Title: The Devil to Pay
Author: Maria Zannini
Series: Second Chances, #1
Publisher: Bad Dog Press
Date Published: June 11, 2011
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance (Erotic Romance, Short Story)
Source: Review Copy (provided by author)
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and bad tequila. Shannon McKee finds herself at the end of her rope, and she offers her soul to whoever can save her first.
Unfortunately, she sends that request to both agencies. Shannon’s plea is answered immediately by two men who couldn’t be more different from one another. Yet they share a bond and an affection for the stubborn Miss McKee that even they don’t understand.
When Heaven and Hell demand their payment, Shannon has no choice but to submit. No matter who gets her soul, she’s not getting out of this alive.
I really enjoyed reading this short story. Shannon has set herself up without even realizing it. In a moment of absolute desperation she has offered up her soul to Heaven or Hell, whoever can get there first. She doesn’t mean it, of course, but both places answer the call and send out their best harvesters to take her soul. What neither Liam or Michael anticipate, is having feelings for the woman who’s life they’re supposed to end.
This was a great story that takes place in a very imaginative and pretty well-built world of multiple Heavens and Hells. What I loved the most was the world and the descriptive visuals that are painted to place us there. Some of the crazy places reminded me of What Dreams My Come in that everything was so vivid, yet very warped and strange (in a good way). I also really liked all the characters, and I loved that we didn’t find out which place (Heaven or Hell) Liam and Michael were working for until later in the story. It kept me guessing which one was working for who constantly.
Some things I didn’t like were the beginning was a bit slow, but once it picked up, I was very much hooked. I also didn’t like the love triangle thing going on between Liam, Shannon, and Michael. Their relationship was kind of strange overall and I wasn’t completely satisfied with how that ended up. But, it’s good to hear it’ll be a series so maybe we’ll learn more about that later.
Overall, this was quite an entertaining little story. I loved diving into this world and I loved the balance between steamy, a bit of humor, and fantasy. The interaction and banter between the characters was charming and left me wanting more. The only thing that would have made it better would be if it had been a full-length novel. I will definitely be picking up the next in the series!
Note: I’m struggling between classifying this as Erotic Romance or not. Although it does have some quite steamy moments, it’s pretty light overall, and not really the basis of the story.