When I started the A to Z Blog I could hardly wait for today because I knew it would be dedicated to my favorite hero, Zsadist, of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood!
Who is he? Well a hunky tortured hero of course, my favorite kind!
A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.
Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…
Zsadist is also the first one of the brotherhood to have a baby with his mate, Bella
Except from Lover Awakened:
She pulled the silk robe around her more tightly.
After God only knew how many weeks in that pipe in the ground, being free was alarming. It had been what she’d prayed for, and then given up any hope of, and she felt as though she should be rejoicing. The problem was that everything around her felt fake and insubstantial, especially given the luxury of this room: The heavy velvet drapes, the canopied bed, the museum-quality antiques, should have been grounding in their stately beauty. Instead, it was all papier-mache to her.
Only one thing felt real. And she had to find him.
Bella opened the door and put her head out. The hall was empty.
Which was perfect. She didn’t want to be seen.
Slipping from the room, she glided over the oriental runner, making no sound at all in her bare feet. When she got to the head of the grand staircase, she paused, trying to remember which way to go.
The corridor with the statues, she thought, remembering another trip down that hall so many, many weeks ago.
She walked quickly and then ran, clutching the lapels of the robe and holding the slit on the bottom closed over her thighs. She passed statues and doors, until she remembered the right combination of the two.
As she stopped, she didn’t bother to collect herself because she was uncollectible. She was loose, ungrounded, in danger of disintegration. She knocked loudly.
Through the door came a growl. “Fuck off. I’ve crashed.”
She turned the knob and opened.
In the light from the hall, she watched as Zsadist sat up on a pallet of blankets that laid on the floor in the corner. He was naked, his muscles flexing, his nipple rings flashing silver. His fearsome face, with that scar, was full of aggression.
“I said, fuck off- Bella?” He covered himself with his hands. “Jesus Christ. What are you doing?”
Good question, she thought as her courage dimmed. “Can-can I stay here with you?”
He frowned as if she’d lost her mind. “What are you- no, you can’t.”
He grabbed something off the floor and held it in front of his hips as he stood up. She drank in the sight of him: The tattooed slave bands around his wrists and neck, the plug in his left earlobe, his black eyes, his skull-trimmed hair. His body was as starkly lean as she remembered, all striated muscles and hard cut veins. And he threw off raw power like a scent.
To her, he was utterly beautiful.
“Bella, get out of here, okay? This is not the place for you.”
She ignored the command in his eyes and his voice. Because although her bravery was gone, desperation gave her strength. Now, her voice no longer faltered.
“When I was so out of it in the car, you were behind the wheel.” When he didn’t respond, she said, “Yes, you were. That was you. You spoke to me. You were the one who came for me, weren’t you?”
He flushed. “The Brotherhood came for you.”
“But you drove me away. And you brought me here first. To your room.” When he stayed silent, she said, “Let me stay. Please.”
“Look, you need to be safe-”
“I am safe only with you. You saved me. You won’t let them get me again.”
“No one’s getting you here. This place is wired like the Goddamned Pentagon.”
“No,” he snapped. “Now get the hell out of here.”
She started to shake, fear surging. “I can’t be alone. Please let me stay with you. I need to…”
She needed him specifically, but didn’t think he’d respond well to that. “I need to be with someone.”
Zsadist ran his hand over his head. A number of times. Then his chest expanded.
“Please,” she whispered. “Don’t make me go.”
He cursed. “I have to put some pants on.”
That was as close to a yes as she was going to get, she thought.
Bella stepped inside and closed the door, lowering her eyes only for a moment. When she looked up again, he’d turned away and was pulling a pair of black nylon sweats up his thighs.
His back, with its streaks of scars, flexed as he bent over. Seeing the evidence of old wounds, she was struck with the need to know exactly what he’d been through. All of it. Each and every lash. The idea that he knew what it was like to be at the mercy of someone cruel was a powerful common thread.
He’d survived. So had she. They were… linked.
Zsadist walked over to the bed and pulled the covers back. Then he stood to one side. Awkwardly.
“Get in,” he told her.
As she came forward, she noticed that he wore something around his neck-
Oh, my God…
“My necklace. You’re wearing my necklace.”
She reached out to touch it against his skin, but he flinched away and removed the thing.
He dropped it in her hand. “Here. Take it back.”
She looked down at the fragile gold and the little diamonds that were set every couple of inches. Diamonds by the Yard. By Tiffany’s. She’d worn it for years and now couldn’t remember what it felt like against her throat.
Such a symbol of the normal life she’d led, she thought. And an opportunity to get back to herself.
She put it into the pocket of the robe, hiding it from herself.
“Have you eaten?” he asked.
She moved a little closer to him. She wanted to throw her arms around him, but he wasn’t looking at her. He was staring at the floor.
“Yes, Phury brought me food.”
A flicker of expression passed over Zsadist’s face. But it was gone so fast she couldn’t read it.
“Are you in pain?” he demanded.
Please look at me, she thought.
Except he didn’t so she got into the bed. When he leaned down, she scootched over to make room for him.
All he did was pull the covers up over her and then go back to the corner, to the pallet on the floor.
Bella closed her eyes for a few minutes. Then she grabbed a pillow, slid out of the bed and went over to him.
“What are you doing?” His voice was high. Alarmed.
She dropped her pillow next to him and laid down, easing onto the floor beside his big body. His scent was so much stronger now, smelling of evergreen and pine and distilled male power, and she sought the heat of him, inching closer until her forehead hit the back of his arm. He was so hard, like a stone wall that had been warmed by the sun.
Her body relaxed. Next to him she was able to feel the weight of her own bones, the hard floor underneath her, the currents in the room as the heat came on: His presence somehow helped her connect to the world around her again.
She pushed herself forward with her feet until she was flush against the side of him, from breast to heel.
As he trembled, she recalled that he couldn’t bear to be touched, but she couldn’t help herself.
Not this day. Maybe tomorrow.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I need this from you. My body needs…” You. “Something warm.”
Z shifted, moving away, until he hit the wall. Then he abruptly leapt to his feet.
Oh, no. He was going to kick her out.
“Come on,” he said gruffly. “We’re going to the bed. I can’t stand the idea of you on the floor.”
Excerpt from LOVER AWAKENED by J.R. Ward, all rights reserved.
Published by Signet Eclipse © Copyright 2006 by Jessica Bird
Publication Date: September, 2006