Publisher: HQN Books
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Source of my copy: Planned TV Arts
Series: part of Long, Tall Texans
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Tall, dark and eligible? That’s all that matters to the women of Jacobsville when it comes to handsome and aloof FBI agent Jon Blackhawk. But if it were up to him, he would never settle down. Luckily, Jon has the best gatekeeper: his efficient and reliable assistant, Joceline Perry. Without her help, he’d be at the mercy of husband hunters — but the more he comes to rely on her, the more he notices how invaluable she really is....
While Joceline can’t deny that her boss is attractive, as a single mother with responsibilities she’s determined to be professional. But when Jon is accosted by a criminal seeking revenge, she comes to his aid — fueling the spark that is growing between them.
As the attempts on Jon’s life increase, Joceline stands by his side. But when the smoke clears, will the man who avoided love realize that all he ever needed was right there all along?
This novel was my first Diana Palmer book and I was eager to read it in the beginning. I've been hearing her name for a while but the reviews for her novels were always mixed. So, basically, the story was about Joceline Perry who was a single mom--her story was that she and a man got really drunk one night and the result was her son. The man was in the military and he was shipped to the Middle East but he never came back. Joceline worked for FBI agent Jon Blackhawk as his administrative assistant and there was this long running joke in the book about Joceline's refusal to make coffee in the book. Jon was being threatened by a criminal who was connected to a powerful crime family and Joceline became a target too because she helped Jon investigate the case and put him or one of his relatives in jail--it's been a few days since I read the book and I was already initially a little confused about the whole case thing. It had something to do with Jon's brother, Kilraven and the murder of his wife and daughter.
I felt there wasn't chemistry between Joceline and Jon and I didn't feel the love between the two of them in the end. Jon wasn't also a hero--he didn't do anything or take any action as romance heroes are wont to do. Many of the characters and their dialogue (like the weird World of Warcraft talk in the first couple of chapters) didn't feel authentic to me and it felt cartoonish at times, especially Jon's mother Cammy. She was annoying trying to foist girls for Jon to marry and was total bitch to Joceline in the beginning. But Jon and Kilraven insisted she was good deep down and it's only because of what happened to her when she was younger that she was like that. It was revealed towards the end what had happened to Cammy but you would think that she would be more understanding towards Joceline because of what she went through. Then, she did a complete 360 like that **snap** and then what happened to her next with trying to catch the villain was so convoluted and silly. I could also go on about how the fact that Jon and Joceline were both supposedly being very religious people and the actions and decisions they made in the book was due to that reason but I won't. Suffice to say, it was all nonsensical.
I would liken this novel to a Harlequin Presents book--somewhat ridiculous but it kept my attention the whole time so I can't outright discount it. Merciless was an okay read for me--I didn't like it but I didn't completely hate it either. It did have a couple of good parts like Joceline's adorable son Markie and [I wasn't sure before but] I ended up liking Joceline. I am glad I read this novel because now I can cross off Diana Palmer on my authors-to-read list. If you're looking for a western romance (like the cover implied) this is not it. If you're a Diana Palmer fan, it seems a few characters from her previous books make an appearance here so you may want to check out Merciless.