The Darkest Surrender (Lords of the Underworld Series #8)

The Darkest Surrender (Lords of the Underworld Series #8)

by Gena Showalter

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Possessed by the demon of Defeat, Strider cannot lose a challenge without suffering unimaginable pain. For him, nothing stands in the way of victory. Until Kaia, an enchanting Harpy, tempts him to the razor's edge of surrender.

Known among her people as The Disappointment, Kaia must bring home the gold in the Harpy Games or die. Strider is a distraction she can't afford because he has an agenda of his own—steal first prize, an ancient godly artifact, before the winner can be named. But as the competition heats up, only one prize will matter—the love neither had thought possible.…

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373775811
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 09/27/2011
Series: Lords of the Underworld Series , #8
Edition description: Original
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 104,111
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over fifty books, including the acclaimed Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, and the White Rabbit Chronicles. She writes sizzling paranormal romance, heartwarming contemporary romance, and unputdownable young adult novels, and lives in Oklahoma City with her family and menagerie of dogs. Visit her at

Read an Excerpt


"Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah. The day of the Unfortunate Incident, something you made me swear never to discuss, even upon threat of death. And I won't discuss it now, so don't get your panties in a twist. I just thought you were more careful with your affections nowadays."

Kaia Skyhawk peered over at her twin—Bianka the Heavenly Hills Ho, as Kaia had recently dubbed her. A name her precious sis deserved. Girl had nailed an angel. A freaking angel. 'Course, in return Bianka had dubbed her Kaia: Bed-warmer of the Underworld for getting down and dirty with Paris, the biggest man-whore in existence.

The title didn't sting nearly as much as her last one. Fine, her current one. Harpies had long memories, and shouts of "Look, everyone, it's the Disappointment" still happened anytime she ran into another of her race.

Anyway. Bianka was as ravishingly gorgeous as ever, a dark fall of hair cascading down her back, her amber eyes bright. And just then she was flipping through a rack of designer dresses, a mix of determination and concern radiating from her.

"That happened, like, a million years ago," Kaia said, "and Strider is the first man Fve…damn it, he's just the first man I've wanted, truly wanted," she added before her sister could comment on her "boyfriends" throughout the centuries, "since. Or ever."

"Actually, that, as you called it, happened a mere fifteen hundred years ago, but we aren't discussing it. So what about Kane, keeper of Disaster, huh? I thought you once had a moment with him? A shock to your senses or something like that."

"Nothing but static."

A snort full of amusement. "Try again."

"I don't know. Maybe his demon sensed a kindred spirit in me and reached out, hoping to fan the flames of a romance. That doesn't mean Kane and I are destined to be together. I'm not attracted to him."

"Better, and okay, Kane's out. Maybe you need to look elsewhere for a boyfriend. Like, say, the heavens. I can set you up with an angel." Bianka held up a flowing swath of blue material with sequined flower appliques sewn into the top and layer after layer of lacy ruffles at the bottom. "What do you think of this one?"

Ignoring the dress as she'd been ignored, Kaia pressed on. "No set ups. I want Strider."

"He's no good for you."

He's perfect for me. "One, he doesn't belong to another Harpy. Two, he isn't psychotic. Well," she added with a few seconds of afterthought, "he isn't psychotic all of the time. And three, he's…he's my consort, I know it." There. She'd said the words out loud to someone other than herself and the brain-damaged man in question.

My consort.

Consorts, as Kaia now knew, were extremely hard to find and utterly cherished because of that. Actually, they were necessary. Harpies were volatile by nature, dangerous and, when annoyed, lethal to the entire world. Consorts calmed them. Consorts appeased them.

If only you could select your consort from a catalogue and be done with it. Instead, instinct picked for you, and your body followed suit. Wouldn't have been so bad, except each Harpy was granted one consort during her seemingly endless life. Only one. You lost him, and you suffered eternally. If you didn't kill yourself outright.

That Kaia had once tried to steal Juliette's, that Juliette had been without her male all this time, not knowing whether he lived or had died, hating him for what he'd done but needing him anyway, that Juliette still loathed Kaia and had promised retribution—retribution the bitch still clearly planned to achieve—shamed her. But then, what could she say to defend herself? Nothing!

She had disobeyed. She set the man free. She had unleashed his fury upon an unsuspecting community.

Every year Kaia mailed Juliette a fruit basket with a "sorry about you consort" card, and every year the basket was returned with rotten apple cores, black banana peels, and a picture of Juliette flipping her off with "Die, Whore, Die" written in blood somewhere.

Only reason Juliette hadn't yet attacked was out of respect for Tabitha, who was still a force to be reckoned with among allies and enemies alike.

Don't think about the past. You'll start spiraling.

She'd think about her consort. Strider. Barbaric, slutty, idiotic Strider. He was an immortal warrior who'd long ago stolen and opened Pandora's box to "teach those asshole gods a lesson" for daring to pick a "mere woman" to guard such a "dumb relic," and because of his rampant senselessness, he and the friends who'd helped him—the infamous and deliciously frightening for everyone but a Harpy Lords of the Underworld—had been cursed, forever forced to carry the demons they'd set free inside themselves.

Strider, the beautiful moron, was possessed by the demon of Defeat. He couldn't lose a single challenge without suffering debilitating pain. Of course, that made him determined to win everything, even something as silly as Rock Band. Which she refused to ever again play with him because she'd totally nailed the bass, then the drums, then the mic, and he'd spazzed out and yelled at her before passing out and twitching with pain. So melodramatic.

Anyway, his determination made him stupid, egotistical, stupid, an all around asshat and stupid! But…there was no man more handsome, no man more fierce.

No man who wanted less to do with her.

Had she mentioned he was stupid?

"Well?" Bianka shook the dress in Kaia's face, forcefully claiming her attention. "Opinion, please. And sometime today."

Focus. "Don't kill the messenger, but that thing will make you look like a cracked out prom queen who has no plans to sleep with her boyfriend when the big dance ends—because she doesn't have a boyfriend. She's too weird. Sorry."

Bianka merely shrugged, unperturbed. "Hey, cracked out prom queens might be weird, but they're hot."

"If hot is a synonym for destined to die alone, you're right. So go ahead. Buy the dress, and I'll buy you a hundred cats to keep you company while you spend the rest of eternity trying to figure where your relationship with the angel went wrong, never really understanding that the problems started this very night"

"Do you know anything about me? Hello, I like dogs. But fine, whatever." Red lips pursing, her twin snapped the hanger back onto the rack and continued her search for "the perfect gown" to wear when she broke a bit of bad news to her consort, Lysander.

Poor Bianka. She hadn't just nailed an angel, she'd bound herself to one. Forever. Lysander lived and worked in the heavens and was so boring Kaia would rather shove bamboo splints under other people's fingernails than spend time with him. Okay, bad example. She actually enjoyed shoving bamboo splints under other people's nails.

There was something so best-musical-ever when people screamed and begged for mercy, and she could listen to a good musical all day.

"Kaia?" Bianka said. "What the hell are you sighing about?"


"Musicals? Seriously? When I'm dying for help? Will you just listen to me for once?"

"In a minute. Geez. I really like this thought train." Or rather, she'd liked the station stop before the musicals. A male this boring needed an equally tedious nickname…like…Pope Lysander the First. That's right. He was an elite warrior with wings of gold and yeah, he was a demon slayer extraordinaire, and okay, that was sexy as hell, but he was also morally upstanding. Like over the edge OCD about it. Kaia shuddered with distaste. He was slowly but surely sucking the fun right out of her once delightful sister.

In fact, Lysander's aversion to blatant shoplifting was the reason they had abandoned Budapest—too many prying eyes—returned to Alaska and broken into Anchorage's Fifth Avenue Mall at night rather than taking what they desired in broad daylight. As usual. Again, too many prying eyes.

To be honest, Kaia was kind of embarrassed about the concession. She would have told her man to take his request to "please don't steal in front of humans, it gives them ideas" and stuff it up his ass. Also, she despised the lack of thrill, needed it to soothe her darker side, but whatever. She loved her sister. More than that, she owed Bianka a debt she could never hope to repay.

They might not ever discuss the Unfortunate Incident, but Kaia had never forgotten it. (See? A Harpy with a long memory.) Every day she remembered how Bianka had writhed in a pool of her own blood, her eyes glassy with pain. How moans of pain had parted mutilated lips.

Bianka sighed. "Okay, let's get your problems out of the way so we can concentrate on me. Tell me why you picked Strider as your heartmate. I know you're dying to extol his virtues."

For a moment, Kaia could only blink at her sister, certain she'd misheard. "Are you freaking kidding me? Heart-mate? Did you just say heartmate?"

Bianka snickered. "I did, and I almost gagged. Ly-sander's influence, you know. Anyway, Strider's such a tool. And a challenge." Another snicker echoed. "Get it? A challenge…he can't lose one…but he sure as hell acts like one."

Kaia rolled her eyes. "I think you've been hanging with the angels too much. Your IQ has dropped."

"What? That was funny." Square-tipped nails painted bright blue drummed against the metal rack between them. "And by the way, the angels aren't that bad."

"Whatever you need to tell yourself, my love."

Bianka blew her a kiss full of fang. "All's I'm saying is that Strider's gonna be a handful—and not the good kind. He's—actually, wait. I recant. He's too big to be anything but a good handful. Or more. But he's also gonna be a bad one. Wait. That doesn't ring true, either. How should I put this? He's going to—"

"I get it already! He's got a huge package, and he's irritating as hell. What's your point?"

"Glad you're finally up to speed. It's sad, really, that you need so much explanation." The sparkle in her sister's eyes dimmed. "Anyway, you told him how you felt about him and he rejected you. He'll be annoyed by any further contact you initiate, and an annoyed demon-possessed warrior is a global disaster waiting to happen."

"I know." If she had realized his importance to her sooner, she wouldn't have slept with his friend Paris, the keeper of Promiscuity. Otherwise known as Paris the Sex-orcist, a male so sensual he could make your head spin. And if she hadn't slept with the Sexorcist, Strider the Stupid wouldn't have rejected her.


Or maybe he would have. Because to her consternation—yes, consternation, and not an all-consuming, organ-flaming rage—he kinda sorta desired another woman. Haidee, a pretty female who belonged to his friend, Amun, keeper of Secrets.

At least Haidee was off limits, and Kaia didn't have to worry about Strider getting handsie. Honor among evil demons, and all that.

But damn it, just the thought of his gaze on another woman caused Kaia's nails to elongate and sharpen, her fangs to sprout and her blood to boil. Mine, every cell in her body cried. She would kill anyone who made a play for him, as well as anyone he made a play for; she wouldn't be able to help herself. Her dark side would take over, driving her to protect what was hers.

"Seriously, he's lucky to be alive, and not just because I want to chop off his man parts and feed them to zoo animals while he watches," Bianka continued. "Any man who can't recognize your worth deserves a good torturing."

"I know." Not because Kaia was anything special—though she was, kind of, maybe…damn it, she used to be—but because no one could reject a Harpy without suffering severe consequences.

Actually, most Harpies would have taken Strider despite his wishes. So maybe she was the stupid one for allowing him to push her away. She just…wanted him willing. She needed him willing. To abscond with him was to defeat him, and to defeat him was to hurt him.

She couldn't bring herself to hurt him. Even at the expense of her sanity.

"You're too good for him, anyway," Bianka said, loyal as always.

"I know," she repeated once more, lying this time. She would only ever be a disgrace to her clan. He deserved better.

Her sister sighed. "But you still want him." A statement of fact, not a question. "Yeah."

"So what are you going to do to win him?"

"Nothing," she said, fighting a wave of depression. "I chased after him once." And he'd found her lacking. "I'm not going to do it again."


"No. A few weeks ago, I challenged him to kick more Hunter ass than me." Hunters, the enemy out to destroy all things demon. The fanatics loved to go after innocents who dared get in their way. The pre-dead guys who would meet the tips of her claws if they approached Strider again.

Well, if they dared approach him with a weapon in hand. She might let them crawl toward him to apologize for the trouble they'd caused throughout the centuries. Torturing the Lords—only she was allowed to do so. Blowing up buildings—yawn. Could they be any more B-movie? Sooo irritating. Decapitating the keeper of Distrust—okay, that one was a little more than irritating, considering Strider was still messed up about it and everything.

Speaking of Distrust's murder, Haidee had helped carry it out. Yep, that Haidee. The one Strider desired.

Kaia didn't understand it. If he could want Haidee despite her crimes, why couldn't he want Kaia?

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The Darkest Surrender 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 452 reviews.
Dannie33 More than 1 year ago
Zgarza01, here is the ordering that I had along with release dates. I loved Strider's story, not my favorite. But another book I couldn't put down! 1.The Darkest Fire, April 2008 novella ebook-Geyron (Guardian of Hell) 2.The Darkest Night, May 2008-Maddox (Keeper of Violence) 3.The Darkest Kiss, June 2008-Lucien (Keeper of Death) 4.The Darkest Pleasure, July 2008-Reyes (Keeper of Pain) 5.The Darkest Prison, July 2009 novella ebook-Atlas (Titan God of Strength) 6.The Darkest Whisper, September 2009-Sabin (Keeper of Doubt) 7.The Darkest Angel novella in Heart of the Darkness and in the anthology Dark Beginnings, January 2010-angel Lysander 8.The Darkest Passion, June 2010-Aeron (Keeper of Wrath) 9.The Darkest Lie, July 2010-Gideon (Keeper of Lies) 10.The Darkest Secret, April 2011-Amun (Keeper of Secrets) 11.The Darkest Surrender, September 2011-Strider (Keeper of Defeat) 12.The Darkest Seduction, February 2012-Paris (Keeper of Promiscuity)
theReader278 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book. It has a story that will keep you entertained for hours.
SKY_MORROW More than 1 year ago
As much as I hate having to admit this, I'm starting to be disappointed with Gena Showalter's books. She is the author that got me into reading Paranormal Romance, because once I read Maddox's story, I was in love with the Lords of the Underworld. The fact is, that Amun's story, Strider's story and her new Vampire book, have me wondering why I continue to buy and read her books. I could not wait for Strider's story, but quite frankly Kaia is too aggressive and it's not appealing to me. I remember when these Lords were dark, sinister and strong. I'm channeling Lucien, Maddox, Reyes and even Sabin. The worst part about all of this is that I don't like the way these Lords talk or even act and the girls too. Why do they all have to talk like they are texting their high school friends? I teach high school, so when I go to read an "adult novel" I don't want text message type of writing to read. TMI, LOL or "Stridey-man" when Strider is referencing his manhood. I want them to be dark, sinister and strong, not one step above the Jersey Shore guys. Sorry, I'm just starting to get frustrated. I still buy the books and probably will buy Paris' story, but after that I am not sure I will continue. I do think Showalter is a talented writer, clever at times, witty and funny, but I just need more depth to these characters. I don't expect her to write like JR Ward, but to be honest, those characters (The Black Dagger Brotherhood) are dangerous and all so unique. There is a lot of depth there and they don't talk like high school kids, which I am getting more and more annoyed by with Showalter's stories. Sorry I had to say this. As an aspiring author myself, I just hate critiquing those who have "made it" but, I guess I have to be honest in the end.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Fifteen centuries ago, fourteen years old Kaia Skyhawk wants to be known as the strongest harpy. Her only rival at the Harpy Games is Juliette the Eradicator. Juliet captured a male but her new consort remains defiant. Thinking she can make this warrior obey, Kaia, ignoring her mother's admonition about men, frees him. He goes on a rampage killing many harpies. It is fifteen hundred years later and everyone especially her mother blames Kaia the Disappointment for the massacre; she and her sister Bianka have been banned from participating in the games ever since. For the first time since the disaster, the Skyhawks sisters are invited to the games. Bianka and Kaia know someone is setting them up for something though it could be Juliette or even their mom, but each agrees they must attend. She also tells Bianka that she believes Strider is her soulmate, but he and his demon Defeat refuse to accept their attraction to the notorious harpy. However, he reconsiders his position of keeping his distance when he learns first prize at the games is the dangerous ancient Paring Rod that could kill him and his Dark Lord peers. The latest Lords of the Underworld romantic fantasy (see The Darkest Secret) is a terrific refreshing entry due to the macabrely humorous yet lunatic Harpy culture. The story line is fast-paced from the opening fiasco and never slows down as Kaia who tasted defeat refuses to accept it again except as the demon accompanying her Strider. Madcap, the zany Harpy Games is fun to attend. Harriet Klausner
WendyH33 More than 1 year ago
Ok let me start off by saying I have loved loved loved every other book in this series. I have told strangers on the street that they need to read this series. I was so looking forward to this book not only to see the continuation of the story, but because Strider has been one of my very favorite characters throughout the whole book. Not to mention, how do you not love Kaia??? Not possible. Having said that, the book was entertaining, but I found the whole "harpie games" backdrop to the story stupid and done before. I was a little disappointed. I think I would have given this book fewer stars if I wasn't already so in love with all of these characters. I eagerly anticipate the release of Paris' book in January.
jmaloney17 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the latest installment in Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series. This is the story of Strider (who houses the demon Defeat) and Kaia, one of the harpies. It is a pretty good one. It follows the series well. It also adds some information on Paris' story, and starts up some new information on Kane and William. Paris' book must be coming soon. Or maybe Showalter is saving that one for last, and is just torturing us with all the tidbits in each book!One note: I cracked up when I read what Kaia's nickname was for Strider. Hilarious!
DarkAngel10106 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked the first book of this series out by accident. It was mainly because I was in highschool and I needed something to read.The cover looked pretty good and it was one of the cheeper books. Boy am I glad that I did.Gena Showalter is one of the best paranormal writers I have ever read. Unlike those who have series, she does not repeat herself, it does not turn into a monotonious cycle where I know what will happen after the first page. Stryder has always been a favorite of mine. His attitude and demon just speak to me, mainly because I am stubborn and hate to back down from a challange myself. I was glad to see that he was not given some week knee'd female but instead a harpy and one that would make him work for the rest of his life. Kaia like most of the females paired off with the Lord's hadn't had the easiest life either. I was glad to see that dispite everything she didn't give up until she had fixed the wrongs that happened because of her when she was a child by Harpy standard. Dispite the twists and turns of their love story it was a great tale and one I could hardly put down.Bring on the next in the series! Favorite Quotes:"Both your consorts suck. Now shut up and move out.' Bianka stuck her tongue out at Kaia ' Mine sucks less then yours,' muttered." "Well that's because I'm made of awesome.' ' And dipped in awesome' 'And sprinkled in awesome' "You're a goddess Kaia' Another kiss, soft and sweet. 'Nah. That's just a rumor one of my old boyfriends started."
ABookwormsHaven on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I don¿t know how Gena does it, but these books just keep getting better and better as we go. I was not sure I would like Stider¿s story, but I was happily surprised. Plus we get sneak peeks at what is going on with Paris and he is the Lord whose story I am dying to read! But, Strider¿s story did need to come first and I loved both him and his heroine, Kaia.The idea of Strider and Kaia hooking up has been alluded to in previous books, but the fact that Paris has slept with Kaia was something Strider was having a hard time getting over. Kaia was not willing to go down without a fight though, and was always trying to wiggle her way into his heart.At this point in the books, many of the Lords are out on other missions, including the honorary Lord, William, who is out for revenge on Gilly¿s parents and Kane, keeper of disaster, who had an extremely interesting run in with the fates. I cannot believe what they revealed to him and am dying to know how his story will be affecting everyone¿s lives from now on! As for Strider, he has agreed to help Paris track down Sienna. He is all set to go with Paris when he is persuaded to accompany Kaia to the harpy games as her consort. He has not fully agreed to the position, but does not want to see her hurt, so he agrees to go to help her however he can.My absolute favorite part of any of the Lords of the Underworld books is the relationships that are formed and the humor that is a result of that. I can¿t even count how many times I was laughing out loud at the sarcastic comments that were flying back and forth between the Lords, their significant others and basically anyone they encountered. I always love reading these books knowing that the story will be amazing, but they will always make me laugh along with the characters constantly.As for the romance, poor Strider is having a really hard time dealing with the whole Paris/Kaia thing and tries to keep her at a distance because of this. Kaia on the other hand, knows that Strider is her consort and is pulling out all the stops trying to get him to fall for her. One of my favorite little ploys of hers happens when they are getting ready to go out for a night; here is a little peek at it from the book:¿Strider¿s pupils did that expanding thing, almost always a prelude to touching. ¿You need to put on a pair of pants.¿ His voice was a croak. And he did not move toward her.This was one of those times when ¿almost¿ sucked the big one. ¿Duh. As if I¿d go out like this. I¿ve got a pair¿right¿¿ She looked around. ¿There.¿ She stalked to the nightstand and lifted the ¿pants¿ in question. A scrap of red lace spandex that wouldn¿t fall below her dress.With a quick step, step, tug, she shimmied into the material and once again faced off with her consort.His mouth hung open. ¿We were just sitting on the bed, together, and you were just drinking from me, your mouth on my skin, and you didn¿t have any panties on?¿¿You mean you didn¿t look?¿ she said with a pout. No wonder he¿d left her so easily.¿No. I wouldn¿t let myself.¿¿Why?¿¿Damn it, Kaia,¿ he said, ignoring her. ¿You can¿t just go around pantiless.¿¿Which is why I just pulled on a pair. Were you not watching?¿His eyes narrowed to tiny slits. ¿You said pants. That you were putting on a pair of pants.¿¿Yeah. Underpants.¿Seriously? Harpies are just awesome! I don¿t know how Strider holds out so long, because Kaia is hilarious and knows how to fight dirty. When he does finally give into his feelings though, he does not let doubt creep in there or turn away from Kaia. He is an all or nothing kind of guy and I appreciated that once the two of them realized how important they were to each other there was no petty fighting or one leaving the other for no reason.I also enjoyed learning more about the harpy games. I knew they were vicious, but geez, when they fight they are dirty, ruthless and there is a whole lot of blood and body parts flying around. It was a no holds barred match every time they challenged eac
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Love it.
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One of the most thrilling books I've ever read
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Out of her Lords series I like Strider's and Kane's books the best! They were both funny and heartwarning. Hopefully she will finish the rest of the Lords stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago