demon dukeRating: 4.25 stars
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Length: Novel

Ever since he met Sal last month, Calvin has been thinking of the demon duke. Not only does he find the man alluring, but Sal’s mention of being able to help Calvin has stuck in his head. Calvin’s brother Nathan is dying and Calvin is willing to do whatever he can to help heal him, even if it means making a deal with a demon. Calvin knows his religious brother doesn’t approve of witchcraft, but he is determined to convince him to accept Sal’s help in order to have a chance at life.

Sal hasn’t been able to get Calvin out of his head either, and when the witch summons him, Sal is eager for the chance to see him again. When Calvin makes clear he wants a deal for Nathan’s life and he offers himself in exchange, Sal is happy to agree. Calvin wants to help his brother, but he also is thrilled to get together with the sexy demon. Calvin even finds Sal attractive in his true demon form. The two begin spending more time together, and Calvin even gets to know Sal’s vampire friends Val and Basil, along with Val’s human lover Sebastian.

Sal and Calvin continue to grow closer despite Sal’s determination to keep Calvin at a distance. Sal has been burned by love before. Not to mention there is no viable future for an immortal demon and a human witch. Better not to fall for Calvin then to end up in a relationship that has no future. But despite Sal’s determination to keep his distance, he is falling in love with Calvin and Calvin loves him return. Now the two must face down demon threats and their own fears for a chance to be together.

“I have no idea if this is to be a series, but oh pretty please may Sal get his own book? I will be the first in line to read about the snarky, powerful, redheaded demon.”

This is quote from my 2014 review of Vampire Prince, the first book in the Paranormal Nobles series. Even as a secondary character, I enjoyed Sal so much I wanted more from him, so I was delighted to finally see this second book in the series (not that I actually think I had anything to do with it, but exciting nonetheless). Sal is just a great blend of snarky, sexy, and fun and I enjoyed him so much that I was really excited to revisit him here (along with the rest of the gang). This book picks up about a month after the first, and though most of the relationship stands alone, it does reference events from the first book as both Sal and Calvin appear there, along with featuring other characters from the first story.

So I really enjoyed this one a lot. Sal is still sexy and snarky and entertaining. Calvin is strong and feisty and doesn’t take any crap from his demon. I noticed the same thing in Vampire Prince with Sebastian, and I love that Frost has made these human partners for our paranormal nobles to be strong, confident, and tough in their own right, and not just weak humans relying on their supernatural lovers for everything. Although Calvin is in the more vulnerable position having to ask a favor of Sal and promising his body in return, it is clear that he wants Sal completely so this is no hardship. The two are well matched, super sexy, and a lot of fun together.

While the first story explored the world of vampires and blood slaves, this one focuses on witches and demons. The demon world is well developed here, in terms of politics, the hierarchy of demons, and how their power works. We get some nice world building without info dump and I found this part really interesting with lots of potential for the series going forward. Calvin’s role as a witch isn’t developed in quite as much detail and I wouldn’t have minded seeing that explored a little more, but it’s still handled well.

As with the first book, the connection with the side characters is a lot of fun. We spend a lot of time with Sebastian, Basil, and Val, as well as meeting some additional folks who I assume will play a role in future books. This group of slightly misfit friends are close and caring, but also full of snark and teasing and just a lot of fun together. So it was nice to reconnect and I enjoyed the camaraderie between them.

I do think this book runs kind of long and needed some tighter editing through the middle to keep the story moving forward. At times it felt a little sluggish and I think it could have been thinned down without losing the story. Also on the editorial front, there were lots of typos here, mostly wrong words used. I am willing to let a few go, but for me to notice it enough to start highlighting is a problem. There are also a few places with pronoun issues where there are so many him/his, etc that it is confusing who is doing the action. Again, the editing here just needed some more attention.

Overall, however, I really enjoyed this one and found it a great follow up to the first story. I loved revisiting with the gang again and really enjoyed Calvin and Sal together. They are super sexy, but also fun, sweet, and both strong characters. I am really looking forward to more from this series.

Note: Vampire Prince was originally released by Ellora’s Cave, but has since been republished by MLR Press

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