Succubus Dreams, by Richelle Mead (Kensington, 2008)

Even though she’s got the boyfriend of her dreams (fan-favorite writer Seth Mortensen), and a day job she loves (managing a Seattle bookstore), Georgina Kincaid’s life is anything but wine and roses. Maybe, just maybe, it’s because she’s really a succubus, tasked with seducing men and damning their souls to Hell, and she can’t consummate her relationship with Seth lest she kill him by accident. Maybe it’s because her demonic superiors are getting on her case about not paying enough attention to the job, and the imp who originally brought her into the “business” has shown up in Seattle with an inept new succubus he wants Georgina to mentor. Or maybe it’s because she’s having weird dreams of a happy, content, normal future that leave her drained when she wakes up. Any of these things would be bad enough; all of them at once is a recipe for disaster.

As Georgina’s relationship with Seth frays around the edges due to stress and lack of time spent together, she digs into the mystery of her strange dreams, even as she attempts to train Tawny, who may just be the worst succubus to ever fail at seducing a man. But Georgina quickly realizes that whatever is going on in the Emerald City is bigger and badder than she anticipated, especially when a host of heavenly agents show up and start doing mysterious things on the periphery of the action. Even enlisting the aid of Dante, a dream interpreter with a dark past and a sordid nature, doesn’t make things any less complicated. Something out there is using Georgina as part of a dangerous, demonic agenda, and if she doesn’t do something drastic, there’ll be Hell to pay.

The third installment in the adventures of Georgina Kincaid, Succubus Dreams follows our heroine as her routine is twisted into knots, as she finds it impossible to separate her personal and professional lives, and as she learns the price for getting too attached to people. Richelle Mead really does a great job of putting the screws to Georgina’s contentment. As always, she draws from a variety of mythological sources to paint a picture of a supernatural-infested Seattle, where angels and demons go about their business with nary a mortal realizing. And Mead injects the series with a sense of unpredictability as she throws a wrench into the loving relationship built up between Georgina and Seth in the first two books, leaving things wide open for the future.

There’s a lot to like about this series, from its mixture of romance and mystery, to the memorable characters and ever-unpredictable plot, and Succubus Dreams has all of those things in ample supply. And as one might expect from a series starring a (reluctant) succubus, there are some pretty steamy points as well, when Georgina’s forced to turn on the “charm,” either for work or for more private reasons. Mead manages to keep it sexy and hot without letting it slide into sleazy, which is always a risk when you’re dealing with soul-sucking Hellspawn.

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