Title: A Calling for Pleasure (Damned if You Do #1)
Author: JL Merrow
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Cover Artist: Lou Harper
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Cryselle
Review synopsis: A plot with some meat told with style, dash, and humor.
If you summon this demon, he’s guaranteed to come!
With a killer succubus leaving a trail of desiccated corpses around town, Detective Lars Thornsson knows he shouldn’t be falling for a suspect, but a hot little piece of demon tail like Rael is impossible to resist.
Sexy male succubus Rael has an insatiable appetite for men that can get him into all kinds of trouble. And he’s just found his favorite flavor: a hunky blond detective. When those cool Nordic looks combine with Rael’s smouldering dark charms, all Hell could be let loose!
JL Merrow’s biography explains that she’s “frequently accused of humor,” and I’m going to shake that finger at her again. From the opening scene between the demon Rael and the pimply teenager, aka the “sebum king” who’s summoned him, to the climactic declarations at the end, this story pushes expectations in one direction and then takes a sudden left turn.
They’d been on this case for three weeks now, and were getting nowhere fast. The succubus they were after had put, at last count, thirteen men in the morgue, their souls literally sucked out through their dicks. Just contemplating it made Lars simultaneously wince and think damn, what a way to go.
Yeah, like that. Every few pages.
Rael hasn’t been ‘topside’ for quite some time: he’s quite bemused over the changes in society. Good times for him: what he wants is offered everywhere. For a male succubus, it’s easy pickings in the clubs and the streets. When this story came out originally in a Torquere anthology titled Care and Feeding of Demons, the author took some heat for the term, some folks insisting that Rael had to be an incubus for being male, but looking at who he’s having sex with rather than how he’s plumbed, it both makes sense and provides a little skew. The story has been reworked and expanded to stand alone: it’s about twenty percent longer now and the stronger for it.
Detective Lars Thornsson and his partner Detective Rochelle of the Paranormal Enforcement Agency are on the case; he’s got Immortal parentage, she’s got the magical skills, and they make a good team. The banter between them is funny, particularly as she hasn’t got any detectable sense of humor to appreciate the things coming out of her mouth. She’s a little put out by Lars being attracted to their suspect. Big, blond, hunky Lars has to keep hauling his attentions back to the case, because they keep straying to Rael’s ass and mouth.
Rael’s so danged cute I want to squish him: demonic but sweet, worrying about what his momma will say (Demons have mommas? I never knew.) and offering sympathy like only a gay best friend can do. He’s also accused of thirteen murders and an assault.
The police procedural end of the story had the perfect villain committing crimes for the most fitting of reasons, and has a solution Horatio Cain couldn’t improve on. Then Rael and Lars, who are perfect for each other in ways that become clear as the story progresses, can act on their mutual interest, and this is where the story fell down for me. I’m all for hot sex, but the couple goes from interrogations in silver handcuffs and a rowan wood chair to bed with declarations of never leaving, with barely a pause to get out of their clothing. It works better if taken as the babbling of men who are too horny to make actual sense.
There are two more stories with this couple, which I am now anxious to read.
The cover artist, Lou Harper, has a sly sense of humor. Giggle: look closely. 4.5 stars
For a brief time, the author is offering a coupon for a free copy: find it here.