by Eleri Stone

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426890550
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: 09/01/2010
Series: Lost City Shifters
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 767,266
File size: 512 KB

Read an Excerpt

Iada flicked her long black hair from her face and deftly twisted it behind her head, securing it tightly with two ebony needles that could be used as weapons in a pinch. She would leave nothing to chance. Her opponent was large. In his human form, he outweighed her by at least seventy pounds, all in the form of sleek, firm muscle. Her first impression was of the wide expanse of golden skin across his chest, long black hair tied at the nape and unusual gray eyes.

"Name's Gabriel Alvarez. His mother was human," Mateus said as he slicked oil over her skin. That explained the eyes, Iada thought, but not his presence in the pit. Access to the city was generally restricted to those of pure blood, and judging by the vicious nature of the insults coming from the crowd, there were many who were outraged by the violation.

"He shouldn't be here," she muttered, watching as the stranger paced restlessly, moving as much to avoid becoming a target for the crowd as to keep his muscles loose. No one stood beside him. She felt a pang of pity. He was even more alone than she was.

Mateus wiped his hands on the damp rag hanging from his waist and straightened slowly, gesturing toward the wall that enclosed the pit. Light from the torches cast wild shadows over the carvings, stylized figures changing from man to jaguar to man again in a running sequence around the circle. In the flickering light they almost seemed to be moving. The glyphs below were nearly worn smooth but she knew what they said. They detailed the sacred law of their people, a law as simple, brutal and direct as the Yaguara themselves.

When the old king died, a tournament was to be held within the fortnight. Any Yaguara could enter. The fights were restricted to human form with the contenders challenging one another until there was only one left standing and the champion was named the new king. He controlled the city, the coffers and the warrior guard. His word was law for the duration of his reign.

Mateus pointed to a stone halfway around the circle and Iada named it. "Any Yaguara may compete."

He nodded, clearly pleased that she recalled the old lessons. "The laws of the tournament say he can fight. Not even your uncles could stop him." His black eyes glittered. "Though they did try."

"Vin said that no one would accept a mutant as a true Yaguara." And she'd believed him. After all, there was a cold black hole in the temple floor where only two centuries ago they were still sacrificing the children of mixed blood to the fires.

"Vin was wrong." Mateus chuckled. "The mutant went before the interim council and recited all the arguments your uncles used to get you in as the first female. They had to concede or give you up."

Iada smiled tightly at that. She couldn't remember the last time anyone had outmaneuvered Vin and Arturo. She rarely attempted it herself. They would be furious. She pushed aside the bone-deep weariness that came with the thought and scanned the crowd for her uncles, seeing no sign of them yet. They would time their entrance for the most dramatic effect, entering just before the thick golden doors swung closed to give the illusion that it was their presence that signaled the beginning of this final battle. As she turned her head, her eyes caught on the stranger again, paused in his pacing, facing down the crowd of full-blooded Yaguara with no sign of fear.

"How did he even make it so far?" she asked with a touch of bemusement.

Mateus's gaze hardened and he tapped her lightly on the cheek, drawing her complete attention. "That one is nasty as Vin and ruthless as Arturo. Don't underestimate him. He's earned his right to be here."

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Mercy 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoted this book - great read
darkangel_1988 More than 1 year ago
Good Book!
KikiD870 More than 1 year ago
Mercy opened with Iada preparing for what could be the fight of her life. The former king dead, Iada has been groomed since she was a little girl for the fight that would make her the next Queen of the Yaguara. The Yaguara are a secret tribe of shape-shifting jaguars in the Amazon jungle who value nothing as much as they do strength. To them, anyone other than a genetically pure shifter is not worth anything. Yaguara who mate with humans or mutants are exiled without a second thought. But Iada faces her opponent for the crown, a half-blooded "mutant" whose mother was human. To everyone's surprise, he defeats the previously undefeated Iada but doesn't deliver the death blow. Instead he claims his right to give her mercy AND make her his mate, his Queen. Iada's uncles, Vin and Arturo, who seemingly rule the Yaguara from behind the scenes, immediately plot to remove the outcast as their King, feeling no issue with using Iada to further their agenda. Coming from two totally different sides of their culture, Iada and Gabriel. distrust each other's motives throughout the story, causing no end of conflict. The story was intriguing from the opening scene. At first, I was drawn to Iada as the strong and powerful warrior woman, but as the story developed, I found Gabriel to be the more relatable character with his softer, clearly more human side. In fact, I began to be annoyed with Iada for her willingness to submit to Gabriel sexually, despite her confusion about her choices. There were times when the sexuality between them seemed almost degrading to her as a woman. But as the story progressed, and I learned more about Iada's past and her upbringing, her behavior became more understandable. It also made her far more relatable as well. I think that the distance that the reader feels from Iada is necessary to fully develop her character, to allow the reader to understand how much her past affected her and her thoughts and her behavior. This was really an enjoyable novella, with some very interesting themes and conflicts between good and evil. I definately recommend it.
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LLL_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Dangerously sensual, enthralling debut novel by Eleri Stone is sure to satisfy your reading taste buds. *** The world setting of Mercy transplants readers from a cozy couch to deep in the jungle. It is the very place where the Yaguara (Shapeshifting Jaguars) thrive- among the lush greenery and powerful wild life. *** Iada is the heroine that takes the cake for me. She is robust in heart, mind and body. The perfect trifecta. For years after the death of her parents, Iada had been trained as a lethal weapon to serve her selfish uncles desires like winning the throne. Future leader of the Yaguara society requires continuous battles and victories in the pit. Iada is an undefeated warrior whose special talent combined with mastered skill has her at the top of the food chain. Until Gabriel makes his way into the heart of the jungle. *** Gabriel is strength, courage and dignity wrapped up in a corded muscle, chiseled chest, cocky grin and a sun-kissed skin package. Gabriel and others like him are considered an abomination to the fully born Jaguar shifters. Half-bloods or mutants and their families live in scattered safe houses in constant fear- ready to haul ass at a moments notice. As events transpire and life becomes more and more dangerous Gabriel sets out to create much needed change. The change brings him to the pit to face off with Iada. *** The dangerous exchange of words and touchings between Gabriel and Iada is pure fire. Both harbor prejudices against the other- thus, tensions run high and confusion palpable. There is all kinds of fire occurring. Eleri Stones succeeds in creating characters with vitality and I just wanted to absorb everything about them. But I believe there could have been more. Perhaps, more detail in the back story or a few more exchanges between the two characters? However, this did not stop me from whizzing right through- percentage after percentage. lol, ebooks have percentages instead of pages. *** All in all Eleri Stone is a brilliant story teller. Her words are invigorating and sure to bring forth whatever it is she's writing to life. I would read Eleri's grocery list is how much I loved her writing. Plus, Mercy is my first read that headlines Jaguar shape shifters.
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