And you thought your job was hell. . .
Annie Lou Riddle had a plan: Move to New York City. Break into the fashion industry. Work her way to the top. Nowhere in that scenario did she expect to accidentally sell her soul in exchange for a job at Hot! Magazine. Oops.
Demons, it seems, aren't big on letting mortals off the hook. Now Annie is stuck working as assistant/personal slave to Finola Whitediva extraordinaire, and glamorous she-devil. Whatever Finola wants, she gets, and she wants Annie to match her up with Nick Rossi, the gorgeous detective investigating shady doings at Hot!
Frankly, Annie sees the appeal. Nick is effortlessly sexy, rugged, charmingand the one man Annie should definitely not be flirting with, or kissing, or. . . Oops. But some loves are too devilishly hot to resist. . .
Praise for the novels of Kathy Love
". . .a compelling concoction of dread, desire, and delight." Erin McCarthy on What a Demon Wants
"Fangs for the Memories will make you laugh until milk comes out of your nose. No, really." MaryJanice Davidson
Read an Excerpt
By KATHY LOVE
BRAVA BOOKSCopyright © 2011 Kathy Love
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThree years later ...
Annie started at Finola's voice bellowing over the intercom on her desk phone. How it still managed to startle her after all these years was a mystery. Maybe it was more of a Pavlov's dog thing. Whenever Annie heard that demanding voice disguised in a lilting, melodious tone, she knew she was in trouble.
But just like the obedient dog she'd become, Annie jumped up from her huge desk in the reception area outside Finola's office and hurried through a glass maze to her boss's office.
She stepped into the office, greeted by Finola's fluffy white maltipoo, Dippy, who was considerably less obedient than Annie. The dog jumped up and down, and the beast's surprisingly sharp nails threatened to snag the material of her skirt and make runs in her stockings, but Annie tried not to react. Finola didn't like anyone to reprimand her pet.
Finola stood in the center of her office, debating between two items in her assistant editor Tristan's hands. As Annie got closer, she saw her boss was trying to choose between two diamond-encrusted necklaces.
"This one," she said, pointing to the one that dripped with dozens of perfect, glittering diamonds. Tristan nodded, then turned to return both of the pieces to their blue velvet boxes.
Finola still didn't acknowledge Annie as she walked behind her ultramodern white desk. Actually, everything in Finola's office was white, including the woman herself with her alabaster skin and pale, pale blond hair.
And Annie, with her mousy brown hair, simple brown cashmere sweater and tweed pencil skirt, was fully aware that she was like a glaring mole on the façade of Finola's perfection.
Finola leaned forward to scoop up Dippy, setting the little creature on her lap before she finally looked up at Annie. Immediately a grimace pulled at her ruby-red lips, the only vivid color on her face. Her gray eyes, as light as bleached marble, narrowed as she inspected Annie's clothes.
"How many times do I have to tell you I do not like brown?"
Annie smoothed her hands down her skirt, not because the expensive garment had any wrinkles but because her palms were sweaty. After three years, this woman still had that effect on her.
"It's part of the newest Chloé collection," Annie said softly, even though she knew Finola wouldn't be impressed. She was rarely impressed with anyone but herself.
"I don't want to see brown again," Finola repeated and Annie nodded. You did not cross Finola White. Annie knew that very well.
"I need you to go to the design house and pick up the new spring pieces that will be highlighted in the April issue of the magazine. And as you will see, there is no brown in the collection."
Annie nodded, not inclined to point out that it was a spring collection, which would be unlikely to feature brown anyway.
"I need those items delivered to the photoshoot on Staten Island. By one."
Annie glanced at her watch. It was already 11:30. By the time Annie made it to the design warehouse, got the clothing loaded into a cab, then drove to the ferry and made it to Staten Island, even with taxis and traffic on her side and a prompt ferryman, she'd be pushing it. But she didn't even bother to be amazed. Finola always made impossible demands. Annie suspected the woman sat up at night thinking of tasks that Annie couldn't help but fail—or at the very least, would send Annie's blood pressure and stress to dangerously high levels.
Annie didn't bother to point out the logistics, either. She didn't have the time. She simply nodded and rushed for the door. Dippy leapt down from Finola's lap, bouncing and yipping like Satan's very own purse dog.
Finola's cultured, beautifully accented and utterly irritating voice called after her. "And bring us back lunch from Raimondi's."
Because you don't have enough stress, Annie muttered silently to herself, not slowing her frantic pace. Fortunately, she didn't need to waste precious time asking Finola what they wanted from the restaurant or who "us" was. It certainly wasn't Annie, that was for sure. Finola referred to herself, Tristan ... and Dippy. Finola and Tristan always got the ahi tuna tartare with the Asian salad ... and Dippy liked the goose paté.
But now Annie also knew, even if she got the clothes to the photoshoot on time, the lunch would definitely be late.
There was no pleasing Finola. Annie lived for the woman, and the woman was never happy. At least not with her.
But Annie didn't let that slow her down. She would do her best, just as she did every day. She stopped at her desk to grab her purse and coat, tugging it on as she zigzagged her way through the busy hallways like a Navy SEAL racing through an obstacle course.
She was relieved to see that the elevator doors were open as she approached, her only thought to make it inside before they slid shut, forcing her to wait, shaving off precious minutes from her nearly impossible time limit.
So she wasn't even aware of the man still on the elevator, just stepping out as she was rushing in, until she plowed into him, both of them nearly toppling over upon her impact.
Miraculously, the man not only managed to keep his own balance but maintained hers, too. Strong hands curled around her upper arms, steadying her. She got the impression of a broad, hard chest and the scent of something manly. Leather? A rich woodsy scent? Something more subtle underneath that? A distinct, wonderful scent, but one Annie couldn't put her finger on.
"Whoa there, are you okay?"
Annie's body further jumped to awareness at the husky, rough tone of the man's voice. She looked up at him.
Good Lord, this man was beautiful. Not the model type of beautiful Annie had grown oblivious to over the past couple of years. This man's beauty was tough, masculine, a little gritty. This guy got his hands dirty for a living; he wouldn't pose pretty in front of a camera.
Not that she was jaded or anything.
The corner of his mouth lifted in mild amusement, and Annie realized she was staring.
"Um, yeah. Yeah, I'm fine. Just not paying attention to what I'm doing. Sorry."
"Well, you are clearly in a hurry."
"Then I will let you get to it." But his hands lingered on her upper arms, and she could feel his heat all the way through her layers of clothes. Then the elevator bell dinged, snapping them both out of the moment. He bowed his head by way of good-bye and stepped out of the elevator. The door closed, blocking him from her sight.
Annie sagged against the elevator wall, breathing in deeply. For the first time in a long time, her body felt heavy with something aside from stress or exhaustion or worry. She actually felt ...
She frowned, disconcerted. She felt attraction. Maybe even lust.
"Who knew?" she mumbled to herself, then chuckled. She certainly didn't know she still had the interest for that kind of emotion, much less the energy.
The elevator bobbled to a halt and the doors slid open. Annie forced the rather nice sensation aside. She didn't have time for arousal. Not unless it was written into her schedule or Finola gave her the okay. And Finola would never concern herself with someone else's enjoyment.
At the thought of Finola, she got back to her plan of attack for today's impossible task. First, flagging down a taxi.
She hurried out to the street, praying the taxi gods would be on her side. She stepped off the curb and waved at the first one heading in her direction. It slowed and pulled up beside her.
"Good start," she mumbled to herself. "Good start."
She scrambled into the back as quickly as her pencil skirt would allow, giving the driver the address of the design house.
She fell back against the vinyl seat, the scent of stale smoke wafting around her from the tatty material. Sighing, she ignored the unpleasant smell and tried to formulate the best strategy for getting the clothes loaded into the taxi, then the best route to take back through the city. But untypically, her mind wouldn't stay on task.
Instead, visions of the man from the elevator kept creeping in to distract her. Even the memory of his scent somehow blocked out the smell of the stinky cab. Who was he? Working so closely with Finola and Tristan, Annie met—or at least saw—just about everyone affiliated with the magazine. But she supposed he could be someone new.
God knows, if she had met him, she would remember. Even now, her skin tingled in the places where his hands had grabbed her arms to catch her. And she was in a wool coat and it was January.
He'd definitely made an impression.
But there's not one single point to thinking about him. Even if you did find him again and he was interested in you, you don't have a life. Finola White owns you.
And there was still the little matter of Bobby. Their relationship wasn't exactly a dream, but he was still her boyfriend.
So, stop fantasizing about the rugged, very, very attractive man from the elevator and start concentrating on how you are not going to incur Finola's wrath.
Like the good little servant she'd become, she pulled out her smartphone and checked the time. No messages. That was a relief, but she could see time was ticking by. Quickly.
She leaned forward. "Could you drive a little faster, please?"
"Ms. White will be right with you, if you'd like to have a seat."
Nick Rossi stopped surveying the lobby to look at the blond receptionist. Her smile widened invitingly, and though she gestured toward the sitting area, he didn't think a seat was all her smile was offering.
But he only accepted that, wandering over to the waiting area, taking a seat in one of the red velvet chairs that looked like something straight off the set of a Tim Burton movie. He sank into the overstuffed cushion, feeling a bit childish, like he was at a mad hatter's tea party or something.
He glanced back over at the receptionist. She smiled again, and apparently she didn't think he looked quite so ridiculous. He smiled back, but reached for one of the magazines on the glass table in front of him.
HOT! magazine, of course.
He only glanced at the pages as he surreptitiously watched and listened to the receptionist. She answered several calls, directing them to the appropriate people. Several other HOT! employees came and went through the large double doors at the end of the lobby. All of it seemed like the typical comings and goings of any business.
Not that he expected anything different. It was hardly as if anyone would be doing something illicit right out in the open in the middle of the workday. But Nick felt very certain nefarious things were happening at HOT! magazine.
The elevator chimed, and Nick straightened in his huge chair, the magazine forgotten completely.
An elderly man pushing a mail cart ambled out. Nick frowned as a feeling akin to disappointment caused a slight drop in his stomach.
Who was he expecting? Of course he knew he wasn't expecting anyone. He was hoping. He was hoping it would be the woman with big, stormy gray eyes and brown hair pulled back into a tight little bun.
He frowned, letting his attention drift away from his surroundings and back to her. What had it been about that woman? She'd been pretty enough, but really there hadn't been anything particularly unusual about her. Of course, his dick had had a totally different opinion about that. As soon as he'd touched her, his body had reacted. He couldn't recall that happening in years. That kind of instant attraction.
It's because you never get laid, dumb ass.
He worked most of the time. Maybe his libido was finally realizing the lack of attention.
Hardly rocket science, Rossi.
He glanced back to the receptionist, who still wasn't attempting to hide the fact she was watching him. She smiled, definitely giving him another silent invitation.
Maybe he should take the offer that was clear in her gray-blue eyes. She was beautiful, in that tanned, manicured, my-boobs-are-so-damned-perky-they-could-stand-up-and-do-a-cheer sort of way.
She could be amusing. But something about her caused a prickle across the back of his neck. And not a good prickle. It was a sensation he'd come to think of as his "cop sense." And this woman tripped it. He couldn't imagine why. She hardly seemed like the type who could be the mastermind behind what seemed to be going on here. But still, he got the feeling something wasn't quite right about her.
He shifted, the prickling sensation actually making him uncomfortable, and just when he would have stood up to shake off the strange feeling, a movement beyond the blonde pulled his attention away from her. Nick realized that the older mailroom clerk was staring at him. But when the man saw that Nick had noticed, he immediately turned his attention toward organizing his mail cart.
Nick narrowed his eyes, considering the man. Something was odd about him too, although he didn't get that same strange vibe from the man as he had from the receptionist. In fact, that prickly feeling abated as soon as Nick turned his attention to the mail clerk.
Then after a few seconds, Nick recognized what he found out of place about the man. He was old.
So far Nick hadn't seen anyone in the office who was older than their early thirties. This man was much older, stooped a little, his face weathered, his hands slightly gnarled.
Nick certainly hadn't seen all the employees of the magazine, but he got the distinct feeling this guy was an anomaly. Finola White was a woman who venerated youth and beauty. The older man didn't exactly fit that image, but then again he was just a lowly mailroom clerk.
The old man's gaze met his again, just for a second, but though his eyes were hazed with old age, Nick got the feeling the old guy didn't miss much.
The old man intrigued him, even though Nick wasn't exactly sure why.
Nick watched him until he finished messing with his cart and disappeared through the double doors into the magazine's main offices.
Nick rose, deciding to ask the receptionist a few questions about the old guy, when the double door opened again. A tall man dressed in an expensive black suit with a bright bluish-green shirt underneath. What was the color called? Teal maybe.
Nick supposed if he was going to describe a man as elegant, it would be this guy. As he walked toward Nick, the red recessed lighting that highlighted the walls glinted off his polished, alligator-skin oxfords.
Nick glanced down at his scuffed leather boots. Yeah, this was a different world.
The man stopped in front of him. And the first word that came to Nick's mind was vampire. He was reminded of Dracula from the old movies—of course, this guy was an updated version, with a trendy haircut and designer clothing—but the pale skin and eerie, unreadable eyes were just the same as the classic movie monster's.
His neck prickled, and Nick disliked the other man instantly.
But when the man offered his pale, long-fingered hand to him, Nick didn't hesitate to accept it. His palm was cool and his grip surprisingly strong. Again the thought of vampires popped into Nick's mind. Nick scoffed silently at himself. He never liked those silly monster movies. He saw plenty of real-life horror, inflicted by real people, so he didn't find much appeal in imaginary monsters.
But for just a moment, a memory flashed in his mind. A snippet of memory he'd told himself couldn't be real and one that he'd forcibly learned to repress.
Because it's not real, Rossi. It's just some figment of your imagination.
"My name is Tristan McIntyre," the man said, his deep, cultured voice driving out the rest of the memory. "I'll bring you back to speak to Ms. White."
Excerpted from Devilishly Hot by KATHY LOVE Copyright © 2011 by Kathy Love. Excerpted by permission of BRAVA BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Devilishly Hot is definitely devilishly fun! Kathy Love gifts readers with a delightful, fun and swoon-worthy tale of love and demons in her latest release, Devilishly Hot. Imagine the fashion industry run by Demons – not really such a far stretch of the imagination, huh? That is precisely who runs one of the major fashion magazines – Hot! Finola White is a gorgeous, pampered diva like no one you have ever met. What Finola wants, Finola gets – or the person who fails to come through gets their soul whisked away to hell without a second thought. Unsuspecting Annie Lou Riddle is thrilled when she is called to work her dream position at Hot! Magazine, as a personal assistant to the world famous Finola White. A little thing like signing over her soul for a 10 year gig at a much coveted job seems like nothing – that is until Annie begins work and realizes that Finola is not just a Demon in name but in all aspects of the word. She works Annie to exhaustion with impossible demands without a blink of an eye and Annie has no choice but to do what she is told – or lose her soul to eternal damnation. It is when Detective Nick Rossi comes on the scene to investigate 21 missing people, from Hot! Magazine, that things really heat up. An instant and nearly combustive chemistry forms between Nick and Annie upon first laying eyes upon one another. He is sexy beyond words, charming with a devil-may-care attitude and oh-so-yummy. Annie is sweet and innocent, stuck in a not-so-great relationship and can’t help but yearn for Nick’s lips to caress her own and bring a bit of happiness back to her life. There is one big problem – Finola has set her sights on Nick and anyone that gets in her way will find themselves on a one way, no return trip to the flaming depths of hell. Devilishly Hot was such an enjoyable, fun and captivating read. I loved every minute of it. Filled with paranormal, intrigue, surprises and steaminess, this is definitely one book that will whisk the stress of the day away. The characters of Nick and Annie were excellent. I dearly loved them both. The twist that Kathy Love gave to the Devil was tons of fun and I loved the devilishly Demon characters (or loved to hate them, whichever the case may be, ha!). Ms. Love has a great talent for storytelling with a catchy plot, smooth writing style, humor and great character development. Did I mention her ability to bring sizzle and steaminess billowing from the pages? Oh, yes, there are moments of heat that will leave the reader a bit short of breath. All of these wonderful things wrapped up in one not-to-be-missed story. What more could one ask for – and you don’t even have to sell your soul to the Devil! Reviewed by April. Book Provided by Publisher. Reviewed Originally Posted @ Romancing the Book.
Reviewed by AprilReview copy provided by BravaWhen I learned that Amazon was starting their own publishing company, Montlake Publishing, and their debut novel was going to be from Connie Brockway, I was intrigued. And then I was asked to review The Other Guy's Bride and I was honored to be asked. What really stood out to me is the setting for this book. It mostly takes place in 1905 Egypt. What a unique setting. And Ms Brockway takes total advantage of it. Ginesse and Jim are trekking across the dessert, encounter native tribes and exploring ancient ruins. I enjoyed the adventure I was taken on throughout this book. And then there is the romance. I wasn't sure how it was going to work when Ginesse assumed another person's identity (read the blurb, I'm not giving anything away). The other woman is engaged to be married and Jim has been hired to escort her to her fiancee. Jim is torn between his attraction to this woman and his honor as a gentleman. I enjoyed the inner turmoil both Ginesse and Jim battled with as it added another layer to this book. My only complaint is that I really would have liked it to be a little longer. The end was a little too tidily wrapped and an it felt a little abrupt to me (not the epilogue but the story itself). But that aside, I really did enjoy this book and I can't wait to see what other books Montlake releases.
Was disappointed. I didn't think it was as good as her previous books.
Annie Lou Riddle left Mississippi and headed to New York with high hopes of breaking into the fashion industry, but even with degrees in fashion design and journalism she wasn¿t having any luck. She was packing her bags to head back to the Deep South when she gets a call about a position as assistant to Finola White, owner of Hot! Magazine. Barely able to contain her excitement she accepts the position and agrees to start the next day. While she celebrates with happy dancing she doesn¿t have a clue that her new boss is overly demanding, a diva of mammoth proportions and, oh¿a demon. Three years later, Detective Nick Rossi believes something very strange and most likely nefarious is going on at Hot! Magazine. Twenty-one people have been reported missing over the last few years and the one thing they all have in common is they all worked at Hot! Magazine. While on his way to talk to Finola White about these disappearances of her employees he runs into, literally, Annie outside of the elevator. Instant attraction! Hormones in overdrive! Drooling commences! Ok, there wasn¿t any drooling, but it was a close thing. Annie is rushing to do Finola¿s bidding, so she reluctantly continues on her way while Nick waits to meet with Finola and her right-hand man, Tristan. He reacts to their presence with prickles up and down his neck and spine. Is he sensitive to the paranormal? Or are his cop senses extra acute? We¿ll find out as he pursues the investigation. Nick and Annie have a hard time keeping their hands and lips off each other during Nick¿s investigation, but Annie has a boyfriend and she doesn¿t believe in cheating. When Annie¿s boyfriend doesn¿t have the same rule and Annie finds him doing a fellow actress she¿s free to jump Nick¿s bones. Hot!ness commences! Nick discovers what¿s going on at Hot! Magazine, but that¿s not the end of things. I look forward to the next book.
Annie Lou Riddle had big dreams and when she landed the job at HOT magazine she thought they all came true and if her dreams included selling her soul and working for demons she'd be right. Now after three long years in servitude to her demon boss Finola White she thinks she can manage the remaining seven year sentence and she just might have if she'd never met Detective Nick Rossi. Nick Rossi is back on the force and now investigating too many strange disappearances from the offices of HOT magazine and when he meets the boss Finola White that uncomfortable pricking on the back of his neck starts again, but meeting Annie seems to make it all worth his while, but she's skittish and she's taken. Annie and Nick are instantly attracted to each other but there are obstacles in their way and some of them are demonic. It's rare that a title so perfectly describes what's between the pages of a novel but this one hits the jackpot because Devilishly Hot this one is in every way and this talented storyteller brings us one devilishly hot romance. Her plot is straight from the brothers Grimm with morals and consequences to boot. Her dialogue is perfect for the contemporary reader with its fast paced, exciting and descriptive narrative. And her characters, oh her characters are real characters some angelic, some straight from Hades and some in between. Her villains are deliciously devilish and will have you cringing and laughing out loud at the same time. Her hero is the all American male, strong, protective and with a heart of gold and her heroine is the small town girl makes big gone bad that never fails to pull the heartstrings of the readers and most importantly of the hero. The romance is soulful, it's heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time and readers will find themselves constantly on the edge of their seats waiting for the next thing to happen to this couple. The love scenes are also HOT, spicy and descriptive and should come with a doctors warning from the elevated heart rate and pulse that it will cause. So if you're looking for something to warm you in the first cold days of autumn, or looking for a devilishly funny read with enough substance to make it go that distance to be so much more than "chick lit" or just another romance novel, if you like your romance with a paranormal/fantasy twist, if you like your romance on the sizzle burner, look no farther than this tale. And if this is your first by Kathy Love it won't be your last.
My review is for 3.5 Stars. Annie is a southern girl transplanted into the dog-eat-dog world of New York City. She came to New York to make it in the fashion industry. Now is her chance. Too bad she didn't know going to work for Fiona White was a win/lose proposition. Win the best job at the hottest magazine in the world. Lose your soul! Nick has a problem. He is trying to prove to his superiors that he is not crazy. Yes, he lost control and said that a murder suspect looked like a monster awhile back, but he was just a bit overworked, or so he thinks. Little did he know that he was not crazy and now he is surrounded by real monsters, demons. He just walked into the biggest nest in New York, Hot! Magazine. Annie and Nick are attracted at first collision. The problem is they can't seal the deal. Annie's boss, Finola wants Nick too, and she always gets what she wants, ALWAYS! This is a light romantic read. The bedroom scenes are spicy but not scorching. The villains are despicable yet not scary. The romance between Annie and Nick is fun. Their journey to each other is riddled with demonic bosses, uninterested boyfriends and well the possibility of going to hell. It is a rather easy read. It did have some problems for me though. You would think by the look of the cover that this is a light comedic read. I guess in a way it is, but then it isn't. This book is an enigma. The cover is very cutesy. The plot had the potential to be a cute fun story, but really wasn't. I think it tried to be a bit of a dark comedy with over the top characters, but it was quirky. It just didn't feel right to me, maybe because I did start the book with a preconceived notion from the cover. I don't think poor Annie looked that chipper, even once in the story. Not to mention Nick was a bit too rough and blue collar to wear a suit. He was a man's man. YUM! My biggest concern and problem is this is a light romance and Annie and Nick had unprotected sex, every time. I was a bit shocked and disappointed, especially in today's age. I've read erotic romances with safer sex. Okay, I'm stepping off my soapbox now. Devilishly Hot is a nice change from the standard paranormal romances out there. It is a novel filled with hellish plots, twisty turns, and a dog. This is an original story and pleasantly entertaining. There were a few nice surprises and the characters were rather unique. If you enjoy Ms. Love's other novels you will likely enjoy Devilishly Hot too.
Annie Lou Riddle left the dirt of the rural south for a chance to make in the fashion industry in the dirty streets of Manhattan. However, to break into the highly competitive field, Annie sells her soul to the devil. She obtains a job as an assistant to the head of Hot! Magazine Finola White, the deviously damning diva. Annie Lou wants out, but to demon kind a contract is a contract. Detective Nick Rossi investigates the magazine, a hot bed of missing employees; twenty-one have vanished with most being Annie Lou's predecessors as a magazine assistant position proves hazardous to one's health. Finola is attracted to Nick so she orders Annie Lou to help her. Nick is attracted to Annie Lou but makes no headway with her as she keeps passing him on to her boss. Annie Lou wants Nick, but wants her soul more than him. Although the story line is thin, the second Hot! Magazine romantic urban fantasy (see Hot! in So I Married a Demon Slayer anthology) is an amusing triangular from hell frolic. Filled with humor, readers will enjoy this entertaining tale as hearts and souls are on the line in the world of high fashion. Harriet Klausner