Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #14
Published by NAL on April 5th 2016
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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[box style=”rounded” border=”full”]No matter what problems I have with J.R. Ward’s world building, anything featuring Rhage and Mary gets 5 stars in my book. As if Rhage couldn’t be any hotter or sweeter, The Beast will melt your heart. Anyone not already on Team Rhage will be switching over after reading the Beast. You can’t talk about this book without spoilers. This review will contain some spoilers. [/box]
THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK AND ARE PLANNING TO, PLEASE COME BACK SO WE CAN DISCUSS!!!
For anyone still reading, you have been warned!!
Rhage and Mary’s relationship has been growing distant lately, and the possibility of losing his shellan is causing fear in Rhage for the first time in centuries. So maybe that had something to do with his reckless behavior as the Brothers gather for their attack on the lessers’ compound.
Vishous rushes to Rhage’s side just before the planned attack. He has seen Rhage’s death and realizes that they are standing in the field where V has seen the vision. V wants Rhage to return to the mansion so that the vision cannot come true. Rhage has no interest in taking it safe and actually breaks formation and attacks the compound early, leaving himself vulnerable.
As V has seen in his vision, Rhage takes a mortal wound but he does not fear dying. The Scribe Virgin has promised that his Mary would join him in the Fade and then there will be no more distance between them. He can only hope that the Scribe Virgin will keep her promise. It is only by quick thinking and a possible blessing that saves Rhage’s life, yet while he is reunited with his Mary in this world, there is still a distance between them.
It isn’t until the next day that Rhage figures out what the underlying problem is between them. Beth asks Rhage to hold L.W. for her and as he holds the snuggling baby, Rhage realizes that he will never have the chance to become a father and have his own family to protect like his Brothers are now doing.
The Scribe Virgin cursed Rhage with his beast because he was once a reckless and selfish youth and the beast forced him to become more aware of his feelings and his actions. The Scribe Virgin then saved Mary all those years ago and allowed Rhage to be with her only because Mary could not have children. Being unable to have children is not something that Mary chose for her future so Rhage cannot hold it against her. Being with Mary not only tamed the beast inside Rhage, her love has tamed him as well. Now the grown-up, mature and responsible hellran Rhage has become is feeling the loss of the young he will never have. He fears he can never tell Mary what is troubling him and he realizes that this will only increase the distance between them.
There was once a time when Mary’s love was all that Rhage needed to be happy. Now, no matter how many times Rhage tells himself that if Mary could bear young he would not have been allowed to keep her in his life, it still doesn’t heal the growing hole in his heart.
What do you do if the one thing the woman you love can’t give to you, is the only thing you truly desire?
THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO TURN AWAY BEFORE WE TALK ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BEAST!!!
I’m not giving you everything but we will be talking about Rhage and Mary and what is going on with them.
Rhage and Mary have hit a bump in their relationship and in fact are hitting the same one but are coming from different directions. They both know that there is some distance growing between them but neither one is sure why or how to stop it.
Before Rhage was cursed with his Beast he was a free-spirit. Always looking for a good time and never weighing the consequences of his action. After he was cursed, his only thoughts were to control the Beast through physical action, whether that was fighting or sex. Once Mary comes into his life and helps him more easily control his Beast, his love for her finally allows Rhage to grow up. Now that Rhage is maturing, he is realizing that he and Mary can never take that next step that his Brothers are and that is to become parents and create their own family. The old Rhage would have run from the idea of taking care of a child, but the new Rhage finally understands what it is to put someone else before himself.
The logical side of his brain tells him that if Mary could have children the Scribe Virgin would have taken her away from him in exchange for saving her life, but right now, his heart is crying louder than logic for the loss of what he can never ever have, a child of his very own.
While Rhage is dealing with his heartbreak, Mary is a Safe Place trying to help a young child survive the loss of the last member of her family. We met Bitty several books ago when her mother brought her to the Haver’s clinic with a broken leg that needed a bar to rebuild the break. Bitty’s father was abusing her and her mother and finally hurt them past something they could heal themselves. Bitty’s mother snuck her out of the house to bring her to the clinic and in the end, the Brother’s had to kill Bitty’s father when he went into a murderous rage. Subsequent to coming to Safe Place, Bitty’s mother lost the baby boy she was carrying and then Bitty’s mother finally died from her own injuries and the loss of the baby.
Bitty always kept to herself and now with the loss of her mother, Mary was suffering because she didn’t know how to reach the girl and what to do for her. Vampires were so long lived and children so rare that the idea of an orphan was an oddity.
The first thing we think about, of course, is adopt Bitty. All problems solved! But there are many obstacles to overcome. Bitty just lost her mother. How do you approach a young child who just suffered such a loss without seeming callous or like you are trying to replace her mother. Bitty also believes that there is a long lost uncle who will be arriving for her any moment. An uncle no one can locate, but Bitty is insistent that he is coming.
You also have a Brother in a dangerous job, whose shellan will be joining him in the Fade as soon as he dies. You could easily be making this child an orphan once again anytime Rhage goes out to do his job. And let’s not forget the big giant, dangerous Beast that lives inside of Rhage and he doesn’t actually have full control over. No one knows what must be done to adopt an orphan but someone will have to approve Rhage taking a child into his life and with the beast lurking inside, will Rhage and Mary get anyone’s blessing? The only other time such a thing was discussed is with John Matthew moving in with Welsey and Tohr and John was a nearly grown boy. They took him in. They weren’t officially adopting him or at least never got close to needing to discuss that before Welsey was killed.
Watching Rhage with Bitty will make ovaries all over the world explode with joy. He is absolutely sweet with her and even his comment about the second most important moment of his life after the day he heard his Mary’s voice absolutely brings you to tears.
Anyone not already on Team Rhage will be switching over after reading the Beast.
Since BDB stories are never simply about character, we will find that Assail will take on a more important role in The Beast, V and Jane might be hitting a bump in their road and what the hell are we going to do about the Scribe Virgin? She’s bringing a big game changer to the series and I can’t imagine where that is going to be taking us.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“Fritz…how to describe Fritz…”
As Rhage came up to a stoplight, he hit the brakes on the GTO and looked into the rearview. Bitty was in the back and staring forward with a rapt expression, like whatever he was about to say was in the single most fascinating thing she was ever going to hear.
For a moment, his heart pounded. He couldn’t believe there was even a possibility that he might get a chance to…
Focus, he told himself. There was a long haul ahead before it was time to get sentimental.
But, God, if it happened, he was going to be having a lot of conversations with the little female.
“Rhage?” Mary prompted.
“Sorry, right.” The light turned green, and cued his brain into forward motion along with the car. “Okay, so Fritz looks like that guy from Raiders of the Lost Ark, you know, the one who got his face melted off. Except not that scary–and nothing actually falls away.”
“What is Raiders of the Lost…what?”
Rhage sagged in the driver’s seat. “Oh, my God, listen–we’re going to have to work on your education. There’s so much–have you seen Jaws?”
He thrashed back against the headrest. “No! Oh, no, the humanity!”
As Bitty started to giggle, Rhage threw out a hand to Mary. “Hold me, I have to ask the big one.”
“I’m here for you honey.”
Rhage looked into the rearview again. “Do you even know who John McClane is?”
“Maaaaaaaaaaaaary, hold me!”
Mary started laughing and shoving him back into position. “Drive the car!”
With the girls laughing, he shook himself and pulled it together. “We’ll work on all that later. Anywho, Fritz is…he’s older than God, as the humans say. And he gets flustered if you try to do anything. He won’t let you clean up after yourself, he stresses if you try to fix yourself any food, and he has an obsessive need to vacuum. But.” He held up his forefinger. “He bought me my own ice cream freezer. And I’m telling you, that absolves a multitude of sins.”
Mary turned around. “Fritz is the kindest force on the planet. He runs the staff and takes care of everybody and everything in the house.”
“How many people live there?” Bitty asked.
“Counting doggen?” Mary got quiet for a moment. “Jeez, I”m thinking thirty? Thirty-five? Forty? I don’t really know.”
Rhage cut in. “The most important thing is that–“
“–there’s a lot of love.”
“–there’s a movie theater with its own candy counter.”
As Mary shot him a look, he shrugged. “Do not underestimate the importance of Milk Duds in the dark. Bitty, tell me you’ve had Milk Duds?”
When the girl shook her head with a grin, he threw his hands up. “Man, I got things to teach you, young lady.”
Up ahead, Lucas Square appeared in the distance, the glow of all the shops and neon signs bright as noonday. And talk about hopping. There were pedestrians everywhere on the broad sidewalks, humans strolling arm in arm on dates, families scrambling along, clutches of teenage girls and saunters of teenage boys passing this way and that.
“Is it Friday?” he asked as he pulled into one of the open-air lots.
“I think so–no, wait, it’s Saturday.” Mary took out her phone. “Yup, it’s Saturday.”
“No wonder it’s so busy.”
It took him a while to locate a suitable spot, and he rejected a number of them for either having truck-crowding issues, cockeyed SUV-itis, or minivan creep. Finally, he found a vacant berth that was next to a planting area and docked his baby close to the curb.
“Yes, he’s always this choosy.” Mary said as she got out and popped the seat toward Bitty.
“Hey, I take care of my females.” As their door was shut, he reached across and locked it manually, then he got out himself and used the key on the driver’s-side handle. “Ain’t no human going to ding my panels.”
They fell in line together, Bitty between them. TGI Friday’s was up ahead on the corner, and as a group of noisy humans came rushing out of its doors, Rhage frowned.
“Hey, Bitty?” he said casually. “So you’ve never been in a restaurant before?”
Rhage stopped and put his hand on a shoulder that shocked him because it was so thin and small. But he had another concern at the moment.
“It might be kind of loud, okay? Lot of talking, you might hear babies crying, people laughing in bursts. There are going to be servers running around with big trays of food–lot of different smells and sounds. It can be overwhelming. Here’s what you need to remember. If you have to go to the bathroom, Mary will go with you so you don’t have to worry about getting lost or being alone. And if you find, at any moment, that it’s too much, we leave. I don’t care if we’ve gotten the menus, put in our order, or just picked up our forks. I’ll put a hundy on the table and we’re”–he snapped his fingers–“outta there.”
Bitty stared up at him. And he worried that he’d gone too far or–
The kid hit him with her little body and held on tight. At first, Rhage didn’t know what to do and just held his arms out to the sides and looked at Mary in panic. But as his shellan put her hand to her mouth and seemed like she was composing herself, he hugged the girl back lightly.
As they stood there together, Rhage found himself closing his eyes.
And saying a silent prayer.