"Life was hard, and it only got harder when you had more to care about than just yourself. Inevitably, those you cared about had a nasty habit of kicking you in the nuts when they couldn’t accept who you were."
And this is basically what this book is about next to the usual Demonica romance setting. We have two male demons, one is a Seminus demon and if you have read other Demonica books you know very well what they are. The other is a new species we haven't encountered yet and that is a Duosos demon.
Larissa Ione is incredibly good with her paranormal romance books and I was very intrigued when I saw that we will have an M-M romance for once. And what piqued my interest even more is that it will involve a Seminus demon. For those of you who are new in the Demonica world, a Seminus demon is a sex demon. He needs to have sex multiple times a day every day just like he needs food and water for survival. And he can only be with females, any species will do as long as it is a female. All of the offspring will be male Seminus demon regardless of the species of the mother.
Raze is a Sem demon who works at the Underworld General and has abilities to heal like Eidolon. He also works at the club called Thirst which is located near his apartment. He likes his jobs and he does them well. But one thing that has been dragging him down for years is the fact that he is attracted to males and since he is a Seminus demon he can't finish when having sex with a male unless there is a woman present and finishes him off. And the woman who has been "helping" him with his needs every day for the last 30 years is Fayle, a Succubus demon. She has an arrangement with Raze. She will service his needs so he doesn't have to search for women every day and he will sustain her financially and otherwise.
Slake is a Duosos demon who has been given an assignment to track down and bring in Fayle to a certain law firm which is owned and run by one scary grim reaper. Slake has to do this as his last job at that place if he doesn't want to lose his soul to the grim reaper. Duosos demons are very secluded, isolated and not well known species and they are very good with weapons, creating and wielding unique weapons that is. You can say Slake is sort of a mercenary with his soul on the line.
As Slake tracks down Fayle he runs into Raze and instant sparks fly all over the place.
Raze is presented as a strong but vulnerable demon, with his secret eating at him, preventing him from being content in life. He is also putting up with a lot of Fayle crap she is giving him. Like... she never allows him to touch her, she's always reminding him how she is the one keeping him alive so he should do everything for her, when he wants to indulge his desire for men, she helps him in that moment but then punishes him for months afterwards. Is she doesn't get her way, she blackmails him with not helping with his sexual release etc. In short, she is a bitch. And he is a sucker letting her get her way. And after he meets Slake and Slake points it out, we get one of the lamest excuses...
“I guess I can see that.” Slake’s expression was troubled. “But she’s keeping you from being happy.”
“Happy?” Raze snorted. “I gave up wishing for that a long time ago. I take what I can get.”
Something flickered in Slake’s dark eyes. Sadness, maybe? “That doesn’t sound like any way to live.”
Raze looked up at the ceiling again. “I’ve accepted my lot in life.”
The author is trying to present Slake as a cold mercenary who will do anything to get the job done. But that part is kind of lacking. Because right from the start we see his vulnerable side and him giving away one thing that could subdue Fayle in order to help others. I didn't really get that menacing cold feel from him at all. In fact, both of them were sort of like (and don't you laugh) wounded puppies to me. She describes them as men with hard, lean bodies, etc but in reality I imagine them as totally normal. Normal and "anomalies" within their species. One who is frightened to admit to others how he feels and the other who was rejected because he did just that.
Lacking storyline. (*possible spoilers)
I already mentioned that Slake is a Duosos demon but there is of course more to it than just that since Raze is able to finish with him and he was never able to do that with another man before. And no, it isn't just about love if that was your guess. Although it could've been. It would be equally or even more believable than what we actually got.
So how is it possible? Well... I am confused about that too. It's not very well explained and there are a lot of missing information. Apparently, Duosos are mostly born female and when they are between 20-30 they can choose whether they want to stay female or do something to turn male. Don't ask me what, it's not really explained. And don't ask me why because that is not mentioned. We just need to take it as a fact. For some strange reason, their species can choose sexes at a certain age.
As you might have guessed, Slake used to be a woman and he chose to turn. Which is somehow "tricking" Sem demon's senses and he is able to finish with him. And no, I don't know how. Not explained. How can that be possible if that person completely turned male with nothing female remaining? Beats me. It's one of those things you need to turn a blind eye on otherwise it ruins the story.
Which brings me to Fayle, the bitch Succubus. She has been with Raze in this symbiotic relationship for over 30 years. There were times, quite a lot of times actually, when he was away from her for various reasons and didn't get off in time and was suffering. Each of those times she "magically" found him, even when he was kidnapped. And he never ever wondered how. I mean... I just can't buy that. No way. Sorry, dear author, I love your writing but please make more sense next time. I don't want stupid characters.
Writing and errors.
I found two errors while reading. I don't know if there are more. I am not usually that concentrated on reading each letter like my life depends on it but this really burned my eyes.
On p. 36: „...he put his vampire ex out of him mind“
On p. 48: „I can’t get drunk, but drinking still makes me want what I can’t have.” Rake’s lids lifted,...“ (note: there is no Rake, only Raze and Slake so I guess they morphed into a Rake for that sentence alone)
All in all.
I love Larissa Ione's style. You can call me a sucker for it if you want but Demonica world is one of my favourite fantasy worlds to visit when I want some steamy paranormal romance with a good world building and an intriguing storyline. Larissa, like all other authors, has a unique way of expressing herself and to be honest, she makes me laugh and grin a lot. And I like laughing, especially at this point in my life when everything else seems black and hopeless in a way. Books have always been my sanctuary and a place where I recharge my happy energy. Larissa succeeds in that. Although her stories sometimes have plot holes, I still enjoy them very much. Maybe I am just attached to them or I am used to that world, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Let me end with a nice Slake retort to Fayle ;)
“Because people who don’t cuss are silently judging you. Pulling a morally superior act, but it’s just an act. You know they’re thinking bad shit; they just won’t say it.”
“Maybe they’re being polite.”
“Or maybe they’re not being sincere.”
She sneered. “Fuck you.”
“See? That’s sincere.”