Set in Caldwell, New York, Dark Lover establishes most of the plot points that carry through the series. There is more than one humanoid species sharing space on this earth. The Lessers, evil creations of the Omega, are dedicated to wiping out the vampires, a race created by the Sacred Virgin. The elite fighting force tasked to protect the vampires are the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Larger, stronger, and fiercer than the average vampire, the Brotherhood take their duty very seriously. The most powerful of them, Wrath, is the last purebrad vampire left, and as such should be their king. Ruling is not Wrath's goal, however. Seeking revenge on Lessers is the only thing on his mind. At least, it is until he meets Beth.
The half-blood daughter of the Brotherhood's best fighter - and Wrath's best friend, Darius, - Beth is unaware of her heritage. Darius calls in a favor and asks Wrath to watch over Beth if anything happens before he can usher her through her change. Wrath reluctantly accepts the task, neither of them realizing that Darius will die that very night.
Wrath takes one look at Beth and he's done. Brought to his knees by the sense that this woman is his. And so it begins.
I will admit that it took a while to not chuckle in derision over the character names in this book: Phury, Vishous, Torhment, Zsadist, Rhage...seriously? That's the only thing I can really criticize in this book, though. Ward has built an incredibly realistic world in amazing detail and populated it with characters full of centuries-old backstories and traditions. The writing is fluid and easy, and I seriously could not put the book down.