This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Ballantine Books
Released on December 6, 2016
Didn’t get enough of Rhage and Mary in the most recent Black Dagger Brotherhood release, The Beast? Well your wish of more has been granted with this latest installment of the Black Dagger Legacy series. The story of Rhage, Mary and little Bitty picks up right before it left off just in time for a heartwarming tale of family BDB-style. And let’s not forget it also keeps us apprised of the Brotherhood’s trainee program spotlighting bad boy Axe and the determined very good girl, Elise.
Axe is a commoner, an orphan, and a life-hardened guy who just wants to survive and make it through the Brother’s trainee program. Life as a warrior who is strong and nobody’s victim has appeal after watching his mother walk out the door chasing riches and his gentle father fade as he yearned for her return before dying in the Raids. Axe tried drugs and then sex, but nothing fulfills him until he catches sight of Elise. She’s way out of his league and so not his type so why can he not stop craving her?
Elise is born of an aristocratic family- a family that has become insular and stuck since the horrendous death of her rebellious cousin. Elise was the good girl to her cousin’s bad, but still her father refuses to allow her her dreams and attempts to smother her under tradition and over-protective actions designed to diminish the scandal to their family her cousin caused. Elise wants to finish school and get her doctorate in psychology so she can become a counselor to her own race just like the humans have. To achieve her goal, she agrees to a compromise with her father and that compromise is a bodyguard in the form of the dark and dangerous Axe who she can’t stop thinking about. There is no way they would work, is there?
Rhage and Mary started the adoption process for Bitty who they see as their daughter and she names them as her parents. Both worry that somehow the elusive uncle will turn up and destroy their dreams of being a family. Their nightmare becomes reality. Their attempt to bring Christmas to the mansion and a happy holiday for Bitty tastes like cinders in their mouths now.
Alright, this was an engaging story that I didn’t want to put down. Both storylines kept my interest. I’m going to startle a few people when I say that I was more curious about Axe and Elise than Rhage and Mary- though sigh…love them so that is saying a lot. Cried and laughed with Hollywood and his girls through their tough situation.
The author wrote an interesting pair of young lovers. So interesting that I felt they needed more page time. Axe is a deep person with pain and issues that keep going. These are mentioned as past tense. He’s already on the mend, but not quite there yet. He had a mother walk out and a dad check out before dying terribly leaving Axe with abandonment issues, survivors guilt, and no support. He is literally barely keeping warm and food in his belly. But he manages to get into the training program and has coped as best he could. Yes, even if his choices were dark ones. He’s getting there even up against the smug attitudes of some of the trainees who see him as trash. I was really rooting for him.
In an ironic twist of fate, he ends up with a psychology major and an aristocrat for his love interest who has no conception of the deprivations and sacrifices he has lived with. Elise is attracted to him and the pair are in full-on lust, but brainy girl keeps going into clinical mode and getting all snotty about it. I was just within a hair of hating her or at the least shaking her until her teeth rattled for her superior and spoiled attitude, but then (grin grin) Axe cut little Miss I-know-better-because-I-have-a-degree and I’ve never done naughty things like you’ off at the knees and called her on her bull. Elise learns, grows, gains insight and compassion, and, most important, girlfriend knows how to tender a deserved apology.
The story ends on a good moment, but I like where it’s going for this passionate pair, the previous pair, and those teasers for the next Legacy couple in line.
Oh, and if having a reprise of Rhage and Mary, holidays with the Brotherhood, and a young love/adventure isn’t enough, there are some interesting hintings for the future tucked inside. And there are some serious laugh out loud moments. The angel and his hockey mask and football pads ensemble… lordy that male makes me cackle so hard. But Rhage and his fear that he’s might not be dad material got me all swoony.
All in all, abso-fab installment that is best read after BDB’s The Beast. The world and the characters are still as amazing as ever.