To read an interview with Jennifer Siddoway, please see the October issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.
All Wynn wants to do is finish high school, but anything normal seems impossible when the monsters under your bed are real…All Wynn wants to do is finish high school, but anything normal seems impossible when the monsters under your bed are real…
Wynonna Hendricks’ world is turned upside down when A Demon Lord shows up in her bedroom and declares her soul his property. To regain her freedom, she must conquer the seven deadly sins. In doing so, she finds herself caught between the realms of Heaven, Hell, and Earth, with the angel Caleb as her only ally. His refusal to end her life may have started a war between the factions and thrown the Mortal Realm into mayhem.Wynn discovers new powers, new allies, and enemies she never knew existed—including her own human weakness.
To protect her family, she vows to fight. Like. HELL.
I whirled in my seat and let out a frightened gasp, but before I had the chance to scream he was off the bed and slamming me against the wall. I cried out in pain as the back of my head made a nasty crack against the door frame, but my muffled shriek was heard by no one. His hand clamped firmly over my mouth and I could feel the heat of his breath on my skin. The subtle musk of cologne and tobacco still lingered on his fingertips and made me want to gag. My vision blurred as agonizing pain shot through my skull in response to the brutal impact and I stared at the face of my attacker. He was tall, handsome too, with exquisite, bleach-blond hair and an expensive suit that had a gold chain hanging from the pocket of his vest. His eyes were dark and perfectly set beneath a well-groomed brow line and prominent cheek bones. I expected to find someone like him in the pages of a fashion magazine, not breaking into people’s houses.
Noticing my assessment, the man grinned, still holding me in his iron grip, and waved his other hand. The bedroom door swung shut at his command and I heard it lock in place. “Good evening, Wynn. Sorry for the intrusion, but you and I need to have a little chat.”
My insides lurched violently when he spoke my name and I could feel the bile rising in my stomach. He broke into my bedroom with Elyse home? How was that possible? She would have heard him? I felt violated and dirty at the very thought of it, knowing that he could cause me physical injury without even breaking a sweat. There was a very real possibility that he would kill me, and Elyse was still downstairs…I had to warn her.
My heart must have been going a mile a minute as I tried to think of anything I could use to fight him off. As if he knew what I was planning, the dark man sneered. “I wouldn’t get any smart ideas. While I don’t mean you any harm, there is nothing keeping me from amending that decision.”
The tone of his voice warned me that it was not an idle threat and I nodded as tears pricked at the corners of my eyes. My insides were all twisted up in knots; I was terrified. The man smiled slightly, his face mere inches from my own.
“Good. I’m only going to say this once, so I hope you listen carefully: there are three other people living in this house who do not know of my existence. You and I are going to keep it that way. If one of them should find out, I will rip out their beating heart in front of you and feed it to you for dinner.”
He paused to make sure that his threat had sufficiently sunk in before deciding to continue. My obvious horror must have pleased him, because the ghost of a smile played at the corner of his lips. “I’m going to release you now, but if you run, or try screaming for help again, it will be the last thing you ever do. Understood?”
I nodded again, this time much more vigorously. The minute his hand released me I gasped to catch my breath, massaging the tendons in my throat. He backed away slowly and turned to place his hand on against the wall. A kind of mirage seemed to ripple across my room before he returned to his seat on my bed. I blinked in shock, still trying to process what had happened.
“Silence barrier, just to be safe,” he told me with a tight grin. I fought against the impulse inside of me that was telling me to run and stared at him defiantly.
“Who are you?”
“Currently, I go by Aidan,” the man informed me. “Though I’ve gone by many others in the past.”
Swallowing hard, I tried feigning bravery and asked him, “What do you want?” “To finish what I started,” he responded icily. “I’m not fond of leaving things unfinished. Your mother and I were partners a long time ago, she and I had an arrangement of sorts which ended working out well for the both of us. However, given her current circumstance, I was hoping you’d be willing to help with a project of mine.”
My hands were shaking as I listened to his odd request. “What?! No way, I don’t want anything to do with you. I’m just a kid—”
“I’m perfectly aware of your age,” Aidan snapped, “and I’ve already deemed that to be irrelevant. Michele was a valuable asset, but unfortunately she has managed to outlive her usefulness. You, on the other hand, have become my primary interest for quite some time now. I thought it was high time we finally met. I’ve heard so much about you over the years that I had to come and see if her stories were true—if you lived up to my expectations. You’re not what I’d been expecting to be quite honest.”
I scowled at his thinly veiled insult and crossed my arms in front of my chest, “Should I be offended?”
Aidan gave a wolfish grin as he looked me over critically. “Hardly. You’re far more than what I’d envisioned Michele’s daughter to be, lovely too in fact—I couldn’t be more pleased. What could I do to change your mind?”
“You just broke into my house and threatened to kill my family! You’re CRAZY! Why would I help you?”
“I’m so glad you asked. You see, I wasn’t going to stand by and let all those years of planning get flushed down the toilet just because Michele had a sudden attack of conscience…so I’ve decided to take matters into my own hands. I’m prepared to offer you a deal. Help me tie off a few loose ends, and I’ll see to it that your mother makes a full recovery.”
“Just like that?” I asked sarcastically.
“Just. Like. That.” There was no hint in his voice that it was an empty promise. He’d already managed to appear out of thin air and shut my door from across the room, so I wondered if it was possible that he could heal my mother. Still, what could she possibly have been doing with a man like this? And why would he choose to seek me out? It didn’t make any sense. A glimmer of hope for her return was enough to keep me listening.
His eyes grew wistful for a moment as he looked me over, eventually resting his gaze upon my necklace. “I meant what I said before about the necklace suiting you. It’s no mere trinket that can be passed down as a family heirloom and it was never meant for some ordinary girl who does not respect its power.”
I stiffened at his change in tone and stared at him confused. “P-power? What are you talking about?”
“Did you think it was coincidence that I showed up when I did?”
“What do you know about Mom’s necklace?”
His grin widened and that’s when I noticed his teeth: perfect canines carefully concealed behind pale, ashen lips. “Quite a bit, considering I’m the one who gave it to her.” Realization struck me like a punch in the gut and I started backing towards the door.
“You’re not human…” I stated flatly, remembering that he’d been able to shut the door with a simple wave of his hand, and the unnatural speed with which he’d flown across the room before slamming me against the wall. The ripple that had spread across my wall alluded to further power that was unlike any human I had seen. My heart started pounding harder in my chest and I felt my mouth run dry at the thought of it. “What are you?”
He chuckled slightly and crossed his arms in front of his chest, shifting his weight on the edge of my bed. “My my my, aren’t you the perceptive one,” he crooned. “What I am is not important. Do we have a deal, or not?”
He needs to leave.
“What happens if I refuse? Are you going to kill me?” I asked, slowly edging towards the door. There was no way I was going to enter into an agreement with a man who had broken into my bedroom and threatened me repeatedly. My eyes kept flitting towards the exit and Aidan blocked it like a well-trained bloodhound that had backed its prey into a corner.
Aidan laughed at my question, which was more terrifying than the reaction I expected. A deadly silence fell across the room as he sat back in his seat. “No, my dear, I need you alive for now. But I also don’t need your consent to get what I am after. It’s come to my attention that you possess a certain skill which interests me, and I believe you hold the power to do great things. I want you to embrace that part of yourself and follow me to a world you’ve never seen before.”
“And then?” “I’ll assign you tasks as I see fit—ones that are suitable to a creature of your particular talent rather than being tempered by this human façade.”
Aidan grinned, his brown eyes twinkling in the cloudy haze that filtered through my window. “Not all things are what they appear to be. I can make you powerful. I can make you strong. All you have to do is come with me and leave this world behind you.”My throat felt tight as I contemplated his request, my blood pressure steadily rising. “You’d save my mother only to take me away from her…what kind of monster are you?”
His face hardened at my refusal and he stood up, rising to his full height so that he towered over me.
“Fine, we’ll do it your way.”
For a debut novel from an author, this is a fantastic first book. When high school student Wynn has a demon show up in her bedroom, she learns that the world isn’t as black and white as it seemed and she’s not all that she believes either. To be free of the demon, she will have to pass a series of tests, and good thing she’s got support from Caleb, the angel.
I loved the characters – and I even enjoyed Lucifer, or Aidan as he wants to go by in this book – and the author did a good job making him a complex character, at times you liked him and he was amusing, and other times you hated him. I do think that the relationship between Caleb and Wynn needs to develop more, and the pace was off and on, some points it was going well, other times things were too drawn out, but the ending will keep you looking for the next one. Reviewed by Cyrene