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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Author Tara Fox Hall Shares - A Demon’s Point of View, for her latest novel A Good Year.

A Demon’s Point of View

Demons are not my first choice of protagonist, yet my new series centers on the demon Shaker, and his human Debbie, as their relationship transitions from strictly business to romance. I’d already explored vampires, shifters, and sorcerers/witches in my Lash and Promise Me Series, and wanted a male with new powers and weaknesses. So Shaker, who previously appeared in bit parts in both of these other series, finally got his chance for the spotlight.

A Good Year begins with Debbie feeling like she's being backed into a corner with no way out, and then Shaker appears, offering her a solution which she is hesitant about, but desperate and also pragmatic enough to take. Shaker begins his service by saving her life from her colleague Rebecca's cursed bracelet, then begins maneuvering behind the scenes to solve the problems facing Pandora Productions, from acquiring scripts cheaply to orchestrating murders when people won't comply to his psychic nudges. He helps Debbie assemble a team, including human Sheila, the demons Song, Harp, and Rack, plus a few supernatural investors which lets Pandora quickly go from a struggling company about to be bought out to a real force in the indie film world. In short time, the veneer covering the atrocities Shaker's willing to commit on Debbie's behalf began to horrify her. Yet she's already committed, there's no turning back.

There is something twistedly seductive in having someone who is literally willing to do anything for you, and is bound to obey your every command. That kind of power is both compelling and terrifying, like a loaded gun; make the wrong decision and you might cause not only your own death, but also the deaths of others. Debbie gets in deeper and deeper, both in what she and Shaker are doing for Pandora Productions to be successful and her feelings for Shaker, who in spite of his evil is essentially her slave, with no hope of ever being anything else.

I thought of how a real demon would feel facing master after master for eternity, never being allowed to live your own life, always being judged for what you were born into, with zero chance for redemption.  They'd be pretty miserable, perhaps using that misery to fuel the evil they feel compelled to do by Satan. But doing evil makes a person feel regret, and I think a demon would feel that, and the feeling would just get worse the older the being got. Shaker is pretty jaded and resigned to his existence when he meets Debbie, citing in defense of his actions repeatedly, “I’m a demon, and this is what demons do.” But by the end of the book, he believes that as long as they are bound he has a chance to be happy, however briefly, instead of the hell outside Hell he's been living. Debbie gives Shaker that sense of being more of a partner in their relationship, instead of her servant. But it remains to be seen if Shaker can truly be redeemed, or what kind of future they can hope to have.

Faced with losing Pandora Productions as well as her best friend Rebecca to the smarmy Paul, savvy film executive Debbie makes a pact with the demon Shaker, agreeing to bind herself to him as his human master in return for killing Paul and securing Pandora’s future. Yet even as Pandora gains accolades and renown, Debbie’s strong resolve begins to crumble under the weight of her actions. And the pleasure she finds in Shaker’s arms is becoming more than sex. Is Debbie doomed to lose her heart as well as her soul to a demon who has only been waiting for the chance to claim both?
“I never asked you to kill anyone,” Debbie said defensively. “I never asked you to—”
“You asked me to save your company, and I’ve done it,” Shaker shouted, the boom of his voice shaking the room like a small earthquake. He loomed over her. “What did you think was going to happen? I’m a demon out of Hell! What did you think I would do when you unleashed me on your enemies?”
“These are human beings—”
“Who matter as much as insects splattered on a windshield,” Shaker snarled. “Humans are just another species who think that they are superior to all others…a prevalent notion in all evolved creatures. They are not.” He stared down at her. “You are not superior to me, Mistress.”
Debbie looked up at him with tear-filled eyes. “But I am human. How do I know you won’t hurt me, too, Shaker?”
“Honestly?” he said gruffly, his expression softening. “You don’t. But the same could be said of any human man you know, Mistress.” He leaned in closer, tilting his head. “And I kiss better than most.”
Debbie didn’t know what to do when the demon’s lips met hers. She leaned back involuntarily, but Shaker just leaned forward farther, his lips pressing hers. His kiss was nothing like she’d expected it to be: not brutally strong, or too hot, or even too provocative. It began as a chaste kiss; gentle, languid, warm, with just a hint of passion to come if the merest sign was given. The longer it went on, the hotter Debbie got, the urge to open her mouth growing each moment. Just as she gave in and relaxed into Shaker’s embrace, he pulled back from her, ending the kiss, his red eyes staring into hers, his desire mirroring her desire.
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