cover image Kill Without Mercy

Kill Without Mercy

Alexandra Ivy. Kensington/Zebra, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-1-4201-3755-2

Prolific Ivy (Burned by Darkness) introduces an intimidatingly hot set of protagonists for her new contemporary romantic thriller series. The five men of Houston’s Ares Security are as much a brotherhood as a tightly functioning team, after their shared experiences in a Taliban prison. The opener throws Ares covert ops specialist Rafe Vargas, visiting Iowa to deal with his late grandfather’s house, into the arms of terrified accountant Annie White, the daughter of the serial killer known as the Newtown Slayer. It’s been 15 years since the murders, and Annie’s father is long dead, but the nightmarish visions she had as a child have returned, and she fears they may be linked to another killer. Ivy manages to make Rafe’s fierce protectiveness appealing without undermining Annie’s competence. The sex scenes feel a little mundane, but their pacing works to blend the erotic zing back into Annie and Rafe’s high-energy pursuit of the new serial killer. The Ares team’s dynamic includes support and accountability among the members, allowing the reader to indulge in the men’s aggressive sexuality without feeling like they might put women at risk. Agent: Evan Marshall, Evan Marshall Agency. (Jan.)