I gasped, or tried to. My mouth opened, but I couldn’t draw breath. His lips, pearly wet, parted and he blew into my mouth. My lungs expanded beneath his weight. When I exhaled he sucked my breath in and his weight turned from cold marble into warm living flesh.
Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.
But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart.
When I saw The Demon Lover on Netgalley I immediately sent in my request!
The prologue is set in a time from the past when there was a Master of the house, a Governess was employed and the only thing lighting your way was a candle. It is full of suspense and sets the scene for intimacy with an incubus. Of course I tried to figure out where this fit into the story and it was not what I was expecting at all!
Fairytales had always been a part of Callie’s life – before her parents died (when she was 12), her parents would tell her fairytales and after their death, her dreams containing a shadowy prince figure continued to tell her fairytales. After she researched for her thesis ‘The Demon Lover in Gothic Literature: Vampires, Beasts and Incubi’ the dreams stopped.
Drawn to Fairwick because of an assistant professor vacancy in their Folklore Department, Callie stumbles upon an empty house ‘Honeysuckle Cottage.’ She meets the realtor and makes an offer, despite an agreement with boyfriend Paul (who is in New York city) that they would work in the city. It is in this house that the demon lover comes to Callie at night.
The story of Callie’s love for the incubi is gripping and the intimacy is very tastefully written while still giving the reader depth. The Fairwick community is many layered with it’s own magical hierarchy. Another aspect to the story is a curse on one of the longest standing families in Fairwick and Callie ‘s journey to uncover a living descendent to lift it.
We only get to meet Callie’s boyfriend Paul briefly and once the relationship has ended, Liam (a new professor at the college) takes up residence in Callie’s life. He tries so hard to be the man that Callie would fall in love with. There is one scene in relation to their love that I found very inspirational.
The settings are atmospheric – leading the reader to experience tension and suspense. My favourite scene just has to be when Liam and Callie ski to the thicket with the moonlight shining through the arch. Not only is this beautifully written but also there are so many emotions involved from the romance to the insecurity of what will happen.
There are quite a few characters but I thought they were all well developed and because they fit into the story at the right time, it was easy to remember the role they were playing. Even though we don’t get to know Paul, I feel his part is important in showing the reader how unemotionally involved Callie is in a relationship and the distance she put between the ‘real’ Callie and the mask she wore for others. The one thing I really enjoyed about Callie’s character was the way she wasn’t afraid to accept the darkness within her. To me, this made her whole.
I loved the way everything ties up together – from the bird Callie rescues from the thicket, the dream she has walking on the meadow to the triptych in the college.
I always love reading stories of magic, fairytale and mythology. The Demon Lover is the first book in the ‘Fairwick Chronicles’ and I will definitely be looking out for the other books in this series. I just know that the endings are only just the beginnings!
Author Juliet Dark is the pseudonym of award-winning and critically acclaimed literary suspense writer, Carol Goodman.