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Mesmerized - Lauren Dane Full review at http://www.delightedreader.com/posts/review-mesmerized-by-lauren-dane/

I fell into reading the Federation Chronicles series a month ago and it hooked me instantly. Dealing with topics I shy away from, I was curious about why I liked the series so much. My conclusion was the characters and not necessarily the environment they came from. In this futuristic/sci-fi series it feels like we abandoned Earth or at least a lot of the population left. There isn’t much background as to why people left, or why a new government was created or even why there are two different governments. The two new ones are vastly different. The Federation is made up of Ranked and unranked and while that is a big deal, it seems that the unranked are treated somewhat better than the lower class in the other government. The Imperialist have a hierarchy type government and the lower class has no real choices. Both governments don’t leave much room for moving up. Basically you are stuck with the luck of being born to the right family. This is why I was wondering why I liked the series so much. It is because I love the characters.

Andrei Solace had a hard life growing up. After being jailed for a fight, the Phantom Corp recruits him to be a deadly assassin. Leaving what little family he has behind, he moves on, but never forgets his past. While he has a job, he never goes back until the war gets closer and he is forced to go on assignment back to the people who loved him, especially the woman who holds his heart.

Mercenary Piper Roundtree has loved Andrei since she was a young girl. She hoped he had found peace when he left their lives, but she never stopped thinking of him and loving him. Money came from time to time, which reassured her he was still living. During a particular hard fight with the Imperialist, Andrei walks back into her life and heart.

While Andrei tries not to get involved, he can’t forget that Piper was the one calming part of his life. He loved her fiercely when they were younger and now the woman is so much more than he can believe. But he is afraid to give his heart knowing his job is dangerous. But Piper is having none of it. She knows life can be taken away in an instant and she intends to love Andrei for as long as she can; never leaving his side.

Finding out what the Imperialist are building, mining and planning is more important than one man or woman, but Piper refused to leave Andrei’s side, becoming a pair that is feared and revered.

I like Piper’s character a lot. She isn’t rich in a monetary way, but is rich in the heart of those who love her. She is a natural leader and a take charge lady. Living on a harsh planet has made her fiercely loyal but also capable of taking care of herself and her compound. But the planet is hard to live on, and she is doing all she can along with her brothers to take care of each other. She is feminine but also hard as nails. All the little things Andrei gave her are her treasures, little things most people take for granted. When she decides she is in love, she gives it her whole heart and soul. There is no half measures with her. Even in the face of some tough military guys, she holds her own.

I respected Andrei’s character. He doesn’t have much of a life where he is from except for Piper. When the Corps finds him, he knows it is the best thing he can do with his life. He works hard, but it isn’t easy to just give up you old behaviors, so things weren’t totally easy for him. Never forgetting where he is from, he often sends money back to his family and continues to sponsor helping other people. They all love him but he is a quiet man not wanting the appreciation he is being shown. He is humble. I guess that is what drew me to him. A good man with a huge heart, but a tough assassin who does the job he feels is for the best for his government.

While I loved this story, I had some problems with it as well. There is one character who is killed and it broke my heart. I understood that war is hard and not everyone can or will survive, but it still hurt and I can still say I didn’t like it! The second thing I really didn’t like was the easy acceptance of Piper into the military fold. While she had some good ideas, it felt like she forced her way in and they just gave in. There was one more thing that bothered me but it is a spoiler so I won’t mention it.

The romance was sweet while the sex was meltingly hot! Sweet because they had a past and he treated her like a queen. Meltingly hot because they rocked the bed and made me melt. There is no lack of hotness in this book!

So while I liked it, the issues still have me wanting me to rise the dead. But I seriously love the series and suggest you read all of them and wait like I am for the next book, Captivated.