Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review in the blog tour for
DEMON OF MINE , a contemporary M/M paranormal romance from Rayna Vause. I really enjoyed this simmering romance!
About the book:
Climbing the corporate ladder can be hell….
As a Collections Demon, Zavier grants his “clients” one wish in exchange for their souls. His job sucks, but once you make a deal with Corporate South, they own you. The trouble is, Zavier’s not a very good Collections Demon, with his tendencies to spurn authority and find loopholes to help deserving clients out of their contracts. He’s under scrutiny from the head of his department, who would quite literally like to see him burn. He just needs to close a simple deal to get upper management off his back. Instead, he meets Ryan.
Ryan is desperately searching for a way to save his dying sister. He doesn’t believe in magic and demons, but he’s out of options. Zavier’s not what he expects in a demon, and even more unexpected is the strong sense of familiarity—very intimate familiarity.
While trying to free Ryan from his contract, Zavier discovers secrets unscrupulous even by South standards. Exposing them could cost Zavier everything, but it might be Ryan’s only hope.
How about a little taste?
The man dug in his pocket and pulled out a picture of a beautiful blonde woman wearing a huge smile as she cuddled a newborn baby. “This is my sister, Maggie, and her daughter, Mya. Maggie has cancer. Pancreatic, stage four. She’s terminal.” He glanced at the photo, and grief flitted across his face before determination chased it away. He handed him the image.
Zavier took the photo but didn’t look at it. Instead he watched a mix of emotions flicker over the man’s attractive face. His heart clenched with sympathy and an odd sense of commiseration. A part of him recalled the pain of knowing that a loved one’s time was running short, but he didn’t know why. As far back as he could recall in his existence as a demon, he’d never lost anyone. This acute identification with this man’s feelings made no sense.
“I need you to cure her. I want her to have a one-hundred-percent clean bill of health.”
Zavier finally looked at the picture of the glowing woman and child. In that captured moment she shone bright, happy, and full of life. “I imagine you must love her a lot, but are you sure you really want to do this?”
“I’d do anything for her.”
Tears shimmered in the man’s eyes. He pressed the heels of his hands into them before any could fall and took a deep breath. When he continued, his words turned defensive. “Look, my mind is made up. I-I just want to do this and go home.”
Zavier stared at the man, awed by his selflessness. No one this genuine had summoned him in ages. It tugged at something inside him, warming him at the same time as it annoyed him. Shit, here’s another one that’s going to bite me in the ass and get me in even deeper with upper management. He hated these types of cases. The selfish, stupid wishes, he granted without question, without a qualm. But these types of cases, where no one really came out ahead in the end, they got under his skin and made him detest his job a little more every time.
Zavier wished he could help this man in some way without locking him into the soul contract. If he could offer him this wish free of charge, he’d do it. The Board, however, would have his hide. Pushing his personal feelings aside, he did his duty, despite the sour taste it left in his mouth, and went about claiming another soul for South.
“It’s your life.” Zavier reached into his jacket and pulled out a packet of papers. “You agree to sign your soul over to me. In return, I’ll give your sister a clean bill of health. The cancer, along with any other medical issues she may have, will be cured. Please understand, it’s not a ‘snap of the fingers’ situation. It will take some time for a full recovery. In a few weeks, you’ll notice a marked improvement. Over the course of a year, the disease will completely disappear.”
“Why a year?”
“It’s a protection issue—for you, and for us. Last thing we want are people—the government, whomever—asking questions when sick people miraculously recover overnight. It needs to look natural to a certain degree. Make sense?”
“Good. Okay, moving on. You’ll have five years, and then I’ll come to collect. Use your years wisely. If these terms are acceptable to you, we’ll seal the deal with a handshake. At the same time, I’ll need you to verbally state your name and accept the terms. Then you’ll sign on the dotted line. We clear?”
“No. Yes. Contracts? Really? That seems awfully normal and more businesslike than I expected, especially after the summoning spell. Nothing about this entire situation is like I’d anticipated.”
“Yeah, well. Like I said, we’ve upgraded a lot of our practices and traditions over the years. Even demons have to update their methods from time to time. But, we keep enough of our old ways to retain a hint of mystery and mysticism about things. Don’t want to feel too corporate.”
The man stared at him dumbfounded, and then his expression changed. Zavier watched as the man gave him a long, analytical once over for the first time.
“Would you like me to do a little turn for you? Give you a better look?”
“What? No.” A slight blush spread across the man’s face. “It’s just—you aren’t what I imagined at all. I envisioned something a little more Hellraiser and a little less Ralph Lauren. With the juxtaposition of the magic and the paperwork, I’m just having a hard time piecing it all together in my mind.”
Zavier cocked his head at the man. “Still? I thought we’d addressed this a few minutes ago. Look, let’s try this instead.” Zavier closed his eyes and called up a bit of the darkness caged within. When he raised his lids, he let his inner demon show through.
The man gasped. “Uh, not really. No.”
“Whatever.” Zavier huffed and snuffed out the fire, allowing his eyes to return to their usual brown.
“Look, don’t worry about it for now. You’ll find out about the inner workings of the demon world soon enough.”
4.5 stars for this contemporary M/M paranormal romance.
Ryan is wrecked watching his only sister die of pancreatic cancer. Desperate to save her, and spare her daughter becoming an orphan, Ryan does something he can’t even believe–he makes a pact with a demon, Zavier. For the exchange of his soul, his sister will be saved. Ryan is given a five year delay on collection, but when he seals the deal with Zavier something equally extraordinary happens–both men feel a deeper connection.
For Zavier, touching Ryan unlocks the history of his human life–the one he sacrificed when he made a pact with a demon to save the life of his dying lover, Ryan. Fifty years have passed since Zavier’s contract came due and he entered Hell’s ranks, but how could his new client Ryan have opened Zavier’s locked memories? Zavier begins to investigate his own contract, with the help of a guardian angel and a lesser demon with mad computer skillz. The answers are as infuriating as they are shocking, and Zavier is torn between his demon duty and his love once lost.
I thoroughly enjoyed this romance. Do not be looking for lots and lots of steamy sex–there is a bit of physicality near the end, but it’s a small part of this bittersweet story. The story is told from Ryan and Zavier’s points of view, so we really get to see their insights, throughout. The descriptions of Hell are interesting and compelling–I definitely enjoyed the “corporate structure” and how the demons and angels jetted about with a touch of a cell phone.
The star-crossed love between Ryan and Zavier is allowed to develop in a new time–with Ryan being a more equal partner in love than the man Zavier sacrificed his mortality for all those decades ago. Still, things happen fast. Zavier’s boss is frustrated by his slip-shod efforts at signing new souls, and collecting souls which have come due. I adored Zavier’s sense of morality–he’s practically the anti-demon, all conscience and no avarice. His best friend is an angel, for goodness sake!
As Zavier works to protect Ryan from his own selflessness, Zavier makes the same mistake he did when he was human–and his keen protectiveness nearly ruins the tenuous love they are building, now. The end is nothing short of a miracle, but what can one expect when the angels hear your prayers. I know there are more books in this series planned, and I’m eagerly expecting Adrian (the guardian angel)’s story. I want that guy to find love again.
About the Author:
Rayna Vause loves to craft romances that mix a little action, a little adventure, and, often, a touch of the paranormal. She’s voracious reader and a perpetual student. Rayna has collected more degrees and certifications then she cares to admit and eventually she’ll probably earn a few more just because. She is a proud geek who injects a little bit of her geeky, tech obsessed soul into every story she writes.
When Rayna isn’t busy make up stories, she’s likely indulging her love of video games. Why? Because playing through the action, adventure, and romance in a role playing game is as good as reading a romance novel and is sometimes great inspiration for her writing. She’s a martial artist having studied American Kenpo Karate. She is also a Disney fanatic of epic proportions.
Rayna is a member of RWA, RRW, and a founding member of Liberty States Fiction Writers. She lives in southern NJ, just a bit outside of Philadelphia and shares a home with a cat who thinks she’s royalty.
Thanks for popping in. And keep reading my friends!