Ever held a séance and accidentally trapped a demon into marriage? No takers? Just me? Crap.
Marriage is my idea of hell, at least until the day an unfairly hot demon shows up in my apartment and drags me to actual Hell — as his wife.
I’d honestly rather have a root canal without sedation than marry anyone, least of all a surly — even if damnably attractive — demon. But I’m bound to the contract stupid Teenage Me made with Azazel when I accidentally summoned and trapped him into marriage, to be consummated if I were still single at twenty-five.
I’d forgotten all about it.
And now he’s here to claim me.
Neither of us is thrilled about this marriage-of-inconvenience, but what I hate even more than the idea of being married…is being ignored. So when Azazel intends to park me out of sight and mind at the other end of his estate in Hell, I make it my newly eternal life’s mission to be as much of a real inconvenience to him as possible.
It’s all fun and games, until I find a soul that shouldn’t be in Hell, stumble smack-dab into the middle of a demon family feud…and the banter between me and Azazel turns so hot it might consume me.
Hellishly Ever After is the first book in Nadine Mutas’ Infernal Covenant series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s certainly one of the more steamier paranormal romances that I’ve read, but unlike a lot of authors in this genre, Nadine hasn’t sacrificed plot or character development for gratuitous sex. Hellishly Ever After is a well balanced novel that has the right amount of everything that I, personally, look for in a paranormal romance book.
One thing that I liked in particular about Hellishly Ever After is the humour in it. The banter between Zoe and Azazel is genuinely laugh out loud funny in places and feels very organic. Some authors’ attempts at humour can feel forced, but this isn’t the case with Nadine. She obviously has a great sense of humour and she incorporates it into her writing perfectly.
I had mixed feelings about Zoe as a character. On the one hand, I admired her strength and determination. When Azazel brings her to Hell and essentially imprisons her in a suite of rooms, she doesn’t simply give in and think, “Oh, well, I guess this is my life now.” She refuses to be hidden away and forgotten about. She makes Azazel notice her and making a powerful demon from the bowels of Hell notice you takes guts…or stupidity. Or maybe a bit of both.
However, I found her fickleness somewhat annoying. When she finds out that her physical body will never be able to leave Hell, she starts worrying about the detrimental impact that this will have on her mum. However, once she develops something of a romantic relationship with Azazel, she sort of puts concerns for her mum on the back burner. To me, it felt as though she dropped her mum as soon as she realised that her feelings for Azazel were mutual. Didn’t Zoe ever hear the famous, much quoted saying “Mums before demonic…erm…chums?” There isn’t much that rhymes with ‘Mum’ that would make sense in this context, is there? This is only the first book in the series, though. Nadine has stated that the next few books will focus on Zoe and Azazel as well, so perhaps I’m judging her character too harshly too soon.
As for Azazel… Well, he’s a complete and utter asshole to Zoe in the beginning. Normally, this would turn me off a romantic lead because I don’t believe a healthy relationship can grow from such behaviour, but he develops so much as a character over the course of the book. When I learned more about his past, his earlier disdain for Zoe became more understandable. Also, who wouldn’t harbour feelings of anger and resentment if they found themselves trapped in a marriage contract that would see them stripped of their powers and position if not fulfilled?
Overall, I enjoyed Hellishly Ever After and I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment in the series!
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