Review: Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloverreborn
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #10
Publisher: Penguin
Hero: Tohrment, son of Hharm
Heroine: No’One / Autumn
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 27, 2012
Started On: November 30, 2017
Finished On: December 11, 2017

Lover Reborn, the tenth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series brings to readers the much awaited story of Tohrment. Tohrment is the vampire who was bonded & married when the series initially began, the vampire who lost it all when his pregnant wife was killed by none other than a lesser, the mortal enemies of the vampire race. To say that Tohrment feels the loss keenly would be an understatement, so much so that he flees the Brotherhood compound and disappears for a long while, until he is “forced” to return. How he returns and why would be giving away spoilers for fans of the series who are yet to read this installment.

Even though Tohrment returns to the fold of the living, his soul is tormented by thoughts of none other than Wellsie, his beloved shellan, with whom he wants to be, even if it means going unto the Fade himself. However, fate has other plans in store for him when Tohrment begins to take notice of No’One, mother of Xhexania (Xhex), John’s shellan. Tohrment’s past is one that is entwined with that of the painful one of No’One’s.

No’One carries a name that fits the life she has led since her abduction at the hands of a symphath, who had violated her in too many ways to count, rendering her as a persona non grata in the glymera society, furthermore leaving her with a child she had never asked for, nor wanted. Tohrment’s role in ensuring her wellbeing at that rough and tough point in her life is something No’One has never forgotten.

No’One tries hard to not draw attention to herself. Wearing loose clothing with a hood over her head, No’One keeps to herself, does a lot of physical labor which makes the doggen feel helpless to boot, but its a way of life No’One doesn’t seem to want to be willing to give up, until Lassiter seeks her help to bring Tohrment truly back to the land of the living.

At first, the newly forged association between Tohrment and No’One is an odd one. Tohrment doesn’t have any needs beyond ensuring that his dead shellan and unborn child crosses over to the Fade, and in order to do so, Tohrment has to do the hardest thing he has ever had to do – let them go. No’One assures herself and Tohrment with the fact that she has no interest in HIS kind – the male sex in its entirety, which is what allows both Tohrment and No’One to get close enough to each other for the bonds to forge, the attraction to simmer and spill forth like a river gushing ferociously after being denied its passage for so long.

Lover Reborn is a story that has plenty of angst going for it, not only through the story of Tohrment and No’One, but because John and Xhex face the first real test of the limits of their relationship. Being bonded to someone like Xhex is tough business, with both the male and female being similarly aggressive in a manner that leaves very little room for compromising. While I understood Xhex and where she was coming from, it hurt me more to see what John was going through. But, I believe that Ward handled that particular difficult period of their relationship with great sensitivity, and I couldn’t have asked for more in that regard.

Meanwhile, in Tohrment and No’One’s relationship, Tohrment is determined that he keep his distance, even when he is helplessly drawn to No’One in a way he never thought would be possible. But resist he does, until the very end, whereby the explosive nature of his need for No’One foinds its outlet in the most delicious way possible. But Tohrment is a vampire determined in many ways, and his determination to keep clinging onto the memory of his wife is one that starts driving a wedge between No’One and Tohrment, not because No’One complains about any of it, but because Tohrment is torn up about his conflicting and wayward emotions when it comes to both females.

I sometimes felt that No’One is left holding up the short end of the stick when it comes to Tohrment. But then again, with bonding of the kind that the vampires forge, I believe it is pretty difficult to react in any way but. For Tohrmnet, Wellsie had been THE one, and the woman he had thought he would spend the rest of his life with. His fear of losing her, which had in the end become a reality, had been too much for him to take, which is again understandable. No’One playing second fiddle to the preserved and pristine memory of a dead woman was her way of letting Tohrment come to terms with everything. Had No’One being any other way, I guess the relationship would have failed even before it began.

No’One has the kind of patience, empathy, and forgiveness that few can aspire to have. Perhaps it had been forged through the life of continued “penance” that she had lived, never asking for anything for herself, but going along the path of life without wanting much out of it.

One of the sweetest things about this story was the relationship that buds to life between Xhex and No’One, daughter and mother, who for the first time get that opportunity to be together. Xhex who hides her inner vulnerability with the hard shell of the sharply honed fighter that she is, never thought that there would come a day when she and her mother would have a relationship, much less one where she could actually feel loved and wanted. That for me, was one of the most riveting parts of this story.

The end was an angst ridden one for Tohrment and No’One, and I am glad that Ward did justice to both their characters and gave readers an ending worth all the “torment”.

Lover Reborn is also the novel in which Ward makes Xcor’s character a prominent one. I fell in love with him in this story, and it is a love that has only grown in leaps and bounds as the series progressed and ultimately reached his story. The Band of Bastards, whose leader is Xcor, commits the most unforgivable of crimes against the King, for which the punishment is to be death. If that doesn’t get the reader juices flowing to find out what happens next, what would?

Splendid storytelling as always. Forever glad that I decided to give this series a try because I have yet to be disappointed.

Final Verdict: Lover Reborn, just like every single Black Dagger Brotherhood book, is a feast on all your senses. JR Ward definitely knows what she’s doing.

Favorite Quotes

When she came a second time, she had to retract her mouth from his flesh and call out his name. And as he pulsed deep within her, she stopped moving and absorbed the sensation of the kicking and jerking, so familiar, and yet so fresh.
Jesus … what an expression he had … his eyes squeezed shut, his teeth bared, the muscles in his neck straining, all while a streak of delicious red left the puncture marks she had yet to lick closed.
When his lids finally opened, she stared hard at the blissed-out haze in those blue eyes of his. His love for her wasn’t just emotional; there was an undeniable physical component to it. That was the way bonded males worked.

He met her halfway, falling into a jog as soon as he saw her pick up the pace, and they slammed into each other.
Hard to know whose mouth found whose, or whose arms were cinched tighter, or who was the desperate one.
But then, in this they were equals.
Breaking the kiss, she groaned, “My cabin.”
The second after he nodded, she was out of there and so was he … and they re-formed outside her place.
No waiting to go inside.
He fucked her standing up, against her door, in the cold.

When John finally stopped and lifted his head, they were in the far corner, nearly into the living room. Oh, what a picture. Her mate’s face was flushed, his mouth glossy and puffy, his fangs so long he couldn’t close his jaw—and she was likewise wrung out, her breathing ragged, her sex throbbing with its own heartbeat.
He was still erect.
Too bad she barely had the energy to blink—because he deserved one heck of a payback.…
Except he seemed to know exactly what she was thinking. Rising up between her open legs, he gripped himself and began to stroke.
With a moan, she arched and rolled her hips. “Come all over me,” she said through gritted teeth.
John worked himself, his palm locked around his thick shaft, a clicking sound rising up as he pumped. His massive thighs split wide as he shoved his knees farther apart for balance, the muscles in his forearm standing out in harsh relief as he went harder and faster. And then he was barking something in a soundless way, his body going rigid as hot jets splashed all over her sex.
Just the thought of herself wet and messy was almost enough to make her come again. But the sight of him making it happen? Sent her right over the edge once more…

Dearest Virgin Scribe, he was enormous.
As No’One stood in the lee of the great warrior who had come upon her, she felt the heat coming off his massive body sure as if she were in front of a raging fire. And yet… she was not burned. And she was not afraid. She was warmed in someplace so deep, so buried within her, that she did not immediately recognize it as part of her internal makeup.
All she knew for sure was that he was going to take her vein within moments and she was going to let him—not because the angel had requested it of her, and not because she had vowed to, and not to make up for something in the past.
She… wanted him to.

“Ease yourself, warrior,” she told him.
“Oh, Jesus…”
“Now.”
As she commanded him, a thrall appeared to come over him: Below his waist, under the sheeting, one of his knees came up toward his body, his thighs splitting wide as his grip secured that vital place that defined him as uniquely male.
What happened next defied description. He worked himself against the balled sheeting, rolling his hips, pushing down, his body gathering momentum—
Oh, the sounds: from the rasp of his breath to his moans to the squeak from under the table.
This was the male animal in the throes of passion.
And there was no going back.
For either of them.

“Take from me,” he commanded, his jaw locking, his chin lifting, his throat becoming even more exposed.
As she brought her head down, she shook from head to foot, and she struck with no grace whatsoever—
This time, the moan came from her.
His taste was like nothing she could recall, a screaming roar in her mouth, over her tongue, down her throat. His blood was so much purer and stronger than that which she had had, and oh, the power of him. It was as if the potency of his warrior’s body poured into hers, transforming her into something so much more than she had ever been before.
“Take more,” he urged in a rough voice. “Take everything.…”

The first touch of her sex was nothing but a passover that had her crying out for more. The second was a slower shift. The third was a—
She shot her hand down and covered his, pushing him against her heat.
His moan was unexpected, suggesting that the feel of her might have made him orgasm himself—yes, she could tell by the way his body spasmed that he had found another release, his hips jerking beneath the blankets in a way that made her think of penetration.
Repeated, vigorous penetration.

And then his hands were upon her. Through the linen shift, his palms burned as they stroked her breasts and continued lower. Parting her thighs even farther for him, she pulled up the sheath and got what she wanted, his touch going to her core, massaging her, bringing her to that knife edge of release—but no farther.
“I want to kiss you,” he growled against her mouth. “But I can’t wait.”
She thought he was kissing her?
Before she could respond, he lifted his hips from her and worked with rough urgency at the front of his leathers.
And then something hot and blunt was bumping … nudging … slipping against her.
No’One arched up and called his name—and that was when he took her: As her voice echoed to the high ceiling, his body claimed hers, pushing inside, making its way, hard yet satin soft.

Abruptly, he slowed down and snagged the tie that secured the plait of her hair, ripping it off and freeing the lengths. Shaking the thick waves out of their confines, he drew them over her shoulder and his own, blanketing them both.
Something about that undoing led to his own undoing: Two pumps later and his body pitched off its ledge, the release taking over everything until he cursed on an explosive breath.
Careening through the pleasure, he squeezed her hard and put his face into all that blond, breathing in, smelling the delicate shampoo that she used. Shit, the scent of her cranked him even higher, until his orgasm abruptly became the rough-and-tumble kind, racking his body, throwing his balance out of whack, rendering him temporarily blind.

They landed in the warm water as one, soft, invisible arms gathering them into a temperate cushion, and insulating them from gravity’s heavyhanded pull, sparing them both any kind of hard landing.
As his head went under, he found her mouth and claimed it, kissing her under the surface as he planted his feet and pushed up so that they found the air. …
In the process, his cock found her core again.
She was right there with him, linking those legs of hers around his hips once more, echoing his rhythm, kissing him back. And it was good. It was … right.

As she strained against him, pumping herself faster and faster, her frustration made her wild.
She bit him.
In the shoulder.
Scored him. With her nails.
The combination should have had him stopping and demanding more civilized behavior. Instead, with his blood flowing onto her, he let out a roar so mighty there was a crash in the room, as if it had rattled something off the wall.
Then he orgasmed. And thank the sweet Virgin Scribe for his release. As he jabbed into her and his erection kicked violently, she finally caught that elusive ride herself, her body rocking with him, the headboard banging.

Coming out of the bath, he found her still on the bed. She had curled away toward the windows and was lying on her side with the sheets drawn around herself.
He saw her naked.
Utterly. Fucking. Naked.
The image made his body get instantly hard, his sex punching out from his hips. And as if she sensed his arousal, she moaned in an erotic purr and undulated. Reaching behind herself, she pulled back what covered her and moved her upper leg forward, exposing her glistening sex.
“Oh, hell,” he groaned.

“Jesus,” he groaned. “How’m I supposed to leave you?”
“Don’t,” she said.
No asking twice on that one. He took her from behind again, lifting her hips, gripping them, and tilting her pelvis so he could get in deep. He ended up with a forearm around her midsection and his weight balanced on his other hand, working her, pounding her until their bodies slapped together and the bed made that noise again. He came on a curse, his orgasm exploding out of him as if he hadn’t had sex in months.
And still he was hungry for her. Especially as she found her own release.

Xhex grabbed the doorknob, twisted hard enough to break the thing off, and shoved her way—
Holy. Shit.
John was by himself on his bed, lying on top of twisted sheets, his naked body gleaming in the light that bled in from the bathroom. One hand was between his legs, his big fist locked on his thick cock … the other was gripping the headboard for leverage as he worked himself, his teeth bared, the muscles in his shoulders and neck standing out in stark relief as he strained.
Shiiiiit. His lower abdomen was slick from other orgasms, and yet he seemed starved for release.
Fevered eyes met hers as his hand stilled. Go, he mouthed. Please …
She quickly stepped inside and shut the door. This was not something anyone else needed to see.
Please! he demanded.
Please, indeed, she thought to herself, her own body responding, her own blood starting to pump.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Devil’s Cut by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookdevilscut
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Bourbon Kings, #3
Publisher: Ballantine
Hero: Lane/Edward/Samuel
Heroine: Lizzie/Sutton/Gin
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: August 1, 2017
Started On: September 29, 2016
Finished On: October 05, 2017

The third and final book in The Bourbon Kings trilogy delivered a lackluster read for me in many ways, reasons which I will be detailing about later in the post. JR Ward’s characterization and setting is of course top notch. And even with all the problems I had with the story and its development, I enjoyed the escape it provided when I needed one. 

Devil’s Cut takes off from where things were left off in the second book, The Angels’ Share, where the eldest, Edward Westfork Bradford Baldwine, confesses to the murder of his father. This sets in motion the events that escalate into the culmination of the ending Ward delivered, with Gin and Samuel’s story being given a little bit more attention to tie up the loose ends in their story as well.

Things I loved about the story can be summed up in just one sentence. Gin and Samuel, and their fiery non-relationship relationship. It is not the ideal love affair that they have going, but because of it, their story manages to grab you from the first book onward and not let you go.

One of the things I disliked about the series was that it focused too much on Lizzie and Lane, when it should have been separate novels for each of the lead characters we meet. Secondary characters like Edwin MacAllan (Mack), Master Distiller for the company who meets his match in Beth Lewis who turns up for the position of his assistant was a secondary story that was left without much written about them after the initial introduction. There was so much potential in their story and the readers just got to see them “together” all of a sudden.

While I grew to accept Lizzie and Lane together, I never did love their coming together as much as I should have, especially given the time that Ward invested in writing their characters, by giving them so much presence in all three novels. I could understand why from the viewpoint of Lane being the one responsible for bringing it all together, solving the family issues etc. But, that could have been catered to while letting their stories simmer in the background, making other characters more prominent.

I would have loved to see an expansion of Maxwell’s story, the son who left and didn’t return until at the very last minute. He is labeled as a drifter, a troublemaker, a tattooed bad-ass if you ask me, and he was just sidelined in the series to an extent that it was as if Ward just happened to remember that he also needed to come back. His history with Tanesha Nyce, the preacher’s daughter was one I wanted to read about, and yet that too, never materialized.

That brings me to the couple that gave the series that jolt of electricity, that pulse of life; Gin and Samuel – the lifeline of the series. Yet, they didn’t get to have their own book, and they had the potential to be so much more. Even when Ward did not give them their own book, they made their presence felt throughout, so much so that I wished that I got to read about them and them alone. There is so much history to them, their on and off explosive “relationship”, the secret Gin has been carrying with her for so long, a secret so incendiary that it seems to drive a wedge between Gin and Samuel that could have lasted for a long time. Gin is a character who is extremely flawed, and the way she transforms was the one aspect to the series that I wholeheartedly approved of. But I just wished that Ward had focused more on them than on other paltry characters of the series.

Ward also started a story line where a sort of love triangle could have emerged between Edward, Shelby, and Sutton. I wasn’t that enamored with Sutton at all. Nor was I won over even when everything just seemed to neatly come together with Shelby moving on all of a sudden. There was a vulnerability to Shelby, a down to earth honesty to her character that I fell in love with from the onset. She seemed to see right through to Edward, his pain, and the darkness inside of him unlike Sutton for whom Edward shows a different side of his character. He tries to protect Sutton in a way when with Shelby, he is himself, the version of himself that he became after all the trauma that he had gone through. But of course, it was Sutton he went for all of a sudden, and there was this missing component to their story line that didn’t satisfy me on all fronts.

The ultimate culmination of the main thread of the story was also disappointing to say the least. It focuses on the murder of William Baldwine and the ensuing chaos that brings all siblings “together”. While the “killer” became obvious halfway through, I still hoped that Ward would provide something more explosive than what I knew would be a pitiful ending. Everything of course comes together rather neatly, but there were those potholes in the plot that were left gaping open. Ward is capable of so much more, as her Black Dagger Brotherhood stories testify time and yet again. I know that both series are entirely different in their own manner. But the fact that even with all those things that did not work for me in this one, I was still hooked to Ward’s storytelling tells its own tale.

Final Verdict: Disappointing for the fact that it could have been so much more; I wished for individual stories for all main leads in the series.

Favorite Quotes

In lieu of answering, he dipped down and brushed the side of her throat with his lips. Moving his hands farther up under her skirt, he brushed the tops of her thigh highs—and then kept going until—
“You’re not wearing panties,” he growled.
“Of course not. It’s eighty-five degrees out there and humid as the inside of a shower.”
Samuel T. became unhinged then, his control snapping, his greed for her overtaking everything. With sure fingers, he unbuckled his monogrammed belt and unzipped his slacks—and Gin was clearly as impatient as he was. Moving herself down on the sofa, she brought them together at the very moment he angled his erection forward.
They both shuddered, and then he started moving.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: The Angels’ Share by J.R. Ward

Format: E-booktheangelsshare
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Bourbon Kings, #2
Publisher: NAL
Hero: Edward Baldwine
Heroine: Sutton Smythe
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 26, 2016
Started On: September 02, 2016
Finished On: September 29, 2017

Even though I usually write my reviews before starting on the next book in the series, the part of my life that was dedicated to reviewing  romances that I read and enjoy so much took a hiatus in recent times. But I am someone who believes in the “better late then never” concept when it is about people and things that matter above everything else.

The Angels’ Share, book 2 in The Bourbon Kings trilogy picks up where the first book ends. That things are a mess for the Baldwines would be an understatement. With their father dead, the family’s finances in a mess, it is Tulane Baldwine (Lane), the poker playing former man-whore who returns home to pick up the pieces. Four siblings, all of whom are “estranged” from one another in different ways; JR Ward lays out a complex family for readers to sink their teeth into, and the surprises keep coming forth, urging the reader to turn the pages faster to get to the inevitable conclusion of it all.

Lane has his work cut out for him in trying to make sense out of the mess that his father has left in the wake of his death, an autopsy of which proves more than what Lane bargained for. William Baldwine is not the beloved father figure that most would presume he would have been. Instead, he is the father who destroys a family with his words and actions, and inaction when it came to Lane’s eldest brother Edward..

One has to read the trillogy altogether to get a sense of just how deep JR Ward digs when it comes to the Baldwines. Having never read anything else but the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by the author prior to picking up this particular trilogy, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but in usual JR Ward fashion, she blew me away with the depth that she brings to her characters and the story.

While I didn’t particularly root for the Edward and Sutton connection (which I am pretty sure I would be in the singular minority in this case), I felt intrigued by Gin’s story most of all. I think that would have been the case for most readers. Gin and her ongoing tit-for-tat, explosive relationship with Samuel T. took my breathe away every single time they were in the same room together. Gin’s inability to face her inner demons, to right the wrongs of her past, to accept herself for who she is, to draw on her inner strength and fight; those were all things that I wanted for her, from her. That in my opinion is a character well written.

Gin is not without her fair share of faults. But, given all that, I fell for her, hard. Unlike most of the characters in the book, and even Lizzie for whom I just had a passable liking at best, Gin stood out from everyone else like one of those exotic creatures gracing the cover of a glossy magazine tossed on a pile of old, worn and torn ones that no one would look at twice. That is how Gin materialized for me in the story and captivated me all throughout.

Enjoyable in a way only great storytelling can deliver, The Angels’ Share provides for enjoyable reading.

Final Verdict: Incredible, the level of depth to the story. It just keeps getting better.

Favorite Quotes

It was not supposed to go like this, he thought to himself. He’d banked on her backing away from him, leaving him alone, forgetting about the damn doctor.
“Sometimes the land must accept the storm,” Shelby whispered.
“What?”
She just shook her head as she moved up his lower body. “It’s not important.”
And she was right. Nothing much was important at all as she was the one who kissed him, her lips soft and shy, as if she knew nothing about seduction.

His hands swept up and cupped her breasts as his hips rolled against her, stroking her with an erection that was so hard, so distinct, she didn’t know whether he’d taken his pants off. Her skirt didn’t last long, Edward taking advantage as she arched up to his mouth to release the back fastening and do away with it.
Her stockings followed suit.
And then her panties.
And then his mouth left her breasts … and went other places.
The orgasm was so strong, her head knocked into the hard table, but she didn’t care. Throwing her palms out, they squeaked against polished wood as she called his name freely.
There was no one to know.
Nobody to hear.

He whispered something in her ear that she didn’t catch.
“What?” she said.
“Nothing.”
Edward stopped her from asking again by kissing her some more. And then he was moving inside of her, his erection still hard, his hips still strong, his need still for her.
For some reason, her eyes watered. “Why does this feel like you’re saying good-bye?”
“Shhhh …” he said before kissing her again.

Samuel T. to Gin – “What I really want to say is two things,” he continued. “First, I want you to know you’re better than that, and not because you’re a Bradford. The truth is, no matter what happens to the money, you’re a strong, smart, capable woman, Gin—and up until now you’ve used those virtues in bad ways, dumb-ass ways, because quite frankly, you haven’t had any real challenges put in front of you. You’ve been a warrior without a field of battle, Gin. A fighter without a foe, and you’ve been lashing out at everything and everyone around you for years now, trying to burn off the energy.” His voice grew unbearably hoarse. “Well, I want you to channel all that in a different way now. I want you to be strong for the right reasons. I want you to take care of yourself now. Protect yourself now. You have people who … you have people who love you. Who want to help you. But you’re going to need to take the first step.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloverunleashed.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #9
Publisher: Signet
Hero: Manny Manello
Heroine: Payne
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: March 01, 2011
Started On: February 23, 2017
Finished On: June 04, 2017

Lover Unleashed by JR Ward is the ninth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and brings to readers the story of Payne, born to the Scribe Virgin, and thus the twin of Vishous. The revelation that his twin is alive comes in an earlier book, one that shocked me to boot. I cannot even imagine the depth of feelings that must have coursed through Vishous himself when the fact was made known to him.

Payne is a heroine who is powerful in a way that only one born out of such a union can be. Like Vishous, Payne’s beauty is such that it has the ability to take away the breath of those who come across her. Her beauty is one that mesmerizes people for the lack of a better word. What is more stunning is the immense power that she holds in her hands, which comes to light with the divulgence of the unthinkable she had done to the man who had sired her.

It is also Lover Unleashed that brings a new band of “enemies” to the turf of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a group of fighters from the vampire race who are just as vicious in their manner when it comes to the war with the Lessers. Yet, they do not identify themselves as a Brotherhood. Xcor, the group’s leader is a vampire to contend with and then some, a bastard born to the Bloodletter himself, walking on a path to avenge the death of his father, a murder that he had never forgotten nor forgiven.

Payne’s appearance in the Brotherhood company comes through a tragic event that unfolds, leading Dr. Jane Whitcomb, the shellren of Vishous to seek the services of chief of surgery at the hospital where she had worked prior to her “death”. Manny is brought in to the Brotherhood compound on the premise of helping Payne where Jane’s medical abilities fall short. While bringing in people, especially humans who are none the wiser to the existence of the vampires as a race is a big no, Wrath, the King makes an exception owing to the extenuating circumstances and his involvement in what leads to the circumstances.

Manny’s appearance in Payne’s life brings forth a connection neither would have thought possible. For Manny, the possessiveness that streaks through him as his gaze lands on Payne in her hospital bed is one that shocks him to the core, almost as if his very DNA recognizes Payne as his and his alone. While Vishous and the rest of the Brotherhood might have other ideas where Manny is concerned, Payne is as drawn to him which brings forth complications that aren’t as black and white to resolve.

Alongside Payne and Manny’s developing story, it becomes a testing period for Vishous and Jane’s relationship as well, which was something I loved in the story. Vishous is someone who has a penchant for sex of the darker variety, an aspect of himself that he had “given up” on when he had embraced his love for all that is Jane. However, with dark memories rising up from his past, Vishous is at a loss as to how to deal with them, and the friction between him and Jane is one that was painful to read about, but a much needed one in my opinion.

Someone like Vishous, who had undergone so much, and carries such a powerful weapon on his own self, a man with such a dark past – that doesn’t just find a cure overnight because they have fallen in love. Even if love of the kind that vampires have is an all consuming one, I believe that JR Ward did immense justice to both Vishous and Jane’s characters by bringing to light this side of their relationship, and the role that Butch plays in all of it to help them.

It is often difficult to review books so well written, especially of a series of the caliber of Black Dagger Brotherhood, because so many things keep happening at the same time, which makes these books the stellar reads they are. The stories continuously keep evolving in a way that leaves readers on the edge, and I believe the same must happen to JR Ward herself when it comes to the places her immensely complex characters take her.

I loved so many things about Manny and Payne’s relationship, together with the way Vishous and Jane faced their own troubles and made things work – because their love is worth all that and more. All throughout the story, there was one thing that kept circling in my mind – the fact that Manny is over the top hot. The way Payne and Manny want each other was is out of this world hot, burning up my eyeballs and then some, and I enjoyed every single aspect of it.

The friendship and love that exists between Butch and Vishous is one that was tested as well, with Butch having to step outside of his comfort zone to help his Brother for whom he would practically lay down his own life for. There is an understanding between them that is hard to put in words, but materializes so beautifully under Ward’s craftsmanship.

When all is said and done, Lover Unleashed delivers a story that is well rounded in every way. Each book in the series continues to amaze me in a way I would never have thought possible. I know that I should not be surprised any longer when it comes to JR Ward and this series, and yet the fact that she continually does so is reason number one that I would keep coming back for more.

Wholeheartedly recommended for fans of the series and those that love well rounded tales of the paranormal romance genre that delivers scorching and such well done scenes of passion!

Final Verdict: Lover Unleashed, the ninth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is just as astounding as the rest. JR Ward is an author not to be missed for this very reason!

Favorite Quotes

Pushing into the examination room, he—
Oh . . . dear God.
Oh . . . Lord above.
The patient on the table was lying still as water and . . . she was probably the most beautiful anything he’d ever seen: Hair was jet-black and braided into a thick rope that hung free next to her head. Skin was a golden brown, as if she were of Italian descent and had recently been in the sun. Eyes . . . her eyes were like diamonds, both colorless and brilliant, with nothing but a dark rim around the iris.
“Manny?”
Jane’s voice was right behind him, but he felt as if she were miles away. In fact, the whole world was somewhere else, nothing existing except for the stare of his patient as she looked up at him from out of her immobilized head.
It finally happened, he thought as he burrowed under his shirt and took hold of his heavy cross. All his life he’d wondered why he’d never fallen in love, and now he knew: He’d been waiting for this moment, this woman, this time.
The female is mine, he thought.

“Teach me,” she said darkly, her lips parting, her hips rolling under his own. “Take me.”
Her hand moved between the two of them and found his erection, rubbing at it, making him moan.
“I am empty without you,” she said. “Fill me. Now.”
With an invitation like that, he didn’t give anything else a second thought. Fumbling around, he shoved his scrubs down his thighs and then. . .
“Oh, fuck,” he groaned as his hard cock slipped up her slick core.

With his tremendous strength, V repositioned her in the blink of an eye, pivoting her around and shoving the sheets out of the way so he could lift her hips up and over his torso. Her thighs were split over his face and—
“Vishous,” she said around his erection.
His mouth was slick and warm and right on target, fusing with her sex, latching on and sucking before his tongue snaked out and licked inside of her. Her brain didn’t so much turn off as explode, and with nothing left to think with, she was blissfully lost in what was happening and not what had gone before. She had a feeling V was the same. . . . He was all about the stroking, lapping at her and sucking on her, his hands digging into her thighs as he moaned her name against her core.

“Fuck, I need you,” he cursed.
On another quick burst of power, Vishous lifted her as if she didn’t weigh more than the sheet did, and the shift was not a surprise. He always preferred to come inside her, deep inside of her, and he spread her legs before settling her on top of his hips, his blunt head nudging into her . . . and slamming home.
The invasion was not just about sex, but him staking his claim, and she loved it. This was the way it should be.
Falling forward and bracing herself against his shoulders, she stared into his eyes as they moved together, the rhythm pounding until they came at the same time, both of them going rigid as he jerked inside of her and her sex milked him. And then V flipped her onto her back and shot down her body, going back to where he’d been, his mouth fusing on her, his palms locking on her thighs as he ate at her.
As she came hard, there was no break or pause. He surged forward, stretching up both her legs and swording in, entering her on a solid stroke and taking over.

The brush of her lips was nothing but velvet, except the anticipation of what was to come had him hyper-focusing so everything was magnified. He knew precisely where she was—
The scrape was viciously soft as she nuzzled him.
Then her hand snaked around to his nape and clamped on, holding him in place so hard, he realized she could snap his neck if she wanted.
“Oh, God,” he moaned, giving himself over completely. “Oh—fuck!”
The strike was strong and sure, two points going in deep, the sweet pain robbing him of sight and sound until all he knew was the sucking draw at his vein.
That and the massive orgasm that rolled through his balls and pumped out the head of his cock, his hips jacking up against her as his erection kicked and jerked . . . and kept going.

“Do this thing you want to me, healer,” she moaned. “Whatever it is. I know you are holding back.”
A growl came out of him and he moved so fast that the only thing that could have stopped him was her saying no. And that word was evidently not in her vocabulary.
In a flash, he was between her thighs, his hands spreading her wider, her sex laid open and weeping in the face of his male urge to dominate and mate.
He gave in. Fuck him, but he let himself go and kissed her core. And there was nothing gradual or gentle about it; he dived in with his mouth, sucking at her and tonguing her as she cried out and scratched at his forearms.

Vampire . . . he thought. Beautiful vampire.
Mine.
As that thought coalesced in his mind, he acted on autopilot, shifting his head to the side, offering his jugular to her—
He didn’t have to ask twice. In a great surge, Payne sprang up, all but launching her whole body onto him, her hand shoving into his hair and tightening on his nape. As she held him in her grip, he was utterly immobilized, hers for the taking . . . prey for her predator. And now that she had him, she moved slowly, her fangs dropping to his skin and dragging up the column of his throat, making him stiffen in anticipation of the puncturing and the sucking. . . .
“Fuck!” he barked when she bit him. “Oh . . . yeah . . .”

“I want more of you,” Payne murmured as she nuzzled him.
Well, he was still hard as stone even though he’d—
“I want you in my mouth.”
Manny’s head kicked back and he groaned as his cock twitched like it was taking a jog down there. But as much as he wanted her, he wasn’t sure she knew what she was in for. Even the thought of her lips on his—
Payne’s head went down into his lap before he could find the breath to speak, and there was no preamble; she sucked him right down, pulling him in and holding him in her wet, warm mouth.
“Fuck! Payne!”

Snaking a hand around the back of her neck, he drew her lips close to his throat. “Take me.”
The sound she made had him orgasming inside of her—it was too fucking hot for him to hold back. And as his cock spasmed, her fangs struck deep into his vein.
The sex went wild. She moved against him, her tight core fisting him up and milking him as he came again . . . and then he started to pump his hips hard. The drinking and the crazy rhythm swept them both away into a heady pounding of bodies that he knew they were each going to feel in the morning: There was nothing civilized to this; it was male and female distilled down to the most primal core.
And it was the very best of anything he had ever had.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Duke of Pleasure by Elizabeth Hoyt

Format: E-bookdukeofpleasure.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #11
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Hero: Hugh Fitzroy
Heroine: Alf
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 29, 2016
Started On: December 06, 2016
Finished On: December 12, 2016

Elizabeth Hoyt is an author who writes with a flair that grabs the reader from the start, her heroes and heroines having that edge to their characters that makes a world of difference when it comes to the world of romance, especially today. When I “discovered” Hoyt’s books, I devoured them in a frenzy that left me stunned, because it had been so long since an author has had that effect on me.

Duke of Pleasure, which is the 11th book in the Maiden Lane series came out almost towards the end of 2016. It was a book that I had been waiting for quite eagerly, just like the legions of fans of the Maiden Lane series out there. While Duke of Pleasure didn’t quite live up to all the expectations that I had for the novel, it however, in classic Hoyt style, delivered a read that made me sigh and swoon in all the right places.

With a Maiden Lane novel, you get not just a romance that is beautifully crafted, but an adventure that goes along with it, which is one reason why these novels are so damn good. Duke of Kyle, aka Hugh Fitzroy is a man tasked with a very important case, not just by anyone, but the King himself; bringing down the Lord of Chaos, a group consisting of the very upper echelons of society participating in most vile and despicable acts for revelry of their own. A mission easier said than accomplished, all things considered.

Following a lead deep into the recesses of the filth of the city is where Kyle encounters none other than the Ghost of St. Giles “himself”, someone who fights and defends the weakest members of society, the ones that law enforcement officials seldom bother protecting. From the moment Kyle witnesses the grace with which the Ghost fights, his interest is one that is piqued in earnest, more so given the fact that he sees the Ghost of St. Giles as the woman she is under the mask and costume she wears.

Moonlighting at night as the Ghost of St. Giles, Alf resumes the role of the boy that she has been as far as she can remember. Having grown up on the streets with no one to look after her, Alf is as tough and resilient as they come, amassing a wealth of secrets along the way in the tasks that she carries out for those who seek out her help. Having rescued Kyle once, Alf is drawn to him in a way that is foreign to her, something that she has never let herself open up enough to experience before.

Finding out that Alf and the Ghost of St. Giles are the one and the same not only stuns Kyle, but makes him realize just how much he has been deluding himself when it comes to the slumbering beast inside of him. Having succumbed to passion’s wily nature before and paid for it, Kyle is a man who is the classic example of “once bitten, twice shy”. Feeling the tendrils of desire that rocks the iron bars of the cage within which he had locked that side of himself does not settle very well with Kyle.

Alf on the other hand, innocent in terms of the guileless nature behind her desire for a man who takes her breathe away, is just two steps short of falling head over heels in love with a man who is far above her station in every single way. But the heart has a way of wanting what is wants, consequences be damned, and that is how Alf finds herself taken in by the powerful embrace of the Duke who wants her, and at the same time seems to wage an inner battle with himself every single time he succumbs. The quest to root out the evil of the Lord of Chaos also comes with a price, one that both Kyle and Alf might have to pay in terms of the lives of the ones they both hold near and dear to their hearts.

While I found myself enamored by the characters of both Kyle and Alf, I felt that there could have been more to their coming together than what was delivered in the story. I just felt a lack that I cannot quite put my finger on. Maybe it stemmed from the fact that the hero from Duke of Sin, the 10th book in the series was ruthless in a way that spoke to me on so many levels, and I was perhaps hoping for the same or more from Kyle. Either way, even with the tiny bits and pieces of misgivings that I had, I nevertheless enjoyed the journey which Hoyt delivered amazingly well.

I just loved the inside cover of this book so much so that I decided to include it in my review. Let the drooling and sighing begin!

dukeofpleasure2

Recommended for fans of the series & historical romances that deliver reads worth sinking your teeth into.

Final Verdict: The Maiden Lane series by Elizabeth Hoyt is decadent in a way few historical romances ever are. Duke of Pleasure delivers everything that a reader could want when they sit down with one of Hoyt’s books.

Favorite Quotes

A tall man in a ragged brown coat and a filthy red neckcloth stepped forward. Hugh half-expected him to make some sort of a speech, he looked that full of himself. Instead he drew a knife the size of a man’s forearm, grinned, and licked the blade.
Oh, for—
Hugh didn’t wait for whatever other disgusting preliminaries Knife Licker might feel were appropriate to the occasion. He stepped forward and smashed the bottle of very fine Viennese wine over the man’s head.
Then they were on him.
He slashed and felt the jolt to his arm as he hit flesh.
Swung and raked the sword across another’s face.
Staggered as two men slammed into him.
Another hit him hard in the jaw.
And then someone clubbed him behind the knees.
He fell to his knees on the icy ground, growling like a bleeding, baited bear.
Raised an arm to defend his head…
And…
Someone dropped from the sky right in front of him.
Facing his attackers.
Darting, wheeling, spinning.
Defending him so gracefully.
With two swords.

He slid on cobblestones as he ran to the lane. Someone yelled from behind him. And then he was in another narrow passage. There was an abrupt right-angle turn, and he took it, ignoring the yowl of a cat as he raced by, and then he burst into a courtyard.
The Ghost was there.
On the ground, her half cape a black whirl as she danced with her swords, their prey cornered. Something caught his attention about her movements—something not quite right—but as he watched, she knocked aside the man’s knife and placed her long sword against his throat and the thought died.
She smiled.
And he was amazed that anyone thought her a man.

Hugh watched her sheathe her swords. He touched his finger to her chin, feeling soft skin, and tipped up her face. He couldn’t tell the color of her eyes in the dark and behind the ugly half mask, but he saw the glint of moonlight in their depths.
“Who are you?” he whispered, that strange wildness still in his veins.
She didn’t answer.
So he did what he’d wanted to do since he’d first seen her tonight, there on the rooftops of St Giles: he bent and covered her mouth with his. Her lips were soft, so soft, and she tasted of wine and honey. He angled his head, drawing her slim body closer, sliding his tongue along her bottom lip until she opened her mouth beneath his.

She leaned a little closer and pressed her mouth to those pretty, pretty lips and inhaled his breath.
For a moment he was still beneath her, and then he moved, his hands rising slowly to grasp her arms.
She drew a little back, watching him.
His eyes opened, black and drowsy, staring into hers. He seemed entirely unsurprised to find her in his library, kissing him.
She smiled and for the first time that night felt herself settle. She placed her hands on his shoulders and straddled his lap. Knelt on the chair and bent her head to his again, opening her mouth over his, her palms on either side of his face.
The book tumbled to the floor.
She skimmed over his upper lip, feeling the odd prickle of his stubble. Caught his lower lip between her teeth.
An ember fell on the hearth.
Something sparked, and he took charge of the embrace. He opened his mouth beneath hers, angling his head, kissing her slowly, lazily, lushly, as if he had all the time in the world.

At that moment Alf opened her eyes, and he inhaled silently.
Her eyes were sleepy and a little dazed. Her cheeks flushed from sleep and, no doubt, the warmth of his sons, snuggled so close to her. She looked at him and seemed to become aware almost at once, her brown gaze sharpening. There was the mocking amusement he’d seen from the lad, Alf, the biting wit.
But now it was in feminine form.
She stared at him, and her soft pink lips—God, he’d been a blind fool to ever have thought that the mouth of a boy—smiled. Full and warm. Like sunshine. Like joy and hope.
The smile of a woman. Lethal as a spear to the chest.
Dangerous. Seductive.

He held her fast with his gaze and demanded, “You’re not what, Alf?”
Her pointed chin jerked up and she glared at him. “I’m not female. Not anymore. It’s been too long. I’ve been a boy too long.”
“My cock would beg to differ.”
Her mouth dropped open. “Wha—?”
He grabbed her wrist and dragged her over the bed, and thrust her hand crudely against the sheet covering his crotch. “Do you feel me? I’m hard for you.” He ground his cock up into her captive palm. “And I assure you I’m not at all interested in boys or men. Only women.”
Only you, a treacherous part of his mind whispered, but he ignored it. He was doing this for a mission, just that. It had nothing to do with the two of them. With the desire to see her bloom into the woman he wanted deep in his conflicted soul.
She stared down at her hand over his cock and her fingers flexed once.
He bit back a groan, and the thing within him, the thing locked away, rattled its chains.

She looked up at him, this powerful man. “What do you want from me, guv?”
“I don’t know,” he muttered, sounding angry—whether at her or himself, she couldn’t guess—and his hands pulled her against his hard body.
He bent and took her mouth, sliding his tongue against her lips until she parted them. Until she let him in with a relieved sigh. She’d missed this. Missed him. She’d wondered if he’d decided he was done with her.
Apparently not.
His fingers brushed over her bare neck, ticklish and sweet, even as he thrust his tongue inside her mouth again and again.
“Alf?” The call came from outside the room.
For a second more he continued to ravage her mouth as if he couldn’t tear himself away from her, and then Kyle lifted his head. His lips were reddened, his eyes dark.
Carefully he tucked a lock of her hair back inside her cap. “I don’t know what the hell I want from you.”

“I’ve hardly seen you,” he said moodily.
“I thought that was what you wanted,” she replied, her small expressive face closed. “You kissed me and then said you didn’t know what to do with me. You avoided me.”
“That hardly matters.” He flung up a hand irritably. “I didn’t know where you were.”
She lifted her chin. “I didn’t know I was supposed to be telling you everywhere I go, guv. You never mentioned.”
“Didn’t I?” he growled, taking that chin in hand.
He glanced at the windows. The boys were chasing the puppy down the graveled path. He bent and took her mouth, hard and fast and not nearly enough.
Not nearly enough.
When he raised his head again it was to breathe words across her parted lips. Words he didn’t stop to think about. Words that came straight from that part of himself he’d thought he’d locked away deep inside: “I’ll say it now, then. You tell me where you are and what you’re doing until such time as I’m done with you, do you understand?”
“Oh, I think I understand, guv,” she whispered, and though her words were a concession, her tone was not.

With her hand she squeezed the part of his cock that didn’t fit in her mouth and then began stroking up and down.
“They’re gone,” he muttered, his breath hitching, his hips rolling in little pushes he couldn’t seem to stop.
Oh, he wanted her. He wanted her.
She looked up at him and sucked harder.
It was dark, but she could just make out the glitter of his eyes. He was watching her. Down on her knees, with his cock in her mouth, sucking him.
His nostrils flared and that beautiful upper lip curled.
She rubbed the tip of her tongue underneath the head of his penis and he gasped. Slid his hand down her face in a caress.
Touched the corner of her wet, stretched lips with his thumb.
And came, flooding her mouth with his bitter seed.

He pressed into her, wide and thick. Hot, so hot.
There was a pinch.
But she kept her eyes on him, staring. His lush mouth was almost grim, and his forehead shone with sweat. He’d propped himself up on his elbows above her.
He thrust again, more of him entering her—stretching her—and she saw him clench his teeth.
She wrapped her legs around his hips and stroked the back of his leg with one foot.
He jerked and his hips met hers, his entire length buried inside her. She was stuffed full of him.
He inhaled through his nose and his nostrils flared.
She raised her head and whispered in his ear, “Are you going to fuck me now, guv?”
“Little devil,” he breathed.

“Ride me,” he rasped.
She blinked, not fully comprehending, but he was spreading her legs farther apart, taking away his knee and lowering her to his cock.
Oh, if she’d thought it large before, that was nothing to how proud he was now. A dark, angry red, heavy and full, thickest at the middle, and the foreskin stretched taut about the ridge of the head. She wanted to stare. To look her fill and perhaps feel it with hands and tongue.
He had other ideas.
He took hold of himself as she watched and rubbed his prick against her wet quim. “Sit.”
She could feel him at her entrance—there—big and waiting. She leaned a little forward, placing her hands on his shoulders and meeting his eyes.
Staring into his eyes as she tilted down and felt him breach her.
His nostrils were flared, his gaze implacable. “More.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N |Kobo | iTunes

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Review: Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloveravenged.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #7
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Hero: Rehvenge
Heroine: Ehlena
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 28, 2009
Started On: October 16, 2016
Finished On: November 02, 2016

Just as I mentioned in my last review, JR Ward did such a magnificent job of juggling multiple characters and storylines that I needed to Rehvenge’s book as soon as I was done reading Lover Enshrined. I have been reading the BDB series without really checking whose story is up next; I like the element of surprise it gives me, and plus, my trust in JR Ward’s ability to keep me entertained and on my toes while at it is an implicit one.

So when I picked up Lover Avenged (hopeful I was, of course), it was a delightful surprise to know that this was indeed Rehvenge’s story. Rehvenge makes for such a fascinating and formidable hero in so many ways. Being a half sympath, Rehvenge is someone who is a drug lord and pimp, and dangerous to boot. His liaisons with his blackmailer is one that has continued for years, one that was born out of sheer necessity for survival, and one that is proving detrimental to his very physical existence as well.

Rehvenge’s past is one filled with darkness, with an accusation hanging over his head that he has never fully given an explanation as to why. For him, cloaking himself in the dark of the night, staying away from humans and vampires alike as much as possible, is the way he survives. However, when he comes across Ehlena in one of his increasingly frequent and required visits to the clinic, Rehvenge’s reaction to her is one that takes both him and her by surprise.

Ehlena works as a nurse and is in a state of near destitution when Rehvenge comes into her life. Wary of trusting anyone as sinfully good looking as Rehvenge, and fearful of the disdainful reaction her less than favorable status might invoke in him makes Ehlena try her best to stay away from Rehvenge. However, as with most best laid plans, this one too falls through the cracks, and before Ehlena knows it, she is as involved as it gets with a man who harbors a secret of the kind that could destroy her and the very fabric of her existence itself.

Similar to Phury’s book, even in Lover Avenged, I felt that Rehvenge and Ehlena were given the role more of a secondary storyline than the primary focus of the novel. Of course, everything that was happening was equally relevant and as interesting. But I would have loved to have had just a little bit more of Ehlena and Rehvenge in the story, to have given them the opportunity to woo readers like myself a little bit more with a love that I fell for, hook, line, and sinker from the very first moment.

I also found myself totally engrossed in Lash’s role as he grew to prominence from being Omega’s son and the chosen one to lead the Lessers, and his plan that was cunning in the extreme to shake things up in the Vampire race once again.

So many starkly emotional moments were lined up in this book as well, from the moment the King aka Wrath faces the fact that he is indeed King of the race and it was time for him to step up. The role being something he had shied away from for a long while, having never wanted it, nevertheless it was his, and his “condition” more or less makes it more so relevant in his life.

I also found the snippets of Xhex and John’s story in the novel thoroughly invigorating. Their obvious attraction to one another from which Xhex alone shies away from, given the fact that she is a strong and equally dominant female to John’s maleness, plus the fact that her previous love affair had gone so horribly wrong – needless to say, Xhex has trust issues and major ones at that, which puts both of them at seemingly impassable crossroads.

I fell in love with Ehlena at a very pivotal moment in the story. The moment that a gentle person like herself, coming to the conviction that she would kill anyone who would hurt someone as seemingly powerful as Rehvenge was the moment that there was no going back for me. And Ehlena proved herself in ways that I wholeheartedly approved of, and I couldn’t have asked for a better fit for Rehvenge and the darkness that resides deep inside of him.

The way JR Ward made the whole Sympath angle work, and turn it to the advantage of the Vampire race that majorly shies away from the likes of Sympaths was nothing short of brilliant in my opinion. The way Rehvenge rose to the occasion, took over the colony, and finally assumed a role that was befitting him in so many ways – that was so powerful in a way that made the story the amazing read it was for me.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: Every installment in this series has been nothing short of intense. Lover Avenged just reaffirms this truth in a way that sets in stone JR Ward’s mastery over the genre.

Favorite Quotes

“Hello?”
The sound of her voice in his ear did something the hot shower, the mink throw, and the eighty-degree ambient air temperature couldn’t. Warmth spread out from his chest, beating back the numbness and the cold, suffusing him with…life.
He extinguished the lights so he could concentrate all he had on her.
“Rehvenge?” she said after a moment.
He eased back down onto his pillows and smiled in the dark. “Hi.”

“More,” she demanded, pushing her hips up.
His amethyst eyes lifted. “I don’t want to be too rough.”
“You won’t be. Please…it’s killing me….”
With a growl, he dove down and sealed her sex with his mouth, sucking her, pulling her into him. She came again, this time in hard, shattering blows, but he did her right. He kept going, riding out her jerks and arches, the sound of lips against lips rising up with her guttural cries as he worked her and made her climax over and over again.

“Take the stockings between both hands, stretch them out taut, then run them in between your legs front to back.”
She laughed with an erotic edge, then said sweetly, “You want me to work myself against them, do you?”
His breath shot into her ear. “Fuck, yes.”
“Dirty male.”
“A tongue bath from you might clean me up. What do you say?”
“Yes.”
“I love that word on your lips.”

With breathless demand, she said, “Take my vein—”
He hissed like a predator and went for her neck, biting hard.
Beth’s body jerked under his, and between their hips he felt a welling warmth that had nothing to do with what he’d left behind inside her. In his mouth, her blood was the gift of life, thick on his tongue and down his throat, filling his belly with a furnace of heat, lighting up his flesh from the inside out.

Before she could go over the door in front of him slid open, and he strode across the distance that seperated them, the winter wind catching his sable coat and sweeping it out from his body. His glowing amethyst eyes flashed. His stride was pure power. His aura was undeniably male.
Her heart leaped as he stopped before her. In the glow from the city, his face was hard and loving at the same time, and though it no doubt froze him to the bone, he opened his coat, inviting her to share what body heat he had.
Ehlena leaned in and wrapped her arms around him, holding him tight, breathing his scent deeply.
His mouth dropped to her ear. “I missed you.”

“I need you,” he groaned.
Rehv struck hard and she cried out, her spine bending nearly in half as he caged her with his strength. Fuck, she was perfect. She tasted like thick, heavy wine and with dragging pulls of his mouth, he drank her down deep.
And moved her over to the bed.
Ehlena didn’t stand a chance. Neither did he.

Triggered by the feeding, his vampire nature plowed over everything, a male’s need to mark what he wanted, to establish sexual territory, to dominate, taking over and driving him to rip down her slacks, pull up one of her legs, position his cock at the threshold of her sex—
And push his way into her.
Ehlena let out another keening cry as he penetrated her. She was incredibly tight, and fearing he might hurt her, he fell still so her body could accommodate him.

It didn’t take long for his balls to cinch up tight and for his hands to crank down on her hair. Gasping against her mouth, he gave one last great thrust and came hard, soaking her hand and his stomach and the blanket.
When her touch drifted down to his barb and she felt the extension, he froze, praying she wasn’t disgusted by the way he was built.
“I want to feel this inside me,” she groaned against his lips.
As her words sank in, Rehvenge’s body exploded in orgasm again.
Man…he couldn’t wait for them to get wherever they were going.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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Review: Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloverenshrined
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #6
Publisher: Signet
Hero: Phury
Heroine: Cormia
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: June 03, 2008
Started On: October 05, 2016
Finished On: October 16, 2016

For someone who used to write down so many reviews per month, my lack in keeping up has become so bad that I am actually writing down a review for a book that I finished reading more than a year ago. This review might contain spoilers for those who have not read the series or even the book, so be warned.

Lover Enshrined, the 6th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series is a novel that stands out in many ways. It is the novel that brings to life the story of the Primale of the Vampire species, i.e. Phury, who takes on the role of being the designated vampire male who would mate and impregnate all the Chosen to bring about the next generation of Vampires. However, Phury breaks from tradition by bringing Cormia, the first female of the Chosen he was supposed to mate with back to the Brotherhood compound instead of completing the mating ritual, which is where Phury’s story begins.

Phury has never had it easy in his life, his battles forever being about people that he loved, his sacrifices when one actually reads through the series and ponders about it, which are immense in nature. His twin brother Zsadist, who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery as a child had haunted Phury for the better part of his life, the quest to hunt for his brother and bring him back being what had driven him then. His return had meant Phury never did get over “paying” for something that had never been his fault to begin with. But guilt has a way of taking root inside even the best of us, and Phury’s character is one afflicted with a lot of it that brings about a self-sacrificial edge to him.

If things couldn’t get any worse, Phury falls for the very woman that had brought Zsadist immense happiness – perhaps one more way of ensuring that his suffering is a continued one. Phury also battles with the addiction of smoking – the Vampire world’s equivalent of being a drug addict owing to the voice inside his head which never quits. All that combined makes Phury a character that one wants to delve deep inside of, and I found him to be one who was truly fascinating in his own worth.

Cormia, for whom there would never have been a choice of refusing the Primale and her designated role in life had it been anyone else but Phury, finds the change of pace from what life would have been to what an amazing mass of contradictions it had become mind boggling at first. Throughout the first couple of months of living on the compound, Cormia finds herself slowly gravitating towards the male that had been thrust upon her without choice, and suddenly finds that she wants Phury for herself, and that sharing him as what was dictated by the rules was not exactly what she wants for her and the Primale.

What deviates the focus from the main protagonists of the story is the fact that there is so much else happening in Lover Enshrined, which is in one way what makes the Black Dagger Brotherhood series the stupendous one that it is. As a reader who was rooting for Phury in a large way, I found myself wanting more of their story in the book than Ward actually delivered. But then again, I understood the need that propelled the various threads of stories that emerged in the book, much needed to keep the series rolling in different and equally fascinating directions that never fails to amaze me.

Rehvenge’s role in the book, together with John Matthew and Xhex’s were quite alluring in their own rights. As I was reading through Lover Enshrined, I knew that I wanted their stories to be the next in the series – after all, JR Ward makes a compelling case for each of the main characters and even the side ones that she brings to light in the series.

Omega’s role – the main source of evil in the series was equally fascinating for me. Having never received the gift of giving life, Omega’s role had always been one where he is always a step behind the Scribe Virgin, his sister, who had been granted the ability by the Maker. But Omega’s deeply ambitious plan that comes to light in the story is one that could prove to be a game changer, all because it was cunning enough, and long term enough for the destabilization of the Vampire race from bottoms up. That I believe is what a good villain does to a story – shake things up to a point where your mind cannot comprehend the way out of the mess that is happening right in front of you.

The most deeply emotional scenes of the book for me included the scene where Tohrment came back and the reunion that happens between him and John Matthew. That was a scene truly worth all the emotions that coursed through me at that point. JR Ward also managed to surprise me beautifully towards the end when Zsadist sang for Phury. I was at times disappointed and frustrated with Zsadist for not being more “grateful” towards his brother. But then again, given the extent of scarring emotionally and physically of Zsadist’s character, I would say that the ending Ward delivered was what made up for all of it and gives the reader deep insight how Zsadist views the bond between himself and his twin Phury.

One more thing that I liked was the fact that Ward never made light of Phury’s addiction, even with the highly evolved physiology of vampires that makes them fast healers. Ward made Phury suffer every excruciating inch of going through the detoxing process, which I believe finally gave Phury that freedom to start living. Truly living.

Final Verdict: For fans of complex plots and fast paced novels that are equipped with rich dialog, character development, infused with burn-the-pages variety of hot sex! JR Ward definitely has no equivalent!

Favorite Quotes

“Kneel,” he said in a dark voice.
As Cormia sank down onto her knees, the brush fell out of her hand. Without a word, the Primale leaned into her, his huge arms going around her. He didn’t draw her to him. He undid her hair, all of it, the chignon and then the braid.
He growled as he fanned her hair out around her shoulders, and she became aware that his body was trembling. Without warning, he grabbed the back of her neck and pulled her into his throat.
“Take from me,” he demanded.

Holy mother of Words . . . His blood was a fire, first in her mouth then down in her gut, an alll-powerful wave that filled her out from the inside, giving her a strength she’d never known before.
“Harder,” he bit out. “Suck me. . . .”
She ran her arms under his and sank her nails into his back and took great pulls from his vein. She grew dizzy — no, wait, he was pushing her backward, taking her down onto the floor. She didn’t care what he did to her or where they ended up, because his taste was all-consuming as she consumed him. All she knew was the fountain of his life at her lips and down her throat and in her belly, and that was all she needed to know.

“Sit up on the table,” he said in a hoarse voice. “Please.”
She did as he asked and crossed her legs . . . and, holy hell, didn’t that robe of hers fall open, splitting wide up to her thigh. When she tried to close the gap, he whispered, “Leave it.”
Her hands stilled, then shifted back and flattened on the table to support her upper weight. “Is this all right?”
“Don’t. Move.”
Phury took his time as he drew her, the chalk becoming his hands going over her body, lingering on her neck and the swell of her breasts and the curve of her hip and the long, smooth expanse of her legs. He made love to her as he transferred her image onto the blackboard, the sound of the chalk a rasping noise.
Or maybe that was his breath.

“Take from me,” she said.
His eyes flared and he prowled up her body, kissing her stomach and pausing at one of her nipples, giving it lapping attention. And then his fangs were over her throat. “Are you sure?”
“Yes— oh, GOD!”
His strike was hard and deep, and it happened so fast . . . just as she ’d imagined it would. He was a Brother in need of what sustained them all, and she was nothing fragile to be broken. She gave and he took and another surge of that wild tension began to build in her again.
She shifted on the table, spreading her legs. “Take me. Whilst you do this . . . be in me.”

“Take your robe off.”
“Why?”
“Because if I do it, I’m going to shred it.”
Her chin lifted and her lids dropped, so that even though she had to look up to meet his eyes, she was still staring down her nose at him. “Why do I need to disrobe?”
With every territorial bone in his body, he growled, “I’m going to mark you.”

She slammed the spigot to the left and threw open the door. As the rush of water was cut off short, she confronted the Primale.
He was naked. Erect. Fully fanged.
The roar he let out was that of a lion, and as the sound reverberated off all the marble in the bathroom, she got even wetter between her legs.
He came at her, and she didn’t fight him as he grabbed her around the waist and popped her off her feet. He wasn’t gentle, but she didn’t want gentle—and to make sure he knew it she bit him in the shoulder as they came into the bedroom.
He roared again and dumped her on her bed, her body bouncing once. Twice.

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