Gentlemen Prefer Succubi, by Jill Myles (Pocket Star, 2010)

When Jackie Brighton wakes up in a Dumpster after a particularly vigorous night of drinking and ill-advised cheap, meaningless sex, she doesn’t realize that it’s the end of life as she knew it. Gone is the plain, boring, dissatisfied-with-her-looks museum docent. Hello, succubus. Now sporting a body that drives men mad, an insatiable sexual appetite, and assorted powers she’s still figuring out, she’s inducted into a strange new world where angels walk in the daytime, vampires stalk at night, and people like her are caught securely in the middle. Remy Summore, succubus and porn star, takes poor Jackie under her wing and shows her the ropes, while bad boy vamp Zane and the irresistible angel Noah flit in and out of the picture with the passage of the sun. In between sex fixes, Jackie gets caught up in the Byzantine schemes of Heaven and Hell, and sent on a quest for an artifact which could tip the balance once and for all. What’s a girl to do?

With her debut, Jill Myles starts a new series which dwells somewhere in the Venn diagram created by paranormal romance, erotic fantasy, and comedy. How else can you explain a story where the main character can describe two people having sex as going at it like “rabid wombats during mating season”? How else do you account for the spicy, enthusiastic, sometimes explicit sex the main character must indulge in every few days? It’s certainly an interesting combination of elements, especially given that the protagonist is more than happy to blow off a life of porn and sleaze for a job as a museum tour guide – a profession roughly on the same level as librarian, schoolteacher, and secretary as far as repressed sexuality goes.

As one might guess, this was not one of my first choices for reading material. My wife stole the book I’d just started, and left me this in its place, like a literary pack rat, and I was desperate. Hey, I don’t mind romances, even the paranormal semi-erotic kind, but the bare-chested Fabio-type on the cover wasn’t a good sign…. To my surprise, what I found was a rather enjoyable, if occasionally silly, read. While it doesn’t quite stack up to Jackie Kessler’s Hell on Earth series, or Richelle Mead’s Georgia Kincaid series, both of which also star succubi doing what they do best, this initial entry in the Succubus Diaries is a lot better than one might expect. The main character has a lot going for her (besides her new bra size) and there’s a genuine spark between her and both of the men who’ve come into her life. Toss in Remy, who acts both as voice of reason and comic relief, and you’ve a good, solid cast to wrap the story around. The sense of humor laced throughout the narrative certainly helps, and there’s every possibility I’ll sneak a peek at the next book. (I’m buying it for my wife, you see….)

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