BDB Read-Along: Lover Mine Discussion

Welcome to the Lover Mine Discussion! At the beginning of the year, we started off the Black Dagger Brotherhood Read-Along with the first novel in this wonderful series, Dark Lover, over at Dark Faerie Tales, and today we’re getting to focus on that wonderful silent brother, John Matthrew.  Okay, so maybe he’s not a brother per se, but ya’ll know what I mean.  Plus, we get to see more of Tohr now that he’s returned from the dead as well as Blay and Qhuinn.  And yes, I am firmly in the camp of Blay and Qhuinn needing their own book.  Yum!

But we here to discuss Lover Mine, the eighth installment in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and all that is John Matthew, Xhex and everything else that has happened in Caldwell (and there was a lot).  The events of Lover Mine is a novel that wraps up a couple of story threads, but it also leaves a lot unanswered. The war between the Lessers and the Vampires is not so much the focus any more, but it’s definitely still part of the series and it’s undergone quite a few changes.

While we see many of the Brothers in Lover Mine, for today’s discussion, we are only focusing on those events within Lover Mine and any characters that impact this story. 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 is now posted here at Dark Faerie Tales
Lover Revealed is now posted here at Literary Escapism
Lover Unbound is now posted here at Dark Faerie Tales
Lover Enshrined is now posted here at Literary Escapism
Lover Avenged is now posted here at Dark Faerie Tales
Lover Mine is now posted here at Literary Escapism
Mar 23rd – Lover Unleashed – Discussion hosted by Dark Faerie Tales
Mar 30th – Lover Reborn – Discussion hosted by Literary Escapism

JRWard-Lover MineIn the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other – vampire warriors, defenders of their race…John Matthew has been through his vampire transition and taken to the life of the Brotherhood with a vengeance, but he still can’t shake the nightmare of his past and is unsure of his future as a warrior hero. He’s made a promise to honour the Brotherhood and their fight with the slayers at all costs, until the love of his life is kidnapped and he is forced to make a choice that could change his life and the Brotherhood’s forever…

Note: Direct quotes from the book are in italics.

The Brotherhood & Vampire Society

John Matthew

Is trying to cope with the loss of Xhex. He searches for her constantly. JM even gets her name tattooed on his back, in the tradition of mated couples.

He wants an outward expression of the feelings he has for Xhex. It was a stake shoved into the territory he was in. His declaration that even if Xhex hadn’t wanted him, she was his mate and he would honor her, alive or dead. Here was the thing: People felt the way they did and it wasn’t their fault or yours if the connection was one-sided. It just…was. {John Matthew}

When JM and the Brothers find where Xhex has been kept prisoner, they think that she’s already gone. Lash’s magic keeps her from being seen by anyone other than himself. Afterward, JM goes crazy over the apparent loss and John’s bonded vampire attacked with a kind of ferocity he’d heard about..but never seen. / Certainly never experienced. {John Matthew} This is when everyone realizes that JM has bonded with Xhex.

Later when Xhex has been recovered, JM recognizes that Xhex has been abused. He lets her know that he has been there himself and shows her places from his past.

But the thing was, there was more courage in these revelations of his than she had ever shown anyone, and in a world that was full of taking and cruelty, he was fucking breaking her heart with what he was giving her. {Xhex}

While in pursuit of their collective revenge against Lash, JM must decide which is more important to him, justice against Lash or Xhex.

But Z had gotten his closure. / And goddamn it, so would his Xhex…even if that was the last thing in this world she did. {John Matthew}

Xhex

Was held captive by Lash for a month after rescuing Rehvenge from the symphath colony. Her prison is Lash’s brownstone and no one, not even members of the lessening society, realizes she is there. No one can see or hear her, other than Lash himself, because of his inherent magic from the Omega. She is repeated beaten and raped by Lash.

The unfortunate corollary was that he liked that she met fire with fire. The more they battled it out, the more he go turned on, and she sensed he was surprised at his own emotions.

While being held, she reflects on her actions against John Matthew. And regrets them.

It was a case of lost nerve. She just couldn’t handle the pressure of all that hearts-and-flowers stuff… or the responsibility that came with being around someone who felt like that about her… or the reality that she had the capacity to love him back. {Xhex}

After her escape, she is in a bad way, both physically and emotionally. JM discovers her alone in her home, dying. At that point she decides whether or not to seek revenge against Lash or fade away.

She had a choice in this quiet, charged moment: Take his vein and stick around. Deny him and die in front of him in the next hour or so. {Xhex with JM}

During her recovery at the Brotherhood mansion, Xhex struggles to deal with her feelings for JM. Her past with Murhder has made her hesitant to get involved with anyone else emotionally.

I just know what it’s like to love her. It’s not her fault that she’s the way she is, but it makes for hell on other people, trust me. {Rehv to JM}

When she decides to accompany the Brothers on the hunt for Lash, she leads JM to believe that they will be over after Lash is taken care of.

Trouble was… her plans that had been so clear were foggy now, the path that she had set with her head the instant she got free obscured by things that had nothing to do with what was in her skull and everything to do with the male who was naked against her. {Xhex}

During the showdown with Lash, JM helps Xhex make the final blow. She realizes that he will always put her first, even before his own wants and feelings.

He had given her what she wanted. When it had really mattered, he had done right by her. {John Matthew}

Yes, he mouthed. I would hold you up. I will ever hold you up and hold you dear, lover mine. / As he fused their mouths, he thought that was his vow to her. Mating ceremony or not… that was his vow to his female. {John Matthew}

Qhuinn

Qhuinn refuses to get involved with Blaylock, no matter how much they both might want it.

Qhuinn didn’t approve of his choice. Not at all. Guy like Blaylock deserved somebody much, much better. / And it appeared he was heading down a road that would get him just that. {Qhuinn}

His continued refusals have forced Blaylock to date someone else, namely Qhuinn’s cousin, Saxton. When he heard about the upcoming date, A wave of dark spice wafted across the bedroom, and stunned him into silence. Of all the ways he’d thought this conversation would go…his triggering Qhuinn’s bonding scent was so not it. {Blay} But it doesn’t stop Qhuinn from letting Blay go.

Qhuinn has trouble acknowledging his love for a male and going against his upbringing in the glymera, where such feelings are looked down upon.

He simply couldn’t come out / Ironic. His outside was all about the hard-core. Inside? He was a straight-up pussy. {Qhuinn}

He begins to question his actions and his goals in life, whether they are created from the pressures of his up-bringing or what he truly wants for himself.

Down in Fritz’s fiefdom, he made a pot of coffee as doggen scurried around making First Meal. Good thing they were already so preoccupied. Sometimes, when you felt like shit inside and out, you wanted to work your own Krups. / Pride mattered in moments like this. / Mind you, first trip through the park, he forgot to add the grounds, so all he got was a nice, steaming pot of clear water. / Once more with feeling.

Blaylock

Can no longer sit by and watch the man he loves, Qhuinn, deny him.

He’d done ten thousand strangers, men and women and males and females alike… he was Wilt Chamberlain with fangs. To be denied was like getting shut out of a public park. {Blay}

All of the hoping and looking for returned feelings is killing him inside, making Qhuinn his pyrocant.

As he exhaled, he hated that he read into things, saw connections that wasn’t there, misinterpreted actions and starts and casual touches. / …hope didn’t so much spring eternal as it drowned out common sense and self-preservation. {Blay}

When Qhuinn offers to “sleep” with the Chosen, Layla, Blay makes the choice to move on and go on a date Saxton.

Blay didn’t want to think of Qhuinn right now and he shook his head to clear the image. When that didn’t work, and the guy’s blue and green eyes lingered, he did the one thing guaranteed to get him to stop thinking of his pyrocant. / He closed the distance between Saxton’s mouth and his own. {Blay}

While things between them are looking good, Blay still remains in love with Qhuinn.

Even though I’ve never done this with a guy before, and in spite of the fact that anyone but Qhuinn is going to be a poor man’s substitute for the real thing. {Blay}

Saxton

Is Qhuinn’s cousin and is gay.

Blay met the guy’s stare. “How did you know I was gay?” / “I didn’t. I merely hoped.” {Saxton and Blay}

He shows in interest in Blaylock and invites him on a date. When he asks Blaylock if there is anything between him and his cousin, Blay answers no. Saxton gets involved in a relationship with Blaylock even though he knows that “{his} cousin has a certain… territorial response to you.” {Saxton to Blay}

Layla

Speaks up about her unhappiness. She wishes to be used as an ehros, trained in the art of “love”, and not just as a blood source for the Brothers.

“Far better to be uninterested than unfulfilled. One is a relief. The other an emptiness with heavy weight.” {Layla to Payne}

I give without receiving anything in return because it is my training and pleasure to do so. But I tell you this because you have asked and …I find I must. Every time I return to the sanctuary or to the Primale’s home, I find myself increasingly empty. To the point that I think I may step aside. Verily…” She shook her head. “I cannot keep doing this even though it is all I ever saw my endeavors entailing. It’s just… my heart cannot go on.” {Layla to Qhuinn and Blay}

She asks Qhuinn to be the one to help her out.

“It’s okay,” Qhuinn whispered. “You don’t have to say it out load. I know what you want.” {Qhuinn to Layla}

She begins to fall in love with Qhuinn and starts to daydream of a future with the two of them together.

“Beware, sister. You are a gentle soul.” / Layla got to her feet, her smile now saddened. “Yes, I am. But I would rather my heart be broken than unopened and I know that one must ask if one is to receive.” {Payne and Layla}

She was perfect for him. Better than Blay, for sure. / Besides, Qhuinn had made it clear he was going to end up with a female… a traditional female with traditional values who was preferably from the aristocracy, assuming he could find one who would take him even with the defect of those mismatched peepers. / Layla totally fit the bill. {Blay}

Darius

We learn more about JM’s past as Darius through a journal that the male left behind. JM turns to the journal for comfort when he is troubled by his relationship with Xhex and feels like there is no one else to go to for advice.

John empathized with the male to the point where it seemed as though there was no separation between the father and the son: In spite of the many, many years and an entire continent of distance, it was as though he were in his father’s shoes. {John Matthew}

The journal follows Darius and his whard, Tohrment, when they go on a mission to retrieve a kidnapped daughter of a prominent glymera family.

Verily he felt for the first time as if he had a family of his own… because even though the boy wasn’t his by blood, he had assumed care of him. {Darius}

They realize that she has been taken by a symphath and that he impregnates her. By doing so, she is an outcast of the glymera and cannot return home.

Darius quite believed that in the males’s eyes it was better that she come home in a pine box as opposed to breathing but defiled. The latter was a curse, the former a tragedy that would garner much sympathy. / Darius hated the glymera. He truly did.

When she gives birth, she takes her own life. Darius vows to watch over the girl child, whom he names Xhexania, meaning “Blessed One”.

Tracing her features with his fingertips, he worried over what the years ahead had in store for her. Would they be kinder than the circumstances of her birth? / He prayed they would. He prayed that she would find a male of worth to protect her and that she bore young and lived as a normal within their world. / And he would do whatever he could to ensure that. Including…giving her away.

Tohrment

Is still recovering his strength. He recognizes that JM needs help and guidance. He wants to help JM out, but can’t because of their estrangement.

As their stares locked, John had the sense that the pair of them had been through so much more than just the sum of years they’d known each other. {JM with Tohrrment}

When JM comes to him, looking for help avenging Xhex, they become friends again.

The two of them embraced, chest-to-chest. And when they pulled apart, John waited for Tohr to throw on a shirt, get his leather jacket, and grab his weapons. / Then they went downstairs side by side. / As if they had never been apart. As if it was as it always had been. {John Matthew}

Trez and iAm

Pans hung up above and down below and something gorgeous was stewing on a front burner. / Trez went over and lifted the lid. After a deep inhale, he glanced over with a smile. “My brother is a helluva cook.” / Sure was, John thought. Although with Shadows you always had to wonder what the protein was. Rumor had it that they liked to eat their enemies. {John Matthew}

Though the brother’s loyalty is with Rehvenge, they agree to help JM look for Xhex, and therefore Lash, behind Rehv’s back.

Shadows ran by their own code no one else’s and they were capable of things that would make a symphath gag.

When Xhex, JM, and the Brotherhood go after Lash, the Shadow brothers help out because they too love Xhex.

The Shadows were notoriously private with their emotions and harder to infiltrate than humans or even vampires, but she could feel their pain over what she had been through. {Xhex}

Eliahu Rathboone / Murhder

Xhex’s ex-lover, and former member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Murhder is discovered in a mansion turned Bed and Breakfast in Charleston, North Carolina, by the crew of the ghost hunting show, Paranormal Investigators. They are at the B & B hoping to do a live special on the famous ghost, Eliahu Rathboone.

This was Eliahu Rathboone, Gregg thought. The secret abolitionist who had always left a light on to encourage those who needed to escape to come his way… the man who had died to protect a cause before it even took root up in the North… the hero who had saved so many, only to be cut down in the prime of his life. / This was their ghost. {Gregg}

The crew begins to freak out because of sightings of Rathboone (Murhder) around the mansion. Murhder speaks to the producer, Gregg, one night and then wipes his memory. It seems that Murhder, though considered insane, is regretful of what happened between himself and Xhex. He wants to make sure that Greg doesn’t make the same mistakes he did and let the woman he loves, Holly the host of PI, get away.

“And a word of advice in lieu of the ass-kicking I’m tempted to give you. You might take care of your woman better than you have been lately. She has honest feelings for you, which is not her fault, and which you clearly have been undeserving of – or you wouldn’t smell like guilt at this moment. You’re lucky to have the one you want by your side, so stop being a blind fool about it.” {Murhder to Gregg}

Payne

Is still secluded with her mother, the Scribe Virgin, on the Other Side. Her nature is to fight, not sit idly by in no mans lands.

Being the good, dutiful Chosen was not in her hardwiring, and that was the root of all of the problems between her and her mother. Oh, the waste. Oh, the disappointment. / Oh, do get over it, mother dear. {Payne}

She spares with Wrath every afternoon, which is the only thing she looks forward to each day.

How she envied him his freedom. {Payne}

After talking with Layla and No’One, Payne requests to be released to go to the real world, but the SV denies her.

Verily, it was a strange curse to have been born and yet not have a life to live. {Payne}

Angry and full of rage at being denied, she fights with Wrath and gets hurt. Wrath begs the SV to allow him to take her to his home so that he can fix her back.

The Scribe Virgin’s answer came from a vast distance. “I can fight this no longer. Better she be away from me and alive, than dead upon my floor.” {SV}

While waiting in the OR, Payne learns that her twin, Vishous, is still alive.

Payne couldn’t understand the words. She had been told he was gone, lost to the Fade’s tender mercies – / By her mother. Of course. / Verily, had the female cheated her out of knowing her own brother? How could one be so cruel? {Payne}

No’One

Works for the Chosen. She stays covered and doesn’t speak too often.

The maid was so lovely and quiet, doing her duties without complaint even though she had some kind of disability. {Payne}

His life is a mystery to everyone but the SV. She talks with Payne about wanting or not wanting to go to the real world, like most of the other Chosen have done.

“I love our dearest mother of the race – please do not misunderstand. But to be imprisoned, even in luxury, is not a right. I choose to stay herein and ever will – you should be free to go, however.” {No’One to Payne}

He past has been unknown until she chooses to go the real world to help out Payne. She reveals her relationship to Xhex and tells the story of what happened to her.

“I have long watched and prayed for you from the Sanctuary… and now that I see you, I find… I am well aware that there is much you would need to consider and have explained and be angered over… But if you should be of an open heart to me. I should like to forge… an affection. I can understand if it is too little, too late…” {No’One to Xhex}

Lessening Society

Lash

When he took Xhex from the symphath colony, he did it for revenge against losing the princess. After time, he developed a warped sense of love for Xhex, even though he considers her his possession and right.

When you were the son of evil, there was little you couldn’t do, own, or kill, and yet her mortal self was an elusive trophy he could touch, but not put on his shelf. / This made her rare. This made her precious. / This made him… love her. {Lash}

Lash’s body begins to change. Becoming less like a vampire and more like the Omega himself.

Through the cage of his ribs, he watched his own heart beat and wondered in numb horror what else was going to rot off him… and what he was going to be left with when this transformation was finished. {Lash}

Lash and the Omega begin to have differences.

It was a case of enough-about-me-what-do-you-think-about-me. And even if said demand for ego masturbation was being thrown out by an admittedly powerful, evil fucker who happened to be your pops, it got old fast. / Besides, his father’s love life was disturbing as shit. {Lash}

Eventually, the Omega leaves Lash; alone, sick, and broke with no one to turn to.

Putting his hands to his face, he hung his head as his elation washed out of him. This was not how it was supposed to be. This was not what he’d planned. / On the run. Hunted. Scrambling in the world. / What the hell was he going to do without his father. {Lash}

He decides to help the Brotherhood out by setting up his dad and his new fore-lesser and feeding them information that will hurt the lessening society.

If it was the last thing he did, he was going to take that little shit down. / It was even more important than Xhex. / That the guy and dared to mark Lash for death wasn’t the driver. It was the need to send a message to his father. He was, after all, a rotting apple that didn’t fall far from the tree, and payback was a bitch. {Lash}

Mr. D

“Yessuh.” / That two-syllable word was the SOB’s favorite response – which was another reason he remained upright and the second in command. {Lash and Mr. D.}

Lash’s second-in-command gets ripped apart by JM when the Brothers find the place that Xhex was being held.

With his vision on whiteout and his muscles energized by mania, he was all action, no thought as he attacked, his hands cracking into claws, his fangs slicing like daggers, his inner wrath so great he was an animal. / He had no idea how long it took him… or even what he did. The only thing that registered was the dim awareness that a sweet stench was all he could smell. {John Matthew}

Mr. D was Lash’s only connection with the lessening society. So when he died, Lash could no longer have his army.

New Forelesser / the Ferret

Is an inductee of Lash’s. Once a small time drug dealer at the local park, he uses his street smarts to take over Lash’s place next to the Omega’s side.

“Hello?” he said. / The giggle that came through was boyish. “Hi ya, asswipe. It’s your new boss. Guess who just got promoted? By the way, your daddy says not to bother him anymore. Bad move asking about the ladies – you should know your father better than that. Oh, and I’m supposed to kill you now. See you soon!” {fore-lesser to Lash}

Discussion

  1. Are you satisfied with John Matthew’s story?
  2. What do think about JM becoming a Brother?
  3. What are your feelings about reincarnation?
  4. What do you think about Xhex? Does she still come across as a strong heroine?
  5. How do you feel about women joining the Brotherhood?
  6. Do JM and Xhex make a good couple? Does it matter that they come from different backgrounds?
  7. What are your feelings about the relationship between Blay and Qhuinn? Do you see them in a HEA?
  8. If they are to have a HEA, what do you think will happen to Saxton and Layla?
  9. What do you think of new developments in Lash? Do the changes in his physical form mirror his emotional self?
  10. Do you think that the damage to Payne’s back could be seen as a blessing in disguise, like with the loss of Wrath’s sight?
  11. Most favorite scene? Least?
  12. Favorite one-liner?
  13. What secondary character would you like to see a future book about? Qhuinn and Blay? Jose De La Cruz? Layla?

Glossary of Terms and Proper Nouns

Vocabulary from the previous novels can be found on their discussion pages:

chrih (n) Symbol of honorable dath in the Old Language.

Dhunhd (pr. n.) Hell

lewlhen (n.) Gift

lys (n.) Torture tool used to remove the eyesa

About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.