I had such a mixture of feelings when I finished this story. I couldn’t quite decide what I’d just read. The first of a new series by Lark Taylor, its such a remarkable grab bag of paranormal and contemporary elements that I’m not confident all the various aspects of the storyline fit well all the time.
The series is focused on the four sons of Lucifer, each of which will have their own book/romance. This is Cal’s, the eldest. He’s the Butcher of the Ninth Circle. Or was. Until he and two other brothers made their escape from Hell, displeasing Lucifer greatly, leaving a fourth brother behind.
Cal runs a bookstore, Mori a bar, Harlow, their business partner. Anyway. They are all different, in temperament and physique.
One’s elegant, one a lumbersexual, one a tiny glam demon. You’ve seen the types before. You don’t really get to know them early on as far as a detailed background. It’s an instant jump into a dead body on the floor with a scramble to assemble a sense of who these characters are and what’s the current drama they are involved in.
Then we go to Oscar, a teacher, our other narrator. Oscar is human and represents the contemporary aspects of the story, which, until the end, are consistently written in a believable manner with respect to someone who’s been a victim of domestic abuse and now suffers from low self esteem and anxiety attacks. Oscar realistically not yet recovered from his trauma as a domestic abuse survivor. That violence has caused his severe anxiety attacks,one’s he’s not even sure what might still trigger them.
These are on the page attacks with memories associated with his domestic violence, so if this is a element that’s a sensitive subject for you , take note and decide if this is a story for you.
Oscar and Cal’s relationship has its great moments, especially when Cal’s (a demon Prince) is being supportive in exactly the right way , and the author uses Cal to demonstrate the correct manner to help someone having a anxiety attack. All terrific.
But this is a story and series about demons, Princes of Hell. Not puppy dogs. So there’s death and torture too. Especially since Father’s insisting they come home.
Also humor, and mentions of other authors books because there is a romance novel connection too.
Yes, as I said Devil’s Mark has got a carryon’s worth of exposition to dump into this story. I haven’t even gotten to the Devil’s Mark itself, think bondmate bite of a werewolf sort of thing. And brotherly dynamics. And father/sons dynamics. So much here left without a firm foundation.
I’m hoping to get that in the next book.
If you’re a lover of paranormal romances, hurt/comfort, with some dark aspects, this might be for you. Please take note of the comments about trigger warnings.
I enjoyed this and am looking forward to the next installment.
The Reckless Damned series:
✓ The Devil’s Mark #1
◦ The Devil May Care #2 – Nov. 9, 2022
Cal and his brothers turned their backs on the family business over a hundred years ago. Hell is tired of waiting for them to return.
I’ve never wanted a relationship—especially not with a human. With my father demanding my return to Hell and a demon leaving dead bodies in my bookshop, now is not the time to lose my heart. But one look in Oscar’s broken eyes, and I know I’m in trouble. Oscar’s been hurt before, and everything in me screams to keep him safe. How can I do that when I know being with me will only put him in more danger?
More importantly, am I strong enough to walk away from him?
After escaping my last relationship with broken bones and an anxiety disorder, I’m tired of living half a life. My world revolves around my classroom, flat, and best friend. When fate throws Cal in my path, he seems too good to be true. He looks like he’s been pulled from my fantasies, and my baggage doesn’t scare him. Ok, so there’s the tiny issue of him being a demon, but I’ve dealt with far scarier.
I’ve been broken once before, and I don’t think I’d survive it again. Can I let down my barriers enough to let Cal in?
Devil’s Mark is a thrilling high heat, hurt/comfort, M/M contemporary paranormal romance with a HEA and no cliff-hanger. It features a possessive demon and the broken teacher who captures his heart. ‘Devil’s Mark’ is the first in The Reckless Damned series but can be read as a standalone. Each book focuses on a different couple and will have a HEA.
Trigger warning for emotional abuse and domestic violence in a previous relationship, anxiety attacks, and descriptions of violence.
Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer.