St. Martin's, Oct 2009, $18.99
In Melbourne, vampire mobs control whole neighborhoods and fight one another over disputed territory, which makes much of the Australian city unsafe for humans and other paranormal beings though some people and others enjoy being part of the mob. Succubae and incubi seem to be everywhere in the city offering sexual pleasures to mortals in exchange for their souls or in the case of immortals their essence; many partake of the “Rapture”. Meanwhile everyone avoids fairies who are dying in epidemic numbers from some sort of unknown disease that no one else contracts.
Demon Lord Kane owns succubus Jade and incubus Rajahni Seth under an agreement that is for a millennium. Both want to be free of their assignation, but each is bound unless they can offer up the right soul needed for a separation freedom spell. Jade and Raj need the same spell, but as they fall in love, each wants to let the other have the essence to escape their indentured servitude.
This is an intriguing Australian erotic urban fantasy in which vampire gangs, other immoral immortals acting like teens, and Rapture sexual encounters seem genuine. The story line comes across as an intriguingly dark paranormal version of The Gift of the Magi due to the change from teen like behavior to a adult relationship of the lead couple. This reviewer never fully understood the celestial laws guiding the taking of souls nor the contract laws guiding indentured demon servitude (especially the consideration on the part of the heroes), but readers will thoroughly enjoy this entertaining tale of forbidden love. Erica Hayes has a great future ahead of her as a bestselling author.