Review: Lover Mine by J.R. Ward

Format: E-booklovermine
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #8
Publisher: Signet
Hero: John Matthew
Heroine: Xhexania
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: April 1, 2010
Started On: November 02, 2016
Finished On: November 06, 2016

Having finished Lover Avenged, I quickly set out to read Lover Mine, the story where John Matthew and Xhexania (Xhex) finally come together. With the way Ward had left things when Lover Avenged ended, with Xhex having being taken hostage by Lash, none other than Omega’s number one and the leader of the Lesser’s, I couldn’t wait to find out what wonders Ward would bring forth, especially when it came to John’s character.

John’s beginnings is one that sets him apart from the rest of the members of the Brotherhood. Revealing more would be spoiling it for those who have never read the series. His past when it comes to light, reveals the extent of his involvement, not only in Wrath the King’s life when he was child, but also Xhex herself, when she was born as a half breed vampire with a Sympath side that she hides from the rest of the world.

John’s second chance at life had come at a cost. It had meant that his journey to becoming part of the Brotherhood had once again being a test of his steadfastness, will, and strength. Bearing many similarities to the way his life had been forged in the past; through sweat, tears, and blood. John’s sense of loneliness is one that goes deep into his past, his need to belong and be loved an integral part of him that had being tested sorely when Tohrment had disappeared on him.

John’s attraction and deep connection with Xhex is exactly the reason why John and Xhex fit so perfectly together. While one might think John is the one that brings baggage to their relationship, Xhex redefines the whole concept itself by the past hurts and scars that she has from the pain she carries in her heart. Tough on the outside, a warrior to boot, and dominant in her own right, Xhex and John should not have fit together so perfectly – but for more than one reason, they do. That is perhaps the basis of why their relationship is amazing on so many levels, because Ward has brought together two people who should not have worked, and yet they do, and beautifully so, against all odds.

I am a fan of strong heroines, but for me, there is strong, and then there is the constant need for a heroine to outdo all the males in her vicinity and prove her capabilities beyond the male in her life that grates on my nerves. How Ward managed to allay all my fears that I might not like Xhex if she came on too strong was one more reason for me to adore their relationship. Because for me, Xhex gives as good as she gets. When she does give into John and his love which has both its tender and violently possessive edge to it (all in a good way, of course), it brought forth so much emotion in me that I felt that all the pain that John and Xhex had undergone before had been totally worth it!

One of the other aspects of the story that stood out was Qhuinn and Blay’s side story- I even noted down at one point that their mini story that was developing was way more interesting than it should be – but then again, that is exactly what you get when you pick up one of the Black Dagger Brotherhood novels. You sink your teeth into a story so juicy that you are rooting for a million things that is happening in the book, even the notorious villain himself.

That brings me to Lash and why I found his character fascinating on a level that had me at one point even “rooting” for the Lessers. I put rooting here very lightly because I found Lash to be a worthy opponent in the age old fight between the Vampires and the Lessers, i.e. in reality the fight between Scribe Virgin and Omega. A well done villain in my opinion, makes the reader question why they turned out the way they did.

In my opinion, Lash never stood a chance when it came to the larger scheme of things. Firstly his genetics had basically set in stone what his future would turn out to be like. Secondly, being brought up as part of the Glymera (the elite and rich of the Vampire society) had perhaps meant that his “evil” side had been given room to nurture and grow in a way that we continually see even when it comes to the human race. It was those fleeting moments of regret that coursed through Lash that grabbed me the most, thinking to myself that perhaps, had Lash being given the chance, he might have defied his genetics and turned out to be someone worthy of saving.

One of the major disappointments for me when the story ended has to do with how Lash’s character met his ultimate demise. I would have thought that Ward would continue to give him enough “armor” to take the fight between the Lessers and the Vampires to the next level. But then again, given Omega’s character itself, I would say that perhaps Lash’s end when it came, was quite fitting in a way. But I definitely wanted to see more of him in the series because he brought an edge that wasn’t there before when all was said and done.

When I turned the last page of the novel, I kept wondering to myself, when would John’s real identity emerge, and what a game changing revelation would that be in the larger context of things – given how history ties him to a lot of significant events that had taken place and shaped the lives of the Brotherhood as they are now.

Highly recommended! This series in its entirety is one that needs to be read by everyone who is a fan of urban fantasy and paranormal romances.

Final Verdict: Beautifully put together in way that makes for compelling reading. Mesmerizing is the way Ward manages to make mincemeat out of 700 plus pages of a novel, never letting the reader off the hook until the very last page is turned.

Favorite Quotes

“Better yet,” Blay drawled, “why don’t you just kiss me–” Blay was whipped around and shoved hard against the dresser, the chest of drawers slamming against the wall with a thunder. As cologne bottles rattled and a brush hit the floor, Qhuinn forced his lips down hard on Blay’s, his fingers biting into Blay’s throat.
It didn’t matter, though. Hard and desperate was all he wanted from the guy. And Qhuinn was clearly on board, his tongue shooting out, taking . . . owning.

Typical of her, she was the one who put him to her sex. Xhex covered one of his hands with her own and got him right where they both wanted him to be.
Hot. Silky. Slick.
The orgasm at the head of his erection broke free the instant his fingers slipped through and came flush against the entry he was dying to breach: There was absolutely no holding the release back and she laughed in a throaty way as he jetted his marking on her legs.
“You like the way I feel,” she murmured.

“Come in me,” she groaned, as she pulled at his shoulders. John lifted his head and moved up her body, his arousal nudging against her inner thighs, getting closer.
She kissed him hard, grinding her mouth against his as she shoved her hand down between them and guided him where she needed him-His massive body torqued at the contact as she bit out, “Oh, God . . .” The blunt head of him parted her and he slid in nice and slow, filling her, stretching her. She arched so he could go all the way in and shifted her palms down his smooth back to the dip at the end of his spine . . . and even lower so that she could sink her nails into his ass.

His face was an erotic mask of the features she had seen so often, his lips drawn back off his long, white fangs, his brows down tight, his eyes blazing, his jaw clenched so hard that his cheeks had hollows in them. With every thrust, his pecs and his abdominals popped, the sweat on his skin gleaming in the dim light. The sight of him was the chaser to what he felt like deep in her, the sucker punch that came on the heels of the body shot, knocking her out completely.
“Take my vein,” she growled at him. “Take it– now.”

“Listen, John Matthew.” She took his chin in her hand. “You’re not turning me into one of those females who goes gaga over her lover. Not happening. I’m not hardwired for that.”
Her voice was stern and she meant every word–except the instant he rolled his hips and that huge arousal pushed into her, she purred. Purred.
The sound was utterly foreign and she’d have sucked it back down her throat if she could have. Instead, she just let out another of those decidedly non-tough-guy moans.

Her leathers were on the floor a split second later. Then with a quick hop, she jumped up and locked her thighs around his waist. Reaching down, she positioned him against her sex and squeezed her heels into his ass, making the penetration so very real. As his arousal sank deep, she took all of him, the sliding push enough to make her orgasm wildly.
Riding her release, her fangs shot out into her mouth, and John broke the kiss to tilt his head and flash his vein.
The puncture was sweet. The strength that came from him meteoric.

With a silent curse, he grabbed onto her thighs and squeezed, her muscles shifting under his hold, and he didn’t stop there. He drew his hands farther up, to the juncture where her legs met her torso, that electric crease drawing him to where they were joined.
His thumb slipped into the carnal heart of her and found the top of her sex, rubbing it in circles-In the dim light from the bathroom, he watched her arch back, her fangs cranking down on her lower lip in an effort to keep herself from crying out. He wanted to tell her to let her roar free, but he didn’t have time to pity her discretion–he came hard, his lids squeezing shut as he shuddered beneath her.

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.

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

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Review: Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloverunbound
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #5
Publisher: Signet Book
Hero: Vishous
Heroine: Jane Whitcomb
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 25, 2007
Started On: September 13, 2016
Finished On: September 15, 2016

The fifth book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series brings to us the story of Vishous, the bisexual vampire hero who is the son of the vicious Bloodletter, a vampire known for his utter brutality, strength, and barbarism. Vishous as a member of the Brotherhood, is highly intelligent, has a penchant for BDSM, and hunting Lessers is the one thing that he lives for. Vishous is also the Brother that is “cursed” with visions of the future.

When a series of events brings the Scribe Virgin to him bearing news of the most shocking variety demanding that he give himself up to be the Primale of the Chosen, Vishous reels from the bombshell that she drops on him. Being the Primale means that he become mated to one of Scribe Virgin’s choosing, his daughters who would grow up to become members of the Chosen themselves serving members of the Brotherhood, the sons who will go onto become members of the Brotherhood themselves.

That Vishous does not take the news well would be an understatement, and this is how Vishous ends up getting injuries of the life threatening variety and up on the operating table of Dr. Jane Whitcomb at the St. Francis Medical Center. What happens when Vishous wakes up with that streak of possessiveness for his mate running through his veins is what sets the ball rolling when it comes to Jane and Vishous.

Vishous has a past that is dark, as dark as that of Zsadist’s. Vishous is a hero that was adorable, someone who is sinfully sexy, commanding, and with a deep streak of vulnerability at his very core that even he is not fully aware of. His deep and complex feelings for his fellow Brother Butch and his wife Marissa aside, facing his past is something easier said than done, as years of abuse at the hands of his father has left its deep seated mark on him.

Though almost everyone who has read through the series had remarked upon the ending of the story, I was still taken aback by how it all ended. Perhaps Ward’s foresight into where she wanted to take the series was one of the key reasons behind Jane’s character ending up as she did. Having read stories further down the series since then and before writing this review has left me with that impression more than anything else, and it actually does make sense to me now as to why Ward gave that sort of an ending to the story. Jane’s character was just as lovable as that of Vishous, and I don’t think anyone could have asked for a more perfect fit for someone like Vishous than her.

As with all the books in the series, Lover Unbound is also not just the story of how Vishous and Jane get together. Rather, so many things happen in the continuing threads of stories within the main one. The fight with the Lessers that takes on different and more dangerous turns, the lives of the Brotherhood themselves changing within the context of what is happening around them, how the old ways are slowly becoming replaced with the new, and delicious tidbits about characters whose stories are to follow.

J.R. Ward is an amazing writer. Every single story I have read from the series attests to this fact.  I can’t wait to experience what she has in store for her readers further down the line in the series.

Recommended!

Final Verdict: With surprising twists and turns, it is Ward’s unpredictability that serves to be the strength of the series.

Favorite Quotes

With no warning at all she was tackled from behind, pushed face-first into the wall and held in place by a rock-hard body twice the size of her own. Her gasp was first one of shock, then one of sex as she felt V grind into her ass.
“I tried to tell you no,” he growled as his hand buried itself in her hair and locked on, pulling her head back. As she cried out she ran wet between her legs. “Tried to be nice.”
“Oh… God—”
“Praying’s not going to help. Too late for that, Jane.” There was regret in his voice—as well as erotic inevitability. “I gave you a chance to have it on your terms. Now we’ll do this on mine.”
She wanted this, She wanted him. “Please—”
“Shh.” He cranked her head to the side with a twist of his wrist, exposing her throat. “When I want you to beg, I’ll tell you.”

“Ask me what’s next, Jane.” He licked up her throat again, then clamped what she knew was a fang onto her earlobe. There was a delicious lick of pain, followed by another rush of heat between her legs.
“What’s… next?” she breathed.
“I’m going to get on my knees.” His head went down and he nipped her collarbone. “Say to me now, ‘And then what, V.'”
She nearly sobbed, so aroused her legs started to fail her. “And then what?”
He tugged on her hair. “You forgot the last part.”
What was the last part—what was the last… “V.”
“No, you start over. From the beginning.” He pushed his arousal into her, a hard ridge that clearly wanted in her now. “Start over, and do it right this time.”
From out of nowhere an orgasm came bearing down on her, the momentum carried forward by the rasp of his voice in her—
“Oh, no, you don’t.” He backed off from her body. “You don’t come now. When I say you can, you will. Not before.”

There was no prelude, no easing into what he did to her. It was his mouth. Her core. Two sets of lips meeting. His fingers dug into her cheeks and kept her in place as he went to work, and she totally lost track of what was his tongue or his goateed chin or his mouth. She could feel herself being penetrated between lapping drags, hear the sounds of flesh on flesh, knew the mastery he had over her.
“Come for me,” he demanded against her core. “Right now.”
The orgasm arrived in a devastating blast that had her bucking against the sink until one of her hands slipped off. She was saved from falling only because V’s arm shot out and gave her something to grab onto.

It was like nothing she’d ever known. It was sex to the millionth power.
And then she felt his gloved palm grip her shoulder. As he pulled her upright, he kept riding her hard, in and out, in and out. His hand moved up her throat, locked onto her chin, and tilted her head back.
“Mine,” he growled, pounding into her.
And then he bit her.

“You’re hard.”
“I am.”
She arched on the bed, the undulation riding up her torso from her hips to her breasts. “You going to do anything about it?”
He bared his fangs and hissed. “If you’ll let me.”
She moved one of her legs to the side, and his corneas nearly started bleeding. She was glistening at her core, and not from the shower.
“Does this look like a no to you?” she said.
He ripped off his bottoms and was on her in a heartbeat, kissing her deep and long, lifting his hips, positioning himself, sinking in. She was so much better like this, in reality, not a dream state. As she came for him once, twice… more… his heart broke.

“Watch me take you,” she said, running one of her hands up to her neck. When her fingers coasted over the remnants of his bite mark, V’s lips pulled back from the ball gag and his fangs elongated, digging into the red latex as he growled.
She kept touching herself where he’d bitten her while she rose on her knees and stood up his arousal. She sat on him good and hard, and he orgasmed as soon as he entered her, kicking deep inside, flooding her. He was still fully erect afterward, even as he stopped twitching.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

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Review: Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloverrevealed
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #4
Publisher: Onyx
Hero: Butch O’Neal
Heroine: Marissa
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: April 20, 2007
Started On: August 21, 2016
Finished On: August 22, 2016

“You are the male I want to mate with. That’s who you are.”

Lover Revealed is the fourth book in the mind blowing Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward. It tells the story of Butch O’Neal, who is drawn into the realms of the lives of the Brotherhood during the first book of the series. Butch who had been a homicide detective had gotten fired for police brutality and since then become part of the Brotherhood’s fight against the Lessening Society that lives to kill vampires. Butch also has a crush of the size of Mount Everest on Marissa; stating his feelings towards Marissa, a daughter of the aristocratic lineage is putting it mildly. However, having got the impression that Marissa really does not want much to do with him has made Butch decide to make peace with it, which does not mean that he still does not want her in a big way.

When Butch’s life is changed in a way he never thought possible, well, no one thought possible, Butch becomes a weapon against the fight being waged between Lessers and the vampires. While Marissa finds herself chafing more and more at the restrictions that are imposed on her as an unmated vampire of the purest of blood, everything comes to a breaking point eventually which finds Marissa going towards the one man who has always made her feel more than living life in the status of a porcelain doll to be coveted and never touched. In Butch’s arms, Marissa finds herself experiencing what never thought possible, but on her terms.

Which brings me to why I was not so enamored by either Butch of Marissa in the story. I found Marissa to be a bit too unsure of her needs and wants when it comes to Butch. I understood the baggage that she carries with her, having being considered sort of an outcast by her own brethren, not to mention her asshat of a brother who made her believe herself to be less of a woman all because. Wrath was also partly to blame in my opinion, but of course Beth and the way she treated the whole thing later on went a long way towards making things better. However, that did not redeem Wrath’s role in it to my satisfaction.

I liked Butch. I wanted to love him. Perhaps a small corner of my heart does. But the way Butch tried to change and conform into something or rather everything that Marissa wanted from him was a bit hard to take in. Yes, I know that Butch having the vampire blood coursing through him makes it so, makes him react so. But the way he wanted to put his very life on the line for a woman who oscillates between wanting to be with him to being unsure of it in the next second was just irksome. 

Butch’s conformation in the bedroom was also partly the problem. A robust man with heady sexual appetites having to handle Marissa with kid gloves because she’s the beautiful, perfect and serene aristocrat was a bit too much. I understood that Marissa comes from a line of people where no one talks about the wilder side of sex etc. but the whole thing just irked me in a way. There is also the way Marissa let Butch be hurt into thinking that he was defective in some way as to not being able to give her pleasure, even when he had shown her otherwise in previous encounters was something that did not win any points in her favor.

That brings me to my reaction to the series thus far. By the fourth book in the series one would think that the King having ascended to the throne would have at least started on some programs to bring together his race and actually work towards making a difference in steering their kind to lives better lived. Lives that would reverse the dwindling numbers and give them a fighting chance with the lessers. I know that this story takes place just six months down the line, but I would have thought that at least some plans would have materialized somewhere along the way towards it. Apart from fire fighting in the sense in their war against the lessers, that also with no concrete plan to change their modus operandi apart from going out every night to hunt and kill, there seems to be a lack of coordinated effort in the Brotherhood which does not seem to bode well for the future.

All through the book, my fascination was focused on Rehvenge as a character. Now there is a vampire whose story I want to climb into.

Though with everything that did not work for me in the story, it is still a crucial addition to the series that adds value to the novels that are yet to come.

Final Verdict: Compelling enough to keep the pages turning. Recommended!

Favorite Quotes

“Who are you, then?”
“No one you’d ever know. Even if I were a vampire, our paths would never cross. I’m a blue-collar kind of guy.” At her look of confusion, he said, “Lower-class.”

His tone was factual, as if he were reciting his height or weight.
“I don’t think of you as lower-class, Butch.”
“Like I said, you don’t really know me.”
“When I lie this close to you, when I smell your scent, when I hear your voice, I know everything that matters.” She looked down the length of him. “You are the male I want to mate with. That’s who you are.”

Her hips tilted up sharply. “Butch…”
“That’s it. Come for me.”
“I can’t… I can’t…” She shook her head back and forth, getting trapped between what her body wanted and what her mind was having trouble assimilating. She was going to lose the momentum unless he did something fast.
Without even thinking or knowing why it would help, he buried his face in her throat and bit her, right over her jugular. That was what did it. She cried out his name and started convulsing, her hips jerking, her body flexing all along her spine. With profound joy, he helped her ride the orgasm’s pulses and he talked to her the whole time—although God only knew what he was saying.

He bit her palm. “Tell me you want this. Tell me you want me.”
“I…” Her body undulated on the bed.
“Tell me you want me.” He nailed her harder with his teeth. Shit, he wasn’t sure why he needed to hear it from her so badly, but he did. “Say it.”
“I want you,” she gasped.
From out of nowhere, a dangerous, greedy lust slapped hold of him and his control shattered. With a dark sound that came from his gut, he clamped his hands on the insides of her thighs, split her wide and literally dove between her legs.

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Review: Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookloverawakened.jpg
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3
Publisher: Signet Book
Hero: Zsadist
Heroine: Bella Soang
Sensuality: 4
Date of Publication: September 1, 2006
Started On: August 02, 2016
Finished On: August 08, 2016

“I was dead until you found me, though I breathed. I was sightless, though I could see. And then you came… and I was awakened.”

Let me just take a moment before I begin my review to thank J. R. Ward for telling Zsadists’s story as it is, without pretensions and bringing to us a character that is so very flawed, yet the best of the Brotherhood. Yes, the best. Fact that Ms. Ward could have dragged Zsadist’s story on as a secondary tale in the series up till readers were ready to go into a tizzy with wanting, something many authors tend to do when they identify with a character readers absolutely want to read about; the fact that Ms. Ward saw it fit to deliver this story as the 3rd installment in the series is something that at least I am eternally grateful for.

Zsadist’s story is by no means an easy tale to tell. Having been taken on as a blood slave by a woman that had kept him practically chained in the bed for her pleasure and violated him in every single way possible to do that to a person, well, needless to say Zsadist comes from dark stock. The only woman who had been able to shake him out of the deep and dark aura that surrounds him had been Bella, even be it for a brief moment, a daughter of a family considered quite high in rank in vampire lineage, something which makes Zsadist more wary.

Zsadist keeps himself apart from the rest of the members of the Brotherhood. He doesn’t feed as they, doesn’t take pleasure in sex as they do; he considers himself dirty, something to be left on the sides of the streets for stray dogs to come and pick on. But his twin brother Phury refuses to let him be so, but even his attempts to reach out to Zsadist gets him that far.

It is upon Bella’s abduction by a Lesser who had wanted her for himself that forces Zsadist to step out of his comfort zone and face all of his fears, one by one. Zsadist is relentless in his hunt for Bella, and once he finds her, he is the one who nurses her back, even if it kills him to see his body react in that “ugly” manner towards her femaleness. For anyone made out of lesser stuff than Bella, making Zsadist come around would have been an impossible feat.

I have rarely come across novels that feature sexually abused heroes. Heroines, yes, multiple times. Heroes, I can practically count the books in one hand. And one who has been violated to Zsadist’s extent? Never. Amazing is how Ms. Ward handled the whole situation so beautifully. Giving Zsadist the time to adjust, to face his nightmares, to learn that his responses towards Bella are inherent in him as a male warrior would for his mate for life. Bella’s utter patience when it comes to Zsadist, even when it kills her at times, the attempts Zsadist makes numerous times to push her away, Bella does hold on strong.

It was indeed an interesting facet of the novel to see Bella come into her needing in this novel, the first of its variety that has been described since the series began. Needing is the time when female vampires go into their fertile period, the need for them to mate so incredibly painful that there is no male in scenting distant to be unaffected by it. Zsadist had practically decided by that point in time that he would not be able to bed Bella and consider himself unsullied. What a glorious and healing experience did Bella’s needing turn out to be for Zsadist! And what an erotic experience for Bella, not to mention the readers! Not that it was easy for Zsadist to give in, but the nature of his beast didn’t give up until Zsadist experienced what pleasure is like, why mates would kill for their women and why bonding is such an integral part of vampire biology.

To say that I loved Zsadist’s story would be a grave understatement. I loved, adored and reveled in how Zsadist made me feel. There is nothing, absolutely nothing I would have changed in his story. Ms. Ward definitely pulled all the punches when she wrote Zsadist’s book, and it shows. Having read around 5 books in the series so far, I believe that a hero that could topple Zsadist from the position he is in my heart would be an impossible feat. I am looking forward to Rehvenge’s book however. And I believe I am not alone in feeling this way.

I recommend Zsadist’s story even if you are not a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. The fact that Zsadist wanted to become a better version of himself before claiming Bella in the end just made me love him more! The little epilogue tucked at the end, the first of its kind I believe in this series, was more than enough to make this heart of mine melt. Just read the first three books. Trust me, it’s more than worth it!

Final Verdict: Raw and powerful, Zsadist’s novel is a stunning masterpiece by J. R. Ward!

Favorite Quotes

“Zsadist?”
“Yes,” he whispered.
“Relax your mouth for me.”
Careful not to crowd him, she propped herself up on her forearms and got in close again. His lips were shockingly soft except for where the upper one was scarred. To make sure he knew the imperfection didn’t matter to her, she deliberately attended to that place, returning there again and again.
And then it happened: He kissed her back. It was just the slightest movement of his mouth, but she felt it all the way to her core.

But then he frowned and looked at her. “Wait, I’m supposed to kiss you on the mouth first, aren’t I? I mean, males start at the top and work their way down, don’t they?”
What an odd question… like he’d never done this at all?
Before she could reply he began to move back, so she sat up and captured his face in her hands.
“You can do whatever you like to me.”
His eyes flashed and he held his position for a split second.
Then he lunged at her, taking her down onto the bed.

His lips parted, and his tongue led the way as he dipped down. His mouth was warm on her flesh, so very tentative, kissing, then sucking her nipple inside. He tugged, then ran a languid circle around her, then drew her in again… and all the while his hands stroked her waist and her hips and legs.
How ironic that he’d worried he wouldn’t be gentle. Far from brutal, he was positively reverent as he suckled, his lashes down against his cheek as he savored her, his face worshipful and rapt.
“Christ,” he murmured, moving to her other breast. “I had no idea it would be like this.”

“Bella, I don’t think I can stop. There’s this… roar in my head telling me to keep my mouth on you. How can I make this… okay for you?”
“Make me… finish me,” she said hoarsely.
He blinked as if she’d surprised him. “How do I make you come?”
“Just keep doing what you’re doing. Only faster.”
He was a quick study as he figured out what made her go wild, and he was ruthless once he discovered how to give her an orgasm. He drove her hard, watching her as she shattered apart once, twice… many time. It was as if he fed from her pleasure and was insatiable.

“Make love to me,” she said.
He moaned and started to move like a great wave on top of her, that thick, hard part of him stroking the inside of her.
“Oh, shit…” He dropped his head into her neck. His rhythm intensified, his breath shooting out of him, rushing into her ear. “Bella… shit, I’m scared… but I can’t… stop…”
With a groan he propped himself up on his arms and let his hips swing freely, each thrust nailing against her, pushing her farther up on the bed. She grabbed for his wrists to hold her body in place under the onslaught. As he pounded, she could feel herself getting near the edge again, and the faster he went, the closer she got.
Her orgasm slammed into her core, then raced throughout her body, the force stretching her out so she was infinitely long and infinitely wide.

As if he sensed what she needed, he twisted his body around so he could stay inside of her while giving her access to his throat.
“Feed,” he said hoarsely, his body moving into her and pulling back. “Take what you need.”
She bit him without hesitation, piercing right through the slave band, going deep into his skin. As his taste hit her tongue, she heard a roar leave him. And then the strength and the power of him washed over her, through her.

He closed his eyes, so exhausted he could barely breathe. He was flat on his back, legs splayed out, arms lying wherever. He’d been in that position since he’d rolled off Bella maybe an hour ago.
He felt like it had been a year since he’d come back into the room the night before. His neck and wrists burned from the number of times she’d fed from him, and the thing between his leg was sore. The air around them was saturated with the bonding scent, and the sheets were with with a combination of his blood and the other thing she needed from him.
He wouldn’t have traded a moment of it.

Bella eased up and slid the it inside of her. As beat as he was, he groaned in ecstasy. The feel of her was something he couldn’t he enough of, and he knew it wasn’t because of her needing.
She rode him, planting her hands on his pecs and finding a rhythm with her hips because he couldn’t thrust anymore with his. He felt himself gearing up for another explosion, especially as he watched her breasts sway with her movement.
“You are so beautiful,” he said in a hoarse voice.
She paused to bend down and kiss him again, her dark hair falling around him, a gentle shelter. When she straightened, he marveled at the sight of her. She was glowing with health and vitality from everything he had given her, a resplendent female who he…
Loved. Yes, loved.

“Go to hell, Zsadist. Go there right-“
He moved fast as a lightning strike, taking her down hard to the bed, tackling her with his weight.
“I am in hell,” he hissed, pushing his hips into her. He swiveled them against her core, that massive erection pushing into the soft place he’d just had with his mouth. With a curse, he pulled back, unzipped his leathers…
and thrust into her, stretching her so wide it almost hurt. She cried out at the invasion, but tilted her hips up so he could go in even farther.

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Review: Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward

Format: E-booklovereternal
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #2
Publisher: Signet Book
Hero: Rhage
Heroine: Mary Luce
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: March 1, 2006
Started On: July 28, 2016
Finished On: August 02, 2016

Lover Eternal, the second book in the much revered Black Dagger Brotherhood series brings to the table the story of Rhage, legend and sex God, and Mary Lace, the human who brings him to his knees and then some. Taking place right after Dark Lover, the first book in the series, Lover Eternal brings to readers more of the bad boy vampire heroes who as a team are tasked with protecting the race from the evil known as the Lessening Society, members of which are formed by humans who as psychopaths or worse, were turned to do the bidding of their leader known as Omega.

Rhage might be all good looks, sex legend and more. But he is also a vampire cursed with an affliction of the kind that he wishes he could trade for practically even much less than half his life’s worth. But, that is not to be of Rhage’s choosing and he still has almost a century of living with a curse with which he has known no peace of his heart or soul since. But hide it he does, and hide it well, except from his Brothers who knows the toll it takes on Rhage.

Mary enters the lives of the Brotherhood through a mere chance, or perhaps fate as some would say. As a rehab specialist for autistic children, Mary’s role when it comes to communicating with John Matthew, someone who turns up mysteriously and could be one of the Brothers once he turns, is the reason for Mary’s appearance in Rhage’s life. For the first time since being afflicted with the curse, Rhage finds his body at peace with Mary’s presence.

Mary has yearned for the unattainable practically her whole life. 31 years old and a cancer survivor or so she thought, Mary has never had anyone special in her life, someone who had looked at her like she was his everything. When the leukemia returns, Mary knows that her dreams would stay the way they were, just as dreams, never to be realized. But every single encounter with Rhage brings her closer to the brink of a desire left unchecked for so long, the inevitability of a life that is running closer to its expiry date making it more so.

However, Rhage has his own battles to fight in his desire to claim Mary. With the beast inside of him warring to come out and claim her as well, the fear Rhage feels that he might inevitably end up doing irreparable damage to the most precious being in his life is one that he cannot endure. Fight they do, lovers they become and conquer do they their worst fears to triumph in a love that was meant to be from the very start.

Though Lover Eternal didn’t stir me up as Dark Lover did, there were so many elements in the story that made it the stellar read it was. J. R. Ward’s writing is topnotch, one reason why these books are so easy to devour. At the cost of repeating myself, Ward’s take on vampires is a tad different from what is out there. That itself makes this unique. The Lessers make a formidable enemy, not to mention the transitions that happens amongst the leaders of the Lessers as time goes on. The turn one of the Lessers took, in his bid to separate himself from the rest of his “race” and to feel something for a change, to make a connection with who he was before – that was a very interesting aspect to a multi-faced villain, just as important when it comes to stories of this nature.

Mary as a heroine fell a bit short for me. Its not that she didn’t shine in the right places – she does belong with Rhage in every manner possible, but she just didn’t stand out as a character as much as I wished she would. The way her battle with leukemia was resolved also fell a little bit flat, perhaps one of the reasons behind my discontent when it came to Mary. Nevertheless, Lover Eternal gives a great read, one that is a must read for fans of the series. More so because this is where Zsadist’s story starts, his encounters with Bella and how his tortured soul grabs at your heart from the start was something that I absolutely reveled in.

Definitely recommended!

Final Verdict: Rhage and Mary’s claim on each other is as sexy, bold and colorful as they come!

Favorite Quotes

“Use me, Mary. Let me bear this for you.” With a flash of movement, he raked his chest with her nails and then clamped his palms on either side of her face.
“Make me bleed for you…” His mouth stroked against hers. “Let your anger go.”
God help her, she bit him. Right on his lower lip. She just sank her teeth into his flesh.

Something inside of her snapped and she hurled him away, ducking out of his hold.
But instead of running for the door, she stared at him mercilessly.
Four scratches streaked down his chest. His lower lip was cut. He was panting, flushed.
She reached out and ripped the towel from his body.
Rhage was shockingly aroused, his erection straining, enormous.
And in the breathless moment between them, she despised all his smooth, perfectly hairless skin, his tight muscles, his fallen-angel beauty. Most of all, she loathed the proud length of him, that sexual tool he used so much.
And still, she wanted him.

She started to move off of him.
In a quick surge, Rhage’s legs shot up under her, toppling her onto his chest. As she fell on him, his arms wrapped around her.
“You know what you want to do, Mary,” he said into her ear. “Don’t stop. Take what you need from me. Use me.”
Mary closed her eyes, turned off her brain, and let her body go.
Reaching between his thighs, she held him up and sat on him hard.
They both shouted as she took all of him, right to the pubic bone.

Zsadist was sitting on the bed, his broad shoulders caved in, his arms wrapped around his waist. Bent over Rhage’s sleeping body, he was curled down as close as possible without their actually touching. As he rocked himself back and forth, there was a faint, lilting song in the air.
The vampire was chanting, his voice rising and falling, skipping octaves, soaring high, falling low. Beautiful. Utterly beautiful. And Rhage was relaxed, resting peacefully in a way he hadn’t before.
She quickly crossed the room and went out in the hall, leaving the men alone.

He pulled out and quickly turned her over. As she landed on her back, her legs flopped to the sides as if she didn’t have the strength to hold them up. The sight of her open to him, glistening for him, swollen from him, nearly had him releasing all over her thighs. He dropped his head and kissed where he had been, tasting a little of himself, a little of that marking scent he was leaving all over her body.
She cried out wildly as she climaxed. And before her pulses faded, he shot up over her and plunged back inside.
She called his name, nails scoring his back.

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Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Format: E-bookdarklover
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1
Publisher: Signet Book
Hero: Wrath
Heroine: Elizabeth Randall
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: September 06, 2005
Started On: July 25, 2016
Finished On: July 28, 2016

Sampling J. R. Ward’s work through her latest series The Bourbon Kings had me intrigued enough to try out one of her books in the infamous Black Dagger Brotherhood series. If you are an avid romance reader, you would have come across recommendations of this series sometime or the other, be it even as the hottest book boyfriends that readers have identified with. Having read Dark Lover, the first book in the series, I can pretty much see and agree on why there are so many diehard fans out there when it comes to J. R. Ward and what she can deliver.

Dark Lover tells the story of Wrath, the only purebred vampire remaining in the world, the one destined to be the King of their race, someone who avidly avoids the said position with a vengeance. The Black Dagger Brotherhood are an elite force of vampires within their race, their purpose being to fight the Lessers who basically are soulless humans put to the task by their leader known as Omega.

When Wrath’s Brother and friend known as Darius approaches him about his daughter, a half-bred vampire who would soon be going through the difficult phase of turning into one, Wrath ignores the plea for help because he believes that he is not the best sort of person to handle what’s coming. However, Wrath’s best laid intentions of keeping his distance is shot to smithereens when Darius finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time and pays for it with his very life.

Elizabeth Randall (Beth) has no idea the mess her life is going to become when Wrath turns up on her doorstep. Having never known of the fact that she is half-vampire, Beth finds the whole concept a laughable notion at best. But Wrath’s mere presence alone makes her throw all her sensibilities out the nearest window by turning her into a being of senseless want, where it becomes hurtful if she cannot be with him. Wrath too finds himself in a conundrum when he starts lusting after the daughter of his deceased friend and there remains no other option but to have her, which definitely does not earn him any brownie points for good behavior.

Putting together a colorful cast of characters with their own unique facets, J. R. Ward creates a spellbinding novel which pretty much has it all. Her take on vampires and the concept she brings to the table is unique when compared to a whole host of novels that takes on delivery of vampire romances. What makes her take stand out is the fact that there is a reason and rhyme to the way she tells the tale of the lives of these vampires that coexist with humans and strive to do away with the lessers, who in turn gets a new leader much more cunning in his operations of weeding out the Brotherhood by hunting the local neighborhood vampires.

The politics that governs the lives of these lessers are as much interesting as those of the lives of the Brotherhood,  because the villains are not your usual cardboard variety of characters that have just one single dimension to them – that is to make your spine crawl. Rather, they have histories of their own, lives that they had led up to the point until they had become lessers, lives that were more often than not extremely difficult, perhaps even abusive, which alienated them enough to become ripe pickings for a mission that requires a soulless bunch.

Though the whole instant lust thing between Wrath and Beth hit me a bit strange at first, the inevitable result of it all seemed to jive with the larger than life vampires that makes up the Black Dagger Brotherhood. They are extremely well trained, lead lives that pretty much based on hunting the hunters, and of course have the pick of beautiful women as they see fit. Thus it stands to reason that such highly intelligent and brawn a sub-species within the race would definitely fall in love just the same. As hard and fast and for life. The possessive hero thing is done in a way that makes it quite appealing, all because you know that they don’t do it out of a need to control the heroine, but rather they are helpless in their need for their women.

Definitely looking forward to seeing where the lives of the Brothers take them and what surprises that J. R. Ward has in store for us readers.

Recommended for fans of urban fantasy and paranormal romances that delivers more than a happily ever after.

Final Verdict: Dark Lover offers a gripping read that delivers on all fronts!

Favorite Quotes

“Darius, if he does it at all, he’ll do it because he owes you. Not because he wants to.”
“I’ll take him any way I can get him.”
“But what are you giving her? He’s about as nurturing as a sawed-off, and that first time can be rough, even if you’ve been prepared. Which she hasn’t.”
“I’m going to talk to her.”
“And how’s that going to go? You’re just going to walk up to her and say, ‘Hey, I know you’ve never seen me before, but I’m your dad. Oh, and guess what? You’ve won the evolutionary lottery: You’re a vampire. Let’s go to Disneyland!’ ”

Beth’s neck jacked back up as she met the man’s steady, feral gaze. She couldn’t see the color of his eyes through the glasses, but his stare burned.
And then the extraordinary happened. As he stopped in front of her, she felt a blast of pure, unadulterated lust. For the first time in her life her body got wickedly hot. Hot and wet.
Her core bloomed for him.
It was chemistry, she thought numbly. Pure, raw, animal chemistry.
Whatever he had, she wanted.

She wrapped her legs around his hips, and he hissed as her heat burned his erection.
He used what was left of his strength to pull back and look down into her face.
“Don’t stop,” she breathed. “I want to feel you inside me.”
Wrath dropped his head into the fragrant hollow of her neck. And slowly drew his hips back. The tip of his erection slid into place beautifully, and he sheathed himself in her body with one powerful stroke.
He let out a bellow of ecstasy.
Heaven. Now he knew what heaven was like.

His lips brushed the side of her neck. And then his tongue licked her skin lightly. “Now, we can be civilized and wait until we get home. Or we can get down to it right here. Either way, I’m dying to come inside of you again, and you’re not going to say no.”
Beth gripped his shoulders through his leather jacket. She was supposed to push him away, but she didn’t. She brought him closer, arching her breasts to his chest.
A sound of male desperation broke free of him, halfway between a groan of satisfaction and a dark plea.

He had her on the bed and under him in a flash of movement, and he pushed up her skirt and tore off her panties with vicious impatience. He didn’t treat her blouse or bra any better. There would be time to savor later. Now was all about raw sex.
While he worked her breasts with his mouth, her hands were rough as she pulled his shirt from his chest. He left her only long enough to undo his pants and spring his erection. Then he linked his forearm behind one of her knees, stretched her leg up, and plunged himself into her body.
He heard her gasp at his powerful entry, and her slick heat grabbed onto him, pulsating as she came. He froze in place, absorbing the sensation of her release, feeling her core stroke him.

A low sound shot through the room, growing louder and louder, until he realized the growl was coming from him. As a fevered heat broke out all over his skin, his nose registered that dark fragrance of possession.
He was powerless to stop himself.
His lips peeled off his teeth as his muscles churned and his hips thrashed against her. Drenched in sweat, head spinning, mindless, breathless, he took everything she was offering him. Took it and demanded more, becoming an animal as she became one, too, until they were nothing but wildness.
He came violently, filling her up, pumping into her, his orgasm going on and on and on, until he realized she was climaxing right along with him, the two of them holding on to each other for dear life against shattering waves of passion.
It was the most perfect union he’d ever known.

Wrath breathed in deeply. “You have a perfume to your skin that makes me hard. Instantly. All I have to do is smell you.”
She arched in his arms, rubbing herself against his thighs, thrusting her breasts up. Her head fell back, and she let out a little moan.
“God, I love that sound,” he said, moving his hand up to the base of her throat. “Make it for me again, Beth.”
He sucked her neck. She obliged.
“That’s it,” he groaned. “Sweet heaven, that is so it.”

She leaned into his wrists forcefully, holding him still. “Relax. Let me be in control.”
Wrath could only stare up in disbelief and breathless anticipation as she pressed her lips to his.
“I want to do you,” she whispered.
In a silky rush, her tongue entered his mouth. Penetrated him. Slid in and out as if she were fucking him.
His whole body went rigid.
With each one of her thrusts, she got farther inside of him, into his skin and his brain. Into his heart. She was possessing him, taking him. Leaving her mark on him.

“Take me,” he moaned. “God, please.”
She slid him inside of her, and his whole body felt the sensation. Tight, wet, hot, she enveloped him. She began to move in a slow, pumping rhythm, and he didn’t last long. When he came, he felt like he’d been ripped in two, the bursts of energy creating a shock wave that went through the room, shaking the furniture, blowing out the candle.
On the slow float back to earth, he realized it was the first time anyone had ever taken such care to pleasure him.
He wanted to weep that she would still have him at all.

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