Lover Eternal: Black Dagger Brotherhood series: Book 2 (.)Lover Eternal: Black Dagger Brotherhood series: Book 2 by J. R. Ward
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whilst I thought that the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series; Dark Lover was a book that I can’t praise enough, Lover Eternal is an emotional roller coaster that surpasses it on so many levels.

First of all, there is no world-building in this book. It is pure story from the start so if you are new to the series, go back to Dark Lover and get introduced to the characters and the world that they live in else you will be lost.

Wrath and Beth, the main characters from Dark Lover only make cameo appearances in this book which tells the story of Rhage who is so devastatingly handsome, he has the nickname of ‘Hollywood’. And since sometime in the 19th century, he has had to use his looks to find women for, um, release to control his inner beast. That isn’t psychobabble. Rhage has been cursed so that when he loses control, he transforms into, well, a dragon. The only thing that allow him to remain calm are fighting and sex. Hence the women for the latter.

However, that changes when, by chance, he meets a normal Human, Mary who is friends with Bella, another vampire, but she’s not aware of that little detail. When Rhage first meets Mary, he is smitten by the sound of her voice (he has just changed back to humanoid and so his sight is on the fritz) and is so taken with her that he defies the orders of the Brotherhood and meets her again and continues to do so without wiping her memories.

For her part, Mary is a reluctant part in the relationship at first, partly because she can’t understand why an apparent model who could have any woman he chooses would choose her and partly because the leukemia that she has beaten once maybe back. She feels that she has to be strong to beat this and so closes herself off. This makes for a more complex story than Dark Lover because in that, Wrath and Beth were attracted to each as soon as they saw one another and didn’t fight the attraction in the least. Or Wrath tried, but not too hard.

You have to admire Rhage’s persistance in breaking through to her. There are times duing the book that I felt myself cursing Mary for being so stubborn and to let him in, but the eventual moment when Mary realises that she needs him is so agonisingly sweet that it’s worth it.

Thereafter lies the small problem with dealing Rhage’s beast!

There are other threads that weave through the book, such as Mary and Bella being friends with a mute vampire prior to his transition and the set up for the next book in the series; Lover Awakened.

Unfortunately, there is no furtherence of Butch and Marissa’s relationship that started in Dark Lover. Maybe that’s a good thing, though, because Rhage and Mary’s story is so emotionally charged it might have been too much.

This is such a wonderful love story, I can’t wait to read the next.

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