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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...
Newbies to Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood may struggle to fill in the backstory, but these erotic paranormals are well worth it, and frighteningly addictive. The six "brothers" are vampires: enormous, tattooed, tormented warriors who protect other vampires from destruction by the "lessers," desouled humans in the evil Omega's Lessening Society. Hero and ex-cop Butch is the only human allowed into the Brotherhood's inner circle, but Butch is no mere human, a fact suspected by one of his vamp colleagues, and confirmed by the sinister plans of the Omega. The book is fully committed to its urban sensibility, the vampires' rarified language (a glossary is provided) and their revved-up sex drives, and it all works to great, page-turning effect (with the notable exception of a chick lit like attention to designer brands). Though Butch's love interest, the virginal, aristocratic vampire Marissa, initially elicits more annoyance than empathy, she grows a spine as the book progresses and Butch's destiny comes to light. In just two years, the first three books in the series have earned Ward an Anne Rice style following, deservedly so; this entry should prove no less popular.