Here’s the premise of the series: the angels and the demons are ending their age-old battle by bringing the fight of good versus evil down to seven souls. One man will try to influence those souls one way or another. That man is Jim. He’s lived a hard life and done some very questionable things. But deep down his soul is good. When the book begins, he has no idea he has been chosen for this path. He’s just an ex-military guy, working a construction job.
On the night of his 40th birthday, he meets a beautiful stranger at a bar and has a one-night stand in the parking lot. He finds out the next day, she is the girl-friend of the man paying for his big construction project, Vin diPietro. On the job, Jim gets electrocuted and dies. He is sent just outside the gates of heaven and learns his place in the big cosmic battle… then he is sent back to Earth. His first soul to save is Vin’s.
So where is the romance? This is a JR Ward book after all. Well, at first Jim thinks his job is to make Vin appreciate his beautiful girlfriend Devina. But things change quickly as Vin meets and becomes enamoured with Marie-Terese. (If the name sounds familiar, she was a prostitute at Zero Sum back in Lover Avenged.) Yes, Marie-Terese is a hooker, but she is a reluctant one. It turns out, she is living under an assumed name, trying to pay off a mountain of debt she incurred trying to free herself and her young son from her mob-boss ex-husband.
As our story develops, it becomes more complex. Characters we meet early on turn out to be fallen angels, or demons respectively. Even the dog is not a regular dog. And to make matters more complicated, a crazed serial killer is hunting Marie-Terese and killing men who come in contact with her where she works. She is in danger from him and in fear of being found by her ex. Vin is in danger from the demon who he may or may not have made some kind of deal with as a teenager. He keeps getting caught in the cops’ radar for things he didn’t do. And he is dealing with the reappearance of visions he had been rid of for years.
If you’ve noticed I haven’t been detailing much romance, that’s because it takes a backseat to all the pesky plot in the book. I think that’s where my disappointment came from the first time around. I read JR Ward for romance! It’s there… the few love scenes in the book are steamy. But the love story comes second to the other stuff going on.