Title ~ Bloody but Unbowed (Herc’s Mercs #3)
Author ~ Ari McKay
Publisher ~ Torquere Press
Published ~ 14th January 2015
Genre ~ M/M Contemporary Romance
Daryl Greer isn’t a bodyguard. He’s Hercules Security’s “odd-job” specialist, as wild and dangerous, as he is competent. Fiercely independent, he resents his older brother Matthew’s view that he spends his life “playing G.I. Joe”. When he’s sent to rescue a kidnapped scientist, Dr. Emerson Winfield, from a terrorist organization, Daryl finds himself attracted to the snarky, outspoken man even though Emerson is the kind of rich, successful person Matthew claims could never be interested in a hick like Daryl.
For his part, Emerson doesn’t care about Daryl’s lack of polish; he’s more interested in the incredible chemistry between them. He sets out to prove to Daryl that they can make a relationship work despite their differences. But Daryl’s defensiveness about his career drives a wedge between them -- and if he doesn’t find a way to deal with his issues, Daryl might lose Emerson forever.
I've been looking forward to this because I think Herc's Merc's is proving to be a really enjoyable series of easy read novellas that are great to pick up when you need something that's not too intense or deep but still has enough of an interesting plot to keep your focus. Up to now the hero's of the books have been actual bodyguards, hired to do exactly that; guard their respective clients from whatever danger they're facing, but this one is centered around Daryl "D-Day" Greer, a mercenary for hire who Cade 'Herc' Thornton, owner of Hercules Security, calls in when he needs help with more dangerous, military style ops and missions.
We met him fleetingly at the end of the last novella and even in the very short time he was on page, it was obvious he was going to be quite a character. A bit of a loose cannon he's the type of guy who jumps in first, then asks questions later. A real action man, who will put himself in the line of fire because he has no fear, but his loyalty is unquestionable. So he's the perfect choice to send in, when Herc is asked to help rescue an important scientist who's been kidnapped by a group of terrorists. What he isn't expecting to find is the good looking but exasperating man, who distracts him and pushes his buttons when they have to make a dash through jungle territory to freedom. Not a good thing when he needs all his wits to get them to safety!
As a couple Daryl and Emerson are like chalk and cheese, but boy does the sexual tension flow. I think this is probably one of the hottest books that I've read by Ari Mckay. There's some fairly steamy scenes between them that start not long after Daryl single handedly extracts the attractive, feisty scientist from under the noses of the bad guys. Which admittedly did make me smile when they end up having a bit of nooky in the midst of their mad dash...but a case of good old fashioned lust won't be denied! LOL...
I loved how they started off griping at each other. Daryl calling Emerson "Princess", and Emerson retaliating by calling the gung ho mercenary, "Cooter" and "Bubba Earl." But the snarkiness is really hiding an instant attraction that in true opposites attracts style produces some great chemistry. The sniping comments soon become endearments though, as the magnetic pull they’re feeling for each other grows into something more solid.
So there's a bit of dissension to start with, but it's fairly obvious that they're in lust with each other, and as they get closer that lust becomes less superficial; deepening as they realise that despite their differences they do have a good thing going. It's just that Daryl is carrying a bit of a chip on his shoulder concerning his relationship with his more judgemental older brother and that spills over into his relationship with Emerson. There's a case of the stubborns going on with Daryl because he may seem utterly fearless in the physical sense but underneath all the bravado he's actually quite vulnerable and deep down he can't help wondering why a rich, clever, upmarket guy like Emerson would want to be with a lower classed, rough and tough guy like him, and it does become a bit of an issue, more for Daryl than his lover, which unfortunately leads to misunderstandings and some soul searching before they can truly commit to a proper relationship.
I think this one is probably my favourite up to now. I really liked both of the MC's and I thought the story flowed nicely. The angsty bits didn't feel too overdone but there was enough there to give it an emotional boost. I'd say considering it's a series about rough and ready ex military men, these stories are more about the romance than the gritty and tough, so even though there's always some action mixed in; its really the love stories that take centre stage. Sweet and sexy but with a nice touch of snarkiness to cut through it all, I really enjoyed Daryl and Emersons story.
Ari McKay rarely disappoint me. I enjoy their writing style because they're just so easy to read and their Herc's Mercs books are always worth picking up if you just want a no brainer feel good read. Sexy gorgeous guys rescuing and protecting other sexy gorgeous guys… plus smexy times...what's not to love! Bring on the Bodyguards!
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Meet Ari McKay
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who collaborate on original m/m fiction. They began writing together in 2004 and finished their first original full length novel in 2011. Recently, they’ve begun collaborating on designing and creating costumes to wear and compete in at Sci Fi conventions, and they share a love of yarn and cake.
Arionrhod is an avid costumer, knitter, and all-around craft fiend, as well as a professional systems engineer. Mother of two human children and two dachshunds who think they are human, she is a voracious reader with wildly eclectic tastes, devouring romance novels, military science fiction, horror stories and Shakespeare with equal glee. She is currently preparing for the zombie apocalypse.
McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.