Demons in Heaven…What the Hell? by Jane Kindred
If you were expecting a traditional religious view of Heaven, Hell, angels, and demons in my series Demons of Elysium—well, you probably didn’t read the blurb for Prince of Tricks. 😉
Heaven, in my books, is just an alternate realm. It’s not where God is, and it’s not where you go when you die. For the most part, in fact, it’s Imperial Russia. I suppose I could have just written an alternate history m/m historical romance actually set in Imperial Russia, but then I wouldn’t have a volatile firespirit demon submissive for my Russian-prison-tattooed Prince of Tricks to spank.
In my world, the Fallen (demons) aren’t actually angels who’ve fallen from Heaven, they’re the peasants of the celestial realm. The nobility are pureblooded angels—anyone whose bloodline traces back to a single angelic order—who call themselves Host, while those of mixed blood are considered Fallen, belonging to the demon class.
Elysium, the capital city of this version of Heaven, bears an uncanny resemblance to St. Petersburg of the early 1900s, ruled by a strikingly familiar supernal family, and within its boundaries is a demon ghetto known as Raqia. And as everyone in Heaven knows, Raqia is where the real action is.
My hero, Belphagor, is known as Raqia’s Prince of Tricks because of his skill at influence—both at the gaming table and elsewhere—and because he has a reputation for being a bit of a rake. Okay, a lot of a rake. In almost a century, no demon has ever been able to tame him and lay claim to his heart. But when a beautiful, angry firespirit punk named Vasily tries to pick his pocket, he doesn’t stand a chance.
Both of my demons are ridiculously stubborn. Luckily, this leads to lots of spankings, bondage, and hot, angry sex. And hot make-up sex. And hot make-up spankings. A lot of hotness all round. So much hotness, in fact, that it spills over into the world of Man.
The other reason demons are called Fallen is that they do, in fact, occasionally fall. My stubborn demons land in Moscow, where (surprise) more hot demon action ensues with some of Belphagor’s terrestrial demon friends, the Grigori. What kind of hot demon action? Well, an innocent card game turns into naked gaming, which leads to competitive screwing, and watching the most innocent of movies on television, It’s a Wonderful Life, somehow results in yet more naked Olympics on Russian Orthodox Christmas. This is what happens when Belphagor’s around.
But it’s not all fun and games. Belphagor has to return to Heaven to clear Vasily’s name after some snot-nosed angels try to frame him for treason. Yet, somehow, even in the midst of political and supernal court intrigue, Belphagor manages to involve more naked card games, angel spanking, and delicious dominance in his solution.
Prince of Tricks
by Jane Kindred
Demons of Elysium #1
Genre: M/M paranormal erotic romance
Date of Publication: January 7, 2014
Number of pages: 283
Word Count: 93,000
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
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When desire rises, angels will fall. One, by one, by one…
Over the past century, Belphagor has made a name for himself in Heaven’s Demon District as a cardsharp, thief, and charming rogue.
Though the airspirit is content with his own company, he enjoys applying the sweet sting of discipline to a willing backside. Angel, demon, even the occasional human. He’s not particular. Until a hotheaded young firespirit steals his purse—and his heart. Now he’s not sure who owns whom.
A former rent boy and cutpurse from the streets of Raqia, Vasily has never felt safer than in the arms—and at the feet—of the Prince of Tricks. He’s just not sure if Belphagor returns those feelings. There’s only one way to find out, but using a handsome, angelic duke to stir Belphagor’s jealousy backfires on them both.
When the duke frames Vasily for an attempted assassination as part of a revolutionary conspiracy, Belphagor will do whatever it takes to clear his boy’s name and expose the real traitor. Because for the first time in his life, the Prince of Tricks has something to lose.
Belphagor pushed him onto his back and straddled him, his own unfulfilled erection poised between them like an exclamation point. “I told you, you’re my boy. Mine.” There was an implication in the words that Vasily couldn’t miss. The firespirit had been earning his bed and his supper on the streets of Raqia since the word “boy” had been applied to him more literally, likely from an even earlier age than had Belphagor himself. When Vasily had come to him after the night Belphagor caught him trying to cut his purse, he’d attempted to continue with his street business as usual until Belphagor forbade him selling himself to angels or to rough trade demons. He wouldn’t stop Vasily bartering his favors if that was what he chose to do, but he would see to it he was treated as the valuable commodity he was if he insisted on continuing in the trade.
This hadn’t sat well with a firespirit just coming into his prime. Angels in particular desired him, finding his rough looks and the wild coloring of his tangled hair the epitome of what they pictured as demonic. Mostly students out on their own for the first time with purses of crystal facets to burn, they wanted the quintessential Raqia experience. They crossed Elysium’s River Acheron to slum in Heaven’s Demon District, and in their eyes, Vasily was as low-rent as they could get. Which was all the more reason they were to keep their filthy angelic paws off Belphagor’s boy.
A red glimmer of flame threatened in the black depths of Vasily’s pupils, giving the hazel irises an amber cast. This evidence of his defiant anger, despite the fact that Belphagor had finally given him what he wanted—or broken down and caved to his charms, more like—was a Pavlovian bell to Belphagor’s hunger for him. It had nearly driven him mad to keep Vasily at arm’s length this long, telling himself he didn’t deserve him, that Vasily couldn’t possibly want him—the Vasily in his head still the same skinny cutpurse youth he’d first encountered, though his “boy” had long been nothing of the sort. Even now, his heart fluttered like a panicked bird caged in his chest, waiting for something terrible to happen, for Vasily to realize Belphagor wasn’t as young as he appeared and to ridicule the helpless state to which he’d reduced him—hopelessly enamored of another demon after the equivalent of a human lifetime of solitude.
For Belphagor, solitude had been his strength. He hadn’t needed anyone since the earliest betrayals of youthful love. But Vasily had brought him to his knees. Never mind that it was Vasily on his knees that had done it to him.
“What’s got your fire up, malchik?” He kissed the spot he’d cleaned with his tongue beneath Vasily’s Adam’s apple. “I thought you wanted to be mine.”
“I hate it when you treat me like a child.”
Belphagor raised an eyebrow. “I’m fairly certain I treated you as rather the opposite last night. Was it not satisfactory?”
The natural pink of Vasily’s cheeks reddened more obviously. “Of course it was. I mean, it was more than satisfactory. Way more. Dammit, Beli.” He crooked his arm over his eyes as if looking up into Belphagor’s embarrassed him during such talk. He was utterly charming. As was the little endearment that had just slipped out, though Belphagor might have decked another demon for it.
He kissed Vasily’s sullen mouth. “It was far more than satisfactory for me.” The soft words were almost a whisper. “You’ve absolutely spoiled me for anyone else.”
“Good.” The word was delivered with a sudden sharpness. So that was what was bothering him. It sparked a bit of defiance of his own. He wasn’t used to having anyone put restraints on him. That was Belphagor’s specialty.
“Don’t seek to possess me, malchik. I’m an airspirit.”
Vasily moved his arm away from his eyes, and they were glowing with furious heat. “So that’s how it is. You own me, you tell me what I can and can’t do, but you can do as you like.” The roiling anger in the firespirit eyes heated Belphagor like combustion from the inside out. The thought of putting Vasily over his knee once more made him almost painfully hard. Without equivocation, he was a slave to this brutally beautiful young demon.
“Yes, Vasya. That’s how it is.”
The violent rebuff wasn’t unexpected, but Belphagor, nonetheless, had failed to brace for it, too absorbed in the feel of the body beneath him and the thoughts of what he wished to do with it. He found himself forcefully ejected from the cot and sprawled on the cold wooden floor, with Vasily standing over him, magnificent in his literally naked anger.
“Then maybe you should just skip the foreplay and go fuck yourself!” Vasily delivered the Germanic hardness of the lovely verb “fuck” as if he were demonstrating it. As Vasily jerked his jeans onto his legs like he was punishing the fabric, Belphagor watched with unabashed admiration of the musculature being regretfully hidden away. Hooray at least for his lazy laundering habits that had resulted in this morning’s “commando” mode.
He picked himself up, along with the black T-shirt on the floor beside him, which he handed to Vasily as if he couldn’t care less whether the demon walked out on him. Vasily snatched it from his grip and yanked it on over the tangled red locks he’d been cultivating. The shirt had once been Belphagor’s. It had stretched to its limits and was now much too small on the firespirit frame. Belphagor wished there were cameras in Heaven. He could just about die from gazing at the image Vasily struck.
Vasily was waiting for him to apologize or take back what he’d said, to placate him into staying. He had no intention of doing so. Vasily was his. It was an indisputable fact. He’d be back.
The younger demon turned and yanked open the rickety door in danger of coming right off the hinges at his grip, cast one last furious, fiery glare in Belphagor’s direction, and left him with a fierce slam. The bottom hinge bent.
Belphagor glanced down at his relentless and unameliorated state of arousal with a sigh of resignation. His masochistic streak might be at an all-time high.
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