Lover at Last - J.R. Ward Excellent… a game changer in the m-m genre and J.R. Ward delivered.

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I love J.R. Ward and this series is mouth wateringly delicious, and like so many others I sit impatiently awaiting each next instalment, running scenarios and pairings through my head, trying to anticipate where she will take us next… and as an m-m reader, I was desperate for her to get this one right…

As usual we not only have the main story, Ms Ward also gives us side-plots, flipping back and forth between them all, leaving threads dangling, some picked up and seamlessly weaved back into the fabric of the story and others still unresolved leaving us to speculate her next move. There is not a moment of complacency, you might think you know where she is taking you and then a spanner is thrown in the works to take us in another direction… I was enthralled and captivated, and yes, at times frustrated and impatient but still turning the pages at an alarming rate, trying to absorb and digest each new piece of information. For me, reading this series is like catching up with family, sitting round the table and soaking up all the gossip… hanging onto every word and just being nosy as to the how, what, when, where, who and the why’s of it all… and loving every minute!

The Band of Bastards are still in the periphery, Xcor is rethinking his plans on overthrowing Wrath. The lesser’s are back and trying to rebuild their numbers and finances and seemed to have evolved somehow!?! We have a new character Sola, a love interest and someone I think will be further developed in the next book. Assail turns out to be far more interesting than I was lead to believe in the last book… not only that but he is very dark and domineering and was certainly pressing my kink buttons! Haver’s is still an obnoxious arse, and another of the side plots involved the two Shadow Brothers Trez and iAm… I really enjoyed getting to know these two who have previously just been background decoration. Trez is quite a character, a bit of a man whore, petulant at times but he brought some humour into the book and made me smile. An old character reappears and I can’t wait to see how that one is handled, the Brothers and their mates as usual dip in and out, with the usual undercurrent of snarky humour with Fritz the silent constant always in the background.

This book however is about the two boys we grew to love way back, when they were just themselves peripheral characters, pre trans vampires and John Matthews best friends. As readers we have always been able to see what they themselves were unable to fathom, that they did truly love one another, which is why it has been so agonisingly frustrating for us.

What is so beautiful about this story is that we really get to see the vulnerability behind the persona of the tough warrior unaffected by what life throws at him, a bitter and angry man whore, but ultimately he was just a lost soul, the child who had so longed for the love and affection he had always been denied, who felt alone in the world despite being surrounded by friends. Qhuinn doesn’t see himself as important, his parents had done a great job of destroying his confidence, and he saw himself as flawed and nothing more than a reject, ostracised by his family and the glymera. Initially he dismissed his feelings for Blay, so being gay could not be added to the long list of fuck ups… but now it was because he felt himself not deserving of Blay’s love. Blay is totally unselfish, caring and compassionate, a man of worth, with strong principles, a gentlemale, with all the finesse and finery that goes with it, yes, he is still a warrior of strength and honour and a fighter like the others but his private life is more suited to a man of Saxtons aristocratic bearing.

Lover quote

Where we had always seen Blay as the character that wore his heart on his sleeve the roles were now reversed, Blay over the years of pain, hurt and rejection from the man he loves is now resigned to the fact that Qhuinn will never admit to his feelings so he had taken control of his life and emotions and had grown up in the last year he had spent with Saxton, convincing himself that Qhuinn was with Layla and he had finally found a female with whom he wanted to have young and mate with.

This would not be a J.R. Ward book if she didn’t lead us down the tortuous path of the usual lack of communication and misunderstandings causing us undue stress. But we moved along to see that soul shattering hurt dispelled by bonds between them that were deeper than just sex, their relationship had been founded on friendship and a life shared with moments that they both treasured, and yes, they had lost their way… but together, they were all I was hoping for, their passion was intense, erotic and sensual with heart melting moments that just had me in tears.

Lover at last quote

If I wasn’t reviewing this book, I could quite happily throw 5 stars at it… a) Because it’s J.R. Ward. b) It’s Qhuinn and Blay’s book. c) I couldn’t put the bloody thing down, snarling at anyone that dared interrupt me… But, as an m-m reader somehow I felt slightly cheated… we have 591 pages to finally get these boys some quality time, and yes they do get all hot and heavy with some very cold shower, panty melting moments but the out pouring of emotions was left to the end, which was beautiful and heart felt and just perfect, but we could have had the same ending but more emotional connection earlier on in the book rather than driving the angst card to the limit. There were other issues with the dealing of the relationship but I don’t want to put spoilers out there for those still yet to read it.

Overall… I loved it, how could you not with our two boys and we are set up nicely for the next book and yet again trying to anticipate where the lovely Ms Ward will next take us on our journey with the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

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