Butch @ Brian O'Neal was a hard living cop with anger management problem, who indulged in excessive drinking and prostitutes without meaning or content in life until he meets Marissa; he gets smitten at first sight. They meet again at Wrath and Beths mating ceremony and get tangled in an interlude of passion. Marissa then refuses all his attempts to meet her....
Marissa is a member of the glymera, an aristocrat female vampire, a somewhat timid virgin beauty, the sister of Havers the community's doctor and had been the shellan of Wrath before he had taken Beth as his Queen. Finally, a human brings her out of her misery, making her feel as a woman should only to shun her down few months later when she approaches him.
Broken from the death of Welsie and the disappearance of Thorment, the only father he'd known, John isolates himself from everything, focused only on revenge, vigorously training and spends the rest of his day in Thors room.
Fed up with his useless existence, Butch yearns to be of more help for the Brotherhood with their war against the Lessening Society. He gets caught by the lessers when he helps a civilian vampire escape and gets brutally tortured but never revealed the truth but the Omega has bigger plans on making use of him; contaminating Butch with a part of himself. Vicious finds Butch in a near death state and gets him to the hospital and later gets Marissa to help him out of death grips and that gets her locked up in the quarantine with him. At the hospital it's revealed that Marissa didn't know of Butch visiting her and it seems that her brother has sent him away through their doggen (housekeeper) leaving Butch to think that she was avoiding him. At the revelation that they both cared for each other, they cozy up but then Butch had to ask her away when he finds out that the evil in him still lingers. Meanwhile, Vishous, his best friend and one of the brothers' works on getting Butch back to normal.
The Omega brings Mr.X back to work on bringing a prophesy to life in the form of a fighter, Van Dean and begins training their asset to reach its prophesied goal..
The last string on Havers patience with his sister falls off and he cuts ties with her and throws her out of his house and life. Luckily, Marissa was welcomed to stay at the Brotherhood compound. Butch decides to explain to Marissa his worries and lets her share it with him. He also shockingly finds out of his new ability to sense lessers nearby and suck their essence into him, therefore killing them. When he finally figured out the cause for her weakness and sudden terror during making love, he decides to let her feed from his vein but forces her to feed off him when she declines telling him that she was going to feed from another aristocratic vampire male than hurting him. Then, she withdraws from him in agony off to the other male. Butch gets all wracked out and goes to the club. Torn between her hunger and the guilt of being intimate with someone else other than Butch even it's only for blood, Marissa breaks down in tears as she feeds. At the club, Butch is stupefied at the discovery that Rehvenge, the clubs owner and Zsadist brother in law is the guy whom Marissa had fed from and the raw bite mark on his throat sets him off into rage.
Later, Marissa's insecurities kicks in and she burns her clothes to get rid of her past, an act that nearly burned her alive. Witnessing her in near death rekindles bitter truth of his relationship with Marissa and Butchs constantly troubling unease with the life he's living which he doesn't own in a place where he didn't belong. Determined that he was unworthy of Marissa or this life, he prepares to get out of their lifes when his buddy Vishous offers him a solution.
After a long time of acting out with aggression, the king had to get John toned down. And, Mr.X discovers that Butch that he thought was dead was alive and seeks him out to end his life without returning to the Omega.
Using regression, Vishous finds out that Butch comes from the same line as Wrath, their king. They had in mind to use a non traditional method to jump start his transition which Marissa refuses, afraid to lose Butch but eventually agrees when she realizes that Butch needed it for himself too. Butch comes out of it safe and a vampire. Meanwhile Vishous state worsens with his visions gone and his emotions all over the place particularly regarding his best friend Butch and his yearning for a taste of what Butch and Marissa have then the Scribe Virgin enlightens them with a truth; he's a weapon spoken in a prophesy and Vishous plays a role too. Butchs involvement in the war as the ultimate weapon against the Omega didn't sit well with Marissa and when he refused to budge from his decision, she leaves him.
"Because this is what shall be, the light and the dark together, two halves making a whole."
When Mr.X finds out that Butch is the prophesied one, he asks him to take his life. Butch gets initiated into the Black Dagger Brotherhood as a warrior of their race and Marissa finally sees past her fear and accepts Butchs decisions, thus they are mated.
Epilogue reveals the truth behind Butch birth......
This is another great installment to the series. I still find the second and third to be the best but this was definitely better than the first and gripping nevertheless. The plot was good and flowing as well as the subplots; I just wish Ward did not emphasize too much on Van though.
After constant self loathing for the whole of his stagnant life, Butch finally drops into the Brotherhood circle where he feels a belonging and he meet Marissa and his smitten but still he can't content with the unearned life he's living on the sideline; he's with them but not one of them. Lost between two worlds, the plot builds on how he lets go of his emotional baggage from his childhood, finds his life purpose and a life with his love Marissa. Adding to his struggles is the part of the Omegas evil in him that causes changes in his body and his constant fear of turning into a lesser that makes him turn to God. How he felt about his role in the group was completely practical and relatable. I really liked how he was so tender and gentle and always cared how she felt even so during their sexual encounters. His intense relationship with his best friend Vishous was absolutely moving. And, he also entertains with his humorous one-liners.
Marissa struck me as quite timid and selfish at times though considering her upbringing it was realistic for her character to behave such. And the above is what made her character development the most prominent in contrast to the previous female leads. She is a virgin and sexually innocent, so her reaction during the sex scenes was interesting and I think Ward did an effective job portraying Marissas insecurities from her experience with Ward, the glymera and the lack of experience with romantic relationships. Her journey through self discovery and independence is remarkable though she does get a little enveloped in her interest for a little bit that she fails to understand Butchs feeling but it's part of her journey and she eventually learns how to stand by him. I really appreciated how she took charge of her life and drew out her purpose and started living for herself and Butch.
Both Butch and Marissa and many similarities in terms of their insecurities and the suffocation; He lives his life trying to make up for his childhood mistakes whereas she lives her whole life trying to live up to the expectations of the glymera. Then they both almost instantly fall in love at first meet but they have to cross a bumpy road with the ultimate obstacle being that he's human and she's vampire, then the above said emotional barriers, the evil that threatens to consume and their other differences; all that they must overcome to have their happily ever after. I also loved how their sexual exploration was taken at a gradual phase.
There were more appearance and impact from the secondary characters in this book. We get to see, Johns progress through overcoming his heartbreak and pain as well as Zsadist playing role in training the pre-transitional vampires and also in somewhat connecting with John, as also with Wrath who also appear often as well as Rhage who appears to help Butch and during battles, the ladies in the family, Rhevenge (Bellas brother) whom I found to be very intriguing and most importantly Vishous who plays a crucial role in healing Butch after the contamination by the Omega, later playing a crucial role beside Butch in the prophesy. The bond and friendship they have is intense and outstanding as how they just understand each other. It also shows Vishous loneliness as he yearns to feel the connection Butch feels for Marissa. The villains on the other hand were incompetent opponents in my opinion. They don't seem to make much progress whatsoever; it's been a merry go round throughout the series. I think the Scribe Virgin is more likeable in this book and she seemed warmer.
One of the factor that contributes to the strength of this series is the honor, family and bond between the brothers and we get to see more so in this book. I think it's impressive how much they actually cared of Butch even if he was human and it was a gripping moment when they make him a warrior of the Brotherhood. Another exciting scene is when Marissa creates ripples at the princeps council meeting. It was really emotional when Butch decides to leave his new life; it really reflected on how broken he felt inside. I loved the scenes in the quarantine too where they really began to bridge an emotional connection and began their sexual exploration. My one concern is that I felt it would have been better is the story surrounding the contamination and the threat more intensified; it felt like it was rushed and quickly cleared.
In whole this is a sweet love story with an earthly touch packed with action, self discovery, brotherhood, family ties and trust. Make sure you read "Dark Lover" for better understanding on how Butch and Marissa met.show more
by Dr Stephen Haines