The Mercenary


This is book ONE in the Therian Secrets series. Cover art by Soxsational Cover Art

When twenty-three-year-old Jodie Fletcher realizes shape-shifters are real-and that they're trying to kill her-she finds herself thrust into a life of danger and unimaginable intrigue. With her parents away and her alcoholic and newly single brother, Luke, camped in her spare bedroom, Jodie feels like she's drowning in a world she doesn't understand. The only thing she can count on is the leopard who has apparently taken it upon himself to protect her. She cannot ignore the raw emotion he awakens in her, and she longs for more. The leopard becomes not only her savior, but her escape.

Mysterious and unpredictable, leopard shifter Danny Archer hides behind his dimpled smile and pretty boy façade. What's more, he has a second job the human population doesn't know about-the one that leads him to Jodie and Luke. Archer feels an instant connection with Jodie, and he must find a way to balance his volatile lifestyle to include her.

Luke Fletcher became an alcoholic long before his wife left him. Now he faces the brutal reality that his past has caught up with him. He made a series of bad choices while under the influence, and these choices have placed him, his sister, and his two young daughters in danger. Luke must try to find the man he used to be if he is to survive the chaos he's inflicted; he knows he won't be able to live with himself if anything happens to his family.


  1. The Mercenary is now available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and selected booksellers. You can also buy the book from the link at the top of this page. The book is available in paperback, hardcover and kindle editions.

  2. Read it in less than twenty-four hours! Did not want to put it down!

    I picked up this book and didn't want to put it down. Seriously. Even when I finally had to go to sleep I woke up three hours later and with still a little over half the book left, immediately jumped back into it and didn't stop until it was finished. I'll start with the cons, because there really aren't that many. Editing-wise there are several places that if you're an OCD editor will make your eye twitch. However after the first few chapters I hardly noticed them and when I did I was too engrossed in the story to pay them much mind. I could also excuse any overlooked edits seeing as how this is the author's debut novel and she self-published it. There were also a few times where certain things were alluded to as if it had already been explained, yet hadn't. Again, the author was very forthcoming in admitting that the passages where such things had been referenced had been cut in the editing process. But the evidences of this happening were very few and did not hamper the reading the experience at all. The only other very small thing I noticed was the terminology the author, who is a native New Zealander, used for various places or objects. ie. car park is a parking lot. Again, while it caught my eye it did not hamper the story at all.

    The pros:

    This book was a breath of fresh air in the seemingly overwhelming mountain of were/shifter stories being pumped out. The characters sprang to life, jumping off the page and pulling me into their world with such ease that I was soon smiling, laughing, gasping, and even crying as they whisked me through their story in a way that only a handful of books has ever done before. It truly made me enjoy having picked up a book again after way too long. Even the `secondary' characters managed to wrap me around their fingers, some from their very first introduction (i.e. Rufus *Grins and nods like a dork*). At first I did feel like the female lead (Jodie) took to finding out about were's/shifters way to easily and calmly (especially given the circumstances of how she finds out). However once I stopped and thought about it, in this day and age with so many books on such creatures, along with vampires, zombies, etc. I had to reassess my initial thought, realizing that if I found out someone close to me whom I had known for a long time was really a were-, would I really freak out and go crazy? Or would I accept it. Obviously since this is in the `pro' section, it would be the latter.

    The history of the `Therian's' was very plausible and very easy to understand. It was so believable and well explained that I had to go look up `Therian' online to see how much of it the author came up with herself. Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to find out that she had woven together such an amazing world based on the definition of Therianthropy (an actual clinical term) and a basic knowledge of lycanthropy. Yet she didn't just stop at lycanthropy. One of the refreshing aspects of The Mercenary was that it's not just your typical were's, i.e. wolves, leopards, brown bears (although each are represented). The author has expanded the were- genre to include boars, lizards, polar bears, falcons, Tasmanian devils and even house cats. (Yes it even made me stop and look at my own house cats with an arched brow for a moment.) One can only imagine how many more were-species this amazingly talented author will include in future installments of this series. I for one will be waiting (rather impatiently) to find out.

    In conclusion The Mercenary is, in my very humble opinion, a must read and a must buy. And Johanna Rae is definitely an author to keep your eye on.

  3. The Mercenary by Johanna Rae first and foremost is a great book, worth the money and certainly worth falling in love with her characters even if some of them break your heart at times. We all can’t help to love a bit of a bad boy, even when we know our hearts may not survive the fall.

    Side Note: Before going into this book, you must remember that it takes place in New Zealand, not America nor England.

    As I first started to read, I could have sworn this could have been my life. So instantaneously I felt a connection with the story and I’m sure you all will as well. I did find it slightly unrealistic when Jodie first met Danny. *Waves a hand.* You’ll either agree with me or you won’t. I’m sort of a stickler for trying to keep everything realistic but again this isn’t about me it’s about the book. After the initial chaos that ensues within the first couple of chapters, you’re sucked into this completely surreal yet very original world where there’s always a fight between good and evil. Rae did a ‘standing O’ job of creating Redcliffe and the characters that reside there. I’m not sure I’ll look at another picture of an animal without possibly seeing one of Jo’s characters. (^_^)

    ‘The Fortress’ soon becomes a place you would love to be as you read the book, get to know the guys and ‘listen’ to their quick banter with one another. In all the chaos the men keep you smiling, even laughing as you wipe away the tears from your eyes. It’s the heartfelt moments, the quickening heartbeat scenes and the ensuing giggles that keep a great momentum going through the book, effectively keeping you ensnared into the story.

    All in all Jo did an impressive job with her debut novel. As a close friend and someone who’s followed her writing, I’m ecstatic about her accomplishments. As an aspiring author, she’s given me the courage to push through with my dreams, knowing that even if some big time publishing company doesn’t sign me that I don’t have to sell out to some small publishing house that no one’s ever heard of. I can go and do the publishing myself.

    Thank you Jo, for giving the shifter world a new scent to follow and track down.