The Demon Lover (Fairwick Chronicles Series #1)

The Demon Lover (Fairwick Chronicles Series #1)

by Juliet Dark

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Overview

I gasped, or tried to. My mouth opened, but I couldn’t draw breath. His lips, pearly wet, parted and he blew into my mouth. My lungs expanded beneath his weight. When I exhaled he sucked my breath in and his weight turned from cold marble into warm living flesh.
 
Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly sensual dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.
 
But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart.

“Vivid and enchanting . . . Dark’s letter-perfect gothic style is a satisfying tribute to previous gothic novels, and the paranormal elements, including incubi, fae, vampires, and witches, make this a stellar romance.”—Booklist (Top 10 SF/Fantasy)
 
“[Juliet] Dark develops a complex, detailed world where magic, reason, and gothic literature enjoyably intersect.”—
Publishers Weekly 

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Dr. Callie McFay, author of Sex Lives of the Demon Lovers, had no true intention of signing on as a professor of folklore during her interview at Fairwick College in upstate New York, but something about an old Victorian mansion off campus lures her to take up residence. As Callie sets up her new home, she is simultaneously seduced by a promising research project and a sexual creature she encounters in her dreams but cannot see or believe in during daylight. Eventually realizing that she must drive the demon away, Callie reluctantly seeks assistance from her neighbors and colleagues. She also begins to uncover her own heritage, which may explain her attraction to Fairwick and the incubus. In this surprisingly literary paranormal, Dark (a pseudonym for a “critically acclaimed literary suspense writer”) develops a complex, detailed world where magic, reason, and gothic literature enjoyably intersect. (Jan.)

From the Publisher

Vivid and enchanting . . . Dark’s letter-perfect gothic style is a satisfying tribute to previous gothic novels, and the paranormal elements, including incubi, fae, vampires, and witches, make this a stellar romance.”—Booklist (Top 10 SF/Fantasy)
 
“[Juliet] Dark develops a complex, detailed world where magic, reason, and gothic literature enjoyably intersect.”—Publishers Weekly

Library Journal

Her work as a scholar investigating the crossover between fairy tales and gothic romance, which led to her best-selling The Sex Lives of the Demon Lovers, helps secure Callie McFay an appointment at Fairwick College. There, life imitates art as she meets banshees, witches, and vampires and is visited nightly by a demon lover. The pseudonymous Dark, author of literary thrillers in her alternate life, seems to have hit on something nice and juicy for fans of Deborah Harkness's A Discovery of Witches. First in a trilogy.

Kirkus Reviews

Literary gothic novelist Carol Goodman (Arcadia Falls, 2010, etc.) takes on a Mary-Sueish pen name for this contemporary fantasy about an academic who discovers the truth behind the myths she studies. Cailleach "Callie" McFay, a newly minted doctorate and author of a popular book on demon lovers, accepts a teaching position at Fairwick College, a small liberal-arts college in upstate New York, based on the strength of their folklore department and a desire to buy a home near the college. The department is so strong because its information comes right from the source: Many faculty members and locals are fairies, witches, demons and other assorted magical beings, and Callie learns that she is among their number. Moreover, the home that so appealed to her is historically favored by an incubus. Although the incubus offers her hot supernatural sex at night, he's also leeching Callie of her life substance, so she performs a banishing ritual. The incubus seems to vanish, but not long afterward, Fairwick hires Liam, an attractive Irish poet, and he and Callie begin having mind-blowing sex. Could there be a connection between Liam and the incubus? (Is there actually any doubt?) "Juliet Dark" clearly knows what she's talking about when it comes to academia and folklore; it's odd that her protagonist seems to know so little about the latter, given that she's supposedly an expert in that area. The solutions to the central mysteries of the book are almost painfully obvious; however, the final confrontation between Callie and the incubus still holds some surprise and complex emotional texture. Steamy and nuanced, but ultimately a fairly predictable entrance into the already overcrowded paranormal romance genre.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345510082
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/27/2011
Series: Fairwick Chronicles Series , #1
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 5.24(w) x 8.36(h) x 0.98(d)

Read an Excerpt

THE DARK STRANGER
 —Dahlia LaMotte, unpublished ms.
 
Best keep your door locked, Miss.
 
The housekeeper’s words came back to me as I readied myself for bed. It seemed a strange warning in a house as isolated as Lion’s Keep, where our only neighbors were sea and heath. Had there been trouble with one of the servants— perhaps with that impertinent groom with the roving eyes?
 
Or could it be the Master that Mrs. Eaves was worried about? Haughty, remote William Dougall, who had looked down at me from his horse with such icy condescension— a cold look which had paradoxically lit a spit of fi re from my toes to the roots of my hair. Surely not. The great William Dougall wouldn’t deign to bother a lowly governess such as myself.
 
I locked the door all the same, but left the windows open as it was a warm night, and the breeze coming off the ocean felt deliciously cool as I slid between the crisp lavender- scented sheets. I blew out my candle . . . and immediately noticed something odd. There was a crack of light at the bottom of the door. Had Mrs. Eaves left a candle burning in the hallway for my benefit? If so, I ought to tell her it wasn’t necessary.
 
I threw the sheets off and swung my legs over the side of the bed, preparing to go investigate, but froze before my toes touched the floor. The bar of light at the bottom of the door had been split in two by a shadow as if someone were standing there. As I stared at the door, seeking some other explanation, the brass knob silently began to turn. I opened my mouth to scream, but no sound came out. My throat was frozen with fear, as were my limbs, powerless to run from whoever was at the door. All I could do was watch as the knob turned . . . and stopped.
 
The door didn’t open. It was locked. The knob paused there as if whoever was turning it was deciding what to do next. Would he break the door down? Would he force his way in and then . . . what then?
 
But he must have decided that breaking down the door would make too much noise. The knob silently revolved back. The shadow disappeared from beneath the door and the light slowly faded.
 
I let out a shaky breath, my limbs reduced to quivering jelly now that the moment of crisis was over. Should I go find Mrs. Eaves and tell her what had happened? But tell her what? That I had seen a light, a shadow, a turning knob? Already I mistrusted the evidence of my own senses and I had no wish to look an hysterical child on my first day of service.
 
So I crept back into bed, pulling the sheets over me, but kept my eyes on the door. What if he had gone to retrieve a key? I lay like that, rigid beneath the crisp sheets, all my attention riveted to the door, for I don’t know how long. I was sure I would not sleep, but it had been a long day of weary travel and learning new faces and new duties, and the sound of the waves crashing on the shore below the cliff and the scent of saltwater mingled with honeysuckle from the garden were hypnotically soothing . . .
 
I must have drifted off because when I came to, the room was bright with light. I startled awake, thinking the light in the crack below the door had seeped into the room, but then I saw that the light came not from the door, but from the open window. Moonlight spilled in, white as cream, soaking the sheets and my nightgown—I was wet, too, from the heat—drenching the whole room except for a pillar of shadow that stood at the window . . .
 
A pillar shaped like a man.
 
For the second time that night I opened my mouth to scream, but my throat was as frozen as if the moonlight was a carapace of ice. I could not see the man’s features, but I knew it must be William Dougall. I recognized that arrogant bearing, those broad shoulders, the slim agility of his hips as he moved forward . . .
 
He was moving forward, slowly, gliding across the floor so as not to make a sound. He must think I was still asleep. I must let him go on thinking I was asleep. If he knew I was awake he might become violent.
 
The Master has his moods, Mrs. Eaves had said. Best not to get on the wrong side o’ them.
 
I clenched my eyes shut. Perhaps he had only come to look at me, as he had stared down at me from his mount earlier today. Perhaps I could bear it if he’d only come to look . . .
 
I felt a tug on the sheet that lay over me, a minute movement as if the breeze had lifted it, but then it began to slide down, dragging across my breasts, tugging the placket of my nightgown, which I’d left unbuttoned because of the warmth of the night. The cool air tickled my bare skin and to my acute embarrassment I felt my nipples harden beneath the thin cloth. I could feel his eyes on me, a prickling sensation that made the hairs on my legs stand up . . . my bare legs! My nightgown had ridden up around my hips in my sleep. Cool air licked at my thighs, my calves, and finally, as the sheet slipped away in a soft swoosh that sounded like running water, my toes. I lay still, barely daring to breathe, alert for the slightest sound or movement. If he touched me I would scream. I’d have to. But nothing happened. The breeze played across my skin, teasing the bare places— my breasts, the crook of my arm, the inside of my thigh. At last I couldn’t bear it— I risked a peek through slitted eyes . . . and saw nothing. The room was empty.
 
Had I imagined the shadow at the window? Perhaps I’d tossed the sheet off myself . . . but then I felt something touch the sole of my foot. A breeze warmer than the outside air, warm and moist as breath. The shadow was still there, at the foot of the bed, crouched by my feet, but whether man or dream I could no longer say. The pull it had on me seemed otherworldly. Why else would I lie silent as it breathed on my calf, its breath hot and wet? Why else would I stir only to widen my legs as its breath traveled up my leg? Why else would I close my eyes and give myself over to its rough warmth lapping inch by inch up my thigh? Like a wave lapping at the shore, leaving wet sand as it retreats, and traveling a little farther each time it returns. Insinuating itself into the cracks and crevices, wearing away the stony shore. I felt my own stoniness wear away as the warm tongue found its way into my very center and then licked deeper into the depths I didn’t know I had . . . deep underwater caverns where the surf rushed and boiled, retreated, lapped again, and fi lled me. Retreated, lapped again, fi lled me. I was riding the waves now, borne higher and higher. The room was fi lled with the smell of salt and the roar of the ocean . . . and then the wave dashed me down to the strand.
 
I opened my eyes and watched the shadow slip away like a retreating tide, leaving me wet and spent as a woman drowned. I knew at last what had happened to me. I’d been visited not by William Dougall— or any other mortal man— but by an incubus. The demon lover of myth.

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