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The Mercy (paperback)

The Mercy (paperback)

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560 5-star reviews!

BOOK 3 OF THE DUALITY SERIES.

TOGETHER THEY SURVIVED A TERRIBLE EVENT.


Ten years ago, Angel and Olivia were captives in a place called the Dollhouse. They got out alive; others did not.

Now, Angel trains psychological service dogs. Olivia is a beloved author and talk show host. They're part of Komorebi, a private "club" of people who survived long-term captivity. From the outside, these survivors have succeeded at creating satisfying lives. But not everything is as it seems. There are secrets everywhere. Unrequited love, custody battles, and revenge are just the beginning.

Something has gone wrong. People are dying.

Can Angel and Olivia fight through the weight of their past to live the lives they deserve?

If you like Karin Slaughter, Lucinda Berry, and Chevy Stephens, you'll love The Mercy: Angel of Death

“I found myself unable to put this down, and read it very quickly. This one had me feeling all of the emotions - empathy, anger, sadness, happiness; truly remarkable for an author to be able to pull all of those emotions from a reader. After I finished, I realized how much I grew to love these characters; I felt like I went through their struggles with them.”

“Have you ever put down a book when you are finished and literally say WOW! This was my response when I finished THE MERCY: ANGEL OF DEATH, the final installment in the DUALITY series. I was feeling so many emotions! This one was my favorite!”

“My favourite thing about Sara Ennis’ Duality trilogy has got to be how each book is better than the last. The Mercy is definitely my favourite, and a powerful ending to a gripping series. It was also both fascinating and satisfying to watch Angel develop as a character throughout the series. If you're looking for strong female characters, you’ll find there’s no shortage of them in this trilogy.”

 

Paperback 283 pages
 Dimensions  5.5 x .71 x 8.5 inches

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Read a sample

CHAPTER ONE

ANGEL

You have three new messages.

My mouse hovers over the Komorebi inbox and previews the new emails. Kait, Jimmy, Dr. Lisa. They can wait.

Right now, I’m curious about the new kid.

Ugh. I’m trying to do a better job articulating my thoughts, and that was a big hairy fail.

Curious is a deceptively morbid word. There’s the seemingly harmless standard definition: interested in knowing something. That’s legit for the youthful crowd when they wonder about stars or butterflies or the inner workings of NASA. For everyone else, you could change it to “interested in knowing something that’s none of your business,” and it would be accurate most of the time. There’s also the old-timey definition: strange, unusual. String the two together, and you get “interested in knowing (about) something strange or unusual (that’s none of your business).”

See? Morbid. In my experience, nearly all ‘curiosity’ is the noneya (business) kind, as my friend CB says. I’m well aware the color of my glasses is closer to blood-red than rose. Whatever.

I know his basic story, of course. When a kid who’s been missing for years is found alive and physically well, it’s big news. Chuck Carson, aged ten, was taken while riding his bike. He was kept inside a small house in a residential neighborhood in Madison, Wisconsin, for six years. Not once was he allowed to go outside. The man, who instructed Chuck to call him B-Doh, told the kid if he tried to leave, he would go to Chuck’s house and kill his sister Dawn. Chuck believed him.

The days became weeks, became months, became years.

B-Doh loved to bring Chuck books. He delighted in Chuck’s thirst for knowledge. He seemed proud of him. Novels, textbooks, comics, anything he discovered at garage sales and used book stores came home. It was all good by Chuck. Reading kept him sane.

One day, B-Doh didn’t come home after work. Chuck didn’t know why he didn’t come, but he was afraid to open the door and risk his little sister’s life. He did not know B-Doh–known to his coworkers as Brad Stevens–had suffered a widow-maker heart attack at work. His coworkers thought Brad lived alone, with no roommates, not even any pets. Chuck might have been in the house forever if the landlord hadn’t come by to clean the place for a new tenant.

Investigators learned Brad Stevens younger brother Paul was abducted twenty years earlier while Brad and Paul were riding their bikes. Brad didn’t do anything to stop the man from taking Paul, and Paul was found dead a few weeks later. Brad suffered extreme guilt and saw Chuck as his opportunity to make things right. Paul called his big brother B-Doh.

That’s the publicly available information.

According to the biography submitted by the survivor himself, the boy that was Chuck Carson became emancipated and changed his name to Charlie Car. He lives on his own in Indianapolis. He’s in the Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program at the University of Indiana. He wants to become a forensics scientist–Dexter without a dark passenger. His words, not mine. I’m pretty sure I’m going to like him.

Charlie’s profile and bio are in the Welcome section. The photo he provided for his biography did not appear every night on the news for months and months after he was found. In the media photo, his brown hair was long and stringy, like a 1980s rock star wannabe. Acne spotted his pale skin, and his eyes were hollow and haunted. A Madison Police Department t-shirt hung from bony shoulders.

In the bio photo, he’s a totally different person. It’s been two years since he was found. Charlie is eighteen or close to it. His sandy blond hair is shot through with streaks of white, shaggy in an intentional way. He paid money for that style. His lake-blue eyes are open, clear, and without shadow. He has sharp cheekbones and a strong jaw. His t-shirt no longer hangs on him; muscles push at the short sleeves, a promise and a warning. Chuck Carson is no more. Chuck Carson is gone. Long live Charlie Car.

He’s very nice to look at, but it’s not his looks that have my interest. How is Charlie functioning two years post-recovery? How deep are the scars, and how does he show them?

In about ten minutes, he’ll join his first Komorebi video chat. Coming to Komo, as we call it, is one of the most important decisions he’s ever made. There are very few places where we survivors can talk about the darkest things in our lives with people who genuinely understand. Of course, we’ve each experienced our own version of hell, but we share foundational elements.

When my guardian Peter Baden first told us the Foundation was creating Komorebi, I wasn’t sure what to think. But that was ten years ago. I’m a believer now. Hell, I’m practically a cheerleader.

There are two sides of Komorebi: Promise, for the friends and family of abducted people, and Hope, for survivors. The Promise side is much larger. People are encouraged to stay, whatever the status of their loved ones. Still missing, found alive, or deceased, they will continue to have unique needs that can be hard to manage without support.

Komorebi is a private cloud-based platform, similar to something the earliest Internet users knew as AOL and CompuServe. Promise and Hope share the same technical features. There are forums where we can post questions, silly cat pictures, or share stories. There are scheduled chats on various topics. We can start a one-on-one or small group text or video chat. There are files with resources and information. It’s a clubhouse for a club no one would ever want to be invited to join.

Because of Peter and the Foundation, the services of Komo and its team of experts are 100% free. The family of an abducted person might need financial support, mental health counseling, legal advice, or guidance on how to work with the media.

A survivor needs those things, plus a place to talk with others who ‘get it,’ not from an anecdotal perspective, but from lived experience. That’s us.

There are currently thirty-four Hope members. The oldest is Kait, in her fifties. The youngest is a thirteen-year-old named Alicia.

All three Dollhouse survivors are here. Grace doesn’t participate in public sessions much, although I think she and Alicia chat regularly.

Olivia shows up primarily for Peter, her dad. I see her name in group chats, but she never turns her camera on and never takes herself off mute. Many people don’t share their cameras, but very few attend and never say anything. When I’m cranky, I wonder why she bothers coming since she doesn’t participate. I try not to be cynical or paranoid. She can’t talk about Komorebi outside of Komorebi–thanks, Tyler Durden!–so she’s not using it as a flex for her career. Olivia has published two best-selling books and hosts her own talk show. She’s become a cross between Brené Brown and Kelly Clarkson. She’s won Daytime Emmy awards and met First Ladies. Olivia Baden does not need to look for things to bring her to the world’s attention.

I’ve fallen into being a guide to some of the new folks, and surprisingly, I enjoy it. My brother would laugh at the idea of his shy twin sister willingly connecting with strangers, but it’s true. I make sure they know they have someone they can come to with questions or gripes, or fears. Every once in a while, when someone’s story is too close to my own, I bump into issues with the events of my past and retreat into a hole, but that hasn’t happened much lately. Most of the time, I like to believe I’m doing good–or at least I don’t do harm.

That’s why I’m here today. I was supposed to run over to New Mexico to look at a couple of dogs, but I changed my schedule when Marnie told me about Charlie and asked if I’d be his guide. Sadly, there are always reservation puppies.

I’m interested–there, that’s a better word than curious–to see how Charlie is doing. Sometimes what people say and what’s reality are two very different things. I hope he’s as healthy in real life as on paper.

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