I enjoy historical romance. I also like paranormal romance. When I can read one book and experience both genres, it's a good day! Deception by A.S. Fenichel is such a book.
Demons exist among humans in Scotland and England in the early 19th century. Unknown to most of the population, they live to worship their master and to bring him into this dimension. Luckily there are a few humans that bravely battle demons and work to ensure humanity stays safe. The Company was formed to protect humans from demons.
After the demon master tried to pass into earth's dimension using her friend (see Ascension, The Demon Hunters, #1), Lillian Dellacourt is on a mission. As one of the Company's most lethal kick-ass hunters, she will do anything necessary to stop the master.
Dorian Lambert, the exiled Marquis de Montalembert, has admired Lillian since she first joined the company. Now he is working with her to find the demon's gate. While Dorian courts Lillian, they both fight demons and track down the answers needed to solve the demon problem once and for all.
Usually, I like a slow burning romance. Deception is an exception. In this case, the relationship between Dorian and Lillian actually began before the events of this story. They were acquainted with each other and there was already attraction. Well, on Dorian's part, it might have been more than attraction. He wants a long-term relationship but Lillian only wants to scratch an itch. I like that there was the attraction punctuated with Dorian's enthusiastic courting words and Lillian smart comments. They make a fun, sexy couple.
Lillian's non-virginal status is no problem for Dorian, an unusual attitude for a noble. But perhaps not so unusual in the Company, where all employees are treated as equals, regardless of gender or societal rank. I wish that Lillian's attitude toward sex would have reflected this equality. She had no problem with taking lovers and she had no concerns about Dorian's prior sex life, but Lillian worried that Dorian would think she was a whore. This self-image issue didn't feel right for Lillian.
Deception has a few interesting secondary characters. Angus Fletcher, thief/businessman, is an honorable thug. Mrs. Abigail Higginbotham is a witch that is employed by the Company from time to time. The Company trainer of hunters, Blake Lambert, is the brother of Dorian. And Drake Cullum is the undisputed head of the Company who proves he can battle demons with the best of the hunters. Of the four, I think I like Drake best. I'd really like to know more about how he came to the Company. If there are future books in the Demon Hunters series, perhaps one or more of these characters will be featured.
In Deception, the origins of the Company are revealed. I was looking for this type of background in book 1, so I was please to see it explained. The Company had a questionable beginning, and a shaky past, which makes certain characters all that more interesting. But the past may also contain a clue that will help the hunters deal with the demons.
If you have not read book 1 in The Demon Hunters series, no problem. Deception can be enjoyed as standalone. If you enjoy historical and paranormal romance – in the same book – you would do well to check out Deception.
**ARC copy provided by Publisher**