He can bear any pain but the thought of losing her…
Reyes is a man possessed. Bound by the demon of pain, he is forbidden to know pleasure. Yet he craves a mortal woman, Danika Ford, more than breath and will do anything to claim her—even defy the gods.
Danika is on the run. For months, she’s eluded the Lords of the Underworld, immortal warriors who won’t rest until she and her family have been destroyed. But her dreams are haunted by Reyes, the warrior whose searing touch she can’t forget. Yet a future together could mean death to all they both hold dear. . .
The Lords of the Underworld Book Three
Centuries ago, a band of warriors and guardians to the Gods attempted to teach their charges a lesson. Pandora, while a gifted warrior in her own right, was thought by the warriors to not be qualified to handle the task of guarding dimOuniak - a box made by the Goddess Oppression to contain the horrors of the world. To prove this fact and avenge their wounded egos, the warriors stole the box from Pandora and opened it, thereby unleashing it's bound demons upon the world. As punishment for their arrogance, the Gods cursed each warrior with a demon and to be forever bound to one another. Thus, the Lords of the Underworld were born.
Reyes, keeper of Pain, is a man tortured by his need for self mutilation. In order to prevent Pain from inflicting it's own breed of violence upon others, Reyes has looked to himself to provide the demon with it's painful desires. But in that pain there is pleasure to be found. Although at the moment, the demon's drive for satisfaction is raking through his mind at a cutting rate and it's demands for more and more cause Reyes to resort to throwing himself off the Lord's fortress in Budapest. Feeling his body crumple on the jagged rocks below is the single satisfying pleasure to be had and Reyes knows of only one other that can soothe his demon more than the gruesome promise below - the human, Danika Ford.
Danika is on the run. After a group of warriors kidnapped her, her sister, mother, and grandmother while they were vacationing in Budapest, it became known rather quickly that the warriors wanted their death with no viable explanation. But after their rescue and inexplicable release in the States, the four hit the ground running and split up to make recapture difficult. Now broke and alone, Danika has no idea if her family is still alive. What Danika does know is that she will never be taken advantage of again. Still ridden with guilt for freezing up during their kidnapping, Danika vows to herself that she will never again be helpless and spends all her money on self defense classes. But despite all her rage at the warriors who destroyed her life, there is one that she can not break free from - Reyes. The gorgeous warrior haunts not only her dreams, but her every waking hour. But her infatuation will not cloud her desire for revenge and Danika is finally given that chance when a group of men - Hunters - share her same hatred and ask for her help.
The Hunters are a human faction bent on killing the Lords of the Underworld with the ridiculous belief that by eradicating Pain, Death, Disease, etc., those traits will also be eradicated from humanity. Previous intel has linked Danika to the warriors and the Hunters hope to lay a trap. The warriors will undoubtedly come for Danika and the Hunters will let them take her but with a little insurance by promising Danika that they will find and protect her family if she relays any and all information she can obtain from the Lords. Wanting to save her family at any cost, Danika agrees.
When news reaches Reyes that Danika has been abducted by Hunters, he will not let her go again as he did in the past. He will retrieve her from his enemy and make her his, if only for a little while. Reyes knows immediately that the Hunters have asked something from Danika. For all intents and purposes, he should kill her. Gods know the other Lords want him to. But selfishly, he will not allow any harm to befall Danika. In addition, he promises to take her to the one person that he knows for certain will be able to tell where her family is - Aeron, keeper of Wrath. The Lord was summoned by the gods and ordered to kill Danika's family. Knowing that the females were innocent, Aeron resisted killing them and instead abducted them until a decision could be made. But as the gods foretold, with each passing day his bloodlust would grow until he ultimately became consumed with their deaths. Now, chained and locked in the dungeon bellow the Budapest fortress, Reyes takes Danika to see the man intent on her and her family's destruction.
Answers aren't the only information that Danika receives from Aeron. Something about herself is discovered as well. Something that changes her role with the Lords of the Underworld.
Yet in the midst of searching for her family and coming to terms with her unbelievable abilities, Danika finds herself falling in love with the one man she should hate. Her burning desire for Reyes can't be denied any longer but when she makes attempts to become intimate with the gorgeous warrior, all she receives in return is rejection.
Reyes swore off women long ago when it became apparent that his brand of sex inadvertently turned his bedparnters into beings consumed by pain. Their eyes no longer projected their once gentle nature and they did things, painful things to others that they wouldn't normally do. His demon would corrupt them until they were filled with bloodlust. After everything Reyes has already done to Danika, he's not going to turn her into a monster on top of it all. But when a battle leaves his body torn, Reyes at last turns to Danika assured that his demon has been sated on the pain previously inflicted. And when he can finally climax into the woman he loves Reyes is literally transported to heaven.
Danika has never known passion like she does in Reyes's arms. And while she should be repulsed by his need for pain to feel pleasure, Danika finds herself craving his trust to hurt him. She understands his fears that she'll turn into a blood thirsty being, but somehow she knows that it'll be different with her. Besides, the idea of Reyes going to another for his pain, or even turning to himself when she is willing, ramps her anger and jealousy like nothing else. Some how, some way she will have to prove herself able to handle all of Reyes, even his demon.
'The Darkest Pleasure' has proved to be my favorite of the current releases in the Lords of the Underworld series. With each book, Gena Showalter weaves a darker and darker tale with TDP being the darkest. It's not just the nature of the story that's dark but there is little comic relief as well. Although Anya, heroine of 'The Darkest Kiss', does have her moments that left me always with a smile (that goddess is a hoot!).
Reyes was a wonderful multi-layered hero. He sacrifices so much to help Danika. And while he burns for her, he's also so self conscience of how she's going to feel when she discovers his need for pain. He's never hated himself more when he sees her look of abject horror when she stumbles upon his way to gain release. But he's soon shocked when her desire for him seems to burn even hotter. I think Reyes felt so humbled by Danika's acceptance of him but still, his worries that his demon would corrupt her linger and it takes time before he'll allow Danika to have all of him. He's not holding back because of ego but because of a deep seeded need to protect her at all costs, even from himself.
Danika was a strong heroine. While I disliked her initial hatred of Reyes, I could sympathize with her reasons. This man and his friends ruined her life and broke apart her family. But when she realizes all that he's sacrificed, she's quick to rethink her judgements. It had always felt wrong for her anyway, her hatred of him and the emotion withered quickly when faced with Reyes. And while her initial reaction to Reyes's need for pain is disgust, it's more in the way of a reaction to the rules of society. People should not cut themselves, but she soon feels the need to be the one to inflict his pain. It sounds weird but she knows that it's pleasure he feels and he needs it to protect others. Danika recognizes it as her right to be that person for Reyes.
There is a lot of new developments that happen as well in 'The Darkest Pleasure'. The Lords come to learn who is actually leading the Hunters and giving them information that humans shouldn't have possessed. I was a bit shocked to learn who was pulling the strings and it definitely adds a new and interesting layer to the mix.
And then there is Paris, keeper of Promiscuity. O-M-G! He's probably considered one of the more selfish of the Lords, but he truly made the most incredible sacrifice - the greatest out of any of the Lords. I'm dying to know what the gods are doing with you-know-who, for those that have read the series.
Interested in 'The Darkest Pleasure? Click HERE for More Info!
Interested in Gena Showalter? Read my Reviews for 'The Darkest Night' and 'The Darkest Kiss'!
The Darkets Whisper
Lords of the Underworld Book Four
Releases September 2009
Sabin, keeper of Doubt
Read an Excerpt HERE