Title: Damned If You Do
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Length: 123 Pages (Kindle)
Category: Paranormal Romance, Angels/Devils, Alt Reality
At a Glance: Marie Sexton’s delivery is spot on, and I mean, come on, Chapter Four is titled Cock Blocked by Darth Vader, so don’t even try to pretend like you’re not curious now.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: The path to temptation is paved with a hellish amount of paperwork.
Soul acquisition is a drag, but if Abaddon doesn’t catch up on his quota, he could be demoted to scooping poop for the Hounds of Hell. With a deadline hanging over him, he heads for the Bible Belt, looking for the perfect combination of sweetness and challenge.
Seth is a blind musician, part of a traveling tent revival. He’s cute, mystically talented, and quotes the Bible at every turn. His soul is pure enough to fill Abaddon’s quota for months to come, and Abaddon is determined to claim it.
The problem? There’s the revival foreman who watches Abaddon’s every move. Then there’s the mystery of Seth’s many unusual talents. Lastly, there’s Abaddon himself. He’s beginning to like Seth a bit too much. Maybe Seth deserves something better than damnation.
But Hell’s agenda isn’t negotiable, and time is running out. If Abaddon doesn’t play his cards right, he could condemn both of them to the worst fate of all—an eternity apart.
Product Warnings: Contains a Bible-quoting twink and an irreverent devil who’ll do anything to avoid going “back to the office”. Also, snakes. Lots and lots of snakes.
Review: Never let it be said I don’t love a good Faustian tale. I love the moral conundrum—is there anything you want so much in this world that you’d be willing to sell your immortal soul to the devil in exchange for it? The temptation to bargain an eternity in hell for a few years of heaven on earth?
Also never let it be said I don’t love it when the story takes a bit of a turn and I end up feeling sympathy for the devil. Or, rather, make that when I end up loving the devil a whole lot. Marie Sexton made that happen in Damned If You Do, and she did it in the most fun way possible, with a devil who figures, hey, why bunt when I can go for the grand slam?
Abaddon is on probation. He hasn’t been doing a very good job of keeping up with his quota, so he’s had to file for an extension and is now on the hunt for The One – the perfect specimen of a soul. No, not the sort of soul that would be a cinch to win but one so pure and potentially incorruptible that to secure it would be the coup of the epoch and would earn him legendary status among all the other devils in hell. It’s either that or he’s doomed to an eternity in the lower intestines of the underworld, which sucks even for a devil.
So, where to find such a soul? Why, a good old fashioned Bible Belt tent revival, of course.
Seth is almost too good to be true: pure of heart, devout, and just what Abaddon is searching for—a man who seemingly wanted for nothing and therefore, had nothing to trade for. Certainly not his soul. What sweeter reward could there be than to seduce a bargain from someone who is content with what he already has? Everything but his eyesight, that is.
And, cue The Devil Went Down to Georgia, complete with the offer of a shiny fiddle made of gold. See? Fun inspiration for a romance between a devil and a young man who isn’t at all what he seems on the surface.
This story is everything I expected it would be, going into it. Abaddon and Seth have chemistry to spare, and the temptation aspect—just exactly which man is the tempter and which is the tempted—is a great twist on the usual. And then there’s the humor mixed in with the more serious moments in the story that layers this novella with a little bit of everything to worm its way into your heart and make you start rooting for the underdog…whose mission was a whole lot easier in theory than in practice.
Marie Sexton’s delivery is spot on, and I mean, come on, Chapter Four is titled Cock Blocked by Darth Vader, so don’t even try to pretend like you’re not curious now. And her version of hell? Well, that had me screaming in sympathetic horror because it’s the little things, people. It was practically, perfectly hellish in every way.
You can buy Damned if You Do here: