The Demon Always Wins (Touched by a Demon #1) by Jeanne Oates Estridge
Released: September 4, 2018
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Jeanne Oates Estridge
Reviewed by Keyrsten
After beating his boss at the poker table, ambitious demon Belial must appease Satan, so he takes on a new bet. If he can get God’s champion to curse God before the deadline, Hell gains another soul and Belial earns a coveted promotion to chief executive demon—second only to Satan himself.
The demon always wins, but this time the deck may be stacked against him. Widowed nurse Dara Strong is the ace up God’s sleeve. The granddaughter of famous demon fighters, Dara has no problem recognizing Belial when the demon in doctor’s disguise appears in her clinic. She kicks him out the door.
But Belial, the most successful soul-stealer in the history of Hell, is not about to give up easily. He may look heavenly, but his soul belongs to Satan.
As the battle between these cosmically well-matched opponents escalates, so does their passion. Caught between a victory-hungry Satan and an unforgiving God, Belial and Dara discover there may be only one way to ransom the soul of a fallen angel: sometimes you have to go through Hell to claim your Heaven.
Dara has suffered much loss in her life, but has used that as the fuel to drive her forward in her mission to make the world a better place for those who are less fortunate. Her compassion is her motivation, what moves her to get up every day. No matter what challenges arise she continues to stay true to who she is and fights with everything she has. She has descended from a long line of demon fighters, and is able to recognize Belial for what he is from the get go. Even though he is more powerful than her, she continues to fight with everything she has. After everything she has had to struggle through, the last thing she expected was to fall for a demon.
Belial is quite the clever kitty and practically oozes sex appeal. For centuries he has used his powers to lure and seduce women to his every whim, so when Satan bets him that he can't get God's champion to curse God aloud and in public he arrogantly accepts. He is outright shocked when his usual sexual prowess fails to sway Dara from the get go. This has never happened to him before. For the first time he actually has to work hard for the win. A bet brought Dara into his life, but he never expected to fall in love with his charge. He no longer has just a bet to win, he needs to win Dara's heart.
The tension between Dara and Belial is immediate and captivating. I have to admit, Dara's attraction but deflection of Belial and his efforts in the beginning was quite the turn on. The more she denied him through her attraction, the more the sexual tension grew. Once it hit the sexual tension peak, it was like a damn explosion ... one I would gladly stand in the middle of. Not only was the sexual attraction present but the romantic attraction. They match on an intellectual level and are able to go head to head with their wit and humor. Though they seem like total opposites, they can't help but be drawn to each other. Her compassion and heart balances out his callous demon esque allure.
The plot was interesting from the very first chapter. I wish I was a fly on the wall during that devilish poker game. The gameplay that ensues to win the bet was intriguing to watch unfold. As the battle continues to escalate, you can't help but get nervous for the outcome of our levels. It continued to keep me guessing and when the wager was resolved with the twist at the end I couldn't keep my jaw from dropping. Jeanne immerses you in this clever and unique world, that you can't help wanting to burrow yourself into ... even though it's hell I still want to burrow my way in.
A bet brought them together. This same bet can drive them apart. The adoration and love that they develop for one another just feels right. Belial is the yin to Dara's yang. Who would have thought a demon of the devil and a pure child of God would be the perfect match for one another.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Give me an alpha male with a woman who aces all forms of sarcasm and I'm putty in you hands -- bonus points if a Reverse Harem is involved. Supernatural esque romance and power plays tend to make my heart go pitter patter. I haven't met a book I wasn't willing to try, so if you've got recommendations email them my way. I'm a foul mouthed makeup addicted with slight wino tendencies.