Lover at Last
Title : Lover at Last
Series : Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book #11
Author : J.R. Ward
Publisher : Penguin Group (USA)
Genre : M/M, Paranormal Romance
Length : 609 pages (e-book)
Published : March 26, 2013
Rating : ★★★★★
Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another….
Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young – just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.
Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions… but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together… finally become one.
There are some series and authors for whom many of us will stop what we’re doing and read their newest release. JR Ward is such an author. As someone who is predominantly a reader of GLBT fiction, this year’s release in her Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Lover At Last, was an extra double bonus. Qhuinn and Blaylock finally get together. Fans of the series have been waiting eagerly for this book for years. Of course none of the books simply tell the story of the two main love interests. There are four main story lines interwoven amongst each other dealing with politics, romance, addiction, and the drug trade. Or some combination of all of the above.
At the beginning of this book, neither character is happy. Blay is in an unsatisfying but comfortable relationship with Saxton while Qhuinn has realized he is utterly in love with Blay. Through torturous moments of pain, miscommunication, self-doubt and sometimes surprising revelation, recently out-and-proud Blay and still-closeted Qhuinn forge a strong bond of love that left me a teary eyed and happily satisfied. Their journey of awareness, acceptance, commitment, and finally, “I love you'” was so worth it. I also adored Blay’s parents whose acceptance of their son stood in stark contrast to Qhuinn’s family’s repudiation of their “defective” son. I’m so happy Qhuinn will have a loving family and acceptance, too.
I wish Ward had reduced the number of character arcs in this book so we could savor those super sexy, tender moments between the men, but I always feel that way when I like a storyline and characters. (It’s my criteria for buying the next one in a series.) However, their story is consistent with J.R. Ward’s multiple thread and on-again, off-again romance style. (Remember John and Xhex?) Ward gives us THE moments: anticipation, blistering sex, lots of angst and love. We get to see vulnerability in Qhuinn as we watch Blay struggle to trust Qhuinn after years of rejection. Finally, we see absolute commitment as each of the men embrace everything about the other. I don’t think their story arc is at an end, and we will see a mating ceremony and more from them in future books. Well, I can hope, right?
These are my sweet moments to treasure:
Blay: “Because I was, and I remain, utterly and completely and totally… in love with you.”
Qhuinn turned his face into one of the male’s (Blay’s) palms. “You always have. You’ve always have me…and my heart. My soul. Everything. …”
Bravo, Ms. Ward. Job nicely done. Rated 4.5 stars by Carli
Team Trelena (Trez and Selena) – I love the Shadow brothers. I’ve always found them interesting but Ward never revealed much about their history. We learn a little bit about the brother in LAL. Trez and iAm are given to Rehv as payment for something and that’s how they got out away from their people. However, Trez was promised from birth to the Queen of the s’Hisbe and she’s sending out her thugs to bring him home to marry her daughter. Trez refuses to go. I honestly think he’d take death over being married to the Princess except he fears for his brother. Doesn’t mean he’s not fighting the return damn hard. Seems his past has sent him into a sex crazed addiction that is never actually sated. It’s just one woman after another. He knows he has a problem. Hell, iAM tells him he has a problem. While meeting Rehv at his place up North, he is instantly drawn to a chosen named Selena. She’s a holy being of her race and he is unworthy of such a woman. Not to mention Phury or the brothers would never go for that.
After a security snafu , thanks to Rehv’s help, he and his brother move into the Brotherhood compound in hopes of delaying the Queen’s men from dragging him back to his bride-to-be. He finds out from Lassiter’s big mouth that Selena is feeding the brothers now that Layla isn’t able to. So he sets to playing the role of upstanding male in hopes he will catch a glimpse of her. One night it finally happens and he’s tongue tied and the conversation doesn’t go at all like he’d hoped it would. Selena is rendered speechless by Trez’s flattery which Trez takes as a very bad sign and runs back to his lowly existence as a pimp and drug pusher. I really liked this entire storyline and I want more! Rated 4 stars by Whit
Team Laylor (Layla and Xcor) – Layla and Xcor have been thinking about each other since they met in Lover Reborn. It’s heartrending as she is miscarrying her young and trying to not think of the man she knows is a traitor to the throne. Xcor finds himself distracted by her. She’s perfect in his mind, and he doesn’t wish to foul her in any way. He’s able to find her, because he fed from her, when she goes to the clinic. When he learns she is there because of a miscarriage he is gutted. At least he sees she’s being treated well by the Brotherhood. He follows the car when she leaves and finds the home of the King and the Brotherhood as a result. Xcor keeps this information to himself despite wanting to take the throne for himself. After Payne is able to stop Layla’s miscarriage Layla slowly begins to feel better physically but finds she can’t stop thinking about the fighter she fed. She finds herself driving to the tree under which they met. Of course Xcor shows up! They find themselves sitting together in the car. These people are as in love with the idea of the other person as people can possibly be, but they both remain bound by propriety. Xcor gives Layla his phone number knowing it could be his downfall. She doesn’t tell anyone.
There is a beautiful and haunting chasteness to their love. It’s reminiscent of tales of courtly love or Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence. They are both bound by their societal roles despite a bodily yearning for the other. Rated 4 stars by Faye
Team Solail (Sola and Assail) – Father: one of the greatest Brothers. Mother: a fallen Chosen. Assail could have been a warrior but is a business man instead, with plans to control the whole drug scene in Caldwell and no interest in taking sides in the war. Anyone trying to implicate him had better watch out, just ask Elan :-). When he spies a spy a’spying on him ( try saying THAT fast! ), he goes straight to the source – Benloise – telling him to call said spy off. The spy chooses to continue the surveillance regardless, and when Assail discovers who the spy is he begins an “I Spy, You Spy” game of his own.
Sola is a girl with some serious skills and has been working for Benloise for a few years, things don’t always run smoothly – I loved how she messed with Benloise’s mind by moving the Degas. Just a little bit. Payback! When she meets Assail their connection is palpable, but in these books nothing is plain sailing, and heaven help the person who gets in the way of a Vampire and his heart’s desire.
Assail is delicious. There is something very “Rehv-like” about him, and not just their common line of work. This is fine, I LOVE Rehvenge! I do think Assail brings more to the table however, with his old World ways and utter ruthlessness. There are no signs yet of any “baggage”, as it were, he is his own Vampire. We do know there is a possibility of a younger brother, perhaps a half sister, so there may be some soft underbelly we are yet to see, but for now he seems untouchable. The way things ended with Sola – mean a very angry Vampire will be going after what is his. This is the couple I want to see next! Rated 4 stars by Barb
Group Read Rating
Ultimately we all felt this was a solid four star book. It did justice to the main story line of Qhuinn and Blay while still laying out compelling plots for future novels. Our only wish would be for more time alone with the boys.