Flesh and the Devil, by Devyn Quinn, comes from Aphrodisia’s Erotic Romance range of titles. Please note, just because it says “erotic romance” on the cover that does not mean the content is tame or unerotic. Devyn Quinn is a mistress of paranormal penmanship and a delightful deviant in the art of erotica. Here she presents a neatly told tale that blends romance and the paranormal. But it is far from tame and never unerotic. Flesh and the Devil smoulders with flames that could have come straight from Hell.
In some ways it’s easy to see why writers choose to make the paranormal erotic. From Bram Stoker’s Dracula (and long before for those literary historians who specialise in this field) readers have been thrilled by the idea of a sexually seductive creature who takes control of a character’s will and forces them to submit, surrender and suffer. The individual’s blamelessness is enviable. As readers we can identify with the pleasure of exploring our deepest and darkest desires, and then innocently protesting afterwards, “But I didn’t want to do those things – I was compelled to do them.”
Yet Flesh and the Devil doesn’t follow that hackneyed format. Yes, there is a demonic and diabolical presence in this story. There is also a great deal of power play, some enjoyable domination and submission scenes, and a mesmerising control that could be supernatural in origin: or it could simply be the power of love.
But I’m not going to spoil the plot by telling you any of the story details. There is too much cleverly woven tension in this tale for me to risk unravelling a single thread.
I will say the hero of this story is not the sort who is shallow enough to go to the depths of depravity against his will. When he does explore his dark needs the reader knows that he is an individual who has made a conscious choice. Brenden Wallace is a believable cop who knows his limits can plumb some torrid levels. But he’s man enough to be comfortable with his desires and lucky enough to explore them with the beautiful Líadán Niamh.
Tall, slim, raven-haired (and with a figure to die for) the story’s devilishly attractive heroine is first seen in a tight red dress that doesn’t just show her desirable curves: it also reveals that she can inspire an unholy arousal.
The story begins in media res as Brenden and Líadán indulge in a soupçon of sensual bondage. From there the plot twists like the loose knot in a scarlet silk scarf and quickly becomes binding and inescapable.
Devyn Quinn has written a convincing tale of a heroic yet credible police officer encountering the deviant side of the paranormal and enjoying (nearly) every sordid moment. Pain, pleasure, punishment and passion sit side-by-side as the story rockets through the darkest streets of Louisiana and into the darker realms beneath.
The sex scenes in this novel are well painted but some of the most powerful erotica comes from those moments when Brenden and Líadán are bonding romantically rather than sexually. There is a genuine frisson between the characters that Devyn has managed to capture with style and authority.
Readers who are already familiar with Devyn’s writing will know she is a competent author who can effortlessly blend the paranormal with rude reality. Readers who aren’t familiar with Devyn’s writing should find Flesh and the Devil is a pretty good place to make her acquaintance.