Saturday, November 21, 2009

Review - Hell's Angel by Cathryn Fox

Decades ago, Brand’s best friend Gage escaped Hell and left Brand to suffer at Lucifer’s hands. Now Brand has a chance at revenge. Gage has a daughter, Kaylea, a pure, virginal soul who Lucifer wants for himself. Brand has forty-eight hours to seduce Kaylea and deliver her to Lucifer. He thinks it will be easy – after all, punishing Gage is all he wants, and an innocent like Kaylea won’t stand a chance against him. But Kaylea awakens feelings in him he hasn’t felt in a long time. And suddenly revenge is no longer the first thing on his mind.

This is a hot little story with a somewhat flimsy plot. When we meet Kaylea, she has decided to sleep with the very next man she meets. Of course, it turns out to be Brand, and it isn’t long before they are in bed together. The sex scenes compromise the majority of the story, and they’re as sensual and scorching as you’d expect from a Spice Brief. Fox conveys Brand and Kaylea’s lust for each other skillfully, but I had trouble believing it was anything beyond lust, despite the outcome of the story.

This is a very short novella, so the story takes place over a very short space of time, during which Brand and Kaylea fall in love and figure out how to release Brand from his enslavement in Hell, with the help of Kaylea’s parents. As a result, the emotional arc very rather rushed to me, moving from “Oh my God” lust-at-first-sight to True Love Forever in a matter of hours. The result is a “fated to mate” feel – a trope I’m not keen on, personally.

Of course, you expect a degree of this in romance, but as mentioned, the love wasn’t as convincing for me as the lust. Perhaps because Kaylea’s motives in seducing Brand were so slight. We are given no reason beyond that she wants to lose her virginity. It’s made clear early on that Kaylea knows her parents were enslaved in Hell, and that as a pure soul she is particularly desirable to Lucifer, so it’s not convincing to me that she would sacrifice her purity so easily.

Perhaps part of the problem is that this seems to be part of a series – possible a sequel – and I think I would have benefited from reading Gage’s story. I certainly plan to hunt it down, as the mythology Fox has created is very intriguing, and I’m a sucker for demons and angels. In fact, I would love to read a full-length novel set in this world, as the potential to expand is very good. I would liked to have seen more of Lucifer and Hell, as I think the one thing the story really lacked was a stronger sense of danger. I was never in any doubt that Kaylea and Brand would overcome their problems and end up together, and it would have been a more evocative story for me if there had been some doubt.

That said, Fox knows how to write sex scenes that burn up the pages, and created a very primal sense of chemistry between Kaylea and Brand. Bad boys from Hell are always going to be a winner, as for a quick, sexy read with a touch of supernatural intrigue, Hell’s Angel is a perfect choice.

Cathryn Fox's website

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