Aug 16 2012 1:00pm

First Look: Stephanie Chong’s The Demoness of Waking Dreams (August 28, 2012)

The Demoness of Waking Dreams by Stephanie ChongStephanie Chong
The Demoness of Waking Dreams
Harlequin MIRA / August 28, 2012 / $7.99 print, $6.79 digital

Ex-cop Brendan Clarkson is an angel with an edge. His tough exterior is the perfect camouflage for his job-hunting down the most dangerous criminals on earth. Brendan’s a self-reliant and demanding lone wolf, constantly on the brink of clashing with his superiors at the Company of Angels.

Brendan is the perfect angel to track and capture demoness Luciana Rossetti. Luciana’s cool, green-eyed beauty masks her true nature: inside, she’s a dangerous and malevolent killer. Yet, she sees what most people don’t-that beneath the layers of Brendan’s rugged shell beats the heart of a passionate lover.

They are perfectly matched. Yin and yang. Angel and demon. Man and woman. But only one of them can win the battle of wills, of strength and of desire.

Is it really opposites that attract or is the line more blurred? You can’t get more opposite than a guardian angel and a rogue demon, right? But in Stephanie Chong’s second novel, The Demoness of Waking Dreams, she shows us that since both angels and demons were originally flawed human beings—just like us—underneath it all, both types can have moments of goodness and evil.

Brendan was made a Guardian Angel after his death 10 years earlier. The former police officer has been a great help to the Company of Angels, and his latest assignment to capture the Rogue Demon Luciana Rossetti and bring her back to the United States, is proving to be more of a challenge than he originally thought. The frustration of trying to capture the centuries old demon in her home city of Florence pushes our Angel into dangerous territory.

“I’ll give you one more chance to answer my question. Where is Luciana?” he said.

She smirked.

And he grabbed her by the throat and squeezed.

There are rules governing the interactions between angel and demons. Arielle’s words rang in his ears as he watched this demon struggle as the he held her by the neck. Rules that must not be broken.

Killing a demon without just case was one of those rules.

Finally, he released Carlotta and she stumbled away.

“Tell me where to find Luciana,” he said, looming over her.

“I didn’t know you angels could be such bullies. Aren’t you supposed to be the harbingers of peace?” she said, narrowing her eyes at him, rubbing at her throat.

Although Luciana was once an innocent human girl kicked around by life, make no mistake, she is now a true demon who has bargained with Satan for her freedom from Hell, paid for with human sacrifices which she has made annually for the last two centuries. She has willingly chosen the power she has gained by being one of Satan’s demons through blood and death. But maybe even an evil demon can have an occasional bout of consciousness.

Luciana wanted to weep for this poor, fragile human girl.

Why, she did not know. She had done this before, so many times. Countless times.

Had slaughtered so many victims without a single moment of remorse. Had consecrated so many innocent souls to the devil.

For such an emotion to plague her at this moment was absolutely nonsensical.

So if good isn’t always good, and evil isn’t completely evil, where does that leave our hero and heroine? Can there ever be a happy ending for a guardian angel and a rogue demon?

The doubts began again in his mind, spurred on by the things Luciana had said tonight.

“Maybe I’m not good,” he gritted, hating to say the words aloud to Michael. But there was no one else to whom he could turn for guidance. “There’s a part of me that wants her. Wants the things I gave up to become an angel. Even a divine calling cannot make up for the things I left behind.”

Stephanie Chong offers an interesting puzzle; can an angel and demon find a common ground so they can be together, or “maybe there is a fine line between angel and demon, between just how far a person was willing to go in the name of the ‘right’ cause.”


Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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