In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race.
Now, an ally of the Black Dagger Brotherhood will face the challenge of his life and the evil of the ages.
Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard living, ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world- to engage in the turf war with the lessers. He's got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. If he can't have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers...
Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, found by a miracle, the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him...
Black Dagger Brotherhood Book 4
I feel compelled to admit that I wasn't looking forward to Butch's book. I wanted the next BDB installment, but I was a bit disappointed that Butch would be next. You see, I wanted Vishous. I wanted to read his story so bad that it hurt. I remember that in my incessant scavenges of the Internet for anything BDB, I ran across a 40 page excerpt of 'Lover Revealed' prior to it's release. I was so excited and overwhelmed at the discovery that it took me several minutes before I was calm enough to read. But that surprise would soon look small in comparison. No sooner had I started reading when my mouth dropped open and I emitted what can only be described as a shrieking yelp when I discovered that Ward opened V's POV to readers. Finally I could read what MY hero was thinking and feeling and O-M-G!! I fell so deep and so hard that I worried for my own survival.
While 'Lover Revealed' is undoubtedly Butch and Marissa's book, I'm not going to review their romance. I'm banking on the fact that many of you have already devoured the BDB series and are merely reading these reviews to get into the mood for 'Lover Avenged'. What I'll be reviewing is the brutally hot romance between Butch and Vishous. I'm doing this for so many reasons which I'll unveil at the end of this review.
Butch, a.k.a. Brian O'Neal, a.k.a. the Cop, is a human sucked into the vampire world with the only form of escape being death. He knows too much and he's been around too long for a mind scrub to be effective. Butch is alright with this set up though, at least in the beginning. There was nothing left to live for in his old life anyway. Besides, for the first time he has real friends and a female vampire that holds his heart whether she wants it or not. But his true motivator to stay with the Black Dagger Brotherhood is Vishous, genius male vampire extraordinaire, and his Pit roommate.
But lately Butch can't stand the sight of himself. Dressed nightly in thousands of dollars of couture clothing, driving a tricked out Escalade, and living in a mansion may appeal to the lazy but all Butch can think about is what a moocher he is off the Brotherhood. He makes no real contribution except to investigate the occasional vampire/lesser crime scene but the vampires won't let him in on any real action. Every night they gear up to fight and protect their race while Butch waits on the sidelines. He's tired of it. He wants a purpose especially since the female vampire of his dreams, Marissa, wants absolutely nothing to do with him.
It's funny how sometimes you get exactly what you wish for. Taken by lessers and visited by their creator, the Omega, Butch is tortured within an inch of his death and left for the Brotherhood to find in the rural forests surrounding Caldwell, New York. But for Butch, at this point, death would be preferable. The Omega inserted a piece of himself into Butch's belly. The putrid evil that now infects him is the most vile feeling he's ever experienced. Butch only prays that he dies before the Brotherhood finds him.
Vishous is a cold and unfeeling SOB. The males respect him and the females fear him. Cursed with not only the ability of precognition and the reading of minds but also with a glowing hand that ignites anything it touches. But in the last nine months of his three hundred years, something has changed for V. For the first time in his life he cares for another. Butch has become his best friend, the one person he'd do anything for. And when the Brotherhood realizes that Butch is missing, it's V that finds him. Earlier he'd fed Butch some of his blood, which is forbidden for it can be deadly, after a vision so that he'd be able to find him. Locating his blood like a beacon of light, V finds Butch naked, beaten, near death and stinking of lessers.
Finally having a use for his cursed hand for something other than destruction, V is instructed by the Scribe Virgin to use his glowing palm to rid Butch of the black infection growing from his belly. The healing will take time with several moments where V will have to place his palm on Butch's belly until the blackness is completely eradicated by the light. But Butch doesn't want to be healed. The need for the end is overwhelming. Grim thoughts of the past suffocate his mind. The one woman he wants won't have him and he doesn't blame her. Marissa is too good for him by far. He's done. Taking out his IV, Butch welcomes the dark.
Vishous feels a bit crazed since finding Butch after thinking the worst. He's worried that with this whole mess, his mind has become unhinged somehow. Unfamiliar emotions roll through his soul and all he can think is that he'll be in a very bad way if Butch dies. Knowing that Butch has lost the fight to live he does the one thing that's sure to bring back his roommate. V calls Marissa. She can save Butch like no one else.
Quarantined due to the infection, Vishous goes to do his healing bit on Marissa and Butch. But as he takes a glance at the camera monitors before entering, he find himself cemented where he stopped. Inside Butch and Marissa are moving and stroking against one another making his skin hot and his thoughts strange.
As she scored him with her nails, Butch's head lifted, no doubt to let out a moan.
Jesus, V could just hear the sound....Yeah...he could hear it. And from out of nowhere an odd yearning feeling flickered through him. Shit. What exactly in this scenario did he want?
Butch's head dropped back down onto Marissa's neck, and his hips started to surge and retract, then surge again. His spine undulated and his heavy shoulders shrugged and released as he found a rhythm that made V blink really quick. And then not at all.
Lover Revealed © J.R. Ward
Vishous isn't necessarily jealous of Marissa. He truly wants Butch to have the female that he craves and at this point he still doesn't understand his feelings for Butch. They're intense but it's always been in the way of friends but now...he's beginning to wonder.
After another fall out with Marissa, Butch is released from the vampire clinic and his first night back on the town he makes a pretty strange discovery. He can sense lessers. They draw him like a moth to a flame and he can't refuse their call. But he has no wish to join their cause. He wishes to destroy them and an unfamiliar instinct takes over. A hypnotic connection between Butch and lesser takes place. As Butch breathes in he begins so siphon the essence of the lesser into his body. After which the vile blackness that he felt after being rescued resumes it's hold. Weak and smelling once again of lessers, Butch panics and turns to V for help.
Butch and his lesser obsession isn't the only thing plaguing V. His visions have dried up. Despite the freak symbol that the visions painted on his back, there is some comfort to knowing what's ahead. It's not always what he wants to know but at least he can prepared. V can't help but feel twitchy over the uncertainty of what's to come. Frankly, he's terrified.
Again, Butch wants out. For real this time. He's a human living a vampire world. Wanting Marissa is killing him. He can feel her need to feed and it's destroying him that he can't be the one that provides for her. Despite the fact that V says that the feeding doesn't have to be sexual, Butch is having none of that. Marissa at another males neck is a thought that he can't even tolerate much less allow in reality. He can't continue to hold her back. Butch will face death to get away from the feelings of worthlessness. Either the Brotherhood lets him go back into the real world where he belongs, or he'll stand quietly for his death. Either way, he's gone. But V thinks there's another way. Butch has already exhibited traits that pertain exclusively to the vampire race. He's emitting a bonding scent and he was affected by Bella during her needing. Plus he's seriously aggressive.V suspects that Butch is a half-breed that never transitioned. This happens sometimes when the human genes are more dominant.
It's called an ancestor regression where V channels the curse of his palm to the DNA level. If the genes are there, V may be able to turn Butch.
Clearance is given by the Scribe Virgin and V performs the ancestor regression. Sure enough, it turns out that Butch is Wrath's cousin. No one's more relived at the news than Butch. Finally he can belong. But the real test is yet to come. V will have turn him now and the chances of death are sky high. Deep slices are cut into his wrists and the gurney Butch is strapped to, tilts so that the blood will flow faster out of his body.
Someone grabbed his ankles and he jerked in surprise...but it was just Wrath. And the king held him as V tilted the table even more so the blood ran out even faster. Then Vishous came around and gently eased Butch's arms off the table so they were hanging down. Closer to the drain.
"V?" Butch said. "Don't leave, okay?"
"Never." V brushed Butch's hair back with a gesture so tender is was out of place coming from a male.
Lover Revealed © J.R. Ward
Once Butch's heart slows to near stopping, V shoves a syringe of Wrath's blood into Butch's heart. He's then shocked with a defibrillator. Breathing deeply, Butch soon latches savagely onto Marissa's wrist nearly draining her dry if Beth hadn't been there to take over. V helps her heal but it's Butch he's thinking about as he laves Marissa's bloody wrist with his tongue.
And suddenly, time stopped for V in spite of the load he was holding back. He stared at Marissa's perfect profile as he licked the chewed mess of her wrist, sealing the wounds, easing the pain of them, starting the healing process. Compelled by something he didn't want to name, he ran his tongue over her skin again and again, tasting both her blood and...Butch's mouth.
Vishous repeated the licking more times than he had to. And on the last swipe, when he knew that had to stop because he'd gone over the line already...when he knew he was going to lose control of Wrath unless he paid attention...on the last swipe, he looked out at Butch. And pressed his lips against the skin at his mouth in a kiss.
He had the strangest feeling he was saying good-bye to his roommate.
Lover Revealed © J.R. Ward
And here's another one cause it's hilarious!
V was halfway down the hall when he heard a yelp. He hightailed it back, barging through the door. "What? What's -"
"I'm going bald!"
V whipped back the shower curtain and frowned. "What are you talking about? You've still got your hair-"
"Not my head! My body, you idiot! I'm going bald!"
Vishous glanced down. Butch's torso and legs were shedding, a rush of dark brown fuzz pooling around the drain.
V started laughing. "Think of it this way. At least you won't have to worry about shaving your back as you get old, true? No manscaping for you."
He was not surprised when a bar of soap came firing at him.
Lover Revealed © J.R. Ward
With Butch's transition comes the need of the Brotherhood. They want him on the closed door meetings they have. Finally, he's starting to belong. Strapped in leathers, Butch heads out on a trial run to see how he does up against the lessers. V wants him involved even though Marissa is dead against Butch joining the Brotherhood as a member. But as life starts looking up for Butch, it's V that starts developing the death wish.
Seeing Butch and Marissa together is beginning to have a dire effect on Vishous. He's happy for them but being around them and their happiness is killing him.
The thing was...although it was totally inappropriate and creeped him out, he thought of Butch as...his. He'd brought that man into the world. He'd lived with him for months. He'd gone out to get the guy after the lessers had done their business all over him. And he'd healed him.
And it had been his hands that had turned him.
Lover Revealed © J.R. Ward
Now, glowing from head to toe as if his cursed palm had consumed his entire body, V stands on the balcony swaying over a million feet to his death. And that's how Butch finds him. But Vishous doesn't want to die. As much as he's hating life right now, he doesn't want to die over it. To Butch it appears as though he's leaped off the balcony but V actually dematerializes and shows up behind Butch. Falling into his arms, V crys his heart out. Cries over the love that he knows is wrong and can't have. He cries over Butch.
It's Butch who realizes that he's holding a naked and glowing V and amazingly he's not a crispy critter! How can this be? Come to find out, the vision that V had of him and Butch wrapped around each other was Prophesying this. Vishous is the light to Butch's dark. His glow will take away the black essence of the lessers that Butch consumes. They are two halves of one whole. The Destroyer has come.
Once again Marissa is pissed. She was mad when Butch wanted to do the ancestor regression. She was mad when Butch wanted to go through with the change. And now she's mad that he wants to join the Brotherhood in the fight against the lessers. Whatever, back to Butch and V.
Being inducted into the Brotherhood requires permission of the Scribe Virgin and a sponsor. Vishous is Butch's sponsor. He's the one that petitions the Scribe Virgin for Butch's induction. In order to become a full member, Butch must become flesh of the Brothers flesh by a blood exchange. Each Brother approaches Butch who is standing naked with his back to a wall and his hands outstretched, clasping two pegs. Each one will score his wrist, drip blood onto a skull, then bite Butch's neck and lastly fist him hard in the chest with a barbed glove. At the end, Butch will drink the mixed blood of the Brothers' from the skull, thus becoming their flesh.
Then it was V's turn.
Vishous came up onto the dias, his eyes down. He accepted the silver glove from Z and slipped it over the black leather he already wore on his hand. Then he scored himself with a quick flash of the black blade and stared at the skull as his blood dripped down into the basin, joining the others'.
"My flesh," he whispered.
He seemed to hesitate before turning to Butch. Then he pivoted and their eyes met. As candlelight flickered over V's hard face and got caught in his diamond irises, Butch felt his breath get tight: At that moment, his roommate looked as powerful as a god...and maybe even beautiful.
Vishous stepped in close and slid his hand from Butch's shoulder to the back of his neck. "Your flesh," V breathed. Then he paused, as if asking for something.
Without thinking, Butch tilted his chin up, aware that he was offering himself, aware that he...oh, fuck. He stopped his thoughts, completely weirded out by the vibe that had sprung up from God only knew where.
In slow motion Vishous's dark head dropped down and there was a silken brush as his goatee moved against Butch's throat. With delicious precision, V's fangs pressed against the vein that ran up from Butch's heart, then slowly, inexorably, punched through skin. Their chests merged.
Butch closed his eyes and absorbed the feel of it all, the warmth of their bodies so close, the way V's hair felt soft on his jaw, the slide of a male arm as it slipped around his waist. On their accord, Butch's hands left the pegs and came to rest on V's hips, squeezing that hard flesh, bringing them together from head to foot. A tremor went through one of them. Or maybe...shit, it was more like they both shuddered.
And then it was done. Over with. Never to happen again.
Lover Revealed © J.R. Ward
I seriously lived and breathed for Butch and Vishous in 'Lover Revealed' and I think my dislike for Marissa is pretty obvious. She was the most unsporting heroine. Doesn't she realize that Butch needs to belong? Needs a place in her world? Crazy female. She does realize the error of her ways but it was Vishous who was with Butch from the beginning. He's the one that brought back Butch's need to live by turning him. If Marissa had her way, Butch would still be a human and still on the sidelines. Once again, crazy female!
So why didn't Ward have Butch end up with V? Wow, this a question that's still being debated on Message Boards and Yahoo Groups. Even Barbara and I have discussed the issue at severe length. I think it really comes down to the fact that Butch and V clearly had better chemistry than Butch and Marissa. Unfortunately, Ward backed herself into a corner by introducing Marissa to Butch in 'Dark Lover'. During my several years of lurking on the BDB boards I've garnered a lot of information into the whole Butch/V dynamic. There is the argument that due to the fact that Ward was initially only contracted for the first three Brother books and she didn't in all likelihood believe that she'd be contracted for any more, that the Brothers went in a direction that wasn't completely planned out. She's even said that Zsadist's book wasn't supposed to be number three in the series but because she didn't believe her series would be hit, she decided to move Z up because she simply had to write his story. With these thoughts in mind I think things became written in stone that might not have necessarily been completely thought out at the time.
Then there is an arguement to that arguement. If Ward did back herself into a corner, and Butch must end up with Marissa at this point, why did she fan the flames between V and Butch? Good question really. One with a variety of answers I think. Maybe Ward has plans for other male characters (Qhuinn and Blaylock) and she wanted to test reader reaction. Or, when you think about Vishous, he's never EVER had a connection, well an emotional connection, with another person. Butch was his first. His feelings, while very strong, are also very new and he attributes them to attraction.
What it ultimately comes down to is that Butch and V's romance greatly overshadows Marissa. Ward may have taken it a bit too far with these Brothers. Am I angry about that? Hell No!. I loved it! Would I have liked to see Butch and V get it on. Oh God, would I ever! But I also really like Jane...
Arguement to Be Continued....
A for V and Butch, C- for Butch and Marissa
Have you read any books where you thought the hero or heroine should have been with someone other than the authors choice? Would you have liked Butch to end up with Vishous? Or did you like Marissa?