The Darkest Pleasure is the third book in Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series about immortal warriors who have been cursed to carry a demon inside them as punishment for opening Pandora's box. The warrior at the center of The Darkest Pleasure is Reyes, the keeper of pain, and the woman he falls in love with is Danika.
Reyes enjoys pain. To keep himself from hurting others he hurts himself. Basically, he's a cutter. He stopped dating after his ex-girlfriends starting liking pain and violence a little too much after being with him. It's like bits of his pain demon leaked into them and they began hurting others. To prevent further harm to humans, the warriors are all about protecting or at least avoiding innocent humans, Reyes keeps to himself. Then he meets Danika. Danika and her family - her mother, grandmother, and sister - are on the run from the Greek gods who want them dead for reasons no one seems to know. From the moment he saw her, Reyes was determined to protect, and resist, Danika. Not surprisingly, the second part of that plan doesn't last long.
Ever since I read Twilight years ago I became aware of what I like to call the imprint love trope. I suppose this trope has existed since romance stories existed but Twilight just really drove it home. Basically it is the combination of the ideas of instant love the moment two people to meet and soulmates that simply must be together no matter what. Imprint love seems to be at the heart of the Lords of the Underworld series. First there was Maddox and Ashlyn, then Lucien and Anya, and now Reyes and Danika. As soon as they meet there is an instant attraction despite the obvious reasons why the two should not be together. Reyes was one of the guys that initially kidnapped and imprisoned Danika and her family, for heavens sake! But love conquers all. As in the first two books, Danika's presence calms Reyes's demon. He's still a cutter, but less so, and sometimes she even helps him.
The Darkest Pleasure is definitely full of pleasure and full of darkness. I liked the character of Danika the most. Her character was actually introduced in the first book when she and her family were kidnapped. After the kidnapping Danika was determined to never feel helpless again. In the ensuing time between the first book and this book she took all the self-defense classes she could and learned to protect herself. Of course, she is still no match for any of the immortal warriors but she has a streak of determination and mental strength that is nice to see in a female romance lead.
In addition to the main romance story, The Darkest Pleasure continues the overall story of the warriors quest to find various artifacts that they hope will eventually lead them to Pandora's box. Story lines relating to some of the other warriors also continued. Torin, the keeper of disease seems to be striking up a friendship (or maybe more) with Cameo, the keeper of misery and the only female warrior. Paris, keeper of the demon of promiscuity, continues to struggle both with his demon and his guilty over the death of a past lover. I can't wait to get to their stories. I'm definitely enjoying this series so far.