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Her thought was interrupted as she kicked a small object that had been left in the middle of the floor.
glancing down she came to a sharp halt, her breath locked in her chest
as she leaned over to pick up the small doll with the mass of tangled
It was covered in dust, and
the clothes were rumpled, but Annie had a vivid memory of dancing
through the house with the doll clutched in her hand.
The sun had been shining and her father was laughing as he watched her silly antics.
The sound of Rafe’s deep voice broke her out of the past, although the
precious feelings of childish joy refused to be completely dismissed.
“This house should be a place of horror, but I had such good memories,”
she muttered, her attention locked on the doll that looked as lost and
broken as she felt since returning to Newton.
He moved to stand
next to her, his hands clenching as if he was battling the urge to reach
out and touch her. “You loved your father?”
“Very much,” she
admitted without hesitation, lifting her head to meet his searching
gaze. “I know you must think it’s twisted, but he was always kind and
patient and funny when we were together.”
“I don’t think it’s
twisted at all,” he protested. “Tell me about him.” He held up a hand
when she frowned. “I mean, tell me about him as your father.”
Expecting the usual condemnation, Annie was caught off guard by his gentle question.
No one had ever asked her about Don White as something other than the psycho serial killer.
Tentatively she allowed herself to return to the past, the doll
unconsciously pressed to her chest. “He always had two Oreo cookies and a
glass of milk waiting for me on that table when I came home from
school.” She nodded toward the shrouded piece of furniture situated near
the door. She hadn’t eaten an Oreo cookie since she’d left Newton. “And
he went with me to the movies on Saturday afternoon just because I said
I wanted to be an actress when I grew up. And every Sunday morning he
took me to the restaurant for pancakes.” Bittersweet pain sliced through
her heart. “I don’t understand how the same man could be so evil.”
“He was sick, Annie, not evil,” Rafe murmured.
She hunched a shoulder. “Is there a difference?”
“Yes. I’ve seen men in battle,” he said, a hard edge in his voice
hinting at memories that were as dark and painful as her own. “Some are
just naturally cruel. They enjoy causing pain because it’s a basic part
of their nature.” His jaw clenched. “And there are others who’ve been
ruined. By life. By war. By . . . fate. They do what they do because
they can’t help themselves.”
Annie studied the lean, fiercely handsome face. How did he do it? How did he always know exactly what to say?
It was freaky.
“Thank you,” she breathed.
He cocked a brow. “For what?”
“Most people don’t want to think the Newton Slayer could have any
redeeming qualities,” she said, having learned from the second she’d
been rescued that her father was public enemy number one. “I usually
feel guilty for not hating him.
He destroyed so many lives.”
He brushed a hand over her tangled curls, careful to keep
his touch light. “He was your father.”
“Yes.” He’d been more than that. He’d been her entire family. She gave
another shiver. “We should go.” He dropped his hand and nodded, keeping a
small distance between them as she headed out the door and across the
“My truck is at the end of the drive,” he murmured as they reached the
overgrown yard. “I’ll tell Teagan to join us at the motel.”
had a vague impression of a large man who appeared from the shadows to
speak with Rafe before he was jogging toward her Jeep, but her
concentration centered on keeping her feet moving forward.
Christ, she was tired.
Rafe was back at her side by the time she reached the edge of the road,
opening the door to his truck and helping her to climb into the seat
before he was rounding the hood and taking his place behind the steering
In silence he started the engine, flipping the heater on
high before performing a U-turn. There was a brief stop as he waited
for his friend to approach the truck holding her purse that he’d
obviously retrieved from her Jeep. Then, placing the bag in her lap, he
shoved the truck in gear and headed back to town at a pace far slower
than the one she’d used to get to the house.
Annie clutched her
purse, only vaguely aware of her surroundings. She had the impression of
genuine leather and a dashboard that had all the bells and whistles.
The sort of truck that would be functional for work around a ranch but
no doubt cost more than she made in a year. But her gaze remained glued
to the dark, chiseled profile of her companion.
Safely tucked in
his car with the warm air beginning to ease her shivers, there was
nothing to distract her from Rafe’s sheer male beauty.
It was . . . nice.
Almost as if she was a normal girl being driven home by a man who she found intensely attractive.
A damned shame her brief daydream didn’t last for long.
All too soon they were back in town and he was turning into the drive
of the motel. Rafe pulled to a halt in the center of the parking lot and
glanced in her direction.
“Do you remember where you lived before coming to Newton?”
She froze at the abrupt question, too startled to tell him it was none of his damned business.
“Most of my memories from my early childhood are fuzzy. I think my dad
said that we lived overseas, but it’s really just a blur,” she admitted.
It was weird. She had such a clear recollection of her time in
Newton. Time with her father. Her friends at the school she’d attended.
Climbing on top of the house so she could see her father in the distant
But she never could capture any memories of her days
before coming to Newton or the days after she’d been found tied and
blindfolded in the bomb shelter.
“Why do you ask?”
“I thought you might have some family who could come to give you support,” he smoothly explained.
Her gaze narrowed. She sensed there was more to his question than he
was admitting, but she was too tired to try and search for any hidden
“There are just my foster parents, and I don’t want to worry them,” she said.
He reached into his rear pocket, pulling out his wallet.
“Then I want your promise you’ll call me if you need anything,” he commanded, handing her a small business card.
She took the card with a frown, asking the question that had been bothering her from the moment their paths had crossed.
“Why are you so determined to help me?” she demanded. “I’m a stranger.”
He held her wary gaze. “It’s what I do.”
“Something like that.” He pointed toward the business card. “My private
cell number is printed on the back. Call me . . . any time, for any
Tucking the card in her purse, she crawled out of the truck and hurried to her motel room.
Kill without mercy is a good book with the right amount of
suspense and romance. After reading a particularly emotionally draining
book I was glad to read this book as it was light, fun to read and had a
really good plot.
Rafe Varga covert ops specialist, Max Grayson
trained forensics, Hauk Laurensen a sniper weapons expert and Teegan
Moore a computer wizard
It should have broken them. Even the most
hardened soldiers could shatter beneath the acute psychological and
physical punishment. Instead the torment only honed their ruthless
determination to escape their captors.
And so ARES Security was born.
Vargas is on his way to Newton, Iowa to clear out his estranged
Grandfathers house. He doesn’t want to but he knows he has to.
White is the daughter of the Newton serial killer. Her visions of women
being taken have picked up again after 15 years so she travels from
Denver back to Newton to see if her fears have come true. Unfortunately
Now there are loads of former military opening their
own security firm but I really enjoyed this one. Rafe had so many
opportunities to hook up with other women but he solely focused on
Annie. They were really good together.
There were good twists and turns that were unexpected.
I can’t wait for the rest of the series to come out. 3 solid stars.
Book received by Kensington Books via netgalley in exchange for a honest review.