great tone, vivid writing, lovely imagery and scene building, it was all awesome. The second part of it was, for some reason, less entertaining despite the fact the real pulp of it if you will is exactly in that part of the read. The turning point was probably the altar scene, and I’m not commenting any further so I won’t spoil your read when you give this a try. Sufficient to say if you’re sensitive about church stuff, you shouldn’t really read this, that’s my honest opinion.

As you guys know, I’m not a church fan or anything, not a religious zealot or whatever for any religion. I’m big on God, not big at all on church. I generally dislike any religious content in any reads, I just don’t roll with it well. This is a clear part of my Review Policy for a reason. But I was willing to give this a try despite that, just because of that awesome start. Despite my reluctance, it wasn’t the church related content that triggered my wavering interest, but the nature of the chemistry between Hadrian and Angeline. It was really awesome chemistry for the first half or so of the read, I was basically riveted. But then when they actually began to interact it lost me.

I really liked Angeline as a POV, however Hadrian was not doing anything for me for a while there, and towards the end there he began to actually step on my nerves. I guess for some he’ll be this really hardcore vigilante sort of churchy dude, I don’t know. To me he read somewhat extreme and not in the good way. I think Hadrian is the sort of wildcard character, you’re either going to totally be Team Hadrian or sort of dislike him as the read goes on, like it happened to me. It’s not the fact that he became sort of hardcore that had me losing interest, but the way he exercised his new found strength. I can’t really talk about this more or I’ll give you spoilers, I’m just saying that Hadrian was cool for me up to the “worthy or not” point. That’s where he lost me completely.

Overall the writing was good, though as e personal preference jumping POV is not that hot. It’s more insightful, I know, but it can backfire, and it sort of did for me here. But if you like vampire stories, dark (to sinister) reads and some churchy-flavored things mixed in your reads, including worth-of-saving vigilantes sort of hints, then this will be a treat.

Dark Mercy Excerpt, used with permission. Copyright 2012 Zoe Winters

» Click to show Excerpt (some adult content, non-graphic).. «
“A-Angeline. I haven’t seen you here in awhile.” Could he not get that schoolboy stutter out of his voice?
“I was fighting temptation,” she replied coyly.
Hadrian cleared his throat. “And did you succeed?”
She glided closer—or floated. The length of her dress made it impossible to tell which. She stopped mere inches in front of him. He should have taken a step back, should have excused himself, but her strange eyes locked with his. They drew him in, hypnotizing him.
If he were another type of man, he would have proclaimed she was a witch putting him under a spell, but it was just as much his responsibility as hers for not moving away. It was his fault for not finding a replacement for midnight Mass. His mind became fuzzy.
What was I just thinking about?
Her eyes pulled him in, making the rest of the room swirl around him in a slow blur. If he’d looked down to find them both floating and spinning in the air, he wouldn’t have been surprised. He was dizzy from the delicious scent emanating from her.
Her voice was a siren’s song when she spoke again. “Forgive me, Father, for I’m about to sin.”
Angeline’s mouth tasted like hot cinnamon candy as her lips descended on his. Her lip gloss left his mouth tingling. She might burn him alive with a single kiss. She chuckled as she continued her exploration of his mouth, as if he’d stated his thought aloud and she found it amusing.
Somewhere deep inside him was the place that was screaming that this must not happen, but it sounded like it was shouting from far away down a long, dark hallway, disappearing into a tinny echo. Quickly overtaking that voice was one penetrating thought that refused to release him.
I want her. I want her. I want her. I want her. The thought happened in rhythm to the beat of his heart.
Her lips left his mouth and made a burning trail over his cheek and up to the lobe of his ear. “Father Hadrian.” It was a breathy pant that held all the promise of a new universe unfolding.
He couldn’t remember what she said after that or even if she said something after that. The pounding of his own blood rushing through his ears—and other blood racing south in response to her nearness—had drowned out his ability to think or hear anything else but the lilting magic of her voice calling his name.
“Father Hadrian… ”
Her tone had gone from that of an angel to a writhing serpent as she rubbed her sinewy body against him. This was wrong. The thinking part of him clawed to get out. Something was all wrong about this, beyond the breaking of a vow. But he couldn’t form a coherent thought.
I want her. I want her. I want her.
“And you shall have me. Forever,” she said.
Had he spoken out loud? He wasn’t sure.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me right now,” he said, as her fingers slid under the Roman collar.
It startled him. His collar. Where were his vestments? There were more layers of clothing, or there had been a few moments ago. He glanced down to find the vestments somehow on the floor of the sanctuary. He started to pull away.
“No, Father. Eyes right here on mine. Stay with me.”
His gaze shifted back to her eyes and his will merged with her again. He didn’t realize his shirt was off until the air from the chilly room hit his bare chest.
“Oh, what a surprise. You must work out. Don’t be shy, Father Hadrian. It’s a crime you never get to be inside a woman with this body.”

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