Survival by Maria Mercurio

Heat Level 3
SKU 978-0-3695-0861-4

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Survival, 1

In a much-regretted fit of rage, Chloe lost her dream job. Still needing to pay the bills, she resorts to tending bar. Embarrassment about the mishap forces her to take a job twenty-four miles from her home in a dive bar located in small town nowhere. Into this disreputable bar, walks Raff and his intimidating crew.

Chloe’s role in relationships has been the queen. She’s worshipped and adored, while maintaining tight control over what happens. Eventually she loses interest and moves on to the next conquest. Raff is everything she stays away from. He’s cocky about the effects he has on her, arrogant about his own importance, and calls her out on any of her bull. Despite all the warning bells, Chloe cannot help the unexplainable lust she feels around him.

After being drugged, abducted from her home, and dragged to the middle of nowhere, she realizes Raff and his crew are living two stops past crazy town. They are convinced she isn’t human and have a plan to prove it.


With my hand frozen on the door handle, I watched him turn and look back at me expectantly. This is crazy! He could be an axe murderer! My hormones overrode common sense when he smiled and dared me with his eyebrows. I was a sucker for dimples. I popped the center console and reached inside, palming a can of mace, just in case things went south fast. I exited the car.

He hadn’t lied about it being a construction site. Points for honesty there. As I gingerly exited the car he trekked back and held out his hand to me. The desire to place my hand in his was supercharged, and when his hot digits curled around mine, I wanted to cuddle up by his side and nuzzle his neck.

Wow, I’ve been away from men too long. Cool the jets.

He tugged me past a newly poured foundation, helped me over a few obstacles, and headed to a makeshift office structure. Pulling the keys from his pocket, he rifled through them quickly in the dim light selecting the correct one on the first try.

“You wanted to show me your office? I’ll have to warn you, I’m not really into filing.”

“You’re a crack-up.” He chuckled and flipped on the light.

My eyes adjusted as I glanced around, marveling at what I saw. Raff read the look of wonder on my face.

“I said it would be worth it.”

The office was like a museum. A room filled with Native American artifacts. Pottery was displayed on tables, weapons hung on the walls and shelves, and stone jewelry rested in plexiglass boxes. It was a massive collection, and many would have been impressed. I was thrilled. I adored Native American culture, was one of the few girls obsessed with Westerns, and regularly visited tribal lands. My mom said I was part Cherokee, but too small a part to be recognized. Ever since she told me as a little girl, I was hooked on learning everything I could about it.

“How did you know?” I asked breathy.

“That this would be worth it?”

 I turned to appraise him. “How much I would like it?”

“What’s not to like? It’s some freaking cool stuff,” he said and smirked.

“Why is this here?” I walked forward and lightly brushed at a clay pot. “An odd place to store a collection.”

“Better than a hotel room. I move around a lot. This trailer comes with us from site to site.”

“This is yours?”

“Benefits of the job.”

“You dug this stuff up?” I looked at him in wonder. “Why did you keep it? This should be in a museum or returned to a local tribe.”

“My brother is an archeologist. His part in all this is to assess if a site needs to halt construction or if we need to halt for artifacts.” Raff placed a wicked-looking spearhead in my palm and I ran its smooth surface over with my finger. “We often work with local tribes. A lot of what you see here are the thank-you gifts at the end of a job. Not everything has value, but I like it.”

That made me feel less guilty exploring the objects. I relished being able to touch and feel everything. Way cooler than just looking behind glass.

“Would you like something?”

The question caught me off guard. At first, I thought he meant a drink, but he had his hand out signaling the room.

“A generous offer. You hardly know me.” It would be amazing to have any piece here. My eyes could not help but rove around the room. “I can’t accept.”

“Nonsense.” He stepped close behind me. I felt the contours of his chest brush against my back causing a liquid flame to heat me through to the core. His arms swept forward and he fastened a pendant around my neck. It was beaten silver adorned with turquoise, not a sophisticated piece, but I loved the roughness. It felt ancient.

My hand clutched the cool metal. “It doesn’t feel right.”

“No?” he challenged.

I shook my head, yet my hand still clutched the pendant. Strangely, I believed it should be mine, but my mind warred with such a notion.

“I want you to have it.” His hungry stare scorched me as he looked at the necklace settled between my breasts.

“Huh,” a puff of air escaped my dry lips. “Do you always get what you want?”

I expected a cocky “most definitely” in reply. Instead, he kissed me. It was unexpected and certainly not gentle. His hand clasped the back of my neck taking full possession of my head. His lips crashed into mine, startling me into opening my mouth, giving his tongue entrance. I was a passive observer for a brief second before my body automatically responded.

I swear if it was any other man I would have reared back and belted him for his aggressive liberties. With Raff, I softened, melting against him. I welcomed the intrusion of his tongue in my mouth. My senses lit up tasting him. His scent was intoxicating, making me almost dizzy. I was instantly aroused and completely ignored the little voice in my head screaming for me to get a grip on the situation.

He pulled away still holding my neck, and stared deeply into my eyes. I was panting, trying to remember to breathe. I needed him to kiss me again. Not wanted. Needed.


Product Reviews

Score: 5 out of 5 (based on 20 ratings)
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Written by Kierstyn Jasan on 25th Feb 2024

Wow, can I just say Survival by Maria Mercurio was phenomenal. I absolutely loved the story line, it was both a slow and fast paced book for me. I found all the characters so well rounded and the banter and passion between Raff and Chloe excellent. I laughed out loud several times at Chloe’s' internal thoughts, since everything she went through I would be thinking the same things. I also loved how strong willed and stubborn Chloe was as the FMC, she just never backed down from a fight especially with Raff: but still felt the mated connection to Raff as well. Raff, was described as the greatest alpha to me, he could come in and protect me anyday. I loved that Chloe had all the mixed feeling s of right and wrong and she was always questioning herself and always asking “what if" but yet following her heart and trusting her gut with Raff and her new pack/family. I was shocked to find out that Raff knew Chloe’s parents and their, that was a surprise that I didn't expect. Overall, Survival was an excellent book that I will highly recommend to everyone I can. I can't wait to read the rest of the series along with putting Survival on my re-read list.

A gripping page-turner
Written by Danielle Ekin-Evans on 17th Feb 2024

Going into this shifter romance without prior knowledge proved to be the right choice for me. Despite it not being my usual genre, I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the book. I loved the character development & calmness of Raff & his boys around Chloe. Reading blind I was shocked when the book began to twist. I couldn't read it fast enough as I wanted to find out what happened next. I am gripped & excited for book 2. Maria's vivid and descriptive writing made the book a page-turner, allowing me to escape into a world where realities blend. I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about shifter reads or seeking something different within the romance genre.

Spicy read with great characters!
Written by Kelsey on 16th Feb 2024

I loved this book! Great character development, especially for such a short read. So glad this was only Book 1, because there is so much left to explore in the story!

Devoured in one sitting, more please.
Written by Arlia on 15th Feb 2024

I had no idea where this book was going from the beginning. As an avid reader I feel I often can predict what will happen in books. It’s as if you read a book and can pick about three other ones with the same plot you’ve read before. I’m telling you not this book. From the beginning I was hooked from the prologue. I was wondering how Chloe got herself into the situation to begin with. Then when she was kidnapped I never thought it would be for the reason she was. I never could have imagine this story unfolding the way it did. I laid in bed after I devoured this book wondering “where did this author come up with this idea?” I enjoyed the book so much I read it all in one sitting. I felt like I was watching a movie in my mind and this is only because it was so well written. I’m off the buy the next two in the series. I have to know what happens to Chloe and where this story will take me!

Written by bookfever52 on 2nd Oct 2023

Chloe loses her job in a fit of anger. She takes a job in a hole in the wall bar. out of town. Raff and his buddies come into the bar and she is drawn to him. After being drugged and abducted by Raff and his unique story telling she begins to wonder what is real and if shes dreaming. She realizes the truth in the end. Different story Dark But good

Unexpectedly good!
Written by Courtney B on 2nd Oct 2023

So I really enjoyed the somewhat unexpected plot of this story. I feel like the book blurb did an outstanding job of giving enough detail to interest the reader without misleading the reader OR revealing the plot! You’d be surprised how rare that seems to be. Story ends in such a way that the reader is left to wonder/speculate about their future and chance at HFN/HEA. Sort of wish we got to see, but maybe the imagining is part of the fun.

I Loved It
Written by Danee on 2nd Oct 2023

Wow this was a wonderful story that was easy to read. The storyline and the main characters were wonderfully described and kept you glued to their story. The author has given us a story in which you can disappear completely. I can hardly wait for the next book.

What a story!
Written by Diana A on 2nd Oct 2023

This books was really pleasant to read. I was not able to put it down. I really enjoy everything from the characters to the story. I can wait for the next book and hoping to see the story of the rest of the pack and this two too.

❣️♥️❣️ Raff and Chloe ❣️♥️❣️
Written by DebinOkla on 2nd Oct 2023

❣️♥️❣️ Raff and Chloe ❣️♥️❣️ Chloe is bartending, Raff stops in to that bar. And she notices him immediately. From there strange things happened. Great quick read. Maria Mercurio is a new author for me but this was a new and different type book that I have read before but it's an awesome book. It is a great paranormal story.

Written by Nate on 2nd Oct 2023

I really enjoyed Rafe and Chloe’s book. It was an intense and addictive read. Can’t wait for more. As it ends very abruptly. This was a new author. And am voluntarily leaving my review.

Quick insta story
Written by Crystal74 on 2nd Oct 2023

Chloe is resistant and skeptical when Raff tells her she isn't human. It's a super quick insta love story that I hope there are more to come.

Excellent Start!
Written by Red18 on 17th Aug 2023

This is a new author to me and I was surprised how much I enjoyed the story. It is a shifter romance but is not a carbon copy of the mainstream. I really enjoyed the character development and the storyline went along at a good pace. I would have liked to have seen more relationship building between the two main characters but I understand because it is a novella (100 pgs ). It looks like there will be 5 books ?‍♀️. The book cuts off at a weird spot, not really a cliffhanger but just ends abruptly. Personally I would have liked to see the first book end with Raff and Chloe’s story complete (make each book a little longer) and then each subsequent books be a story about each of the other pack members. I don’t think I will be satisfied if Lowe, Rollin etc.. continue to get glossed over. Excellent start however not my choice of how the author is mapping out the books.

Written by Jinx200 on 17th Aug 2023

If you love a thrill and a nightmare all in one this book is for you!!! She went through horrors no one should go through..

This book has it all and it is wonderful--ALL OF IT!!!
Written by Andrea R on 17th Aug 2023

This book has steaminess, shifter romance, drama and lots and lots of it. It is novella length which to me just means it moves super fast and you don't have to wonder for very long how it will turn out! I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

This book has it all and it is wonderful--ALL OF IT!!!
Written by Andrea R on 17th Aug 2023

This book has steaminess, shifter romance, drama and lots and lots of it. It is novella length which to me just means it moves super fast and you don't have to wonder for very long how it will turn out! I thoroughly enjoyed this book!

Paranormal kidnapping
Written by A. Adams on 17th Aug 2023

This book is fairly short. It is a paranormal romance but keeps you guessing what exactly that is, for awhile. Chloe is bartending and meets a stranger, Raff, and his friends. Chloe and Raff have chemistry, that Chloe isn't fully happy about. What Chloe didn't know, was that Raff had a ulterior motive. I knew there was a reason Raff didn't answer Chloe's questions and was aloof. Chloe doesn't realize what Raff is up to, until it's too late. Can Raff convince Chloe what she really is and that she belongs with Raff and his pack? I hope there is a second book with the same characters because this book ended abruptly. This book does keep the suspense up throughout the book, which I liked. I only wish Chloe could've escaped at least once. I did enjoy the book for a quick read. I'm still left with a few questions. Don't think looking at the cover that this is a dark kidnapping book.

A journey of unexpected twists
Written by Wedys Pena on 10th Aug 2023

I burned through this book in just a few short nights. I did not see the twist coming! It was such a fun read and the characters were all well developed. Sucked me right in.

Sexy and suspenseful
Written by AnimR on 5th Aug 2023

I truly enjoyed this book. Chloe was sarcastic and witty. Raff was the perfect dark alpha. Can't wait for the next book in the series to come out! Need to read more about these characters.

Running with the wolves
Written by Trouble in FL on 29th Jul 2023

This quick read tells the story about a woman kidnapped by 5 men. This isn't a group sex or RH book, though. The group are pack, wolf shifters led by the group's alpha. They've recognized that the feisty bartender is an alpha female who has no knowledge of her lupine side, and the alpha male recognizes her as mate. He just has to convince her of that! I felt the story well written, but too short. There was so much potential here that could be explored. The importance of the first full moon shift was simply a dozen 1- or 2-word statements. I recognize that when in wolf form the brain is not the same and the format of thoughts was effective in emphasizing that. Once returned to human form, though, couldn't the idea be expounded upon? The ending also seemed a bit rushed, but it could be my feeling just because I wanted to keep reading! I enjoyed the story and do recommend it for a unique perspective from the female viewpoint. Most shifter stories tend toward a third person voice. Once again, be aware it is a quick book but be assured of a HEA. This is a standalone title.

Let's start our pack
Written by Niekol on 29th Jul 2023

Had me laughing out loud at some times. And that for a story about a girl that gets kidnapped and learns she is a shifter. She does not believe and gives her kidnapper hell. Feisty heroin, yummy alpha and a pack to die for.