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Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood Series #3)

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood Series #3)

4.7 2288
by J. R. Ward

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A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion and terror his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful female from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is


A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion and terror his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful female from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for each other begins to overtake them, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past and find a future with her....

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
J. R. Ward's third entry in the fabulous Black Dagger Brotherhood vampire series (Dark Lover, Lover Eternal) is "all adrenaline all the time," starting from page one. Again, we are back in Caldwell, New York, where a deadly street war continues between the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a band of six vampire warriors, and their enemies. One warrior, Zsadist, is perhaps the fiercest; with his scarred face and shaven skull, he looks like the Grim Reaper, if the Reaper were packing a small arsenal! Not even his twin, Phury, can understand Zsadist's obsession with finding the beautiful Bella, an aristocratic civilian abducted six weeks earlier by the evil Lessening Society.

When Zsadist finds Bella -- and he does -- she has been traumatized by her abduction and feels safe only with him. Their subsequent passionate romance is undeniably one with issues. Zsadist's past as a blood slave, humiliated and sexually abused for centuries, has left deep scars. Bella's abduction fills him with the need for revenge. Still, this is not just a tale of passion between two strong characters; it is also the tale of the two brothers, Zsadist and Phury, who were separated at birth, and their subsequent history.

As in earlier books, Ward adeptly draws the reader into the drama of the secondary characters -- like John, a young vampire pre-transition and his search for self and family, and the human cop, Butch. We trust all will have their own book in the series some day. Ginger Curwen
Romantic Times
When it comes to tormented heroes, few can top the dangerous and tortured Zsadist. In a change of pace, it's the hero who has sexual issues resulting from his violently abusive past as a blood slave. Both the hero and heroine have suffered greatly, but it's Zsadist's journey to self-acceptance that makes this book so compelling. Ward pulls no punches in this dark, dangerous and at times tragic series. Waiting for successive installments is getting harder and harder.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Black Dagger Brotherhood Series , #3
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.25(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

“What if I told you I had a fantasy?”

Butch O’Neal put his Scotch down and eyed the blonde who’d spoken to him. Against the backdrop of Zero-Sum’s VIP area, she was something else, dressed in white patent leather strips, a cross between Barbie and Barbarella. It was hard to know if she was one of the club’s professionals or not. The Reverend only trafficked in the best, but maybe she was a model for FHM or Maxim.

She planted her hands on the marble tabletop and leaned in toward him. Her breasts were perfect, the very best money could buy. And her smile was radiant, a promise of acts done with knee pads. Paid or not, this was a woman who got plenty of vitamin D and liked it.

“Well, daddy?” she said over the trippy techno music. “Want to make my dream come true?”

He shot her a hard smile. Sure as hell, she was going to make someone very happy tonight. Probably a busload of someones. But he wasn’t going to be riding that double-decker.

“Sorry, you need to go taste the rainbow somewhere else.”

Her total lack of reaction sealed the deal on her professional status. With a vacant smile, she floated over to the next table and pulled the same lean and gleam.

Butch tilted his head back and swallowed the inch of La-gavulin left in his glass. His next move was to flag down a waitress. She didn’t come over, just nodded and beat feet for the bar to get him another.

It was almost three A.M., so the rest of the troika were going to show up in a half hour. Vishous and Rhage were out hunting lessers, those soulless bastards that killed their kind, but the two vampires were probably going to come in for a landing dis-appointed. The secret war between their species and the Less-ening Society had been quiet all January and February, with few slayers out and around. This was good news for the race’s civilian population. Cause for concern for the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

“Hello, cop.” The low male voice came from right behind Butch’s head.

Butch smiled. That sound always made him think of night fog, the kind that hides what’s going to kill you. Good thing he liked the dark side.

“Evening, Reverend,” he said without turning around.

“I knew you were going to turn her down.”

“You a mind reader?”


Butch glanced over his shoulder. The Reverend was poised in the shadows, amethyst eyes glowing, mohawk trimmed tight to his skull. His black suit was sweet: Valentino. Butch had one just like it.

Although in the Reverend’s case the worsted wool had been bought with the guy’s own money. The Reverend, a.k.a. Reh-venge, a.k.a. brother of Z’s shellan, Bella, owned ZeroSum and took a cut of everything that went down. Hell, with all the de-pravity for sale in the club, he had a forest worth of green fun-neling into his piggy bank at the end of every night.

“Nah, she just wasn’t for you.” The Reverend slid into the booth, smoothing his perfectly knotted Versace necktie. “And I know why you said no.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“You don’t like blondes.”

Not anymore he didn’t. “Maybe I just wasn’t into her.”

“I know what you want.”

As Butch’s newest Scotch arrived, he gave it a quick vertical workout. “Do you now?”

“It’s my job. Trust me.”

“No offense, but I’d rather not about this.”

“Tell you what, cop.” The Reverend leaned in close and he smelled fantastic. Then again, Cool Water by Davidoff was an oldie but goodie. “I’ll help you anyway.”

Butch clapped a hand on the male’s heavy shoulder. “Only interested in bartenders, buddy. Good Samaritans give me the scratch.”

“Sometimes only the opposite will do.”

“Then we’re SOL.” Butch nodded out at the half-naked crowd writhing on hits of X and coke. “Everyone looks the same around here.”

Funny, during his years in the Caldwell Police Department, ZeroSum had been an enigma to him. Everyone knew the place was a drug hole and a sex pool. But no one at the CPD had been able to pin down enough probable cause to get a search warrant—even though you could walk in any night of the week and see dozens of legal infractions, most of them happening in tandem.

But now that Butch was hanging with the Brotherhood, he knew why. The Reverend had lots of little tricks in his bag when it came to changing people’s perceptions of events and circumstances. As a vampire, he could scrub clean the memo-ries of any human, manipulate security cameras, dematerialize at will. The guy and his biz were a moving target that never moved.

“Tell me something,” Butch said, “how have you managed to keep your aristocratic family from knowing about this little night job you got going on?”

The Reverend smiled so that only the tips of his fangs showed. “Tell me something, how did a human get so tight with the Brotherhood?”

Butch tipped his glass in deference. “Sometimes fate takes you in fucked-up directions.”

“So true, human. So very true.” As Butch’s cell phone went off, the Reverend got up. “I’ll send you over something.”

“Unless it’s Scotch I don’t want it, my man.”

“You’re going to take that back.”

“Doubt it.” Butch took out his Motorola Razr and flipped it open. “What up, V? Where are you?”

Vishous was breathing like a racehorse with the dull roar of wind distortion backing him up: a symphony of ass hauling. “Shit, cop. We got problems.”

Butch’s adrenaline kicked in, lighting him up like a Christmas tree. “Where are you?”

“Out in the burbs with a situation. The damn slayers have started hunting civilians in their homes.”

Butch leaped to his feet. “I’m coming—”

“The hell you are. You stay put. I only called so you wouldn’t think we were dead when we didn’t show. Later.”

The connection cut off.

Butch sank back down in the booth. From the table next to him, a group of people let out a loud, happy burst, some shared joke teeing their laughter off like birds flushed into the open air.

Butch looked into his glass. Six months ago he’d had noth-ing in his life. No woman. No family he was close to. No home to speak of. And his job as a homicide detective had been eat-ing him alive. Then he’d gotten canned for police brutality. Fallen in with the Brotherhood through a bizarre series of events. Met the one and only woman who’d ever awed him stu-pid. Also had a total wardrobe makeover.

At least that last one was in the good category and had stayed there.

For a while the change had been a great mask of reality, but lately he’d noticed that for all the differences, he was right where he’d always been: no more alive than when he’d been rotting in his old life. Still on the outside looking in.

What People are Saying About This

Angela Knight
Lover Awakened is utterly absorbing and deliciously erotic. The Brotherhood is the hottest collection of studs in romance, and I can't wait for the next one!
Lisa Gardner
Best new series I've read in years! Tautly written, wickedly sexy and just plain fun. Now here's a band of brothers who knows how to show a girl a good time.
Suzanne Brockmann
J.R. Ward's unique band of brothers is to die for. I love this series!

Meet the Author

J.R. Ward is the author of over twenty previous novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood. There are more than 15 million copies of Ward's novels in print worldwide and they have been published in 25 different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Lover Awakened 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2288 reviews.
pinup-beauty More than 1 year ago
The romance story of Zsadist and Bella will bring tears to your eyes. This is truly a vampire story that is so intense you'll only want more. However! Read the the two books before so that you fully understand Zsadist and get the full impact. This is one of my favorite series to date!
The14Rhage More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book of the entire series it was emotional but not sappy and the main characters didnt lose what made them, standout while trying to build a romance story.
WolfeeTX More than 1 year ago
This book is about one of Ms. Ward's Black-Dagger Brotherhood Warriors, Zhadist... The warrior who is considered "Psycho", trying to kill as many Lessers as he can, to protect the humans and the Vampires from the Omega and his followers. The warrior who denies his love for his twin, his fellow warriors and for the lady he thinks deserves a "Male of Worth"... I highly recommend this book...but, have a box of tissues handy (just in case). ***** (5 Stars)!!
ReadingVixen67 More than 1 year ago
Although not my favorite character, "Lover Awakened" was definitely my favorite book out of the BDB series. Bella's "needing period" alone made this book worth my while to read and re-read over and over! LOL Zsadist's trials and struggles throughout his life help explain his outlook on people and himself, and the way he finally realizes that Bella is the one for him is pretty cool. Definitely a must-read and must-have for your BDB library!
GA76 More than 1 year ago
Out of all the books in the series so far this was my favorite. Zsadist is one of the characters that you love even though you should hate him. He draws you closer each time he tries to push you away. He is a very complex character with deep rooted issues. Under all the torment he is a very good guy with honor and a tenderness to him that you would think he was not capable of. The Novella of him and Bella's life together is a great add on to this book. I have read the book twice and each time get a better understanding and deeper feeling for Zsadist. This is well worth the read along with the whole series. I give it 5-stars.
sweetpea_peaches More than 1 year ago
I cannot get enought of the black dagger brotherhood! It is one of those books that you wake up in the morning and think, when can I fit reading this into my day? I love the twist of J.R.Ward's vampires, it really gives you the impression that they are they are own race, steaped with traditions and culture, not just the physical differences from humans for a change. You get to see one of the most leathal brothers reveal his softer side, and to see why he is so cut off from his surroundings, one of her best novels yet. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!
librachic More than 1 year ago
I think that honestly this is a novel that is very close to my heart. It was very beautiful to read about the beginnings of a relationship between Bella and Zsadist. You could see that Zsadist cares for her from the beginning of the book already, how he went looking for her and all that. Zsadist doesn't believe he deserves someone to love and be his shellan but Bella thinks otherwise, she heals him and helps him discover himself. What I love about J.R Ward's writing is that the whole story is not just about the main characters, so many events and people play huge part of the plot and I loved reading about John, Wellsie and Tohr. It was heart-breaking at the end though but at the same time the end was beautiful, It truly was to see how much Zsadist changed into a new man was amazing and it was all because of Bella's faith and love in him. I loved the camaraderie between the brothers and seeing them is like seeing a family together, seriously, no one is left out. The romance was rocky but it turned out well in the end. Again I must say that the end was unbelievably touching and heartfelt. It really felt right and I can't wait to get my hands on book 4!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Out of all the members of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Zsadist is my favorite character. The love story between him and Bella is truly touching. If you're already a BDB series fan, this book will not disappoint you. For those new to the BDB series, a few things to note. I started reading the first BDB book, Dark Lover, after finishing the Twilight series and - WHOA! - what culture shock. The BDB series is not a "tween" love story. It's loaded with expletives (so, not so great for book clubs), intense intimacy and action. This series is sort of Sydney Sheldon with vampires. And, though it wasn't Twilight-ish at all, I could not stop reading this series, and devoured all seven books in about three weeks. My biggest complaint with the series is that each book - especially the later ones in the series - is a cliffhanger to future books, so you never feel as though you've 'completed' what you're reading. Each story feels unfinished because it is. The last two books were so loaded with details for future books, that I didn't feel they did justice to the "brother" the book is primarily about. Still, I'm hooked and waiting for the next book to come out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What more is there to say..........these books are hot!
Xedra77 More than 1 year ago
Usually, I only comment on the first book of a series but, since I read the first and the second Black Dagger Brotherhood books in the same day and this one was so fantastic, I'm putting my two cents in here. I LOVED THIS STORY. I'm a sucker for the misunderstood tough guy. I know the story's been done to death in good and bad ways, but this one is my favorite so far. Ward develops Zhadist's character in a way that made me want to push Bella out of the way and comfort him myself. Just wait until you see how Mr. O ends up. You won't believe it, but it's almost an afterthought considering all that's going on. One thing Ward does that authors in this genre often neglect is to develop storylines for other books within previous books. Yeah, Zhadist has found his piece of mind, but I have to read the next to find out what happens with Tohr, Butch, Vischous, Phury, John. . .oh heck, back to the library!
Bwitchd3 More than 1 year ago
From the beginning, Zsadist has been a mysterious and cold character. His dark past is alluded to, but not explained until now. Bella’s stubbornness and love is something to be admired. You instinctively know that loving someone like Zsadist will never be easy, but you root for her to try and for him to let her. This story is darker and more intense than the first two because Ward finally addresses the fact that the Brothers are fighting a war, which means that people die. Characters you love will die, and it will change the dynamic of the Brotherhood forever.
Thecrazyskein More than 1 year ago
I think that out of all of the books this one is my favorite. The Hereo in this one is very realistic with realistic problems. Out of all of the relationships this one has the most to over come. Bella is the perfect match for Z because she is a very strong woman who is tender enough to help Z through a very scarred past. This book has many themes and will keep you wanting more!
Anonymous 3 months ago
OMG!! J.R. Ward breaks my heart and puts it back together in such a passionate way. I love this series and her as an author. You must read!!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Jasmyn9 More than 1 year ago
I loved Zsadist. In all the previous books he is continually portrayed as a hard, mean, almost-evil type of person. But, I wanted him to be something different. And J.R. Ward let him be that something different without actually changing him. (Confusing, I know, but it is what it is.) Zsadists's past has left him beyond scarred - and as you read through his and his brothers memories, you will see exactly why he behaves the way he does. It is the only way he knows to survive. But when Bella is taken by the Lesser Society, Zsadist is determined to find her and set her free. Not just from them, but from himself. It's one of the most selfless acts I've ever seen in a romance book. Knowing that it will destroy him, he pushes her into the arms of someone he views as "more appropriate" and "worthy" than he is. A lot of the "action" in this book is within Zsadist and Bella, watching the work through and around their issues and fears was amazing. I think they are going to be one of the strongest couples - at least from what I've seen so far. There's a lot of tragedy in this book - which really surprised me. I thought for sure it was all going to be a joke - but..... Overall, an amazing story that will hit you right in the heart in so many ways.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rapes Carrie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was so good i read it in 2 days! Finally getting to the story of my favorite character. Its starts off a little slow but well worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sweet Bella and Zdasist!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walked in naked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too long for Z to come around
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Zhadist & Bella's story so much that I purchased the ebook copy after I'd already owned the paperback version. It is one of my favorite BDB books. I've read it several times now and it just never gets old. There is just something about a character that has had much suffering & tragedy finding their happy ending.