Pleasure & pain with the Lords Of The Underworld

The Darkest Pleasure  - Gena Showalter

Opening Line: "Reyes stood on the roof of the Budapest fortress, five stories up, his feet balanced precariously on the highest ledge."

This is book 3 in the fantastic and addictive Lords Of The Underworld Series and this time it's is all about Reyes, an immortal warrior cursed after opening Pandora's box and ever since bound to the demon of pain. We've been waiting since book 1 to see Reyes's unrequited love for Danika reach its foregone conclusion and Showalter doesn't disappoint.

As in past books this is an ensemble piece, involving the continuing stories of past immortals and their now mates, as well as those Demons yet to have their stories told. Rather than distracting I found all these characters only added to the story in a very `Brothers' living in the mansion kind of way. I love the bantering between the warriors who at the same time respect each others torturous curses. This dysfunctional family unit continues to change and grow, all the while maintaining their constant search for Pandora's Box and fighting off the ever threatening `Hunters.'

Reyes is kinda sexy but he's been cursed with the demon of pain. To avoid hurting others (and feel some pleasure himself) he must satisfy the demon by either releasing it during a fight or self inflicting pain. I.e. cutting or stabbing himself, although he has also been known to jump off the roof of a building just to feel his bones break and hear the demon purr.

Reyes was introduced to Danika Way back in (The Darkest Night) and he's never been able to forget her. She unfortunately was targeted by Cronus the new King of the Titans and along with her family sentenced to death. To make matters worse it was Reyes's best friend Aeron ordered with upholding the death sentence and the longer he's kept from this task the more bloodthirsty his own demon Wrath has become. In fact Aeron's become so crazed that he's been locked in the dungeon where he's trying to chew off his own hands to escape the shackles. Reyes can't bear to see his friend like this but he can't allow Aeron to kill Danika either and will fight him to the death if need be.

Meanwhile Danika remains on the run, now separated from her family she fears that they may all be dead and in an attempt to find and protect them strikes up a deal with the `Hunters' allowing herself to be used as `Bait' against the immortals. Once inside the castle walls however her resolve starts to fail. Something draws her to Reyes, this man who warms her skin and haunts her dreams. He has shown her nothing but safety and kindness and she has come to desire him, demon and all. Reyes in turn is pretty much useless, unable to concentrate on anything except getting Danika into his bed and keeping her safe from the bloodthirsty Aeron. Now if only he could figure out where Danika's loyalties lie and why Cronus wants her dead they could all live happily ever after.

This was a great read and anyone invested in the series won't be disappointed. Besides the love story there are some excellent sub-plots. (Paris's story is getting progressively heartbreaking *sigh*) My only regret here would be the surprisingly mundane love scenes. Given the subject materiel I guess I expected a little more, I mean pain=BDSM right? Unfortunately (or fortunately?) Reyes wants to keep things gentle and not exploit Danika's dark, kinky side. At times I also felt bogged down with too much Greek Mythology and history but all the same can't wait to read the next instalment. Cheers