"There shall be one to bring the end before the master, a fighter of modern time found in the seventh of the twenty-first and he shall be known in the numbers he bears. One more than the compass he hath perceives though mere four points to make at his right. Three lines has he, two scores on his fore, a single black eye, in one well will he be birthed and die." -Dhestroyer prophecy as written in the chronicles of the vampire race

Lover Revealed is the fourth novel in The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward. It is preceded by Lover Awakened and followed by Lover Unbound. It was originally published March 6, 2007.

The story of The Black Dagger Brotherhood continues with Butch and Marissa.

Synopsis

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Now, an ally of the Black Dagger Brotherhood will face the challenge of his life and the evil of the ages.

Butch O'Neal is a fighter by nature. A hard living, ex-homicide cop, he's the only human ever to be allowed in the inner circle of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. And he wants to go even deeper into the vampire world- to engage in the turf war with the lessers. He's got nothing to lose. His heart belongs to a female vampire, an aristocratic beauty who's way out of his league. If he can't have her, then at least he can fight side by side with the Brothers...

Fate curses him with the very thing he wants. When Butch sacrifices himself to save a civilian vampire from the slayers, he falls prey to the darkest force in the war. Left for dead, found by a miracle, the Brotherhood calls on Marissa to bring him back, though even her love may not be enough to save him...

Main Characters

Other Characters

Black Dagger Brotherhood Members

Others - Speaking Roles

Mentioned or Non-Speaking Roles

Plot

Chapter 1

Story opens with Butch drinking at ZeroSum in the VIP section at 3:00 a.m., alone. He is approached by a woman who propositioned sex. She is, he realises, one of the professional prostitutes Rehvenge (a.k.a. The Reverend) hires to entertain its customers. Disgusted by how fake she is (from looks to the opening line she uses to get his attention) Butch turns her down and returns to knocking back his shots of Lagavulin. Rehvenge approaches him once the chippie leaves and offers to send Butch something he'll really like. Butch isn't interested, too depressed over the in-between status of his life -- not a Brother, not a cop, and not with Marissa, his one true love, who he believes has decided he wasn't up to snuff and has been ignoring him for months.

Vishous calls to tell him that the Brothers are going on a hunt and refuses Butch's offer of aid, which only depresses Butch further and reminds him of how he doesn't fit in anywhere, really. As Vishous hangs up, Butch is approached by Xhex, ZeroSum's Chief of Security. Rehvenge has sent her over to Butch, knowing that Butch is on edge and believing Xhex is just what he needs right then. Xhex refuses to give Butch her name when he asks, preferring to be called "Sympathy" instead, and she comments that "your sex isn't the only one that can be strong" when Butch asks about her gender (he's not quite sure if she's a trans, a cross-dresser, or an actual female at that point). Convinced "Sympathy" is all-female and willing to give him a rough ride to help him forget his worries, Butch accepts Xhex's offer for sex.

Meanwhile, Marissa was at a glymera ball being held in her brother's mansion. She looks around at all the couples walking hand-in-hand and dancing together, and suddenly feels suffocated by the fact that she is not mated, despite being over 400 years old. Worse, everyone knows she was cast off by Wrath, and as a result, she's a social pariah because in the eyes of the glymera, her worth is based on being a proper shellan. She stands alone on the edge of the ballroom, feeling out of place in her life. Hurrying off to the bathroom to hide, she adjusts her hair and dress in front of the mirror, and starts to suffer a panic attack. She goes into a stall to throw up, but instead cries, feeling alone and unwanted, caged by the society and life she was born into.

While in the stall, Marissa overhears two female Vampires in the bathroom talking. One of them in newly mated and her hellren has bitten her neck and left marks that haven't yet healed. According to the rules of the glymera, this is scandalous, and so the female is in the bathroom with her friend trying to cover up the marks and clean the wine off of the shawl the female is wearing. Marissa thinks of Butch, and reminds herself that not only is he human and unable to understand the sacred bond between hellren and shellan, but he's also made it clear to her that he's not interested in her any longer, since she hasn't seen or talked to him in months.

Depressed by that line of thinking, she leaves the ball and goes up to her room. There she strips down and takes a shower, then changes into simpler clothes and leaves Havers' house.

Chapter Two

Butch is leaving ZeroSum at 3:45 a.m., after having had sex with Xhex. He decides to walk home, needing air to clear his head. He hurries past his old hang-out of McGrider's Bar, because it's a popular spot for the Caldwell Police, and he doesn't want to run into any of his old co-workers, especially after disappearing unexpectedly months earlier. Then, he passes by Screamer's. At the alley where Darius had died in the car bomb explosion, he stops to pay tribute to the place that started it all for him. Darius' death had been the case that had led him to the Brotherhood.

By pure coincidence, two Lessers show up then, chasing a pre-trans civilian male down that same alley. Butch gets into a gunfight with them and is shot in the thigh. After knocking the Lessers incapacitated, the pre-trans male starts screaming. Butch handles it well, calmly and firmly telling the young male to stop screaming, get control of himself, and dematerialize home. Butch then rifles around in one of the Lessers' pockets and pulls out a phone. He realises the Lesser he shot called for backup, and the sounds of heavy breathing coming through the open connection tells Butch backup is on its way. Worried about the civilian male, Butch forcefully tells him to dematerialize NOW. He does...just as six Lessers appears at the mouth of the alley.

Elsewhere in Caldwell, at the Caldwell High School's football field, Vishous turns away from a Lesser fight as Rhage unleashes his Beast and goes to town chomping and stomping on the enemy. He climbs to the top of the bleachers and notices all the human homes below, sprawling in every direction. Worried about them catching wind of what was happening on the field, Vishous takes his glove off and using the power within his hand, casts a mhis, an illusion, over the entire area. The sounds and sights of battle are instantly replaced with the false image of the same football field completely undisturbed and quiet.

The Beast finished off the Lessers, and then spotted Vishous. It snorted in his direction, unconcerned and clearly recognising Visous as a friend rather than foe. Then, it lay down and in a flash of white light, it let go of its transformation, returning Rhage's body to him. Vishous hurried to his brother's side and helped him up, supporting him off the field towards a bleacher seat to rest. Vishous then called Butch's cell phone, hoping to catch the guy for a ride, but got no answer. Then, he called The Pit and got the voice mail there, too.

Desperate, Vishous called Zsadist and the brother agreed to come pick them up at the school. While they waited, Vishous stared up at the night sky and thought about the recent loss of his visions and his telepathy, and realised how scary it was to have gotten his wish to lose both abilities.

Zsadist shows up and takes Rhage home in his car, promising to return to the school and find Vishous if he wasn't done within ten minutes scrubbing the scene of traces of the fight that had taken place their earlier. It finally hits home to Vishous that Zsadist is someone he can trust. Zsadist leaves.

While he's working eradicating Lesser blood from every surface with the power of his 'nuclear hand', Vishous calls Butch again and is dumped to voice mail a second time. He leaves a message. Then, feeling antsy and out of sorts, he calls one of his sexual submissives and gives her instructions: "You will get ready for me now. You will wear what I bought for you. Your hair will be bound and off your neck." She agrees. He dematerializes to meet her at his penthouse in the Commodore as soon as the football field is fixed.

Chapter Three

Rehvenge is thinking about ZeroSum and his ownership of it, as well as the life he's built around it as a drug dealer, a betting hall, and a pimp. He recognises that the lifestyle is despicable, but is practical in seeing its benefits in money, power, and in allowing him the ability to pay off his blackmailer.

Xhex comes in just as he is contemplating those thoughts, and Rehv thanks her for taking on Butch that night. Xhex says she wouldn't have done it if she hadn't wanted to and then proceeds directly to business, informing her boss as to the security problems the club dealt with that evening: a rape in a bathroom that ended with the guy getting the crap kicked out of him by Xhex and the woman pressing charges against her rapist, finding two minors on-premises and a bouncer taking kick-backs and getting rid of all three of them, and dealing with another drug overdose. She shows him a plastic bag containing the junk drugs, and Rehv tells her to bring whoever is freelancing in his club to him as soon as she catches him, as he intends to personally deal with whoever is muscling into his territory.

Xhex then gets personal, asking Rehv is he's looking for a mate in Marissa. She cites his GPS showing his Bentley parked at Havers' a lot and knows Marissa is unattached. She's worried because Marissa's place on the Princeps Council could prove problematic for both Rehv and Xhex if Marissa were to find out Rehv's deep, dark secret of being half-Sympath.

Rehv reveals that the Brotherhood already knew about his Sympath heritage, and he reassures her they won't move on him due to his blood relation to Bella, who is a shellan of one of the Brothers. When Xhex asks him if Bella knows the truth of his birth, Rehv tells her 'no' and makes it clear he doesn't want that little bit of information leaking out, either.

As he rounds the desk to leave his office, he wonders how Xhex manages to keep her Sympath side at bay, as he doubts she shoots herself up with dopamine, as he does, as she doesn't walk with a cane and has no issues with her limbs (which is a side-effect of the dopamine).

Xhex then very bluntly asks Rehv if he's feeding Marissa. Rehv refuses to say, and Xhex reminds him of the deal they'd made twenty-five years earlier: no mates and no feeding with Normals. Rehv's stubbornness won't let him back down, and he again refuses to discuss the matter with Xhex. He pulls rank as her boss and tells her to let the Moors (the Shadows, Trez and iAm) lock up, and for her to go home. As she leaves, she reminds him again that what they'd agreed to previously had been done for a good reason...a reason that hadn't changed.

Rehv mulls over her concerns, realising that Marissa would be horrified if she knew the truth of who and what he was, and of the things he'd had to do to keep that secret. Yet, despite that, he remembered well the last time she'd fed from him, three weeks earlier, and was looking forward to the next time.

In the meantime, Vishous returned to the Brotherhood after having had sex with his submissive, and just before dawn. Unfortunately, the sex hadn't done anything to calm the nerves inside him, and he was only looking forward to a shower to wash the scent of that female off his skin. On the way into the Pit, he called out for Butch, but there was no answer. Using his computer, he found the GPS signal for Butch's Escalade still parked outside Screamer's. Worried, he flipped open his phone...and found it had a voice mail. He played it just as the mansion's shutters went down for the day and all the outside doors locked, and heard Butch ordering someone to dematerialize NOW, then the sounds of gunshots, grunts and thuds.

Trapped inside the mansion, realising Butch was in serious trouble, Vishous panicked.

Chapter Four

Twelve hours later, Butch regained consciousness to the sound of his own blood dripping after having been interrogated by the Lessers. His injuries include: couple of broken ribs, electroshock, "under the fingernails stuff," and "between his legs." Already near death, he senses the Omega nearby and he begins to recite Psalm 23. The Omega cut his stomach and placed his own severed finger inside the cut, sealing it shut, in order to use him for unknown nefarious purposes. The skin around the healed wound turned grey before the Omega puts Butch to sleep.

Vishous informs the Brotherhood of Butch's abduction and that he can find him. It comes out that he'd secretly fed Butch his blood (towards the end of Lover Awakened), thereby breaking the law. A couple of Brothers insinuate that V fed Butch from the vein due to V's sexuality, which is left unspecified but from their reactions, it's plain that V is attracted to men and women. He tells them that their relationship "isn't like that."

Chapter Five

Marissa goes to Rehvenge to feed and he senses her emotions, she could feel him draining some of her fear and anxiety. He insists that he wants to feed only from his neck, but he never became erect, which makes Marissa feel worse about herself. While attempting to feed, Marissa is still distracted by thoughts of Butch. Rehvenge, sensing that it was someone else, asked who. Marissa refuses to tell him Butch's identity, only telling him that it's someone he doesn't know. He kisses her and tells her that he could "mate a female." She didn't return the interest, but she could tell that he would be a powerful, dominant, and thorough lover.

Vishous detects Butch's presence to the northeast, approximately twelve miles away. Rhage warns him not to take on the Lessers without backup, but V does so, anyway, sensing evil. He finds Butch in the snow, naked, bloody, surrounded by coyotes, and eyes frozen shut from tears. V realizes that Butch is the source of the evil. Butch warns him not to save him, but kill him instead because he's "infected." Wrapping him in a Mylar blanket, Vishous discovers a black mark on his stomach that's about the size of a fist and knows that he has to remove it there because the taint can't be brought back to the mansion.

The Scribe Virgin appears and tells him that she can't intervene, but V has to use one of his gifts to save Butch. Using one of his daggers, Vishous cuts open Butch's stomach and finds something black cocooned in flesh. The Scribe Virgin bids him use his left hand; when V worries he'll kill Butch, she tells him that the infection will protect him from dying and talks him through purging the evil from Butch. Afterwards, she supports Vishous and strokes his hair as he throws up. When he feels better, she tells him the next step is to bring a jar with a Lesser's heart and to destroy it with his left hand. When he calls for a pickup, Rhage starts to tear into V for going in alone but stops when Vishous starts crying.

At Havers' clinic, Marissa visits Bitty, a seven-year-old girl, and her mother, Annalye. The girl, Bitty, has a leg with a compound fracture. She'll need a titanium rod and more surgeries as she grows. They're obviously poor and abused by the girl's father, but Havers never turns anyone away, even if they can't pay. Marissa gives her a gold disc about the size of a teacup saucer with the initials M and B engraved on the back. She tells Bitty it's a wishing plate and when one writes down their wish and puts it on the plate, the Scribe Virgin comes to make it come true. Bitty wishes her mahmen would stop crying, which she's been doing ever since Bitty "fell down the stairs." Annalye tells Marissa that her hellren would kill them if he found them, and Marissa finds herself wanting to learn how to shoot a gun. There are abusers amongst their race, while they've always been a minority, she realizes that seclusion orders would make it harder for survivors to escape domestic violence, especially when they have no social services.

In the hallway, Marissa sees Phury, Rhage, and Vishous with blood on them. They avoid her eyes and she assumes it's due to her fallen status. She demands to know if Butch was hurt, having had a vision earlier of him lying in the snow; when they don't respond, she checks the system and finds that none of the Brotherhood nor Butch have been admitted.

Butch wakes up feeling terrible and thinks back on how his family ostracized him, reliving the death of his sister, Janie, and his mother's pain afterwards. It's been five years since he last saw or spoke with any of his family. He removes his IV and has a near-death experience of walking down a white hallway towards a door, but Marissa, wearing a yellow gown, blocks the way.

Chapter Six

Shaken, Vishous goes to his penthouse, not wanting to return to an empty house; he feels dirty since he's never been there when he wasn't in the headspace for a rendezvous. Havers calls to inform that Butch had removed his IV and coded, restraining him once he was stabilized, warning V to prepare for the worst. Hating that she was his only choice, V called Marissa and gave her directions to the quarantine room: door on the right labelled Housekeeping and put on a hazmat suit before entering.

Marissa finds the room, but in her concern, she neglects to don protective gear. When Havers discovers she's been exposed to the contaminant inside Butch, he becomes extremely upset and tells her she can't leave because she could spread it.

Chapter Seven

John suspects that the bonding scent is tied to sex because everyone smells most strongly of it at First Meal. A worried Beth tries to coax John upstairs to have dinner with everyone; she leaves food for him when he refuses.

Mr. X assumes the Black Dagger Brotherhood killed Butch and wonders how the Omega didn't know. Dundh is "every Christian's nightmare times a thousand," and he's jealous that Butch won't be condemned to becoming part of the essence of the Omega for eternity.

Butch is in a coma for three days and has vague memories of Marissa caring for him and keeping him clinging to life, but he assumes it was all a dream until he sees her asleep on a pallet in a corner of the room, where she's been sleeping in case he crashes again and another bed would take up space needed by the staff.

Chapter Eight

A nurse comes to obtain a blood sample and Butch chastises Marissa for not wearing a hazmat suit like the nurse is, realizing she's been stuck in the room with him. His blood's darker than usual, like brown sludge, and the nurse informs him that it was worse. Vishous has been visiting them twice a day to cleanse Butch of the taint and protect Marissa from contamination. Marissa begins to suspect that he wasn't actually in a car wreck like Vishous told her. Butch worries about Marissa eating enough and wants her gone.

Since Butch doesn't want her there, doesn't want her even touching him, Marissa hides in the bathroom to cry using the sound of running water to muffle the noise. Since most people don't continuously run water, Butch knocks on the door and when she doesn't answer, he enters.

Vishous comes in and Butch falls on his face, then tries to act tough and tells V that he was thinking of going into construction and was just studying the toilet installation. V carries him back to bed and Marissa takes a shower, giving them some time together. Butch doesn't remember much of his captivity but reassures V that he did not break under torture.

When he falls asleep, Marissa asks V if Butch's family should be notified and he says that they don't matter. He explains that Butch's worried about her and that's why he wants her gone. She doesn't believe him but wishes that Butch cared about her. V asks her if that was true, then why did she have a servant turn him away at the end of last summer when he came to see her? She tells him that she'd come down with the flu after feeding Wrath, dealing with Havers' treason, and working at the clinic. Then, when she ran into Butch at the clinic a few weeks ago, he didn't want to speak to her. He says, "You're his light, Marissa."

Mr. X goes to an underground cage match and recruits Van Dean, one of the fighters.

The recruits are studying explosives and when Zsadist tells them how car bombs work, John has a flashback to Darius' death and then a seizure.

Chapter Ten

Beth, Rhage, and Vishous are playing pool when Wrath comes in, pissed that John won't go to see Havers after his seizure, has been spending all his time alone, hasn't been eating, and has been sleeping in Tohr's office. V hasn't been sleeping and has been going through all 18 volumes of the chronicles trying to find an answer to what happened to Butch.

Van Dean meets Mr. X in a vacant house in the suburbs where he's paid $10,000 to train Lessers in the basement.

Chapter Eleven

When Marissa tells Butch what Vishous said, he tells her that he drove by her house nearly every night and that a doggen had told him that she would call him. He confesses his feelings by telling her "I'm pathetic over you." She admits she feels the same and when they kiss, she can smell his bonding scent.

Vishous watched them from the observation booth and stops Havers from going in.

Butch tells her he's had unsafe sex, including a vampire recently, and that he's lower class. She doesn't care, but she was concerned about the blatant disregard for his own safety. She's a virgin and is too nervous to unbutton her dress, afraid he'll find her undesirable just like Wrath or unworthy like the glymera. As they begin to learn each other's bodies, it comes out that females in the glymera are taught not to touch themselves and she wasn't even aware she would become wet with arousal. In order to get her out of her head so she can come to completion, he bites her on the neck in instinct.

Chapter Twelve

Joyce O'Neal-Rafferty and Mike Rafferty discuss the baptism of their three-month-old son next Sunday. She last saw Butch, her brother, at her wedding five years ago.

Havers had deliberately kept Butch and Marissa apart because he doesn't consider Butch an appropriate match and considers making a match between her and Rehvenge.

When Marissa explores Butch's body, they discover that other fluids in his body had also turned black. He panics and hurries to clean her off, but she doesn't understand the urgency since she didn't know that it wasn't supposed to be that colour. A horrified Havers enters the room and roughly drags his sister away from Butch, who flattens him against the wall for hurting her.

They fight, Marissa wants to marry Butch, Butch wants Marissa gone and Havers wants Butch gone. The doctor had already called the Brotherhood to come pick up Butch and tells him that he never wants to see Butch in his clinic again. Butch wants to protect Marissa and she reminds him that she's stronger, reminding him that he's an outsider in her world.

Vishous brought a Valentino garment bag and a cashmere dresscoat for Butch. On their way out they pass Marissa visiting Bitty. Vishous considers Butch his only friend and tells him that a Mike Rafferty had called the Black Dagger Brotherhood's voicemail to invite Butch to the baptism. They go to Zerosum and find three Lessers.

Chapter 14

Marissa's bedroom is very feminine: all white with a canopy bed, chaise lounge, and an antique dresser. Havers bought her Albrecht Dürer prints that hang on the wall, even though he thinks they're too masculine and therefore inappropriate for a female's bedroom.

She dresses in a 1960s teal Yves St Laurent gown and diamond jewellery, thinking that glymera females serve as little more than mannequins to display their family's wealth. She encounters one of the doggen, Karolyn, carrying a stack of collapsed cardboard boxes who tells her that Havers had left for the Princeps Council without her. When she arrives, Havers ignores her and didn't reserve a seat for her like he usually does. No one wants to sit next to her, going out of their way to do so even though the seats on either side are empty.

There's a motion before the council to make seclusion for all females of the species mandatory, meaning that they cannot leave their home without the consent, and therefore the protection, of male family members. They use the predations of the Lessening Society to justify themselves. While only the representatives of the six original families can vote, everyone, including non-voting members, must be present before a vote. Should the proposal pass, they will then present it to the king as a recommendation. If he vetoes, then the council can pass a vote of no confidence, which would lead to civil unrest.

Van Dean continues to train the Lessers at different locations and suspects that they were a gang, albeit with military discipline and top-notch equipment.

Rhage and Vishous go to the apartments of the Lessers they killed to search for the jars that contain their hearts and any useful information, finding a laptop.

Chapter Fifteen

The Brotherhood asked Rhage to try and make Vishous come to Last Meal because he's been acting pretty twitchy lately.

Havers avoided talking to her after the meeting and when she got home, she found all of her things packed in boxes and her Louis Vuitton luggage. Havers gives her a thick wad of cash and tells her to leave because he refuses to watch her destroy herself after he'd threatened the king over her honour. She knows that if the seclusion order passes, she will be trapped without a male who has authority over her to allow her in public and tells him that she has no choices due to her status and gender. He tells her that she should have mated Wrath and could have worked harder to get his attention.

He reminds her that she chose to go into Butch's room and impugns her honour. She responds by telling him that she's a virgin, which he doesn't believe. In a moment of clarity, she understands that Havers needs rules and the rigidity of the glymera and she had threatened his entire worldview. He's kind enough to "allow" her to keep the Dürer prints.

Chapter Sixteen

The Omega demands more Lessers and progress from Mr. X who looks up a prophecy that he's been working to make come true:

"There shall be one to bring the end before the master, a fighter of modern time found in the seventh of the twenty-first and he shall be known in the numbers he bears. One more than the compass he hath perceives, though mere four points to make at his right. Three lines has he, two scores on his fore, a single black eye, in one well will he be birthed and die."

He thinks that it's Van Dean because he's missing a finger on his right hand, has a tattoo of an eye between his shoulder blades, has a belly button and a scar from an appendectomy, and he was born, raised, and turned Lesser in Caldwell, also known as the Well.

Marissa gets to the Brotherhood's mansion, which she could find after centuries of feeding on Wrath's blood, just before dawn. Rehvenge is her only other option, but she knows that his mother's a spiritual advisor to the glymera. Beth comes to see who's at the door and knows that something's wrong when she sees Marissa, who omits Butch's role in the story she relates to Beth. She tells Marissa to stay for however long she wants.

Wrath demands to know what's happening and Beth informs him that Marissa's moving in, and hearing it told to another shreds Marissa's pride. Wrath suspects it's because of Butch, Vishous having told him about her caring for him, and tells her she can live out the rest of her days there if she likes. He truly dislikes Havers. At Wrath's behest, Fritz and two doggen go to collect Marissa's things since she'd arrived with only the clothes on her back.

Beth gets Marissa settled, who worries about awkwardness due to being Wrath's former shellan, and Beth tells her that she's grateful for having saved Wrath's life at the end of Dark Lover and doesn't hold any animosity towards her. At this point, the sun's risen and Marissa can't leave even if she wanted to.

Butch discovers that what he's producing is no longer black and when Vishous offers to bring Marissa to him that night, Butch tells him what happened with Havers.

Marissa's decided to stop trying to fit herself into the box that society has deemed appropriate for her. Butch calls from Vishous' apartment, where he's gone to avoid compromising the location of the mansion with his contaminant, and she's still angry with him, hanging up at one point and then unplugging the phone when he calls back. So Butch steals a green Honda Accord belonging to one Sally Forrester with skills he gained stealing cars back in Boston, and as he drives to the mansion, he thinks about how he used to do coke even when he became a cop and pretty much the only line he drew was taking bribes or sexual favours.

Butch cuts himself to check the colour of his blood, which is back to normal red, and calls Vishous to let him know he's going to see Marissa. He mentions that he's giving off a bonding scent, and V asks if he's adopted or if there are any unusual family stories, the answer to all of which is no. V tells him that Wrath has authorized enhanced interrogation techniques against the Lessers, but doesn't want Butch involved and that Marissa's under the protection of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, so if she doesn't want to see him, then they'll haul him away. Butch reassures him that he'd leave as soon as she told him to so that wouldn't be necessary.

Chapter Seventeen

Marissa wakes up to Butch in her room and he sees the unplugged phone, he apologizes for assuming that he knew best, but he's worried about being dangerous, not that he sees her as weak. In return, she demands to know the whole truth of what happened and when he gives it to her, she insists on helping him. The question of whether or not Butch is a Lesser comes up Their need for intimacy is interrupted by her bloodlust from needing to feed.

Chapter Eighteen

Van Dean meets Mr. X beneath a bridge, who asks him for help and shows Van Dean his brother, Richard, tied up, blindfolded, and gagged in the back of a gold Chrysler Town & Country minivan.

Butch returns the stolen Honda with cash to pay for the window he smashed and Vishous follows in the Escalade. Butch senses Lessers nearby and describes the sensation like a cellphone ringing in his chest. As a test to determine whether or not Butch's allegiance is compromised, V lets him fight and, on instinct, Butch inhales a sort of black mist from a Lesser's eyes, nose, and mouth. Once finished, the Lesser turns to ash and Butch smells like a Lesser, his throat's burning, and he's nauseous and bleeding black again. Vishous takes him back to his penthouse and calls Wrath with a quick update.

Chapter Nineteen

When he gets back, he informs Marissa that Butch isn't coming back to the mansion that night. She argues with V over Butch fighting with the Brotherhood and he tells her that Butch would take good care of her if she'd let him. For a moment, while they're quarrelling, she thinks he might kiss her. He tells her that in his mind, she's already Butch's, and besides, she's not his type and her skin's too soft.

Although he is fascinated by her and wants to know what Butch sees in her because he's increasingly lonely. He makes a complete report to Wrath, who decides to bring Butch home, feeling that the risk is negligible.

Van Dean wakes up a Lesser and, enamoured of the power that comes with it, can't remember his original objections. Mr. X wants to keep him especially close but mentions that the transition was average.

Chapter Twenty

As she's getting dressed, Marissa worries about Butch fighting with the Lessers and experiences a moment of dizziness from the need to feed. The only garment she has immediately available is the same teal dress, dry-cleaned by the doggen, she wore to the council meeting and she never wanted to see it again. She meets with Fritz, who brings her some legal documents, including power of attorney and a rental agreement, that she'd requested. Against his protests, she forces him to take a diamond bracelet that her father gave to her a century before and tells him that she won't be staying long.

Butch no longer smells of Lesser and nicks himself to check the colour of his blood, it's red again. Vishous licks up the blood and tells him he's fine, but when Butch freaks out, unsure of what that would do to him, V pretends to have a seizure. In retaliation, Butch punches him. Butch theorizes that he's a Lesser "processing plant." He realizes that there's no going back to normal for him.

It's been three months since Wellsie's death. Since John's been asocial and not eating, Zsadist had to drag him to meals, which they both hate, so John reluctantly goes to avoid forcing the Brother into that. When he emerges from the training centre one night, he sees Z chasing Bella and he jumps from a balcony two floors up and then dematerializes to reappear in front of his shellan. John's envious of the male's strength and size, thinking back on his sexual assault he feels small and weak.

Chapter Twenty-One

Marissa tells Butch that she doesn't want him fighting alongside the Brotherhood, which wasn't something that Butch had seriously considered as a possibility until she told him of what V had said when they argued. She's also worried that he will go to other females because she knows that as a man, he has needs. He notices that she's cold, dazed, uncoordinated, and shaky and knows that she's not up to eating with the others. They tell each other "I love you" for the first time.

She tells him that he's a male of worth and he denies it, thinking of his past as a cop fired for punching a suspect, a cokehead, an alcoholic, and how he's been sort of suicidal since the death of his sister, Janie. He doesn't want to ruin what they have by telling her of his sordid history.

They are physically affectionate and he talks her through touching herself for the first time and performs cunnilingus on her. The bloodlust takes over and she's afraid she'll kill him by trying to drink from him, but wouldn't be sated on his human blood and continue drinking until she took too much. She locks herself in the bathroom and sees her reflection as undignified, out of control, and all things shunned by the glymera. Hearing her smash the mirror, Butch tries to break in.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Operating under the virgin-whore dichotomy, Butch had held her down while pleasuring her and felt that meant he'd treated her like a trumpet. He sees her actions as a response to the way he'd handled her, the baring of her fangs self-defense. Retreating, he takes the Escalade to Vishous' penthouse where he walks in on V having intercourse with a masked female. Abandoning that option, he thinks some more and realizes Marissa needs blood, but the thought of her drinking from some male makes him homicidal. He'd rather die giving her what she needed than see her go to someone else.

V calls and apologizes for what Butch saw, but he wanted to talk about blood hunger. V compares it to food poisoning at first, and then the person can become animalistic. He suggests they go for drinks at Zerosum.

When they meet up, V passes along a message from Marissa via Fritz that she's fine and that she loves Butch, he didn't do anything wrong. He offers to feed Marissa while Butch watches, even though he's never fed a female before. Butch declines, saying he'd end up ripping out V's throat. He just laughs and says that he understands.

Rehvenge joins them and tells them of the seclusion resolution before the council. He warns Vishous that it's meant as a warning to Wrath and he'll try and delay the meeting as long as he possibly can. During their conversation, Marissa calls him and he excuses himself to his office to take the call. Not knowing who was on the other end, but interpreting Rehv's reaction, Butch suspects it's a booty call and V pities the unknown female.

Rehvenge guesses where Marissa is by the unknown phone number she calls from and she tells him an edited version of what happened with Havers. He tells her that she should have come to him and they make plans to meet the next day at nightfall.

She thinks about the seclusion order and considers what that would mean for females without males and females experiencing domestic violence since there are no social services. Since Havers had evicted her thirty minutes before dawn, she could easily have died if she hadn't gone to her ex-hellren or to Rehvenge.

In the training centre, Lash picks on John, who tries to attack him but Blaylock stops him. While John's restrained by Blay, Lash punches him and when Blay stands up for John, Lash tells him not to pick the wrong side by siding with John.

Afterwards, Zsadist sees John's face and examines the knuckles of the recruits, finding John's are clean and Lash's bear marks. He separates Lash from the class and works the other recruits much harder than usual, making them do pushups whenever they pass Lash.

Z tells John that Lash only gets one more strike before he's out and John tells him that he needs the other recruits to see that he can hold his own. While Z doesn't like it, he understands.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Butch waited outside Marissa's bedroom until nightfall. At one point, he called his sister and realizes that nothing's changed, his family still wants nothing to do with him. Fritz procures a thick gold cross necklace at Butch's request.

At nightfall, Butch offers his vein and Marissa's going to go to Rehvenge, but they misunderstand each other at first. He tells her that he's insanely jealous and couldn't stand to see her go to anyone else, and she tells him that feeding doesn't have to be sexual, although she can't argue when he says that any male who fed from her would want more. He attempts to force her to feed from him, but she locks him in her room and dematerializes.

Mr. X forces Van Dean to kill the other Lessers he defeats in training, which disturbs him.

Chapter Twenty-Four

When he sees how poorly Marissa is faring, Rehvenge is angry at the unknown male who he assumes refuses to feed her because they're not interested in her. At first, he suspected it was Wrath, but thought that Phury, who's celibate, was likely the male in question.

Butch goes to Zerosum to drink.

Chapter Twenty-Five

Joyce and Mike argue because he'd invited Butch to their son's baptism since they were once friends. She tells him that Butch turned his back on the family, and he responds that maybe the family turned their back on Butch first and reminds her that Butch was twelve when Janie died.

Rhage told Vishous that Butch ran out, so he goes to Zerosum to find him. Xhex catches V and tells him to get Butch out before he does something stupid. He asks her if she gets off on fighting with men, and she tells him she gets off on sex with Butch. V warns her off of Butch because there's another female. If that's so, she asks, then why was he in there nearly every night? Rehvenge steps in before the two of them fight. Butch scents Marissa on Rehvenge.

Chapter Twenty-Six

Butch sees fang marks on Rehv's neck and he tackles the male; the bouncers have to pull him off and Xhex punches Butch. Butch hates it because he liked Rehv. Rehv, realizing Butch was the other male, tells V to take Butch home and sober him up, which is easier to do once Butch passes out.

Mr. X instructs Van Dean on how to detect vampires by scent and by sight.

Vishous gets Butch out just as a couple of Lessers show up and Marissa sees him bring Butch back in, he tells her that it's because she fed from Rehvenge.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Marissa's upset over Butch's black eye and cleans him up, ordering V to bring towels and water. Butch comes to and smells Rehvenge on her, his eyes turning black. She confesses that it felt wrong and she cried the entire time. He apologizes for being a "pain in the ass" and she apologizes for her biological imperative. He reminds her that it's not her fault and he doesn't know why he's so possessive. She proposes intercourse and he says no because he's drunk and it would be her first time. She insists and extreme pain sends her into a panic attack because she's convinced that she's defective and that Wrath and the glymera could detect that, which was why she was still a virgin after 300 years.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

When they wake up, Butch acts on instinct and cleans Marissa of her virginal blood, which is an intimate vampire tradition. Borrowing his robe, she goes to the garage in search of her clothes, but everything reminds her of either her brother or the glymera. Gathering hundreds of thousands of dollars of haute couture on the lawn, she burns it in her mania. The bonfire draws Butch, Vishous, and Wrath, the latter saves her from tripping on the robe and falling into the fire.

Butch, unable to save Marissa, has flashbacks to the last time he saw Janie. Having calmed, Marissa's mortified. Wrath doesn't care about the lawn, only her wellbeing. Butch tells her "Take care of yourself." Marissa's afraid that he's leaving, but is distracted by Wrath scolding her for asking Fritz to sell her bracelet for her, his insistence on V setting up her new rental for security, and Beth's offer of clothes.

While alone with Beth, Marissa protests that as the queen, helping Marissa is beneath her. Beth responds with, "I'm the queen, I do what I want." Never having had a friend before, Marissa does admit that she needs to talk to someone about everything she's been going through, but that it involves improper topics. Beth assures her that she won't repeat what Marissa says and that the first couple of time she was intimate, it was painful for her, too.

Meanwhile, Butch is having his own breakdown. He feels like a well-kept pet and that he's bad for Marissa, blaming himself for her meltdown. Dressing in jeans and a sweatshirt since he didn't actually own anything he had, and intends to leave on foot. V attempts to stop him, reminding him that there's no out for him, and Butch tells him that he doesn't belong there, so if V has to kill him, to make it quick and keep it secret from Marissa. V suggests another way.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Butch thinks about Joyce and the baptism, which will happen at the same family church where he was baptized, and decides to go to church regularly. He takes a nap and wakes up to find V without his glove and having a nightmare. Butch tells him it's time to do something about his nightmares.

V asks about Butch's family and if there's anything in his ancestry other than "pasty white bog people," he wants to know if there are any vampires in his lineage. While V hates his left hand, he can use it for ancestor regression to determine if Butch can be turned into a vampire, which he suspects is possible due to Butch's instincts and bonding scent. First, they have to get permission from the Scribe Virgin.

Rhage and Marissa go to check out the place she rented, which is about seven miles away from the Brotherhood's compound. Wrath tells V that the Scribe Virgin wouldn't see him and that he'll try the next night. He notices that V is strung tight and wants to know what's doing, but V insists he's fine. Wrath tells him that if he doesn't get his head on straight, he'll take him out of the Brotherhood's rotation for mandatory R&R. Apparently, Butch had told Wrath about V's nightmares, about which V is less than happy.

Marissa wants to try sex again and Butch tells her that he wishes he was enough for her, and she insists that he is, but he doesn't feel that he can be as a human.

Wrath asks Butch to "CSI" Tohrment's place to see if he's returned at all since his disappearance. Marissa's glad because that means he won't be fighting in the field, which upsets Butch.

Chapter Thirty

Blay is the first of the trainees to transition and his classmates are all curious, forcing Zsadist to derail the class to give them The Talk of what to expect.

Van Dean and Mr. X are on a stakeout of a shabby house they believe to belong to a vampire. Butch, Rhage, and Vishous arrive just in time to see Annalye running out of the house carrying Bitty, chased by her hellren wielding a chainsaw. V takes on the hellren while Butch and Rhage handle the Lessers, Butch inhaling his.

Chapter Thirty-One

Butch recognizes Annalye and Bitty and gets them safely settled in the Escalade while Vishous drags the body of the hellren into the woods to burn at dawn. Rhage goes downtown to provide back up for Phury and Zsadist. Butch makes sure to get Bitty's toy tiger, Mastimon, and he and V take the females to Havers'. He asks V about domestic violence among vampires. He says that it happened in the Old Country, but he doesn't hear much about it in North America. Butch surmises that it's not getting reported.

In the locker room, Lash accuses John of being attracted to Blay's post-transition body, targeting Blay as well in his homophobic bullying. John loses control and attacks Lash, hitting him over and over until there's blood everywhere. Wrath has to haul him off of Lash and Beth looks after the severely injured Lash.

John tries to fight Wrath, too, savaging the King's wrist with his teeth. Once he calms down, Wrath tells him that he needs thinking soldiers, not mindless thugs, and asks him what Tohr would think. John breaks down, finally starting to process the pain he'd been bottling up.

Chapter Thirty-Two

Butch gives Marissa a call and she goes to Havers' and meets him outside since Butch has been banned from the clinic. She tells him that she worries about him so much because she'd die if he did and invites him to her new place.

When she goes to see Annalye and Bitty, Havers casts a look of disgust at her jeans, which she'd never before worn in her life. Marissa offers the females a place to stay and when the mahmen protests that she can't repay Marissa, Bitty tries to give back the gold wishing plate Marissa had given her earlier, kept safe inside her stuffed tiger.

Zsadist summons John to Wrath's office and he's assuming that he's getting kicked out. Instead, he finds that Tohr's chair has been moved to just behind and to the left of the throne. When he realizes it's a regular meeting amongst the Brotherhood, Marissa, and the King and Queen, he settles into the chair and Wrath hands him a notebook and pen. Marissa goes over all the reasons why seclusion would harm females more than it would help them and Wrath decides the race needs social services, and he puts her in charge of developing those with the help of Mary.

Afterwards, John apologizes to Wrath, who accepts the apology, but tells him he has to sleep in the mansion every day and go for a walk with Zsadist every night.

Chapter Thirty-Three

Forty-five minutes later, Marissa and Mary are going over plans for social services. As Butch watches them, he realizes Marissa had deliberately cultivated pretty, feminine airs to hide her intelligence as was proper for a female member of the glymera and she's abandoning them now. Marissa plans to work with Butch to set up law enforcement for the species.

For the ancestor regression, Wrath has Rhage hold Butch and they put a leather belt in his mouth to prevent cracking his teeth. Marissa knocks on the door and when they let her in, she wants to know what's going on. The Brothers give them some privacy and they fight, Marissa ends up slapping him for not caring what happens to him. Butch says he needs to become what she needs and asks her to think about what it's like for him, a human living in the vampire world. She'd be happy with just a decade because that didn't hold the uncertain chance of dying like the regression and transition. Butch tells her he wants centuries, not a decade. When it becomes obvious Butch isn't going to change his mind, Marissa stays for the regression.

V puts Butch into a trancelike state.

Mr. X makes plans with Van Dean to find Butch and kill him. He remembers Butch's shield number, name, where he was born, and the address of his parents, all of which he learned when Butch came to the dojo in July.

Chapter Thirty-Four

Butch wakes up not remembering much and finds Marissa crying and Vishous hovering over him. He'd been having seizures and has a few more. To bring his blood sugars up, Rhage gives him a grape tootsie pop and has to hold it because Butch hasn't regained full control over his body yet. Wrath confirms that not only is Butch part-vampire, he's related somehow to Wrath, which delights Butch.

Butch tells her of his three brothers and single living sister and how his father used to abuse him and only him. He shrugs it off and says it's ok because now he can take a punch. He tells her about Janie's death and how afterwards his dad never touched him again, seeming to fear him because she was his favourite kid and thought Butch had put her in the car with her rapists and murderers as revenge for the abuse. His dad left him alone in order to protect his remaining kids.

He'd never felt like he fit in anywhere until he met the Brothers and he wants to transition for himself so he can finally fit in with his found family.

Chapter Thirty-Five

Butch had never told the whole story of his family and childhood. He wants a new beginning, a baptism in blood, but begins to rethink things in light of Marissa's concerns. Ignoring him, Marissa asks the Brothers what it would entail. Vishous warns that it will be difficult and they'll have to do it in the training centre where there's a first aid room. They make plans to start tomorrow to give Butch time to recover from the regression and V stay at the main house to give them privacy.

At the Pit, Marissa asks for vodka, of which she was not a big fan. She tackles and straddles him, but he stops her because he knows she's scared and desperate and angry and that it would be wrong. She admits he's right and he tells her not to tell his family if it doesn't make it since he sees the Brotherhood as his blood family.

Chapter Thirty-Six

When they wake, Butch and Marissa have sex that's pleasurable for both, even though she's convinced that he will die.

Blay thanks John for standing up for him.

Mr. X goes to José de la Cruz and gives him the fake name of Bobby O'Conner, saying that he grew up with "Brian O'Neal." By using Butch's legal name, José knows right away that Mr. X is lying and calls him on it.

Chapter Thirty-Seven

The Scribe Virgin appears to Butch and asks him if he wishes to be mated and asks for the name of Butch's father. Unaware of the proper protocol, he asks her if it was possible to leave his father out of it. She asks him if humans hold so little regard for family. Butch tries to explain that he is grateful for finding his family in the Brotherhood and that he had been shunned by his human family, but in the process he asks another question, rhetorical this time. Vishous slaps a hand over Butch's mouth and warns him that she could fry him where he stood. The Scribe Virgin waves him off and wants to hear what Butch has to say.

He tells her that if he dies that day, he would be at peace with that because he'd finally found his family and the answers he'd been looking for. She laughs and lifts the hood of her robe, bestowing him with a glimpse of her face, and he calls her an angel. She deems their mating a good one and Butch tells her he wants Marissa to be considered a widow if he dies and therefore would be free of any seclusion orders. Meanwhile, Marissa's dying of embarrassment. Before departing, the Scribe Virgin tells them to have Beth attend the procedure.

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Butch tells Marissa that if he dies, he'll wait for her in the Fade and she prays for him in the Old Language as he gets on a gurney. Vishous sliced both of Butch's wrists and drained him of his blood, injected him with Wrath's blood, and then resuscitated him using an AED and CPR. Afterwards, he was in blood lust and drank as much as he could of Marissa before they had to force him to let her go so they could switch to Beth. V has to hold Wrath to prevent him from killing Butch for feeding from his mate, the bonded male in him taking over his higher brain functions, and Marissa goes to help him. Vishous licks the wound on her wrist shut for her.

Butch wakes up drinking what he thinks at first is a delicious dark wine but stops immediately when he realizes it's Beth and knows that Wrath would kill him. Beth talks Wrath down from his homicidal urges and he bites her to mark her as his shellan, picks her up, and walks out, presumably to go mark her in other ways.

Marissa links Butch's & V's hands together and Vishous is the first to break into tears. Butch notices that his vision is going in and out and asks if he's dying after all, but V reassures him it's the start of the change.

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Blay, John, and Qhuinn are playing video games and drinking Coronas. As they talk, it's apparent that Lash isn't returning to the training program for awhile. They beg Blay for details about his transition and he tells him that he wanted to die, fed, and then felt worse. They then ask him about his libido and masturbation and orgasms. They make plans to get together the next night and Blay asks about how to learn ASL. John tells him to use the internet and then gets upset for enjoying himself when Wellsie, and likely Tohr, are dead.

Vishous cleaned up after the procedure and had Fritz bring food. He encourages Marissa to get some sleep and tries to make her comfortable even though they're in the training center because Butch would kick his ass if he didn't. Zsadist and Phury stop by and get the story on what happened, they're shocked by Butch's size as he's now around 6'7".

Chapter Forty

Butch wakes up feeling incredibly possessive, smelling Marissa and finding his senses are sharper. He pounces on her when she comes to check on him, seemingly out of control but listens to her wishes. Phury, Vishous, and Zsadist can hear them being intimate and laugh, feeling happy for the couple, who eventually emerge wearing the gi of a trainee and a towel, respectively. V and Marissa get Butch home, who's still feeling unsteady.

Like Beth had, he craves bacon and chocolate after his transition, even though he doesn't like chocolate. Vishous warns him that he'll be experiencing arousal every fifteen minutes and his skin will be extra sensitive for about a week. While showering, Butch panics because he lost his body hair, becoming hairless as a born vampire. V teases him that at least he won't have to worry about shaving his back anymore.

Chapter Forty-One

While torturing someone, Van Dean realizes his humanity is gone because his only problem with inflicting pain on the innocent or weak is that it's lacking the physical action and violence he craves.

Marissa's about to hold her first staff meeting at Safe Place and they're expecting the arrival of a female and her two young. She's also been enjoying the sexual control she has over Butch. Butch, on the other hand, feels guilty she had to leave her old life because of him. He's begun attending midnight mass at Our Lady, sitting in the back row and wearing a Red Sox cap, as a way of retaining his humanity and sense of self.

Wrath wants Butch to attend his meetings with the Brotherhood and they take him out on patrol as a test run, although he's disappointed Vishous isn't going because it's his night off rotation, but at least his nightmares seem to be lessening. When they park behind Screamers, Butch touches the char marks left from the car bomb that killed Darius and feels like he has a new beginning.

Sensing Lessers, Butch finds some six blocks away where they fight in an alley. During the fight, Butch inhales one, shocking Rhage and Van Dean, who recognizes Butch and flees.

Chapter Forty-Two

At his penthouse, a broken-hearted Vishous is working on his third bottle of Grey Goose. To fool his Brothers into thinking he's on the level, he's taken to wearing a Red Sox hat to hide his eye tic, forcing himself to eat even though he doesn't feel like it, flat-out lying to Wrath, faking smiles, and setting his alarm every 30 minutes to avoid sleeping deep enough to have nightmares. It's hurting him to be around Butch and Marissa, even though he's coming to like her, he still feels like Butch is his.

Van Dean gives a report on Butch to Mr. X, noting that Butch's right pinky is stiff and curled up tight against his palm, and Mr. X realizes that Butch is the Dhestroyer, not Van Dean.

Rhage drops Butch off at Vishous' to get cleansed of the Lesser's energy, where he finds Vishous drunk, buck naked (including his hand), glowing all over, and standing on the guard wall of the terrace. V asks him, "Hey, you think they'll tat every inch of me?" Butch responds that he'll answer if V comes down. Vishous loses his balance, nearly falling, and admits that he watched Butch and Marissa having sex in the training centre, he's envious that they made love because all he's capable of is "freaky" sex and that he doesn't do relationships well. After reciting a traditional Irish blessing, he jumps off the 30th-floor balcony.

Chapter Forty-Three

Wrath talks to John in his study, and John assumes that Tohrment is dead. Instead, Wrath informs him that one of his classmates, Hhurt, didn't survive his transition and that the funeral is in three days. Wrath asks him if he's thought about who will feed him during his change, and John remembers Sarelle. Wrath's averse to bringing in an outsider because timing can be crucial when it comes. He suggests one of the Chosen, Layla, and offers to ask the Directrix, which is more of a formality. He tells John that she's trained as an ehros and can have sex with him.

As for Tohrment, Wrath tells him that he can still feel Tohr's alive whereas he instantly sensed Darius' death. He explains that when a bonded male loses a mate it's like losing one's self and that if Tohr does come back, it will be for John. Zsadist and John have been going for silent walks in the woods every night before dawn and John found himself looking forward to them.

Butch panics over V's jump, and when Vishous re-materializes, saying he "couldn't do it," Butch punches him and V starts to cry. V tells him that the visions had always saved him and now they're gone and he feels lost. Butch holds him and feels the taint leaching out of him, wondering why he isn't burned even though V's glowing all over.

The Scribe Virgin appears and tells them: "Because this is what shall be, the light and the dark together, two halves making a whole" and it was why Butch was brought into the world of the Brotherhood, announcing that a new era in the war begins.

Chapter Forty-Four

After his nursing staff tells him about Safe Place, Havers goes to see Marissa and seems impressed by what's she's done. He's come to tell her that the Princeps Council will vote on seclusion at the next meeting and she's surprised that she hasn't been removed, which he informs her is impossible. She tells him she won't be available, knowing they can't vote without her. Havers believes their females need to be protected and she reminds him that he turned her out thirty minutes before dawn; he claims to have been emotional, but she notes that he seemed rather calm. He starts to apologize, but she doesn't want to hear it and says she'll attend the meeting. He notes that she seems different, but his tone suggests he doesn't find it to be an improvement. She agrees but sounds like she disagrees with his value judgment. Despite however he may feel towards his sister, he offers his services to Safe Place and will advise his staff to watch for signs of abuse. The phone rings and she dismisses him. It was Butch asking her to come home.

Marissa meets Butch and Wrath at the Pit where Butch shows her the Dhestroyer prophecy, one from their chronicles and one from the Lessers V found on the laptop they took, on V's computers and explains that he's the one prophesied. Wrath tells her that he's the best weapon they have in the war since Butch disrupts the cycle of the Omega's essence returning to him. Marissa asks what the long-term effects are, but they can't answer that definitively.

Butch reassures her that he's fine and he finally feels like he has a purpose. Marissa accuses him of having a hero complex because he couldn't save Janie and that she's tired of violence and the war, he reminds her that she's seen victims of the war in the clinic and why the fight's necessary. She responds that consuming Lessers isn't the same as fighting them and she's afraid he'll turn into a Lesser; she couldn't bear to watch him nearly die again. He won't sit at home waiting for her, not when he can do something. She tells him she can't sit back and watch him destroy himself.

John sees Marissa walking out of the Pit, followed by Butch, and worries since they appear to be quarrelling and he likes them. He meets with Layla, who assumes he's taken a vow of silence and he decides to go with it since she seems impressed by it and he's extremely taken with her beauty. Assuming that he wants to inspect her, she strips naked.

Chapter Forty-Five

The next night, Bitty informs Marissa that her tiger, Mastimon, is there to protect them and the tiger would like to hug Marissa. She leaves the toy with Marissa for protection.

Butch is itching for a fight and sees some pretrans kids dealing drugs outside of Zerosum who'd been jerks to everyone there previously, he warns them that Rehv hates outsiders dealing in his club. When he senses Lessers, he tries to get them out of there, but their retreat's blocked by three Lessers. He presses a button on his new wristwatch that sends his coordinates to the Brotherhood.

Inside Zerosum, Rehv's dealing with another overdose and suspects he has a freelancer who's been dealing in his club. On top of that, V called earlier to give him a heads up about Marissa and Butch and he knows there will be no more feeding sessions with her. Xhex, too, is disappointed that she won't have another encounter with Butch. Rehv re-affirms his decision to never take a shell and steps into the alley where he finds himself in the middle of a fight because Vishous had used mhis to fool the CCTV.

After watching for a moment, Rehv's Sympath side wants to participate in the melee and he grabs a dazed Lesser and slams him into a wall. That half of him misses killing. He tunnels into the Lesser's brain and dregs up all of his most horrible memories. Drawing his swordcane, he wades into the battle and Butch has to stop him to leave at least one for him to inhale.

Van Dean and Mr. X arrive and Mr. X sends Van Dean against Butch, freezing Van Dean mid-fight and allowing Butch to kill him in order to see what Butch does. Once he understand's Butch's ability, Mr. X wants to be consumed by him so he won't be sent back to the Omega.

Vishous was impressed by Rehv's prowess. He recognizes one of the pretrans boys as Lash and Rehv knows Lash from the glymera. Butch tells the other males of the drug deal he witnessed. Rehv takes the stash from Lash, tastes it, and finding it's a bad batch, bans Lash from Zerosum, blaming the recent rash of overdoses on him. Lash begs them not to tell his dad.

Marissa arrives at the meeting in pants and ponytail, spending her time before they commence looking over residence monitors and knows she needs to feed. Rehv joins her and she finds she's no longer intimidated by the council because she finds them irrelevant to her current life.

The meeting starts off with commentary from non-voting members and when it comes time for their family, Havers is called, however, Marissa reminds them all that she's the elder sibling; even if she's disowned, she's still the head of their family bloodline. Since the vote was not unanimous, the motion doesn't pass. Rehvenge laughs outright at the ensuing chaos.

Chapter Forty-Six

Butch, Rhage, and Vishous arrive at the council meeting with Lash in tow since his father, Ibix, is the Leahdyre. Butch stares at Marissa sitting next to Rehvenge, and notes those who glare at Marissa. While Rhage and Vishous meet with Ibix, Lash, and Rehvenge privately, Butch leaves the mansion to stand outside and wait. Mr. X approaches him, crying and begging Butch to kill him using his ability.

At first, Butch suspects it's a trap, but when Mr. X shows no aggression nor resistance, he attempts to do so while the glymera watches from the windows. When his ability doesn't work, Butch stabs him through the heart. The Omega appears, but only to Butch, invisible to everyone else, and calls him "son." The Scribe Virgin intercedes and orders the Omega to leave.

Marissa checks on Butch, exclaiming in surprise that he saved Lash from the Lessers outside Zerosum, and apologizes for bringing up his sister in their last fight. He can sense her hunger and when she starts to walk back inside to where Rehvenge is, he throws her in the back of the Escalade where she feeds from him and they have sex.

Chapter Forty-Seven

Butch tells Marissa that he couldn't bear to see her with Rehvenge and she interprets what just happened between them as stemming from his jealousy and not from his feelings for her.

Feeling steeped in darkness, Butch tries to watch the sunrise, but finds that he can no longer stand daylight. He'd deliberately withheld his bonding scent while with Marissa. His hero complex is about seeking absolution, not his pride. He goes back to the Pit, starts drinking, and calls his parents' house in Boston. After talking to his dad for the last time for a total of a minute and a half, he learns of his mother's Alzheimer's. Vishous comes in and sees that Butch is upset, hears what happened, and asks if Butch wants to go see them. He says no, they're not his people anymore.

Chapter Forty-Eight

Safe Place is preparing to accept their first referrals from Havers, a mahmen and her son. Marissa realizes that she told Butch exactly what Havers had told her, refusing to sit back and watch him destroy himself, and knew that she'd done it to protect herself from the fear of losing him. Then she'd watched him fight competently and, despite encountering the Omega, he was still Butch afterwards. Bella, Beth, and Mary come to talk to her.

Butch wakes up surrounded by the Brotherhood dressed in black hooded robes and thinks he's dreaming. They begin the ritual of indoctrination into the Brotherhood and he's formally named Dhestroyer, descendent of Wrath, son of Wrath. Despite how happy he should have felt as the first new member in 75 years, he's empty without Marissa, feeling alive without truly living.

Chapter Forty-Nine

Beth wears the red gown she wore to her mating, Mary a royal blue, and Bella in shimmering silver and the doggen of the mansion greet the Brotherhood when they return. Marissa, wearing vibrant peach, kneels in front of Butch and offers him a thick braid of her hair tied with a pale blue ribbon, the colour of her bloodline. She asks if he would carry it with her when he fights for luck and asks him to be her hellren, apologizing for being weak and now she understands she has to trust him. They complete the mating ceremony that had begun right before he'd been turned.

Chapter Fifty

The next night, Butch goes to Safe Place. On her desk, there's a new little white marble statue of a woman sitting cross-legged with a double-bladed dagger in the palm of one hand and an owl in the other. Beth had, had them made for the four shellans, the owl a symbol of the prayers of the shellan for her hellren, represented by the dagger.

A harried Joyce visits her mother, Odell, in her nursing home. Odell tells her of Butch and Marissa visiting, which Joyce dismisses as her dementia. She continues to cling to this assumption as her mother tells her that Butch had a different father than the rest of Odell's children. In the blizzard of 1969, she was a nurse and snowed in at the hospital for two days. During that time, she had an indiscretion with the chief of surgery, a beautiful, different, and frightening man. The resulting pregnancy, and the difficult childbirth that nearly killed her, then Janie's death she saw as punishment for her affair. Of all her children, she'd loved Butch the most, but had to hide it.

Odell's mind drifts again and mentions that Butch and his woman were getting married in both her tradition and in the Catholic church; she thinks Marissa might be Lutheran. Then she asks for a saltine with cheese.

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