Rating: 2.5 stars
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Lio knew stealing from Lord Cullen was a risky proposition, but his father insisted. Times are hard and work is difficult to find, and there are more mouths than just Lio’s to feed. But when they venture into Cullen’s land, they are captured by the lord himself and separated. Lio finds himself tossed into a cold tower, his fate in the hands of a man about whom Lio assumes the worst. When Cullen offers a proposition — Lio’s freedom for one night in Cullen’s bed — Lio rebuffs the man. He finds Cullen handsome enough, but he isn’t willing to become someone’s whore.
Embarrassed and hurt, Cullen releases Lio and his father and expects that to be the end of their association. But the winter is a brutal one and, before it is over, Lio must swallow his pride and return to Cullen, in need of desperate help. Instead of the monster his mind created, Lio finds Cullen generous and kind and suddenly the idea of warming the man’s bed doesn’t sound so bad.
At His Mercy is one of those books that doesn’t have a real plot or actual characterization. Instead, it’s just a casual story that lacks depth. If the weather were warmer, I’d call it a beach read; it’s a bit of fluff that neither displeases nor enthralls.
Lio and Cullen are very much caricatures: the naive innocent and the cold lord. While neither is as naive or as cold as they seem, we don’t see any growth in the characters or in their relationship. They just sort of exist and, while Lio is quick enough to return to Cullen when down on his luck, the author makes it clear that both men want one another and that nothing is being held over Lio, which I appreciated.
The antagonist, and it’s a stretch to even call him that, is laughably bad. Just a cardboard creep that never poses much of a threat. It didn’t make much sense that Cullen would allow that kind of man to work for him, especially since he seemed to have a measure of control over Cullen. That just seemed in conflict with what we seemed to know about Cullen.
At His Mercy is neither good nor bad. There’s so little depth to it and there’s just not a lot to sink your teeth into it. It’s just fine if you want a mindless read, but don’t expect anything compelling.