Cursed by God, hunted by demons, desired by Cain and Abel... All in a day's work.
For Evangeline Hollis, a long ago fling with a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks just became a disaster of biblical proportions. One night with a leather-clad man of mystery has led to a divine punishment: the Mark of Cain.
Thrust into a world where sinners are drafted into service to kill demons, Eve’s learning curve is short. A longtime agnostic, she begrudgingly maneuvers through a celestial bureaucracy where she is a valuable but ill-treated pawn. She’s also become the latest point of contention in the oldest case of sibling rivalry in history...
But she’ll worry about all that later. Right now she’s more concerned with learning to kill while staying alive. And saving the soul she’d never believed she had.
About the Author
SYLVIA DAY is the #1 New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of more than a dozen award-winning novels translated into over three dozen languages. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Author and her work has been honored as Amazon's Best of the Year in Romance. She has won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award and been nominated for Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award twice.
Read an Excerpt
"Sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you, but you shall master it."
The Lord to Cain, Genesis 4:7
The Devil is in the details.
Evangeline Hollis understood the true gist of that saying now, surrounded as she was by thousands of Satan’s minions. Some wore Seattle Seahawks baseball caps, others wore San Diego Chargers jerseys. All bore detailed designs similar to tribal tattoos on their skin that betrayed both what species of cursed being they were and what their rank in Hell’s hierarchy was. To her enhanced eyes, it looked like a damn festival for sinners. They were drinking beer, devouring nachos, and waving giant foam fingers.
In reality, the event was a football game in Qualcomm Stadium. The day was classic Southern California perfectionsunny and warm, the eighty-degree temperature balanced by a delightfully cool breeze. Mortals mingled with Infernal beings in blissful ignorance, simply enjoying a bit of afternoon spectator sport. To Eve, the scene was macabre; like watching hungry wolves sunning themselves alongside lambs. Gore, violence, and death were the inevitable result of any interaction between the two.
"Stop thinking about them."
Alec Cain’s deep, sensual voice made her shiver inside, but outwardly she shot him a rueful glance over the top of her sunglasses. He was always telling her to ignore their prey when they weren’t on the hunt. As if rogue fae, demons, mages, werewolves, dragons, and thousands of variants of the same were easily disregarded.
"There’s a woman breastfeeding her child next to an incubus," she muttered.
"Angel." His nickname for her moved over her skin like a tangible caress. Alec’s voice could turn driving directions into foreplay. "We’re taking the day off, remember?"
She blew out her breath and looked away. At a few inches over six feet, Alec was blessed with a powerful chest and tautly ridged abdomen that were noticeable even through his fitted white tank. He had long, muscular legs presently showcased in knee-length Dickies shorts and biceps so beautifully defined they were coveted by both men and women.
He was her lover... occasionally. Like all sweets, Alec was delicious and satisfying, but too much of him caused a sugar crash that left her dazed and reeling. He’d also ruined life as she had known it. Her career aspiration had been interior design, not Infernal bounty hunting.
"If only it was that simple," Eve groused. "How can I go on vacation when I’m surrounded by work? Besides, they stink even when I’m ignoring them."
"All I smell is you," he purred, leaning over to nuzzle his nose against her cheek. "Yum."
"It creeps me out that they’re everywhere. I went to McDonald’s yesterday and the person serving me at the window was a faery. I couldn’t even eat my Big Mac."
"Betcha ate the fries." Pulling down his shades, Alec looked at her with somber eyes. "There’s a difference between staying on your toes and paranoia."
"I’m cautious, not a basket case. Until I find a way out of this mark business, I’m making the best of it."
"I’m proud of you."
Eve sighed. Having Alec for a mentor was such a bad idea, and not just because it was the equivalent of a Hollywood casting couch in most Marks’ eyes. Never mind that the true "casting couch" was the exchange of sexual favors in return for a position you wanted. No one ever wanted the Mark of Cain.
The Marks’ hierarchy started at the bottom with the newbies and topped off with Alec, the original and most badass Mark of them all. There was no way to surpass him. There was also no way to work with him. He was the quintessential loner, the very definition of the word. Yet here was Eve, a six-week newbie in the field, perched solidly at the top because he didn’t trust anyone else to watch her back. She was important to him.
The other Marks thought working with God’s primary enforcer had to be a vacation. While it was true that Infernals didn’t mess with Alec unless they had a death wish, it didn’t make things any easier. Demons now targeted her as a way to get to him. To make things worse, Alec had been marked so long that he’d forgotten what it was like to be new and confused. There were things he expected her to simply "know," and he became frustrated when he realized she didn’t.
He squeezed her hand. "What happened to the girl who just wanted to forget about everything for a couple of hours?"
"That was before she was kidnapped and nearly blown to smithereens." Eve stood. "I’ll be back. I need to use the little girls’ room."
As she stood, Alec caught her wrist. Her brows rose in silent inquiry.
"Angel." He kissed the back of her hand. "When I tell you to stop thinking about them, it’s not because I want you to live in a fantasy world. I just want you to see the good stuff around you. You saw a mother nursing her baby, but you didn’t see the miracle of it. You were too busy looking at the demon next to her. Don’t give them the power to ruin your day."
Frowning, Eve absorbed his words, then nodded her acceptance. Alec had lived with the mark since the dawn of time and could still see miracles; she could try.
"I’ll be right back," she said.
He released her. After inching her way past the other spectators in their aisle, Eve sprinted up the wide cement steps. She still marveled over the speed, strength, and agility that came with the mark burned into her upper arm. She’d always been athletic, but now she was Supergirl. Well... she couldn’t fly. But she could jump really damn high. She could also see in the dark and bust through dead-bolted doors, talents she’d never anticipated needing or appreciating.
Eve reached the concourse and followed the signs to the nearest restroom. The line protruded just outside the entrance. Luckily, she wasn’t desperate. More than anything, she’d just needed to get out of her seat.
So she waited patiently, rocking in her flip-flops with her hands in her pockets. An occasional breeze passed by, ruffling through her ponytail. It carried the mingled scent of evil and rotting souls, a pungent stench that made her stomach roil. It fell somewhere between decomposition and fresh shit, and it amazed her that the Unmarked couldn’t smell it.
How had she lived twenty-eight years of her life in complete ignorance? How had Alec lived centuries in complete awareness?
"Mom!" The young boy in front of her was holding his crotch, crossing his legs, and wiggling madly. "I have to go!"
Although the woman looked as if she could be the child’s sister, Eve wasn’t unduly surprised. Many women in Southern California didn’t age. They just became plasticized caricatures of their youthful selves. This one was bleached blonde with a perfect tan, breasts a size too large for her slender frame, and plumped, glossy lips.
The mother looked around.
"Let me go in the boys’ bathroom," he begged.
"I can’t go in there with you."
"I’ll be done in a minute!"
Eve guessed the boy was around six years old. Old enough to pee by himself, but she understood the mother’s concern. A child had been killed in a public restroom in nearby Oceanside while his aunt waited outside. The demon who orchestrated that horror had used the oldest trick in the bookpretending to be God.
The harried mother hesitated for a long moment, then gave a jerky nod. "Hurry. You can wash your hands here in the girls’ bathroom."
The boy ran past the drinking fountains and ducked into the men’s room. Eve offered a commiserating smile to his mom. The line moved incrementally forward. Two teenagers joined in behind her. They were dressed in the predominant fashion of layered tank tops paired with low-rise jeans. Expensive perfume saturated the air around them, which created a welcome relief from the odor of decay. In the stadium, the crowd roared. One of the Chargers’ outside linebackers was a werewolf. From the high-frequency praise of the Infernals in the crowd, he’d done something worth cheering about.
"Why is the line so long?" the girl behind her asked.
Eve shrugged, but the woman in front of her replied, "The bathrooms down there" she pointed to the left with a French manicured nail "are closed for repairs."
As if on cue, the mark seared into Eve’s deltoid began to tingle, then burn. She sighed and abandoned her place. "You can take my spot. I don’t have to go that bad."
"Thanks," the teenager replied.
Eve headed to the left, muttering to herself, "Some vacation."
"You were bored anyway, babe," purred a familiar voice.
Glancing to the side, Eve watched as Reed Abel fell into step with her, his mouth curved in a devilish smile that belied the wings and halo he occasionally sported for shock value. He was a mal’akh, but there wasn’t much angelic about Alec’s brother.
"That doesn’t mean I wanted to be put to work." Reed was the handler in charge of her assignments, which was just a nasty trick in her opinion. Why God allowed and encouraged dissension between the two brothers was beyond her comprehension.
"We could blow this taco stand," he suggested. "Go have some hot, sweaty fun."
She wasn’t touching that invitation with a ten-foot pole. Like his brother, Reed scorched a girl in both good and bad ways. "Are you kidding about the assignment? Do you need me for something more substantial or what?"
"You thought it was substantial enough before." He winked mischievously.
Eve smacked him. "Don’t be crude. I refuse to be the latest toy you and your brother fight over. Go find something else to play with."
"I’m not playing with you."
There was something sincere in his tone. She ignored it by necessity, although less circumspect parts of her perked up.
"The bathroom?" she asked instead, when the yellow Out of Service sign came into view.
"Yeah." He caught her arm and tugged her closer. "Raguel suggested it was time for an extension of your classroom training. I’ll go get Cain."
Raguel was the archangel whose jurisdiction she fell under. He was the bail bondsman, Reed was the dispatcher, and she was the bounty hunter. It was a well-oiled system for most, but her road had been bumpy from the very beginning.
She sniffed the air. The acrid stench of Infernal wrinkled her nose. "You know... this is like sending a medical student into brain surgery the day she first reads about it."
"You don’t know your own strengths, babe."
She glared. "I know when I’m getting my ass kicked."
"You’re batting a thousand so far. This one’s a wolf and you’re good with them. But be careful anyway."
"Easy for you to say. You’re not the one risking your hide."
His lips pressed to her temple in a quick, hard kiss. "Risking yours is enough, trust me."
Skirting the Out-of-Order sign, Eve entered the men’s restroom, lamenting the fact that she was wearing her favorite flirty sandals. Due to the rigors of her "job," she’d taken to wearing combat boots whenever she left home, but Alec had coaxed her into going casual today. She should have known better.
The harsh ammonia smell of stale urine assaulted her nostrils. Finding her target was easy. He stood in the center of the room, alone. A teenage werewolf who was eerily familiar.
"Remember me?" he asked, smiling.
The boy was tall and thin, his face long and unremarkable. He wore a dirty gray hooded sweatshirt and jeans so low his ass was hanging out. A dark spot moved across his cheek and came to rest on his left cheekbone. His detailswirls around a diamond shape. Like the mark on her arm, it served a similar purpose to military insignia.
Recognition hit her hard, followed by an immediate chill down her spine. "Shouldn’t you be in Northern California with your pack?"
"The Alpha sent me down here to even the score. He thinks Cain needs to learn what it’s like to lose someone he loves."
"There was no way to save the Alpha’s son," she argued. "Cain doesn’t pick and choose his hunts. He follows orders."
"He made a deal. For you. And he broke his promise."
Eve frowned. Alec had never mentioned a deal to her. But that was something she would explore later. There was a more immediate question. "You think you can take me by yourself?"
His smirk turned into a grin. "I brought a friend."
"Great." That was never good.
The large handicapped stall in the back slammed open and something absolutely horrific thundered out. Holy shit.An Infernal that large should have reeked for yards. Instead, the only thing Eve smelled was wolf.
The dragon hadn’t fully shifted. He still wore his pants and shoes, and dark hair still covered his head. But his mouth was a protruding muzzle of razor-sharp teeth, his eyes were those of a lizard, and all of his visible flesh was covered in gorgeous multihued scales.
"You smell tasty," he rumbled.
She’d heard that Marks smelled sickly sweet to Infernals, which made her laugh inwardly. There was no such thing as a sweet Mark. They were all bitter. "You don’t smell like anything."
We failed, she realized with a sinking feeling in her gut. Infernals still had the means to hide themselves in crowds.
"Brilliant, isn’t it?" the wolf asked. "Obviously, you didn’t wipe out our operation completely."
The dragon roared and it was a fearsome, deafening sound that echoed in the confined space of the bathroom. The mortals couldn’t hear it, though, and Eve’s eardrums were invincible despite their celestial sensitivity. Another boon granted by the mark. The dragon shoved the wolf aside and stomped closer.
"Guess that’s my cue to leave," the kid said. "I’ll give the Alpha your regards."
Eve’s gaze remained riveted on her opponent. "Yeah, tell him he screwed with the wrong chick."
The wolf laughed and departed. Eve wanted to do the same.
For all her bravado, she was out of her league. If she had been capable of physical reactions to stress, her heart would be hammering and she’d be short of breath. No doubt about it, she was going to be suffering when this confrontation was over, if she was still alive. A religious person might pray for Alec to get here soon, but that wasn’t an option for Eve. The Almighty did exactly what he wanted and nothing more. The purpose of prayer was to make the supplicant feel like he was doing something. It made Eve feel like she was wasting her breath.
"Where’s Cain?" the dragon growled, approaching her with his hulking, lumbering stride. "I smell his stench on you."
"He’s watching the game, which is what you should be doing." Eve couldn’t risk telling him that Alec was coming. He might just kill her quickly and bail. In his mortal guise, with no odor to betray him, he could slip right past Alec. But if the dragon thought he had time, he might toy with her. Infernals liked to play.
"I need a snack." His voice was so guttural she could hardly understand him. "You’ll do."
"Have you tried the nachos?" she suggested, her hands fisting. Deep inside her, power coiled. Hunger and aggression, too. It was base and animalistic, not at all the elegant sort of violence she might have expected God to employ in the destruction of his enemies. The surge was brutal... and addicting. "The chips are kind of stale and the cheese is from a can, but it’s a lot less dangerous to your health."
He snorted, which shot a burst of fire out of his muzzle. "I’ve heard about you. You’re no threat to me."
"Really?" She tilted her head, frowning in mock confusion. Demons used sarcasm, evasion, and lies to their advantage. Eve did, too. "When’s the last time you got an update on me? Does Hell have a newsletter? A chat room? Otherwise, you’re probably behind the times."
"You’re cocky. And stupid. You think that sting in Upland made you a hero? Hell’s branches are like the Hydra, bitch. Cut off one head, we grow back two."
An icy lump settled in Eve’s gut. "More to sever," she managed, albeit with a slight tremor.
The dragon held up his hands. As thick, sharp claws grew out of the tips of his fingers, he leered and drool ran from his gaping maw. "You’re a baby. Should make you juicy and tender."
"A baby?" she scoffed, fighting the urge to step back. "Do you have any idea what I’ve been through these last six weeks? I have some serious workplace rage."
Eve widened her stance, raised her fists, and took a deep breath. This was going to hurt. "Ready to see for yourself?"
The dragon’s chest expanded on an inhale and he altered, his body assuming its natural reptilian appearance. He loomed above her, his head bent on a long graceful neck to accommodate the ceiling. He was a beautiful creature, with iridescent scales and lithe lines. Problem was, that stunning hide was like cement. Any attempt to kick or hit it would only lead to pain. For her, not him.
Their hide has very little vulnerability, Raguel had taught in Dragon 101. Points of weakness are the webbing between their toes, the joint connecting the forelimbs to the torso, their eyes, and their rectum. The first will not cause mortal wounds, the second and third require proximity that can get you killed, and the fourth... well, as the kids say, you do not want to go there.
Holding out her hand, Eve requested a blade. A sword appeared, hovering in midair, ablaze but for the hilt. Fire. Fire in Hell, fire in Heaven, fire blasting from the dragon’s nostrils forcing her to leap backward to avoid being singed.
Pyromaniacs, the lot of ‘em.
If she had a choice, she’d prefer her revolver. But she couldn’t carry all the time and the Almighty preferred the flame-covered sword. Never let it be said that God didn’t have a flair for the dramatic. He knew his strengths, and a bit of flashy intimidation was one of them.
The dragon laughed or chortled or choked... whatever. He wasn’t impressed. The sound of his amusement gave Eve the willies and she rolled her wrist, using the substantial weight of the blade to limber up. She’d started out being the sorriest swordsman in her class. Now she was passably proficient, getting better every day.
"You missed me," she taunted grimly, wincing when her flip-flops clung to the sticky floor. Stupid footwear choice.
One of the many things she’d learned since getting saddled with this job was that presenting a formidable appearance went a long way toward hiding her deficiencies. Her enemies could smell her fear and they thrived on it. Throwing them for a loop with a little cockiness was sometimes the only way to gain any sort of advantage.
The dragon took a step toward her, his talons gouging into the tile, his weight vibrating the ground beneath them. The barrage of flames had made the room hot, but she didn’t sweat. She couldn’t; her body was a temple now.
Swinging at her with one short forelimb, the beast roared with terrible intent. He countered her evasive leap with a lash of his tail, which boasted a hard weighty scale on the tip that was used like a mace. It sank deep into the spot she’d occupied before she stumbled out of the way with a yelp. He yanked the appendage free in a shower of ceramic dust.
As she ran past him, he pivoted, his swinging tail ripping several sinks out of the wall. Eve darted around his side and managed to dislodge one of his scales with a hurried thrust of her blade.
He’d demolished the bathroom, she gave him a paper cut.
"Stupid cunt!" the beast bellowed, seemingly oblivious to the water spraying madly from the broken pipes. The depth of hatred and malevolence in the reptilian eyes added to the growing layer of hardness on her soul that was slowly changing her. Permanently.
Eve’s fury rose to mask her terror. Infernals such as this guy were for much more advanced Marks. If he hadn’t masked his scent and details, she wouldn’t be fighting him.
She was in deep shit. And damn it, she was sick of being soaked all the time. Every Infernal she came across doused her with water.
"Reed." Her voice was not her own. Lower and deeper, it was the language of Marks. Known as a "herald," the tone was instinctive and indecipherable to Infernals. "Hurry up. I’m in trouble."
The sensation of a hot summer breeze moved over herReed’s reply.
Lifting her free arm for balance, Eve began to feint and parry, her torso canted to the side to present a smaller target. She ducked behind her sword when another burst of flame spewed from his nostrils. The back of her hand was charred by the heat and she screamed. The damage would heal in moments, but that didn’t prevent the initial agony.
Eve fell back, tripping over broken tiles and sobbing as a sharp piece penetrated the sole of her sandal and dug deep into her heel. Viscous warmth and the resulting slipperiness of her sole betrayed her blood loss. The dragon roared with triumph at the smell of her wounds and snapped at her with his razor-sharp teeth.
She wasn’t going to die in a men’s bathroom. No way.
"How the mighty have fallen," Alec drawled.
Eve gasped with relief at the sound of his voice. She ducked the beast’s lashing tail, then rushed to peer around his body.
Alec lounged against the tiled threshold of the bathroom with both arms crossed. He looked relaxed and slightly bored, but there was a terrible darkness in his eyes when he hazarded a glance at her. She was his only weakness, a vulnerability he struggled to hide.
"Cain," the dragon rumbled, his posture wary.
"Damon? You used to be The Man. A courtier in the court of Asmodeus." Alec made a chastising noise with his tongue. "Now the best you can do is terrorize rookie Marks?"
"Hey," Eve protested. "Compared to the bathroom, I’m doing all right."
The fact that her opponent had his back to her and didn’t seem to think that was a danger chafed. What the hell did she have to do to get some respect?
Frustration wiped out her fear and left only angry determination behind. Eve moved to the dragon’s left side and leaped the full height of the room, putting the weight of her body behind the downward slash of her blade. She attacked the slender fold where his tiny forelimb attached to his torso and it severed cleanly, the limb splashing onto the floor with a thud. Crimson blood spurted from the newly made hole and mixed with the water spewing from the distorted pipes.
The dragon howled and spun around, knocking Eve to her back. She skidded several feet in the gore-stained lake that now covered the decimated tile. He retaliated with a burst of flame. The inferno engulfed her, melting hair and skin from the top of her head down to her feet, boiling her in the flood that washed over and around her. The agony was such that she couldn’t voice a sound and when the flames ceased abruptly, she hoped for the relief of death.
But she wasn’t going alone.
Fueled by adrenaline and the animosity of a woman completely fed up with her life, Eve vaulted to her feet. She slammed into the beast’s neck and belly where she clung to the tips of his scales with one-handed desperation. The impact to her raw, burnt flesh was devastating and she cried out, nearly dropping her sword.
Alec was there before her, one arm banded around the dragon’s neck while the other hand gouged at the eyes. The beast flayed and screeched, whipping its neck to and fro in a vain effort to free himself of his attackers.
As Eve plunged the length of her blade through the vulnerable flesh created by the missing forelimb, she felt massive talons tearing into her spine. Her body arched, forcing her weapon the final inch needed to penetrate the dragon’s heart.
The beast howled, then exploded in a burst of white-hot embers.
Eve crashed to the ground, paralyzed by her wounds. She lay blinking, gasping, surrounded by the requiem created by the shower from the pipes.
The vibration of footsteps pounding through water assailed her, then Alec was pulling her gingerly into his lap.
"Angel..." His hands shook as he tentatively touched her ruined skin. "Don’t you dare die on me. You hear me? I just got you back, damn you"
"Alec." She tried to open her eyes, but the effort required more energy than she possessed. Shivers wracked her abused frame and rattled her teeth. The faint chemical tang of tap water filled her nostrils, as did the scent of ashes, demon, and blood. Her blood.
She could finally smell and taste the sweetness of it.
"I’m here." His voice broke. "I-I’m here."
"The Alpha did this."
"The Alpha. He wanted... his son... he tried..."
"Shh. Don’t talk, angel." A hot tear splashed onto her raw skin. Then another. "Save your strength."
"We missed something in Upland," she whispered, sinking into an encroaching blanket of darkness. The pain was fading, the fear receding. "Go back... We missed something..."
Copyright © 2009 by S. J. Day
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The book has a light style to it that plays heavily on the eroticism. Some readers may find the opening chapter(s) offensive. The book also uses strong catholic religious themes and they prevail throughout the series. This opening book into a trilogy is complete in and of itself but, I found that I wanted to read the rest of series as soon as I finished the first book. I held off just to enjoy the anticipation. What I particularly liked about this story is that it took a well known parable and looked at it sideways through a mirror. Cain and Abel are well known and the rivalry is known throughout christianity - usually as a warning. However, this book implies there's a lot more behind the scenes that we don't know. Eve - Evangeline Hollis - is a smart resourceful character that has always thought her life should go one way and instead has gone 220 degrees in another. The character is believable (suspending belief in the whole scenario in which the character is placed.) In other words she seems like a real woman who lives in Southern California. She is also easy to admire. I hope there are more to this series.
Eve is an average gal until she hooks up with Cain and ends up with the Mark of Cain. This turns her into a supernatural bounty hunter working with Cain and Abel hunting down rogue demons. I didn't really enjoy the characters and wasn't hooked in by the plot or style. I'm not sure if I will continue with this series.
This book is a great twist on religious genre,mixed with fantasy thrills,a must read for action, and a new idea of religion. If you like a strong female heroine, then Eve is what you are looking for, not getting a choice on being a heroine against darkness, and basically getting a raw deal from god. She sees the need to act against the evil inhabiting our world,and knows she's has to protect the innocent. Alot of romance, good classic demon,and devil thrill ride.
Get ready for the next bestselling urban fantasy series, Marked, penned by S.J. Day for TOR debuting April 28, 2009 with Book #1, EVE OF DARKNESS. In present day Orange County, California, up and coming interior designer Evangeline Hollis is concentrating on landing her next big account when she gets sidetracked by a scorching encounter with a handsome stranger in a stairwell. After their brief encounter, she finds a triangular mark branded into her upper arm. Long-lost lover, Alec Cain, mysteriously reappears telling her that she's now a bounty hunter for God who must vanquish demons. He will mentor her now that his estranged brother, Reed Abel, Marked her. Eve is royally ticked at both brothers--Alec for abandoning her after taking her virginity ten years before, and Reed for changing her life forever. However, agnostic Eve is forced to work with both brothers to not only send the rogue Infernals back to Hell, but to insure her own survival. Oh, what an absolutely wicked, sexy triangle S. J. Day weaves between Cain, Eve, and Abel with fantastic verbal repartee and action-packed good vs. evil battles! Urban fantasy readers will be panting for the next installments: EVE OF DESTRUCTION (June 2 '09) and EVE OF CHAOS (June 30 '09).
S. J. Day builds an interesting world in Eve of Darkness, one peopled with Heaven's angels and the demons of Hell. It's interesting to see heavenly beings with human failings - but sometimes it's a little difficult to believe that this is how God's army would act. However, the characters are engaging and the story is engrossing - and I'm looking forward to reading the other two books in the series.
Who knew Cain and Abel were so sexy?! However, that's not very helpful for Evangeline Hollis - in fact, its a total drag. If they weren't so darn sexy, she wouldn't have been attracted to them, and all the awful things she's currently dealing with in her life would not be happening. After all, bearing the Mark of Cain and being cursed by God aren't exactly easy! Eve Hollis has always been an agnostic, but the way her life is going lately, she might have to change her views a little. Of course, if she'd never known Alec Cain (and I do mean that in the Biblical sense), Abel Reed would never have noticed her - so she wouldn't have "known" him either! Translated: she would still be living her stable, non-believing, successful, BORING life if it weren't for the two gorgeous brothers' interference. Eve of Darkness is one of the sexiest, most original "urban fantasy" novels I've read. With larger-than-life characters, a lot of sarcastic humor (my favorite), and some pretty incredible sex (the scene in the stairway with Abel was so intense - sometimes I go back and just read that part) Ms. Day has created a world where we come face-to-face with that which is normally unseen. Warning: we all have our personal beliefs (or non-belief, as the case may be) but keep in mind that this is fiction - not a theological treatise. So if you're looking for sound Biblical doctrine - check out the Religion section. If, however, you're looking for a great book based on a totally unique idea - look no further. Things that go bump in the night, creatures from our nightmares - and our dreams - all come to life in a very believable way. I really didn't want to put this book down once I started reading it (in fact, I've read it more than once), and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next two books in this series.
S.J. Day's first entry into the arena of Urban fantasy fails on too many levels to count. To begin with, there's the premise that heaven's legions are organized along the lines of an organized crime syndicate. The heroine, Eve, is recruited into the syndicate by something akin to rape by Able (of biblical fame) beneath a stairwell, in order to allow the syndicate to achieve better control over her erstwhile lover, Cain (yeah, that one). Eve gets "The Mark of Cain" -- which apparently makes her one of heaven's recruits, an unwilling one, because of the sin of having been sexually assaulted. Hmmm. A bit problematic that. Apparently becoming a "Mark" (one so marked) gives one something like superpowers, and also makes the Mark very horny. Within the ranks of the syndicate, power and alliances are, errr, worked out by episodes of sexual intercourse. This plot device serves as a mechanism for inserting more episodes of improbable porn. My impression after the first three or four rounds of 'his throbbing hardness' and 'her wet desire' and things of that nature was that S.J. Day might be a pseudonym for some 40 year old introverted guy living in his parents basement and still wondering what sex might be like. A plot is shoehorned into the mix around the trashy porn, but it's not much of a plot. The action is, by comparison with other urban fantasy novels, downright dull. The dialog is anything but witty, and the heroine is neither clever nor particularly heroic. The most believable characters in the novel are gargoyles with a penchant for standing on ledges and pissing on the primary characters -- which, given the conduct and conversations of the primaries, seems to me like a perfectly reasonable response to the whole situation. Amazon's new reviewer format provides suggestions with a range of answers that don't fit this novel, so I'll provide some choices that seem to me to do the job. "It is" really, really dull. "Good For" recycling or kindling a fire in your wood stove.
I really enjoyed this book. it was a challenge to put down once I started it. I loved all the characters and every thing that was in this book. I defiantly recommend this book for all who love seeing how the bible stories can be mixed with an authors creativity.
Great series - Great book! I could not wait to get started. I can't wait for the next book in the series.
S. J. Day builds an interesting world in Eve of Darkness, one peopled with Heaven's angels and the demons of Hell. It's interesting to see heavenly beings with human failings - but sometimes it's a little difficult to believe that this is how God's army would act. However, the characters are engaging and the story is engrossing - and I'm looking forward to reading the other two books in the series.
This is an excellent book, and I wish I had read is sooner. It's entertaining, original, sexy, and all sorts of other nifty adjectives. I mean, what's not to love about Cain and Abel, still alive and still fighting in the modern day? Especially since they're both so very appealing. Throw in a stubborn, smart-mouthed heroine and you've got a love triangle rife with drama and sexual tension. On a more serious note, though, this book is very well-written. The characters are nicely developed, the plot is catchy and intriguing, the writing style is fluid and clever ... again, all good things. I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of this series.
As a consequence for sleeping with the wrong man, the life Eve's created for herself has been ripped away. Finding out if she's strong enough to survive what her life has become, is the stuff Urban Fantasy dreams are made of.Humans ignorantly co-existing with creatures of good and evil. Uniquely fierce and amusing Baddies not down with G.O.D. Heavenly hierarchy taking shady corporate rat race shape, where even Angels have gray or dark motives. Just enough old testament nuggets to add heft and substance without going into preachy snore territory. Full fleshed out characters and motivations. This book is sexy as hell, but it doesn't detract from the story quality. Day weaves the tension and action like a pro, so it adds depth and texture to the motivations of the players in this drama.
This is my first ever review so bear with me. I like to read horror and supernatural type books and collect vampire books.I enjoyed reading "Eve" and will look for the two following books scheduled to be released.Evangeline "Eve" Hollis is a 28 yo interior designer and a sinner (or Mark) drafted by God to kill his enemies (demons, feral fey, rogue interdimensional beings, warlocks and various other nasties).Marks work for absolution of their sins. Every sinner has a trial, the Lord presides over the case. Christ is the public defender. If convicted, an archangel is the bail bondsman. The Marks do the hunting and collect a bounty. Earn enough bounties and they work off the penance.Eve is marked by Reed Abel who is a handler in charge of assignments. His brother, Alec Cain, (yes the last names are a sign of their relationship), is God's primary enforcer and was also Eve's first true love 10 years earlier.Shortly after being marked and before she is trained, Eve pisses off a water demon and is pissed on by a gargoyle. I suggest you find and read this book to see what happens.Thanks!
I loved this book so much I'm going to ask the library system I work for to buy it as well as the rest of the trilogy. I can't wait for the next 2 books. No need to go into the storyline as the other reviewers have already done so. This is just such a fresh take & so action packed that it's a must read for anyone that enjoys this genre. Hats off to S.J. Day, what a great first book!
So, I have always been one of those people who buys books at random. If I see it and it looks even remotely appealing, I generally end up with a copy. That is what happened with my newest acquisition, ¿Eve of Darkness.¿ It just stared me down from the shelf, its sweet cover-art refusing to allow me to look away. And when I read the back cover and discovered that it was the first book in a new series, and that the next two books would be released by July, I was sold.The premise of the book was pretty compelling. I mean, there are a lot of `supernatural¿ books out there today. It seems like everyone and their dog is jumping on the bandwagon, writing books about demons and werewolves and vampires and faeries. Now don¿t get me wrong, I love the majority of those books. But this series is about Angels and other main players in the bible. How original is that?The books center around a woman named Evangeline (Eve) and a stairwell tryst that results in her being punished with the mark of Cain. Cain also happens to be the last name of Eve¿s first love, who took her virginity and left without a trace a decade earlier. Of course, the story wouldn¿t be complete without Cain¿s brother. And Abel is alive and well in this book. In fact, he was the one trysting with Eve in the stairwell. And the one who did the marking. Nefarious.Being marked initiates a change that gives Eve super-human senses, makes her impervious to the effects of mind-altering substances, and (for some reason) makes her hornier than a person has a right to be. Lucky for her Cain swoops in to facilitate her life-change. Once the change is complete, it is he who advises Eve that the marked are pretty much the assassins of the angels. (That is the short description.) And that she must now spend her life hunting down and killing Infernals (the various and assorted demons and other such damned that roam the earth.)The book actually started off weird for me, because it felt like you were walking into the middle of something. But, the pacing quickly reasons itself out, and the story flows really well. It was a very well written first installment for the series, answering the questions that needed immediate answering as well as leaving enough unfinished to leave you wishing you could start on the next book. Fortunately, the next book comes out in June, so the wait won¿t be too excruciating. (Come on, I know for a fact that I am not the only one who has been waiting impatiently for the next Laurell K. Hamilton book for a freaking year!!)All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by both the quality of the plot and the dimension of the character dev elopement. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a breath of fresh air in a played-out genre. I easily give this book 4 stars.
This book was thoroughly entertaining. I had equal parts of action, sex and intrigue. I have to say one of my favorite parts was death by lime jello! Quite amusing! This book has religious themes with out being overbearingly preachy and shows the darker side of it. Action packed and fast paced, definitely an escape from reality! Will definitely pick up the next installment!
Romantic urban fantasy with a lover's triangle: brothers Cain and Abel (yes, that Cain and Abel) both have feelings for Eve (no, not that Eve), who has been Marked as a sinner and must work off her penance by fighting Infernals. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical when I started, but got sucked in immediately by the writing. And the first part of the story is quite possibly the best cliff-hanger ending I've ever read. (The plotting is non-linear; it might be in media res in terms of the series as a whole, but I'm not sure what the term would be in terms of this novel in itself.)Much of the world-building heavily references the Christian Bible, but some of the Infernals are from different mythologies (Nix, tengu, etc.). The whole angels, demons, heavenly hierarchy thing isn't something I'm really into personally, but the author provides enough explanation of how things work that I can follow along. (How much of it deviates from any official canon, I really couldn't say.)I liked the characters. I liked Eve and Cain and even Abel (although I could totally understand why Cain kept killing him) -- they were all vibrant and, even though they make mistakes, you could tell that they were trying. Even the supporting characters were very dynamic.Also, as an aside, this is one of the few novels-with-food that made me really hungry (Eve's mom kept making onigiri, curry rice, other yummy sounding dishes).I'm still curious about what sin Eve committed that was bad enough to get her Marked (because if making a mistake in choice of bed partners is enough to get a person Marked, there'd be a lot more running around) but I think that's built in to the whole story arc and may get revealed later in the series.
"I absolutely loved this book. It has all the elements of a great book- great action, a mystery, many scary creatures, a love triangle, and a main character that we feel for and come to care about. Do not be intimidated by the religious references or the talk about the ¿sex¿ in the book. Both are well done and not, in any way, offensive whether you are highly religious or not religious at all. I liked the book so much I did not want to wait to read book 2 and 3. I went right out and bought both of them."
I fell in love with this book as soon as I started reading it. I highly recommend it to everyone I know that reads this type of book. I plan to pick up the next books in the series as soon as I can. I absolutely love the characters of Cain and Abel. They want she writes them makes me want to be a mark so I can see both of them
I received this book as an Early Reviewers copy. I read quite a bit of paranormal/supernatural urban fantasy, but I just could not get into this one. The storyline was overly complicated and the theology was confusing. The sex scenes were also, in my opinion, more gratuitous than hot. I was unable to finish it, and won't be looking for more from this series.
If you like Laurell K. Hamilton, I think you will like this book. It has the bad-guy hunting, and the ass-kicking, and sex. BUT! This story has a different twist, it's angels and people working for God against demons. One thing I was waiting for, and never happened, I was waiting for Eve to ask what God thinks about the premarital sex. Especially since the mark makes Eve hypersexual. I'm hoping some of the later books tell us what God thinks about some things that most Christians preach. I also wish that the story didn't start at the "end" of the book, then jumped to the beginning and went straight to the end from there. It just didn't flow nicely with the last chapter being the first. (It basically went 5, 1, 2, 3, 4)Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though reading the original description I thought it would be preachy. Also, I forgot to mention, Eve is agnostic and isn't very well rehearsed in the Bible, so you can read this even if you've never paged through the Bible before, and... some of the Bible stories are "in reality" different than what was written.
Sproingg...thud. That was the sound of me jumping on the "Eve of Darkness" bandwagon. S.J.Day has penned a fascinating tale twined around the ultimate legend regarding good and evil--the story of Cain and Abel. Of course, in Day's version the Bible didn't quite get the whole story...and so far neither do we. But I got enough hot sex, mythological mystery, and rumbling action to keep me glued to the pages.Eve lost her virginity to a rock-star, handsome and sexy stud on a Harley. Then he disappeared. Although it's ten years later, she's never forgotten him. When she catches sight of a man that closely resembles him when leaving a job interview, she's stunned by the almost magical sexual pull. Though she knew better, she couldn't seem to help herself...and now she's been given the mark of Cain. Her new job will be to take out Infernals (demons, werewolves, and a multitude of other assorted evil critters) under the guidance of a kind of heavenly corporation run by angels. As if that's not enough to blow a girl's mind, Eve has become the bone (HAH HAH HAH) of contention between two brothers...rather famous brothers actually--Alec Cain and Reed Abel.I loved this story. I'm guessing the author has probably received a fair share of nasty-grams from the Moral Majority--unless they're too uptight to read paranormal romance! I personally found her twisted take on the age-old story riveting and very, very clever. Poor agnostic Eve, thrown into the middle of an ancient rivalry of Biblical proportions. She's attracted to, feels for, and is torn between the two brothers whose enmity is total and unending. It's very easy to identify with Eve. A normal woman with a normal childhood who gradually grew away from organized religion is now suddenly faced with a reality she can barely grasp. God and Satan exist, and so do Heaven and Hell, not to mention the factions of the heavenly host and satanic minions living here on Earth, trying to keep the eternal battle a secret from humans. "Eve of Darkness" begins with the ending in a way. The rest of the book smoothly unfolds the story so far and the action is mostly non-stop. While there IS an ending, readers should know that reading this first book will only make you drop whatever you're doing to rush out and buy the next to continue with Eve's story. That's what I plan to do first thing tomorrow. S.J. Day's entry onto the paranormal romance/urban fantasy scene gave me a thrill and a hunger for more.
Fans of the steamiest sort of urban fantasy/paranormal romance should enjoy this book. This is much less tame than genre favorites like the Dark Hunter and Anita Blake series'. For those who like hot, explicit sex scenes and plenty of bloody ass-kicking (and I know I do), you owe it to yourself to pick up this book. I have to admit that, for me, the characters outshone the storyline. They could have been doing anything for all I cared. Eve is a fantastic protagonist that manages to be both strong and vulnerable, a combination that most authors can't pull off. And even though one is inherently more likable than the other, both brothers, Cain and Abel, are irresistible. I can't wait to get my hands on the other books in the series.
This is a fun read, that really stands out from the rank and file of urban fantasy novels, although the premise does remind me a little of the television show Reaper. Eve is a Mark, a hunter of the supernatural and damned, who is torn between two brothers, the biblical Cain and Abel. As a recent recruit, she is busy learning the ropes while dealing with Infernal creatures such as the tengu and the Nix. When Infernals start appearing with no scent or sign of their identity, is Eve way over her head?This book, the start of a new series, has a lot going for it, and most of my criticisms have to do with personal preference more than anything else. Eve is a strong character, and I like that, although receiving her Mark gives her superhuman abilities, it's often her intelligence that gets her out of trouble. I tend not to like books that use Bible stories, demons and angels as plot devices---a preference that the agnostic Eve herself might understand. However, the world here is multi-cultural, with the Infernals being creatures out of various world myths, and I like that, and I also like the notion of the archangels as Mafia kingpins----it's just amusing. What I didn't like about the book: the first chapters of the book are very, very steamy, and I found myself wanting to skip over all the sex scenes. I'm not a romance reader, and I dislike both Alpha males and love triangles, particularly when they involve two men fighting over a woman. (Yeah, it may be flattering, but to me it always seems to rob the woman of choice.) So I really liked Eve better than Alec Cain and Reed Abel, who seemed both condescending and somewhat superficial; sure Eve was talented and intelligent, but the brothers were initially drawn to how hot she was. As the book moved on, however, the sexual content was a bit toned down, and I found myself being curious about how the brothers came to be rivals. (There are hints throughout the book, borne up by the brothers' personalities, that the Bible doesn't tell the whole story). So I do plan to read the next book (of which I also have an ARC, whee!), because I think the story has real potential and I'm eager to spend more time with Eve!