This is the 17th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Since early in the series, I have been waiting for a happy ever after for Layla. Layla is not a kick ass heroine. She is kind, nurturing, and self-sacrificing. She was raised to serve the needs of others and have the children of the Primale. When Phury, the Primale, releases all of the Chosen from this duty, Layla lost the main purpose of her life. But she continue to serve and feed members of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
Then she is tricked into feeding and nourishing a rebel, who plans to overthrow the King. Xcor, deformed from birth with a harelip, is immediately enchanted by Layla. He feels unworthy of her. He even blackmails her into keeping company with him.
In the meanwhile, Layla goes into her time of need. Her friend, Qhuinn, has sex with her and she becomes pregnant with his children. Qhuinn is happy about the children. Layla intends to raise the children with Qhuinn and his husband, Blay.
All of this action has occurred over a series of novels in the series and before this novel begins.
This novel begins with Xcor, a prisoner of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Layla is distraught over his inevitable execution. When it is discovered that Layla had fed Xcor and then had spent time with him, she is threaten with banishment and the loss of her infant children.
Layla deserved a happy ending and she gets it in this novel. Xcor adores her. He will willingly sacrifice himself for her and her happiness. Layla fights for her children and her happiness.
The most concerning part of the novel is Qhuinn. Qhuinn is a domestic abuser. This behavior first became apparent in Lover At Last. In Lover At Last, Qhuinn engaged in emotional abuse toward Blay. In this novel, Qhuinn is emotionally abusive toward both Layla and Blay. Then the emotional abuse bleeds into violence. He points a gun at both Blay and Layla. He threatens to shoot Layla. Contrary to what I read in other reviews, none of this behavior is justified. It is abuse, pure and simple.
Which made the happy ever after and the all too easy reconciliation between Qhuinn, Blay and Layla at the end hard to swallow. But JR Ward is an extremely smart writer. Qhuinn has engaged in this behavior in two novels. In this novel, Blay confronts him on his behavior and makes an ultimatum. I fully expect her to confront this issue in a future novel. When she does, I will happily buy it.