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I Belong


Early Review: Demon’s Bride by Zoë Archer

TitleDemon’s Bride

Author: Zoë Archer

Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance

Series: The Hellraisers (Book 2)

Publication Date: May 1, 2012

Format: Paperback, 370 Pages

ISBN-10: 1420122282 (Kensington/Zebra)

ISBN-13: 978-1420122282 (Kensington/Zebra)

Reviewed by: Kiwi

Synopsis:

HELL TO PAY

Leo Bailey may have been born to poverty, but ruthless business sense and sparkling intelligence have made money worries a thing of his past. It doesn’t hurt that the Devil himself has granted Leo the ability to read the future.

But even infallible predictions are a déclassé commoner’s trick to some members of the ton. They’ll never see Leo as their equal—one good reason to prove himself their better. And a noble marriage is an obvious start.

Bookish Anne Hartfield, daughter of a baron, is hardly the flashiest miss on the marriage market. But her thoughtful reserve complements Leo’s brash boldness in an attraction neither can deny. A whirlwind courtship sweeps Anne and Leo into a smoldering marriage before either can believe their luck. But happiness built on Leo’s dark powers can’t last. Soon, Anne will have to save her husband…or lose her heart…

Quick & Dirty: A deal with the Devil is disaster in disguise.

Opening Sentence The Honorable Anne Hartfield had married a stranger.

ExcerptYes

The Review:

If heaven and hell do exist, would you make a deal with the Devil if it meant having a hold on your wildest desires?

In a scary look into the minds of man, this novel shines a spotlight on the human condition complete with the insecurities, greed, lust and desires of five ne’er do wells known as the Hellraisers. A name given to them by society, and boy have they earned it. While staying at the estate of one of their members, they become bored and go looking for more trouble to get into. Their quest for iniquity leads them to a Gypsy settlement where they toss their money around in an attempt to have fun. For one of them, the endeavor is falling slightly flat. So, when it is discovered that nearby is an old set of Roman ruins claimed to harbor evil, he and the others can’t help but be intrigued, and decide to check it out, despite the warnings of the Gypsies. Warnings they should have headed, for encased in an enchanted box within these ruins is the very essence of the devil, and is released when these five decide to play Pandora. In a supposed display of gratitude, the devil, or Mr. Holliday as he wants to be known, bestows a gift upon each of the men, each one specifically designed to give them exactly what they want in life. And in exchange, all he required is a small token from each man.

Harmless fun, right? For the devil couldn’t possibly be lying to them, could he??

I admit to stealing that opener from my own review of the first novel in this series. No plagiarism involved, just the necessity of repetition since these two books are of the same series with the same beginning, and basic premise.

In this book we witness the goings on in the life of Hellraiser Leopold Bailey, the only one of the five without the benefit of noble birth. A situation he rectifies by becoming rather wealthy in his own right. By joining up with the other Hellraisers, he has found his place to fit in, if only with a handful of the high and mighty. His gift from the devil allows him to see the financial future of anyone he meets, and all he needs is one of their coins. That is until his geminus, or evil twin who is the Devil’s servant, grants him a bit more power, giving him the ability to see more of the future and now he can do it with any item.

We begin on the day of his wedding, where he hopes to gain entry to higher society by marrying an impoverished baron’s daughter. The Honorable Anne Hartfield is painfully aware that her marriage is not one made out of love; it is but a business arrangement between her husband and father. She remains hopeful, however, and things begin looking up when her husband actually seems to care about her feelings, he starts giving her gifts, taking her out. He even lets her in on a special little secret; he’s a collector of coins that once belonged to those who are his betters, ones who have treated him badly. And wouldn’t it be fun if she could collect them too?

In this book, as in the first one, our heroine is visited by Livia, the ghost of the last person to defeat Mr. Holliday, who also bestows a gift upon Anne, the gift of wind. Besides gifts, Livia is also the bearer of bad news. It seems Leo has made a bad deal with the Devil and everyone, including Anne, shall suffer the consequences. By the time that Leo’s great secret is revealed, the pair have actually fallen for each other, and when Anne discovers she has been used as a pawn in some of his evil schemes, she no longer has faith in her husband, and their relationship stands on a tightrope.

The tightrope is easily passed when Anne and Leo join Whit and Zora, along with Livia, in a battle against Mr. Holliday’s demon lackeys, and then the rest of the Hellraisers themselves.

As good as the first, in my humble opinion. How long until the next installment?

Notable Scene:

Terror, exhaustion, and anger all seethed within her. This nightmare world—she wanted nothing more to do with it. Energy coalesced through her limbs, the force of a hundred storms. When the first demon rushed her once more, she let out a primal, furious scream, a battle cry, as she flung out her hands and unleashed the tempest inside.

“I have been lied to, manipulated, betrayed,” she said through clenched teeth. “Made fearful. No more.”

The beast made a frantic, enraged sound as it fought against the gale. But Anne’s wrath could not be contained. She let everything run riot, letting slip any control she might have possessed. The demon struggled, and then, with a shriek, it was caught on the storm she had created. Like a leaf, it spun on the wind backward. Higher. It clawed uselessly at the air to stop its mad flight. She was unrelenting.

Anne continued to blast the creature with the force of her magic, and it tumbled back through the sky. Toward the nearby towering Pagoda that rose ten stories above the ground. The demon tried to stop its ascent by clinging to a gilded dragon on the corner of one of the Pagoda’s roofs. The ornament snapped away, and the demon was flung high, higher. Until it reached the very top of the Pagoda.

It saw Anne’s intent and let out one final scream of outrage. She refused to yield. Manipulating her magic, she brought the demon up, then dropped it—directly onto the Pagoda’s spire. Skewering the demon. The spire stabbed through its chest, and the creature’s dying howl rose up to the dark night sky before trailing away into silence.

The last remaining demon looked to where its compatriot lay dead. It turned panicked eyes to Anne, then to Leo. She reveled in seeing the creature’s fear.

With a frightened yelp, it spun around and flew away. Its wings beating against the air, it disappeared into the darkness like the last vestiges of a bad dream.

The Hellraisers Series:

1. Devil’s Kiss

2. Demon’s Bride

3. Sinner’s Heart

FTC Advisory: Kensington/Zebra provided me with a copy of Demon’s Bride. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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