This is the first book of the Demonborn series by Rita Herron. I have to say this isn't something I would pick up for myself – I'd never read anything by this author although she has apparently written over 50 books, but I was offered a copy by the author so I gave it a try.
This is billed as a "paranormal romance" but I thought it was a lot darker than I would have expected from a paranormal. There is a lot of violence and torture described in the story besides the other paranormal elements – I'd say it definitely has horror elements.
Clarissa King is a psychic who lives by the Black Forest in Eerie, Tennessee, and she believes that the recent deaths of young women are related, and that they were murdered by the same person. Brought in to investigate is Vincent Valtrez of the FBI, who used to know Clarissa when they were younger. He used to live in Eerie before his abusive father killed his mother in a demonic rite, and Vincent, then 10 years old, was found outside the Black Forest with no memory of what happened. Let's just say that his guy is messed up in the head because of it. Sparks fly when the two meet again, but Vincent is not interested in having a relationship.
Vincent has a lot of darkness inside him which he attributes to his father's "bad blood" and because of this, he's very abrasive to women. He fears hurting someone the way his father hurt his mother. Clarissa on the other hand has her own issues – her mother and grandmother had her same pyschic ability, an ability to see restless spirits, but her mom went mad because of it and killed herself. Clarissa's greatest fear is following in her mother's footsteps.
The paranormal aspect of this book is demons. The burn in hell, minions of Satan, evil, scary, trying to steal your soul kind. The kind of demons they talk about in church. In the Black Forest they say that there is a black cave that is the palace of Satan on Earth, and every eclipse something bad happens because of it. In Insatiable Desire, the eclipse is coming and with it a new demon lord. One demon is trying to impress the new leader with souls, using his talent of touching a person and knowing their greatest fear.
An excerpt of the book is here.
My thoughts: First the characters – Vincent was really a big jerk, I mean huge, to Clarissa for about most of the book. Even after they have sex, he pushes her away again and again, but Clarissa actually keeps trying, and says that she knows he's like this because he was abused by his father as a kid. I had a hard time really agreeing with that, so I found Clarissa too forgiving. Every time it's Clarissa who reaches out and is the vunerable one first: saying she wants him, saying she loves him, and every time, he turns her down in a not nice way. Yet she tries again. Vincent also had a rule to only have sex with a woman once, and they had to face away from him. This wasn't really knight in shining armor material there. I think a lot of this is explained away by the face that Vincent is "demonborn" – half demon, which means he has tendencies towards evil as well as towards good, but it made me not like him much. It's hard to like someone who has fantasies of strangling women to death, and has blackouts where he wakes up with blood on his hands. Disturbing. Then the violence and the evil in the Black Forest – I just am not that into horror, and after a while it was too much. Not that I was seriously creeped out – more like it's just a lot. And it started to make me wonder – why is it that people called Clarissa "Crazy Clarissa" when they lived right next to the Forest where all this bad stuff often happened? Why didn't people believe in the supernatural there, but believed the Forest was full of evil? It was confusing.
The premise is interesting – half demon, half angel men who are really seriously fighting for their souls. I think there are people who will like this series, but I'm not quite the target audience for it.
The demonborn website with more information about this series, the world, it's characters, and a book trailer, is here.