|NORTH AMERICAN release:
|'UK/BRITISH'release:* First Printing
||'UK/BRITISH'release:* Second Printing
|ITALIAN release: "Un Amore Violato - Senso" (trans. "A Love Violated - Direction")
||ITALIAN release: "Un Amore Violato - Senso" (trans. "A Love Violated - Direction")
|JAPANESE release: "闇を照らす恋人" ("Yami o terasu koibito") (trans. "Dark/Night Illuminating Lover")
||FRENCH release: "L'Amant révélé" (trans. "Lover Revealed")
|SPANISH release: "Amante confeso" (trans. "Lover Avowed/Confessed")
||SPANISH release: "Amante confeso" (trans. "Lover Avowed/Confessed")
|BULGARIAN release: "Споделена любов" (trans. "Spodelena lyubov/Shared Love")
|North America release:
In 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 - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now, an ally of the Black Dagger Brotherhood will face the challenge of his life and the evil of the ages.
Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard living, ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world- to engage in the turf war with the lessers. He's got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. If he can't have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers...
Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, found by a miracle, the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him...
- Brian O'Neal ("Butch, "Dhestroyer")
BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD MEMBERS
- Wrath II
- Vishous ("V")
- Zsadist ("Z")
OTHERS - SPEAKING ROLES
- The Omega
- The Scribe Virgin
MENTIONED OR NON-SPEAKING ROLES
Story opens with Butch drinking at ZeroSum in the VIP section at 3:00 a.m., alone. He is approached by a woman an propositioned for sex. She is, he realises, one of the professional prostitutes Rehvenge (a.k.a. The Reverend) hires to entertain its customers. Disgusted by how fake she is (from looks to the opening line she uses to get his attention) Butch turns her down, and returns to knocking back his shots of Lagavulin. Rehvenge approaches him once the chippie leaves, and offers to send Butch something he'll really like. Butch isn't interested, too depressed over the in-between status of his life -- not a Brother, not a cop, and not with Marissa, his one true love, who he believes has decided he wasn't up to snuff and has been ignoring him for months.
Vishous calls to tell him that the Brothers are going on a hunt, and refuses Butch's offer of aid, which only depresses Butch further and reminds him of how he doesn't fit in anywhere, really. As Vishous hangs up, Butch is approached by Xhex, ZeroSum's Chief of Security. Rehvenge has sent her over to Butch, knowing that Butch is on edge and believing Xhex is just what he needs right then. Xhex refuses to give Butch her name when he asks, preferring to be called "Sympathy" instead, and she comments that "your sex isn't the only one that can be strong" when Butch asks about her gender (he's not quite sure if she's a shemale, a cross-dresser, or an actual female at that point). Convinced "Sympathy" is all female and willing to give him a rough ride to help him forget his worries, Butch accepts Xhex's offer for sex.
Scene change to Marissa at a glymera ball being held in her brother's mansion. She looks around at all the couples walking hand-in-hand and dancing together, and suddenly feels suffocated by the fact that she is not mated, despite being over 400 years old. Worse, everyone knows she was cast off by Wrath, and as a result, no one really wants to socialize with her. She stands alone on the edge of the ballroom, feeling out of place in her life. Hurrying off to the bathroom to hide, she adjusts her hair and dress in front of the mirror, and starts to suffer a panic attack. She goes into a stall to throw up, but instead cries, feeling so alone and unwanted, caged by her very existence.
While in the stall, Marissa overhears two female Vampires in the bathroom talking. One of them in newly mated, and her hellren has bitten her neck and left marks that haven't yet healed. According to the rules of the glymera, this is scandalous, and so the female is in the bathroom with her friend trying to cover up the marks and clean the blood off of the scarf the female is wearing. Marissa thinks of Butch, and reminds herself that not only is he human and unable to understand the sacred bond between hellren and shellan, but he's also made it clear to her that he's not interested in her any longer, since she hasn't seen or talked to him in months.
Depressed by that line of thinking, she leaves the ball and goes up to her room. There she strips down and takes a shower, then changes into simpler clothes and leaves Haver's house.
Butch is leaving ZeroSum at 3:45 a.m., after having had sex with Xhex. He decides to walk home, needing air to clear his head. He hurries past his old hang-out of McGrider's Bar, because it's a popular spot for the Caldwell Police, and he doesn't want to run into any of his old co-workers, especially after disappearing unexpectedly months earlier. Then, he passes by Screamer's. At the alley where Darius had died in the car bomb explosion, he stops to pay tribute to the place that started it all for him. Darius' death had been the case that had led him to the Brotherhood.
By pure coincidence, two Lessers show up then, chasing a pre-trans civilian male down that same alley. Butch gets into a gun fight with them, and is shot in the thigh. After knocking the Lessers incapacitated, the pre-trans male starts screaming. Butch handles it well, calmly and firmly telling the young male to stop screaming, get control of himself, and dematerialize home. Butch then rifles around in one of the Lessers' pockets and pulls out a phone. He realises the Lesser he shot called for backup, and the sounds of heavy breathing coming through the open connection tells Butch backup is on its way. Worried about the civilian male, Butch forcefully tells him to dematerialize NOW. He does...just as six Lessers appears at the mouth of the alley.
Elsewhere in Caldwell, at the Caldwell High School's football field, Vishous turns away from a Lesser fight as Rhage unleashes his Beast and goes to town chomping and stomping on the enemy. He climbs to the top of the bleachers and notices all the human homes below, sprawling in every direction. Worried about them catching wind of what was happening on the field, Vishous takes his glove off and using the power within his hand, casts a mhis, an illusion, over the entire area. The sounds and sights of battle are instantly replaced with the false image of the same football field completely undisturbed and quiet.
The Beast finished off the Lessers, and then spotted Vishous. It snorted in his direction, unconcerned and clearly recognising Visous as friend, rather than foe. Then, it lay down and in a flash of white light, it let go of its transformation, returning Rhage's body to him. Vishous hurried to his brother's side and helped him up, supporting him off the field towards a bleacher seat to rest. Vishous then called Butch's cell phone, hoping to catch the guy for a ride, but got no answer. Then, he called The Pit and got the voice mail there, too.
Desperate, Vishous called Zsadist and the brother agreed to come pick them up at the school. While they waited, Vishous stared up at the night sky and thought about the recent loss of his visions and his telepathy, and realised how scary it was to have gotten his wish to lose both abilities.
Zsadist shows up and takes Rhage home in his car, promising to return to the school and find Vishous if he wasn't done within ten minutes scrubbing the scene of traces of the fight that had taken place their earlier. It finally hits home to Vishous that Zsadist is someone he can trust. Zsadist leaves.
While he's working eradicating Lesser blood from every surface with the power of his 'nuclear hand', Vishous calls Butch again, and is dumped to voice mail a second time. He leaves a message. Then, feeling antsy and out of sorts, he calls one of his sexual submissives and gives her instructions: "You will get ready for me now. You will wear what I bought for you. Your hair will be bound and off your neck." She agrees. He dematerializes to meet her as soon as the football field is fixed.
Rehvenge is thinking about ZeroSum and his ownership of it, as well as the life he's built around it as a drug dealer, a betting hall, and a pimp. He recognises that the lifestyle is despicable, but is practical in seeing its benefits in money, power, and in allowing him the ability to pay off his blackmailer.
Xhex comes in just as he is contemplating those thoughts, and Rehv thanks her for taking on Butch that night. Xhex says she wouldn't have done it if she hadn't wanted to, and then proceeds directly to business, informing her boss as to the security problems the club dealt with that evening: a rape in a bathroom that ended with the guy getting the crap kicked out of him by Xhex and the woman pressing charges against her rapist, finding two minors on premises and a bouncer taking kick-backs and getting rid of all three of them, and dealing with another drug overdose. She shows him a plastic bag containing the junk drugs, and Rehv tells her to bring whoever is freelancing in his club to him as soon as she catches him, as he intends to personally deal with whoever is muscling into his territory.
Xhex then gets personal, asking Rehv is he's looking for a mate in Marissa. She cites his GPS showing his Bentley parked at Haver's a lot, and knows Marissa is unattached. She's worried, because Marissa's place on the Princeps Council could prove problematic for both Rehv and Xhex, if Marissa were to find out Rehv's deep, dark secret of being half-Sympath.
Rehv reveals that the Brotherhood already know about his Sympath heritage, and he reassures her they won't move on him due to his blood relation to Bella, who is a shellan of one of the Brothers. When Xhex asks him if Bella knows the truth of his birth, Rehv tells her 'no' and makes it clear he doesn't want that little bit of information leaking out, either.
As he rounds the desk to leave his office, he wonders how Xhex manages to keep her Sympath side at bay, as he doubts she shoots herself up with dopamine, as he does, as she doesn't walk with a cane and has no issues with her limbs (which is a side-effect of the dopamine).
Xhex then very bluntly asks Rehv if he's feeding Marissa. Rehv refuses to say, and Xhex reminds him of the deal they'd made twenty-five years earlier: no mates and no feeding with Normals. Rehv's stubbornness won't let him back down, and he again refuses to discuss the matter with Xhex. He pulls rank as her boss and tells her to let the Moors (the Shadows, Trez and iAm) lock up, and for her to go home. As she leaves, she reminds him again that what they'd agreed to previously had been done for a good reason...a reason that hadn't changed.
Rehv mulls over her concerns, realising that Marissa would be horrified if she knew the truth of who and what he was, and of the things he'd had to do to keep that secret. Yet, despite that, he remembered well the last time she'd fed from him, three weeks earlier, and was looking forward to the next time.
In the meantime, Vishous returned to the Brotherhood after having had sex with his submissive, and just before dawn. Unfortunately, the sex hadn't done anything to calm the nerves inside him, and he was only looking forward to a shower to wash the scent of that female off his skin. On the way into the Pit, he called out for Butch, but there was no answer. Using his computer, he found the GPS signal for Butch's Escalade still parked outside Screamer's. Worried, he flipped open his phone...and found it had a voice mail. He played it just as the mansion's shutters went down for the day and all the outside doors locked, and heard Butch ordering someone to dematerialize NOW, then the sounds of gunshots, grunts and thuds.
Trapped inside the mansion, realising Butch was in serious trouble, Vishous panicked.