13 October 2015

More Than Fiends (Demon Duster, Book 1)

Synopsis from back of book: “Today you are thirty-two years old,” the old woman went on, and just how the hell did she know it was my birthday? “Your time has come.” She smiled, but it wasn't a Grandma-type wanna-cookie? smile. Nope, this was more like the grin on the fake shark they built for the movie Jaws. “There is no time to waste,” she said. “The demons are here. And only you can kill them.”

There's great surf in La Sombra, California – along with a huge mental institution, where Cassidy Burke figures this old lady has escaped from. Especially after she claims that Cassie is next in a long line of demon-dusters – Burke women paired with a centuries-old cleaning solution to shine windows and spot demons. Sure, her Clean Sweep maid service is taking off, with a sexy new client promising to have her rolling in dough, not to mention keep her hormones happy. But wiping out supernatural bad guys? Sounds like a job for a size-two cheerleader.

Yet suddenly Cassie has got fighting instincts and fierce new strength, and she's going to need both. For one thing, her teenage daughter, Thea, thinks her dad is dead, but in truth he just never knew about her, and now he's moved back to town. For another, after many dateless years, Cassie finally has men lining up at her door. Unfortunately most of them aren't human...

Stats for my copy: Trade paperback, Signet Eclipse, published by New American Library, 2007.

How acquired: Bought.

My thoughts: After getting all caught up in the paranormal craze a few years ago, I eventually got a little burned out on vampires and demons and etc., and the last couple of years I've been more interested in contemporary romance novels. But I loved SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL by this same author, so when I saw her name on this book I snatched it up. And I'm glad I did.

There are quite a few characters, and since Cassidy narrates in first person point of view we see the other characters the way she does. Cassidy is a single mom, raising her teenage daughter in the same house where she herself grew up, and running a house cleaning service whose business is starting to pick up. On her 32nd birthday (a random number to say the least), Jasmine, an elderly woman who claims to be a friend of her grandmother, shows up and proceeds to tell Cassidy that there are demons everywhere and she is here to train Cassidy, the newest demon duster, so Cassidy can assume her birth right duties. Cassidy of course thinks the old lady is mental,until she talks to her grandmother on the phone and grandma confirms the story.

As for some of those other characters:

Devlin Cole is the owner of the hottest spot in a town, a nightclub that's also reputed to be a sex club. He needs a cleaning service for the upstairs rooms at his club, and Cassidy wants the job. It would be her first foray into commercial cleaning and could be just the boost her company needs. Devlin himself is probably the hottest bachelor in town, and from their first meeting the sparks start flying. Cassidy's been in a sexual drought, and Devlin has her panting.

Logan is Cassidy's high school boyfriend, who went off to college, leaving Cassidy to spend her senior year of high school pregnant. Although he never knew that. The day Cassidy planned to tell Logan about Thea, he introduced her to his fiance,and Cassidy went home broken hearted, without ever divulging her secret to him. Now he's a police officer, he's moved back to town,he's divorced, and he wants Cassidy back. And try as she might, Cassidy can't help but still be attracted to him also.

Thea is Cassidy's daughter, who's whip smart (she writes up the bid for the cleaning job, having a much better head for numbers than her mother) and who has always been told that her father died a hero, rescuing some kids from a fire. Or maybe it was a flood. Cassidy can never remember what lie she used.

When Thea meets Logan, she's furious with her mother for lying to her all those years. Logan is pretty angry himself, but he seemed to get over it pretty quick and was pretty forgiving. He got over it faster than Thea did, and I loved the interactions between Cassidy and Thea, with her grumblings and eye rolls and “I'm not talking to you!” and other typical teenage girl behavior.

One of my favorite scenes is at a block party, where Devlin and Logan face off against each other and verbally stake their claims on her, trading barbs regarding which of them belongs there with Cassidy. I liked both guys, but I did lean towards Devlin more than Logan.

Cassidy is shocked to learn about demons, but when she finally starts talking to others she discovers that practically everyone she knows already knew that demons lived within their community. From the outset she assumes all demons are evil, and she's shocked again to learn that some of them just want to live their lives in peace and have no interest in waging war on humans. Jasmine withholds information from her, and both Cassidy and I were put out about that. Doesn't Jasmine realize that by not telling Cassidy upfront that there are good demons and bad demons, Cassidy could have unwittingly killed some good ones? And it seemed pretty far fetched that everyone else in town is already aware of demons (and ghosts) living among them and just accepts it as a matter fact. Except Logan, who thinks Cassidy is making it all up, even after witnessing a dusting.

But despite those issues, I enjoyed Cassidy's humorous narration as she navigated this new world that had been opened up for her, and I'm eager to find the next book in the series.

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