Lover Revealed; Black Dagger Brotherhood – J. R. Ward

All rights reserved REGISTERED TRADEMARK-MARCA REGISTRADA Printed in the United States of America Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. Publisher’s Note This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content. If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.” The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher, is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated. Dedicated to: You. Man, you had me at Hard-ass, you really did. But then there was your Here’s looking at you, kid… Mad love to you. With immense gratitude to the readers of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and a shout out to the Cellieswhat couch are we on now? Thank you so very much: Karen Solem, Kara Cesare, Claire Zion, Kara Welsh. Page 2 J R Ward: Lover Revealed Thank you, Cap’n Bunny a.k.

a. the Pink Beast and PythAngie the Pitbull Modseriously, Dorine and Angie, you take such good care of me. Thank you to the Party of Four: MFN hugs… M-F-N hugs. Don’t know what I would do without you. To DLB: Remember ya mummy loves you. Always. To NTM: The thing I love most about you-know-where is… you. I’m just so lucky to know you. As always, with thanks to my Executive Committee: Sue Grafton, Dr. Jessica Andersen, Betsey Vaughan.

And with much respect to the incomparable Suzanne Brockmann. With love to my Boat, my family, and my writer friends. Glossary of Terms and Proper Nouns ahvenge v. Act of mortal retribution, carried out typically by a male loved one. 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 only by 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 Page 3 J R Ward: Lover Revealed members of the aristocracy, though they are spiritually rather than temporally focused. They have little or no interaction with males but can be mated to Brothers at the Scribe Virgin’s direction to propagate their class.

They have the ability to prognosticate. In the past, they were used to meet the blood needs of unmated members of the Brotherhood, but that practice has been abandoned by the Brothers. 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. 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, known as a whard. 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 adj.; 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. lheage n. A term of respect used by a sexual submissive to refer to 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 (f.) or nullum (m.) n. 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 need. 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. Page 4 J R Ward: Lover Revealed 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. pheursom 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. 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 as a result of a petition by the female’s family. Places the female under the sole direction of her whard, typically the eldest male in her household. Her whard 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. Subspecies within the vampire world 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 to extinction. 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 used between males of mutual respect and affection. 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 anything heavy with them. They are able to strip Page 5 J R Ward: Lover Revealed the memories of humans, provided such memories are short term. Some vampires are able to read minds. Life expectancy is upward of a thousand years or in some cases even longer. wahlker n.

An individual who has died and returned to the living from the Fade. They are accorded great respect and are revered for their travails. whard n. Custodian of a sehcluded female. 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 ZeroSum’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 Lagavulin 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 disappointed. The secret war between their species and the Lessening 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. Page 6 J R Ward: Lover Revealed “I knew you were going to turn her down.” “You a mind reader?” “Sometimes.” 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. Rehvenge, a.k.a. brother of Z’s shellan, Bella, owned ZeroSum and took a cut of everything that went down.

Hell, with all the depravity for sale in the club, he had a forest worth of green funneling 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 memories of any human, manipulate security cameras, dematerialize at will. The guy and his biz were a moving target that never moved.

Page 7 J R Ward: Lover Revealed “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 nothing 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 eating 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 stupid. 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. Sucking back his Lag, he thought of Marissa and pictured her hip-length blond hair. Her pale skin.

Her light blue eyes. Her fangs. Yeah, no blondes for him. He couldn’t go even remotely sexual with the pale-haired types. Page 8 J R Ward: Lover Revealed Ah, hell, screw the Clairol chart. It wasn’t like any woman in this club or on the face of the planet could come close to Marissa. She had been pure in the manner of a crystal, refracting the light, and life around her improved, enlivened, colored with her grace. Shit. He was such a sap. Except, man, she’d been so lovely.

For the short time when she’d seemed to be attracted to him, he’d hoped they might get something off the ground. But then she’d up and disappeared. Which of course proved she was smart. He didn’t have much to offer a female like her and not because he was just a human. He was treading water on the fringes of the Brotherhood’s world, unable to fight at their side because of what he was, unable to go back to the human world because he knew too much. And the only way out of this deserted middle ground was with a toe tag. Now was he a real eHarmony contender or what? With another rush of happy-happy-joy-joy, the group next door let off a fresh buckshot of hilarity and Butch glanced over. At the center of the party was a little blond guy in a slick suit. He looked fifteen, but he’d been a regular in the VIP section for the past month, throwing cash around like it was confetti. Obviously, the guy made up for his physical deficiencies through the use of his wallet.

Another example of green being golden. Butch finished his Scotch, fingered for the waitress, then looked at the bottom of his glass. Shit. After four doubles, he didn’t feel buzzed at all, which told him how well his tolerance was faring. Clearly, he was a varsity alcoholic now, no more of that training at the junior levels thing. And when the realization didn’t bother him, he realized he’d stopped treading water. Now he was sinking. Well, wasn’t he a party tonight. “The Reverend says you need a friend.” Butch didn’t bother glancing up at the woman.

“No, thanks.” “Why don’t you look at me first?” “Tell your boss I appreciate his-” Butch glanced up and clapped his mouth shut. He recognized the woman immediately, but then again, ZeroSum’s head of security was pretty damn unforgettable. Six feet tall, easy. Hair jet-black and cut like a man’s. Eyes the dark gray color of a shotgun barrel. With the wife-beater she had on, she was popping the upper body of an athlete, all muscles, veins, and no fat. The vibe she gave off was that she could break bones and enjoy it, and absently he looked at her hands. Long-fingered. Strong.

The kind that could do damage. Holy hell… he would like to be hurt. Tonight he would like to hurt on the outside for a change. The woman smiled a little, like she knew what he was thinking, and he caught a glimpse of fangs. Ah… so she was not woman. She was female. She was vampire. The Reverend had been right, that bastard. This one would do, because she was everything Marissa wasn’t. And because she was the kind of anonymous sex Butch had had all his adult life.

And because she was just the Page 9 J R Ward: Lover Revealed sort of pain he was looking for and hadn’t known it. As he slipped a hand into his Ralph Lauren Black Label suit, the female shook her head. “I don’t work it for cash. Ever. Consider it a favor for a friend.” “I don’t know you.” “You’re not the friend I’m talking about.” Butch looked over her shoulder and saw Rehvenge staring across the VIP section. The male shot back a very self-satisfied smile, then disappeared into his private office. “He’s a very good friend of mine,” the female murmured.

“Oh, really. What’s your name?” “Not important.” She held out her hand. “Come on, Butch, a.k.a. Brian, last name O’Neal. Come back with me. Forget for a while whatever makes you hammer those shots of Lagavulin. I promise you, all that selfdestruction will be waiting for you when you get back.

” Man, he really wasn’t psyched about how much she had on him. “Why don’t you tell me your name first.” “Tonight you can call me Sympathy. How ’bout that.” He eyed her from bangs to boots. She was wearing leather pants. No surprise. “You happen to have two heads there, Sympathy?” She laughed, a low, rich sound. “No, and I’m not a she-male, either. Yours isn’t the only sex that can be strong.

” He stared hard into her cast-iron eyes. Then looked back at the private bathrooms. God… this was so familiar. A quickie with a stranger, a meaningless crash between two bodies. This shit had been the cash-andcarry of his sex life since he could remember-except he didn’t recall ever feeling this kind of sick despair before. Whatever. Was he really going to stay celibate until he kicked it when his liver corroded? Just because a female he didn’t deserve didn’t want him? He glanced down at his pants. His body was willing. At least that part of the math added up. Butch slid out of the booth, his chest as cold as winter pavement.

“Let’s go.” On a lovely tremble of violins, the chamber orchestra glided into a waltz and Marissa watched the glittering crowd coalesce in the ballroom. All around her, males and females came together, hands linking, bodies meeting, stares locking. The mingling of dozens of different variations on the bonding scent filled the air with a rich spice. She breathed in through her lips, trying not to smell so much of it. Escape proved futile, however, which was the way things worked. Though the aristocracy prided itself on its manners and style, the glymera was, after all, still subject to the race’s biological truths: When males bonded, Page 10


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