Review: Mercenary Heart

Mercenary Heart
by Diane Merlin

Miklus Armstrong, renowned for his prowess on the battlefield and in the bed, gives up the lucrative life of a mercenary to go into legitimate business as a merchant. Shesshie Kosmoto makes the first daring move of her life when she answers his ad for a nanny, leaving the orphanage where she was raised to travel to a distant star system. Set in the far reaches of space, Mercenary Heart is the tale of a war weary man and an adventure deprived woman. It’s a riotous ride to a pleasure planet. It’s the journey of a man searching for peace in a universe filled with conflict, a woman striving to define her own worth, and a group of friends whose bonds of love are stronger than even they realized.

This was a new-to-me author and I am extremely pleased with the impulse that had me request to review this book. Diane Merlin has an incredible talent for world-building, and I truly look forward to reading her other offerings (I happen to have the next story after this one in my pile to review!). I have to say that I didn’t want this to end, and what better thing could I say to recommend a book?

Miklus “Mik” Armstrong is a hard man, a mercenary for most of his life, and it hasn’t been an easy life, but he doesn’t know anything different. The opening prologue, however, gives us an intriguing hint at his squishy insides – he is really a bit of a softie, despite his rather fierce reputation throughout the known galaxy. Now, he’s a man trying to get out of the hard life of a mercenary and provide a better life for his daughter. His entertaining and thoroughly remarkable crew have decided to come along for the ride, as they can’t seem to imagine a life without each other. After all, that’s what family does: support each other and make sure they are there for one another and they are a family in the purest sense.

Shesshie Kosmoto may not be exactly “young” in years, but she is in experience. Being raised in an orphanage and having the responsibility of caring for the infants and children in that same orphanage have given her a rather sheltered life. While she is a relatively innocent young woman, she has not lived an easy life in the orphanage and is amazingly resilient. Deciding to take matters into her own hands to live a different life, maybe one with more adventure and excitement, she takes a job as a nanny far across the galaxy. Her decision leads to the biggest adventure and major love of her life.

This story pulls you in and holds onto you right through to the last page. As a matter of fact, the ending will leave you hanging in a cliff-hanger that leaves you ready and eager for the next installment. The worlds we are taken to are amazingly detailed and Merlin’s vivid descriptions bring them to life and have you feeling as though you were really there. The love scenes, for that’s what they ultimately are no matter how hot, between Mik and Shesshie are evocative and skillful, building the heat around the reader and pulling one further into this love story. A fabulous read, I am so looking forward to reading more by this wonderful author.

Reviewed by Viscaria

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