Damned if you Do by Marie Sexton
Date of Publication: June 14, 2016
The path to temptation is paved with a hellish amount of paperwork.
Soul acquisition is a drag, but if Abaddon doesn’t catch up on his quota, he could be demoted to scooping poop for the Hounds of Hell. With a deadline hanging over him, he heads for the Bible Belt, looking for the perfect combination of sweetness and challenge.
Seth is a blind musician, part of a traveling tent revival. He’s cute, mystically talented, and quotes the Bible at every turn. His soul is pure enough to fill Abaddon’s quota for months to come, and Abaddon is determined to claim it.
The problem? There’s the revival foreman who watches Abaddon’s every move. Then there’s the mystery of Seth’s many unusual talents. Lastly, there’s Abaddon himself. He’s beginning to like Seth a bit too much. Maybe Seth deserves something better than damnation.
But Hell’s agenda isn’t negotiable, and time is running out. If Abaddon doesn’t play his cards right, he could condemn both of them to the worst fate of all—an eternity apart.
Warning: Contains a Bible-quoting twink and an irreverent devil who’ll do anything to avoid going “back to the office”. Also, snakes. Lots and lots of snakes.
Q: What books have influenced your life most?
A: The Great Brain books by John D. Fitzgerald, which taught me a lot about humor and about unreliable narrators. Lynn Flewelling’s Stalking Darkness, because it made me aware of (and led me toward) gay romance. Dune. Years ago, my husband and I read the first few books at the same time and found ourselves thinking like Fremen, being hyperaware of anything that wasted water. It’s kind of funny in hindsight, but I think Frank Herbert must have been an absolute genius. On a more serious note, The Artist’s Way has helped me a lot over the last few years. And, as cheesy as it sounds, Wayne W. Dyer’s Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life has really changed my outlook over the last few months.
Q: Are there any new authors that have grasp your interest?
A: Lyndsay Faye!! Holy cow, that girl can write. Her Timothy Wilde trilogy is AMAZING. Next to her, I feel like an utter fraud. The first book is Gods of Gotham. Go buy it NOW. Seriously. It’s so good.
The other one is Tom Piccirilli. He isn’t a new author by any means, but I only discovered him last year, so he’s new to me. I’m working my way through his backlist, and find myself amazed over and over again.
Q: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
I don’t really have anything that’s far enough long to share. How about a little excerpt from a novella that comes out later this summer? This is from Normal Enough, which was originally released by Amber Allure back in 2014. The new, re-edited version will be released by Dreamspinner Press on August 3. It’s part of the Wrench Wars series, which was co-written with L.A. Witt. It’s available for preorder now.
What is “normal”?
When Brandon Kenner shows up at Kasey Ralston’s garage with a 1970 Chevelle SS 454, Kasey is smitten by both the man and his car. But Kasey is hiding an embarrassing secret: his love for old muscle cars goes beyond what most would consider normal. His unusual fetish has kept Kasey isolated—estranged from his family and even distant from his coworkers.
But when Brandon figures out the hot mechanic’s secret, he’s not repulsed. In fact, he finds Kasey intriguing, and he’s determined to have him for himself.
Everything about Brandon revs Kasey’s engine, and he’s more than willing to get down and dirty with the charming man. What worries Kasey is what will happen after. Is there any chance of a future for them? In the past, expecting anything long term has only led to heartbreak. But Kasey can’t help hoping that, despite his fetish, Brandon will be the exception.
“You clean up nice,” Brandon said when he saw him. “Not that I ever doubted it.”
Kasey blushed, flattered, but also embarrassed for being so obvious. He stood staring at his work boots. He’d waited all morning for this moment, and now he couldn’t wait for it to end. He felt foolish, not so much for the dirty FaceTime session as for how much he’d prattled on afterward.
“Look at me.”
It took some effort, but he forced himself to do it. Brandon leaned against the fender of the GTO, dressed today in jeans and a golf shirt with a light jacket over it. The sun shone off his golden hair. He was smiling, as usual, his expression gentle.
“You have no idea how much I’d love to kiss you right now. Will you let me?”
Kasey was sure his heart stopped beating for a moment before it slammed into overdrive. He licked his lips, anticipating how it would feel and the way Brandon would taste. But voices behind him drew his attention. It was the Wrench Wars crew, testing their equipment and getting ready for the day.
“Damn,” Brandon swore. “Thwarted again.”
This time, Kasey’s disappointment was barely tempered with relief. He wanted that kiss, but not in front of a television crew that could broadcast it nationwide. It wasn’t even so much that he wanted to stay in the closet as that he wanted the first time Brandon kissed him to be private.
He turned back to Brandon, smiling a bit despite himself. “Another time?” It was all he could do to push the question past his throat, and it came out quiet, but he was rewarded with one of Brandon’s biggest smiles.
I am usually quite leery about reading a book with any kind of religious plot line; there is just too much that can go wrong. But I love Marie Sexton so of course I had to read this. The writing was as good as it always is with her books. She threw a bit of religious satirical humor in that wasn’t offensive but entertaining (which is usually hard to pull off with me) – especially with the revival. This is a very sweet story of Good (God) vs. Evil (the Devil) that surprised me as much as it delighted me. I would have liked it to be a bit longer but this is still complete as is.
I read someone else’s review comparing the initial scene between Seth and Abaddon to Charlie Daniel’s Devil Went Down to Georgia. I didn’t catch that at first but it’s totally accurate. The exchanges between Seth and Abaddon are entertaining at first but become a bit emotional by the end. The romance between the two as well as the true goodness of both men is endearing.
There were a couple of pretty great side characters that helped complete the story. Definitely worth the read!
About Marie Sexton
Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.