“Who the fuck are you, Ms. Lane?”Rage filled me. Rage at what had been done to her. Rage at him for bringing it up. The thought that no one could see or judge me was liberating. I swelled with grief and anger.“Now tell me who you are.”“Vengeance,” I said in a cold voice.There are certain things in my life that remains comfortingly constant despite the chaos that sometimes peppers my life. For instance, the sky is blue. 70% dark chocolate is delicious. I look really good in dark green.Jericho Barrons is an asshat.Well, fuck. That last fact might no longer be true.I don't know how this happened, honestly. I don't think I'm a sheep. The majority of my friends have long professed their love for Barrons...and honestly, I just didn't get it. I still don't. Jericho is still not my type of guy, but upon the second time reading this book...I think he's finally growing on me.I turned around slowly, and looked up at him. He stiffened and sucked in a shallow breath. After a moment, he touched my cheek.“Such naked pain,” he whispered.I turned my face into his palm and closed my eyes. His fingers threaded into my hair, cupped my head, and brushed the brand. It heated at his touch. “Never show it to me again.” His face was cold, hard, his voice colder.I started the Fever series with a horrible impression of Jericho that never really left. To me, he was an overbearing, patronizing, violent asshole. I have to admit that the first time around, I largely skimmed book 2 and 3, and my first, overwhelmingly terrible impression of Jericho never really changed.Upon a second reading: a more careful, critical reading, I admit I might have been wrong the first time. The contrast and complexities in his character is particularly more notable for me today, coming off the recent reading of a particularly forgettable UF/PNR book, with forgettable characters.I still don't like Jericho that much, but I love his character. I've come to see that while he is a jerk, he never goes over-the-line-violent. He stops just short of it, and he has his moments that just makes you wonder---maybe there's something there, worth investigating, under the surface.And then the next moment, it's gone. Leaving you to wonder if that spark of humanity was ever there in the first place.That's the thing that attracts me about Jericho's character...that's what FINALLY grew on me in this book. After so many books with lackluster characters, with predictable behaviors, this is one that keeps me guessing, who runs hot and cold...but just hot enough to keep me intrigued. That's why he evokes such strong emotions within me, and that's what keeps me hooked. It is easy to hate a character. Anyone can make a character merely...loathsome. It is quite another to have a character that keeps you on your toes, not knowing what he is, who he is, how he will react. It's exhausting at times, but ultimately, I am never bored, and that is what I seek within a book and its characters. Some escapism...and it doesn't get any better than the amazing world and setting in this series.Mac's character is also improving by leaps and bounds. She's still a girly-girl. She still enjoys dressing up, but reality is smacking her in the face, and she is dealing with it and adapting to the situation just beautifully. She takes action, she learns to be manipulative. She takes initiative. She is not content to remain a passive, weak damsel in distress; she is willing to seek help from the devil---or Barrons---same thing, really, if that's what it takes. Her character develops beautifully in this book.The first time around, despite my contempt for the characters, I absolutely loved the setting, the writing, the darkness of it all. This has not changed. The writing and scenery is spectacular. The portrayal of Dublin rips away the happy, safe, warm environment that I loved from reading Maeve Binchy's books---and being the creepy, strange woman I am, I think I might prefer the darkness. The writing is lovely, the insights into the nature of darkness, particularly from Mac's viewpoint, is remarkable, and is a better portrayal of Mac's inner nature and intelligence than I would have thought. She still has hope, she still has brightness within her, but Mac's understanding of evil makes me sympathize with her more than her natural effervescence and vivacity ever could.I still think I like V'lane more than Jericho, though.He began bringing me gifts. One day he brought me chocolate that wouldn’t make me gain weight, no matter how much I ate.COME ON NOW. CHOCOLATE THAT WOULDN'T MAKE YOU GAIN WEIGHT? Gimme that shit.