Trez Latimer is a Shadow who not long ago sacrificed everything to mate with Selena, a Chosen. When she later died, a part of him did, too. His brother and those in his life who care for him worry that he’s lost his will to live and are concerned that he’ll take matters in his own hands. But recently, a young woman named Therese comes to work for iAm in his restaurant as a server and stuns all that see her because she’s a dead ringer for Selena.
I so love being back in the world of the Brotherhood. There’s nothing like these stories and characters, no matter the subject, especially on audio, and this one is no different. I will always listen to Jim Frangione narrate them as he’s a critical component of the whole experience.
Since Therese entered the series, I’ve been waiting for this story and am happy it came during the holiday season. That Trez and Therese would eventually come together was inevitable and my hope was that it be imaginative and unconventional. To some degree it was, augmented in part with some involvement by others (we get some serious Lassiter time). Trez moves cautiously and Therese is inexplicably drawn to him but she has no idea of her visual connection to Selena. You know at some point this will culminate into something dramatic but the journey there was passionate and heartwarming. I rooted for them.
When Selena died, I just didn’t feel like that was Trez’s story or fate. Some fans of the series were disturbed by the author’s decisions to follow this path (I wasn’t), even though it was an extremely well written book. I just didn’t think that was the end for some reason. For me, this filled that void left after the conclusion of The Shadows. Did things wrap up a bit easily? Maybe. But, this time, it feels complete.
- Release Date: November 26, 2019
- Series: Black Dagger Brotherhood #17.5
- Narrator: Jim Frangione
- Audio Length: 9 hours, 37 minutes
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
“Holy f–k,” Trez yelled as a semitrailer truck the size of a building went blasting past the front bumper of his brand-new BMW.
Like right past. Like . . . nearly peeling off the hood of the damned car.
As his four-wheel drive, heavily treaded snow tires abruptly grabbed at that which they had been spinning on, and a pedestrian who’d slipped suddenly righted himself out of the way of the truck, Trez decided that the definition of in-the-nick-of time was exactly what just happened. If he’d been able to go when the light had turned, if that pedestrian hadn’t caught himself just when he had, they would both have been filing their termination papers tonight.
Because about a split second prior to the almost catastrophe going down, Trez had been debating whether or not to just drive on. And not merely through the intersection.
Having spent two decades in Caldwell, watching with his Shadow eyes the way a couple generations of humans built up the city, he knew exactly where this particular street in this particular section of town ended up.
At the Hudson River.
So if he hit the gas and kept on a direct, no wavering course until the street ended, he could take a Fast & Furious jump off the concrete embankment under one of Caldie’s two bridges. The BMW would not last long in the free fall, the sleek car having been built to fly over asphalt, not literally fly, and soon enough, both he and all this expensive steel, leather, and plastic would be sinking beneath the cold, sluggish waters of the Hudson.
As his eyes had flashed peridot, his brain had imagined what it would be like. At first, the water would infiltrate through seams and vents, a trickle, not a rush. But that would change as he used the last of the electrical system’s power to lower the windows. After that, he would sit and wait for his drowning to take place, probably with his hands still on the wheel, maybe not, his seat belt remaining pulled across his chest, his clothes dampening and then clinging to his warm body with the clammy touch of the corpse he would soon become.
He would not struggle. He would keep his eyes open. He imagined himself feeling a calmness that had been missing since all the light in his world went out in that hospital room about twenty miles, and some distance underground, away from where he himself would die. He would be so relieved. Even as the water reached his throat, then proceeded over his mouth and into his nose and ears, even as his body temperature tried to rally against the icy submersion and failed to conserve any warmth, even as his air supply dwindled to that which was in his lungs and no more, he would be at peace.
The death throes, when they came—and they would, for his body was, as all were, evolutionarily adapted for survival, the conscious mind in charge only up to a dire point, whereupon autonomic function took over and things went haywire—would thrash him about in the bucket seat, throwing his head forward and back, his mouth opening and drawing in water as a reflex, as a desperate hope that his lungs were merely being denied oxygen as opposed to there being none available to them. He was under no illusions that it would be easy. There would be suffering from the suffocation, burning inside his body, perhaps even some last-moment panic kicked over his mortal transom by the lizard part of his brain.
But then it would be over. Done with. The whole miserable biological accident of his life dusted, in the bin, over and out.
A void, and nothing more.
Which was heretical.
As a Shadow, he had been raised in a slightly different belief system than regular vampires. His people, an evolutionary extension within the fanged species, relied a great deal on the stars in the sky, the traditions of the s’Hisbe a variant of what was accepted as the way the afterlife worked. The core tenets, however, were the same for both. It was like Protestants and Catholics—same essential language, but different dialects—and as such, his kind, too, had the theory that after you died, you went up unto the Fade, and lived out eternity with your loved ones under the benevolent auspices of the Scribe Virgin. Assuming you hadn’t been a total douche down on earth. If you had been an asshole, you were relegated to Dhunhd, also known as Hell, which was where the Omega and his minions hung out. Either way, your conduct over the course of your mortal nights determined your final zip code, and there was something after your last breath to look forward to—or dread—depending on your worthiness.
It was an okay theory, and a construct that he understood was, in its own fashion, to be found on the human side of things as well. Not the Fade or Dhunhd, perhaps, not the Scribe Virgin or the Omega, exactly, but rather other, similar belief systems that covered both how you treated yourself and others while you were mortal, and also considered what happened to you after your coil, so to speak, got popped. Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and countless other religions, they were all efforts to give more of a vista after death than just a coffin and a grave. Or a pyre.
He knew from pyres.
God, did he ever.
What he no longer knew from, however, what he no longer believed in, was all the rest of that stuff. He’d never been particularly spiritual, but man, you didn’t know how much you had been until you were not any longer.
One print copy of Where Winter Finds You (US only) to a randomly selected commenter.
About the Author
J.R. Ward is the author of more than thirty novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood series. There are more than fifteen million copies of her novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-six different countries around the world. She lives in the South with her family.
(Thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)