Readers met and fell in love with Zsadist and Bella in J. R. Ward's third New York Times bestselling novel in the "Black Dagger Brotherhood" series, Lover Awakened. As a former blood slave, Zsadist bore the scars from a past filled with suffering and degradation until Bella came along and helped heal his emotional wounds. Now, though, with the birth of their child, the demons of his past have been resurrected, called forth by the innocent eyes of his beloved daughter, Nalla. Unless Bella and Nalla can bring him back with their love, he may be lost to them forever.
I am a Z girl and this short novella (84 pages) did not disappoint in the least as it shows us what happens after Nalla (Zsadist and Bella’s daughter) is born. Though it seemed that Bella had ‘cured’ Zsadist of the ghosts of his past, they resurrect with a vengeance in this story as Z feels he’s not worthy to touch his daughter. He’s panicked, wondering what Nalla will think of him when she grows up and asks what those bands on his body are all about.
He is so consumed by fear of the future and tormented by his past, that he refuses to hold his daughter and refers to Nalla as Bella’s daughter, not his. Bella, at the end of her emotional rope, can no longer take Z’s neglect toward their daughter. To make matters worse, Z hasn’t touched Bella for months and though she’s recovered her pre-baby body, she thinks Z has lost all interest in her. Thinking all is lost, Bella decides to leave Z and raise Nalla on her own. This shakes Z to the core, and he realizes he must do what it takes to win back his mate and daughter.
I went through the gamut of emotions on this short story as it has everything from drama, action, suspense, hottt sexy scenes, and tearjerker moments – both sad and happy! This is a guaranteed MUST READ, and great follow-up to Lover Awakened – Book #3 in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series (which you must read prior to reading this).
I think this is a great end-point for me in this series as I don’t think we’ll be hearing from Bella and Z in any more upcoming books as much as I’d like to. I really wish there was a follow up on the rest of the other couples I’ve read about and invested in, instead of getting new characters in each new book. Can’t we have spin-offs? (LOL) I’ll be back to read if there’s a novella about Beth and Wrath, though. Miss them so!
By the way, I found this awesome fan pic of Zsadist! Even though his scar is a bit faint, I love what they did with his eyes. What do you think, Fellow Readers? Is this the Z you imagine as you read? *faints*
It was about five the following afternoon when Zsadist finally woke up properly. It was good to be in his own bed. It was not so great having a cast on his lower leg.
Rolling over, he opened his eyes and looked at Bella. She was awake and staring back at him.
“How are you feeling?” she asked.
“Okay.” Physically speaking, at least. The rest of him, his mind and his emotions, were open to question.
“Would you like something to eat?”
“Yeah. In a little bit.” What he really wanted was to just lie around and stare into his shellan’s eyes for a while.
Bella eased over onto her back and looked up to the ceiling.
“I’m glad we talked,” he said. As much as he hated the past, he’d do anything to keep her from leaving, and if that meant conversation, he’d blabber on until his voice box bit it.
He frowned, feeling the distance. “What’s on your mind?”
After a moment she said softly, “Do you still want me?”
He actually had to shake himself. She couldn’t possibly be asking . . . “Good Lord, of course I want you as my shellan. The idea of you leaving is just—”
“Sexually, I mean.”
He blinked, thinking about the hardcore arousal he’d gotten the night before—just from watching her towel off. “How could I not?”
She turned her head to him. “You don’t feed and you haven’t reached for me . . . well, I haven’t either, but I mean—”
“Nalla needs you most right now.”
“But you do, too . . . at least for my vein.” She nodded down his body. “Would your leg have broken if you’d been fed properly? Probably not.”
“I don’t know. I fell through a floor . . . onto glass.”
“God . . .”
There was a long silence, and he wondered what she wanted him to do. Was she opening the door to . . . ?
At even the prospect of sex, his body woke up sure as if it were a gong she’d banged with one hell of an over-the-shoulder shot. Except Bella stayed where she was. And he stayed where he was.
As silence stretched, he thought about how close to the edge of no return they were. If they didn’t take steps to reconnect . . .
He reached through the sheets, took her hand, and brought it forward to his body. “I want you,” he said as he placed it on his erection. At the contact, he let out a groan and rolled his hips, pushing himself into her palm. “Oh . . . man . . . I’ve missed you.”
The fact that Bella seemed surprised shamed him and made him think about her in the bathroom with that towel. When she’d stopped and looked at herself in the mirror, she’d been inspecting her body, he realized now—looking for flaws that weren’t there.
And she’d covered herself when she’d seen him not because she didn’t want to attract his attention, but because she was sure she didn’t have it anymore.
He moved her hand up and down on his shaft. “I’m desperate to touch you again. All over.”
She came closer to him, moving through the sheets. “You are?”
“How could I not be? You’re the most perfect female I’ve ever seen.”
He shot forward and pressed his lips to hers. “Especially after.” He pulled back so she could read his eyes. “You are just as beautiful as the first time I saw you in the gym all those nights and days ago. You stopped my heart then—just froze it in my chest. And you stop it now.”
She blinked quickly, and he kissed her tears away. “Bella . . . if I had known, I would have said something . . . done something. I just assumed you knew that nothing had changed for me.”
“Since Nalla’s come around, everything is different. The rhythm of my nights and days. My body. You and me. So I just assumed—”
“Feel me,” he groaned, arching into her. “Feel me and know—Oh, God.”
She felt him, all right. Wrapped both her hands around him and stroked him up and down, riding his hard length.
“Is this good for you?” she whispered.
All he could do was nod and moan. With her gripping him like that, surrounding him with her palms, working him, his brain had pretty much shorted out. “Bella . . .”