Hell on Heels
Julie Kenner et al.
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Buy *Hell on Heels* by Julie Kenner, Kathleen O'Reilly and Dee Davis online

Hell on Heels
Julie Kenner, Kathleen O'Reilly and Dee Davis
Berkley Trade
320 pages
June 2007
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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This collection contains three stories about three daughters of Satan who are offered the opportunity to take over from him if they can complete a task. His three sons have already failed these tasks (in the previous book Hell with the Ladies), so now it's the chance for the three women: Lucia, Jezebel and Lola.

LUCIA'S STORY by Julie Kenner
The first story follows Lucia Faucheaux, a successful assassin who must complete just one last job for her father, Satan, in order to win the keys to his kingdom. Unfortunately for Lucia, she's begun to lose her touch, finding that her emotions are affecting her work. However, she decides to carry out this last assassination in the hope that her future life will be better.

Dante Moreau is the only son of the impossibly rich hotel and casino owner Jacques Moreau. Although he has his own security business to run, his father has requested that he meet with him concerning a problem. While Dante awaits his father, he meets a beautiful woman. They start a flirtation which leads, very quickly, to bed and then several romantic days.

What happens when you fall in love at first sight with someone who is meant to assassinate your father? And what happens if you're an assassin but your emotions get in the way? This story looks, very quickly, at that situation and how love might win out and provide a happy ending.

The shortness of the story means there's little character development and description, although we do learn a little about the Monte Carlo setting. Equally, their instant jump into bed isn't exactly a slow-burn romance, but the story is written fairly well and doesn't drag. Perhaps the overly simple plot, plus the depiction of hell and Satan as rather amusing and not actually scary, detract a little from its completeness, but it is a reasonable read and a good start to the collection.

This story is a sort-of cross between Raiders of the Lost Ark and Ocean's Eleven, with Jezebel, known as Jessie, searching for a religious artifact that could destroy the world (her father, Satan, has tasked her to get it for him - then she can have the keys to Hell) along with her ex-boyfriend, David Bishop, and a mysterious friend of her brother's, Faust. She and David broke up over his single-minded quest to discover the man responsible for his brother's death, and Jessie knows that she is secondary to this mission in his mind. The story starts with a well-described setting in Berlin as Jessie first gets on the trail of the relic, "The Protector."

Because the romance with David is a rekindling of a previous relationship the author, doesn't need to spend as much time on the seduction and other scenes - which means there is more time for plot and action to work well in this story. Jessie is fun, tough and brave, and she and David evidently have worked well together as a team. David has to learn to deal with his obsession over his brother's murder, and the two of them face danger when searching for the Protector. Jessie finally has to make a huge sacrifice for David; will she be able to do it, and will it work?

LOLA'S STORY by Kathleen O'Reilly
Lola de Medici is a playgirl, rich and impossibly beautiful, who lives the jet-set life but doesn't experience love. Her "talent" is stealing the souls of men with whom she sleeps, which increases her beauty. As the story opens, though, she's finding that such a life, after four hundred-odd years, is becoming tiring. Her father, Satan, asks her to take one more soul; then she can get the keys to Hell and won't have to steal souls any longer. The man whose soul she must take is Christopher "Crash" St. Clair, a man who finds that trouble and problems follow him around and who always tries to help. Initially Lola isn't too successful in seducing Chris, but when she finally gets his attention, she finds there's more to him than she expected. She doesn't sleep with him; she likes him and doesn't want to steal his soul, so hopes he'll leave her alone. Unfortunately, he kidnaps her, and they spend a night of passion on a desert island - but he retains his soul. Lola discovers that the one island is safe for them, but Satan is working behind her back to get Chris's soul, and Lola may have to give up an awful lot to keep him safe.

This story, like Lucia's story, features beautiful, rich people who are very focused on looks and image. However, Chris has a lot more to him, and the apparently shallow Lola finds that attractive, causing her to re-evaluate what is important to her. This story works well with insights into both characters despite it being quite a short story. Satan's motivation isn't very clear in this story, and I wasn't completely convinced that Lola would be able to settle into her new life and situation at the end. However, it is well-written, and the setting on an island with a hurricane is interesting.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Helen Hancox, 2007

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