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The Chosen
Cover of The Chosen
The Chosen
Black Dagger Brotherhood Series, Book 15
by J.R. Ward
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A scorching forbidden love threatens to tear a rift through the Black Dagger Brotherhood in J. R. Ward's newest novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier's fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor's life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

Praise for J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series

"Utterly absorbing and deliciously erotic."—Angela Knight

"To die for . . . I love this series!"—Suzanne Brockmann
From the Hardcover edition.
A scorching forbidden love threatens to tear a rift through the Black Dagger Brotherhood in J. R. Ward's newest novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series.

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier's fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor's life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

Praise for J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series

"Utterly absorbing and deliciously erotic."—Angela Knight

"To die for . . . I love this series!"—Suzanne Brockmann
From the Hardcover edition.
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  • From the book One


    Mountains Of Caldwell, New York, Present day


    The Black Dagger Brotherhood were keeping him alive, so that they could kill him. Given the sum of Xcor's earthly pursuits, which had beenat their best violent, and at their worst downright depraved, it seemed an apt end for him.

    He had been born upon a winter's night, during a historic blizzard's gale. Deep within a damp and dirty cave, as icy gusts had raked o'er the Old Country, the female who had carried him had screamed and bled to bring forth unto the Black Dagger Brother Hharm the son that had been demanded of her.

    He had been desperately wanted. Until he had fully arrived.

    And that was the beginning of his story . . . which had ultimately landed him here.
    In another cave. On another December's eve. And as with his actual birth, the wind howled to greet him, although this time, it was a return to consciousness as opposed to an expelling unto independent life that brought him forth.

    As with a newly born young, he had little control over his body. Incapacitated he was, and that would have been true even without the steel chains and bars that were locked across his chest, his hips, his thighs. Machines, at odds with the rustic environs, beeped behind his head, monitoring his respiration, heart rate, blood pressure.

    With all the ease of unoiled gears, his brain began to function properly beneath his skull, and when thoughts finally coalesced and formed rational sequences, he recalled the series of events that had resulted in him, the leader of the Band of Bastards, falling into the custody of what had been his enemies: an attack upon him from behind, a concussive fall, a stroke or some such that had rendered him prone and on life support.

    At the non-extant mercy of the Brothers.

    He had surfaced unto awareness once or twice during his captivity, recording his captors and his whereabouts in this earthen corridor that was inexplicably shelved with jars of all kinds. The returns to conscious- ness had never lasted long, however, the connectivity in his mental arena unsustainable for any length of time.
    This emergence was different, however. He could sense the shift within his mind. Whate'er had been injured had finally healed and he was back from the foggy landscape of neither-life-nor-death—and staying on the vital side.
    ". . . really worry about is Tohr."
    The tail end of the sentence uttered by a male entered Xcor's ear as a series of vibrations, the translation of which was on a delay, and whilst the words caught up to the syllables, he shifted his eyes over. Two heavily armed figures in black had their backs to him and he reclosed his lids, not wishing to reveal his change of status. Their identities were duly noted, however.
    "Nah, he's tight." There was a soft scratching sound and then the smell of rich tobacco rose up. "And if he slips, I'll be there."
    The deep voice who had first spoken became dry. "To chain our brother back in line—or help him murder this piece of meat?"
    The Brother Vishous laughed like a serial killer. "Such a dim fucking view of me you got."
    'Tis a wonder we are not better aligned, Xcor thought. These males were as bloodthirsty as he.

    Such an alliance was never to be, however. The Brotherhood and the Bastards had been e'er on different sides of Wrath's kingship, the line drawn by the path of the bullet Xcor had put into the throat of that law- ful leader of the vampire race.

    And the price of his treason was going to be exacted here and soon upon him.
    Of course, the irony was that a countervailing force had since inter- ceded upon his destiny and...
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. She is also the author of the Black Dagger Legacy series and the Bourbon Kings 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.
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    Random House Publishing Group
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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J.R. Ward
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