I can almost see her bouncing up and down in her chair when she posts about it. A little daunted by the length of the book of course I left it to the last minute to read then write the review but ready to go. One in which two different groups battle each other for human souls. The Guardians are former humans who, at the moment of their death, are transformed via a ritual into beings with eternal life. They try to circumvent the efforts of the second group thereby allowing humans to resist temptation and evil which saves their souls. Demons and minions of Lucifer are the second group.
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Bound by a bargain with the devil and forbidden to feel pleasure, she draws upon her dark powers and serpentine grace to lead men into temptation. Once a knight and now a Guardian, Hugh spent centuries battling demons—and the cursed, blood-drinking nosferatu. His purpose has always been to thwart the demon Lilith, even as he battles his treacherous hunger for her. But when a deadly alliance unleashes a threat to both humans and Guardians in modern-day San Francisco, angel and demon must fight together against unholy evil—and against a desire that has been too long denied….
Demon Angel is outstanding. Are you starting with this book? Do you want a series refresher before starting the next? After weeks of whispering suggestions of suicide into his sleep, and twice as long listening to his whining declarations of misunderstood genius, her patience was at an end. The satisfaction of his splattering against the highway below would almost be worth the inevitable Punishment killing a human would bring. He whimpered and turned away from the edge.
Lilith fought the urge to roll her eyes, and let them glow bright red instead. Her face was her own, but when she saw him wavering yet again, she adopted the features of his first victim. A hint of impatience threaded through her voice, but she doubted he noticed: he was transfixed by her appearance. He fancied himself in love with his prey, and her ability to mimic each of them had alternately frightened, overjoyed and enraged him—and had reinforced his delusions of godlike impunity.
He thought of Lilith as a manifestation of his work, a sign of his imminent triumph over the rest of humanity. And those pigs will never touch you. He gave a greedy, self-satisfied smile and looked down at the wet concrete as if it held glorious reward. If there was going to be a result. She frowned as Thaddeus paused yet again. For a man who killed others so easily, he apparently considered his own life—and death—valuable. But his wavering kept her from what would likely have been an unsettling self-analysis, and relief slipped under annoyance.
A flash of lightning accompanied the declaration, and her grin broke through. The more theatrical the confrontation, the better—and it looked as though nature was cooperating in the drama. Thunder cracked and rumbled as she waited for his response. Hugh tilted his head back to stare at her for a long, silent moment, and she greedily searched his features for a hint of regard. It usually lurked in the silky line of his bottom lip, in the crinkle at the corner of his eyes. Disappointment and anger settled in her chest when she could find no warmth in his expression, only the somber mask he used to hide his emotions.
Her breath hissed through her teeth. Why did he always resist her? Why must he—. His tone startled her out of her anger. She considered deliberately misinterpreting his words, taking them as a challenge, but the weariness in his voice was too unfamiliar—and too unnerving—to disregard.
A chill that had nothing to do with the rain sheeting upon them rushed under her skin. He glanced down at the man in his arms when Thaddeus shifted and groaned. For a Guardian, it meant a reversal of his transformation. A release from his duty and a renunciation of his role.
It took her a moment to recognize the cause of the yawning, hollow ache in her stomach: Pain. It only took another moment for her to twist it into something she could understand and use. Thaddeus lay on the incline on the side of the roadway—Hugh was gone. A growl rumbled up from her chest. Opening her senses, she focused her anger into a searching sweep of the area.
Her voice echoed in the concrete barrel of the overpass; knowing he could use the noise to cover his attack, she ground her teeth together and delivered her threat with quiet intensity. A whisper of movement. Instinct and skill proved too slow; he caught the wrist of her sword arm and bent it around, holding it immobile at her side. He yanked her back, trapping her wings between them and dragging her to the shoulder of the highway.
Sharp, cold steel pressed against her throat. She felt the difference in the rasp of his voice into her ear, the tension in the taut form behind her: exhaustion, yes—but also something deeper, darker. A shiver ripped through her, and it was answered by a tremor in his hands, his breath. Jealousy dug its claws into her chest, and she welcomed the pain it brought. What—who—had managed to shatter his control, brought this heat from ice?
It should be enough that he came to me, even if it was only to kill me. Humans could be happy with half of something; she could not. She arched her back and ignored the pinch at the base of her throat where his sword cut into her, the warm liquid slide of her lifeblood. He inhaled sharply, and she knew he scented the blood by the way his grip shifted on his sword, easing its pressure without removing its threat.
But not all the way back. And then the import of his statement sank in. She vanished her wings and turned in his arms to look at him in surprise, unmindful of the blade he held against the side of her neck. Hugh slew demons and nosferatu with barely a thought; something else—someone else—must have pushed him to this point. Whereas demons might destroy each other, the Guardians practically oozed brotherly love and kindness.
It was disgusting, really. A wicked grin tugged at her lips. His gaze dropped to her throat. She was certain the wound had already healed, and the rain had washed most of the blood away. Only a faint stickiness remained. No matter the provocation. But Hugh never lied—and only moments before she had been certain he would kill her.
It seemed inconceivable, but perhaps, after endless years of sameness, something within him had truly changed. Now they were dark, and reminded her of the frozen faces Below, the blue of the tormented and the damned. Fear scrambled up her spine. She covered it with a laugh and tried to pull her hands from his grip. He held her fast.
A mistake. She realized it immediately, but it was too late. He leaned forward. She caught the thread of that truth, used it to steady herself. Of course it was a lie; she was a demon. Demons were nothing if not brilliant liars. If humans believe in something strongly enough, it can be used against them.
It becomes a truth. She let him have it; she had others, and her hand was unencumbered now. She threaded her fingers into the hair at the nape of his neck and pulled his mouth closer to hers.
He smelled of damp wool and warm skin, a disturbingly human scent. Her hand itched to call in her second blade, but she wanted—needed—more from him first. He cupped her chin; his palm was rainwet and cool. His thumb brushed her lower lip. She laughed and shook her head. Her eyes narrowed. But for what purpose? Her blade appeared on a thought, heavy in her hand, hidden behind his back. As if his exhaustion had finally taken him over, he rested his forehead against hers. That is the lie, Lilith.
One of many. You must see it. Neither Guardians nor demons have a place in this modern world. Simply Hugh, without having to steal a kiss or bargain him into it. But she lost her grip on her sword. Her arms were weak, her chest tight. Her breath burned her lungs. His hand moved between them, and the pressure beneath her breast became screaming pain.
Demon Angel by Meljean Brook
I debated whether or not to write this up as a quickie or post in detail about this book. The paranormal elements are well fleshed out and the world building is extensive but woven into the story without bludgeoning me with details. Other bloggers have complained that this is a weakness of the book, that it slows down the pace, but I disagree. The romance is given centre stage, and the paranormal conflicts are intrinsic to the romantic conflicts.
REVIEW: Demon Angel by Meljean Brook
Posted February 8, by Holly in Reviews 0 Comments. For two thousand years, Lilith wrought vengeance upon the evil and the damned, gathering souls for her father's armies Below and proving her fealty to her Underworld liege. Bound by a bargain with the devil and forbidden to feel pleasure, she draws upon her dark powers and serpentine grace to lead men into temptation. That is, until she faces her greatest temptation—Heaven's own Sir Hugh Castleford Once a knight and now a Guardian, Hugh spent centuries battling demons—and the cursed, blood-drinking nosferatu. His purpose has always been to thwart the demon Lilith, even as he battles his treacherous hunger for her. But when a deadly alliance unleashes a threat to both humans and Guardians in modern-day San Francisco, angel and demon must fight together against unholy evil—and against a desire that has been too long denied