Through a Crimson Veil
Through a Crimson Veil is the third installment in the Crimson City series. Instead of involving werewolves or vampires, this introduces readers to the demon realm, Orcus. With the uneasy truce between humans, werewolves and vampires, adding demons into the mix could shift the balance and cause an all out war among the already wary denizens of Los Angeles.
Mika Noguchi is a half-breed, with a demon mother and human father, who has lived most of her life in Orcus, across the veil from the human realm. When younger, she lived on Earth, but she was always afraid of hurting someone with her greater strength, or worried about her exposing her clearly demon eyes. As a Mahsei demon, she is not on the dark end of the spectrum where power is concerned, but her differences showed on Earth. Although not welcomed with open arms on Orcus either, she knows the rules and does not have to hide her true self. One of her most useful gifts is her ability to cross the veil at will. Full blood demons must be summoned to Earth, and then are unable to walk freely in the human realm. They are returned to Orcus at the summoner’s bidding. Because of her gift, she has been summoned before the council and must perform a task for them. They bind her with her word to complete the task.
Mika is less interested in the task than she is in finding her vishtau mate, Connor McCabe, though she chooses not to reveal her own personal search to the council – the less they know, the better. In demon life, casual affairs are the norm. Demons are a passionate race and their lives reflect that. However, a vishtau pairing is more on the level of a soul mate with a heap of uncontrollable passion thrown in. Not every demon has a vishtau, and being half human, Mika never dreamed she would be so lucky. But convincing Connor McCabe, a half-breed demon who also happens to be a demon hunter, of their bond will not be so easy. Connor is half Kiverian, a darker demon, with much stronger powers than a Mahsei. Connor hates his demon half, thanks to his mother, who clearly left out some pertinent details about Connor’s demon father, which sunsequently poisoned Connor’s feelings toward demons.
When these two meet, grab the pot holders to hang onto the book because it is scorching. Mika spins a story with a grain of truth in it about needing protection from a Kiverian demon and convinces McCabe to take her back to his apartment for protection. With her sarcastic tongue and sense of humor, McCabe can believe she angered demons. At his apartment and at the mercy of the vishtau bonding, McCabe slowly releases his demon powers around Mika. What Mika spins as a story, however, suddenly becomes the truth, and Mika herself doesn’t know why the dark demons are chasing her. Because of her deal with the council, though, she contines to keeps her secrets from McCabe, which naturally comes back to haunt her later.
Mika struggles between betraying her vow to the council and her developing vishtau bond with McCabe. The consequences of her actions involving McCabe challenge her perceptions about herself and her future. On Orcus, although she is not fully embraced with open arms, she knows her place and is comfortable in demon society. Since McCabe values nothing about his demon nature, he openly resists her attempts to teach him about his powers, which is difficult for her to understand. He must overcome his own past if he is to accept his future with Mika, and it is not an easy choice for him, especially when directly faced with the truth about his mother and father. If Mika and McCabe are to survive the dark demons, however, they must face their pasts and accept their future together. It is a demonstration of their strength as a couple that they overcome their fears and old perceptions to remain together.
It is to this author’s credit that she spins such an interesting story amidst the numerous sizzling love scenes. The demon universe of Orcus has its own set of rules which fit neatly into the plot running through this series. Paranormal fans should definitely take a look at this one, even if you haven’t read the rest of the series. I found myself in the unusual position of thinking, “Wow, for a demon, he’s really hot!” And boy, was he ever! Just when I thought McCabe couldn’t get any better, he faces his own inner demons (sorry, I couldn’t resist) with grace and courage in order to share his life with Mika. Both Mika and McCabe learn the fine art of give and take through the course of this book, and I enjoyed them immensely. I highly recommend this one for readers who enjoy a spicy story along with a well developed relationship.