Now that we’ve all read Lover At Last and sighed over the happy conclusion to Qhuinn and Blaylock’s epic, angst-ridden courtship, J.R. Ward is ready to move on, and as her devoted readers we must move with her. Ward has already announced that the next installment, The King, will focus on Wrath and Beth as they clash over whether or not to have a child. Other pairings currently on deck in the BDB universe include Xcor and Layla (yay!), Trez and the Chosen Selena (didn’t see that coming, but okay), and Assail and Sola (who?).
It’s Ward’s world—we only live in it—but aside from Layla and Xcor, none of those stories seem all that compelling. Wrath and Beth have already had their moment in the spotlight in Dark Lover; Assail and Sola are (so far) entirely unmemorable; and as for Trez, we’ve already done the whole “Man in love with a woman above his station” thing in Lover Revealed (Butch and Marissa) and to a certain extent in Lover Avenged (Rehvenge and Ehlena—yeah, Rehv is glymera, but he’s also a symphath, which would ordinarily make him social poison in that particular circle).
More importantly, Caldwell, New York is home to several characters whose time, like Qhuay’s, has surely come—four characters whose stories simply cry out to be told. Why are we reading about Sola and Trez when these individuals are still unattached?
Yes, that Havers. Yes, I’m completely serious. He’s nobody’s favorite, but there’s something tragically noble about the guy. A widower, knocked off-guard by a swiftly changing world, he’s doing his best to adhere to the strict code by which he’s lived for centuries. And what has that gotten him? His adored sister Marissa, after being cast aside by the Vampire King in favor of a half-breed (and living through the concomitant loss of status that went along with all of that), repudiated her upbringing, flouted every tradition she could think of, took up with another half-breed (called “Butch,” no less), and as of this writing is barely on speaking terms with her brother. (Okay, so he disowned her. Details.) The Brotherhood holds him in open contempt—in fact, it seems as though every other book or so, he gets his ass handed to him by a Brother, just because. Between his patients, various schemers and hangers-on among the glymera, and the Brothers who wander by every now and again to threaten and sneer, he’s rarely alone, but he’s desperately lonely.
And yet, he holds fast to tradition, because it’s what he knows, and because he thinks it’s the right thing to do. If it were Vishous behaving this way in defense of his God-given right to use cock rings and ball gags, we’d call it sexy and heroic.
So let the rehabilitation of Havers begin! I’m thinking…maybe a young, beautiful female of the glymera he encounters through Marissa’s work at Safe Place. She was bartered into marriage to help redeem her dissolute father’s debts but escapes when the male mistreats her. Havers’ initial interest is professional, but her beauty, honesty, and strength move him deeply. He manfully fights his desires – she’s mated! – but one afternoon, during a routine checkup, she seizes him by the lapels and whispers something really saucy in his ear…oooh, this so needs to happen...
Unlike Havers, Lassiter has plenty of fans. And why not? He’s snarky, sarcastic, and usually hilarious, and his multicolored hair and penchant for bad television have endeared him to legions of readers. He has saved Tohrment from death by starvation and been the unlikely hero in the Tohr-Autumn romance, and now it’s time for him to claim his reward.
That reward should come in a sweet and spicy package, but which one? A previously unmentioned member of the Chosen? One of Rehvenge’s symphaths, on the run from the symphath colony? Or what about that s’Hisbe princess Trez is all cranky about? If she runs off with a literal angel, Trez can woo Selena with a clear conscience. Everybody wins!
Ahhh, sweet, sexy, noble Saxton, who gives so much and gets so little in return. He really, really liked Blaylock, even though he knew full well that Blay’s true heart belonged to Qhuinn. After ending things honorably with Blay, he cheered himself up by enjoying a little meaningless vampire sex (as one does), but came home to a savage beating at Qhuinn’s avenging hands. Did his very, very recent ex pipe up at that point and say “Dude, we broke up?” No. Blay did try to call Qhuinn off, but the point is, he could have averted a whole lot of pain with just a few simple, well-placed words. And Saxton still forgave all!
That’s a rant for a different day. Today, Saxton needs someone openhearted and kind…someone who thinks the sun rises and sets on him. Possibly another vampire lawyer – maybe an apprentice who is sent to Saxton for a year or so to learn the finer points of law with respect to the King’s heritage. They grow closer as the apprentice discovers something in the old writings that calls into question Wrath’s very claim to the throne! Saxton struggles with his head – should he act on this incendiary information? – and his heart. In the end, a previously unknown document is discovered that affirms the nobility of Wrath’s bloodline, and Saxton and his young man go into practice together, partners in every sense of the word.
The Scribe Virgin
Her true name is Analisse – a name that deserves to be shouted in the heat of passion. She is enigmatic and remote. Her ways are mysterious. Her ex is called the Bloodletter...the Bloodletter?
Analisse can do better than “The Bloodletter.”
She could always hook up with a new Brother, or a Brother-in-Training. Think of the hijinks! Could Payne and Vishous cope with fighting alongside their stepfather? (Vishous: “He wants me to call him...Dad.”)
On the other hand, what vampire, even among the Brotherhood, would consider himself worthy of loving a goddess? Probably none, and that’s why she needs a human—someone who doesn’t believe in vampires and has little patience with their rituals, hierarchies, or customs. She could teach him about open-mindedness and faith; he could teach her to laugh. Maybe one of Butch’s former colleagues? “Veck” DelVecchio has a woman now, but is Jose de la Cruz still available? I suppose there’s the small matter of her being nontemporal and him being mortal. Whatever. Analisse can fix that. She’s the Scribe Virgin; she can do as she pleases.
What do you think? Which BDB romance would you like to see next?
Kate Nagy is editor at large of Geek Speak Magazine.