Much like the demon, Crowley, in Good Omens who didn’t so much fall from heaven as saunter vaguely downwards, Seth – fallen angel and hero of Brandi Evans’ Tempted – never intended to be part of The Dark One’s rebellion. He just made some bad decisions.
Being on the losing side of a celestial battle comes with a boat-load of far-reaching consequences, though. Being cast out of heaven, for one thing. Seth has been working very hard for a very long time to put things right and redeem himself in the eyes of his Creator. When we meet him, he’s working on a sort of contractor basis for the Angel of Death as part of his ongoing plan to one day earn his wings back.
It’s all going pretty well. It’s grim work but somebody (or some celestial being anyway) has to do it. Seth is aligning himself with the not-evil side of the eternal battle between Good and Evil. He sticks to the rules and does his best never to put another metaphysical foot wrong.
Until he meets Lyndi Garrison. Then his eternal life suddenly gets a lot more complicated.
Lyndi is human. In fact she’s very much human – a realistic bundle of passions, humour, self-expression, heartbreak and self-doubt with an impressive repertoire of curse words.
After the two of them encounter one another in what appears to be a classic damsel-in-distress situation, Seth starts bending the rules he has hitherto followed to the letter in order to get to know her better.
This includes revealing himself to her in his impressively large and frankly marvellous-sounding human form and saving her from danger. He then – having cast all all reservations aside – accepts her invitation to come and have dinner with her family. There’s no going after this really which is good news for us as the the couple are clearly made for one another.
Lyndi and Seth’ feelings for one another develop quickly and this book is none the worse for that. Sometimes in romantic fiction, it can be a bit frustrating when characters who have only known each other five minutes are swearing undying allegiance to one another. But here it fits nicely. Their relationship feels predestined. Lyndi is an artist whose work shows an almost supernatural affinity with the hidden world of angels and demons. She’s already far closer to the world of the supernatural than she could possibly have realised.
Not that the attraction between Seth and Lyndi is all spiritual and ephemeral. Far from it. They absolutely fancy the pants off one another and it isn’t long until they manoeuvre themselves into a position where pants are no longer required.
I guarantee that this book has the best Sex-in-a-Shed scene you will read this year.
Having eschewed the pleasures of the flesh, Seth is quick to make up for lost time enjoying all the sexy sex times with his perfect woman. Lyndi is not a woman who turns down the offer of some red hot action with a beautiful six and a half foot tall man, even if she has only just met him. Which is great because when Seth and Lyndi get together they hit all of each others buttons. All the sex scenes in this book are just wonderful.
But the path of true love never goes without a hiccup. And in Seth and Lyndi’s case in particular, where the obstacles to your happiness are the literal legions of the damned, that can really throw a spanner in the works. Seth’s priority for a large part of the book isn’t about riding off into the sunset together, it’s trying to keep the woman he loves alive.
This book also, surprisingly, has one of the most accurate depictions of depression that I have read in a long time. As someone with depression, I totally related to the part where Lyndi’s scrambled thought processes tell her that she’s a waste of space and that everyone would be better off without her. That’s how depressive thoughts work in my experience, nothing has materially changed in your life, but suddenly a switch is flipped and not only are you convinced of your own worthlessness, you know that this has it has always been the case. Even when that’s not true.
In Lyndi’s case this is caused by actual demonic possession and yet it was still utterly heartbreaking to read. To be honest, I have never considered that my own mental health issues might be caused by demons but perhaps that’s another avenue to explore.
The religious elements of this book are adeptly handled by the author. It must be tricky thing writing a scorching hot romance book where God is one of your supporting characters. Brandi Evans handles it beautifully with a lightness of touch that ensures that it never seems silly.
And, of course, there’s the sex. Did I mention how hot the sex is in this book. I believe I did because it bears repeating. It made me all the more invested in Seth and Lyndi overcoming all the life and eternal-life threatening obstacles and live happily ever after so they could just have scorchingly hot sex all day every day.
Seth and Lyndi’s path to their happy ever after may not be a straightforward one, but it’s one hell of a ride and I enjoyed the journey.
Tempted is available for sale at Amazon.