Touched by a Demon, Book #3
Heat Factor: Lots of hard nipples and clenching thighs, but there’s only one explicit sex scene at about the midway point. Then the morning sickness begins.
Character Chemistry: Lust, longing, and ten thousand years of hurt feelings.
Plot: Samael and Lilith plan a conference with the heavenly delegation.
Overall: Loved the first half, thought the second half was…ok.
Ten thousand years ago, Satan made Samael an offer he couldn’t refuse: divorce Lilith and be given the position of Devil’s Advocate (lead lawyer of Hell). If he didn’t, Satan would remove Lillith’s immortality, and that would be the end of their marriage anyway. Of course, since Samael is the Demon of Pride, he couldn’t admit to Lilith that Satan gave him an ultimatum, so he told her he dumped her for the career advancement opportunity.
Fast forward to the present day, and Lilith has transformed into Hell’s top operative. (In fact, she appeared as the main antagonist in both previous books in the Touched by a Demon series.) She is damn good at her job, despite the rampant discrimination she faces, and she is angling for the position of Head of Demonic Resources. She could make demon work so much better! Sick leave would be a good start; that time she got the plague and had to work covered in boils really sucked.
But in order to get the job, Lilith has to plan a conference with none other than her ex. Samael is very excited, especially because Satan has given him special dispensation to have sex with Lilith while they’re Above. (I must admit that Samael is a bit of a clueless asshat, but he is the Demon of Pride, so, you know, it tracks.)
Anyways, there’s a lot of bickering and bantering as Lilith and Samael are forced to work together. The best part of the book is when they first start hanging around in New York—Samael hasn’t been Above since 1045, and…things have changed somewhat. He is baffled when the pedestrians are unfazed by the blasts of negative energy he sends out; that would have cleared the area around him for a hundred yards back in the 11th century. He tries to cut in line, because demons don’t wait in line, and fails miserably. I found the whole dynamic delightful.
Of course, they eventually fall into bed together, and Lilith gets pregnant in the most rapidly moving pregnancy ever (demon sperm are weird like that). Now, for those of you expecting a full-on secret baby plot…this is not that. Accidental pregnancy, yes, absolutely. Lilith doesn’t tell Samael immediately, but she doesn’t keep it secret from him for long. They do work to keep the baby secret from Satan though—there’s all this stuff about a prophecy and their baby deposing Satan as the ruler of Hell—but it’s hard keeping things from the ruler of the underworld. The dynamic is more, “How am I going to protect this baby?”
For me, I found the pregnancy plot a bit…I don’t know. Cringy? Like, Lilith and Samael are self-absorbed demons, but as soon as a fetus is in the picture, they start deciding to make sacrifices for the greater good of their family. The shift didn’t quite feel earned, especially given how focused on mayhem Lilith was in the first two books. And while the ending certainly tied everything up neatly, I didn’t quite buy that what they did was a real choice that these characters would make. Their shift back into the light didn’t feel earned.
Despite my quibble with the ending, I still enjoyed this book, mainly because I find Estridge’s angle of exploring redemption through romance interesting. (Ok, and because Hell in these books makes me laugh.)
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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