Ivie is a nurse in the healer's clinic, who goes out with her cousin one night to a human cigar bar. The last things she expected to find there was an aristocratic vampire who starts flirting with her and asks her out. As a commoner with a biker father, she has no idea why he would be interested in her and has no trouble speaking her mind, turning him down cold. Silas leaves the invitation open, and after giving it some thought, Ivie decides to meet him after all. Throughout a nice meal, she discovers that he's actually very charming and anything but the stuffy member of the glymera she expected. But as they begin to get closer, Silas reveals that he'll soon be returning to the Old Country. Disappointed but undeterred, Ivie decides to throw herself completely into the affair for as long as it lasts. But when she unexpectedly finds out that Silas is harboring a huge secret, it may change everything.
Oh, the feels! Dearest Ivie took me on an emotional roller coaster ride that had me worried for a little while. J. R. Ward once dared to kill off a main character, so when things started going south in the story, I was very concerned that she might be doing it once more. I had at least some faith that she wouldn't disappoint her fans like that yet again, but at the same time, she knew how to wring so much emotion out of the situation, I couldn't help but be tensely awaiting the hoped-for positive outcome. When it came, it left me with a huge sigh of relief and a few happy tears.
Ivie is a nurse at Havers' clinic, who is very dedicated to her job. She's a commoner from a back-woodsy biker family with a dad who's a little scary-looking but has a good heart. When she randomly meets Silas in a cigar bar, it's been a frustrating day with her having been turned away from a potential job as a private nurse for a wealthy aristocrat. She's not really in the mood to be flirtatious, especially with a member of the glymera, so when Silas asks her out, she turns him down flat. He, however, leaves the invitation open, and after having a day to think it over, she decides to throw caution to the wind. What she finds is a male who is anything but the stuffy aristocrat she expected and she finds herself falling hard and fast for his charms. But when he informs her that he'll soon be returning to the Old Country, she's disappointed beyond belief but determined to make the most of the time they have left. Ivie is a very strong-willed female who isn't afraid to speak her mind. Sometimes it may come out a little strange or awkward, but most of the time, it's about her being confident and assertive. She embraces life to the fullest, yet isn't afraid of death. What I loved most about her, though, is her fighting spirit that makes her unwilling to accept things as they are and her willingness to stand by her male no matter what and give him all the care, kindness, and love she has in her heart and that he so richly deserves.
The entire novella is written from Ivie's third-person perspective, so we don't get a lot of insights into Silas's mind. This is probably for the best, though, because it allowed the author to retain an air of mystery around him. He's instantly smitten with Ivie, loving her sense of humor and her zest for life. He just wants to give her everything he possibly can in the short time he has before he must leave. However, he's harboring a very big secret that changes everything once the cat is out of the bag. I couldn't help but love Silas from the moment he appeared and was rooting for him to overcome the near impossible hurdle that threatens to keep him from spending even more time with Ivie. The way J. R. Ward resolved this was pure genius and I was very excited when she brought in one of the newest members of the BDB family to help out.
Dearest Ivie is set in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Silas and Ivie are brand new to the series, but in addition to Havers, we get to see three other series characters who shall remain nameless so as to not give too much away. Havers seems to have softened a bit since the early days when he was lording patriarchal BS over Marissa, and this is one of the few times in recent memory that we've actually gotten to see him in action as the talented healer of the race. Then there's Ivie's colorful family who liven things up. I particularly liked her cousin Rubes and wonder if there might be a future story for her.
I've read a couple of other novellas this month that, while enjoyable, didn't quite fully convince me of the characters' love for one another. It can be a very difficult proposition for an author to write a story that takes place over a short time frame and still make that all-important connection between the characters. Dearest Ivie has that in spades. I was absolutely enthralled by the prospect of the Silas and Ivie pairing from the minute they exchanged their first dialogue. Their chemistry is completely combustible, and I'm not just talking about the sex, although that's great, too. They just fit together perfectly in every way, so I wasn't the least bit bothered by the "I love yous" coming so quickly. Theirs is simply a beautiful, emotionally taut, sexy, intense, tear-jerker of a story that has more than earned keeper status from me. I hope that perhaps we haven't seen the last of Silas and Ivie, as the author hinted at a loose end or two that I hope might be resolved at some point in the future. In any case, this little nugget from the BDB world has me eager for more, so I'm very happy that I already have the next full-length novel, The Thief, at the top of my TBR pile to read next month.
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