Reviewed by Helyce
Sammy Devine, aka Samael, heard Hope’s call as she lay dying in her bath tub, having slit her wrists. For two years, Hope has searched for her sister, Charity, who has been missing with no clue to her whereabouts. Not knowing what happened to her was one thing, but when Charity’s purse is found by the police and she’s presumed dead, Hope just gives up. As she hovers at the brink of death, a beautiful man appears to her. He tells her that her sister is not dead and that he knows how to find her, and all she has to do is agree to do one, little thing for him. Hope is too weak, and the promise of seeing her sister again is too strong. She feels she’s failed Charity in every other way, but if there is just a slight chance that she can save her by agreeing, she must do it.
When Hope awakens, the beautiful man, Sammy, is there. Of course Hope is suspicious, she doesn’t know what is going on and Sammy is only too happy to explain it to her. He lays it all out, explaining the bargain to her. When she completes her side of it, he’ll tell her where Charity is. Hope has no idea what she’s gotten herself into, and she is still too shaken up to really understand the total significance of what she’s done.
Enter the archangel Gabriel, who’s hanging out in human form, having a cup of coffee when he notices a pretty, blonde woman walking along. While he sees her, what he really notices is the dark shadow that seems to be attached to her, following her as she walks and shops. Gabriel is intrigued, and begins to follow her as she goes on her way. He follows Hope all the way home, and as he steps into the entryway of her apartment building he is met with a very pissed off Hope who starts screaming and throwing stuff at him. As Gabriel tries to calm her down, he explains that he’s there to protect her and that he’s her guardian. Hope has no clue what is going on, but she mistakenly assumes that Gabriel is one of Sammy’s men, sent to watch over and make sure that Hope holds up her end of the bargain. She could not have been more wrong!
There is a lot going on in this story, so here’s a little background. In book one, Devil Without A Cause, we meet Samael and learn that he is a fallen angel, banished to darkness because he succumbed to a woman, enjoying the pleasures of the flesh, a huge no-no in the angel world. While he goes by many names, his character is basically the Devil and he does all the things that we expect the devil to do. We also learn, though, that before his fall, Samael and Gabriel were close, like brothers. Gabriel has not given up on Samael, thinking he can still be redeemed. Gabriel has seen Samael do good things, he’s seen him be unselfish and he truly believes that underneath all that darkness, there is still a sliver of light and he’s determined to pull Samael back into that light.
I wasn’t surprised to see more of Gabriel in book two. The relationship between Samael and Gabriel is laid out well in book one. Unfortunately, Samael is up to his old tricks as he purposely puts Hope in Gabriel’s path to tempt him. Samael knew full well that Gabriel would never be able to stop himself from trying to save Hope from the darkness. At the same time, Samael felt it was about time Gabriel got a taste of what he’d been missing. It was time to knock him off his pedestal of perfection and put the temptation of a beautiful woman right in front of him.
I liked the character of Hope. She’s been through a lot in life and all of it has made her a pretty strong person. Her acceptance of the whole “bargain with the devil” thing seemed a bit too easy, initially, but once Gabriel is on the scene and really crazy stuff happens I felt she was suitably “freaked out” in turn. Her attraction to Gabriel confuses her initially because she thinks he’s on Sammy’s side. When she realizes who he really is, though, it doesn’t stop her from pursuing him, even though she knows he can’t do anything about it. But Gabriel fights her; he is devout in his loyalty to The One.
This is the story of Hope and Gabriel, however, so you know there was going to be some romance and smexy time. I loved how the author handled this little issue of Gabriel’s angel status without him having to “fall” in order for him to be with Hope. It really was brilliant while at the same time moving the story forward both with their relationship and with Gabriel helping Hope to locate her sister.
While all that is going on, there is a little side story of Samael and his son, Cain. Yes, Samael has a 9 year old son and he’s struggling with trying to raise him properly in the underworld. It’s such a strange situation for Samael, as he didn’t even know he had a son until his mother dropped him into Samael’s life. It is here that we see more glimpses of Samael’s “light” as he is forced to do things he’d not normally do for his child.
The conflict toward the end of the story comes to a very surprising end to all involved. It is here that you once again see the strong bond between Gabriel and Samael, and I love their relationship. Clearly on opposite sides of path, that bond between these one-time brothers’ shines through and good once again triumphs over evil. While I really enjoyed the side stories and the continued emphasis on Samael and Gabriel, I think it took away just a little bit from the budding romance of Hope and Gabriel. While we get an HEA, I’m wondering what role, if any, Gabriel will have in future books. There has been such emphasis in just these first two books on the relationship between Gabriel and Samael I’m interested to see how the author plans on moving forward.
I’m not a big fan of anything that focuses on the “devil”, but this author’s take on the darkness comes with quite a bit of humor and Sammy Devine is so likable in his role as the Prince of Darkness. I’m very interested to see where she takes the world she’s created and what else she has in store for Sammy. Though I would have liked a little more emphasis on the romance between Gabriel and Hope, I really enjoyed this.