Series: BlackDagger Brotherhood #9
Published by Penguin Group US on 2011-03-29
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Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.
When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.
As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.
We begin Lover Unleashed where the last book ended. Payne (the twin sister of V) is lying incapacitated in the brotherhood’s compound with a broken back. Jane knows she is out of her depth and needs the assistance of the only surgeon she knows brilliant enough to save Payne’s legs, Manny Manello. Manny has been in a bit of a mess since Jane “died” and, after he discovers she is alive, he reluctantly agrees to lend her his expertise. However, the weirdness that he encounters once inside the Vampires world pales into the background when he first lays his eyes on Payne. The chemistry between the two is undeniable, and Manny realises that he will do anything in his power to get her back on her feet; even take on her less than friendly twin brother. Manny knows that he can never be part of her world, but still allows himself to start to fall for the beautiful, warrior woman and enjoy the time they have together. Even after the Brothers wipe his memories after Payne shows remarkable improvement, she invades his subconscious mind and refuses to be forgotten.
I’m starting with Manny and Paige because it is, in name, their book. Manny is a fabulous addition to the BDB world. He is hot, driven, protective and absolutely stupid where Payne is concerned. He pretty much throws himself open for heartbreak because he knows that he can never have her. He loses his job because they wipe his memory so much, he can’t function as a surgeon, but still seems to be fine with that. Payne is just as I imagined her to be. Growing up in a world full of the chosen, she has never seen what the BDB world looks like outside of her watching bowls. She embraces every little thing with awe and enthusiasm and I thought she was incredibly sweet. She is a warrior down to the core (which is especially apparent when she saves Manny from a gunman) but it isn’t all that she is. I was glad to see the scribe bitch hadn’t made her hard and bitter. I read in an interview that the Warden thought that the hottest sex scenes she had ever written appear in this book; I definitely agree. Considering Payne is a virgin up until ¾ of the way through the book, they certainly steam up the pages. My favourite is a shower scene that V walks in on…I think that if that I had walked in on a sibling in the same position I’d have scrubbed my eyes until they bled! It is one of my favourite pairings of the BDB series because both characters were just so damn likeable!
Payne and Manny’s book could also be referred to as Lover Unbound part 2. Many people had issues with this book because it’s clear the series is developing from PNR to Urban Fantasy. This book is unlike any in the series BUT I think it was better for it. Manny and Payne’s relationship failed to capture my full attention in this book because there was just so much V! This is the book that Lover Unbound should have been. I felt the ending to LU was hollow and annoying. Jane is a ghost? WTF! V didn’t have her name carved on his back? Again WTF! Butch and V? WTF! Needless to say I hated the last quarter of that book but after Lover Unleashed, I feel satisfied that V finally has his HEA. V doesn’t cope well with Payne’s arrival because it’s just another way his mother (the scribe bitch) has screwed him. Then he feels Jayne has betrayed him and tells her to leave (I cried when he gave her a bag to pack!) The relationship between Jane and V reaches new heights in this book. In every BDB, we have how our couple end up together, but we have never seen how they actually stay together. In this story, we see the highs and lows of a romance within this tumulus world. Their relationship is under strain from start to finish and I honestly feared that they might not be able to make it work. She will try anything, even going as far as giving Butch her permission to do whatever V needed, to get her man back.
Intertwined with V and Jane’s relationship is the one between Butch and V. I always felt that the Warden had shied away from a gay HEA between these two, but their relationship shifts ,in this book, into a place where I can see that they didn’t belong with each other in that way. I have finally accepted that their Shellans weren’t their second choice (by the way Marissa impresses me with the easy way that she accepts the slightly too close friendship between Butch and V!). The scene where Butch rips apart Vs emotions (I’m not going to spoil it for you!) is superbly written and, the fact that Butch would do literally anything for this man, moved him to near the top of my favourite Brothers list. The conversation that heals the relationship between V and Jane, happens after this scene and it was just beautiful. He throws himself open and allows her into his heart properly; again (shockingly) I ended up in tears 😀
Also in this book, we have more Qhuinn and Blay (I need their book yesterday!). Blay and Saxon are together, which is rubbish, but I actually liked Saxon in this book! He all but offers to step aside for Qhuinn, but Qhuinn refuses his offer, so I can’t blame Saxon for taking advantage of the situation. Qhuinn goes through a whole series of changes in this book, finally getting to a place where I think he might be ready for a relationship with Blay. There is a flash-forward that scared me slightly…I’m hoping that they do get their HEA. A blast from the Brotherhoods past appears in the form of Xcor and his men. Xcor wants Wraths throne so I think they could be around for a while.
Overall, this fabulous book is a shining example of this series. I love the direction that the Warden is taking these books but be warned, it does have a UF feel to it. There is violence, mild BDSM, lots of very hot sex and plenty of bad language, Well recommended if you hated the end to Lover Unbound as much as I do!