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Wicked Nights
by Gena Showalter
(Harlequin, $7.99, PG-13)  ISBN 978-0-37377-698-6
***
He's the heartless leader of the most feared army of angels the heavens have to offer.  She's a psych patient who sees the things that go bump in the night--and kicks their asses.  Fans of Gena Showalter will recognize Zacherel (who was a minor character in her Lords of the Underworld series) in Wicked Nights, the first book in the Angels of the Dark series.

Committed after being convicted for the literally demonic slaughter of her parents, Annabelle Miller has spent the last four years penned up, drugged up, and molested both by staff and demons.  When one demonic attack brings down a horde of angels upon her sanitarium, their leader frees Annabelle from her literal, figurative, and physical prison.  Though she is reluctant to remain with the angel, Zacherel, Annabelle isn't willing to stay put.

Though he resents feeling anything for this human--especially considering she's marked as a demon's consort--Zacherel nonetheless rescues Annabelle and takes her to his cloud (sounds pretty dumb, doesn't it?).  Soon enough, they are set upon by demons who appear to be after Annabelle for her consort's sake; her consort, however, a dark lord called Unforgiveness (again with the lame), is actually after Zacherel for a long-past wrong wrought by the angel and he's using Annabelle as bait.

Wicked Nights opens eerily and with a heroine a reader can really latch onto.  Unfortunately, Zacherel's first appearance is as lackluster as his personality turns out to be, and he improves little from there.  Annabelle, on the other hand, once given her strings-attached independence, turns into a somewhat ditzy chatterbox even as she gains some warrior skills and the ability to deliver true paybacks to the demons that have destroyed her life.  All in all, Wicked Nights alternated between really good and really boring, and I would recommend it most strongly to fans of the Lords of the Underworld series but not necessarily to someone who has not read Gena Showalter previously.

--Sarrah Knight


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