Review // Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

July 15, 2021

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.

And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

- Friedrich Nietzsche

Mercury Striking by Rebecca Zanetti

Standalone - Scorpius Syndrome #1
Release - January 26, 2016
Genre - Romantic Suspense / post-apocalyptic
Multiple POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 4
Format/Source - Kindle purchase
Length - 384 pages
Publisher - Zebra Books

Buy it here:

After a killer outbreak, a doctor searches for the one man who can help her find a cure.

The deadly Scorpius Syndrome has decimated North America. Now the few remaining survivors struggle to avoid infection and rebuild society. Dr. Lynne Harmony believes she can find a cure—but she knows she can’t do it alone. With nothing but rumors to lead her, Dr. Lynne Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong.

Former military man Jax Mercury is more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s Lynne’s only hope. But with powerful forces searching for Lynne, and some in Jax’s camp desperate enough to betray him, they’ll have to keep close if they want to survive.

I wondered how a story about post-apocalyptic horrors and zombies could be wrapped around a love story. However, I wasn't worried. Rebecca Zanetti is one of my favorite authors for a reason and with this introduction to The Scorpius Syndrome, she's shown a whole new side to what she can create and I'm impressed!

Jax Mercury was a military man. Once a gangbanger, he was now the protector of so many survivors. He was just trying to keep everyone alive, defending against other territories and gangs who wanted to take the meager supplies they had. He became a hero without intention. Oh... and he was delicious!
She'd seen good-looking men before. This one took handsomeness to deadly in a way that stirred her blood too much.

...tall and powerful, strength among ruin. Sexy and masculine, and just as damaged as she.
Then there's Lynne. Once the head of her department at the CDC, she was seen as the reason why the human race was becoming extinct. With a distinctive blue heart due to the Scorpius bacteria, she was viewed as either the harbinger of death... or the cure. Hunted, she believed that her only hope was finding Jax and taking advantage of his legendary heroics.
Lynne Harmony was stunning as well as desperately wounded. Delicate and fierce.
There was plenty of action and intrigue to be found here. One particular death scene left me stunned. I hate when a character I adore ends up dead 😭😭😭

There was no love lost between Lynn and I for most of this story. She kept secrets, tried to manipulate Jax, and turned me off in too many ways. It took me a while to warm up to her, however, I did by the end. I absolutely loved Jax! He was in denial about so many things, including the hero he had become. He was sexy, protective, dominant, brave, and determined. There's just something about an alpha ex-military hero done right that really does it for me. And Zanetti did it right here.

Despair hungered in the darkness, not lingering, not languishing . . . but waiting to bite. No longer the little brother of rage, despair had taken over the night, ever present, an actor instead of an afterthought.
Lynne picked her way along the deserted twelve-lane interstate, allowing the weak light from the moon to guide her. An unnatural silence hung heavy over the barren land. Rusting carcasses of vehicles lined the sides; otherwise, the once-vibrant 405 was dead.
Her months of hiding had taught her stealth. Prey needed stealth, as did the hunter.
She was both.
The tennis shoes she’d stolen from an abandoned thrift store protected her feet from the cracked asphalt, while a breeze scented with death and decomposing vegetation lifted her hair. The smell had saturated the wind as she’d trekked across the country.
The world was littered with dead bodies and devoid of souls.
A click echoed in the darkness. About time. Predators, both human and animal, crouched in every shadow, but she’d made it closer to what used to be Los Angeles than she’d hoped.
A strobe light hit her full on, rendering sight impossible. The miracle of functioning batteries brought pain. She closed her eyes. They’d either kill her or not. Either way, no need to go blind. “I want to see Mercury.” Since she’d aimed for the center of Mercury’s known territory, hopefully she’d find him and not some rogue gang.
Silence. Then several more clicks. Guns of some type. They’d closed in silently, just as well trained as she’d heard. As she’d hoped.
She forced strength into her voice. “You don’t want to kill me without taking me to Mercury first.” Jax Mercury, to be exact. If he still lived. If not, she was screwed anyway.
“Why would we do that?” A voice from the darkness, angry and near.
She squinted, blinking until her pupils narrowed. The bright light exposed her and concealed them, weakening her knees, but she gently set her small backpack on the ground. She had to clear her throat to force out sound. “I’m Lynne Harmony.”
Gasps, low and male, filled the abyss around her. “Bullshit,” a voice hissed from her left.
She tilted her head toward the voice, and then slowly, so slowly they wouldn’t be spooked, she unbuttoned her shirt. No catcalls, no suggestive responses followed. Shrugging her shoulders, she dropped the cotton to the ground, facing the light.
She hadn’t worn a bra, but she doubted the echoing exhales of shock were from her size Bs. More likely the shimmering blue outline of her heart caught their attention. Yeah, she was a freak. Typhoid Mary in the body of a woman who’d failed. Big time. But she might be able to save the men surrounding her. “So. Jax Mercury. Now.”
One man stepped closer. Gang tattoos lined his face, inked tears showing his kills. He might have been thirty, he might have been sixty. Regardless, he was dangerous, and he smelled like dust combined with body odor. A common smell in the plague-riddled world. Eyeing her chest, he quickly crossed himself. “Holy Mary, Mother of God.”
“Not even close.” A silent overpass loomed a few yards to the north, and her voice echoed off the concrete. The piercing light assaulted her, spinning the background thick and dark. Her temples pounded, and her hollow stomach ached. Wearily, she reached down and grabbed her shirt, shrugging it back on. She figured the “take me to your leader” line would get her shot. “Do you want to live or not?”
He met her gaze, his scarred upper lip twisting. “Yes.”

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over forty romantic suspense, dark paranormals, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out. Upcoming series are: The Blood Brothers, The Realm Enforcers and The Scorpius Syndrome.

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  1. I've only read one book by this author and it wasn't really my thing, but you are making me want to give her another try with this review!

    1. She's one of my favorites! Paranormal romance or romantic suspense... she does them well :)


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