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The Beast (Inglês) Capa dura – 4 abr 2016
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Dia do Orgulho Nerd: compre 3 e ganhe 4
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Sobre o Autor
Trecho. © Reimpressão autorizada. Todos os direitos reservados
Brownswick School for Girls, Caldwell, New York
Ants under the skin.
As Rhage transferred his weight from one shitkicker to the other, he felt like his bloodstream had come to a soft boil and the bubbles were tickling the underside of every fucking square inch of his flesh. And that wasn’t the half of it. Random muscle fibers misfired all over his body, the spasms causing fingers to twitch, knees to jerk, shoulders to tighten like he was about to go tennis racket on something.
For the one millionth time since he’d materialized into his position, he peeper-swept the ragged, overgrown meadow up ahead. Back when the Brownswick School for Girls had been a functioning entity, the field in front of him had no doubt been a rolling lawn that had been well mowed in the spring and summer, de-leafed in the autumn, and snow-covered pretty as a children’s book in the winter. Now, it was a touch-football field from hell, studded and tangled with gnarled bushes that could do more than just aesthetic damage to a guy’s crotchticular region, saplings that were the ugly, misshapen stepchildren of the more mature maples and oaks, and late-October brown long grass that could trip you like a little bitch if you were trying to sprint.
Likewise, the brick buildings, which had sheltered and provided living and instructional spaces to the privileged elite’s offspring, were aging badly without regular maintenance: windows broken, doors rotting, off-kilter shutters opening and shutting in the cold wind as if the ghosts couldn’t decide whether they wanted to be seen or just heard.
It was the campus from Dead Poets Society. Assuming everyone had packed up after the movie had been shot in 1988 and nobody had touched a fucking thing since.
But the facilities were not empty.
As Rhage took a deep inhale, his gag reflex did a couple of push-ups in the back of his throat. So many lessers were hiding in the abandoned dormitories and classrooms that it was impossible to isolate individual scents from the sinus-numbing stench of the whole. Christ, it was like putting your face in a chum bucket and inhaling like the world was about to run out of oxygen.
Assuming someone had added baby powder to all the day-old fish heads and goo.
For that sweet finish, don’tcha know.
As his skin went on another shimmy-shimmy, he told his curse to hold its hey-nannies, that hell yeah, it was going to get let off the chain ASAP. He wasn’t even going to attempt to hold the damn thing in—not that trying to throw the brakes on it was ever successful, anyway—and whereas giving the beast free rein was not always a good thing, tonight it was going to be an offensive bene. The Black Dagger Brotherhood was facing how many lessers? Fifty? A hundred and fifty?
That was a lot to handle, even for them—so yeah, his little . . . present . . . from the Scribe Virgin was going to come in handy.
Talk about your ringer from out of town. Over a century ago, the mother of the race had given him his own personal T.O. system, a behavior modification program that was so onerous, so unpleasant, so overwhelming that it did, in fact, manage to bring him back from the brink of total douche-baggery. Courtesy of the dragon, unless he managed his energy levels properly and moderated his emotions, all hell broke loose.
Yup, in the course of the last century, he had become largely successful at making sure the thing didn’t eat his nearest and dearest, or get them on the nightly news with a “Jurassic Park Is Alive” headline. But with what he and his brothers were facing right now—and how isolated this campus was? If they were lucky, the great purple-scaled bastard with the chain-saw teeth and the hollow-legged hangry was going to get his Nobu on. Although, again, a lesser-only diet was what they were looking for.
No brothers as Hot Pockets, please. And no humans as tapas or dessert, thank you very much.
The latter was more out of discretion than affection. Shit knew those rats without tails never went anywhere without two things: a half dozen of their evolutionarily inferior, nocturnally codependent, fuck-twit buddies, and their goddamn cell phones. Man, YouTube was a total pain in the ass when you wanted to keep your war with the undead under wraps. For nearly two thousand years, vampires fighting the Omega’s Lessening Society had been no one else’s business except for the combatants involved, and the fact that humans couldn’t stick to their core competencies of ruining the environment and telling each other what to think and say was only one of the reasons he hated them.
Changing gears so he didn’t get loose too soon, Rhage GoPro’d his vision to a male taking cover about twenty feet away from him. Assail, son of Whoever-the-Fuck, was dressed in funeral-cortege black, his Dracula-dark hair requiring no camouflage, his handsome-as-sin face furrowed so tight with murder that you had to respect the guy. Talk about doing a solid—and a one-eighty. The drug dealer had come through for the Brotherhood, making good on his promise to cut business ties with the Lessening Society by delivering the Fore-lesser’s head in a box to Wrath’s feet.
And also divulging the location of this bolt-hole the slayers had been using as HQ.
Which was how everyone had ended up here, up to their nuts in the overgrowth, waiting for the countdown on their V-synchronized watches to hit 0:00.
This attack wasn’t some bullshit, buckshot approach to the enemy. After a number of nights—and days, thanks to Lassiter, a.k.a. 00-a-hole, having done recon during sunshine hours—the attack was properly coordinated, staged, and ready for execution. All of the fighters were here: Z and Phury, Butch and V, Tohr and John Matthew, Qhuinn and Blay, as well as Assail and his two cousins, Fang I and II.
’Cuz who cared what their names were as long as they showed up weaponized with plenty of ammo.
The Brotherhood medical personnel were also on standby in the area, with Manny in his mobile surgical unit about a mile away and Jane and Ehlena in one of the vans at a two-mile radius.
Rhage checked his watch. Six minutes and change.
As his left eye started to do the stanky leg, he cursed. How the fuck was he going to hold his position for that long?
Baring his fangs, he exhaled through his nose, blowing out twin streams of condensed breath that were nothing short of a bull’s charging notice.
Christ, he couldn’t remember the last time he was this juiced. And he didn’t want to think about the why of it. In fact, he’d been avoiding the whole why thing for how long?
Well, since he and Mary had hit this strange rough spot and he’d started to feel—
His name was whispered so softly he wrenched around, because he wasn’t sure whether or not his subconscious had decided to start talking to him. Nope. It was Vishous—and given his brother’s expression, Rhage would have preferred to be pulling a split-personality on himself. Those diamond eyes were flashing with a bad light. And those tattoos around that temple were so not helping.
The goatee was a neutral—unless you assessed it on style. In which case the fucker was a travesty of Rogaine proportions.
Rhage shook his head. “Shouldn’t you get into position—”
“I’ve seen this night.”
Oh, hell, no, Rhage thought. Nope, you are not doing this to me right now, my brother.
Turning away, he muttered, “Spare me the Vincent Price, ’kay? Or are you trying for the guy who does the movie trailer voice-overs—”
“—’cuz you got a future in that. ‘In a world . . . where people need . . . to shut up and do their jobs—’ ”
When he didn’t look back, V came around and glared up at him, those fucking pale eyes a twin set of nuclear blasts that spelled mushroom cloud forward and backward. “I want you to go home. Now.”
Rhage opened his mouth. Clapped it shut. Opened it again—and had to remind himself to keep his voice down. “Look, it’s not a good time for your one-eight-hundred psychic headquarters shit—”
The Brother snapped a hold on his arm and squeezed. “Go home. I’m not fucking you.”
Cold terror washed through Rhage’s veins, bottoming out his body temperature—and yet he shook his head again. “Fuck off, Vishous. Seriously.”
He was so not interested in testing out any more of the Scribe Virgin’s magic. He wasn’t—
“You’re going to fucking die tonight.”
As Rhage’s heart stopped, he stared down into that face that he’d known for so many years, tracing those tattoos, and the tight lips, and the slashing black brows . . . and the radiant intelligence that was usually expressed through a filter of samurai-sword sarcasm.
“Your mother gave me her word,” Rhage said. Wait, was he actually talking about him kicking it? “She promised that when I die, Mary can come with me unto the Fade. Your mother said—”
“Fuck my mother. Go home.”
Rhage looked away because he had to. It was either that or have his head explode. “I’m not leaving the Brothers. Ain’t going to happen. You could be wrong, for one thing.”
Yeah, and when was the last time that had happened? Eighteen hundreds? Seventeen hundreds?
He spoke over V. “I’m also not going to run scared from the Fade. I start thinking like that, and I’m finished with a weapon in my hand.” He put his palm all up in that goatee so the Brother cut the interrupting. “And the third fuck-off? If I don’t fight tonight, I’m not going to make it through the day locked in the mansion—not without my purple friend coming out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you feel me?”
Well, and there was a number four, too. And the fourth rationale . . . was bad, so very bad that he couldn’t entertain it for more than the split second required for the piece of shit to come to mind.
“Nothing’s going to wreck me. I got this—”
“No, you don’t!” V hissed.
“Okay, fine,” Rhage bit out as he tilted forward on his hips. “So what if I die? Your mother gave my Mary the ultimate grace. If I go unto the Fade, Mary just meets me there. I don’t have to worry about ever being separated from her. She and I will be perfectly fine. Who really fucking cares if I kick it?”
V did some lean-in of his own. “You don’t think the Brothers will give a shit? Really? Thanks, asshole.”
Rhage checked his watch. Two minutes to go.
Might as well be two thousand years.
“And you trust my mother,” V sneered, “with something that important. I never thought you were naive.”
“She managed to give me a fucking T. rex alter ego! That’s some good fucking credibility.”
All at once, a number of birdcalls sounded out around them in the darkness. If you hadn’t known better, you’d have assumed it was just a bunch of night owls going Pitch Perfect.
Damn it, the pair of them were yelling over here.
“Whatever, V,” he whispered. “You’re so goddamn smart, worry about your own life.”
His last conscious thought, before his brain went Zero Dark Thirty and nothing else registered outside of the aggression, was of his Mary.
He pictured the last time they’d been alone.
It was a ritual of his before he engaged with the enemy, a mental talisman that he rubbed for luck, and tonight he saw her as she had stood in front of the mirror in their bedroom, the one that was over the tall bureau where they kept their watches and their keys, her jewelry and his Tootsie Pops, their phones.
She was up on her tiptoes, angled over the top, trying to put a pearl stud into her earlobe and missing the hole. With her head tilted to the side, her deep brown hair flowed over her shoulder and made him want to put his face into the freshly shampooed waves. And that wasn’t the half of what impressed him. The clean cut of her jaw caught and held the light from the crystal sconce on the wall, and her cream silk blouse draped over her breasts and was tucked into her tight waist, and her slacks fell to her flats. No makeup on her. No perfume.
But that would be like touching up the Mona Lisa or hitting a rosebush with a shot of Febreze.
There were a hundred thousand ways to detail his mate’s physical attributes, and not one single sentence, or indeed an entire book, that could come close to describing her presence.
She was the watch on his wrist, the roast beef when he was starving, and the pitcher of lemonade when he was thirsty. She was his chapel and his choir, the mountain range to his wanderlust, the library for his curiosity, and every sunrise or sunset that ever was or would ever be. With one look or the mere syllable of a word, she had the power to transform his mood, giving him flight even as his feet stayed on the ground. With a single touch, she could chain his inner dragon, or make him come even before he got hard. She was all the power in the universe coalesced into a living, breathing thing, the miracle that he had been granted in spite of the fact that he had long been undeserving of anything but his curse.
Mary Madonna Luce was the virgin Vishous had told him was coming for him—and she was more than enough to turn him into a God-fearing vampire.
On that note . . .
Rhage took off without waiting for the Go Now from his team. Rushing headlong across the field, he had both guns up in front of him and premium, high-test gas funneling into his leg muscles. And no, he didn’t have to hear the precise curses of frustration as he blew their cover and started the attack too soon.
He was used to the boys being pissed off at him.
And his demons were way harder to deal with than his brothers.
Safe Place, Mary’s Office
As Mary Madonna Luce hung up the phone, she kept her hand on the receiver’s smooth grip. Like a lot of the equipment and furnishings at Safe Place, the set was a decade old, a used AT&T leftover from some insurance company or maybe a real estate agent’s upgrade. Same with the desk. Her chair. Even the rug under her feet. At the vampire race’s only domestic violence shelter and resource for females and their children, every penny that came from the King’s generous coffers was spent on the people receiving support, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Victims were allowed to come free of charge. And stay in the large, roomy house for however long they needed to.
Staffing, of course, was the largest expense . . . and with news like what had just come through that old phone, Mary was really fricking grateful for Marissa’s priorities.
“Fuck you, death,” she whispered. “Fuck you so goddamn hard.”
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I rarely write reviews though I'm an avid reader. I've been with the BDB since the beginning and have enjoyed many re-reads. The reason for the rating for this book is due to the secondary stories. They were far more interesting. As much as I enjoy the BDB series, I do not enjoy, what I call, repeat books. I don't like waiting a year for a book about a couple that already has a book. This story could have EASILY been a secondary story, for example to Lassiter's book.
So, aside from being annoyed that rhage and mary got ANOTHER book, the story seemed forced to me. Rhage is suffering from these bizarre panic attacks that ultimately have created distance between him and Mary. Mary is trying to get through to a recently orphaned girl at Safe Place and is frustrated that she's not really making any progress. They eventually talk and air their personal struggles and realize they want a kid. Surprise! The kid they want is the orphan. That's what THE BEAST is about. Smh. The story just dragged to me. It did not take me long to KNOW what the end was going to be. Yeah, they get the kid and now they have a family. With the title being THE BEAST, you'd think beastie would make more than TWO physical appearances. I don't know, maybe it's me expecting too much from Ward, but this story felt like she was trying to create an unnecessary story for a favorite character. (Not mine but I think I'm in the minority)
The side stories....
I originally was not a fan of layla and xcor's story. In preparation for THE BEAST, I did a re-read and was captivated by their tragic, forbidden love. It reeked of untapped passion. I'm thoroughly excited that their story is next in THE CHOSEN. I'm glad her and her young survived what felt like a 2-3 year pregnancy.
Again, I originally did not like Assail and Marisol's story, but found myself looking forward to reading more. Although sola isn't really present in this book, Assail's part in this book was highly entertaining. I'm totally rooting on him to "get" Throe. Throe's confusion about his attraction to him was surprisingly erotic. I hope that after Assail detoxes we see Sola back in his life.
The "human" Jo was only interesting because she's the unknown sister of Manny. I'm sure the warden will somehow incorporate her into the BDB's world since Vishous (who is my #1 favorite) got a vibe from her. I don't know who her love interest will be, maybe one of the BASTARDS.
So the Scribe Virgin is "dead" and will appoint a successor at a later date. Why is she gone? How will she appoint a replacement? This was confusing to me. Especially since the Omega is definitely NOT gone. I thought they were all about balance. I'm sure Ward will give an explanation of sorts but for now me and the BDB were left scratching our heads.
In conclusion, this is the 1st book in the series I don't see me re-reading multiple times. It was forgettable and I don't think it deserved 508 pages. It wasn't horribly written be any means, it just felt unnecessary. I can understand from an author's POV that they have to create stories to keep their fans engaged, but that's what introducing new characters are for. Or at least give EVERY character a book (seriously can my boy LASSITER please get a d*mn book already) before revisiting old favorites.
My apologies for the all over the place review and for any grammar or spelling errors. I didn't want to give ALL the spoilers away but I did want to touch on what I enjoyed. This book did NOT turn me away from the series but I could have lived without it.
4.5 stars--THE BEAST is the fourteenth installment in J.R.Ward’s contemporary, adult BLACK DAGGER BROTHERHOOD paranormal series focusing on an elite group of vampire warriors and their King. THE BEAST is the continuing story of the sexy vampire Rhage, and his shellan Mary Luce. For fans of the series, we are all well aware of Rhage’s alter ego-his other-and in this Rhage’s other makes an appearance or two throughout the story.
THE BEAST focuses on relationships and family-primarily Mary and Rhage’s- and their struggle as a couple together and apart. As the Black Dagger Brotherhood family continues to grow, Rhage will come full circle facing a future that is missing ‘something’ or ‘someone’ while Mary consoles with an orphaned child now under the care of the woman’s shelter known as ‘Safe Place’. Throughout the previous story lines Mary and Rhage have struggled with their relationship-growing further apart with each successive story.
We are witness to a battle with the lessers, the slayers, and the re-appearance of the Omega. Rhage will discover that running into battle without the support of his brothers means the likelihood of facing your immortality-head on.
As per JR Ward’s writing style, there are several ongoing and developing stories:
LAYLA: The Chosen known as Layla is currently on bed rest while she carries Qhuinn’s son and daughter. But Layla suspects a prisoner has been brought into the BDB household when she discovers that the man with whom she is falling love is in danger of going into the fade. The resulting anxiety finds Layla facing a crisis of her own.
ASSAIL: Our intrepid cocaine-addicted vampire is lost without the human woman that calls to his soul. Assail finds himself working for the Black Dagger Brotherhood, infiltrating into the Glymera, and discovering that there are dark and dangerous secrets hidden behind locked doors and secret walls. Assail will prove that he is worthy of a future- with whomever it will be.
XCOR: Hoping to catch some action in the battle with the slayers, Xcor will come face to face with the Brotherhood, and the resulting aftermath finds the ‘Bastard’ imprisoned while he struggles to recover after a life-threatening attack.
THROE: Here is another member of the Band of Bastards who is trying to secure a future, with or without the aid of the others. Throe’s infiltration of one of the Glymera households starts an investigation that finds Assail at the forefront of a rescue that doesn’t end too well for some of the others.
There is another side story developing that involves several human miscreants, drug addicts and reporters. A grainy video has been uplifted to You-Tube showing a ‘monster’ on the loose, and a female investigator finds herself facing a future she never knew she had.
Most of the members of the Brotherhood , their mates (and their household guests) play secondary and supporting roles although many by way of mention only including Trez and iAm. Payne, Jane, and Manny are all called into action for their skillset of medical, surgical and healing abilities; some will be injured, while others struggle to survive-not everyone will live to see another day, and in this there is another story line developing as to the who, when and why.
THE BEAST is an emotional story line about family, loss, and the future. JR Ward blends lighthearted moments with an imaginative story line about one couple’s desires, wants and their needs while facing a future, looking for something more. The premise is intense, intoxicating and uplifting; the characters are familiar and energetic; the romance is a rebuilding of a relationship that has struggled with insecurity and differing paths on a journey meant to bring two people back together. J. R. Ward will captivate your imagination; pull you into the story line; and never let go when the passion and emotions roll away with your soul.