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Mercy by Eleri Stone

Mercy by Eleri Stone

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

To the Yaguara, an ancient jaguar shape-shifting people living deep in the Amazon jungle, nothing matters more than strength. Iada is their champion; genetically pure, she has been trained since birth to fight. Her destiny is to become the next Queen of the Yaguara by winning the tournament of succession—a battle to the death.

Her opponent is Gabriel, a half-blooded outcast whose mother was human. To everyone’s shock, he defeats Iada but does not strike the death blow—instead, he extends mercy, thereby claiming her as his mate.

Despite their enmity, the attraction between them is powerful, and soon they are mates in more than name only. Their mutual distrust serves only to fuel their passion—two champions bested only by their overpowering desire for each other.

But Gabriel has an agenda that threatens the most basic tenets of Yaguara society—and that will force Iada to choose between her people or her King.

Iada’s parents were killed when she is younger and she was raised by her uncle’s.  She was trained to fight from a very young age so she would be ready to take her place as Queen of the Yaguara when the time came.  She’s really never been her own person or able to make her own decisions, she’s always been her uncle’s pawn.

Gabriel has been studying his Yaguara heritage with the help of a full blooded shifter that is living in one of his shelters.  The Shifter takes him under his wing and trains him to defeat their champion.  His people are under attack and the only way he can save them is to defeat Iada and become King of Yaguara.

He knows he won’t be accepted as King because he and others like him are seen as mutants   During the fight Gabriel decides to show mercy toward Iada rather than kill her.  He offers her the chance to rule as his Queen.  He expects her to pledge her alliance to him and give up her family, yet when she does, he questions her motives and doubts her sincerity. 

Iada is really struggling with the things she has learned her uncle’s have done since she has been secluded most of her life.  Gabriel doesn’t believe her at first but as the story progresses he realizes that he might have been wrong about her, until tragedy strikes their home.

Iada knows the only way to prove herself and her motives is to aide them in finding Michael.  She manipulates the situation and in the end hurts Gabriel and herself in the process.  She knows they fit together well as mates but she feels like he will never love her or trust her.  She is torn because she doesn’t understand what is going on in her heart.  She is struggling to be her own person and for the first time not have someone telling depending on her to do something.

The sexual chemistry between these two is evident from the fight scene on.  They complement each other as mates.  Iada is tough and doesn’t need anyone to take care of her but she does need someone to bring out her softer side. Gabriel is so busy taking care of others that he appreciates the fact that she is able to take care of herself.  He  doesn’t understand why  he saves her at the time but as the story progresses, it’s obvious he needs a strong Queen who can stand beside him, not behind him.

Overall this story was very enjoyable and I’d love to see more of this story.  I give Mercy 3 1/2 flaming hearts. 

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