The Black Dagger Brotherhood - An Insider's GuideLast updated: 7/1/2018 — new information in italics

These cheat sheets summarise what we know so far about the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Click here for a round-up of BDB-related posts on Book Thingo.

This section contains information on:

  • Layla
  • s’Ex
  • Assail
  • Ehric and Evale
  • Sola
  • Markcus
  • Murhder
  • Night
  • Peyton
  • Axe
  • Novo
  • Boone
  • Anslam
  • Ricardo Benloise
  • Naasha
  • Elph
  • Jo Early
  • Bill Elliot
  • Julio Martinez
  • Troy Thomas
  • Annalye
  • Story of Son

Note that the cheat sheets have not been updated to include information from The King to avoid accidentally spoiling readers who have not yet had a chance to read the book.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood: An Insider’s GuideAmazon | Book Depository | Booktopia | Fishpond | Galaxy | Library | Audible

Layla

Begotten of the Primale and the Chosen Helhena, Layla is a beautiful strawberry blonde Chosen with light green eyes, fully trained as an ehros, meaning that she was taught the erotic arts. Because Rhage couldn’t feed from Mary, he reached out to the Directrix and requested a Chosen to feed from.

As this was the first time in ages that the Brotherhood reached out to the Chosen, she sent Layla, who was close to her needing, in the hopes that her training would be put to use and the Chosen would start producing new little Brothers. But Rhage insists on being faithful to Mary and only feeding from Layla because he must.

Layla quickly adjusted to her new role and helped Rhage and Mary come to terms with the necessity of his feeding from a third party.

She is caring and nurturing of others, not just with Rhage and Mary, but also when Cormia was anxious over becoming the Primale’s First Mate, and Payne noted Layla’s non-judgemental friendship. She just really wants someone to share herself with. She was taught with a positive attitude towards sex, but isn’t slutty or sleazy.

When JM went through his transition, she fed him and was hoping to become his first lover, but he turned her down because his past made him unable to continue. Without any other knowledge or experience, she assumed that she was somehow at fault and feels the shame of having her naked body rejected and being unable to uphold the Chosen’s traditions.

Rhage, V, JM, Blay and Qhuinn all feed from Layla without sex.

One night she didn’t leave right away after feeding Qhuinn and Blay and Qhuinn asked her what was wrong. She told him about how she felt emptier and emptier when they use her for blood only and is reaching the point where she needs to stop serving them. Qhuinn was about to tell her why they all feed from her specifically, but was interrupted. He asked who she wanted and she answered that she wanted him. He promised to go slowly.

The next day she was happy in the Other Side and told Payne that Qhuinn had only kissed her because he wanted her to be sure that she wanted to have sex with him. She is convinced that she wants more of him specifically rather than just furthering her education and that their passion denotes ‘a certain destiny’.

Qhuinn called her and they kissed. Afterwards, she felt happy and content.

JM summoned her to feed a deliberately starving Qhuinn, but when she offered herself to him, she was rejected. Qhuinn noted her strength in carrying the burden of shame that she didn’t deserve, but was still sacking up and offering blood. If no one wants her sexually, she would still feed the Brothers as that is the only way she can be of use. But to be able to do this, she has to go straight back to the Other Side where she does not need to feed until she is called again. This means that she can’t spend any time in this world and does not get to live as a ‘freed’ Chosen.

She and Qhuinn form a friendship based on the common ground of feeling worthless due to factors outside their control, feeling lost and being denied what they really want.

As Layla went to feed Qhuinn after his fight with Xcor, she though of how she considered him a brother of her own blood and all the things he’s taught her about driving, fighting and computers, but the more she learns about the world, the empiter she feels and wants to have a purpose. She sometimes resents Blay for how much Qhuinn hurts but wants them to be together.

When Throe summoned her to feed Xcor, Phury’s earlier protection deceived her into believing them both males of honour serving their race. She is glad to be asked to serve them and enjoyed the novelty of holding a male’s attention the way she holds Xcor’s. She found herself attracted to him, his obvious power, the way his soldiers defer to him despite his grievous injuries, the way he looks at her and his gentleness in the face of his hard strength.

To escape the effects of Autumn’s needing, Layla goes out with JM and Qhuinn, where she tells them about feeding Xcor. They tell her the truth about who he is and she passes out from the shock of realising their deceit made her an accidental traitor. They take her home.

Wrath and Phury assured her she did nothing wrong, but when she offered to atone by tracking Xcor, the males declined. Since Xcor tried to prevent the feeding, she doesn’t blame him but she definitely blames Throe by lying to her.

Autumn’s needing set off Layla’s needing and she asked Qhuinn to service her, both knowing they aren’t in love. She wants them, as two orphans, to have something that is theirs and Qhuinn agreed. Afterwards, they talk about the possibility of having a young together, so maybe this (and not just the experience) was what Layla intended to share with him.

Xhex asked Layla for help in finding Xcor, so she shows Xhex the way right before dawn when Xcor was sure to be in his lair.

Layla is bleeding, so she rushes to Havers in the hopes of getting help and maintaining her and Qhuinn’s privacy for as long as possible. She knows Phury will not be happy. Although she is sure that she is miscarrying, once Havers discovers she is a Chosen, he blames her for putting him in the position of ‘violating’ her during the exam and refuses to talk to anyone but the Primale.

She tells Qhuinn she is afraid she is losing their young and he tells Jane, more interested in Layla’s health than the consequences of her pregnancy. Phury bursts in and attacks Qhuinn, but Layla defends him and threatens Phury’s life should anything happen to Qhuinn.

In order to get the rights to her own body, Layla renounced her Chosen status and is now considered ‘fallen’. Over time, she’s seen the people around her struggle and survive and, although she had been raised to perceive them as beneath her in status, she respects them.

Payne visits her and heals the young since she perceives herself and Layla both as the SV’s prisoners. The pregnancy has stabilised and she is happily nauseous, receiving visits from Qhuinn, as well as Beth, who would like to have a young of her own.

One night she is restless and takes herself for a drive, her subconscious leading her back to where she met Xcor. He is drawn there as well and admits his concern for her. He gives her his phone number and eventually leaves with a promise that he would always help her.

Layla knows full well that Xcor is behind the coup, so she calls him and is surprised to hear his phone ringing near her on the Brotherhood’s compound. He’s found them. She offers him her body and he asks if she would have done so even if Wrath was still in power. She said no. She respects Wrath and is unwillingly attracted to Xcor, so this is her solution for protecting everyone.

Xcor says that Wrath is no longer in charge and there is nothing Xcor can do to change that. Layla’s offer stands as she believes if he could dethrone the rightful king, he can dethrone the replacement. She wants Wrath reinstated.

After Wrath regains the throne, she does her best to make him believe without lying outright in a way that he could detect that the divorce was real and Wrath still loves Beth. She will keep to their arrangement as long as Xcor makes no further attempt to remove Wrath.

Layla made her bargain with Xcor because She partly blames herself for being a security risk that led him to find the BDB mansion, and blames her pregnancy hormones for her interest in him. She does find it strange that a warrior of his reputation would not have already consummated their agreement despite her pregnancy.

For their next meeting, he had her drive them to a doggen’s cottage where he believes Throe will not find them and because he doesn’t want her to be cold while she’s pregnant.

Overcome by the revelation of Selena’s condition, Xcor’s consideration and her attraction to him, she asked to see his body. He’d always intended to spare her the sight of him, but despite her pregnancy, she can barely remember what sex with Qhuinn was like (and let’s not forget that the needing can be a stressful event). She feels like a virgin who hasn’t lived.

Xcor tells her she need to be sure and to think about it before they take this step. After she leaves, she watches him get himself off through the cottage window, unaware that she is still there and can see him.

She turned, tripped and fell, breaking her arm. After a painful drive home, she passed out in the mansion’s vestibule, where Rhage had a panic attack on finding her, initially believing she had died.

After fears for the young, it was found that Layla is having twins. The second young was not detectable two months ago, which is normal for non-identical twins. The second hangs back until it’s sure the pregnancy is going well and then it quickly catches up. Layla is trying to see it as good news, bearing in mind that twins are usually a curse because they indicate too much good luck which will be balanced out by a tragedy.

She almost came clean about Xcor, but just couldn’t. When Qhuinn noted the inconsistency of a collapse in the mansion’s doorway with dirt and leaves on her coat, she told him a partial truth that sometimes she needs to get out, so she goes for a walk.

When Layla heard that Manny had hit something big that bleeds red while caught in the vampire/lesser war, she just knew it was Xcor, so she needed to go and make sure he was OK.

She vocalised her realisation that he is no longer targeting the Brotherhood. After all, he could have left them some nasty surprises at their old house, but they were safe to investigate. Maybe he isn’t the enemy anymore. He asked her if she would still visit him if not for their arrangement. In her mind now, she is no longer using duty as an excuse and told him she would. It is her choice.

She offered to feed him to help him recover and had to help him get his clothes off to shower first, unable to look away from how well endowed he is. He fed only briefly and sent her away before he could give in to his need for sex.

She was heartbroken to receive a text from him ending their arrangement and telling her not to see him again.

At Selena’s funeral, Rhage noticed that something was up with Layla, but since he’s hiding so much himself, he was easily fobbed off.

Layla recognises that somehow Xcor is in the mansion, but is blocked by Qhuinn and others from getting confirmation of his presence. After a lot of pushing, Doc Jane eventually confirmed that Xcor is a prisoner in a coma after at least one stroke. They both know that even if he survives, the Brotherhood will kill him. It’s just a matter of time, which is a great source of stress for Layla, who still loves him.

Now that Luchas is getting around in a wheelchair, he visits her in the BDB clinic during her confinement for the end stage of her pregnancy. They don’t talk much, though, because of how much she hides and how much he suffers.

Layla travelled incorporeally to the Other Side (she cannot go there while pregnant) to find out what happened to Xcor through the scrying bowls. She discovered Xcor’s true sire, but before she could decide what to do with the information, she discovered she was bleeding and worried about her twins.

She is going into early labour. Her placenta is separating from the uterus. It happened to Beth as well, and is the most common cause of death in childbirth, for both mahmen and young. There was nothing Layla could have done to prevent it, it’s just something that happens.

A healthy enough young male is born, but the female is grey. Payne and Qhuinn save her life, but it takes a lot out of them to do it.

She wants to name her daughter Lyric, to represent the only grandparents she will have. And for her son, she wants to petition Wrath for a Brother’s name, to represent his sire. Vampires don’t think of names or prepare for a young’s birth as it is bad luck to assume in any way a safe birth.

Although she experienced similar birth complications to Beth, she was lucky enough to be able to keep her uterus and should be capable of having more offspring down the track.

Tohr and Autumn came to visit her and the young. Layla looked for Tohr’s resemblance to Xcor and only perceives it in their father’s eyes. She begins to tell him, but he changed the subject.

The male young was named Rhampage, a very good, very old, very Ward name.

Blay adopted the twins, so they are all three of them parents.

All the vampires and doggen put the ribbons of their lineage on the incubators.

s’Ex

The Shadow queen’s executioner. I’m kind of hoping s’Ex is more a title than a name, derived from s’Hisbe Executioner. 7′ tall with his head shaved in ceremonial patterns, fangs permanently extended and almost covered in white tattoos, made not from ink, but a poison in amounts that would have killed anyone else.

He is a rare Shadow who is allowed to come and go as he chooses and is not sequestered within the s’Hisbe (suh-HEEB). He does not seem completely unsympathetic to Trez and iAm, as he gives them a heads up that he has orders to torture and kill their parents if Trez does not return.

He wishes he had parents.

Twenty years before Trez’s escape from the Territory, he fought his way out, and might have made it if s’Ex had not shown him the torture his brother was enduring as punishment for Trez’s actions. He was able to use iAm as leverage to force Trez to return to his quarters.

I don’t know why after Trez successfully escaped, iAm was also able to escape and not be kept as surety for the Anointed One’s return.

He later agrees to use his influence to delay the queen in exchange for the apartment in the Commodore and a steady supply of multiple women (who are not to be permanently marked, harmed or eaten). He has impregnated the queen, which means that she may birth a new heir. If so, Trez is free.

The new heir is born a female, however since her star chart has determined that she is not the rightful heir, she is put to death. s’Ex wasn’t prepared for the possibility, even though he was aware it could happen, or how much it would hurt him to lose the only child he’d be likely to have, even though she was born from the royal womb. In order to give her death meaning, he’s adhering closer to the duty he doesn’t really believe in and is putting pressure on Trez (via iAm) to return. The official mourning period lasts only days and then his time is up.

He is nursing a bottle at the Commodore because the queen wishes him gone during the mourning period, to avoid the embarrassment of her dead child having been fathered by a commoner (no matter how far s’Ex is elevated in power and station, he will always be considered less than noble). But of course, if she had been the heir, the little social faux pas would have been overlooked. He wants to drown his sorrows in multiple women, which iAm will only provide in return for s’Ex’s guarantee to get iAm safely out of the Territory after he’s checked the Shadow libraries for information on the Arrest.

The guards found iAm before he did, and he was taken prisoner. He questioned a maid who is not a maid why she has so much interest in this particular prisoner. She does not answer to him and although he cannot see her face, she forces him to. He is the first male to look upon the face of the s’Hisbe princess, a crime punishable by death. He is not about to commit suicide, so this remains another of their little secrets. He is well aware that instead of being as isolated as the Anointed One, she has the run of the palace by dressing as a maid.

(This masquerade started when she caught him with two human women. He could have been killed for the crime of indirectly exposing the sacred royal genitals to those of filthy humans.)

After iAm searched through the library and came up empty, s’Ex smuggled him out.

s’Ex revealed to iAm that maichen is Princess Catra, Trez’s intended, and that he must kill iAm for seeing her face, which is a bit hypocritical since he’s seen it as well.

When he found out that the Shadows are declaring war on the vampires if they do not return TrezLath, he confessed ignorance, and would never have advised war, despite is confidence in his soldiers’ abilities. iAm told him that he could tell the s’Hisbe that he they are no longer with the vampires.

When he returned to the Territory, he was accused by AnsLai of helping Catra escape, while he was actually trying to get her back in. He found her before she could enter the palace to warn her that the queen has ordered a public cleansing for her, involving an acidic solution being injected in the vein, causing her to suffer and puke for several nights.

Since he’s been linked to her escape, she pointed out that he’s most likely not safe either. She wants him to take her to the astrology room and stand guard so that she can follow up on a hunch.

So that he could not kill the Chief Astrologer, Catra disarmed s’Ex before telling the truth that his daughter was the rightful heir and was murdered because then queen did not want s’Ex’s bloodline contaminating the throne. He was touched when Catra expressed sorrow over her sister having been killed. She returned his knife to him, knowing he would kill the queen for what she did to them.

He made two cuts on his face: one for his daughter, and one for what he was about to set right and then beheaded the bitch queen.

Trez had surrendered himself and the cleansing had begun. s’Ex met iAm at the gate and told him the truth that he, not Trez was the Anointed One, but Trez was going to die during the abrasive cleansing. (He survived, having been given the antidote in time.)

The new queen promoted s’Ex to a kinglike position, but one not requiring them to be mated, and he told iAm she freed him.

Assail

(Son of Assail)

Assail has hair darker than Vishous’s black, is the size of a Brother, dresses in black and looks like the epitome of the dangerous and sensual vampire. He speaks with a high class Old Language accent and loves Cuban cigars.

A lot of our early impressions of Assail come from Xcor, who introduced the character in Lover Reborn when he was scoping out Assail’s home as a potential venue for Wrath’s assassination. In Xcor’s opinion, Assail is the son of the greatest Brother ever and could have been either a warrior or a Brother himself, except that he allowed his mother’s plans keep him from fulfilling his potential, leading Xcor to mistakenly perceive him as pussy-whipped and weak.

Xcor also thinks he recollects Assail having had a younger brother and possibly a disreputable half-sister. We don’t yet know his back story other than he is an old school male with double standards for females, but he only once in his life believed his safety was assured and does not take his personal security for granted.

He gives the impression of being yet another indolent aristocrat, but his windows are bulletproof (and threaded with steel to prevent unwanted visitors materialising directly into his home), as are his vehicles, he’s removed the trees that would provide cover for intruders and is also familiar with handling firearms. (Incidentally, his estate was developed by Vin di Pietro, romantic hero of Covet.) When Xcor watches him influence the drug dealers who tried to rob him into killing themselves, he recognises a potential threat.

He is breaking into the drug trade by setting up meetings with middle management dealers and influencing them to turn their own guns on themselves before taking over their operations. His product is marked with the Old Language symbol for death.

Xhex discovers that he is behind the sudden drug dealer suicides and when he offers her a job, she turns him down flat. Yet later, when she asks him about Xcor, he refuses to help her as she is female. Maybe he thought Xhex could be his file clerk.

While Wrath was visiting the heads of the six founding bloodlines, Assail set up a meeting to ensure he can legally continue his retail in the human market. He wanted to hold the meeting in his secure living room, but Wrath and the Brothers refused to go further than the mud room, not realising it was less secure. Xcor exploited this distrust when he ordered the assassination attempt that resulted in Wrath being shot in the neck and Assail in the hand. Tohr gave Wrath enough direction to confirm Wrath’s total blindness for Assail but, lest he be considered weak, Wrath pointed his dagger directly at Assail, telling him his hearing works just fine. Assail offered his reinforced and bulletproof van to transport Wrath.

He has almost solidified his hold on the human drug trade, leaving only art and drug dealer Benloise. Assail already had money but lusts for power (with no interest in taking down Wrath) so Xhex doesn’t know why he’s in the business and who his associates are, since not even a vampire could achieve so much on his own.

Assail attended one of Elan’s informal gatherings, the kid that doesn’t need to concern Rehvenge, where his host introduced Xcor and the Band of Bastards. When it became clear they were planning treason, he excused himself as a neutral businessmale. This move made an open enemy of Xcor, but Assail knew Xcor would never allow his business to thrive as he doesn’t want any potential competition, whereas Wrath agreed to let him do what he wants in the human market.

He recruited his cousins from the Old Country to come to the New World and act as his backup in his new business venture. Ehric is the older of identical twins. His brother is named Evale and may or may not speak. As weird as it sounds, he may have spoken to Assail over the phone and been referred to as ‘his cousin’, meaning ether of the twins.

Although he visited Benloise and made it very clear he would tolerate no more unwanted visitors (investigators) at his home, the human female returned for more surveillance. He was turned on by her lack of fear of him and decided to start following her in return and started thinking of her as ‘mine’ and becomes possessive of her while she is on a date with a human. Through his interactions with Sola, we know that he likes pain with his pleasure and is happy to either inflict or receive it, at least with her.

Knowing he was being watched, Assail had sex with the glymera female he feeds from, however, when he misses a feeding, he soldiers on with cocaine.

The cousins report lessers at the assigned meeting place for the drug deal and brings back their remains to Assail. Only then do they realise that these lessers were badly armed and just happened to have the exact amount agreed upon for the deal.

Assail contacts the fore-lesser and they go into business together. Assail buys from Benloise and cuts the product down and the society handles distribution, with neither able to do business without the other.

I personally think that what Assail is doing is profiting by giving money to the lessers to arm them against his own people and if there is not a law in place naming trade with the enemy as treason, then there bloody well should be.

Rehvenge called to find out the most convenient time for the next Council meeting and Assail reasserted his position of neutrality and resigned from the Council. Elan then accused him of being behind the assassination attempt on Wrath, and Rehv gave him this information as well as the right (on Wrath’s behalf) to act as he saw fit. Elan barely lived long enough to report to Xcor.

After Xcor killed the lessers with the most recent stash, Mr C presses Assail for a 48 hour credit on a new stash. At the moment he has no other option for distribution but no one in business is irreplaceable.

When Assail discovers that Sola (whom he calls by her full first name, Marisol) has been taken, he has her grandmother moved into the security of his home and hunts down Benloise. He abducted both Benloise boys and tortures the younger, Eduardo, in front of Ricardo. Eduardo broke and told him about the cabin where the dirty work gets done and Assail kills him for his efforts, before taking Ricardo with him.

He gets to the cabin just as Marisol makes her escape. Benloise cannot be allowed to live for what he’s done, so Assail chains him up with an abdominal wound, knowing no one is going to look for him in time. As much as he would like to blow the cabin up, this is a much slower death for Benloise.

He demands the best care for Marisol, so he calls in a favour with the BDB and goes to their mansion where she was seen by Jane. When he became territorial over Marisol, it was clear that he had bonded and only Jane was allowed to treat her.

Marisol admitted that one of her captors had tried to rape her (which gave her the opportunity to incapacitate him and escape), Assail lost consciousness. When she told him she was having trouble reconciling having killed to save herself with her religious beliefs, he said that he was no protector and would prefer to live and let live, but he won’t allow anyone to threaten him.

Assail moved Marisol into his home, where she was reunited with her grandmother.

For the first time, Assail made love when he was with Marisol, after years (centuries?) of sex. But she couldn’t stay, knowing he would take Benloise’s place as the drug wholesaler in Caldwell, as she and her grandmother would always be targets after she vowed to God that she would leave her life of crime. The next time they were together, he marked her with the depth of pleasure he could provide and with his seed, but he ultimately let her go.

His new position gave him all the wealth and power he sought, but all he could think of was Sola.

The Dhestroyer questioned him about supporting the lessers in the war by doing business with them, but since Butch had no proof, all he needed to do was deny it and they couldn’t touch him.

Until a slayer was found in a human club peddling product with Assail’s chrih symbol of death. He is officially busted.

Assail is still doing lots of coke, much to Ehric and Evale’s disgust, and he functions kind of erratically, distracted and disconnected.

He met the smugglers for another shipment of product and discovered they also trade with someone else despite an exclusivity agreement with their boss. He followed their boat to Caldwell and found that they were selling guns to the fore-lesser. Not his problem. Traitor.

In a audience with the king, Assail agreed to stop dealing through the lessers and remained calm in the face of threats to his life, but I’m betting the coke had something to do with that.

Wrath let him go but ordered Rhage and V to follow him to trace his supplier and then execute him and his cousins. Assail expected something like this, and he’s not going to let Wrath shut him down.

He has more money than he ever expected to make, but without Sola it’s all he has, the money and the pursuit of more.

He sent Ehric to meet with the fore-lesser, and with the day screens in place, he ghosted out of his house with the Brotherhood none the wiser. To save his own arse, he decapitated the fore-lesser.

Assail delivered the severed head to the audience house and told Wrath that the lessers were stationed at the Brownswick School for Girls, and as the fore-lesser is not dead, they have some time up their sleeves before he is missed. The Brotherhood has the advantage. He is a businessman and it is in his best interest, despite the inconvenience and drop in income, to obey the king. As Rhage notes, it’s better than a coffin.

Assail, Ehric and Evale join the Brothers in their raid on the lessers at the former Brownswick School for Girls. Assail became a target for the beast while Rhage was dying, but was rescued by Vishous, while Evale distracted the dragon.

His shoulder was injured during his escape and he was taken to the Brotherhood’s OR, where his cousins were also invited to stay with him for the duration. Manny noticed signs of his coke addiction and insisted that Assail take his card, which he immediately threw away.

Although Assail has shown signs of loyalty in recent times, Wrath feels that his track record is pretty dodgy and he is often found near Wrath’s enemies, which is something Wrath wants to exploit to his own advantage. After having fought alongside them, Assail finds himself respecting the Brotherhood. And he owes V for having saved his life. Not to mention he is a drug dealer addicted to his own product and who needs a distraction from the female he let go. He wasn’t sure how he was going to run his business without the lessers anyway. Assail calls the glymera female Naasha to arrange a feeding and told V he was in.

He isn’t threatened by Naasha’s lover, whoever he might be, otherwise, she wouldn’t need to see him, and therefore he has the upper hand over her.

She tells him about a plan to use her hellren’s 900th birthday to lure Wrath to his estate, but has not disclosed the purpose. He is convinced she isn’t strategic enough to have concocted this plot and believes that her lover is behind it.

Assail and his cousins are welcomed to Naasha’s home along with 7 other female guests, and of course, Throe. Ehric and Evale keep the females occupied, while Assail focuses on Throe. Although he does not want to be, it looks like Throe is open to seduction from an attractive male. At least Assail won’t be bored in his assignment.

Assail may branch into dealing arms instead of drugs (his suppliers now have a vacuum there with the lessers largely gone) and offered weapons to the BDB.

While Assail is waiting for his guns to arrive, Throe shows up, ready to shoot him over their kiss. They have a pissing contest that was a lot of fun to read, before Throe leaves in defeat and Assail remains unshot.

Assail uses his cousins to keep Naasha and occupied while he looks for Throe’s room. On the way, in a secluded part of the house, he finds a heavy metal door with a new look, but no key anywhere.

He eventually finds Throe’s room, recognisable by the male’s scent. Naasha clearly supplied his with new clothes (maybe this is why Naasha wants to keep Assail around when she has Throe – he doesn’t depend on her for anything and is therefore more of a challenge. He has power to wield, where Throe must use charm) and Assail found a picture frame hiding a combination wall safe that once again made him wish for Marisol.

As he left the room, he was busted by a maid, but pretended to be lost. He learned from the maid that the mistress had 6 rooms prepared for guests.

Throe returns to the estate as Assail is making his way back to Naasha’s sex dungeon. He tells Assail that Naasha will not be in charge much longer, making Assail wonder if she or her hellren will meet their end first.

V (who seems to have become Assail’s handler in his work for the crown) meets Assail to collect their guns and gives him a medical checkup because the signs of his addiction are becoming worse. He gets nosebleeds as well from all the damage caused by hardcore frequent snorting. He is running out of time to beat his addiction before recovery becomes impossible.

Upon the death of Naasha’s hellren, Assail is asked to give moral support, but is only too happy to hand the task to a willing Throe. The King’s lawyer Saxton is there to read the will and go over the legalities, and Assail suspects he is also there to keep them distracted to give Assail more time.

His first port of call is the late master’s room, where he found the bed stained in bodily fluids (not blood or urine) high on the bed, implying it was not the result of incontinence. He took photos of the room before moving on to the hidden, locked room he’d discovered on his previous visit. A lock picking tool V gave him did the trick and he discovered an inked male blood slave in chains. As males do not derive sustenance from other males, regardless of their preference, the fact the slave is male rules out the master of the house, neatly incriminating its lady.

Assail broke the male free and carried him from his cell. Blood slavery is illegal, but he’s using stealth to avoid tipping off Naasha so she can’t cover her tracks by disposing of the slave.

Saxton had been kicked out of the room so Throe and Naasha could strategise, but when he saw Assail carrying the slave, he offered the use of his car and to draw out his meeting as long as possible. Assail met V, but he cannot treat the blood slave on the road.

They are taken back to the clinic near the training centre, arriving while Layla is in labour. Assail notes the blood slave’s fear of everyone, so he refuses to leave, if his presence will ease the male.

The blood slave Marckus has nowhere to go, as his family is in the Old Country, and he does not want them to know what happened to him. As Assail feels he has a lot to atone for and Marckus is in need of help, he offers to let Markcus stay with him and his cousins. Somehow, he thinks that saving Markcus might just save him. Markcus insists on earning his keep.

Assail, his cousins and Z raid Naasha’a house. The butler, Tharem gave Assail info on how many staff are in residence (and is allowed a minute each to help them escape), where Naasha and Throe are, and told him that he took pictures as evidence of his mistress having kept a blood slave. Tharem’s lack of loyalty to the female who caused the death of his master saved his life. Assail instructed Tharem to go to the King’s audience house and tell Wrath what he knows.

He then went to Naasha’s room, stuck his gun in her mouth and said simply, “This is for Markcus,” before pulling the trigger.

Not having a silencer on the gun gave Throe all the warning he needed. When Assail got to his room, he was gone and his wall safe was empty.

He shot open a drawer and stuffed his pockets with jewellery before Zsadist came in with his flamethrower and told Assail to move on. The house had been doused in petrol and was ready for a flamethrower or two.

Assail called Marisol one more time, just to hear her voice and this time, she guessed it was him. He told her he loved her and hung up.

He intended to die in the flames, using the excuse that as Naasha had not been convicted of owning a blood slave, his killing her was unsanctioned murder. Z had other ideas and hauled him out.

He moves Markcus into his home, where his cousins have a huge meal waiting. Then he asks them to throw away all his stash and look after their guest while he goes away to sober up.

Ehric and Evale

Assail’s cousins, although I don’t know how they are connected. They came over from the Old Country to help him set up his drug business and pretty much do whatever they’re told.

Ehric speaks while Evale is silent, except after sex. They experience a bit of a reversal where Evale talks a lot, but often using the wrong words, that sound similar to what he actually means, possibly because English is not his first language. Ehric is silent.

Ehric cannot stand the sight of open wounds.

Assail instructs his cousins to have sex with Naasha and her guests while he spies for Wrath. They happily comply, although I’m not sure how much of that has to do with their dynamic with Assail, or how much they enjoy their task.

After it is discovered that Naasha kept a blood slave, they joined Assail and Z in raiding her house, where Ehric and Evale doused her house in petrol before burning the place to the ground.

When Assail moves Markcus into their home, they make a massive breakfast, and at their cousin’s request, they get rid of all his cocaine, and agree to fatten up their guest while he’s away.

Marisol (Sola) Morte

A human female of Portuguese descent, who lives in the suburbs with her grandmother, Yesenia Carvalho, Sola is an independent contractor who works for Ricardo Benloise, Caldwell’s big drug supplier.

Her father taught her to be a thief when she was around 9 or 10. He was caught and sent to prison, where he later died. Sola used his stolen money to get herself and her grandmother to the US, where she tried to support them both with a job as a restaurant cashier. Eventually she reverted to her old skills and ultimately found her job with Benloise.

She was sent to investigate Assail, but after he spotted her and threatened Benloise, her job was cut short and she was paid only half the agreed fee. On principle, she broke into Benloise’s mansion and, unable to find anything worth the paltry sum she was owed (no more and no less), decided to inflict nuisance value damage to make her point.

Against Benloise’s instructions, she continued to follow Assail because she wanted to find out his secrets. He caught her and she found his strength arousing, even though she feels she must be insane. And she suspects he could be a vampire, even though that should be impossible.

She followed him to a female’s house where she watched him have sex, during which he looked up at her through the window. Soon after, she went on a date with her personal trainer because he has a superficial resemblance to Assail, but feel no attraction to him, even though he seems to be a nice enough guy.

One night she comes home to find out that her grandmother had entertained a visitor on her behalf, which begins their usual conflict over why Sola isn’t married. She assumes the man was Assail, so she thinks nothing of it until she sees him and he says it wasn’t him. They are interrupted by her grandmother, so he leaves.

When Sola is kidnapped by Benloise’s goons, her grandmother calls Assail from a slip of paper left behind. He promises to get Sola back. She promises God to leave the lifestyle if she survives Benloise’s punishment.

One of her captors tries to rape her, she hurts him where it counts and escapes the cabin, just as Assail and his cousins arrive. She was taken to the BDB mansion for medical care by Doc Jane.

She had killed twice to save herself and is having trouble reconciling her actions with her religious beliefs.

Assail brought Sola to his estate, where her grandmother has already made herself at home. Although she really wants to stay with Assail, she realises that with Benloise gone, he is the next in line to run Caldwell’s drug trade, meaning that she and her grandmother would always be targets. They have to leave him. Assail marks her with his seed.

She moves to Miami but can’t get him off her mind.

She gets calls where the caller refuses to speak with her. She guesses correctly that it’s Assail.

Markcus

Markcus left his family behind in the Old Country over 30 years ago, seeking adventure in the new world. He was a labourer and worked on Naasha’s estate. She gave him wine and he woke up in chains. She had kept him, but not maintained his health for 32 years before Assail rescued him. (He has never seen any kind of portable phone, only ones on tables.) He has black bands inked on his throat and wrists, and does not want his family to know what happened to him.

He is first checked by V on the road, but needs more attention, so he is taken to the compound while Layla is in labour. He is very timid and afraid of everyone except possibly Assail, so his saviour refuses to leave him.

As Marckus has nowhere to go, Assail offers to let him stay at his place. Despite all that happened to him, Markcus has his pride and insists on earning his keep. He will stay with Assail’s cousins while Assail is in rehab.

Murhder

(Son of Murhder; aka Eliahu Rathboone)

We don’t know very much about Murhder, except that he was the most recently booted member of the Brotherhood, is still alive somewhere, and that V saved his father as a young (but his grandmother was killed by the lesser) in Italy. Oh, and the very cryptic clue from Ward’s message board: Surfboard. Qhuinn was planning to escape justice over Lash’s murder by joining a faction of vampires out west (largely made up of vampire outlaws), so maybe Murhder is with them and is based near the coast? Maybe there’s a night time surfing culture.

Murhder fell for Xhex, around 25 years ago, without knowing what she was, and when he rescued her from the symphaths trying to experiment on her at the colony, the betrayal of finding out she, too, was a symphath drove him mad.

He went in without backup, which wasn’t unusual for him. I don’t know if this was the last straw for him in the Brotherhood or if his mental state when he came back made him an unsuitable warrior.

Last time Xhex saw him, he had long dark hair, deep-set eyes and scruff on his jaw. He spoke with an Old Country accent, which suggests he’s older than the younger Brothers like Rhage, Phury and Z, unless he left the Old Country later than the others.

He lives in a plantation house turned B&B about 20 miles outside Charleston, South Carolina, run by a Mr Griffin. A crew from TV show Paranormal Investigators bullied their way into his house to investigate the ghostly legend of Eliahu Rathboone, a man who wanted to abolish slavery before the cause took off in the northern states. Until his death, he used to leave his windows lit up to guide those on the run to the safety of his home.

The crew consisted of cameraman Stan, the producer Gregg Winn and presenter Holly Fleet. It was only after Holly went to Gregg for comfort after having sex with the spirit they were investigating, that Gregg was able to see how tired he was of his phony LA life and how wrongly he’d written Holly off as a slutty bimbo.

He confronted the “ghost”, who was very much real and resembled a painting of Eliahu Rathboone. He has red and black hair and peach-coloured eyes.

He promised to leave Holly alone as long as Gregg started treating her right.

I know that his father was also called Murhder, but I’m confused about the timeline and which Murhder came for Darius at the warrior camp and which was the pretrans V saved. The pretrans was the father of his brother Murhder, who I believe is the current Murhder. Hopefully this will become clearer as we learn more about him.

Peyton, son of Peythone

Peyton became friends with Paradise after the raids and they frequently talk over the phone.

He smokes pot on a pretty regular basis, but being a young vampire male, he seems to be quite healthy.

He called Paradise with the news about the training program being reopened. As a glymera male, he would always have been eligible, but it has now been opened to civilians and females.

Peyton told Paradise she would never be accepted into the training program ecause she isn’t athletic and is far more valuable to the race as a wife and mother to the upper classes who don’t want to lower themselves to mate with a civilian. She has a duty as a rare surviving female of a Founding Family. She told him to fuck off.

On the bus heading to the gym for their first night in the training program, Peyton was still kind of a dick to Paradise. He ate some of the canapes laced with an emetic, and was forced to rely on Paradise to help him walk out of the gym before they were thrown in the pool.

When she won their final challenge and was named Primus, he had to admit he was wrong about her and apologised.

He’s not a big fan of the other classmates aside from his old friend Anslam, with whom he smokes weed, and Novo. He gets a bit territorial towards her when discussing their classmates with Anslam. He especially does not like Craeg, who even their Primus looks up to as a leader.

He saw Craeg looking her over and picked a fight with him, which he sadly lost when a failed headbutt resulted in him literally knocking himself out.

He asked Paradise to the Twelve Month Festival Ball and she said yes.

He checks in with Paradise periodically, even when he’s hanging with Anslam, and their friendship returns to what it used to be. Sometimes he is convinced he loves her. But he also seems to feel some sort of fascination with Novo.

He enjoyed letting Craeg in on the fact that Craeg bonded with Paradise, taking pleasure in his denial and lack of self-awareness. But he also warned the other male to treat her well.

Peyton checked in with his cousin Allishon, who hasn’t been heard from in a few days, but that’s not unheard of, for her. He thought she might want to party, or even possibly be partied out. Her apartment is covered in blood and she’s missing. He called Paradise for help, and when Craeg said they should call the Brotherhood, he said she was calling her father, the King’s First Advisor, which was pretty much the same thing. I think he’d forgotten his promise to Paradise not to tell anyone about her bloodline.

Marissa went to the apartment and confirmed the scent matches the female she couldn’t save. Allishon’s sibling was killed in the raids and she was the last of her parents’ offspring.

Instead of joining the other trainees at Sal’s, Peyton is doing drugs with Anslam again when Paradise tells him she found another pink and red stripy Polaroid like the one she thought he’d dropped. He still doesn’t know what she means.

When Craeg saved Paradise from Anslam, Peyton told Abalone about their hidden relationship

Paradise noticed he hasn’t been the same since his friend Anslam killed his cousin Allishon.

Peyton usually foots the bill when the trainees socialise after class, but takes them to the places he likes, such as a cigar bar (which I think is where Saxton and Blay had their first date) and a dance club.

After the trainees’ first field trip is a disaster, they go to Peyton’s cigar bar where he has also agreed to meet his cousin Elise.

I am kind of harsh towards Peyton but he does seem to care about his friends and family and is protective of Elise and I think it’s both because she is a female in his family, but also because she is in the branch of the family who lost Allishon. He was the one who told them of her murder and it was his friend who had done it. Maybe I don’t give him enough credit for how badly that could fuck your head up.

He seems kind of remote in his interactions with people and his surroundings in anything beyond a superficial level. Elise believes him to be mourning their cousin.

He notices Axe’s interest in Elise and disapproves because she is not the type of female that you seduce and dump. Elise deserves better. He seems to also believe her to be vulnerable after the recent death in the family, and I think he wants to help her for that reason, but also because he knows how stifling aristocratic families can be.

But then he is easily distracted by a busty blonde, leaving Axe free to pursue Elise.

He catches up to them and puts and end to their flirtation. He tells Axe that Elise is in a vulnerable way, due to the recent death in her family, and that she is not to be used and discarded, which he knows is Axe’s usual thing. He hits Axe and ultimately Axe agrees to leave her be.

When he learns that Axe will be Elise’s bodyguard, he calls the bastard and tells him not to take the job. He hits the male again to drive his point home and even offers to multiply his salary to keep the sex addict away from his cousin. I’s not about class, he just thinks that Axe will be too busy trying to get into Elise’s pants to do his job, and leave her ruined and heartbroken.

One a night out with the trainees except Axe (who is watching Elise on a date with her professor), Peyton is also hanging with other rich guys like himself. Eventually, they all go their separate ways. He heads back because he remembered that he left his phone at Ice Blue’s VIP section and sees Novo there alone.

He propositions her and she suggests that he go back to his hotel suite, get undressed and get himself off while thinking of Paradise. That would be a no.

He calls Elise and she challenges him on having tried to bribe Axe, and he admitted to being overprotective because he was the one who discovered what happened to Allishon and he can’t get it out of his head. He can’t sleep. They arrange to meet up to talk about what happened to her.

He gets both drunk and stoned for this talk. He tells her that Axe saved Rhage’s life, fully expecting him to have already bragged about it. After seeing him in action, he concedes that Axe might be a good bodyguard.

He’s still getting into the Goose (because no other top shelf vodka exists) when he tells Elise about Allishon’s membership at The Keys and that what happens there is not his thing. He told her about Anslam. Peyton had gone to her apartment when she hadn’t spoken to anyone in days and saw all the blood. Then Paradise found one of Anslam’s photos and put all the pieces together. Anslam figured out that she knew too much and tried to kill her. Craeg and Paradise survived while Anslam did not.

Peyton then told Elise’s family about Allishon’s death. Her parents were emotionless (Peyton thinks it was from shock), but Felixe cried. After they found out who murdered her, the BDB went back and told them. He feels like Allishon’s parents blamed her for her death, which to him felt like she’d been killed all over again with the way they dehumanised her every bit as much as Anslam.

He is traumatised by their attitude but buries it with weed, coke and booze because he feels that as a fighter, he needs to be able to handle death. He doesn’t distinguish between the death of an enemy in war and the murder of a family member.

He told Elise that he is proud of her and a good friend he refuses to name (who else but Paradise?) showed him that females are as good as males.

He swaps phones with her so her father thinks she’s with him. The following night, they swap back at the cigar bar. Peyton wants to protect Elise form Axe and they get into a fight that takes them and Novo out the emergency exit and alerts a lesser. He is shocked when Axe roars as a bonded male protecting his mate.

He is shot in the temple during the fight and loses consciousness. He comes to while being fed the most amazing blood he’s ever had. He opens his eyes and sees that it is Novo feeding him. He notices how attractive she is. He’d called her the night before but she hadn’t called him back before it was from Elise’s unfamiliar number. She told him that Axe had taken her to The Keys. He disapproves of Axe going there and then home to a female like Elise. Or Paradise for that matter. And he disapproves of Novo going to a place like that that no female ever goes to. She set him straight about her interest in males, females, men and women, as well as his madonna-whore absolute viewpoint and double standards concerning his own sluttiness. She asks which camp she falls in with him. He says that females are just different. Novo tells him that arseholes are arseholes, regardless on the genitalia they come with.

Peyton is thinking about what Novo said to him and feeling off because she holds such a negative view of him. He can see a similarity between her accusations and his reaction to Paradise joining the training program. He recalled that she was the Primus, the number one trainee in the orientation, but the title means nothing otherwise. Actually, that last bit was me, because it doesn’t come up again during training, she has no continued role or prestige to go along with the one-off title. No other titles have ever been bestowed for any later achievements, not that we’ve heard much about their specific achievements during the course.

He still has his head up his arse. While he was attracted to Novo from the start, he believes that Paradise has his heart. They really connected during the raids and he’s been able to talk with her in ways that he hasn’t with other females.

Elise visited Peyton with Axe’s key, asked what it was, and told him that Allishon has one just like it. (Actually she has at least one, which is why there was still one for her to find after the investigation.) She asks if the reason he disapproved of Axe was his class, sexual preferences or something else. In that moment, Peyton realised that by seeing his sexual partners as sluts who sleep around, it excuses his own sluttiness and puts all the responsibility for his actions onto them. Novo is right, Peyton is a dick.

Elise figured out from the scent on Axe’s cloak (probably from when she hugged him outside The Keys) who Novo is and thinks that Axe fucked around on her. Peyton is unhappy for once to have been proven right and is jealous that Axe got to be with Novo.

At their next training session where he updated Axe about Elise, the other male told him that he’s never been with Novo, but he got his way in the end when it came to Elise. Axe is no longer part of her life. Novo found them to ensure that there would be survivors and confirmed that she and Axe have never had sex and that he took her to The Keys at her request, where he sponsored her for membership.

Axwelle, son of Theirsh

A massively built male with spiked hair, piercings on one side of his face and one side of his neck inked, all of the above in black, as well as yellow eyes.

His father was a carpenter and his mother left them when he was about 10 in search of a richer mate. He wasn’t a well-behaved kid.

As he grew older, he got into drugs and likes ecstasy and coke among others. Two years ago, on the ngith of the lesser raids, he was high at a club and his father left messages on his phone. He was so annoyed by the fact that his father was leaving him messages that he erased them without ever listening to them. He later found out that his father died that night. (I don’t know if he knows it was because the family of the Endelview estate locked the servants out of their panic room and left them to be slaughtered.) All he has left of his father is a note someone left him explaining what happened.

Since he is essentially orphaned, Butch told him he was moving into the training centre along with Craeg.

While Craeg left to collect his things, Axe came clean about knowing the origins of a key Butch asked him about in their interview. It belongs to a sex club of which he is a member and doesn’t physically open any doors, but acts as a symbol of membership. He was at that club the night his father was killed. To help Butch’s investigation, he agrees to take Butch to their mask themed night.

He likes making his partners submit to him. He uses the release of sex to quiet the voice of self-loathing and anger in his head, and expects that being a soldier in the war will do the same.

Butch told him about his investigation into a female who died at Safe Place. They don’t know much more about her than her colouring and that she possessed a sex club key. Axe’s reaction confirmed Butch’s instinct that he is not the murderer.

Elise, blooded daughter of the Princeps Felixe the Younger. Felixe has dark hair and grey eyes, while his daughter has blonde highlighted hair and blue eyes, but they share similar carriage and manner of speaking. She has a high class Old Country accent that sounds European. Elise is a student and TA at the State University of New York, Caldwell Campus for psychology Professor Troy Becke, an attractive, surprisingly young professor not above wearing his hair in a man bun. He is tall with blue eyes and an open, friendly face.

She has been studying for 7 years and is doing her PsyD in Clinical Psychology, despite not having a Masters. Ultimately, she wants to be a private therapist for the race, specialising in PTSD. Particularly after the raids, she feels that this is something the race not only lacks, but badly needs.

Those same raids also delayed her education, forcing her to leave Caldwell, and now that she is back, also forcing her to lie to her father about going out. She feels trapped in his mansion by the restrictions placed on her as a female, Felixe’s overprotectiveness and the atmosphere created by her father and her aunt and uncle after their daughter Allishon’s death. They bury their feelings over her passing, when Elise would prefer a more open display, believing it to be healthier for all involved. They have not had a Fade Ceremony for her.

We meet Elise 4 weeks after her first cousin Allishon was beaten to death in Blood Kiss, and this violent tragedy coupled with her family’s non-reaction makes her even more determined to become a psychologist for the race. She continues sneaking out of the mansion, unwilling to let her education so far go to waste.

Tonight, she can sent Troy’s attraction to her and, feeling like she has nothing to lose (as she is not a virgin, even if the glymera is unaware of this fact), she indicates that she is interested in him.

Lost in thought about how life might be lived differently if you knew how much time you had left, Elise made the mistake of walking back in via the mansion’s front door with her coat and backpack and snow in her hair. Busted.

She is forbidden from leaving the house and her father wants to look for a mate for her. She argues that she is not like Allishon and asks if his concern stems from the prospect of social embarrassment should anything happen to her as well. Her father will petition Wrath to put her into sehclusion.

The trainees’ first field trip is an unmitigated disaster in which they all ‘died’. They go to Peyton’s favourite cigar bar (where I think Blay and Saxton has their first date) to blow off steam and Elise meets her cousin there.

Axe’s reaction to her is immediate. He really wants her but doesn’t want to want her because she is clearly refined and he identifies her as the type of female his mahmen left his father to become.

He’s sitting with Novo who notices his primitive reaction to the aristocrat. She argues that his getting laid before training messes with his head. He says his head is on their crappy performance and what he could have done better. They talk about his club and Novo gets him to agree to take her to The Keys.

Elise can’t help but notice the big male trainee with ink and piercings on his left side. He’s definitely dangerous and she’s attracted to him.

She talks to Paradise about her father wanting to sehclude her, since Abalone lets Paradise train to be a warrior. Abalone agrees to talk to Felixe.

Elise notices that Peyton is disconnected from his surroundings and believes him to be mourning Allishon. She tries to talk to him, but he brushes her off.

She leaves the club but knows that Axe will follow, which he does, when the disapproving Peyton is distracted by a busty blonde. He also knew she’d be waiting for him. They flirt but are interrupted by Peyton who noticed that they have both left the club.

He tells Axe that Elise is Allishon’s cousin and deserves better than to be used and discarded. Axe agrees to leave her be.

Elise goes to Allishon’s room, which is still scented with her signature Poison by Dior. The furnishings were quality and in pastel shades, but the female’s possessions leaning towards Satanic goth definitely did not match the décor.

He may have been told to stay at the training centre, but Axe still mostly lives at the house his father left him. He can barely afford to pay the property taxes and mainly lives off ramen and sometimes eats in the training compound’s break room. His electricity has been shut down but he won’t pay to get it turned back on. His water and gas are provided by the city, and his hot showers and fireplaces are enough to keep him warm. Or at least warm enough.

Axe is competing with Novo for a bodyguard role. He feels that she presents better in both appearance and carriage and is likely smarter than he is, but isn’t quite as strong as he is. They make a bet: winner buys dinner.

He goes to his father’s room to find a turtleneck to cover his ink. The sheets are still rumpled from the last time the male had slept in the bed. There are still photos of Axe’s mother. A window is ajar but Axe does nothing to close the gap. He finds the turtleneck as quickly as possible, swearing never to return.

He can smell Elise in the house where his interview is taking place.

Elise calls him to tell him that he got the job (even if for no other reason than her father’s sexism. Seriously, one of the questions he was asked was about whether he could blend into this surroundings. Novo, as a conventionally attractive female, could easily be passed off as Elise’s friend and doesn’t look like an obvious bodyguard. Although Felixe can accept that Paradise is in the training program, he’s obviously given no thought to the possibility of her holding her own.)

As soon as the call ended with Axe agreeing to meet with Elise to iron out some details, Peyton calls from right outside Axe’s place, all full of the fucking hell no. He still sees Axe as a sex addict he wants to keep away from his cousin. Axe compares their situations and uses Peyton’s continued interest in the very unavailable Paradise as an example that you can think one way and act another. Also, he needs the job so he can eat and have electricity in his home. Peyton offers to pay him off, but Axe left him so he could make his meeting with Elise.

He arrives, bloody from Peyton hitting him again (previously it was on the night he met Elise when Peyton made his disapproval clear to Axe) and Elise takes him upstairs for first aid. He doesn’t want to tell her what happened and zones out while trying to get his erection down. Because he hasn’t shown the strength it takes to open up to her, she calls him a coward. He calls her on her privilege and how unless he opens up as much as she wants, when she wants, then obviously there’s something wrong with him.

She recognises her entitlement and respects his right not to tell her anything. She feels bad, especially because someone with her education should know how to relate to another person.

She arranged this meeting via his BDB-issued phone, but after they end their meeting agreeing to keep it professional, she asked for his phone number. I don’t understand why she would do that, or even assume that there was another number.

Axe is even more determined to remain professional with Elise after rubbing one out in the shower while thinking of her. He sees the way Troy looks at her and wants the man dead. Elise takes his aside to argue about it and Axe accuses her of lying about her relationship with Troy (the context for the reader is that this was more of an oversight than an actual deception), and thinks the class difference is the reason she can claim to want honesty while lying to him, and that Peyton thinks it’s OK to try to pay him off and his father’s employers locked the riff raff out of the panic room during the raids.

She fired him and admitted that she had worn the makeup for him, not Troy.

He apologised and admitted that he is more thug and killer than social person. He promised to make nice with Troy, but she is dubious. He wiped the professor’s short term memory and introduced himself before sitting in a corner where he can keep an eye on Elise without intruding on their work.

Unaware that things may have changed, Troy asked Elise to dinner. Axe smugly expected her to decline, but she accepted just to spite him. As her bodyguard, he invited himself along.

On the date, Elise is trying to figure out how to let Troy down gently, while he has no clue that something’s missing. She sees Axe at the back of the restaurant and goes to confront him. They’re both turned on and know they’ll get together after her date.

Axe masochistically gets off on watching Elise on her date with Troy. They talk and share food, which looks intimate from where Axe is sitting on the outside and it’s certainly something he’s never done with his sexual partners. He is gratified that Elise turned down the human’s kiss.

After her date with Troy, Elise is making out with Axe against a building downtown. He wants her to go out with Troy again because he enjoys the pain of not having her. She refuses to use a third party and insists on being wanted for herself as she is.

Axe wants to go back to his place for privacy and offers his blood to Elise so she can find her way there. In this moment, for once, he is the pliant, passive one.


Elise sees the leaves Axe’s father carved into the walls of his house and falls in love with his skill. Axe hates it because it represents his father’s refusal to accept that his shellan isn’t coming back. He sold one of his father’s carved animal figurines online to buy firewood, but he can’t let the rest go, no matter how much he hates them. He lies about the lack of heat being the result of a broken furnace.

When things get serious, Axe remembers Peyton’s accusation that he would ruin Elise, which puts things on hold. Elise tells him that she is not a virgin. Axe wants to kill the male, more so when he learns that it was consensual.

The male was a friend of Elise’s father that Elise had had witnessed feedings from, and the sex took place just after her mother died. She wanted the experience, but it was nothing to write home about. She saw him at an event… with his shellan. Elise felt bad about her part in having unknowingly betrayed this female, but at least there was no way the male was going to tell anyone that she was now unmateable.

The couple died in the raids.

Axe and Elise did not have sex that night, but made plans for another date (without Troy). Axe feels rattled that he has made a connection with a person, not just a fuckable body.

He saw a text from Felixe letting him know about another job, and requesting a meeting for the following night. He also got a call from Novo suggesting a hook-up. He tells her that he doesn’t fish off the company pier, only less politely than that, but offered to take her to The Keys the night after next, when he will be allowed to take guests.

Peyton calls Elise and she had a go at him for trying to bribe Axe. He admitted to having been overprotective of her and blames it on having been the one to find out what happened to their cousin Allishon. He can’ get it out of his head and isn’t sleeping. They arrange to meet up the following night to talk about what happened to her.

Elise scents Axe in her house and hides in a secret passageway to eavesdrop. Her father says that he would never sehclude her, but is so concerned for her safety that he wants Axe to follow her, even when she isn’t aware of it. Felixe had the butler GPS her phone. Axe says no, not even for twice the money, and that if Felixe wants to know anything about Elise, he should just ask her because she is upfront enough to tell him.

Elise is tiding up the mess of clothing in Allishon’s room. She can understand that her father might be feeling a combination of guilt and smugness that his good daughter wasn’t the one who died. Her uncle must be devastated by the loss of his young and some bitterness that she was a ‘bad’ girl who came to a ‘bad’ end. Her aunt doesn’t engage with anyone but her hellren, and even that only superficially. Aristocratic families consider it bad luck to give away the possessions of the dead. Allishon’s things will either go into permanent storage or be burned.

Elise finds a locked safe containing the least to an apartment downtown. Her aunt interrupts her search anf tidy to say that she and Allishon’s father rented it for her because they couoldn’t deal with her coming and going while smelling of sex and drugs. The exile was intended to set her straight, but gave her the rope she needed to hang herself.

Her aunt is angry that her disgraceful daughter embarrassed the family by getting murdered, especially after her brother died. It was her aunt, not her cousin who trashed the room.

Elise can barely believe that social position and expectations tore the family apart and sees evil in her aunt’s anger at being outcast because of Allishon’s death.

The trainees are paired with Brothers or fighters on a real mission. Butch is Axe’s mentor for the night. Things are quiet until everyone engages the enemy at the same time.

Axe was shot in the fight, but when he sees that Rhage is about to be killed, he puts his own body in front of the enemy’s knife and takes it between the ribs.

Manny’s ambulance comes for both males and he seems to be working on them both in turns. They are each fed by Chosen.

Axe insisted on being released AMA. He wants to see Rhage, who has been asking for him. They both fight not to tear up as Rhage thanks him for saving his life. They bonded over blaming themselves for things outside of their control and having a female waiting for them to come home.

As Axe left, Bitty approached him to hug him. He felt so awkward as though he was going to somehow break her, but her embrace was stronger than he expected.

Elise was waiting for him when he got back. He wanted her help to brush his teeth before he kissed her. She cut off his gown and the proximiity of the blades in her hands to certain parts of his anatomy got him off right then and there.

She notes that the ink and metal are only on his left. He says that symbolises the two halves of him. He wants to be a good son, not a broken one. No prizes for guessing which one he thinks he is.

He could barely drag his carcass into the house, but is definitely capable of sex with his female, as long as she’s on top. Hey, he took a knife to the chest only hours earlier. But it was a very real experience for them, and not just some NSA encounter.

Afterwards, Elise told him about Allishon and her aunt. He told her that he thought she investigated her cousin because she really wanted to know what was going on with her father, but he’s focussed elsewhere and doesn’t really talk to her. So she’s looking to Allishon for answers because she can’t get them from her father. She’s impressed with his insight.

She visits Peyton, who is drunk and stoned in preparation for their conversation. He tells her that Axe saved Rhage’s life, fully expecting him to have already bragged about it, but Elise didn’t know. He’s still getting into the Goose when he tells Elise about Allishon’s membership at The Keys and about Anslam, who Elise had known her whole life. Peyton had gone to her apartment when she hadn’t spoken to anyone in days and saw all the blood. Then Paradise found one of Anslam’s photos and put all the pieces together. Anslam figured out that she knew too much and tried to kill her. Craeg and Paradise survived while Anslam did not.

Peyton then told Elise’s family about Allishon’s death. Her parents were emotionless (Peyton thinks it was from shock), but Felixe cried. After they found out who murdered her, the BDB went back and told them. He feels like Allishon’s parents blamed her for her death, which to him felt like she’d been killed all over again with the way they dehumanised her every bit as much as Anslam. He buries this under alcohol and drugs.

He told Elise that he is proud of her and a good friend he refuses to name (who else but Paradise?) showed him that females are as good as males.

To fool the tracker in Elise’s phone, she swaps handsets with Peyton and went to Allishon’s apartment. She was able to get into the building courtesy of a helpful human, but doesn’t have a key and can’t dematerialise around the door. Feeling vulnerable outside a flat where her cousin was murdered, and while the only person who knows where she is is both drunk and stoned, she leaves for Axe’s place.

Axe meets Novo at The Keys, just as he said he would. She wants tonight, but is more concerned for his wellbeing.

He’s showing her around when she grabs a guy by the throat and slams him against the wall for repeatedly touching her without her consent. Staff comes over to investigate and probably throw her out, but Axe steps in, telling Staff that Novo had been touched against her will more than once. He knew it was happening, but didn’t know whether or not she was into it, and would have taken action if he was sure it was non-consensual.

He puts her up for membership so that she can go to the club without him. He’s lost his interest in the sex available here. She’s looking for anything except a blond male, and Axe points out that Peyton wants Paradise, as though it could have escaped her attention. She says she’s not into Peyton, but Axe isn’t really buying it.

In what I think is a shout out to someone in real life, a Scottish guy comes over and compliments Axe on the scene he did at the beginning of the book where he fed from a woman bound high above the crowd. This allows Novo to change the subject and turn the tables back on Axe, asking him what he’s into. He doesn’t tell her about Elise, or how surprising it is to find letting her take charge of him so hot.

He turned down a previous play partner in front of Novo, who remembered his reaction to Elise and put the pieces together. He told her that he wasn’t Elise’s type and is offended by how easily Novo accepted it.

Elise was waiting for him when he got home. He tells her about how his mother sloughed off her family like dead skin so she could look for something better. He views his mother as a prostitute who he wished had died in the raids and looks down on his father for mourning her loss for the rest of his life and never moving on. He acknowledged that his father kept him fed and clothed and was a good male, but Axe hated him anyway.

He got into drugs to avoid his feelings of both contempt for his father and guilt for not being as good a son as his father deserved. He acknowledged that abandoning his father broke that male’s heart as much as losing his shellan. He feels that erasing his father’s final words during the raids without ever listening to them puts him on the same level as his mother.

Elise told him that we go through the same patterns over and over again, and speculated that when he sacrificed himself for Rhage, he was really trying to save his father. It wasn’t his fault his mother left. It could have been blamed on her, or the relationship she had with Axe’s father or any number of things.

He showed her his father’s carved figures and she was impressed with the male’s skill. She figured out that Axe is not mated because he does not want to be abandoned like his father was. He equates love with failing and being failed. Intimacy would be terrifying for him. He’s afraid of her and she’s in love with him.

Novo called from The Keys just before dawn because she lost track of time, and Axe didn’t bother to correct Elise’s assumption that Novo is male.

She tells Axe she loves him and he returns her love. When they have sex, he feeds from her and marks her with his scent.

Axe and Elise meet the other trainees with Peyton at the cigar bar, where they swap phones back. Courtesy of V’s lessons, Peyton reset the GPS to pretend that her phone is in her room.

Peyton and Axe got into a pissing contest over Elise that escalated out through the rear emergency exit, alerting a lesser. Axe let out the roar of a bonded male whose mate is threatened, much to Peyton’s shock, before giving his phone to Elise so she can call the BDB for help. Novo led the attack, but when Peyton is hit, she gives her gun to Elise.

Rhage arrives and kicks arse, but Elise sees a lesser about to shoot him. He went down and she emptied Novo’s gun into the slayer. Rhage stands up and shows them that he was wearing kevlar.

Axe and Elise return to Allishon’s building and materialise on her balcony. That door was unlocked. As Elise walked through the apartment armed with the info Peyton had given her, she is able to find some semblance of closure.

She mistakes a cloak for a formal dress and finds something in a pocket that vaguely resembles a key, but isn’t one. Axe said he didn’t recognise it. We can guess that he absolutely does.

They go back to his place before he has to go into the training centre for a debriefing.

She finds his cloak with a key just like Allishon’s and a skull mask. She’s as disturbed by what she’s found as she is about his lies.

Elise visited Peyton with Axe’s key, asked what it was, and told him that Allishon has one just like it. (Actually she has at least one, which is why there was still one for her to find after the investigation.) She asks if the reason he disapproved of Axe was his class, sexual preferences or something else.

Elise figured out from the scent on Axe’s cloak (probably from when she hugged him outside The Keys) who Novo is and thinks that Axe fucked around on her. Peyton is unhappy for once to have been proven right.

Elise broke up with Axe becaue she believes he lied to her and, given everything she was going through with her family, a relationship was a bad idea, especially one that moved so quickly in just over a week.

Axe told her that her insistence on honesty was pretty hypocritical since she’d constantly lied to her father and broke into her cousin’s apartment. It’s easy for her to hide behind psychobabble and use ti to walk away from him.

When Elise got home, she told her father that she is moving out and supporting herself, but still wants a relationship with him.

Peyton confronted Axe on their way into the next training session and updated him on Elise. Axe said that Peyton got his way in the end, but he wasn’t with Novo. Peyton didn’t believe him.

Novo found them to ensure that there would be survivors and confirmed that she and Axe have never had sex , and that he took her to The Keys at her request, where he sponsored her for membership.

Axe feels like shit since Elise left and is waiting for when he falls apart like his father did.

On NYE, Peyton and Novo tell Elise the truth about Axe. It’s possible that aside from no longer being interested in The Keys and wanting a clean slate with Elise, he may have kept quiet about the key because it’s like Fight Club. He could be banned for talking about it, so it’s already ingrained in him to keep quiet.

Axe hasn’t cashed Felixe’s cheque, as it’s his last link to Elise.

Elise apologised to him and told him that she loves him and is finally ready to hear his side of the story. He lied because he didn’t want her to know about his sex addiction and that he’d lost interest in the club since meeting her. He then forgave her because their relationship grew faster than the trust could develop.

She’s going to move in with him.

He tried carving a bird. He’s not very good at it.

Novo

Novo is a muscular female with straight dark hair, long enough to braid, and honey coloured skin. As a bisexual who publicly gave her classmate Boone a lap dance at a club, she just might be Ward’s most modern and diverse female character yet.

She enables new couples to get to know each other better and supports Paradise, even when it means Paradise will beat her in the first night’s final test.

Novo likes both males and females, and for her, it’s more about the person than their equipment (maybe that makes her pansexual?)

The trainees are blowing off steam at Peyton’s favourite cigar bar when Peyton introduces his cousin Elise. She is sitting next to Axe and can’t help but notice his primitive reaction to the female. That kind of reaction is something she likes in a male, and she wants to look for someone to have sex with. Axe agrees to take her to The Keys, an exclusive club that usually satisfies him.

Novo could do with some extra money, although there is no indication that she is a destitute as Craeg or Axe. She is up against Axe for a personal security role and they make a bet: winner buys dinner.

She loses out due to the sexism of the father hiring a bodyguard for his daughter. Which I think is shortsighted, because she blends better and would be less of an intrusion into Elise’s life. She might even be passed off as Elise’s friend. But then, if she got the job, we could be reading a very different romance.

Novo and the other trainees besides Axe (who is overseeing Elise’s date with her professor) are hanging out in the VIP section of Peyton’s favourite dance club Ice Blue. She goes into gen pop to get her own drinks instead of using the VIP bottle service.

With his shaved head, ink and piercings, the bartender is kind of Novo’s type, although it would be better if he was less slender, which makes me wonder how she feels about Axe. Peyton is hanging with other rich males and is most definitely not her type.

She doesn’t want to be there and knows it’s pretty much because of her unwanted fascination with Peyton and his unwavering obsession with Paradise. Novo doesn’t want him, but can’t help noticing every little detail about the male.

One by one, they all leave, figuring that Novo would be happy enough to do her own thing. Tonight, the easy dismissal, not needing to consider her, is a downside of being independent. She doesn’t resent or look down on Paradise, but is aware that the only other female in the group would never be abandoned like this. She’s in a weird no man’s land where she isn’t exactly one of the guys, but isn’t treated as a female either.

Peyton returned for his phone. He suggests that Novo go back to his hotel suite with him. She touches him and says that he should go there, undress and get himself off while thinking of Paradise, before walking away from him. Which really, is no more than he deserves for expecting Novo to play second fiddle to the one he wants but can’t have. Novo is not the supportive best friend who exists solely to serve the heroine. She’s not the sidekick and she has the self-respect not to be treated as one. But she’s still hurt by his treatment, even if she refuses to let him see it.

Unaware that he has anything going on with Elise, she calls Axe to suggest that they get together. He says no because they train together, only he’s a lot less polite about it than that and she calls him on his choice of words. He offers to take her to The Keys the night after next, when he will be allowed to bring guests.

The next night, the trainees are paired up with Brothers or fighters. Novo is there, but there’s no mention who who her mentor is. There are 6 trainees and 6 mentors. The only mentor not assigned anyone is Blay, who will be scouting. Rhage is already patrolling alone.

The following night, despite Axe’s injuries, he meets her at The Keys. She wasn’t sure that he would show and wants to make sure that he’s OK. She hugs him in relief mainly that he’s recovered and probably partly in gratitude for following through for her.

And she looks fucking hot.

While Axe is showing her around, a guy keeps grabbing her arse, so she grabs him by the throat and slams him against the wall, threatening further damage if he touches her again. When Staff comes over, Axe defends her by telling Staff that the guy had touched her without her consent several times. He then nominated her for membership. (As an aside, Axe knew what was going on, but figured that Novo was capable of taking care of it if it was unwanted. He would have stepped in if he knew for sure that it was non-consensual. Again, Novo falls into a grey area where she isn’t treated like other females. Her strength ensures that she is well able to take care of herself so no one looks out for her, which isolates her further. This isn’t a problem for her, until it is, like that night at Ice Blue.)

She’s looking for anything except a blond male, and Axe points out that Peyton wants Paradise, as though it could have escaped her attention. She says she’s not into Peyton, but Axe isn’t really buying it. A Scottish guy (who I think might be based on a real person) compliments Axe on a scene he did earlier in the week, which saves Novo and lets her turn the tables on Axe and what he might be into. He doesn’t give her much, though, until he turned down a previous play partner. Novo remembered his reaction to Elise and put the pieces together. He told her that he wasn’t Elise’s type and is offended by how easily Novo accepted it.

Novo spent time with the lady herself.

After having seriously lost track of time, she calls Axe to check in just before dawn.

They meet up that night at the cigar bar and Axe and Peyton get into a fight over Elise that takes them out the emergency exit and attracts the attention of a lesser. The door to the bar won’t open from the outside so they are trapped. Novo leads the attack while Peyton and Axe protect Elise.

Peyton is hit, so Novo gives her gun to Elise before throwing her to relative safety behind a dumpster so that she can check on the male. When Manny’s ambulance arrives for Peyton, she refuses to leave him while he goes into surgery and feeds him.

She told him that Axe had taken her to The Keys. He disapproves of Novo going to a place like that that no female ever goes to. She set him straight about her interest in males, females, men and women, as well as calling him on his madonna-whore absolute dichotomy and double standards concerning his own sluttiness. She asks which camp she falls in with him. He says that females are just different to males. Novo tells him that arseholes are arseholes, regardless of the genitalia they come with.

Checking up on Peyton and Axe at their next training session to ensure that there would be survivors, Novo confirmed to Peyton that she and Axe have never had sex , and that he took her to The Keys at her request, where he sponsored her for membership.

Boone

A muscular trainee in the new program. We assume he likes females since he got a lap dance from Novo.

He appears to be more than brawn, reading Kierkegaard’s Enten-Eller, while identifying references to The Breakfast Club.

When hanging at a club, he nurses the one drink for the night.

Anslam

A trainee known pretty much only for getting high with Peyton. Oh yeah, and killing Peyton’s cousin. His reputation for aggression towards females is only recalled when it becomes clear that he is a murderer.

He tried to kill Paradise to recover some incriminating Polaroids she’d found, but is run through by Craeg with Abalone’s ceremonial dagger.

Night

One of the Brothers involved in training the current Wrath’s father.

Ricardo Benloise

Using an art gallery as a front, Benloise and his brother Eduardo import drugs and Cuban cigars from South America and had a long standing relationship with Richard Reynolds (aka the Reverend) before his untimely death. He was less interested in doing business with Lash and seemed to perceive him as a hothead who would bring instability to the trade.

He now has an arrangement with Assail and without being aware of what it is (Benloise is human), he recognises the vampire in Rehvenge and Assail.

Aside from his brother doing the accounts, he has numerous bodyguards and staff for the gallery and hires Sola Morte to investigate his new partner, but calls her off when sufficiently threatened by said partner.

As he once confessed to Sola that he walks around his mansion and looks at the valuables he has acquired, she believes he likely grew up poor, as the rich take these things for granted.

Benloise had Sola abducted for disrespecting him and taken to a creepy torture cabin in the middle of nowhere. Assail demanded to know where she was and he refused to say, even watching the vampire torture his brother Eduardo. He even threatened to kill Eduardo himself if he spoke.

Assail left him chained in his own cabin with a gut wound to die alone.

Naasha

An aristocrat purely as a result of her mating to an elderly hellren, this female lives in a cottage decorated and maintained to glymera standards. She sells her veins and body, with the Band of Bastards and Assail on her client list. Although she has offered her body to Assail, he only accepts her offer while he knows Sola is watching.

The Council meeting following Wrath’s almost-assassination was held at her home. Although her default setting is to present sexual availability, she can drop the act when appropriate.

The female hosted the Council meeting where the glymera overthrew Wrath. She gave a speech thanking everyone for coming, treating the occasion as a social event, not a political coup.

She agreed to accommodate Throe in more ways than one in the main house, allowing him to live with her and her mate under the excuse of a distant family connection, while he takes care of needs her elderly mate can’t meet.

She tells Assail that she has a lover, but he knows how to retain control in their relationship, figuring that she can’t be satisfied by this other male if she’s willing to meet with him. I think it’s at least partly because she financially supports Throe, which diminishes his power, at least a little bit. And since we now know that Naasha was one of V’s long forgotten conquests in her younger days, it’s also fair to say she enjoys powerful, dominant males.

Assail discovered that Naasha knows of a plan to get Wrath to pay a visit on her hellren’s 900th birthday, although he is not 100% certain that it will result in an assassination attempt (as though it could be anything else). He believes that she is being guided by someone else as she is not cunning enough to plot on her own.

She also enjoys sex with multiple partners, having happily entertained Assail’s cousins and inviting 6 friends for an orgy.

When her hellren dies, she invites Assail over, but it is Throe who offers his support for the reading of the elderly male’s will. She is disinherited with the entire estate left to a distant relative, and Naasha is very shocked and angry, believing she honestly earned the money by listening to her hellren whinge for 20 years. Never mind that she cheated on him and under his own roof, besides.

She loses it, but Throe tries to get her to pull herself back together so she can discuss her options with Saxton. Her lifestyle depends on her keeping her head now.

She is unaware that during this meeting, Assail is snooping through her house and has discovered the blood slave she held captive for 32 years behind a heavy steel door. She has no opportunity to hide the evidence. His condition is poor, but since she is able to find other blood sources, she has no need to maintain her illegal slave. He is worthless to her.

Elph

Foreman of the vampire contracting company hired to redo the billiards room after Wrath trashed it, he was surprised to discover the reclusive monarch was actually much more approachable in person than he’d been led to believe.

His first shellan died in childbirth and his second shellan keeps him going. His daughter is 12 years old and described as an angel by one of his colleagues, however she was born paralysed due to complications, as he was unable to get them to Havers (with the implication that he might have been turned away, as Havers is a giant snob and douche).

Wrath then provided him with new ramps, a wheelchair and a van for his daughter, as he is helping Wrath and the king knows how difficult it can be living with disability. Elph presented him with a fine red cloth made by his second shellan and saved for a special occasion. Wrath decided to use it to wrap his son following his birth.

Jo Early

The only adopted daughter and former heir of the wealthy Phillie and Chance Early, Jo spent her life being raised by nannies rather than the parents who supposedly wanted her. She was an English Lit major/American History minor at Williams College, but left her adoptive parents because she felt as though she couldn’t be herself in their home. She never really felt like part of the family, she was a trendy accessory. Her adoptive parents were done with her and cut Jo off without a cent. Jo could not afford the Yale’s masters English program she qualified for.

Dougie Keeper and his friends took her in when she needed a place to stay, and she essentially became the den mother to a frat house of stoners.

She works as the receptionist to an attractive estate agent, Bryant, often staying back late for her boss’s meeting, collecting his dry cleaning and wrangling his love life.

She takes Dougie, the stoner Xcor knocked out after the raid on the Lessening Society at the former Brownswick School for Girls, where he claims to have recorded video of something paranormal. The other three that V got to before Rhage was shot all swear it was a bad trip, just as he rewired their brains to do. When Jo and Dougie arrived, all the lesser parts were gone, with trampled grass the only remaining evidence.

While waiting for her boss to finish up a late meeting, she pulls up Dougie’s YouTube video and doesn’t find it any more convincing than the first time she saw it. A commenter referred her to a video posted by a vampire wannabe interviewing a known gangbanger who’d been caught in the crossfire of a fight between Xcor and the lessers in The Shadows.

Jo contacted William Elliot after she read an article he’d written on Julio Sanchez, and thinks he knows there’s more to the story than he wrote. They go to the school together.

Both of their mothers went to Brownswick, but she isn’t willing to share her background with him.

They decide to return in the daylight to see where the tracks lead and find out what happened to the roof.

Bill’s cousin, Troy Thomas works for Caldwell CSI, so he got them access to the abandoned factor where the new lessers were made and Bill said it was just like the farm 2 years ago where the little shit who replaced Lash had his lessers made.

Bryant tells Jo that Bill is married, because he assumed they were together when he saw Jo in Bill’s car. Jo also realised that Bryant felt Bill might have been competition for himself, distracting Jo from looking after his apartment and all sorts of non-professional things Jo handled for him at the expense of having her own life. She quit on his narcissistic arse. He doesn’t seem so hot anymore, more like an annoying brother.

Bill had checked up on her and found out who her family is, and assumed she had lied to him and was using him to gain credibility for the video she and her friend had obviously faked. She has the means to do that, after all. She told him that he should have done better than a cursory background check on her and doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does.

They meet at a cafe. While Jo is waiting, she notices a very hot, very large male who seems to hold everyone’s attention, but does nothing to actively cultivate it. Guess who that was?

She told Bill about her life and how she was adopted, and then cut off when she wanted to live her own life. She cannot access her birth records.

Bill suggested she apply for a job at his paper.

Bill told Jo that her mother was a nurse in Boston who gave birth to a son in the 70s and fell pregnant again to the same man. This would be Jo. She moved to Caldwell and didn’t survive the pregnancy or marry the father. Her older brother is Manuel Manello, MD. She wants to find him even though he’s off the grid, now more interested in hunting family than vampires. Yep, we know how this is going to go.

William Elliot

A married journalist who studied at SUNY Caldwell and wrote an article on Julio Martinez’s paranormal experience, Bill Elliot is intrigued enough by Jo’s story to go to the school with her. His mother went to Brownswick, but he is not yet aware that Jo’s did as well.

They decide to return in the daylight to see where the tracks lead and find out what happened to the roof.

Bill’s cousin, Troy Thomas works for Caldwell CSI, so he got them access to the abandoned factor where the new lessers were made and Bill said it was just like the farm 2 years ago where the little shit who replaced Lash had his lessers made.

Bill had run a background check on Jo and found out she comes from money and therefore has the means to have faked a video like Dougie’s. She’s obviously using him to get credibility and he wants no part of it. He tells her as much and she surprises him by telling him that she was cut off and has little money of her own. He needed to do more than just skim the surface of who she was.

She agrees to meet with him again and tells him about her adoption, how she has been cut off from the family fortune and never really felt like part of the family, she was a trendy accessory. She tried access her birth records, but they’re sealed.

Bill suggested that since Jo is obviously qualified, she should apply for a job at his paper.

He did some checking into Jo’s birth parents and tracked down a brother, Dr. Manuel Manello, MD, who went off the grid a year or two ago.

Julio Martinez

A human who encountered Xcor while he was fighting the lessers in The Shadows, later interviewed by a guy passing himself off as Dracula for his YouTube profile. He’s also a known gangbanger, so he’s also not the most credible witness ever.

Troy Thomas

Journalist Bill Elliot’s cousin, who works for the Caldwell CSI. He helped Bill get access to an older crime scene of a lesser induction where a megafuckton of blood indicated a massacre had taken place, but no bodies were ever found.

Annalye

Bitty’s late mother, Annalye was a teacher who ensured that her daughter got a good education. She went to school in South Carolina, where her parents lived. Her hellren was a migrant worker employed by humans, but when he met Annalye, he became an electrician for the race in Caldwell. She tried to make their house a home with ivy and an apple tree that Bitty still remembers.

Annalye’s hellren abused her after the birth of their daughter, Bitty, and this behaviour soon spread to his young as well. There was also a son who didn’t reach term.

Annalye stole his truck to take Bitty to Havers’ clinic where she needed a metal rod implanted in her leg. His abuse on their return was what led to the Brotherhood being called out, and ultimately his death.

When they went to Safe Place, she picked the age she felt her 13 year old daughter could pass for, and told Bitty to pretend to be 9 years old in case they were going to be separated, or there was an age limit on the young who would be allowed in.

She told Bitty comforting and distracting stories about when she and her brother were kids, but it’s uncertain whether her brother exists or was an invention designed to comfort her young.

She passed away at Havers’ clinic after hearing Bitty’s voice one last time. Mary received Annalye’s ashes and is keeping them until Bitty decides what she wants to do with them.

Story of Son

Dead After Dark (Anthology)This is a short story, published in the Dead After Dark anthology, about a half-breed vampire trapped by his elderly mother and an insane doggen (species of servant to the vampires).

Michael has been imprisoned in the basement since he was twelve years old, and every year his mother, Miss Leeds, lures a suitably biddable young woman to the house for him to feed from over three days.

Claire Stroughton is the lawyer who drafts and redrafts Miss Leeds’s will. Her rich client requests a visit right before the Fourth of July weekend, and when she arrives, Claire is drugged and locked in the basement with Miss Leeds’s son, who doesn’t actually have a name but used to be called ‘Son’. He is shy and reserved, having been treated like a monster for most of his 68 years, but a gentleman.

Instead of meekly accepting the situation, Claire engages her fellow captive and becomes attracted to him—a feeling that he returns. She names him Michael for the archangel’s beauty and tells him that she will find a way to release him.

Michael doesn’t dare to even hope that it could be possible and refuses to risk Claire’s safety, so he obediently erases her memory of her time with him and lets her leave at the end of the three days he is given for feeding.

Claire discovers that she is pregnant and returns to the Leeds estate only to find Miss Leeds is dead. She frees Michael and takes him to her friend and ex, Mick Rhodes, for help. The doggen Fletch fights Michael and is killed.

Claire redrafts Miss Leeds’s, will one last time, leaving everything to Michael.

At the end of the story, they have an eight-year old daughter named Gabriella and a six-year old son named Luke, with another child on the way, tentatively named Michael.

Michael has never met others of his kind, but his story definitely falls into the BDB universe and it’s been suggested that we may see more of him.

Click here for more BDB cheat sheets.