No Pain No Gain

Herc's Mercs

by Ari McKay

Hunter Callahan loved being a merc. As an explosives expert for Lawson & Greer, he’s dealt with everything from IEDs to rogue nukes. But when a suicide bomber in the form of a seven-year-old boy walks into camp, Hunter learns there are some fates far worse than death.

Payne Gibson recognizes the “thousand yard stare” of the PTSD Hunter refuses to acknowledge, and as a natural caretaker, he can’t resist when his boss, Cade “Hercules” Thornton, asks him to help. Hunter is resistant until their surveillance assignment turns dangerous, and Hunter realizes he’s in danger of losing his career, the only thing in his life that matters to him anymore.

Conventional therapy hasn’t worked, so Payne suggests an unorthodox form of therapy: BDSM. As a Dom, Payne thinks he can help Hunter face the issues he’s been avoiding. Having come to trust Payne and knowing his career is on the line, Hunter agrees to try.

Their relationship as Dom and sub deepens more than either of them expected. Payne knows adding emotions into the mix is dangerous, but he can’t help it when Hunter is both the man and the sub Payne has hoped to find. But Hunter doesn’t feel he deserves love, not when his best friend is dead because of him, leaving behind a wife and child to mourn -- and to blame Hunter for their loss.

Payne can help Hunter to stare into the abyss… but what stares back might be more intense than either of them can handle.

This book is on:
  • 4 To Be Read lists
  • 2 Read lists
Reviews: Nicole on Amazon wrote:

Hunter and Payne. Has BDSM and PTSD in the story. Well written. Hunter is suffering from PTSD after watching his best friend push him out the way and jump on the bomb vest, which killed him. Payne is using BDSM to help Hunter take control of the situation.

A. Adams on Amazon wrote:

I received a copy to read and review for Wicked Reads

I will start this out by saying I have not read any of the other books in the series, there were a few times they referred to people or things from previous books but I didn't feel like I was missing anything and enjoyed it as a stand alone book. I was just coming off from reading a really depressing book and the beginning of this book made me so sad and I was hoping I wouldn't become depressed reading this one but I didn't. This story was well put together and the characters were amazing. I loved Payne instantly he was funny, sassy and adorable. Hunter was damaged but so wonderful when he let down his walls. I loved how Hunter was finally able to let his walls down and ask for help and actually give it a chance to work. This was a beautiful story between Payne and Hunter and them learning to deal with Hunter and his past and building something amazing together. Lots of hot sexy times too! I just might go back and read the others in this series because I enjoyed this book so much!


About the Author

Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who have been writing together for over a decade. Their collaborations encompass a wide variety of romance genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, gothic, and action/adventure. Their work includes the Blood Bathory series of paranormal novels, the Herc’s Mercs series, as well as two historical Westerns: Heart of Stone and Finding Forgiveness. When not writing, they can often be found scheming over costume designs or binge watching TV shows together.

Arionrhod is a systems engineer by day who is eagerly looking forward to (hopefully) becoming a full time writer in the not-too-distant future. Now that she is an empty-nester, she has turned her attentions to finding the perfect piece of land to build a fortress in preparation for the zombie apocalypse, and baking (and eating) far too many cakes.

McKay is an English teacher who has been writing for one reason or another most of her life. She also enjoys knitting, reading, cooking, and playing video games. She has been known to knit in public. Given she has the survival skills of a gnat, she’s relying on Arionrhod to help her survive the zombie apocalypse.


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