Lover Mine by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 8) - US edition

Lover Mine by J. R. Ward (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 8)Last updated: 3/4/2015 — 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:

  • John Matthew (hero of Lover Mine)
  • Xhex, John Matthew’s mate

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.

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John Matthew

(Son of Darius of Markon; reincarnated from Darius, son of Marklon; aka Tehrror)

If the series can be said to have a central character, it would be Darius/John Matthew, as he has been instrumental in bringing together the Brotherhood and bringing their shellans into their world.

Several centuries ago, Darius was trained in the same warrior camp that V later grew up in, and by leaving behind his diary, he unknowingly eased V’s isolation and later introduced him to Wrath. He also introduced the twins, Phury and Zsadist. He offered Wrath a private place to feed and brought over the old king Wrath’s royal desk and throne, which were all that survived the lesser raid.

Darius was the son of Tehrror but was raised by Marklon while his mother lived. Upon her death, Marklon’s hidden animosity towards his stepson surfaced and he threw Darius out of his home and left him at the door of the Bloodletter’s warrior camp with only the clothes on his back.

Although his wealthy appearance made him a target, Darius proved to be such a strong fighter that the Bloodletter could not force him to rape his opponents. While another fighter such as Hharm kept the camp occupied as he meted out the customary punishment to the losers in Darius’ place, Darius snuck away and wrote in his diary using his own blood as ink.

One night the Brothers Ahgony, Throe, Murhder (I think he’s the father of the Murhder we’re getting to know now) and Tohrture came to test him in a one-off opportunity. He was successful and never got the chance to return for his diary.

In 1671, 27 years after his graduation from the warrior camp, Darius was sent on a mission to rescue the daughter of the Princeps Council leahdyre Sampsone. He decided to take Tohrment with him, as this would be Tohr’s first mission and Hharm was neglecting him.

His self-appointed claim on Tohr offended Hharm, but as Hharm knew he wouldn’t be able to beat Darius, he disowned Tohr. Although Tohr didn’t know, Darius resolved to protect him with his own life.

Two evenings later, he and Tohr visited Sampsone and determined that the daughter had escaped with a male.

They question the staff, including the steward, Fritzgelder Perlmutter, who was born 77 years earlier and had served the family since he was five. He went against his boss, the butler, to show them where the trees had been cut down the previous week to provide access to the daughter’s bedroom.

The next night he found Tohr sleeping in the Brotherhood’s cave, having nowhere else to go after being disowned. Their first stop was Sampsone’s house where Darius ordered Tohr a meal in the guise of putting the doggen at ease and talking to Fritz again. He asked Fritz to store Tohr’s things until they returned. Tohr was angry at the implication he couldn’t look after himself. Darius pointed out that while he would be able to take care of himself, right then he needed a partner who was at full strength and alertness.

They investigated the house next door and found it belonged to a symphath. He told the Brothers where to find his son, who had stolen the female to punish him for associating with an inferior being. It would break his heart not only to lose his love, but to lose her to the inferiors looking for her. Darius expected that silence from her and her family would protect her reputation.

He took Tohr back to his small, modest house for the day.

The next night, they found the symphath at his hideaway with the female. The symphath insisted they were mated and used her as a shield. Tohr shot the symphath, but the female told them he should have killed her instead.

Despite her telling him that she was pregnant to the symphath, Darius took the female back home and found that they symphath’s father was already there to ascertain that his son had been killed. He said that losses should be born on both sides equally. His son is dead, and the leahdyre’s daughter is ruined.

The father offers him money not to bring his daughter back and Darius tells him he is just like the symphath who would not mourn his son. He took the female home with him and Tohr and refused to accept the leahdyre’s money.

He delivered a healthy baby girl who didn’t look at all like a symphath, but when he presented the young to her mother, the female had stabbed herself with Tohr’s dagger. As sad as he was over the female’s passing (who he felt was condemned by others more than her own actions), he had to put the infant first and was determined to do whatever it took to make sure her life was better than her birth.

He and Tohr live warrior’s lives, so they would not be able to be there for a young and provide everything she needs, especially a mother, so Darius decides she must be adopted out.

He found a vampire family who lost their young during birth. Although their home was modest, they had the means to employ a doggen. The male was happy to be given the young and Darius protected her by not providing any details of her lineage. Instead of being able to visit regularly, he knew he and Tohr would draw unwanted attention to the young with their visits, so he was forced to leave her, even though he knew he was leaving a piece of his heart with her and would never see her again. He named her Xhexania and watched the female of the house welcome her new young.

Darius died when his car exploded at the beginning of Dark Lover, after asking Wrath to guide his daughter Beth through her transition, and Marissa met Butch through Beth’s arrival in the vampire world. Towards the end of the book, the Scribe Virgin rewarded Darius by letting him be with his daughter, except he had to sacrifice the power of speech.

John Matthew was born in a public bathroom and was raised in an orphanage. He was good with the younger orphans, but was always different. Every year, the orphans would get a field trip to a rich man’s lakehouse and no matter how much sunscreen he wore, he always got badly sunburned. Eventually he was confined to the shady porch, but wished that he could join the others, not because they were having fun, but because he wanted to be a part of something.

He briefly lived with a couple sets of foster parents and went to school until he dropped out at 16. When he was old enough to live on his own, he worked as a busboy and moved into a crappy low rent apartment, where a man raped him in the stairwell. He immediately moved out.

He had strange dreams of blood, biting and sex. He wanted to be a strong protector and hated being trapped in such a small form that women either didn’t notice him or wanted to look after him.

John began calling the suicide hotline even though he couldn’t speak because he liked the sound of a volunteer counsellor’s voice. The calls were made from a local payphone, so he was able to see Mary Luce as she came and went from the centre. When she didn’t show up one evening, he visited her house. There he met Bella, who noted a bracelet he’d made with the name Tehrror written in the Old Language.

Bella recognised the warrior name and contacted the Brotherhood, and she and Mary went with John to the compound. There Mary met Rhage and Bella met Zsadist.

Tohr, who was Darius’s best friend, interviewed John and offered him a place in the pretrans training program. John decided to think about it, but after a lesser moved into his building, he contacted Tohr to sign up. Tohr and his shellan, Wellsie, took him in, clothed and fed him and became the first family he’d ever known.

John’s blood was tested and Havers determined that he was such a close match to Darius that he had to be Darius’s son. Tohr was happy to see another part of his best friend live on. Havers also sent John to a therapist, and he talked about the rape but refused to go back.

John was one of the least coordinated in the pretrans class and was bullied by Lash for being mute, unco, raised by humans, and having the Brotherhood’s star-shaped scar on his chest. He actually wasn’t trying to suck up to the Brotherhood—it was a marking he was born with (a hint that he is really Darius).

(Other than the Brotherhood scar he was born with, there were more hints that John Matthew is the reincarnation of Darius of Marklon. The first few times he met his half sister Beth, he fell into seizures until she was taken out of the room. A similar event occurred when Zsadist taught the pretrans class on car bombs. After John’s transition, his moves still weren’t that smooth, so Z handed him a different weapon and suggested that he fight with his left hand, even though he is right-handed. His skill was evident in his left hand, and Z told him that the only other left-handed warrior he’s ever known was Darius.)

But despite that, he formed friendships with his classmates Blaylock and Qhuinn.

In the lead up to John’s transition, Wellsie introduced him to her cousin Sarelle, to whom he was instantly attracted, and she seemed interested in him as well. Sarelle was abducted by the lesser who killed Wellsie and was used to lure Phury and Zsadist before she was also murdered.

Just like that, John’s happy family was destroyed. Tohr disappeared in a burst of energy, and John moved in with the Brotherhood and took over Tohr’s admin duties, even going so far as to sleep in Tohr’s chair at the training centre. John became fixated on avenging his loss on the lessers and was even more impatient for his transition. He became more aggressive, a sure sign that the change was coming. While Beth was concerned that John wasn’t eating enough, Z showed him some tough love and made him start having meals with everyone else at the mansion and stop looking for a chance to hit Lash (even though the prick deserved it).

After Blay’s transition, Lash started in on him as well and John puts himself between them. One more comment and John belted the living shit out of Lash until Wrath pulled him off and dragged him out. He told John that he doesn’t need thugs in the Brotherhood; he needs soldiers who will think for themselves instead of flying off the handle.

Instead of expelling him from the training program, Wrath had Tohr’s chair brought to his office so that John could sit in and watch the king’s interactions with the Brothers, Beth and Marissa, who is setting up Safe Place. Wrath also decided that John would take a walk with Zsadist every morning before sunrise. The walks have been beneficial because Z doesn’t try to get in his head; it’s a designated quiet time.

Qhuinn had his transition before John did and he wasn’t comfortable with being the little guy. To make John feel more equal, and knowing he would kick their butts, Blay suggested they play the video game sKillerz (unaware that V wrote it. We don’t hear about the game anymore, but I wonder if it bears any resemblance to killing lessers?). Qhuinn organised a trip to ZeroSum with the sole purpose of getting laid and John was concerned that his impending change will reopen the sexual can of worms for him. Then Z told him that not only was Lash returning to class after his suspension but he’d already gone through the change as well.

Qhuinn and Blay flanked John like bodyguards at the next lesson, which was on firearms. Although he had trouble in other classes requiring physical action, JM is a damn good shot.

At ZeroSum, Qhuinn quickly picked up a couple of blondes and Blay decided to join them, but only after passing his gun to JM. He felt a tingle and looked up to see the female head of security watching him. She hauled him into her office and disarmed him. She demanded to know who he was and he tried to talk to her, which he couldn’t because he’s mute and she misinterprets it as cowardice and JM feels about 10 cm tall.

Blay was also hauled in and explained that JM is Wrath’s ward, which meant that he absolutely must be kept safe in the club or the king will rain hellfire down on them. Xhex returned the gun with the warning that it should only be used for defence.

On the way back from the club, the troika ran into a couple of lessers. As JM was a pretrans, he passed for human, so Qhuinn and Blay made him escape and he returned to the club hoping to get Xhex to help. He couldn’t make himself understood to the bouncers and they wouldn’t let him back in. He then felt the weight of the gun in his pocket and returned to the scene, took aim and shot the lessers before they could hurt Blay and Qhuinn. He then picked up a roofing spike and stabbed each lesser through the heart and remembered having done it so many times before. In that moment he realised that he wasn’t a puny little weakling, he was powerful. Then the transition hit.

Layla fed him and after he’d gone through the change, she stayed for sex. Things started well until he remembered his rape and, not surprisingly, lost interest. He thought Layla would never assume it was her fault and was too ashamed to want to elaborate on why he couldn’t go through with it. What he didn’t realise was that she saw him go soft when she was naked and really did feel rejected and undesirable because she had no reason to think that there might be other factors. After all, there was no other male to convince her she’s attractive.

She reported in to Z and Wrath, and Z told JM he knows what happened in the stairwell from the therapy session in his medical file, and he wanted JM to take matters into his own hands to be sure that his post-transitional body works. He assured JM that it wasn’t his fault and he didn’t think less of him for it.

An image of Xhex worked for JM. It really worked.

While adjusting to his new body, he realised that he had questions about Darius, but didn’t feel like he could ask anyone without reminding them of their loss. When Phury returned from the Other Side, he brought back Darius’s diary and gave it to John. He didn’t read it right away because even though this was what he thought he wanted, he realised that he sees Tohr as his father.

Phury approached John and asked him to spend some time with Cormia because she needed a friend. John thought she looked like she didn’t need anyone, but since Phury had helped him in the past, he’d return the favour, and actually found her attractive, even though she’s the total opposite of Xhex.

At the club, JM was turned on watching Xhex deal with a drunk and maintain total control. Somehow she knew that he thought of her while taking care of business first thing in the evening and told him to say her name next time.

JM, Blay and Qhuinn were in the locker room when Lash walked out from the shower for another round of verbal abuse, but everyone was stunned into silence when he revealed details of John’s rape from the medical file he accessed in his new job at Havers’s clinic. During the fight, Lash pushed JM into the wall and reached for his pants. JM froze, but Qhuinn pulled Lash off and slit his throat. (Lash was taken to the clinic where the lessers found him and took him back to the Omega and the rest is history.)

Once JM told Wrath why Qhuinn cut Lash, the king found a loophole that enabled him to avoid sending Qhuinn to the race’s gaol and making him an indentured servant to Lash’s family after his sentence is served. Qhuinn is JM’s official bodyguard, and what do you know, Wrath had the paperwork ready before the attack, but just forgot to mention it. The ahstrux nohtrum is allowed to kill anyone who threatens his principle (who must be a person of interest, and the king’s brother-in-law definitely qualifies), but the principle must pay the fine for said deaths and the $5 million for Lash’s death easily came out of JM’s inheritance from Darius.

John made Qhuinn accompany him to see Blay in the hope that they will make up after Qhuinn tried to cut him loose. After a lesser attack on the house, the boys officially joined the war.

John found Cormia after she lost her virginity to Phury, mistakenly believed he raped her, and pounded the crap out of him until Wrath broke them up. Cormia convinced him that she was okay, and he felt unstable for having lost his temper again. He wanted a time-out walk with Z, but with Bella’s pending delivery, they weren’t as frequent as they used to be.

The boys investigated Lash’s house and John thought he saw Lash for a few seconds before he disappeared to answer the Omega’s summons.

The Brotherhood met Lassiter, who returned Tohr to them but ended up moving in, too. John had so much to tell Tohr, but they weren’t connected anymore. John was about to leave the room, disappointed, until Tohr called him back and they grieved together.

John was disturbed by how much Tohr has aged in the eight months since Wellsie’s death and got smashed at ZeroSum. Xhex found him alone in the bathroom and he told her he wanted to fuck her. Before she had to go sort out some emergency, he handed her a paper towel on which he’d written: Say my name.

A lot of the time, JM is bound by his insecurities, but then there are moments like these where he shows the self-assurance of a male who knows he’s powerful.

Four months after the bathroom incident, Xhex sent JM an image of them having sex, but decided it wasn’t the outlet she needed. JM walked into her office to find her tightening her cilices, and when she looked at him with red eyes, he realised she was a symphath.

The same night, Tohr disappeared with Lassiter to the Tomb without telling anyone. JM raised the alarm at the mansion but told Wrath he didn’t care if Tohr came back because he’d been left behind too many times.

This separation made him feel like a lone wolf, so he returned to ZeroSum without Qhuinn and Blay and told Xhex that he had no intention of turning her in. His feeling was that she could not be any more of a sociopath than Z and V were before they were mated. He let her probe his mind to prove that he was genuine and, after declining her offer to talk about Tohr, he accepted the key to her place so he could have some uninterrupted time to himself.

When Xhex returned, she took his virginity (his mating instincts well and truly overruled the ghosts of his past), but the encounter was hurried and they were fully clothed. When it was over, she refused to let him kiss her and immediately took a shower to wash him off, making it clear that the sex was intended as gratitude for his not turning her in.

While he initially contemplated suicide, he realised that a lot of the bad things in his life were done to him and were not the result of his own actions. Instead of killing himself, he would just find a way to not be a victim anymore, starting with sharing a ZeroSum employee with Qhuinn, which marked the beginning of his player phase.

He ran into Xhex after a session with Qhuinn and a goth at the Iron Mask. When she asked him how long he can keep up the drinking and casual sex, he flipped her off.

The day before the Brotherhood, Xhex and Ehlena went to rescue Rehvenge, JM visited Xhex while drunk and they had disconnected sex before he dressed and left without ever having signed a word.

After Xhex was kidnapped, John lay on her bed in the mansion, wishing he’d been kinder to her the last time they’d had sex than she had been to him and that he’d forgiven her when she said she was sorry. His only relief was that she left her cilices behind, which meant she had her symphath side as a weapon against Lash.

His hatred of Lash burns hotter than ever.

After Xhex was missing for almost four weeks, John gets her name tattooed into his back where her name would have been carved had they mated. To avoid questions from the Brotherhood, he steals V’s ink and gets the work done at a human tattoo parlour. Because everyone is trying to find Xhex, no one but Blay and Qhuinn are aware that he loves her.

When the boys leave the parlour, JM feels as though he’s being watched, but has more important things to do than check it out.

They then visit the Moors for info on the drug trade that would generate leads on Lash’s location (bypassing Rehv so the Brotherhood doesn’t find out how JM feels and expects either a mating or JM’s depression). The Moors provide information on where most of the drug sales are made and agree to gather intel on the supplier in case Lash targets him.

Without knowing who he is, they found Lash’s next recruit, but had to leave to avoid sunrise.

When they got home, JM got drunk but couldn’t sleep. He pulled out Darius’ diary and began to read about his feelings of loneliness and homesickness in the warrior camp. JM felt nauseous (maybe the drink, but maybe a reaction to being so close to his old life), but connected to his father.

Trez sends the boys to the local supplier in time for Lash’s meeting, but instead, Mr. D leaves as though the meeting is cancelled. JM, Qhuinn, Blay, Rhage and V follow the car to Lash’s place.

They find the bedroom where Xhex is being kept, but can’t see her behind Lash’s force field. When he sees the evidence of her abuse, JM believes they hadn’t arrived in time and breaks down in front of her and the others.

She tried to reach out to him and talk to him, but he sensed just enough of her to think it was because she used to be in the room and not that she was still there. He took her pillow with him when Qhuinn convinced him to question the fore-lesser.

Except that didn’t happen. As soon as JM saw the lesser, he went ballistic, with no memory of tearing him apart.

Xhex had escaped just before Blay returned to Lash’s place, but quickly left, thinking he was Lash. The next evening, Rehv told him Xhex had rung to let him know she was OK and he was planning to go see her. Like JM did before the meeting with the supplier was cancelled, she put dibs on killing Lash. Rehvenge offered to take JM with him because he knew JM would go anyway.

She wasn’t there so JM returned to the skate park where the new recruit typically worked, but he wasn’t there. He realised that Xhex would have gone to her basement, he dematerialised there. Before he left the park, he felt someone watching him again, but couldn’t be bothered.

He found her almost dead and fed her before texting Doc Jane, who examined her and had her taken to the mansion where she needed care for some internal injuries.

He stayed with her afterwards and she told him she’d seen him in Lash’s bedroom while she was hidden behind the force field. She claimed that her internal bleeding was the result of breaking out of the force field, which might have been true, or an excuse to avoid telling him about the rapes. She told him she couldn’t stand not killing him for what he did to her, but he can’t let go of his own need to kill Lash, especially for what he did to Xhex.

In return he agreed to show her his past the following night. When Rehv came to see Xhex, JM left to give them privacy. Xhex asked him to come back again soon and he left with a huge smile on his face.

He woke up late the next afternoon with Xhex and on the way to the kitchen, he noticed Tohr asleep at his old desk. Instead of feeling anger, he noticed the effort Tohr was making to get himself back into shape and remembered that the Brother had lost his shellan and baby. Part of the meal he brought back for himself and Xhex was for Tohr.

JM realised that if Xhex had died, he would have reacted the same way Tohr did. Tohr told him he was glad he and Xhex were together and it made cosmic sense. (He’s noted similarities between JM and Darius in the past, so does he realise they’re the same?)

He agreed to show Xhex his life, partly to keep her with him, knowing that one day she was going to take off after Lash.

He showed her the bus station bathroom where he’d been born and the orphanage where he’d grown up. Xhex respected him for his bravery in living surrounded by people he was different from. He’d spent his whole life feeling isolated and different from those who should have been the same as him.

As they walked through the orphanage, Xhex detected a break in his emotional grid as though there was a separate part.

He skipped over the building where he’d been raped and took her to the shithole he’d lived in after that. When he saw his old bodybuilding magazine, he realised that he’d become the huge, muscular warrior he’d always wanted to be.

Xhex could tell that he had left something out, but she’d also detected other holes in his story that even he didn’t seem to have answers for. She also felt that he was connected to his father without seeming to have ever met him.

Finally they ended up at Tohr and Wellsie’s house. JM felt bad about how things are between him and Tohr, so Xhex told him he should start talking to Tohr again.

They started kissing on JM’s old bed until Xhex pulled away in fear and eventually told him that Lash hadn’t been impotent. JM’s rage blew the windows out.

He wore out a treadmill in the training centre and was working on the second when Blay found him and swore to help him, whatever it took.

Xhex found him sitting under the shower, close to madness. She noted that both his emotional grid and the shadow she’d noticed earlier were active, suggesting that he’d been through more than enough for one lifetime and may also be carrying the weight of another one. Or she surmised that he could have caused the split himself by burying his past and keeping it separate from who he is now.

She let her symphath side into JM and saw that he had been raped and Lash had found out about it. She felt connected to him in a way that she knew she never had been or would be with anyone else because they each know what the other has been through, how it felt and how it affects them.

They had spectacular sex that drove out their pasts.

Later they went to a Brotherhood meeting where they listened to a phone message from Lash telling where to find the newest inductees. Xhex volunteered under everyone else’s protests to scout ahead because the Brothers could be heading into an ambush.

John sits with Tohr quietly watching a movie, much like they had done on John’s first night with him and Wellsie.

When Xhex returns he is resolved that he is finished with her as soon as they kill Lash. She doesn’t have room for him, so he’s going to move on.

JM, Xhex and the Brothers go to the farmhouse to kill the new recruits. In the fight, one tries to fire at JM, but Xhex throws a knife at him and the shot hit him in the leg instead. When JM sees her go all symphath on the guy, he understands why symphaths are feared, but also realises that she has never done anything like that to him.

Doc Jane removes the bullet, and when he regains consciousness, the first thing JM does is ask Xhex if she’s OK after having watched the operation. Without even thinking about it, he turned his back on her and she saw his ink.

Z told JM what they have in common and suggests that Xhex talk to Mary because it helped him.

JM realises that the person who was following him silently was Tohr. Tohr believes JM is able to look after himself but still wants to make sure he’s safe. They apologised for how they’d treated each other and JM asked him to be there when he kills Lash. Their relationship was fully repaired.

The next night Xhex tracks Lash downtown and JM lures him back from his deal with Benloise by smashing his windscreen and setting off his car alarm. When gunfire forces everyone else to take cover,JM runs straight at Lash and is hit by an energy ball, which doesn’t kill him, but seems to unit the two parts of him that Xhex sees.

He flashes back to seeing No’One shielding her symphath captor just is Xhex is being used to shield Lash and the perfect shot Tohr took back then, certain he had done this before. He went into a seizure, but the bonded part of him overrode it and he kept standing. Tohr shot Lash again while Xhex escaped and JM pulled his dagger. Instead of stabbing him in the chest, JM hit him in the head with the hilt and held him open so Xhex could kill him.

Xhex told him that she would like to be his shellan and their mating was planned for the following night.

He held his father’s diary and knew for an absolute certainty that Darius would have approved of his mating. Tohr told him the same thing. He put on his father’s signet ring and knew he would never take it off (with the exception of giving it to Tohr to help him through Wellsie’s Fade ceremony a year later).

Tohr told him that Darius was there when Xhex was born and JM went into a seizure.

Tohr said that he wished Darius could be there and JM said that he was.

After the ceremony, he gave Xhex a giant diamond necklace so her hands would be free for fighting.

A few days after their mating ceremony, JM saw Xhex get injured in a fight with a lesser, so he started inserting himself into her battles. She was pissed and kept on fighting. They argued over her fighting, she thinks it’s because she’s female, but JM signed that her “stupidity” in continuing to fight while injured puts others in danger. He didn’t realise that everyone was watching him sign that to her.

JM expects to lose Tohr any night now, so he especially can’t afford to lose Xhex, because although he has other relationships in the mansion, he is closest to Xhex and Tohr. He has faith in her strength and abilities but the law of averages says that the more she goes out to fight, the greater the chance of her being injured or killed.

Just when it seemed like they’d made up, Xhex offered to search for the Band of Bastards during the day since she has unique abilities, but all heads in the BDB meeting turned to JM instead. After another argument, Xhex walked out and refused to return to the mansion.

When JM discovered that Tohr is sleeping with No’One, he is angry over the violation to Wellsie’s memory, but later apologised when he perceived a seriousness in the relationship Tohr hasn’t let himself feel.

When asked to witness Wrath’s official proclamation granting Tohr exclusive rights to kill Xcor, JM took the opportunity to bring up Qhuinn’s heroism in holding Xcor off so Wrath and Tohr could escape.

He realised that although Qhuinn was deliberately running into danger, he’d let his friend do his thing but hadn’t let his own shellan do hers when she offered to look for the Band of Bastards during the day. By treating her femininity as a disability, he’d lost her anyway. So all he can do is man up and put his money where his mouth is and not stand in Xhex’s way. He recommended her for the task of finding the attempted assassination weapon.

Months of searching pass, during which JM supports his shellan but doesn’t make a move, even though she knows he wants her.

JM and Qhuinn take Layla out while they all avoided the effects of Autumn’s needing and she confessed to them that she’d fed Xcor. They told her the truth about who he was and she passed out from the shock of having committed accidental treason, so they drove her home.

He told Xhex that Layla could help her find Xcor, but she could not let Wrath know about Layla’s involvement. To show her acceptance of his proven support, she agreed to move back in with him.

When he helped Tohr pack up Wellsie’s house, he realised that he needs to move on as well. In Wellsie’s Fade ceremony, he was branded for Wellsie and his adopted brother, young Tohrment.

Out of the blue, JM had another seizure around Beth, only this time he mouthed something in the Old Language, but has no memory of what it is. He doesn’t speak the Old Language and can only understand some when it is spoken to him. It was Darius telling his daughter he would look after her.

Manny gets him into St Francis for an MRI and he has another seizure in the car while talking to Beth about her marital problems with Wrath and her unrequited desire to start a family. He is better able to verbalise Wrath’s concerns for Beth’s safety and can’t answer how he would react if Xhex was pregnant.

No abnormalities were found.

He suggests that Beth spend the day at Darius’s town house and since he has difficulty communicating via sign language with his blind brother in law, he asks V to help him tell Wrath where she is. Wrath went ballistic before V could tell him, and destroyed the billiards room.

He fought down the beginning of a seizure when Beth asked him to stand in place of her father and gave his sister away in her human wedding ceremony to Wrath. He felt proud and strongly connected to his sister, but not in a romantic way.


Xhex (pronounced Hex with a hard ‘H’) is the half symphath, half vampire head of security at Rehvenge’s club ZeroSum, who doesn’t take any crap. She likes busting heads and has previously found job satisfaction in being an assassin.

She had a pact with Rehv to stay unattached because they need each other. He fed from her but I’m not 100% sure that he fed her in return. Since the best partner for a symphath is another symphath and they are both half-breeds (although Rehvenge comes from royalty, while Xhex’s father was a servant), Xhex has had sex with Rehvenge, but neither of them liked it. She knew what Rehv did with the princess as a result of the ‘little problem’ she had 25 years ago and wonders how he doesn’t hate her for putting him in that position. She was also disturbed that Rehv seemed to have accepted his fate and wasn’t trying to find ways to negate the princess’s hold on them.

Back to the ‘little problem’. In Lover Avenged, we learnt that Xhex was involved with Murhder over two decades ago even though she thought it was a bad idea. She returned to the symphath colony because of her family, but they wouldn’t let her leave. He went mad after following her to the symphath colony believing that she needed to be rescued, only to find that she was not just a vampire. Rehv made his deal with the princess for Xhex and Murhder’s release but her family had already sold her to humans for experiments. Most of them treated her well enough, but there was a sadist in the group. They fed her human blood, but it wasn’t enough to keep her strong and eventually someone let her go. I have no idea whether or not she destroyed the footage they took of her during the experiments. After awhile she returned to burn the place down and killed the sadist.

Xhex doesn’t often have sex, and when she does, it’s because she sees something worthy in the male. As a favour to Rehv (that she wanted to do anyway), she approached Butch O’Neal and had sex with him before his transition. She had no idea about Marissa and was saddened to learn Butch was off the market.

She’s had her eye on John Matthew for a while and told herself it’s because he’s the king’s ward, so the club would be in deep shit if anything happened to him. She noticed that although his friends picked up chicks, JM never did.

One night she threw out a drunk for harassing a waitress and when she noticed John watching her, she took a peek into his mind and saw him naked on a bed, stroking himself while thinking of her. Even though she saw whim as a kid, she was reluctantly attracted to him and told him to say her name when he came.

A few days later she found him drunk in a bathroom and a lot more confident. He hit on her and she realised that he was ‘one fuck of a big male’. Before she left on some club emergency, he handed her a note written on the paper towel to be read later.

At the end of the night she rode her Ducati to her cabin on the Hudson River (she also owns a basement apartment in town), where she released the cilices (metal bands with spikes pointing inwards) she wore around her thighs to control her symphath side. Under the rush of the endorphins, Xhex pulled out JM’s note, in which he returns her cheeky comment to him and tells her to say his name when she comes. And as much as she resented the hell out of this young male who obviously had issues, but was also really confident at times, that’s exactly what she did.

After killing Montrag on Rehvenge’s order and fucking with his head just because, her cilices weren’t working as well as they normally would. She sent an image of her and JM having sex into his head but decided that wasn’t the outlet she needed. While she was readjusting her cilices, JM barged into her office and only got the picture when he saw her red eyes.

He returned to the club alone and told her that he wasn’t planning to tell anyone she’s a symphath. She probed his mind and found that he meant it, which she thought made him one in a million. She also noticed that he was upset about Tohr but didn’t want to talk about it, so she gave him the key to her place, so he can have some space without anyone getting in his way, and told Qhuinn that she hadn’t seen him all night. When Qhuinn warned her not to hurt JM, he earned her respect for having the balls to stand up to her, as not many men do.

She had sex with John Matthew, after which she drove home the point that she just wanted sex, harder than she needed to, IMHO. She felt that she already cared about JM more than she should, given how tragically her relationship with Murhder turned out and Murhder was someone she casually enjoyed. JM looked at her with awe, admiration, shyness, compassion and vulnerability. The responsibility of being with someone who wore such an expression for her and the realisation that she was capable of returning his feelings became too much, so she killed his warmth and came to regret it soon afterwards.

She was saddened and upset to see JM banging a ZeroSum prostitute with Qhuinn with an empty look in his eyes, knowing that her inadvertent theft of his innocence was a big part of putting it there.

A ZeroSum prostitute was reported dead and Xhex immediately looked for the abusive drug-dealing boyfriend, unaware that he had made a new friend in Lash after Lash was arrested for statutory rape. She eventually found and killed him painfully and bloodily. Lash kidnapped her after his failed ‘relationship’ with the symphath princess and decided to extract payment for the trouble Xhex had caused him by killing the man who would give him an in with the drug community.

After Rehvenge was told about the princess’s revelation to the Brotherhood that he was a symphath and her threat to tell the glymera as well, Xhex gladly vowed to take care of a female for him, believing he intended to ask her to kill the princess. It was really a promise to look after herself.

She works security at the Iron Mask, which, due to its goth clientele and lack of drugs, is less hectic that ZeroSum, leaving her with a lot of time to think about the ways in which she screwed up. At the end of one night, she saw Qhuinn and a girl exiting a bathroom with JM. He had no emotional grid anymore, stank of alcohol and washed the hands that touched the girl with hot water. She asked him how long he thought he can keep going on this destructive path. His only reply was a very deliberate one-finger salute.

Ehlena called her to ask if Rehvenge was still alive. They met and Xhex began to respect her for standing her ground against her and bearing up under the revelation of Rehvenge’s life story and his sacrifice. She couldn’t go to the colony for Rehvenge’s sake, but Ehlena pointed out the loophole that Xhex could go to keep Ehlena safe when she went. They went to the Brotherhood for reinforcements.

The day before they left for the colony, a drunk JM visited Xhex. Without a word, they had cold, clinical sex, immediately after which JM got dressed and left. Xhex cried alone for hours.

When the princess interrupted their attempts to free Rehvenge, Xhex emptied her gun into the bitch (but this was not enough to kill her). In return, Lash kidnapped her while everyone else’s attention was on the symphaths marching into Rehv’s cell.

She is kept in a bedroom at the front of a house in a nice neighbourhood, hidden behind a force field maintained by Lash 24/7. Not even the fore-lesser who brings her food is aware of her existence. Lash rapes her frequently and she fights back but he only enjoys it more when she does. First he wanted to punish her for killing the symphath princess, but became attracted to her and wants her to carry his young.

She doesn’t know how far into her head Lash can get, she avoids thinking of John Matthew, especially when Lash is around. Although she is sure that JM wouldn’t go beyond his duty to find her after the way she’d treated him, she doesn’t want her feelings to be used against her.

Her biggest regrets are that she didn’t tell Murhder she was half symphath, so he wouldn’t have tried to rescue her from the colony and that she hadn’t told JM the problem was her, not him.

JM, Blay, Qhuinn, Rhage and V break into Lash’s house and find the room where Xhex was being kept. Believing they had missed her, JM broke down and the sight shattered Xhex’s heart. She tried to talk to him and wipe his tears away, but he walked through her as he left with her pillow.

When Lash drove past to check on her, she noticed that he was weaker than usual and found that the walls of her prison weren’t as strong either. Using all her strength, she threw herself against the invisible barrier and broke through.

When she heard someone (who ended up being Blay) in the kitchen, she thought Lash had returned and dematerialised to her basement place where she passed out.

She later called Rehv, not John, to let everyone know she had escaped but wanted space.

John found her at the basement she’d loaned to him six weeks earlier. JM offered to feed her and she took his vein, but only because she didn’t want to die until she’d killed Lash. She respected JM’s strength because even though his heart was broken, he wasn’t.

Doc Jane examined her, despite her fear of medical situations and found blood on the insides of her thighs, but determined Xhex was not pregnant.

Xhex was taken back to the Brotherhood’s exam room where she fell apart in fear, but John kept her anchored to the here and now. Doc Jane repaired some internal injuries.

JM returned in case she needed to feed again and while she asked questions that would help her find Lash, she realised she felt safe with him and never wanted him to leave.

She allowed herself a night off from her mission to kill Lash and let JM take her to the places he had spent his earlier life and comes to respect his strength in having survived. Like him, she’d grown up knowing she was different to everyone else, but he’d had it so much worse. While she felt strongly connected to him, she knew that their connection would break when her past mentally caught up with her and she left to kill Lash. So while they were together, she decided to give something of herself, not in return for what he’d given her, but because she wants to give. She tried to be with him in the bedroom he slept in at Tohr and Wellsie’s house, but her memories of Lash overpowered her. She told JM that Lash hadn’t been impotent and his rage made the windows explode.

Later on, her symphath side saw that JM had also been raped and that Lash had found out about it. She felt connected to him in a way that she knew she never had been or would be with anyone else because they each know what the other has been through, how it felt and how it affects them.

They had spectacular sex that drove out their pasts.

They were called to a meeting with the Brotherhood where they heard a phone message from Lash telling them where to find the Omega’s new bunch of inductees. She argues that she should go ahead during the day to see if it’s safe for the Brothers to go at night. She knows that if she doesn’t get there first, someone else will kill Lash.

When she arrives, the place is surrounded by cops, courtesy of the mailman.

Trez and iAm show up and refuse to leave, even to follow the new fore-lesser, so she calls it in and settles in to wait out the day when Jose de la Cruz shows up to investigate.

She and the Shadows searched inside the place and though there were blurry bits where she noted emotional grids, the bodies weren’t visible.

On her return, she found JM who wasn’t happy to see her after being shut in all day while she left him without a backward glance. She was upset at his distance, but convinced herself he was right – they should be partners only until they kill Lash.

After successfully ambushing the new inductees (highlights include Xhex going all symphath on the lesser she’d thrown a knife at before he could shoot JM, but the bullet hit his leg instead of his chest), she sees V heal Butch and realises his true feelings. She silently reassures him that they were only together once and it was over.

They return to the mansion where Doc Jane removes the bullet. To help Xhex overcome her phobia, Jane suggests she stay and watch, which she does with some effort. As soon as he comes around, he asks if she’s OK, which melts her. When he leaves to get her cilices, she sees his tattoo for the first time and is selfish enough to be happy about it even though she still intends for them to part ways when Lash is dead.

She, JM, Tohr and Qhuinn are hunting Lash when she feels he is close because he carries her blood. She races after him, leaving the others to follow and finds his car. JM smashed the windscreen and Lash comes running. She disappears symphath-style with the intent to snek up on him, disarm and disable him before taking her time with his death. Human bodyguards shoot Lash, forcing everyone to take cover, but her bonded male JM is unstoppable. Lash gears up to throw an energy ball at him, so Xhex abandons her plan and throws herself at Lash to save JM. Lash uses her as a shield.

Tohr fires a miracle shot into Lash’s head, giving Xhex the chance to get away. She doesn’t get far before Lash stabs her, but when JM gives her his dagger to finish off Lash, she’s determined to finish him off. She stabs him through the chest, sending him back to the Omega.

She regains consciousness in the mansion as she’s being wheeled to another room to make way for a new patient with a long, dark braid. She calls the female “pain”.

Xhex comes to realise JM’s worth and that in giving her closure with Lash, he’d put her needs above his own again. She told him she loved him and wanted to be his shellan.

Unlike Rehv, who gets to exercise his symphath side regularly at the colony, Xhex still wears her cilices.

Wrath asked her to fight lessers along side the Brothers.

To settle her nerves before her mating ceremony, Xhex went channel-surfing and saw an ad for Paranormal Investigators with a painting that looked like Murhder. Although she was curious, she had no intention of following up because he’d told her he never wanted to see her again.

Tohr brings her Wellsie’s mating dress for her to wear for her mating to JM. She has no idea why and can’t get the answer from Tohr’s mind. A female in black robes like the Scribe Virgin’s enters the room and says it was because Tohr was there at Xhex’s birth.

Xhex notes that the female’s emotional grid matches hers, so the female must be her mother. She doesn’t blame her for killing herself and agrees to begin a relationship with her.

After the mating ceremony, JM gives her a huge diamond necklace so her hands would be free for fighting. She tells him she wants some ink, too.

No’One is trying to build a relationship with her, but Xhex feels that her mother is afraid of her because she is a symphath.

She and Rhage are called into the field as backup and is stabbed in the chest by a lesser. Never one to give up, she keeps going and is pissed when JM steps between her and the enemy because he wouldn’t do that for any of the males. She’s even more pissed when he calls her stupid in front of the other fighters. She’s now learned for herself that males change after mating and form new expectations.

In the next BDB meeting, Xhex offered to search for the Band of Bastards since she’s the only fighter who can search during the day, but when all eyes turned to her hellren, she stormed out to her old security job at the Iron Mask.

When new product in baggies marked with the Old Language symbol for death start appearing in the club, Xhex realises that another vampire is looking to fill the Reverend’s shoes and later traces it to Assail. He offered her a job and she turned him down flat.

In the six months or so she has lived in her old digs, she and JM have less sex and feel less connected.

No’One invited Xhex over to apologise for abandoning her and tells her that she sees her as a female of worth, which was exactly what she needed to hear. No’One tells her never to describe herself as an abomination. Her symphath side gives her an invaluable weapon. No’One lives with males who fight instead of being victims and doesn’t believe being female should make Xhex any different.

She took her mother on her first ever motorbike ride and spends regular time with her, teaching her things and showing her how she can spend her money from her job.

Wrath invited Xhex to the mansion, which is an invitation you don’t get to decline, so she expected the news that he was expediting a divorce between her and JM. Although it’s rare, the Old Laws allow it, but since JM is the blooded son of a Brother, only Wrath can grant him a divorce. (I don’t know who does this for the glymera and civilians).

Instead, JM recommended her for the job of finding any long range rifles the Band of Bastards may have used in the assassination attempt. He is still bonded to her and is putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to her fighting.

Months later, Xhex is still searching and, true to his word, JM is being supportive. Although she can see he wants her, he hasn’t made a move.

Xhex noted that Assail’s hold on the human drug trade is almost solid. She knows he must have associates, but doesn’t know who they are. She asked Assail about Xcor and he refused to help her, a female, even though he’d once offered her a job (I guess he never gave her a job description, so maybe he just wanted her to make his coffee).

She followed him to Benloise’s gallery and finds Xcor also waiting for him. Xhex follows Xcor as Xcor follows Assail. But when Xcor detected Layla nearby, he changed course, evading Xhex.

Xhex took JM’s advice and asked Layla on the sly to help her find Xcor since Wrath won’t use her. They set out just before dawn so Xcor would be at his resting place. Xhex returned after dark when the Bastards should have left. She found two rifle cases buried under Xcor’s bed and was almost caught by the doggen who feeds the Bastards, but the doggen faces the wall so she can’t identify anyone.

JM’s proven support convinced her to move back into the mansion.

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