Welcome to the Lover Eternal Discussion! Two weeks ago we started off the Black Dagger Brotherhood Read-Along with Dark Lover over at Dark Faerie Tales, but today we’re focusing on the fantastic Rhage with Lover Eternal. In this second installment, JR Ward takes us back to Caldwell, New York, where we’re introduced to the vampire that is Rhage and the woman he falls hard for. The war with the Lessers is escalating and both sides are doing what they can to ensure they come out on top.
While we see many of the Brothers in Lover Eternal, for today’s discussion, we are only focusing on those events within Lover Eternal and any characters that impact this story. Lover Eternal does set up the plot for Lover Awakened and we do finally get to meet John Matthew, but please remember we’re hear to talk about Rhage and Mary and the events that take place within Lover Eternal. Many of us have read ahead in the series, but no spoilers please.
Here is the read-a-long schedule:
Dark Lover is now posted over at Dark Faerie Tales
Lover Eternal is now posted here at Literary Escapism
Lover Awakened – Discussion hosted by Dark Faerie Tales
Lover Revealed – Discussion hosted by Literary Escapism
Lover Unbound – Discussion hosted by Dark Faerie Tales
Feb 24th – Lover Enshrined – Discussion hosted by Literary Escapism
Mar 9th – Lover Avenged – Discussion hosted by Dark Faerie Tales
Mar 16th – Lover Mine – Discussion hosted by Literary Escapism
Mar 23rd – Lover Unleashed – Discussion hosted by Dark Faerie Tales
Mar 30th – Lover Reborn – Discussion hosted by Literary Escapism
Within the brotherhood, Rhage is the vampire with the strongest appetite. He’s the best fighter, the quickest to act on his impulses, and the most voracious lover-for inside him burns a ferocious curse cast by the Scribe Virgin.
Possessed by this dark side, Rhage fears the times when his inner dragon is unleashed, making him a danger to everyone around him. When Mary Luce is unwittingly thrown into the vampire world, she must rely on Rhage’s protection. Knowing that Mary feels the same intense animal attraction, Rhage must make her his alone…
Note: Direct quotes from the book are in italics.
The Brotherhood & Vampire Society
Vampire society is starting to take precautions due to the new warfare tactics of the Lessening Society. Civilians have been cautioned to travel in pairs.
Member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
He is the largest brother in terms of heft. He is six foot, eight inches tall and weighs about 280 pounds, has blond hair and neon-blue green eyes and looks like a movie star, thus the nickname Hollywood.
The son of a bitch actually bent the laws of physics, he was so attractive.
The Scribe Virgin sentenced Rhage with a dragon like beast because of his poor control when he was younger.
Some eight feet tall, it was built along the lines of a dragon, with teeth like a T. rex and a slashing pair of front claws. The think flickered in the moonlight, its powerful body and tail covered with iridescent purple and lime-green scales.
His curse was to live with the beast for 200 years because he lost control and killed a barn owl, the Scribe Virgin’s symbol.
Bad enough that he’d been born a live wire with too much physical power, a fuckup with a gift of strength he hadn’t appreciated or harnessed. But then he’d pissed off the mystical female who lorded over their race.
He lives in fear that he will hurt one of his brothers. The dragon comes out when Rhage gets too worked up from pain, anger and physical frustration.
He has to fight and have meaningless sex to control the beast and it is killing him. He hates himself because of what he has to do to keep himself in control.
Rhage first falls for Mary Luce due to her voice.
Rhage shivered, a balmy rush blooming out all over his skin. The musical like of her voice, the rhythm of her speech, the sound of her words, it all spread through him, calming him, comforting him. Chaining him sweetly.
He asks the Scribe Virgin to save Mary from dying. The Scribe Virgin demands balance so he accepts the beast for the rest of his life and he has to give her up as well.
“Do it,” he said roughly. “Give her the choice. I would rather she live long and happily without knowing me than die now.”
Turns out that the Scribe Virgin allows them to be together after learning that Mary is sterile and can not have children, saying this is enough to balance out giving her life.
Mary Madonna Luce. Human female. She worked as a rehab therapist with autistic children before she was diagnosed with leukemia. The disease almost killed her and she was technically dead twice. She has been in remission for almost two years. Currently works as an executive assistant at a law firm and volunteers for a suicide prevention hotline. She watched her mother die a from muscular dystrophy.
Mary falls for Rhage and isn’t afraid of his beast.
“But isn’t it…ugly?”
“No. Not to me. … It’s fearsome and terrifying and powerful and awe-inspiring. And if anyone ever tried to get at me, that thing would wipe out a neighborhood. How could a girl not be charmed? … It’s a part of you, not all of you or all of what you are. And I love you. With it or without it.”
Mary is a wahlker.
“You are a wahlker,” he said, feeling as if he should stand up and bow to her, as was custom.
“Someone who has been to the other side and returned. Where I come from, that is a title of distinction.”
After Rhage’s sacrifice, the Scribe Virgin grants her eternal life and she can chose when she wants to enter the fade. However, once the Scribe Virgin discovers that Mary is sterile, she allows Mary and Rhage to be together because she has sacrificed enough, never to have a child because of her struggle with cancer.
I regret that your ability to bring forward life has been taken from you. The joy of my creation sustains me always, and I take great sorrow that you will never hold flesh of your flesh in your arms, that you will not see your own eyes starting at you from the face of another, that you will never mix the essential nature of yourself with the male you love. What you have lost is enough of a sacrifice.
Neighbor to Mary Luce. Bella calls the Black Dagger Brotherhood when she realizes that John Matthew is a pretrans vampire. She introduces Mary, although not intentionally to the vampire world.
She meets Zsadist and becomes attracted to him almost immediately.
As those eyes went over her face and body, his hostility was palpable, but he was also throwing off raw heat, a kind of sexual menace she really shouldn’t have been captivated by.
She is abducted by Mr. O, a lesser because she looks like his dead ex-girlfriend.
“Jennifer?” The lesser said in awe.
[fight scene ensues]
The slayer was crying as he lifted her from the floor and cradled her in his arms. The last thing she was aware of was the sight of his tears falling to her face.
Has a thing for Bella and becomes outraged when she is kidnapped by the lessers.
Z was in a shaking fury, his face twitching along the scar under his left eye. Hell, he looked as if he were going to blow up, except it was hard to believe the capture of a female would matter one way or the other to him.
When Rhage is punished with a rythe, Zadist is the only one who can’t bring himself to strike Rhage. He fights and begins to panic, until the Scribe Virgin talks to him and forces him to complete the ritual. At the end, the Brother’s slice their chests out of honor…Zadists cut was the deepest.
Zsadist may have a very menacing personality, but every so often, he does something that surprises his brothers.
Then with a slow, halting walk, Zsadist went over to Rhage. When he was standing next to the brother, he didn’t say a word, didn’t life a hand, didn’t make a sound. He just crossed his arms over his chest and leaned his shoulder into Rhage’s. Rhage jerked as if surprised.
When Mary first saw John Mathew she was taken back by his appearance.
It was just a boy. A teenage boy. Dark-haired, pale-skinned. So thin he was emancipated, so beautiful he didn’t look human.
John is first discovered as a vampire by Bella, but not until John shows her his braclet.
There were orderly markings on it, some kind of cross between hieroglyphics and Chinese characters.
The boy didn’t know a thing, had no idea who he really was or what he was going to turn into. And he honestly didn’t know what those symbols meant. She did. They spelled out TEHRROR in the Old Language. A warrior’s name.
The lessening society has amped up its war on the Brotherhood by continually abducting civilian vampires in an effort to locate the Brothers. The persuasion techniques used by Mr. X in Dark Lover have been introduced to other Lessers and Mr. O has become the lead interrogator.
Is not seen as much in Lover Eternal, but his influences are definitely present.
David Ormond, a lesser. He hates paling out so he dies his hair to stop from losing himself to the anonymity. He becomes second in command to Mr. X and in charge of the persuasion center’s training.
He kidnaps Bella because she reminds him of his ex-girlfriend, Jennifer. Jennifer was killed in a car crash by a drunk driver. He killed the driver and then joined the Lessening Society right after.
He [Mr. O] knew it wasn’t Jennifer in that hole, but the vampire was so close to what had been taken from him, and he wasn’t going to be picky. He’d accept the gift he’d been given and guard it well. This time no one was going to take his woman from him. No one.
Is brought in by Mr. X since he has been responsible for building compounds in the past.
Is paired with Mr. O during the construction of the persuasion center and then becomes Mr. O’s partner at its completion.
- How do you feel about Rhage and his beast?
- What is your take on Rhage falling in love with Mary? Do you believe in the relationship?
- What is your take on Mary? Did you think she was a strong heroine?
- What is your favorite scene in Lover Eternal?
- What did you like most about Lover Eternal? Least?
- Do you have a favorite quote or scene in Lover Eternal?
Glossary of Terms and Proper Nouns
Vocabulary previously used in Dark Lover can be found here.
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.