Series: Mercy Thompson #5
Published by Ace Books on March 30th 2010
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Lorelei King
Length: 9 hrs 8 min
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Being a mechanic is hard work. Mercy Thompson, for instance, just spent the last couple of months trying to evade the murderous queen of the local vampire seethe. And now the leader of the werewolf pack, who’s maybe-more-than-just-a-friend, has asked for her help. A book of fae secrets has come to light and they’re all about to find out how implacable – and dangerous – the fae can be.
OK, so maybe her troubles have nothing to do with the job. But she sure could use a holiday.
Zee’s son, Tad, has contacted Mercy to check on his friend Phin. In a prior story, Mercy borrowed a book explaining the various types of fae from Phin’s bookstore. Tad hasn’t been able to locate Phin so Mercy uses the excuse to return the book to go looking for him, but Phin is nowhere to be found. He is not at home nor at the bookstore, but Mercy’s ability to see through fae glamour and her coyote nose tells her that someone fae has been ransacking his store looking for something, and it might just be the book he loaned to Mercy.
Now that Samuel and Mercy have realized that there is nothing more between them than a bond of friendship, and Mercy has acknowledged the mating bond to Adam, Adam has begun courting Mercy in earnest. In the last story, Adam made Mercy part of the pack to save her from the vampires, and it appears that not all of the wolves in the pack are happy to have their pack sporting a coyote member. Someone in the pack is using the pack bond against Mercy to force a wedge between her and Adam.
Samuel’s depression causes him to attempt suicide and his wolf pushes to the forefront fighting for his life. Normally, when the wolf takes over for the man, the wolf is like a dangerous wounded animal with no control and the Merrock is forced to destroy the werewolf. Mercy is aware of this and that if Adam finds out about Samuel, he’ll have no choice but to inform the Merrock. She also knows Samuel and his wolf well. Sam is old enough that his wolf can remain calm and in control. If she can keep away Adam away from Sam long enough that she can find a reason for Samuel to want to live, Mercy and his wolf can keep Samuel alive.
While Mercy hides Sam with her at the shop, bounty hunters show up with guns filled with silver bullets claiming to have a warrant to take in the werewolf who they are assuming is Adam.
And if all of this isn’t enough, a Fae Queen has taken a hostage to trade for the fae object that Mercy is hiding. If Mercy goes to the werewolves or the fae for help, she will enthrall her captive and keep them as a slave forever.
Yay! We have finally arrived at the first story where most of the world building is complete. The first few books were a little slow since we had to spend time learning about the various preternaturals who live in Mercy’s world. We learned about Mercy growing up as a coyote being raised in a wolf pack by the Merrock and what makes her a walker. We got into detail about vampires and how they live and how to kill them. Then the fae, how different they are to each other and what dangers they present. It was all very interesting but all the explanations slows down the story.
Now that we have our base of knowledge, the action has certainly picked up to a point that in writing this review, I was amazed at all the different storylines which were part of this book. There was even more going on then I mentioned above, but I don’t want to give away everything.
I really enjoy the characters and the world that Patricia Briggs has created and I am very happy that I picked up this series.
This is a great series for anyone who likes paranormal.
“I am sorry,” I said in a low voice. “I played on your guilt to keep you away.”
He leaned against the counter and folded his arms. “You didn’t lie, though, did you, Mercy? The pack bothers you, and so do I.”
“I just need time to get used to it.”
He looked at me–and I squirmed just as I’d seen his daughter do under that look.
“Don’t lie to me, Mercy. Not to me. No lies between us.”
I rubbed my eyes—I was not in tears. I wasn’t. It was just the adrenaline let-down after taking on a gunman with a rogue werewolf at my back.
Adam turned his back to me. I thought it was so I wouldn’t see the look on his face. Until he grabbed the counter and broke it in half–sending my cash register and a pile of receipts and bookkeeping stuff boiling to the floor.
Oddly, my first reaction to the violence was the dismayed recognition that without Gabriel, it would be my job to figure out how all those papers needed to be reorganized to keep the IRS off my back.
Then Adam howled. An unearthly sound to come out of the man’s throat–I’d only heard it once before out of a wolf’s. My foster father, Bryan, when he held his wife, his mate’s body, in his hands.
I took a step toward him–and Sam was standing between us, his head lowered in readiness.
The door between my office and the garage is steel set in steel. After Sam’s entrance it was also bent and broken, dangling from one hinge. I hadn’t heard it go; I’d only been able to hear Adam.
Who had made no sound, I realized. His cry had hit me from a different place altogether, where our bond tied me to him and him to me.
Adam didn’t turn around. “Don’t be afraid of me,” he whispered. “Don’t leave me.”
No lies between us.
I blew out a breath, took a couple steps back, and flopped in one of the battered chairs that lined the wall, trying with my casual pose, to defuse the situation. “Adam, I don’t have the sense to be afraid of Sam in the state he’s in now. I don’t know why you think I’d be smart enough to be more afraid of a werewolf so upset that he took out a counter Zee had built than of a little paperwork and the IRS.
“Ask Samuel to leave us.”
“Sam?” I asked. He’d heard Adam.
He growled, and Adam returned the favor. With interest.
“Sam,” I said exasperated. “He’s my mate. He’s not going to hurt me. Go away.”
Sam looked at me, then returned his attention to Adam’s back. I could see that back tighten up as if Adam could feel Sam’s gaze. Maybe he could.
“Why don’t you go see what Zee is up to?” I asked. “You’re not helping here.”
Sam whined. Took a half step toward Adam.
“Sam, please.” I couldn’t stand it if they ended up fighting. Someone would die.
The big white werewolf turned reluctantly and walked stiffly, with frequent pauses to see if Adam had moved at all. Finally, he hopped over the wreckage of the door and was gone.
“Adam?” I asked.
But he didn’t answer. If he’d been human, I’d have bugged him–just to get it over with. I’d hurt him, and I waited to take my punishment. I’d been taught you make your choices and live with the consequences long before I’d first read Immanuel Kant in college.
But he wasn’t human. And just then, if I was any judge, he was fighting his wolf. Being Alpha, being dominant, didn’t make that fight any easier, maybe the opposite. Being stubborn helped–and Adam was well qualified on that front.
Getting Sam to leave helped more. The only thing I could do to help was to sit quietly and wait while Adam stared at the wreckage he’d made of my office.
For Adam, screwed-up bonding thing or not, I’d wait forever.
“Really?” he asked in a tone I’d never heard from him before. Softer. Vulnerable. Adam didn’t do vulnerable.
“Really what?” I asked.
“Despite the way our bond scares you, despite the way someone in the pack played you, you’d still have me?”
He’d been listening to my thoughts. The time it didn’t bother me.
“Adam,” I told him, “I’d walk barefoot over hot coals for you.”
“You didn’t take advantage of this thing with Samuel as a way of putting distance between us,” he said.
I sucked in a breath. I could see how he might have interpreted it that way. “You know that section in the Bible, where Jesus tells Peter he’ll deny him three times before morning? Peter says, ‘Heck no.’ But sure enough when he’s asked by some people if he’s one of Jesus’ followers, he says he’s not. And after the third time, he hears the cock crow and realizes what he’d done. I feel like Peter right now.”
Adam started laughing. He turned around, and I saw bright gold eyes looking through me the way wolves’ eyes always seem to do. More than that, he’d actually begun to change a little–his jaw was longer, the angle of his cheekbones slightly different. “You’re comparing me to Jesus? Like this?” He used his fingers to motion toward his face. “Don’t you think you’re being a little sacrilegious?”
His voice was bitter.
“No more than I’m Saint Peter,” I told him. “But I had Peter’s ‘what have I done’ moment–only his was instantaneous, and mine took a lot longer. It started when I heard Maia scream while I was working in the garage and continued pretty much up until you talked to Bran and bought Samuel a little more time. Funny how making decisions that seem right at the time…”
I shook my head. “Peter probably thought that telling the guy he wasn’t one of Jesus’ followers was the smartest thing to do. Kept him alive, for one. I thought keeping Samuel alive–as he wasn’t raving or killing anyone…yet–was it a good idea. I thought that telling you I needed a little space was good. Give me some time to wrap my head around having other people rattling around in my mind without hurting you because it scared me silly.”
“What?” asked Adam incredulously.
I bowed my head, and said, “Because it scared me–scares me–silly.”
He shook his head. “Not that part–the keeping it from hurting me part.”
“You don’t like being a werewolf,” I told him. “Oh, you deal with it–but you hate it. You think that it makes you a freak. I didn’t want you to know I had problems with some of the werewolf stuff, too.” I swallowed. “Okay, more problems than just that whole ‘I must control your life because you belong to me’ that most of the werewolves I know have.”
He stared at me with his yellow eyes and elongated face. His mouth was open slightly because his upper and lower jaw no longer quite matched up. I could see the edges of teeth that were sharper and more uneven than they usually were.
“I am a freak, Mercy,” he said, and I snorted.
“Yeah, such a freak,” I agreed. “That’s why I’ve been drooling over you for years even though I’d sworn off werewolves for life after Samuel. I knew that if I told you being a member of the pack and the bonds and all that were bothering me–it would hurt you. And you are already putting up with…” I couldn’t wrap my mouth around the ugly word “rape,” so I softened it as I often did. “With the aftermath of Tim. I thought if I gave myself a little time, figured out how to keep the pack from turning me into your ex-wife, and bought Samuel a little extra time as well…”
Adam leaned against the wall just inside the door–the wall my counter used to block–and folded his arms across his chest.
“What I’m trying to say,” I told him, “is that I’m sorry. It seemed like a good idea at the time. And, no, I did not engineer this to put some distance between us.”
“You were trying to keep me from being hurt,” he said, still in that odd voice.
He shook his head slowly–and I noticed that sometime while we’d been talking, he’d lost the wolfish aspect, and his face had returned to normal. Warm brown eyes caught the light from the window as one side of his mouth quirked up.
“Do you have any idea how much I love you?”
“Enough to accept my apologies?” I suggested in a small voice.