Hunting the Demon
So, do you like drop dead gorgeous Australian surfer Alpha types who have latent demonic powers but are inherently good? Meet “Dominic ‘Nic’ Diavolo”, the hero of this story and the epitome of a tortured hero. Taken from his mother and brother as a youngster under extremely traumatic circumstances; Nic is an amnesiac having no recollection of them or the event surrounding his abduction. His memories of growing up are with his aloof father, Ben who lead Nic to believe his mother was dead. Nic is traumatized by nightmares of demonic possession. He hasn’t been involved with a woman in a year because he is afraid of a darkness he keeps suppressed inside. He loves sports, especially surfing and has a name amongst the locals as one of the best. Nic is also a businessman handling corporate sales for “Diavolo Diamonds” the family owned diamond mine worth a fortune.
After spending years looking for his brother, Derek thought Nic was either dead or changed into a demon. However, through a fluke on the island where the hunters last battled the demons, Derek discovers his brother is indeed alive and living in Australia. The hunters have another objective; finding the “black diamond”, a legendary jewel that is capable of channeling incredible power to the demonic “Sons of Darkness”. The demon hunters from “The Realm of Light”, set out to find the diamond and suspect it is hidden somewhere in the Diavolo mine.
Shay Pearson, is sent to gain Nic’s trust, ascertain if he is working with the demons and what he knows about the black diamond. Shay, like the other female demon hunters is a kick ass heroine. She is extremely athletic, competitive and collects knives with jeweled hilts. And trust me, she knows how to use her knives, which come in handy on more than one occasion. Shay is also gifted with a type of telepathic foresight that comes to her in the form of visions, no one knows about her ability, not even her demon hunter colleagues. Her visions are particularly vivid where Nic is concerned.
Shay ingratiates herself with Nic by pretending to be an American tourist, looking for a surfing lesson. The beautiful woman who compliments Nic’s surfing abilities and shows real enthusiasm for the sport he loves quickly attracts him. There is an immediate spark and connection between these two and after only a few short hours Nic pulls away because of fear of a 'darkness' inside, that seems to surge to the surface when he gets close to Shay. The hunters move in, drug Nic and take him to the Northeast Territory of Australia, where the Diavolo Diamond mine is located.
Nic and Shay’s relationship therefore begins with a foundation of deception and betrayal. When Nic wakes up he is, needless to say, frothing at the mouth angry, especially at Shay. Then Derek tells Nic, he is his brother, that there are demons on earth and his father, in fact was one of them. Nic thinks he has been kidnapped by a group of lunatics, however he soon realizes, that he is going to have to go along with Shay, Derek, Gena, Louis and the other hunters if he is ever going have a chance to escape. Nic does begin to question the validity of Derek’s claims about the existance of demons when he sees the hunters going out at night armed with unusual weaponry.
Jaci Burton really did her homework with respect to the setting for this novel. I could feel the oppressive humidity of the country, literally see the waves of heat in the air and the dust wafting from the roads. The incredibly treacherous terrain the hunters have to traverse to get to the mines under the ever present danger of the demon threat made for a riveting read.
Louis (the leader of the group) senses Shay has a special connection with Nic and leaves her to guard him when the team is out. Nic gradually earns Shay’s trust, seduces her, ties her up and escapes. So, the tables are turned and Shay feels defiled and betrayed. She is a very resourceful woman however, and gains her freedom and quickly sets after Nic.
When Nic finds demons in his flight for freedom, he realizes the hunters were truthful all along and he now must prove himself to them and earn back Shay’s trust. Their romance is a roller coaster ride. Shay is desolate as a result of Nic’s betrayal, but she does gradually come to forgive him. I am finding the heroes and heroines of these novels have a primal pull to one another that they cannot ignore even in the worst of circumstances.
There is just something beautiful about the love scenes Jaci Burton pens in her novels. A sweet gentle kiss and sensual anticipation, builds into a totally erotic scene. Nic and Shay fall hard for one another, and literally mate, the sex is feverishly hot and spontaneous. I think the fact they are essentially warriors battling an ever present evil makes it all the more intense.
As I mentioned above, there is a subplot developed around Ryder, who is an ex-special forces operative and Angelique Devereux, a beautiful archaeologist searching the mines for the black diamond. She has no idea about the demons, or who her benefactor is. She and Ryder become trapped in the mine and sparks fly. Ryder is an enigmatic character whose soul purpose is killing demons and completing is assigned mission. I love Ryder, he is totally hot, focused and highly skilled because of his special forces training. Angelique is stubborn, brilliant and tenacious with respect to finding the relic.
The dénouement of the plot is spine tingling as the hunters travel deep inside the mine to find the demons have possession of the stone and involve Nic in a ceremony that could bring him and the Lords of Darkness unspeakable power. I will say Nic requires Shay’s help to resist the evil inside him. Derek also helps his brother on an elemental level that requires a combination of their power. Both Nic and Derek, you see, are half demon… ;)
Jaci has expanded the "Demon Hunter" world with just the right momentum and she introduced some new, very intriguing characters in "Hunting The Demon".