Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.
As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body but his heart for herself- she sees the emotionally scarred male behind all his noble responsibility. But while the war with the Lessening Society grows more grim, and tragedy looms over the Brotherhood's mansion, Phury must decide between duty and love.
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Twenty-five years, three months, four days,
eleven hours, eight minutes, and thirty-four seconds ago…
TIME WAS NOT, in fact, a draining loss into the infinite. Up until the very second of the present, it was malleable, not fixed. Clay, not concrete.
Which was something for which the Omega was grateful. If time had been fixed, he would not be holding his newborn son in his arms.
Children had never been his goal. And yet in this moment, he was transformed.
“Is the mother dead?” he asked as his Fore-lesser came down the stairs. Funny, if you had asked the slayer what year he thought it was, he would have said 1983. And he would have been correct, in a way.
The Fore-lesser nodded. “She didn’t survive the birth.”
“Vampires rarely do. It’s one of their few virtues.” And in this case apropos. Killing the mother after she had served him so well seemed ungracious.
“What do you want me to do with her body?”
The Omega watched as his son reached out and grabbed hold of his thumb. The grip was strong. “How odd.”
It was hard to put into words what he was feeling. Or perhaps that was the point. He hadn’t expected to feel anything.
His son was supposed to be a defensive reaction to the the Destroyer Prophecy, a calculated response in the war against the vampires, a strategy to ensure the Omega survived. His son would do battle in a new way and kill off that race of savages before the Destroyer chipped away at the Omega’s being until there was nothing left.
Up until this moment, the plan had been executed flawlessly, starting with the abduction of the female vampire the Omega had inseminated and ending here with this new arrival in the world.
The infant looked up at him, budding mouth working. He smelled sweet, but not because he was a lesser.
The Omega didn’t want to let him go, suddenly. This young in his arms was a miracle, a living, breathing loophole. The Omega had not been granted the act of creation as his sister had, but reproduction had not been denied him. He might not have been able to bring a whole new race into being. But he could bring a part of himself forward from the genetic pool.
And he had.
“Master?” the Fore-lesser said.
He really did not want to let the baby go, but to have this work, his son had to live with the enemy, be raised as one among them. His son had to know their language and their culture and their ways.
His son had to know where they lived so he could go and slaughter them.
The Omega forced himself to give the infant over to his Fore-lesser. “Leave him at the gathering place I forbade you to sack. Swaddle him and leave him, and when you return here I shall draw you forth unto me.”
Whereupon you shall die as I so will it, the Omega finished to himself.
There could be no leaks. No mistakes.
As the Fore-lesser did some fawning, which would have interested the Omega at any other time, the sun came up over the cornfields of Caldwell, New York. From upstairs, a soft fizzling sound bloomed into a full-blown fire, the burning smell announcing the incineration of the female’s body along with all the blood on that bed.
Which was just lovely. Tidiness mattered, and this farmhouse was brand-new, built especially for the son’s birth.
“Go,” the Omega commanded. “Go and carry out your duty.”
The Fore-lesser left with the infant, and as the Omega watched the door shut, he yearned for his offspring. Positively ached for the boy.
The solution for his angst was at hand, however. The Omega willed himself into the air and catapulted what corporeal form he had to the “present,” to the very living room he was in.
The change in time registered in a rapid aging of the house around him. Wallpaper faded and peeled off in lazy strips. Furniture ratted and became worn in patterns consistent with over two decades of use. The ceiling dulled from bright white to dingy yellow, as if smokers had been exhaling for years. Floorboards curled up at the corners of the hallway.
In the back of the house, he heard two humans arguing.
The Omega drifted down to the filthy, wilted kitchen that merely seconds ago had been shiny as the day it had been built.
As he came into the room, the man and the woman stopped their fighting, freezing with shock. And he got on with the tedious business of emptying the farmhouse of prying eyes.
His son was returning unto the fold. And the Omega needed to see him almost more than he needed to put him to use.
As the evil touched the center of his chest, he felt empty and thought of his sister. She had brought forth into the world a new race, a race engineered through a combination of her will and the biology that was available. She’d been so proud of herself.
Their father had, as well.
The Omega had started to kill the vampires just to spite them both, but had quickly learned he fed off deeds of evil. Their father couldn’t stop him, of course, because, as it turned out, the Omega’s deeds—nay, his very existence—were necessary to balance his sister’s goodness.
Balance had to be maintained. It was his sister’s core principle, the justification for the Omega, and their father’s mandate from his father. The very basis of the world.
And so it was that the Scribe Virgin suffered and the Omega drew his satisfaction. With each death wrought on her race she hurt, and well he knew it. The brother had always been able to feel the sister.
Now, though, that was even truer.
As the Omega pictured his son out there in the world, he worried about the boy. Hoped that the twenty-plus years had been easy for him. But that was a proper parent, was it not. Parents were supposed to have concern over their offspring and nurture them and protect them. Whatever your core was, whether it be virtue or sin, you wanted the best for what you had brought forth into the world.
It was stunning to find that he had something in common with his sister, after all…a shock to know that they both wanted what children they begot to survive and thrive.
The Omega looked at the bodies of the humans he had just laid to waste.
Of course, that was a mutually exclusive proposition, wasn’t it.
THE WIZARD HAD RETURNED.
Phury closed his eyes and let his head fall back against his headboard. Ah, hell, what was he saying. The wizard had never left.
Mate, sometimes you take the piss out of me, the dark voice in his head drawled. You truly do. After all we’ve been together?
All they’d been together…wasn’t that the truth.
The wizard was the cause of Phury’s driving need for red smoke, always in his head, always hammering about what he hadn’t done, what he should have done, what he could have done better.
Shoulda. Woulda. Coulda.
Cute rhyme. The reality was that one of the Ring-wraiths from The Lord of the Rings drove him to the red smoke sure as if the bastard hog-tied him and threw him in the back of a car.
Actually, mate, you’d be the front bumper.
In his mind’s eye, the wizard appeared in the form of a Ring-wraith standing in the midst of a vast gray wasteland of skulls and bones. In its proper British accent, the bastard made sure that Phury never forgot his failures, the pounding litany causing him to light up again and again just so he didn’t go into his gun closet and eat the muzzle of a forty.
You didn’t save him. You didn’t save them. The curse was brought upon them all by you. The fault is yours…the fault is yours….
Phury reached for another blunt and lit it with his gold lighter.
He was what they called in the Old Country the exhile dhoble.
The second twin. The evil twin.
Born three minutes after Zsadist, Phury’s live birth had brought the curse of imbalance to the family. Two noble sons, both born breathing, was too much good fortune, and sure enough, balance had been wrought: Within months, his twin had been stolen from the family, sold into slavery, and abused for a century in every manner possible.
Thanks to his sick bitch mistress, Zsadist was scarred on his face and his back and his wrists and neck. Scarred worse on the inside.
Phury opened his eyes. Rescuing his twin’s physical body hadn’t gone far enough; it had taken the miracle of Bella to resurrect Z’s soul, and now she was in danger. If they lost her…
Then all is proper and the balance remains intact for the next generation, the wizard said. You don’t honestly think your twin will reap the blessing of a live birth? You shall have children beyond measure. He shall have none. That is the way of the balance.
Oh, and I’m taking his shellan, too, did I mention that?
Phury picked up the remote and turned up “Che Gelida Manina.”
Didn’t work. The wizard liked Puccini. The Ring-wraith just started to waltz around the field of skeletons, its boots crushing what was underfoot, its heavy arms swaying with elegance, its black shredded robes like the mane of a stallion throwing its regal head. Against a vast horizon of soulless gray, the wizard waltzed and laughed.
So. Fucked. Up.
Without looking, Phury reached over to the bedside table for his bag of red smoke and his rolling papers. He didn’t have to measure the distance. He was the rabbit who knew where its pellets were.
While the wizard whooped it up to La Bohème, Phury rolled up two fatties so he could keep his chain going, and he smoked while he readied his reinforcements. As he exhaled, what left his lips smelled like coffee and chocolate, but to put a dull on the wizard, he would have used the stuff even if it had been like burning trash in the nose.
Hell, he was getting to the point where lighting up a whole fucking Dumpster would have been fine and dandy if it could get him some peace.
I can’t believe you don’t value our relationship more, the wizard said.
Phury focused on the drawing in his lap, the one he’d been working on for the last half hour. After he did a quick catch-up review, he dipped the tip of his quill into the sterling silver pot he had balanced against his hip. The pool of ink inside looked like the blood of his enemies, with its dense, oily sheen. On the paper, though, it was a deep reddish brown, not a vile black.
He would never use black to depict someone he loved. Bad luck.
Besides, the sanguinary ink was precisely the color of the highlights in Bella’s mahogany hair. So it fit his subject.
Phury carefully shaded the sweep of her perfect nose, the fine lashes of the quill crisscrossing one another until the density was correct.
Ink drawing was a lot like life: One mistake and the whole thing was ruined.
Damn it. Bella’s eye wasn’t quite up to par.
Curling his forearm around so he didn’t drag his wrist through the new ink he’d laid, he tried to fix what was wrong, shaping the lower lid so the curve of it was more angled. His strokes marked up the sheet of Crane paper nicely enough. But the eye still wasn’t working.
Yeah, not right, and he should know, considering how much time he’d spent drawing her over the last eight months.
The wizard paused in mid-plié and pointed out that this pen-and-ink routine was a shitty thing to do. Drawing your twin’s pregnant shellan. Honestly.
Only a right sodding bastard would get fixated on a female who was taken by his twin. And yet you have. You must be so proud of yourself, mate.
Yeah, the wizard had always had a British accent for some reason.
Phury took another drag and tilted his head to the side to see if a change in viewing angle would help. Nope. Still not right. And neither was the hair, actually. For some reason he’d drawn Bella’s long, dark hair in a chignon, with wisps tickling her cheeks. She always wore it down.
Whatever. She was beyond lovely anyway, and the rest of her face was as he usually depicted her: Her loving stare was to the right, her lashes silhouetted, her gaze showing a combination of warmth and devotion.
Zsadist sat to her right at meals. So that his fighting hand was free.
Phury never drew her with her eyes looking out at him. Which made sense. In real life, he never drew her stare, either. She was in love with his twin, and he wouldn’t have changed that, not for all his longing for her.
The scope of his drawing ran from the top of her chignon to the top of her shoulders. He never drew her pregnant belly. Pregnant females were never depicted from the breastbone down. Again, bad luck. As well as a reminder of what he feared most.
Deaths on the birthing bed were common.
Phury ran his fingertips down her face, avoiding that nose, where the ink was still drying. She was lovely, even with the eye that wasn’t right, and the hair that was different, and the lips that were less full.
This was done. Time to start another.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I've read many of the reviews from readers of this book and I'll have to say that I too, was left shaking my head after finishing this book. To my dismay, I found myself frequently wanting to quit before I finished the book because the hero was so annoying. I started reading the series, oh, perhaps, 2 weeks ago. So, I really followed the brothers from book one to book six within a relatively short time period. Call me obsessive...usually, if there's a series I take a shine to, I'll just keep reading it. (Admittedly, I slowed down with V's story...boy, that one was pretty bad, as well) Luckily, I'm a really fast reader. Anyway, I really took to Phury from the beginning of the series and boy, as a hero, he could not have been more disappointing. Well, maybe he could have been, but then he'd have regressed into this psychotic, whiny addict with no personality. Oh, wait, that was how he played out. So, yeah, I go back to my supposition that he couldn't have been a worse hero.
I've always been the kind of reader who liked an action packed book with a mandatory twist of romance added in. I have been on a "vampire" kick and enjoyed the first few books because of the interesting plot line. The others in this series were obviously filled with more romance than this one but the comparative lack of that in this book didn't actually bother me at all. Just give me a hero/heroine to believe in. Please. And then I'm happy. Is that too much to ask for?
To me, the unfolding plot lines were what made me continue on with this book...except I became more and more frustrated at how incompetent the brotherhood was starting to look as the book continued. Hey, the lessers were kicking butt and putting the brotherhood to shame. If this continues, the civilian vampires should start hoping that the lessers somehow develop a change of heart and decide to protect them, not destroy them; after all, the incompetence seen in this book by the saviors does not bode well for the race as a whole. Hopefully Ward starts to reinfuse some confidence in the brotherhood with her next book. Then again, Rehvenge isn't exactly a brother is he?
I just finished reading this book and I liked all the stories that were taking place at the same time. The characters are great, and I got the romance between Phury and Cormia. What is bothering me though is that J. R. Ward has turned two guys I thought were going to be two more great stories into a gay storyline between the two warriors. There aren't too many more male characters left to write about and I was looking forward to Quinn and Blay's story but now I'm just not. No offense but I am not interested in reading about guys into other guys no matter how nicely written. I want to read about hot hetero warriors because I am a woman who loves to read about sexy girl/boy couples not sexy boy/boy couples and if you are going to introduce more male characters with gay lifestyles you should be fair and give equal time to girl/girl couples. Now that would be different and maybe more interesting. (You mean to tell me that out of the 9 warriors 3 have been kind of into guys, or gay, but out of 40 chosen females with no mates who according to J.R. are ready to mate there isn't one girl /girl couple or maybe even more than one.)
I absolutely loved this book! JR Ward has done an outstanding job at weaving together many intricate stories that progressed nicely together. I'll be honest, Phury is not my favorite of the Brothers; he's way to self-destructive with a martyr complex to match. However, he is not unredeemable. If you are a diehard BDB fan, this book is a must read! This installment wasn't just about Phury, Cormia and the Chosen, but instead was portioned off with crucial scenes that will have effects on future books with John, Blay, Quinn, Xhex, Tohr, Rhevenge, Lash, the Glymera and others. It also appears that the Lessers have a sleeper cell in the vampire community and when activated is programmed for maximum annihilation. The reviews for this book seem to be brutal with a bulk of them asking where the romance is or Phury's HEA; but to be frank, this book was more in the dark urban fantasy genre than any of the previous BDB books. I highly recommend this book and series to dark urban fantasy readers. I also look forward to Lover Avenged.
Of all the books in the series, this is somewhat of a letdown due mostly to the fact that the story was to be about Phury/Cormina (looking at the synopsis at the back of the book) but they take a backseat to not only the next generation (John, Blay and Qhuinn) but to Phury's inner voice (the annoying wizard) and Rhev. One minute Phury/Cormina are not even interacting for months then they are in love (no slow development of their development - you go from point A to point C and missing much of the middle). The book is more a precursor to the next books coming out than anything. Plus there was almost no V or Butch to be found. Too many characters and too many story points for one book.
Believe the Publisher's Weekly review and not what the author peddles on her own website which would make you believe this is about Phury and Cormia and their love story. It's not.
It's pretty much a very large book about the war, the vampire's world, and other factions she's bringing in to generate more books (sympaths, Moors, fallen angels, sheesh!). Inside this large book about all those other things (too many IMO) there's a semi-satisfying novella length (barely) story about Phury and Cormia and a good 70% of that is about Phury and the wizard (damned annoying) and his addiction. Phury and the readers got gipped.
The rest of the story is good, I'll say that. If you like the younguns, John, Quinn, Blay and Lash, you'll love this because it's more about them than almost anyone else. You'll learn lots more about their families, some you'll love and some you'll really hate.
I'll probably continue with the series out of curiosity, but I won't expect a romance that's for sure. I feel pretty confident that those days are over. If you want hot, steamy vampire romance with the Brothers, you'll have to reread Dark Lover because this is lightyears away from that "vein". LOL!
I was a little confused with this one. Who's story was it? Phury, John Matthew, Quhinn and Blay? I had to assume it was suppose to be Phury's story but hard to tell at times. It lacked in the romance department which is one thing I really liked about the first books in this series. Now there seems to be too many other things going on. And the author changes scenes so quickly. One minute you're reading about Phury and all of a sudden it's John Matthew. Sometimes I didn't even realize it had changed. Overall I am glad I read this book. It is virtually impossible for this author to write a "bad" book. I'm looking forward to Revhenge's story. He sounds very interesting to me. Heck, I'd gladly crawl under the sheets with any of these vampires (except Lash...what a P---k).
This was my least favorite in the series. I did like that the plot was different than the previous books, but the content was lacking for me. Worth reading to maintain the storyline of the series.
what can i say about the brother phury, this book was yet again a master piece just like the rest. I have read all her books and i never saw this coming. Phury is seen as the noble loving brother who will do anything for his brothers but I never thought I would see this side of him. There are hot passion scenes and a love story that will make you root for the female instead of the brother. Once again ward created a great read, although i didnt like to see how phury delt with his life, i did enjoy the way he made a u turn for himself. This book is a must read for any brother lover, and just when u think its over more plots unfold which leave you panting for more....Props to ward for giving us the hottest vampire brothers ever. this is a must read.
I read romance to escape the drama of real life. I read it for entertainment. There was little romance in this book that was marketed as romance by the author. The main characters received little attention. Phury seemed very weak in this book. He was not protrayed as weak in previous books. There were too many subplots being developed. The birth of Z's baby was covered in a text message. VERY disappointing. Phury should have been with his brother for that occasion. I will purchase future books in this series used or check them out from the library if I read them at all. This series has taken a turn I don't care for.
In this book I think Ms Ward got a bit ADHD in the story/sub-story telling. It really detracted from the flow of the book and took Phury way out of his character. I was very disappointed in this one and it has clouded my feeling for the series but I will read the following one to see how it goes.
Lover Enshrined is my 2nd favorite out of the series so far. Phury's story is only second place to his twin's, Zadist, story. There is a lot going on in this book. As the war with the lessers increases, Phury feels more and more pressured to do what is right by traditional standards. The only thing is, tradition doesn't feel right. There are quite a few casualities and one twist that shocked me.... and just when I thought J.R. Ward couldn't do anything to shock me! :) This book is a great addition to the series and makes me even more anxious for the next story in the series to get here.
OUTSTANDING , no house work done while reading these 6 books. can't wait for the 7th
I love the brotherhood series and can't wait for the next one to come out. I tend to get so involved in the charactes in a series that I can't wait on the next one to come out so I can catch back up with them again. Phury's book lives up to the Black Dagger series.
The love story between Phury and Cormia is wonderful. Phury shows such honor for the brotherhood and also for his brother and his mate that you can't help but love him, he is one of my favortes of the Black Dagger brotherhood and Comia is a great surprise as one of the chosen she has great strength.
I love this book even if the book was only partly Phury's story. I remember when I first bought at barnes and noble my sister was just coming out of work when she gave me a copy of Lover Enshrined. I know this sounds weird, but I'm such ageek in that matter that I jumped up and down when she gave me the book. OMG! I was so happy when I read what happened at the end I felt like crying. I love this book and I strongly recommend it. I'm really eager for the next book lover Avenged! *sigh* It feels like a long time though since it comes out on April 28.
THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE SERIES THIS BOOK WAS THE MOST DISAPPOINTING. I EXPECTED MORE OF PHURY, BUT ON A GOOD NOTE I LIKED THAT IT SHOWED THE OTHER SIDE OF HIM AND HOW HE DEALT WITH HIS PROBLEMS. THE STORY AS A WHOLE LEFT ME WANTING.
.. this one in my opinion was my 2nd favorite. It was truly touching, and I'm sure anyone whose ever had to look deep inside them and become the person they were meant to be, can relate.
i thought this book was a little different then the rest of the books. I really liked this one. It was like a roller coaster and I was happy of the outcome. Of course everything has a "happily everafter," but getting there was the fun part.
If you haven't read this yet, you need to because it's beautifully written by JR Ward. What can I say about the author? She is amazing. The first book totally grasped me into her "fantasy" world. It's hard to put this book down. Phury is hard to understand in a way but yet he is just so lovable. The way he treats Cormia is phenomenal.
I just finished reading this book last night and I have to say that I enjoyed it. I had always wondered what Phury's story was and I have a totally new outlook on him and what he went through after Zsadist was abducted as a child. I respected Ward for not in any way painting any kind of pretty picture about Phury's addiction, as no addiction is pretty. I hope that in the future we see that Phury is continuing the battle his addiction and win it over and do well as the Primale of his race. Great read!
i enjoyed this book as with all of the other brotherhood stories. yes there was a lot going on, but thats not always a bad thing. i've read many series where you read about characters and then dont hear about them again. with this book, i loved reading about the other characters, hints of future books as well as the developing romance of phury. i highly recommend this book to others and to continue to read the series. i'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
The first books in the seriers are so wonderful, I was really dissapointed with V's story because it was more about everyone else then the actual leading characters. So I was hoping that Phury's story would get better. But it was just too much of everyone else and the next books in the series. I really hope J.R. Ward goes back to how she wrote in the beging of the series. Please make the next book about the actual leading chracters!
I loved the first 4 but this seemed to focus on all of the other characters and Phury just didn't seem to have enough time with Cormia to really develop the relationship they landed in. A hugh tear jerker towards the end but kind of disappointing all the same.
Lover Enshrined I may say was more of the few other brothers although, it had Phury go through some major rough points of his life. This book sets up more for the upcoming book, but it was still an entertaining read. I wasn't able to put this book down. J.R. Wards series had me at the edge of my seat, turning pages, and staying up until 5-6 in the morning reading. I can't wait until the other books come out, and I recommend you read this series!
I've loved all the books in the series, except Lover Unbound and, now, Lover Enshrined. This book was more about all the other brothers. I would have liked this book to be more about Phury and Cormia. It was disappointing. Ward is writing more about the characters in her following books (like propaganda for whats to come) than about the central characters to each book. I gave it another chance after Lover Enshrined, but I think its just going to be more of the same. I guess I'll quit reading her new releases and just reread the first in the series.