Cover Chat: Lover At Last by J.R. Ward

This morning author J.R. Ward released both the cover and the title of the eleventh book in her fervor-creating Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Readers meet (or we should say re-meet) Qhuinn, on the cover of his very own romance novel, Lover at Last. And in case you’ve been living under a rock, this installment of the beloved BDB series is causing waves not just because it’s the next from the talented Ward but because the author is headed off the beaten path: it’s a male/male romance. Qhuinn will be taking center stage joined by, that’s right, his Lover at Last, Blaylock!

At the 2012 RT Booklovers Convention, during the Author Chat with J.R. Ward and Jessica Andersen, Ward told us that the romance between vampires Blay and Qhuinn was a long time coming. The author shared her view on the men’s relationship when she told the audience, “To me, it’s a love story … I was not expecting to be writing them as a full-blown book.” However, after many discussions with her editor, it seemed clear, Ward said, “I think we both got to this point where [we realized], ‘This is a story that needs to be told.’”

The author also shared an insider’s look at a very emotional moment in the couple’s relationship when she told us, “The best vision I’ve ever gotten is of Layla turning her newborn child over to Blay. Qhuinn is standing in the door because he doesn’t feel welcome and she reaches out to him.” Honestly, you might be a little bit made of stone if your heart isn’t just melting at the thought of this scene!

And what about when readers catch a glimpse of the fantastic Qhuinn on the cover? I’m guessing it will melt something a little bit south of their heart. How do I know it's Qhuinn and not Blay? The man's distinctive, sexy eyes — one blue, one green. Now, we’ve seen dark and mysterious stares from BDB warriors on the covers before. (That’s right Thorment, you did smolder on the front of Lover Reborn.) But this time it’s not just a glance we’re getting — Qhuinn has captured the cover — and I don’t have a single objection!

I adore this homage to a more mainstream romance cover with the hero’s hunky chest peeking out (and doesn’t it just look like you could grate cheese on that bad boy?) but it’s not all run of the mill. The man is literally shrouded in mystery ... or what passes for mystery on cover art, a hooded vest. I really like the nod to the fact that we don’t know everything about the man and that this love story will peel away layers of badass to get to the soft and mushy center of this hardened warrior. And if there’s anyone doubting that this man is a disciple of the school of Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know, well that halfway unsheathed sword makes it clear that to get what he wants, Qhuinn will follow the example of famous philosophers Destiny’s Child: “I’m a survivor, I’m gonna make it, I’m a survivor, Keep on surviving.”

And frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. This cover perfectly speaks to how I imagined Qhuinn, and I know I’m not alone in my feeling that title Lover at Last is particularly fitting. If ever a male couple deserved to get a love story, these are two guys who have fought hard for their happily ever after and I am glad it’s (hopefully!) coming to them.

So what do you think of the LaL cover? And will you be re-reading the series before this upcoming book’s March 2013 release date? Let me know in the comments below!