Sunday, July 3, 2011
Review for Lover Unleashed by JR Ward
In this ninth book of JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series the emotions are running high when Payne, twin sister to Vishous, is left paralyzed with no hope of recovery but for the medical expertise of surgeon Manny Manello. Involving humans in the business of the Brotherhood is always dangerous and when an intense attraction between Payne and Manny develops the complications become even more serious. And just when the Brotherhood thought their only enemy were the Lessers, a group of fighters from the Old Country arrive in town with vengeance and power on their minds and it's directed right at the Brotherhood. Throw in old pains resurfacing for a few of the Brothers and you have a story that takes you on a roller coaster ride where your heart races and aches at the same time.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I LOVE this series! It can sometimes get a bit out of control with the Brother's lingo and product endorsing, but at the end of each book I'm left panting for the next. These are strong men not afraid to show their softer sides and who would do anything for the women chosen as their mates. Each Brother has such a unique personality and been through their own painful periods that it's hard to choose just one as a favorite....I want to hug them all.
Payne has the spotlight in this story, at least a fair amount of the spotlight, and I definitely think she makes a great addition to this family of Brothers. She speaks her mind and is not afraid of the desire she feels towards Manny. She loves the rush from fighting and has a warrior's build which will help in the fight against the Lessers and others to come. She starts out paralyzed with no hope for her future, but just when she's at her lowest point it's the healing hands of Doctor Manny that help save the day. These two were destined to be together since the first time he laid eyes on her and no amount of mind scrubbing by the Brothers takes her out of his thoughts. He's immediately protective of her and the bonding scent goes crazy when they're in the same room. It takes almost the entire story for them to fully come together, but the numerous scenes of foreplay are hot and leave you with much anticipation for the culmination of their love.
Manny is one sexy doctor! He's also a very lonely one whose life revolves around the hospital. His one love is the race horse he recently acquired, but his joy is soon marred there too. So it's a blessing that Payne enters his life, even though the Brother's mind scrubbings leave him with severe headaches and blackouts that have him questioning his health. Once he fully becomes enmeshed in this dangerous world he fits in perfectly. To make the fit even better, a secret comes to light about his parentage that leaves interesting possibilities for him in the future.
Those two lovebirds aren't the only ones feeling the pain of emotions. Vishous has kept his rage of his father's maiming of him bottled up for so long that things have finally come to a head. With his marriage to Jane in jeopardy because of his lack of showing emotions, his feelings of being a lesser male than what she deserves, and his desire to be the kind of loving brother Payne deserves, he's hit rock bottom. He's harming himself to try to get rid of the pain, but it's just not working and actually making things worse because of the secretiveness. Luckily he has his best friend Butch who puts his own emotions through the wringer to bring V back from the ledge. These two have always had a somewhat romantic feel to their relationship. It's not sexual, but goes much deeper than that. When you see the word bromance, a picture of these two should accompany it. They're forever entwined and the culmination of what Butch does to save V is heart-wrenching and satisfying.
The road is still rocky for Qhuinn and Blaylock (Qhuay in the fandom vernacular). Qhuinn too has hit rock bottom and knows he needs to change. The meaningless sex, numerous piercings, and other forms of rebellion aren't going to take away the feelings he has for Blay. But he's pushed Blay so far away, and into the arms of his cousin Saxton, that it's looking near impossible for them to ever get together. At the end of the story, Qhuinn is still in a sad state. He's taken up celibacy, removed all his piercings, but still can't admit out loud his true feelings for Blay. Add in a disturbing interpretation to a vision of his and the hopes of many fan's desire for a HEA for Qhuay seems even more in jeopardy. Please Ms. Ward, stop the torture!
As if the Brother's emotional issues weren't enough of a problem, there's a new gang in town and they're out for blood and power. Because of that you immediately want to label them the villain, but they're too sexy and honorable in their own way to be labeled thusly. My two favorites of the group, Xcor and Throe, at first seem heartless but a few scenes allow a glimpse at that honorable side I mentioned and have me dying for more insight into their characters than the small snippets we've seen so far. Did I mention they're sexy too?! A steamy encounter between one very lucky woman and Throe and Xcor had me rereading and bookmarking that scene to return to over and over again.
And if your mind isn't already exhausted enough, there's a part of the storyline involving Butch's old partner who thinks he's heard Butch's voice which could lead him to start searching for his old partner and create even more problems for the Brotherhood. Butch's replacement on the force, Veck, has a darkness surrounding him that is just starting to cause problems which will be addressed further in Ms. Ward's other paranormal series and should make for interesting reading.
There's was a lot going on in this book but Ms. Ward kept all the storylines under control and they flowed together seamlessly. There's was good action but less than in the previous books. This book was devoted more to the internal struggles and showed the true power of love. This series continues to entertain me and keeps me totally obsessed. I'm fully invested in the lives of these characters and the power struggle occurring in Caldwell. The wait between books gets harder and harder and I can only hope that Ms. Ward writes faster. If you haven't read this series yet, what are you waiting for? Jump on the bandwagon and enjoy the ride!
My rating for this is an A.