A Stranger's Kiss
What a promising set-up. I’ve read quite a few paranormal romances where the hero is an angel, fallen or otherwise, and vampire and werewolf heroes are quite common. But this is the first time that I’ve ever read a romance where the hero is a devil – a real, honest to badness devil. Too bad the story wasn’t as adventurous as its premise.
Alex Daimon is an incubus, a demon who has sex with women while they sleep, and then his boss – the Dark Lord himself – takes possession of them. Alex had been a warlock in possession of a powerful grimoire (a manual for black magic), but he had been seduced by the witch Catherine Drashierre, corrupted and turned into the incubus he is today. Alex’s mission is to seduce Callie Wisdom, a descendent of the witch woman who corrupted him and then turn her over to his dark master.
For a descendent of a powerful sorceress, Callie is quite prosaic. She’s an accountant. Actually, Callie does have paranormal powers (she has the sight like Marlie Keen in Linda Howard’s Dream Man, a talent she has used in the past, but now shuns. Callie’s late mother had also possesed paranormal talents, talents she had used to keep her ancestor’s curse from her family. When she died, Callie’s father began to sicken and the doctors are baffled.
As an incubus, Alex is in a state of constant burning lust. It’s a wonder he doesn’t walk around in a haze of smoke and leave scattered ashes in his wake. Most of the book is how hot demon lover Alex gets thisclose to seducing Callie, but then draws back, awed and touched by her shining purity and goodness. Callie is so good, so sweet, so pure that I was surprised she didn’t move about in a glow of soft, shining light.
There is a subplot about a detective Guidry who wants Callie to use her gifts to find a kidnapping victim. This sub-plot is introduced then disappears for long stretches while we have pages and pages of Alex’s lust, angst and heavy petting, and then it comes back for the not-very satisfying ending.
I expected A Stranger’s Kiss to be a hot and lusty read. When the hero is an incubus, a demon lover I expected the pages to burn. But Callie is so good, so pure, so innocent that she pretty well throws cold water on Alex and the book was rather bland considering the nature of the hero. I also thought that Callie was so good, so pure, so innocent, that she came across as too naive to be believed.
Well, while I wait for the paranormal romance with a real demon lover to be written, I’ll pick up my old copy of Dream Man with its heroine who, like Callie, has psychic gifts. Hmm. A man like Dane Hollister as a demon lover? I may be on to something.