I have to tell you, I never buy guides to books. They always feel like a combination of rehash and filler. And to be honest, I didn't buy this one either. (A friend lent it to me.) But I did buy the ebook version of the "Father Mine" novella. Had it not been available, I would have bought the whole thing in a heartbeat. And it would have been worth it.
"Father Mine" is the story of how Zsadist becomes a father to his daughter. Yes, we saw how Nalla was conceived back in Lover Awakened. But the novella picks up shortly after her birth and shows the trouble Z is having in bonding with her. He's having nightmares that tie her in to his years of torture. He feels unworthy of her. And as a result, he doesn't touch her; doesn't even look at her; and it's driving him and Bella apart.
This is a great story. Granted, I'd probably enjoy a story about Z & Bella having a dry-cleaning crisis. But in just 84 pages, Ward recaptures the heartbreak of Z's past and the deep passion and devotion he has for his mate. It is wrenching, sweet, and of course, sexy. The short story alone would get 5 stars.
The rest of the guide consists of odds and ends designed to give you a closer look at the previous books and characters. There are mock interviews between the author and characters. (Kind of contrived for me.) But there was also a book by book breakdown, where Ward talks about her process and thoughts on each novel. That, I did enjoy. She talked about what worked for her and what she was striving for. And she clarified a few finer points that I had some lingering confusion on: like the Butch & V relationship as well has how John Matthew managed to become the reincarnation of Darius. (That one always confused me a little because of the timeline.)
Hmm. What else? Some deleted scenes (including an earlier version of the break-up sex scene between Z & Bella that was better than the one that was published.) Some tips for aspiring authors; Ward's initial proposal to her publisher about the series; Some silly internet postings from the perspectives of the characters; And a Q&A with the author. Meh. Other than the scene I mentioned above, none of that really did much for me.
So, when all is said and done, I still don't plan to go out and buy this book, but only because I own the novella. If you haven't read "Father Mine," go out and get it now! The rest mostly feels like extras from the author's website.