Review: Kill Without Mercy (ARES Security #1) by Alexandra Ivy

January 5, 2016 Review 1

Review: Kill Without Mercy (ARES Security #1) by Alexandra Ivy

From the hellhole of a Taliban prison to sweet freedom, five brave military heroes have made it home—and they’re ready to take on the civilian missions no one else can. Individually they’re intimidating. Together they’re invincible. They’re the men of ARES Security.

Rafe Vargas is only in Newton, Iowa, to clear out his late grandfather’s small house. As the covert ops specialist for ARES Security, he's eager to get back to his new life in Texas. But when he crosses paths with Annie White, a haunted beauty with skeletons in her closet, he can't just walk away—not when she’s clearly in danger…

There’s a mysterious serial killer on the loose with a link to Annie’s dark past. And the closer he gets, the deeper Rafe’s instinct to protect kicks in. But even with his considerable skill, Annie’s courage, and his ARES buddies behind him, the slaying won’t stop. Now it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s next—unless they can unravel a history of deadly lies that won’t be buried.

Title: Kill Without Mercy
Author: Alexandra Ivy
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: Raphael Parish, Predatory , Levet, Darkness Avenged
Series: ARES Security #1
Other books in this series that we've reviewed: Kill Without Shame
Published by Zebra
Source: Author
Published: December 29, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Suspense
Pages: 352
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Amazon
Visit the Author's Website
Visit the Goodreads Series Page

Stars: three-half-stars
Flames: three-flames
I received this book for free from the Publisher or Author in exchange for an honest review, or I purchased it with my own funds. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
300 Review

Breaking a Legend

I’m a new reader to Alexandra Ivy having only read her PNR novella in On the Hunt. I enjoyed it enough that I was wanting to read more of her books. When the chance to get in on the action of her new series, ARES Security, I jumped up and said yes. It has a good cover and the blurb certainly was enticing so I sat back and started to read Kill Without Mercy.

Overall, I liked Kill Without Mercy, not love, just like. It had great characters in Rafe and Annie. Their separate back-stories were certainly interesting. Rafe – a covert ops specialist, former prisoner and now starting up a new business with his ‘brothers’. That’s all sort of been there, done that I’ve read many times. Still, I did like his character. Annie, on the other hand, her history is certainly refreshing. Her mother murdered, her father was a accused serial killer. YIKES! Those are some series issues to work through. The secondaries, which are Rafe’s ARES buddies, were a big bonus for me. I enjoyed their playful camaraderie and I expect their stories to be fairly entertaining.

The story itself – Rafe returned to clear out his grandfather’s home, Annie returning because it’s the 15 year anniversary of the killings…and they’ve started again – certainly edge of your seat mystery that’s begging to be solved. Expect a lot of twist and turns along the way to which kept this story very fast paced. There’s quite a few surprises at the end, however one of the biggest ones had been hinted through the whole book so when it came to light, it wasn’t quite the *GASP! OMG!* moment for me. Put the characters, the mystery/suspense, and the ending all together, and Kill Without Mercy was a good book.

The reason why I can only claim a like for Kill Without Mercy is because I have since read a couple of books before writing my review and I realize, I’m struggling to remember what happened. It just didn’t have that oomph to make it stand out and give me a book hangover, to have me linger over all those details and scream Yes! Yes!. Still, fans of Alexandra Ivy will enjoy this new series of hers and yes I do plan on reading more of the series. If nothing else, I’m curious to find out about the notes being sent to Hauk. Now there’s a mystery that has piqued my interest.


Kill Without Mercy

“A fantastic blend of romance and suspense…thrilling to the end.” –Mary Burton, USA Today bestselling author

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Guardians of EternityAuthor Info

ALEXANDRA IVY graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons. To stay updated on Alexandra’s Guardian series or to chat with other readers, please visit her website at

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


ExcerptThe small but stylish condo on the edge of Denver offered a quiet neighborhood, a fantastic view of the mountains, and a parking garage that was worth its weight in gold during the

long, snow-filled winters.

With a muted blue and silver décor, the condo was precisely the sort of place expected of an upwardly mobile young professional.

Not that Annie White was upwardly mobile.

Not after walking away from her position at Anderson’s Accounting just six months after being hired.

At the moment, however, she didn’t really give a crap about her future in the business world. Instead she was trying to concentrate on her packing. A task that would have been easier if her foster mother hadn’t been following behind her, wringing her hands and predicting inevitable doom.

“I wish you hadn’t traveled all this way, Katherine,” Annie said to her foster mother, moving from the bedroom to the living room to place a stack of clean underwear in her open suitcase.

The older woman was hot on her heels. Still attractive at the age of fifty-five, Katherine Lowe had faded red hair that was pulled into a tight bun at the back of her head, and clear green eyes that could hold kindness or make a child cringe with guilt.

Dressed in a jade sweater and dress slacks, her narrow face was currently tight with concern. “What did you expect me to do when you called to say you were traveling back to that horrible place?” Katherine demanded.

Annie swallowed a sigh. Unlike her foster mother, her honey brown hair tumbled untidily around her shoulders, the golden highlights shimmering in the September sunlight that streamed through the skylight. Her pale features were scrubbed clean instead of discreetly coated with makeup. And her slender body was casually covered by a pair of faded jeans and gray sweatshirt.

With her wide hazel eyes she barely looked old enough to be out of high school, let alone a trained CPA.

“I shouldn’t have called,” she muttered.

She loved her foster parents. She truly did. There weren’t many people who would take in the ten-year-old daughter of a serial killer. Especially after she’d spent several months in a mental institution.

They’d not only provided a stable home for her on their ranch in Wyoming, but they’d offered her protection from a world that was insatiably curious about the only survivor of

the Newton Slayer.

Now, however, she wished her foster mother would dial back on the fussing.

“You think I wouldn’t have found out?” Katherine demanded.

Annie grimaced. She tried to ignore the fact that while she’d moved away from the ranch, her parents continued to monitor her on a daily basis.

Not only by their nightly calls, but by speaking with her boss, Mr. Anderson, who happened to be a personal friend of her foster father.

They only wanted to make sure she was safe.

“I don’t want you to worry,” Annie said.

Katherine waved a hand toward her open suitcase. “Then reconsider this rash trip.”

Annie moved into the bathroom, collecting her toiletries as she struggled to smooth her features into an unreadable mask.

Overall, her foster parents had been supportive. They’d urged her to discuss her past with them as well as a trained therapist. They’d even allowed her to keep a picture of her father beside her bed, despite the devastation he’d caused. But the one thing they refused to accept was her claim that she’d seen visions of the murders as they’d happened.

And they weren’t alone.

No one believed the strange images that had plagued her were anything more than a figment of her overactive imagination.

Over the years, Annie had tried to convince herself they were right. It was insane to think they’d been psychically connected to her father while he was committing the murders.


Then two nights ago the visions returned.

The images had been fragmented. A woman screaming. A dark, cramped space. The shimmer of a knife blade in the moonlight. Newton’s town square.

Annie didn’t even try to deny the visions.

Either she was losing her mind—or they were real.

The only way to know was to return to the town and confront her nightmares.

“It isn’t rash,” she said as she returned to the living room. “I’ve given it a great deal of thought.”

Katherime made a sound of impatience. “But what about your position at Anderson’s?”

“It’s possible they’ll hold my job for me,” Annie said, mentally crossing her fingers.

It wasn’t a total lie.

Her supervisor had said they might reconsider rehiring her when she returned.

“Do you realize how many strings Douglas had to pull to get you a place at such a prestigious firm?” Katherine demanded, clearly not appeased. “In this economy it’s almost impossible to find anything that isn’t entry level.”

Annie turned to take her foster mother’s hands. She knew she should feel bad about leaving her position. It was what she’d trained to do, wasn’t it?

“And I appreciate everything he’s done for me,” she assured the older woman. “That you’ve both done for me.”

Katherine clicked her tongue. “If that was true you wouldn’t be tossing it all away on this harebrained scheme.”

“I get that you don’t understand, but it’s something I have to do.”

Katherine pulled her hands free, clearly frustrated by Annie’s rare refusal to concede to her stronger will. “Nothing can change the past,” she snapped.

Annie turned, unnecessarily smoothing the jeans she’d placed in the suitcase.

This wasn’t about the past. The visions weren’t memories. They were glimpses of the present.

“I know that,” she murmured.

“Do you?” Katherine pressed.

“Of course.”

There was a long silence, as if the older woman was considering the best means of attack. Katherine Lowe was a wonderful woman, but she was a master of manipulation.

“Is this because it’s the anniversary of the deaths?” she at last demanded.

The thought had crossed Annie’s mind. Within a few days it would be exactly fifteen years since the killings started.

Who could blame her for being plagued with hallucinations?

But her heart told her it was more than that.

“I don’t think so,” she hedged.

Katherine pressed her hands together, a certain sign she was trying to maintain her temper. “Maybe you should talk with your therapist.”



“I don’t need a therapist,” Annie said, her voice uncharacteristically hard.

What was going on in her head couldn’t be cured by sitting in a room and talking.

She had to go see for herself.

Seeming to realize she couldn’t badger Annie into giving up her plans, Katherine glared at her with an annoyance that didn’t entirely disguise her concern. “What do you hope to find?”

Annie flinched.

It was a question she didn’t want to consider.

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