By Gena Showalter
Wicked Nights opens as Annabelle Miller wakes from a dream about a horrid demon that leaves her with a kiss, opening her eyes to the darkness that surrounds our world. The kiss marks her, continually attracting demons to her. As the only mortal who can see them with her changed eyes, she is blamed for the deaths that constantly surround her and sent away to a mental institution. Kept is a constantly medicated state, her “hallucinations” continue to plague her and she is helpless to the attacks of both the demons as well as the repeated molestations of her perverse doctor. Annabelle’s life is a living hell until the angel Zacharel is forced by the Almighty to intervene and fight off the demons. Thrown together, and constantly chased by demons from hell, Zacharel and Annabelle must fight to endure, all the while refusing to acknowledge the growing attraction between them. Can the two survive or will the demons rip apart the tenuous bond forming between them?
This is a well-written novel that is closer to a romance novel than erotica. It is plot driven with complex and developed characters. Annabelle is feisty and self-reliant because circumstances have taught her that she is alone in the world. Zacharel is a dark and mysterious General of the Almighty’s angel forces, given the task of liberating Annabelle from her torment. Each decision Zacharel makes is tinged with angst and hatred towards the fate that allowed him to live while he watched his more perfect twin brother Hadrenial die. He sees the fragile humanity in Annabelle and wants to prevent her from experiencing anymore darkness. This desire to protect her becomes an all-consuming need and love for her making him eventually realize that they are meant to be. Annabelle is so independent and distrustful that she cannot understand his self-sacrificing because she feels unworthy of it and believes she can only rely on herself.
This reader found this book to be lacking in the eroticism category. There are almost negligible suggestions of BDSM interest from Zacharel which he really only uses to scare Annabelle into not desiring a physical relationship with him. When the characters are finally able to put aside their self-deprecation and see how the other actually appreciates them, they are able to acknowledge the mutual love between them and eventually consummate that feeling. Until then, almost an entire book later, they build up feelings that are glaringly obvious to the reader, but somehow they are unable to realize themselves until the book is almost over. Overall, this reader found this novel to be an enjoyable, fast-paced action, junk food read.