Where Demons Fear to Tread
by Stephanie Chong
(Mira,$7.99, R) ISBN 978-0-7783-1247-5
***
Losing her life for the greater good-even in retrospect-seems a fair trade to Serena St. Clair, who became a guardian angel out of the deal. When her most problematic ward falls into the clutches of archdemon Julian Ascher, Serena is sure that good will prevail ... as long as she keeps her wits about her and doesn't allow herself to be tempted into the seduction Julian clearly has planned for her.

Where Demons Fear to Tread by Stephanie Chong takes readers to a world where angels and demons exist behind the scenes in well-established power struggle from which knowledge is kept from the humans. The angels are around to keep the humans to the "good;" the demons gain power and strength by luring the sheep to the slaughter, so to speak. Julian rose far and fast, but the rules that govern the interactions between the angels and the demons are unbreakable; even he must mind himself where it comes to Serena.

Demons don't gain a reputation without earning it, however, and Julian knows that if Serena steps into his territory of her own will, he'll win. So he concocts a plan to get her to Las Vegas for a weekend with him as he opens his new nightclub/pleasure house. Serena is certain that she can take Julian and every kink he puts in their original plans in stride. Which she does, admirably. What Serena forgot to consider was the fact that she wants him, and even being good can't stop that.

Can Serena manage to save her debauched actor before his life becomes an endless pit of despair? Or will she be too tied up trying to keep her own soul safe? Fearing that even Julian's touch can condemn her, Serena holds out valiantly, but in the end ... well, all bets are off when you go to Vegas, right? Even Julian's.

Where Demons Fear to Tread was a very simple read that fans of the new angel gig will be pleased with, though I thought the demons lacked the kinds of traits that make them evil. You know, like being cruel and enjoying the pain of others. It's pretty clear from the start that Julian's willing to embrace the good both literally and figuratively, and he doesn't struggle against the urge for very long. I wouldn't spend money on Where Demons Fear to Tread, but I wouldn't ban it from the library, either.

--Sarrah Knight


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