Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side… and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.
When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can- and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night- like vampires- he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.
As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide … just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.
I've been a huge fan of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood since the beginning. The series follows a group of deadly vampires as they try to rid the world of lessers whilst each falling in love. Every book follows a different brother (or in this case sister) and their erotic journey (yes these are adult books). There is always a lot of steamy romance and heart pounding action in every book and I can honestly say that I've fallen in love with each vampire in this series.
With eight previous books about vampire relations, I can understand how it may be difficult to write something new and inventive. However, J.R. Ward is able to create a new story for each couple giving them their own love and problems. I really enjoyed how Lover Unleashed, despite being the ninth book in this series, still felt like a new story with its own plot. Manny and Payne's story is different and unique, while still reminding you of the familiarity that is Ward's style.
Lover Unleashed was a little tricky however. I still loved the storyline and the romance was amazing as usual, but I felt disconnected with the characters in this book. Perhaps its because Payne isn't from the original start of this series and so was the "awkward new girl" to the book. Manny is also a newer character as well, so we don't know too much about him before this book either. For me, I just didn't really care for either character.
I believe there may have just been too much focus on other secondary relationships in this book and not enough on Manny and Payne. Don't get me wrong, I love V and Jane, but they already had their book and unfortunately stole the spotlight from the main couple of Lover Unleashed. There simply just wasn't enough detail and development of Payne and Manny's relationship that it just fell flat for me.
For this book I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars. The story line was spectacular and the romance was as steamy as ever, but in comparison to the past BDB couples, Manny and Payne just didn't work for me. I will of course be picking up the tenth book in this series as it focuses on Thor, with the hopes that the story won't stray too much from his character. I will forever love the BDB and their charming heroics and dead sexy selves and am still a devoted J.R. Ward fan.