Lover Revealed by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 4) - US edition

Lover Revealed by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 4) - Australian/UK editionLast updated: 5/12/2016

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.

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Butch O’Neal

(descended of Wrath, son of Wrath; aka Dhestroyer, Brian O’Neal)

The defining moment of Butch’s life was the day he saw his 15-year old sister Janie get into a car with a group of boys and didn’t tell his parents she was breaking the rules. She was later found raped and murdered. Up to that point, Butch had been treated differently to the rest of the family and frequently beaten by his father, but since then he was blamed for what happened to Janie and virtually ostracised. He was twelve years old.

Years later, he found out that the reason his father stopped hitting him after Janie’s death was that the old man believed Butch had killed Janie by sending her away with those boys as revenge for the beatings, and didn’t want to give Butch an excuse to kill any more of his children.

Butch went on to become a homicide detective, but didn’t completely belong on the police force either. He didn’t always follow the rules and was well known to rough up the suspects. His life had a definite use-by date: he frequently got wasted on Scotch, had done coke, had empty, meaningless sex, and his job was wearing him down to death. Butch was eventually canned for breaking the nose of a senator’s son who had tried to rape Beth Randall, a young journalist he admired for being gorgeous without using her looks to get ahead.

He was with Beth when her transition was about to start, but took her to Wrath, believing him to be Beth’s dealer. After an initial conflict with the Brotherhood, he was allowed to stay because Vishous had seen him in a dream and took responsibility for him. That night he met Marissa, who made him feel like his slate was wiped clean by being around her purity. Marissa had just divorced Wrath after realising that he would never want her and that he had already fallen for Beth, so Butch’s almost reverent attentions were very welcome.

His life began to improve. He worked out, started dressing in designer threads and became tight with V and Rhage, but because he was human he never completely belonged with the Brotherhood or Marissa either. Instead of being able to protect people, he was kept on the sidelines while his new friends fought and Marissa refused to see him. His life was in limbo—he couldn’t go back (not that there was much to go back to), but as a human, he couldn’t go forward.

One night at ZeroSum, the Reverend noticed that Butch kept turning down his girls and offered him someone out of the ordinary to take his mind off his troubles. Butch was about to turn this one down as well until he saw her. ZeroSum’s head of security, Xhex, has the musculature of a male with hair to suit, and small breasts. She looked like she’d make him hurt enough to forget the new life he was trapped in and the female he couldn’t have and he felt self-destructive enough to accept what she offered.

On the way back to the Escalade that night, he interrupted a bunch of lessers terrorising a male, but was captured when their backups arrived. The fore-lesser tortured him for info on the Brotherhood, but he gives them nothing. The Omega cut off the tip of his own finger and implanted it in Butch’s stomach before wiping his memory, in the hopes that he would unknowingly lead the Omega to the Brothers.

V found Butch and, under the Scribe Virgin’s advice, removed the Omega’s finger with his glowing hand. V then had him quarantined at Havers’s clinic, where he hovered his glowing hand over the wound and also sent Marissa to help Butch recover.

It is impossible to talk about Butch without mentioning V. They bonded over the Boston Red Sox and setting up the compound’s security system with Rhage before moving into the compound’s gatehouse. Maybe some of the closeness comes from Butch being V’s responsibility because he was the one who said Butch had to stay with the Brotherhood (on some not-completely-sexual-but-not-completely-unsexual level a sub to V’s dom?).

Butch never treated V as different from the others, and V respects strength and those who help others. Butch stood up to the Brotherhood the night he met them, despite being the undisputed underdog, and was fired from the police force for disregarding the rules that protect the perp.

So while V, who had kept himself separate from others for so long, became attached to Butch, Butch was getting closer to Marissa, who hadn’t been aware he’d gone to see her earlier. V happened to see them on a monitor and felt jealous of their closeness in comparison to the hardcore meaningless sex he had.

Marissa’s brother, Havers, also saw Marissa getting too close to Butch and ejected him from the clinic at the first opportunity. Havers told Marissa off, and she told her brother that she would be honoured to be mated to Butch. Butch moved into V’s penthouse while V tried to find out if Butch was evil.

At the next Princeps Council meeting an anonymous motion was submitted, using Bella’s kidnapping and Wellsie’s murder (her poor cousin Sarelle wasn’t mentioned, strangely enough) as justification for locking away all unmated females so that their only contact with the world would come via a male relative who would has the right to admit or deny whenever he felt like it. Although Marissa had been mated to Wrath, everyone knew she wasn’t really his shellan, so she was the only member of the Princeps Council who would be affected by the motion.

Immediately after the meeting, Havers threw Marissa out of his house and washed his hands of her. With only half an hour until dawn, she materialised to the Brotherhood compound, humiliated and hoping Wrath would take pity on her. Beth welcomed her and Wrath extended an indefinite invitation to stay.

Butch returned to the mansion and his relationship with Marissa developed further until she needed to feed. Butch offered himself, but was turned down because she would drain him. She went to feed from Rehvenge while Butch met V for a drink at ZeroSum after walking in on V having sex with a bound female.

When the Reverend arrived, Butch instinctively attacked, smelling Marissa on him. When V and Butch left, they found some lessers and Butch instinctively inhaled one, but started smelling like a lesser again and worried that the Omega made him evil.

Marissa returned to the mansion to find Butch drunk and bruised. She tended to him and they had sex, but it didn’t live up to her expectations (whose first time did?). As she dressed the next evening, all of her clothes reminded her of her old life, trapped in the glymera’s contempt, so she burned them in the backyard and was saved from burning by Wrath.

Butch was overwhelmed and told V that he wanted out, even if it meant V had to kill him. V told him that they can find out if Butch has any vampire blood in him and Butch decided to go ahead with it. Marissa didn’t want him to because there was a high risk that Butch would not survive the investigation, and when they learnt that Butch is actually descended from Wrath’s line, Marissa wanted him to forgo the transition for the same reason. He gave in to her, but after he explained about his family and never having anywhere to belong before he met her, she realised that he needed to go through the transition or he’d never be happy.

After the transition, he went through the change and became as big as a Brother, but the rule is that his mother must be a Chosen.

The dream V had of Butch came true when V got drunk, stripped to his glowing skin, and before Butch can stop him, jumped off his balcony penthouse. Partway down, he dematerialised and embraces Butch. When Butch wondered why he felt soothed when V’s glowing skin should burn him, The Scribe Virgin appeared and told them it’s because Butch is the Dhestroyer and he and V are two halves of a whole.

Once Marissa found out that Butch intended to fight for the race, she left him and focused on the Safe Place, her new house and female vampire refuge.

The Princeps Council met to vote on the mandatory sehclusion motion and Marissa informed them that, as the eldest of her bloodline, she rather than Havers held her family’s vote, which she cast against the motion, preventing it from being taken further.

Butch, V and Rhage disrupted the meeting to tell the leahdyre that Lash was busted dealing drugs. Outside, the Omega told Butch that he is the Omega’s son and to find his family because blood is important.

Butch realised that he had a hero complex because he wanted to be forgiven for what happened to Janie.

Marissa conveniently came to the conclusion that she left Butch for pretty much the same reason that Havers kicked her out and that she should go back to Butch, moments before the other shellans arrived to tell her basically the same thing.

Butch was inducted into the Brotherhood, but the event was hollow without Marissa. He returned to find Marissa waiting at the mansion for him. She proposed and they were mated immediately.

After Payne’s surgery, Butch goes out to find V and discovers him letting himself take a beating from a group of lessers. He breaks up the fight and discovers a corpse in a dumpster on the scene. As he’s taking V home, he calls it in, but refuses to leave his name.

He tells V seeing him there reminded him of the time he saw V attempt suicide, and after Jane almost assisted Payne’s suicide, he offered to look after V at the Commodore.

He was with Marissa when V took him up on his offer and she offered her support, knowing what would go down.

He didn’t have the stomach to really beat his best friend up, and knew that a psychological assault would be more effective, so he restrained V and took him back to his memories of being castrated, which did the job. While V was unconscious, he did the whole after care bit, washing him, cleaning up and putting him to bed before calling Jane.

What happened rattled them both, but they’re as close as ever.

Manny showed him a photo of his father, a surgeon known as Robert Bluff, who looks just like Butch, which explains a lot about his childhood. V has not been able to track the half-breed down.

Marissa loves that Butch is always a gentlemale towards her, never complaining about her long hours or stress caused by running Safe Place, where she is the head of her own little family and controls every aspect of its running. She will soon build a new wing financed by the sale of Wellsie’s jewellery.

After the Brotherhood raided the lessers’ lair, Butch reminded them of the Dhestroyer prophecy and how he is supposed to be able to destroy the Omega. Only he knows he wouldn’t have been able to consume all of the lessers created, so they need to find a way to attack the source. How can he take out the Omega?

Marissa is being pressured by an aristocrat to chair the first Twelve Month Festival Ball since the raids. Although she was surprised to learn that Havers was the one who suggested her, she doesn’t want the job and prefers to stay focussed on Safe Place.

She and Mary take in a female too battered to be identified and call around to all the BDB medical staff, even the males, who would not be the first choice to treat abused and traumatised females. They are forced to call Havers and move the residents to the Wellsie Annex while he is there and his female nurse Cannest diagnosed internal injuries requiring immediate surgery at his clinic. Marissa takes on the role of the female’s family.

As one of the trainers in the new soldier program, Butch joins V and Wrath in checking in with Abalone to ensure that he is OK with Paradise being part of the program. They prioritise his role as First Advisor over her training, so if it creates any issues with his job, she’s out.

Marissa arrived shortly before dawn, which worried Butch. He hates her job because of the toll it takes on her, but he respects her for looking after abused females and shares in her joy over every rehabilitated female.

Thanks to his Catholic upbringing, Butch views his mate as a Madonna figure and feels unable to do certain sexual things, such as climaxing in her mouth (I thought this had more to do with potential taint by the Omega – remember when his jizz was black before V did his glowstick thing? – but apparently not.)

She doesn’t understand it and he won’t explain it, so it’s one of those ongoing issues in their relationship that remains unresolved.

After Marissa distracted Butch from questions she doesn’t want to answer about the female (who has yet to be reported missing), Butch tells her how Xhex saved his arse in a fight, but glosses over how much danger he was in. He still hasn’t told her he’d slept with Xhex before she mated JM.

Marissa compares herself in her officewear not entirely favourably to Xhex, who looks completely kickarse with her short hair, muscular build and fighting clothes.

Bella offers to help Marissa with the Twelve Month Festival Ball, believing the rumours that she was the chair. Marissa didn’t get the chance to correct her.

The following night, Marissa checked in on the female at Havers’ clininc. She seemed to be regaining consciousness, but died before she could say anything.

In order to pare down 60 recruits to less than 10, the first night is particularly strenuous and Butch feels bad about his role in it. He goes to church, where he sees Marissa. She came clean about the female and admitted she was afraid to tell him because of how his sister was murdered. It seemed to help bridge the gap between them. She asked why he doesn’t talk about his life before her and he answered that she is his life now and what happened before doesn’t matter. They collected the female’s ashes from Havers.

Marissa is upset that Butch knew Wrath had given Havers a lot of money to upgrade the clinic and never told her, but he didn’t want to reopen old wounds by mentioning her estranged brother.

But they bond over the late female, both feeling responsibility and ownership for the victims in their lines of work. She says they’re also alike because they’ve let go of their old lives.

The only clue to the female’s identity is a strange, flat black key. She had dark hair, dark blue eyes and had gone through her transition.

Butch trains the new recruits and after Craeg refuses to fight Paradise, he sparred with the trainee, until Craeg cannot hold himself up any longer and collapses in a pool of his own blood. He slices into his palm before offering the hand to help Craeg up as a symbol of his honourable defeat.

Mary visited Marissa to get her to talk about what’s bothering her, because bottling it up doesn’t help. Marissa asked how she’s so self-actualised and Mary says that’s a benefit of sharing her troubles, but it’s something that she still struggles with.

Unlike Marissa, who was suddenly disowned, Mary had nothing in her life to leave behind when she mated Rhage. In traumatic circumstances, Marissa was forced to reach out to the brother who abandoned her, witnessing first hand the difference in how he treats his patients and how he treats his sister.

Mary believes Marissa has trouble relating to Butch because he was the catalyst for the change in her life. She needs to resolved the pain of her brother’s betrayal, Wrath’s neglect and ostracision by the glymera.

Marissa then agreed to chair the festival.

She soon has her food, venue and music locked down for the event (held on the first full moon in December), but she also has invitations that need addressing. Beth, Mary and all the shellans offer their services before settling in to watch Magic Mike XXL. The males are all depressed, territorial and agitated, despite recognising that the females need the space to do their own thing. They were (with the probable exception of Qhuinn and Blay for obvious reasons) all camped outside the door, drunk.

Butch and Marissa had a little private time, during which Butch noticed that she is turned on around him, but wasn’t aroused by the movie.

She asked him to help her find out who the female was and her killer. He agreed, but pointed out that their current system has no real provision for murderers. She thinks that there is a prison, but doesn’t know much about it, which proves his point. When he finds the killer, he’ll take things into his own hands. Remember the guy who tried to rape Beth in Dark Lover?

Butch told Craeg her knew the kid was living in a crappy tenement and informed him he was moving in, despite his protests. It’s not charity, but protection of the investment they’re making in him.

After his interview with Axe, Butch told him about what it was like as a homicide detective, and how each crime scene got a piece of him. This trainee is moving in as well. And he’s taking Butch to the sex club the key found on the female belongs to.

Marissa finished work early and hung with Lassiter while waiting for Butch and realised that his silliness can be a distraction he offers people who need it. He’s deeper and more thoughtful than most people give him credit for.

Butch told Marissa about the sex club and she is just as insistent on going as he is adamant that she won’t. She demands the right to make her own decisions.

Butch didn’t sleep at the Pit that day, being too drunk to make it that far. Marissa talked to V, who said that Butch is a very black and white, straightforward type of guy who worships her and wants to protect her from all the evil in the world. Butch Butch only wants to be with her even though he had options,such as Xhex, but that was only a sex thing. Yeah, she didn’t know about that, and calmly went to work, which freaked V out.

He ran to tell Butch what he’d done because he wasn’t aware that they hadn’t discussed previous partners. Butch forgave him, but couldn’t get Marissa on the phone.

She wanted him to hurt like she did, but didn’t like that in herself, so she resolved to talk to him in private. Until then, she checked festival ball RSVPs on the computer and was surprised that Havers was not coming to the ball (clinic commitments), even though he suggested her for chair. She found Butch’s video interview with Axe where he talked about the impact crime scenes had on him.

Butch apologised for not telling her about Xhex. It happened before they were together and by the time she moved in with JM, she was part of the life Butch had left behind.

She wants Butch to stop hiding things from her and not to put her on such a pedestal that he shuts her out. She spent her life in the glymera being told who she was and what little she’s allowed to do and needs that to end.

He doesn’t want to give the fucked up shit he’s seen more power by talking about it, especially when he’s not actively thinking about it. And his Catholic upbringing taught him that there are things you can do with easy woman, but not with one you love and respect, but he’s going to try to change that.

His sister enjoyed male company, so part of him feels that if she had been a good girl, she wouldn’t have got in that car and she’d be safe. But then he feels that blaming her, the victim and his own sister besides, instead of the actual perpetrators is a betrayal. He knows it wasn’t her fault, but the conditioning is strong.

He realised that he won’t think less of Marissa for going to a sex club or letting him finish in her mouth. In fact, although fetishwear isn’t Butch’s thing, he really likes the sight of Marissa dressed for the club.

She finds the mask freeing, as she doesn’t have an appearance to keep up and the people in the club were nice, welcoming and non-aggressive.

Butch told Axe about the female who died and previously owned the key. The trainee’s reaction confirmed his instinct that he was not the killer. Their investigation is interrupted by a phone call from V telling them they need to go to a particular apartment. The scene is bloody, but Marissa IDs the female’s scent. Peyton said the placed belonged to his cousin Allishon. It wasn’t unusual for her family not to hear from her for days, so she hadn’t been reported missing. He checked in on her and found the bloody scene.

Butch and V were called away to back up Tohr and Rhage, so he told Marissa to take photos of everything with her phone and not to disturb anything. Paradise took care of that while Marissa went to change so she could deliver Allishon’ ashes to her family.

She acted as the investigating officer and doesn’t understand how Butch was able to have handled so many cases in his career.

He returned from the field with V, sick from consuming lessers. V lay him down and let his cursed light cleanse him. Marissa reached out to them both. In a rare moment, she touched V’s cheek and he kissed her palm. She isn’t jealous of what V can do for Butch that she can’t, she’s just glad her hellren can be saved.

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