My first Sexton made an impression...

Damned If You Do - Marie Sexton

4.5 Hearts--

"'If Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.'"
~ Mark 3:26

Who would have ever thought such a sweet romance could be produced between a devil and a Bible-quoting preacher's son?

Not me.

For my first time reading Marie Sexton (yes, I know I live under a book covered rock), I was impressed. I went in expecting hot, lusty sinful times with a tempting devil who pulls out all his tricks to bring young Seth to his downfall. Instead, Damned If You Do, was funny, sweet, angsty-ish and hopeful.

Abbadon is just another overworked, paper pushing demon in Hell, where he works in a sea of cubicles on the 132nd floor (the elevator is broken--eternally) in the Soul Harvesting division. (Loved this author's version of Hell by the way.) He's been slacking off, and the Big Guy Below has caught on, mandating him to fill his soul quota. Abbadon figures aiming for the best soul will earn more brownie points than getting as many low level souls he can in his two week time frame. He is intrigued by Seth's soul in Kentucky, a blind musician and preacher's son who is so innocent, his soul beckons like the best candy.

He befriends Seth, tries to get in his good graces but his plans to get his grubby mitts on that candy flavored soul keeps getting thwarted by...his feelings.

"You are my guiding star."
"I don't know if it worked, but..." He bit his lip, looking almost flirtatious, except that he'd probably never intentionally flirted with anybody in his life. "I tried to shine extra bright for you."

Abbadon can't help the pull to the human with unusual traits. (Hint: snakes) Revivalist Seth keeps quote Bible scriptures when faced with a hardship, but Seth's faith never wavered. He was innocent to the core. Good vs. evil is a great trope, right? Add a little mystery and I was totally hooked.

The story spans about the two weeks with great side characters, Zed, Seth's foreman and Baphomet, Abbadon's only friend from Hell. They work with the pair to make the story move on an even pace.

Damned If You Do is not only funny at moments, but in between the well-crafted sentences, she placed tiny angst berries in the corners of the pages that would burst at the most opportune time, leaving a sweet yet tart feeling in its wake.

There I am angst berry stained, and reading faster and faster, not noticing how tightly the author had me in her grip.

I got a little emotional...touched in the chest cavity...

The feelz were engaged, couldn't be helped. (Even with the snakes)

"He was lost in Seth's brilliance, high on his purity, enraptured by his taste. He hadn't felt anything like it in all the years since passing over, and if he'd felt it before losing his soul, he didn't remember and didn't care. He felt anything from his past must pale next to this."

The love was touching even when all hope felt lost. Because it seemed like impossible met improbable. But there is a clever HEA that will satisfy those who were rooting for Abbadon and Seth.

Were there quibbles? Minor ones but the main points were explained. I wouldn't have minded a little more background with Abbadon, maybe seeing him and Baphomet more than at 'work' but I understand why they couldn't. And maybe a little more scenes at Abbadon being bad his job. I get others just knew what a "lousy" devil he was. But maybe a little more showing of failure? I was greedy that way.

The story isn't sex filled, it more sensual and sweet than anything. If you love romances that focus more on the emotions, well, this is one to give a chance.

I really liked this couple a lot. Despite my quibbles and feeling it was so fast, so soon. I ate the words, couldn't think better men for each other. I think the length worked and showcased the best sides of the characters.


Another great choice to my 'demon' shelf added. Definitely reading more of this author. Can't believe I waited this long.

Recommended? Um...yes. Especially for readers who don't mind their paranormal tinged with the biblical. It's sweet, left me with heart eyes and feeling a little soft and pink...under my horn(s).

A copy via Netgalley provided for an honest review.