#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward’s phenomenal series continues as the cold heart of a cunning predator is warmed against its will....
Ruthless and brilliant, Vishous, son of the Bloodletter, possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a pretrans growing up in his father’s war camp, he was tormented and abused. As a member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time—until a destiny he didn’t choose takes him into a future that cannot include her....
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J. R. Ward is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of numerous novels, including the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, the Fallen Angels novels and, writing as Jessica Bird, the author of Leaping Hearts and Heart of Gold. She lives in the South with her family.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Praise for J. R. Ward and her novels
“J. R. Ward’s unique band of brothers is to die for.
I love this series!”
—Suzanne Brockmann, New York Times
bestselling author of Into the Storm
“Best new series I’ve read in years! Tautly written,
wickedly sexy, and just plain fun. Now here’s a band of
brothers who know how to show a girl a good time.”
—Lisa Gardner, New York Times
bestselling author of Gone
“Frighteningly addictive...The series [has] earned Ward an Anne Rice–style following, deservedly so; this entry should prove no less popular.”
“It’s tough to keep raising the bar in a series, but the phenomenal Ward manages to do just that!...Amazing...The world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood continues to grow and become more layered, ramping up the tension, risk, and passion. This is awesome stuff.”
—Romantic Times (4½ Stars, Top Pick)
“Ward spins her take on Beauty and the Beast into a raw, gritty tour de force.... A tale that sparks enough plot stunners to keep readers fascinated for years to come.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Lover Awakened is utterly absorbing and deliciously erotic. I found myself turning pages faster and faster—and then I wished I hadn’t, because there was no more to read! The Brotherhood is the hottest collection of studs in romance, and I can’t wait for the next one!”
—USA Today bestselling author Angela Knight
“Compelling...Ward pulls no punches in this dark, dangerous, and at times tragic series.”
—Romantic Times (4½ Stars, Top Pick)
“Ward wields a commanding voice perfect for the genre, and readers new to the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood should hold on tight for an intriguing, adrenaline-pumping ride featuring a race of warrior vampires who fill enemies with terror and women with desire. Like any good thrill ride, the pace changes with a tender story of survival and hope and leaves readers begging for more. Fans of L. A. Banks, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Sherrilyn Kenyon will add Ward to their must-read list.”
“[An] extremely intense and emotionally powerful tale.... Ward’s paranormal world is, among other things, colorful, dangerous, and richly conceived.... Intricate plots and believable characters.”
—Romantic Times (4½ Stars, Top Pick)
“It’s not easy to find a new twist on the vampire myth, but Ward succeeds beautifully. This dark and compelling world is filled with enticing romance as well as perilous adventure. With myriad possibilities to choose from, the Black Dagger Brotherhood series promises tons of thrills and chills.”
—Romantic Times (4½ Stars, Top Pick)
“A dynamite new vampire series—delicious, erotic, and thrilling! J. R. Ward has created a wonderful cast of characters, with a sexy, tormented, to-die-for hero.... A fabulous treat for romance readers!”
—Nicole Jordan, New York Times bestselling author of Fever Dreams: A Novel
“J. R. Ward has a great style of writing, and she shines.... You will lose yourself in this world; it is different, creative, dark, violent, and flat-out amazing...If you read only one paranormal this year, make it Dark Lover.”
—All About Romance
“An awesome, instantly addictive debut novel. It’s a midnight whirlwind of dangerous characters and mesmerizing erotic romance. The Black Dagger Brotherhood owns me now. Dark fantasy lovers, you just got served.”
—Lynn Viehl, author of Night Lost
Novels in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward
A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
J. R. Ward
A SIGNET BOOK
With immense gratitude to the readers
of the Black Dagger Brotherhood,
and a shout-out to the Cellies!
I’m not even going to bring up the couch.
I can’t count that high.
Thank you so very much:
Karen Solem, Kara Cesare, Claire Zion, Kara Welsh.
Thank you, Dorine and Angie,
for taking such very good care of me—
and thanks also to S-Byte and Ventrue for everything
you do out of the goodness of your hearts!
As always with gratitude to my executive committee:
Sue Grafton, Dr. Jessica Andersen, Betsey Vaughan,
and my Partner.
And with much respect to the incomparable
To DLB—guess what? ya mummy still loves ya xxx
To NTM—as always, with love and gratitude.
As you well know.
And I have to say,
none of this would be possible without:
my loving husband, who sticks by me always;
my wonderful mother, who’s been with me since...
well, hey, the very beginning;
my family (both those of blood and those by choice);
and my dearest friends.
Glossary of Terms and Proper Nouns
Glossary of Terms and Proper Nouns
ahvenge (v.) Act of mortal retribution, carried out typically by a male loved one.
attendhente (n.) Chosen who serves the Scribe Virgin in particularly close manner.
Black Dagger Brotherhood (pr. n). Highly trained vampire warriors who protect their species against the Lessening Society. As a result of selective breeding within the race, Brothers possess immense physical and mental strength as well as rapid healing capabilities. They are not siblings for the most part, and are inducted into the Brotherhood upon nomination by the Brothers. Aggressive, self-reliant, and secretive by nature, they exist apart from civilians, having little contact with members of the other classes except when they need to feed. They are the subjects of legend and the objects of reverence within the vampire world. They may be killed by only the most serious of wounds, e.g., a gunshot or stab to the heart, etc.
blood slave (n.) Male or female vampire who has been subjugated to serve the blood needs of another. The practice of keeping blood slaves has largely been discontinued, though it has not been outlawed.
the Chosen (pr. n.) Female vampires who have been bred to serve the Scribe Virgin. They are considered members of the aristocracy, though they are spiritually rather than temporally focused. They have little or no interaction with males, save for the Primale, but can be mated to Brothers at the Scribe Virgin’s direction. They have the ability to prognosticate. In the past, they were used to meet the blood needs of unmated members of the Brotherhood, and that practice has been adopted once again.
cohntehst (n.) Conflict between two males competing for the right to be a female’s mate.
Dhunhd (pr. n.) Hell.
doggen (n.) Member of the servant class within the vampire world. Doggen have old, conservative traditions about service to their superiors, following a formal code of dress and behavior. They are able to go out during the day, but they age relatively quickly. Life expectancy is approximately five hundred years.
ehros (n.) A Chosen trained in the matter of sexual arts.
the Fade (pr. n.) Nontemporal realm where the dead reunite with their loved ones and pass eternity.
First Family (pr. n.) The king and queen of the vampires, and any children they may have.
ghardian (n.) Custodian of an individual. There are varying degrees of ghardians, with the most powerful being that of a sehcluded female.
glymera (n.) The social core of the aristocracy, roughly equivalent to Regency England’s ton.
hellren (n.) Male vampire who has been mated to a female. Males may take more than one female as mate.
leahdyre (n.) A person of power and influence.
leelan (n.) A term of endearment loosely translated as “dearest one.”
Lessening Society (pr. n.) Order of slayers convened by the Omega for the purpose of eradicating the vampire species.
lesser (n.) De-souled human who targets vampires for extermination as a member of the Lessening Society. Lessers must be stabbed through the chest in order to be killed; otherwise they are ageless. They do not eat or drink and are impotent. Over time, their hair, skin, and irises lose pigmentation until they are blond, blushless, and pale-eyed. They smell like baby powder. Inducted into the society by the Omega, they retain a ceramic jar thereafter into which their heart was placed after it was removed.
lewlhen (n.) Gift.
lheage (n.) A term of respect used by a sexual submissive to refer to his or her dominant.
mahmen (n.) Mother. Used both as an identifier and a term of affection.
mhis (n.) The masking of a given physical environment; the creation of a field of illusion.
nalla (n.f.) or nallum (n.m.) Beloved.
needing period (n.) Female vampire’s time of fertility, generally lasting for two days and accompanied by intense sexual cravings. Occurs approximately five years after a female’s transition and then once a decade thereafter. All males respond to some degree if they are around a female in her needing. It can be a dangerous time, with conflicts and fights breaking out between competing males, particularly if the female is not mated.
newling (n.) A virgin.
the Omega (pr. n.) Malevolent, mystical figure who has targeted the vampires for extinction out of resentment directed toward the Scribe Virgin. Exists in a nontemporal realm and has extensive powers, though not the power of creation.
pherarsom (adj.) Term referring to the potency of a male’s sexual organs. Literal translation something close to “worthy of entering a female.”
princeps (n.) Highest level of the vampire aristocracy, second only to members of the First Family or the Scribe Virgin’s Chosen. Must be born to the title; it may not be conferred.
pyrocant (n.) Refers to a critical weakness in an individual. The weakness can be internal, such as an addiction, or external, such as a lover.
rahlman (n.) Savior.
rythe (n.) Ritual manner of assuaging honor granted by one who has offended another. If accepted, the offended chooses a weapon and strikes the offender, who presents him-or herself without defenses.
the Scribe Virgin (pr. n.) Mystical force who is counselor to the king as well as the keeper of vampire archives and the dispenser of privileges. Exists in a nontemporal realm and has extensive powers. Capable of a single act of creation, which she expended to bring the vampires into existence.
sehclusion (n.) Status conferred by the king upon a female of the aristocracy as a result of a petition by the female’s family. Places the female under the sole direction of her ghardian, typically the eldest male in her household. Her ghardian then has the legal right to determine all manner of her life, restricting at will any and all interactions she has with the world.
shellan (n.) Female vampire who has been mated to a male. Females generally do not take more than one mate due to the highly territorial nature of bonded males.
symphath (n.) Species within the vampire race characterized by the ability and desire to manipulate emotions in others (for the purposes of an energy exchange), among other traits. Historically, they have been discriminated against and during certain eras hunted by vampires. They are near extinction.
tahlly (n.) A term of endearment loosely translated as “darling.”
the Tomb (pr. n.) Sacred vault of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Used as a ceremonial site as well as a storage facility for the jars of lessers. Ceremonies performed there include inductions, funerals, and disciplinary actions against Brothers. No one may enter except for members of the Brotherhood, the Scribe Virgin, or candidates for induction.
trahyner (n.) Word of mutual respect and affection used between males. Translated loosely as “beloved friend.”
transition (n.) Critical moment in a vampire’s life when he or she transforms into an adult. Thereafter, they must drink the blood of the opposite sex to survive and are unable to withstand sunlight. Occurs generally in the mid-twenties. Some vampires do not survive their transitions, males in particular. Prior to their transitions, vampires are physically weak, sexually unaware and unresponsive, and unable to dematerialize.
vampire (n.) Member of a species separate from that of Homo sapiens. Vampires must drink the blood of the opposite sex to survive. Human blood will keep them alive, though the strength does not last long. Following their transitions, which occur in their mid-twenties, they are unable to go out into sunlight and must feed from the vein regularly. Vampires cannot “convert” humans through a bite or transfer of blood, though they are in rare cases able to breed with the other species. Vampires can dematerialize at will, though they must be able to calm themselves and concentrate to do so and may not carry an...
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