I've been following the "Hot Angels and Cool Demons" blog tour, and I agree with everything my esteemed colleagues have said regarding the attraction of angels and demons in erotic romance. The struggles between Good and Evil, Innocent and Decadent, the whole polar-opposites-with-more-in common-than-they' d-like-to-admit thing angels and demons usually have going on, the overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles...all these themes resound with writers and readers alike, lure us in, keep us riveted to the page, and combine to make the angel/demon theme addictive and sizzling hot.
For me, there's one other thing about angels and demons that gets me every time – the wings.
There's just something about a man with wings I find incredibly sexy.
Maybe it's the notion that with them, he can up and fly away to escape danger, or swoop in from the sky to save the day. Or perhaps it's the the idea that they make the man more than merely human, something special, unique, that gets me. It might be the massive upper body strength (gotta love those shoulders and biceps!) that a humanoid would need to support a set of wings large enough to enable him to fly (physics and biology aside, of course). Or maybe it's the symbolism of wings, that with them we can overcome adversity, ascend to a higher level of being.
Or maybe I just have a feather fetish.
In any case, I find them sexy and have written several angel/demon pairings over the years, ranging in theme from apocalyptic-slightly-irreverent (Dancing on the Head of a Pin) to humorous (Demonology 101 in the Wicked Good anthology).
Dancing on the Head of a Pin tells the story of Malak, an innocent, slightly bewildered angel, and Cael, a selfish, narcissistic demon (actually, a fallen angel) with sex-on-the-brain. A rash decision on Cael's part leads to a contest imposed on them by the Powers That Be. If Cael can seduce Malak within a certain time frame, he'll be allowed to remain on Earth until the End of Days. If Malak remains pure, Cael goes back to Hell forever. When circumstances force them to cohabitate and cooperate to stave off the coming of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and their own destruction, it becomes a test of wills to see who'll break first.
Excerpt from Dancing on the Head of a Pin:
Barely kissing the horizon, the sun glowed a fiery crimson over the purpling waters of Islamorada, casting orange shadows over the storm-shuttered windows and whitewashed wraparound porch of their beachfront home.
Warm, salty breezes promised an evening thunderstorm and rippled the tall sea-oats that covered the dunes, surrounding the house with a green-and-gold carpet.
Standing barefoot on the second floor balcony, dressed in nothing but a loose-fitting pair of thin, white cotton pants, his tanned, flawless skin stretched over a chiseled body and his long dark hair blowing wild in the evening breeze, Malak was himself as much a work of art as anything his talented hands created.
With a flick of his wrist, Malak added a touch of vermillion to the wide swath of color that stretched across his canvas. When he stepped back and eyed his work, a small frown creased the skin between dark eyebrows.
To anyone else Malak would appear to be only slightly dissatisfied with what he saw, but Cael knew him better than that and ducked just as the canvas came whizzing through the air. It flipped end over end, sailing over the balcony railing, spiraling onto the dunes below.
"What was wrong with that one, Mal?" Cael asked, peering down at the wreckage of Malak's latest creation. Coarse sand clung to the wet paint, lending it the consistency of colored grits.
"It was shit."
Only Malak's voice, deep and smoky, could make defecation sound sexy. Cael smirked and swung himself up onto the balcony railing, straddling it. Leaning back against one of the posts supporting the overhang, he crossed his arms over his chest, watching Malak angrily swish brushes around in a mason jar half-filled with murky turpentine. "You say that about everything you paint these days, Mal."
Below Cael, half-buried in the sand, were the remnants of at least a couple of dozen of Malak's canvases, in various stages of completion. Pieces of the stretched canvas and broken frames stuck up through the sand like paint-splattered bones. Malak refused to allow any of them to be picked up and thrown away, inspiring Cael to nickname the area surrounding their porch St. Malak's Cemetery.
"Don't you have something else to do?" Malak grumbled, carefully cleaning his brushes and placing them bristles-up in another mason jar. He dried his hands on a paint-splattered rag, keeping his back to Cael. "Someone else to do?"
"Not at the moment," Cael answered, grinning. He could see the muscles tensing across Malak's shoulders. It was so easy to provoke him that it barely provided Cael with a challenge anymore. He flipped his mane of golden hair behind him and smiled impishly. "Why? Got someone in mind?"
"Go fuck yourself, Cael."
"A physical impossibility, Mal. Believe me, if I could I would -- constantly, and with great enthusiasm." Cael laughed, jumping down from the railing. He walked up and ran his hands over Malak's strongly muscled back, feeling the silken skin twitch under his palms. "You're tense, Malak. That's why you're having a hard time creating anything worthwhile. You've held out too long and it's affecting you physically."
"The only reason I'm tense is because you're still here," Malak growled, shrugging Cael's hands off his shoulders.
Undeterred, Cael returned to caress Malak's smooth skin. "I could relieve your tension in an instant, you know," he purred, sliding his hands around Malak's trim waist. He traced his fingers lightly over the ropy muscle of Malak's stomach, before slipping them under the drawstring waistband of Malak's pants, smiling at the sharp gasp when his fingers brushed against Malak's pubic hair. "I'd do whatever you wanted me to do. Touch you. Kiss you. Devour you. I'd even bend over the railing for you; let you take me hard and fast, or slow and sweet. Or would you rather bottom? You'd like to feel my cock push its way into your sweet, tight ass, wouldn't you? All you need to do is tell me what you want, Mal. That's all it would take."
"Knock it off, Cael! You already know what my answer to that is." Malak twisted away and opened the sliding glass door that led into the upstairs living area. He slipped inside, closing it behind him. Cael watched him round the corner into his bedroom, the resulting bang as Malak slammed the door shut echoing throughout the house.
Still smiling, Cael fingered his erection through his cargo shorts, adjusting himself. Damn if he hadn't given himself another boner. It was a wonder he never learned -- thinking about fucking Malak did that to him every time.
Touching any part of Malak's body had that same effect on Cael, the heat from Malak's skin going straight from Cael's fingertips to his groin. He sighed deeply as his erection grew painful. A body would think he'd have grown immune to Malak's charms by now, but no.
It had been that way for the past three thousand years -- why should today be different?
Flinging himself over the railing, Cael let his blood-red wings shimmer into view, membranous and leathery, flapping slowly to ease his fall. He landed lightly on the sand below, his feet barely indenting the grainy surface.
Bending, he plucked Malak's latest creation from the ground. A slow grin creased his cheek as he contemplated the sand-splattered painting. The canvas showed two figures entwined, one light and one dark. Although their faces were indistinct, no more than smudges of color, it was clear to Cael who the subjects were.
Malak's subconscious was trying to break through the wall he'd erected between them. His desire was manifesting itself in his paintings, had been for centuries now, which was why Malak was unhappy with everything he painted. He didn't want to admit that he wanted Cael as badly as Cael wanted him. But Malak's wild, bold brushstrokes and his sensual use of color, in addition to his subject matter, told a different story.
He was losing control.
And none too soon, as far as Cael was concerned. Time was swiftly running out for him. If Cael didn't get Malak between the sheets soon, Cael was going to find himself right back where he'd started, with a pitchfork stuck in ass and a permanent case of the hornies.
That was a totally unacceptable outcome. Cael would not go back, refused to even consider the possibility. Three millennia had done nothing to dim the memories of his life before he'd met Malak. He remembered all too clearly what it had been like, how much he had suffered.
Humiliation. Degradation. Subjugation. Deprivation. All tempered with a healthy dose of pain, they'd filled his every waking moment. And since Cael never slept, that translated to being miserable every moment of every fucking day.
He was not going back.
His hands clenched involuntarily, crushing the canvas with a splintering sound as the wooden frame cracked in his fingers. Letting it drop back onto the sand, he struggled to regain his composure.
Calm yourself, he thought. You have everything under control. He's going to snap any moment now, like a twig in a tornado. Cael took a deep breath, filling his lungs with clean, fresh air, willing his muscles to relax.
A few more days and Malak's resolve would crumple like tissue paper. That's all it would take, Cael told himself. A handful of hours and he'd have Malak naked, writhing underneath him. And once he'd had his fill of Malak's delectable flesh; once he'd spilled his seed deeply inside Malak's perfect body, or had Malak's semen fill his -- it didn't matter to Cael in the slightest which way it went down -- Cael would be safe until the end of time. A few more days and it would all be over.
It had better be.
A few more days were all Cael had left.
In Demonology 101, opposites rule because the demon is the hero of the story. It's a humorous erotic romance, but also a somewhat cautionary tale about the dangers of having blind faith.
Xyle is a demon with a penchant for good barbeque. Xyle works as a professor of demonology at a university, where he seeks to enlighten the minds of the rather thick-headed human students and do his part to education a new generation.
Roger is a human whose family are Hunters. They believe all demons are evil, animalistic, dangerous creatures that should be destroyed, despite all evidence to the contrary.
When Xyle discovers Roger and realizes who Roger is and what he has planned, Xyle decides to teach Roger a lesson. What follows is a crash course in Demonology 101 that proves opposites really do attract.
Excerpt from Demonology 101 (in the Wicked Good anthology):
Xyle tossed the brown paper sack containing two full orders of baby back ribs with extra sauce on the side to the passenger seat as he slid his long frame into the car, and ignored the familiar discomfort when he settled back. Bucket seats were not built for demon physiognomy, and although he kept his wings folded and tucked up tightly against his back, the leather seats squished them flat, making them cramp. The pain was a small enough price to pay for the pleasure of driving the Mustang, though.
He paused with his hand on the gearshift, the small hairs at the back of his neck standing up. Something was wrong, out of place. He sniffed the air and immediately recognized the scent of human. Partially obscured by the smell of pine-scented air freshener, leather, and barbeque sauce, it was there nonetheless. He analyzed the information his sensitive nose gathered. He detected a metallic odor underlying the others, and realized whoever it was, he was hiding in the back seat and was armed to the teeth.
Goddamn fucking Hunters, he thought, baring his fangs to the rear view mirror in a silent hiss. He had a good mind to incinerate the man concealed under the blanket on the floor behind his seat. One thought was all it would take him, and poof! Instant human charcoal. The gods knew the Hunters deserved to be put down. They'd persecuted demons for centuries now, hounding them, making their lives a living hell. Hunters were the chief reason Xyle had taken the teaching job in the first place—he hoped to enlighten young minds and rid the world of prejudice against demons and misinformation, ending the violence against his people once and for all.
The Mustang was truly cherry, though, and no matter how much he wanted to fry the Hunter, he couldn't bring himself to scorch the luxurious, gray leather upholstery. He could control the flames, but once the stink of burned human flesh got into leather, you could never really get it out again. There had to be another way.
An idea occurred to him, and his grimace turned into a smile. Of course! Although technically, humans weren't permitted in Hades—at least, not while their souls were still wearing their fleshy remains—he would bring the man, Mustang and all, to his home in the Underworld. Surely, the Demon Alliance would understand the necessity of his actions, once they understood his plan—particularly if it worked.
The Hunter didn't know it yet, but he was about to get a crash course in Demonology 101, and if he didn't ace the class, well…Xyle did have a barbeque pit in his backyard.