I recently finished the newest book in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, Lover Mine. Actually, I love this series so much that I can’t believe I waited a whole two months before reading it. In my defense however, I happened to be preoccupied with the only thing that could keep me from running out and forking over the money for the brand new hardback and staying up all night to eagerly devour it: Jamie Fraser. Anyhoo, a co-worker of mine did run out and buy it the day it hit the shelves and then proceeded to bring it to work the next day and taunt me with it before (after re-reading it several times) graciously letting me borrow it.
Right off the bat, it’s hard not to notice that the cover style has been changed, thus eliminating any possibility of hiding exactly what type of book you are reading from the husband. No worries though, I have no qualms about being a devoted fan of the Brothers and afterall my friends, this is vampire smut at it’s best!
Lover Mine focuses on John Matthew and picks up with his search to find Xhex, who was kidnapped from the sympath colony at the end of Lover Avenged. Lash is holding Xhex captive in some sort of invisible bubble in Caldwell, where he violently beats and rapes her daily. Lash and the Omega have a falling out, and Lash begins a rather grotesque transformation that slowly weakens his powers and inadvertently allows Xhex to escape. I was never a fan of Xhex in the previous novels (because of the way she treated John Matthew), but she also goes through a transformation and discovers her softer side after being rescued and cared for in the Brotherhood’s mansion. Of course, she and John Matthew get together and very steamy vampire smut ensues.
As in all of J.R. Ward’s novels, there are several other less prominent story lines running as well. One that I was not expecting involves Payne, V’s twin sister who has been held against her will by the Scribe Virgin and who has become Wrath’s sparring partner since the total loss of his eyesight. She ends up being expelled from the Far Side and finds herself in the Brothers’ mansion, thus opening up a potentially exciting thread that will hopefully be continued in the next novel. I was also happy to see that Tohr is finally back in the game and well on his way to regaining his status as a Brother. We get a detailed glimpse into his past and discover that he has even more connections to John Matthew (and Xhex). They patch up their relationship and have a quite touching, and much deserved, happy ending.
Poor Blay is still having a hard time dealing with his feelings for Qhuinn and I found myself becoming a bit frustrated with their relationship. Their story line is definitely left undone and while I hope that they are not the main focus of the next book, I look forward to a more satisfying resolution to their story.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and I am still impressed with Ward’s ability to weave detailed histories together and neatly tie up loose ends, while simultaneously unravelling additional threads that keep us wanting more. These books are just the right mixture of suspense, adventure, sex and tenderness (involving big, tough, leather-clad vampires) and even at book eight, I don’t see any signs that she’s starting to fizzle out. Each book in this series is equally as strong as the last (although Z’s book, Lover Awakened, will always be my favorite…) and I look forward to the next one.