We’re participating in The Unofficial Black Dagger Brotherhood Blog Hop!
Ward powers into hardcover with the tangled seventh title in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, picking up four months after the end of 2008's Lover Enshrined. Rehvenge, a symphath vampire who gets energy from manipulating others' emotions, is recruited by a group who want to displace vampire king Wrath, a gruff, determined vigilante. Rehvenge is also falling hard for vampire nurse Ehlena, who disdains his affections and focuses on caring for her ailing father.
Ward easily juggles numerous personal and political plot lines, keeping the tension revved high while moving forward with subplots that have lingered for several books and will please longtime fans seeking resolution. New readers may be a little lost despite a helpful glossary, but the fast pace and cliffhanger ending will have fans wishing they could start the next book right away.
We’re getting Ready for Lover Reborn! Here’s a review of Book # 7. Lover Avenged, for you guys! Please be sure to enter our Lover Reborn Giveaway before March 30th.
My Quickie Review
What I liked about Lover Avenged:
- Rehvenge may be a pimp and drug dealer, but he’s still a mal of worth, doing dirty deeds so that his sister and mother never have to be dependent on an abusive man again. Plus, he gives his hookers health insurance! Gotta love that kind of pimp.
- Ehlena is a nurse. I’m a nurse. ‘nuff said. ;)
- JR Warden gets the medical stuff right. Most authors do not. It pays that she used to be in healthcare.
- Rehvenge tries to control his Sympath side with the use of pharmaceuticals that have disastrous side effects (dopamine), but he does it so that he can protect his family.
- Xhex and John Matthew. He might have gotten a little bit of Xhex’s heart in this one, with a side of lovin’.
- Rehv makes Ehlena dinner. Pot Roast!
- Hot phone sex!!!
- Return of Tohr.
- The way Rehv treats Ehlena, so considerate of her first time.
- Even though Rehv dresses like a stereotypical pimp, it works for him. Mohawk, mink coat (needed because of the meds), cane, tattoos. He works the pimp chic, it doesn’t work him.
- Ehlena has some good fortune come her way.
- Even though Rehv isn’t a brother, this book works with the series.
- George. Wrath needs a seeing eye dog now. But George gives Wrath something he’s never had, constant companionship.
What I didn’t like about Lover Avenged:
- The sex with “Princess”, Rehv’s own half-sister. Her, covered in red mesh that is soaked in scorpion venom, with scorpions in her ears for earrings. Uh. Ok. Yuck! Rehv has to do it because he’s being blackmailed.
- Xhex guards her heart too much. Let John Matthew in, girl!
- Lassiter. Shut up, Lassiter. Thanks for saving Tohr. Be on your merry way. Thank you!!!!
- Lash – way too much of him.
Christ, she felt like the bitch of the week, sitting in front of an empty plate while fully buttoned up in her coat.
The sounds of silver tines on porcelain made the silence between them scream.
Stroking the napkin in front of her, she felt god-awful about so much, and though she wasn’t much of a talker she found herself speaking because she simply couldn’t keep everything in anymore. “The night before last…”
“Mmm?” Rehvenge didn’t look at her, just stayed focused on his plate.
“I wasn’t stood up. You know, on that date.”
“Well, good for you.”
“He was killed.”
Rehvenge’s head shot up. “What.”
“Stephan, the guy I was supposed to meet…he was killed by lessers. The king brought his body in, but I didn’t know it was him until his cousin showed up looking for him. I…ah, I spent my shift last evening wrapping his body and returning him to his family.” She shook her head. “They’d beaten him…. You couldn’t tell who he had been.”
Her voice fractured and refused to go on, so she just sat there stroking the napkin, in hopes of soothing herself.
Two subtle clinks marked Rehv’s fork and knife coming to rest on his plate, and then he reached out to her, putting his solid hand on her forearm.
“I’m so goddamned sorry,” he said. “No wonder you’re not into all this. If I had known—”
“No, it’s okay. Really. I should have handled it better when I arrived. I’m just off tonight. Not myself at all.”
He gave her a squeeze and settled back into his chair as if he didn’t want to crowd her. Which was normally what she liked, but tonight she found it a pity—to use a word he enjoyed. The weight of his touch through her coat had been very nice.
Speaking of which, she was getting really warm.
Ehlena unbuttoned herself and took the wool from her shoulders. “Hot in here.”
“Like I said before, I can cool things down for you.”
“No.” She frowned, glancing over at him. “Why are you always cold? Side effects from the dopamine?”
He nodded. “It’s really more why I need the cane. I can’t feel my arms, legs.”
She hadn’t heard of many vampires reacting in that way to the drug, but then, individual reactions were legion. And also the vampire equivalent of Parkinson’s was a nasty disease.
Rehvenge pushed his plate away and the two of them sat in silence for a long while. In the candlelight, he seemed dimmed somehow, his usual energy dialed down, his mood very somber.
“You’re not yourself, either,” she said. “Not that I know you very well, but you seem…”
“Like I feel. In a walking coma.”
He chuckled in a short burst. “That is so apt.”
“You want to talk about it—”
“You want something to eat—”
They both laughed and stopped.
Rehvenge shook his head. “Look, let me get you some dessert. It’s the least I can do. And it’s not date food. The candles are out.”
“Actually, you know what?”
“You lied about having eaten before coming and now you’re starving?”
She laughed again. “You got it.”
As his amethyst eyes stared into hers, the air between them changed and she had the sense that he saw so much, too much. Especially as he said in a dark voice, “Will you let me feed you?”
Hypnotized, captivated, she whispered, “Yes. Please.”
His smile revealed long, white fangs. “That is so the answer I was going for.”
What would his blood be like in her mouth, she wondered in a rush.
Rehvenge growled deep in his throat, as if he knew exactly what she was thinking. But he took it no further, rising to his great height and going into the kitchen.
By the time he returned with her plate, she’d managed to pull herself together a little bit better, although as he put the food down in front of her, the whiff of spices that drifted around her was too delicious—and had nothing to do with what he’d cooked.
Determined to keep it together, Ehlena put the napkin in her lap and tried the roast beef.
“My God, this is fabulous.”
“Thanks,” Rehv said as he sat down. “It’s the way the doggenin our household have always done it. You get the oven up to four seventy-five and you put the roast in, blast it for a half hour, then turn everything off and let it sit in there. You’re not allowed to open the door to check it. That’s the rule, and you have to trust the process. Two hours later?”
Ehlena laughed as the same word came out of both of their mouths. “Well, it’s really good. Melts in the mouth.”
“In the interest of full disclosure, lest you think I’m a chef, it’s the only thing I know how to cook.”
“Well, you do one thing perfectly, and that’s more than some people can say.”
He smiled and looked down at the pills. “If I take one of these now, are you going to leave right after dinner?”
“If I say no, will you tell me why you’re so quiet?”
“Just making it a two-way street. I told you what’s weighing on me.”
Darkness shadowed his face, tightening his mouth and drawing his brows together. “I can’t talk about it.”
“Sure you can.”
His eyes, now hard, flashed up to her. “Just like you can talk about your father?”
Ehlena dropped her stare to her plate and took special care cutting a piece of meat.
“I’m sorry,” Rehv said. “I…Shit.”
“No, it’s okay.” Even though it wasn’t. “I push too hard sometimes. Great for being in health care. Not so hot when it comes to the personal stuff.”
As silence flared again, she ate faster, thinking she’d go as soon as she finished.
“I’m doing something I’m not proud of,” he said abruptly.
She glanced up. His expression was positively vile, anger and hatred turning him into someone who, if she hadn’t known otherwise, she would have feared. None of the evil look was directed at her, though. It was a manifestation of what he was feeling toward himself. Or another.
She knew better than to press. Especially given his mood.
So she was surprised when he said, “It’s an ongoing thing.”
Was it business or personal, she wondered.
His eyes lifted to hers. “It involves a certain female.”
Right. A female.
Okay, she had no right to feel a cold vise around her chest. It was none of her business that he was already with someone. Or that he was a player who threw together this roast beef dinner, candlelight, and seduction special for God knew how many different females.
Ehlena cleared her throat and put down her knife and fork. As she dabbed her mouth with her napkin, she said, “Wow. You know, I never thought to ask if you were mated. You don’t have a name in your back—”
“It’s not my shellan. And I don’t love her in the slightest. It’s complicated.”
“Do you share a young?”
“No, thank God.”
Ehlena frowned. “Is this a relationship, though?”
“I guess you could call it that.”
Feeling like a total raving idiot for getting caught up in him, Ehlena put her napkin on the table beside her plate and offered a very professional smile as she got to her feet and picked up her coat.
“I should go now. Thanks for dinner.”
Rehv cursed. “I shouldn’t have said anything—”
“If your goal was to get me in bed, you’re right. Bad move. Still, I’m glad you were honest—”
“I wasn’t trying to get you into bed.”
“Oh, of course not, because you’d be cheating on her.” Christ, why was she getting so upset over this?
“No,” he snapped back, “it’s because I’m impotent. Believe me, if I could get hard, bed would be the first place I’d want to go with you.”