Lover Unleashed

J R Ward
Lover Unleashed
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Little, Brown Book Group
Release Date
March 2011
Book 9 of Black Dagger Brotherhood
Paranormal Romance

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, seductive cloth as her brother. Imprisoned for eons by their mother, the Scribe Virgin, she finally frees herself-only to face a devastating injury. Manuel Manello, M.D., is drafted by the Brotherhood to save her as only he can-but when the human surgeon and the vampire warrior meet, their two worlds collide in the face of their undeniable passion. With so much working against them, can love prove stronger than the birthright and the biology that separates them.

Book Review by CarolAnn
May 23, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
288 people found the following review helpful
LOVER UNLEASHED is the ninth book in J R Ward's phenomenally successful paranormal romance series The Black Dagger Brotherhood. These sexy alpha-vampires continue to thrill readers and this book is a worthy addition to the series.

At the end of Lover Mine, Payne, Vishous's (V) twin sister, lies paralysed and the prognosis is not good. Jane, V's mate, goes in search of the one man she believes may have any chance of helping Payne, the human Dr Manuel (Manny) Manello.

I really a adore Manny because, at the start of the book, he seems so lonely and vulnerable. Even after twelve months, he still hasn't recovered from Jane's death and, on top of that, his racing horse, Glory, is badly injured but Manny is desperate not to lose her:

If Glory bit it now .......he didn't really have much left in his life, did he.

Imagine how he must feel when Jane appears, seemingly very much alive, asking him to help her patient. Understandably, he's angry and confused and I believe it is only his dedication to his profession that makes him agree. When they enter the Brotherhood compound with all its security, it's quite understandable that Manny thinks Jane works for some secret Government Department. However, he's soon disillusioned on that score! I love his thoughts when he first sees Payne:

All his life he'd wondered why he'd never fallen in love, and now he knew: He'd been waiting for this moment, this woman, this time.

He certainly suffers for love what with having his memories wiped so he almost loses his mind and V constantly looking as though he wants to tear him limb from limb! Thank goodness he has the guts to say exactly what he thinks when pushed to the limit:

"Get that miserable bastard out of my operating room. And I want to see the goddamn scans and X-rays. Now."

Payne is a warrior and, as such, I understand why she cannot face a lifetime of paralysis. She has already spent eons imprisoned on the Far Side and for her it would be like exchanging one prison for another. It really shows Manny's skill and dedication as a doctor when he successfully convinces Payne that she need not be limited in any way by her paralysis. Payne only gets one or two opportunities to use her warrior skills in this book and I do hope, in the subsequent books, they will be more in evidence.

The romance between Manny and Payne is bittersweet and I find Payne's innocence of worldly matters rather endearing and for me it makes the love scenes more sensual. I have to say that Manny has a fantastic bedside manner and his idea of healing therapy is certainly unique!! There is a major revelation about Manny in this book but my lips are sealed as to what it may be!

The way in which J R Ward weaves the many story threads throughout her books always amazes me. Many fans felt that V and Jane's story in Lover Unbound did not have any real closure and this book provides that. V has never truly come to terms with the past actions of his parents and the extreme sex had only served to bury the problem. All this and his inability to help Payne in any way, leaves him near to breaking point. I really felt the turmoil inside V and I think Butch's words sum it up perfectly:

The poor bastard was humming hard and holding it all in.

His relationship with Jane is tested to the limit and some of the scenes are really heartrending to read. I did come to respect Jane for the way in which, despite everything that happened between them during this fraught period, ultimately she still loves him and refuses to give up on him. We are also treated to some sizzling HOT make up love scenes in which V openly expresses his love for Jane.

V knows what he needs and there is only one person he trusts enough to help him through this and that's Butch. I admit to being apprehensive about the scene with V and Butch, not knowing what to expect. I should have had more faith in J R Ward because this scene is for me the highlight of the book. It is heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time and it demonstrates the deep love and trust between two true friends. I must admit that V has never been one of my favourite Brothers but, after reading this book, I have definitely revised my opinion of him. He finally faces his demons and realises he may lose everything that really matters to him unless he conquers them. I see his asking for help as strength rather than weakness, like an alcoholic admitting his addiction and seeking help.

Qhuinn has also reached rock-bottom, admitting that he is in love with Blay, but willing to give him up because he has found happiness with Saxton. This is definitely a turning point for Qhuinn:

He was through with himself on so many levels. Sick and tired of being the odd man out on purpose. Exhausted with his slut reputation.

I love the scenes with Layla where they talk as friends and open up to one another and she reveals her innermost thoughts. She hates that she is wanted only for what she provides (blood) and not for who really she is. This shows her in a completely different light and I feel very sympathetic towards her. I am so, so intrigued by Qhuinn's vision of the future and can't wait to see where J R Ward will go with this.

The introduction of The Band of Bastards, vampires from the old country, headed by Xcor, is certainly intriguing. Are they set to be the new baddies or new Brothers? It will be interesting to see. There's a quote in the front of the book by author, Lisa Gardner, which I think just sums up a particularly awesome threesome!

Now here's a band of brothers who know how to show a girl a good time.

This book may lack the action found in the previous two books but I love how it focuses more on emotional and relationship issues. J R Ward has certainly set the scene for some intriguing story arcs in future books and I'm more than happy to go wherever she decides to go with the story lines. I'm just happy she's continuing to write this fabulous series!

If you're a fan of paranormal romance and have not yet discovered this series, go and pick up the first book, Dark Lover, now and I'm sure you'll become just as hooked on the series as I am!
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