I'm not exactly sure where to begin. I stumbled upon this series hunting for new vampire books. Not sure why it took me so long. I even had the first book sitting on my shelf for almost a month untouched. Then I read a review that peaked my curiosity and decided to give Dark Lover a try. After reading Wrath and Beth's story, there was no turning back. Eight books later and I'm still as enthralled with the series as I was in the beginning.Lover Mine is John and Xhex's story. They both have a lot of pain in their past that neither one of them are comfortable sharing with each other or anyone else. Some of John's pain is fresh and even caused by Xhex herself. Xhex's pain is much older, except for the pain she has caused John. In her attempt to protect him and keep her dark side hidden from him she pushed him away and it's killing her. As they begin to open up to each other, they realize that they are in love but they also know that they can't be together. What better set up for JR Ward's torture to begin? Through all the books in the series I have always held out hope that in the end, no matter how many obstacles are thrown at these bonded pairs, they will end up happy and together. In this one, I was afraid to hope. In the interest of a spoiler free review, I'm not going to let you know how it turns out either. You'll just have to take the emotional roller coaster ride for yourself. True to form, JR Ward doesn't let the other characters out of the torturous fun. Tohr, Blay, Quinn, V and even a few new faces also get their fair share of emotional upheaval. Lash doesn't disappoint as the bad guy and FYI, JR Ward's treatment of him in this book is pure poetic justice. As promised in the preview, Darius does return. As I was reading the back story of Darius I felt the need to skim instead of taking it all in. I wasn't sure how it was all going to fit. Don't take that approach when you read this book, trust me. His return as the Scribe Virgin promised is here, I just never saw it coming.I read books 6, 7 & 8 as part of a challenge. Not that I wouldn't have read them anyway, but it may require me to devour them again - but later. I'm even holding off on book 9 until it comes out in paperback. Emotionally drained is an understatement when it comes to a description of how you feel when you walk away from these books. It took me a while to find them, but I am officially hooked on these BDB boys.