The Demon Always Wins (Touched by a Demon #1) by Jeanne Oates Estridge
ABOUT THE BOOK
Satan chose him. God chose her. Only one of them can win.
The Prince of Lies proposes a deadly wager. The Almighty is up for the challenge. But what if their proxies fall in love?
Belial is so close to becoming Chief Executive Demon he can taste it. But when he foolishly beats Satan at poker, he must distract his boss with a bet against God to avoid a horrific punishment. So he suggests the one thing Satan loves more than winning at cards: Sending a minion to Earth to battle a divine champion for her soul.
Widow Dara Strong thinks of herself as a nurse, not an angel. But as the granddaughter of demon hunters, she spots the Abyss’s agent, disguised as a doctor, the second he walks into her free clinic. When he actually does good work, she finds herself starts falling for the tempter.
With his wicked heart unexpectedly pounding for his mortal competitor, Belial wonders if a chance at a real relationship is worth betraying his ruthless boss. But when the plagues of Egypt strike her clinic, Dara realizes her new flame may bring death of biblical proportions.
Can love conquer all — even Heaven and Hell?
I never pass up a fun paranormal rom-com filled with naughty demons and stubborn humans.
Belial, Lord of Lies, beguiler of humans, Hell’s Politician, is Aboveworld to win a wager between Satan and “The Enemy” (God) and become chief executive demon (CED) of Hell. As Dr. Ben Lyle, Belial’s mission is to take one human soul for cursing God with no killing of them or anyone close to them. Apparently, the Enemy has total trust and faith in this nurse, Dara Strong. After being made by Dara with the pearl counting trick, she has become more of a challenge than he thought. As time progresses, Belial comes to admire Dara. Her goodness. Her strength. Her choice to put others first. He doesn’t want to do the mission anymore. He wants to make sure she is safe when he loses the bet and is doomed to the dreaded Lake of Fire. Belial is giving up everything to save Dara from an eternity in Hell. “He loved her too much, and love, in any form, was forbidden in Hell.” Belial is resigned to his damnation.
“The Almighty had chosen his vessel wisely.” Dara Strong lost her husband and unborn child in a car accident that left her scarred both physically and emotionally. She lost her faith in God. Her free clinic she named in honor of her beloved husband is her sanctuary and her promise to do good for mankind. Now a charming and handsome demon is out to destroy her, and the only loved one she has in her life, her Nana, who is an expert on demons, is going to help her beat him. Armed with sacred rubies to keep demons from touching her and salve under her nose to mask the smell Dara fights hard against Ben’s pull. Unfortunately, she slowly succumbs to his charms, his wit, and the care of her patients. And he slowly starts to change. The holy water and demon weed that her Nana threw at him earlier barely leaves a mark. Demons cannot apologize, but he has told her he’s sorry several times. However, he is a danger to her and everyone else she cares about. Could a demon change?
But, of course, Satan and his demons don’t play fair. It seems that the “updates” from Demon Security, a.k.a. DemSec, the bureau responsible for outfitting demons for Aboveworld assignments, is causing havoc with Belial’s hormones and control. If that isn’t enough, a nasty she-demon, Lilith, is sent to pick up where Belial failed. Lilith goes rogue and threatens everything that Dara holds dear.
Who is saving who? I loved this very emotional book. Dara will break your heart with her losses and her life thrown into dangerous turmoil. Belial will win your heart with his metamorphosis from an arrogant and selfish demon, to a kind and generous being who forfeits everything for Dara. Their story is full of heartache, transformation, and sacrifice, and I waited with bated breath to find out how the author would get them out of this paradox. However, the ending was unsatisfactory to me. I felt it was abrupt and left a lot of issues unsolved.
Despite the disappointing ending, I recommend this book for the extraordinary world-building in Hell, the complex characters, and a love that transcends Heaven and Hell. I will definitely pick up book 2 in the series.
Thank you to Ms. Oates Estridge and BookSirens for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.
BUY THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeanne Oates Estridge wrote her first short story in third grade, a tale of birth-control-challenged bunnies who named their children in alphabetical order—Alice, Benjamin, Cathy, Dexter—all the way down to baby Zachary. Later that year, when given an assignment to depict what she wanted to be when she grew up, Jeanne drew herself in a floor-length, crayon-blue dress, sitting at a typewriter.
Life has a way of handing us detours, though, and Jeanne wound up earning her degree, and her living, as a computer analyst. She continued to write at night and on weekends, but she could never quite manage to write anything that satisfied her.
But she didn’t give up. In 2012, she returned to college to earn a Master’s Certificate in Creative Writing at the Nora Roberts’ School of Romance Writing at McDaniel College. Working under the mentorship of NYT Bestseller and former high school English teacher Jenny Crusie, Jeanne wrote a paranormal romance that went on to win the 2015 RWA® Golden Heart® under the title Demons Don’t.
Later retitled The Demon Always Wins, it is the first book of her Touched by a Demon series and is available on Amazon as an ebook or paperback.