by Darragha Foster, paranormal (2006)
Liquid Silver Books, $4.75, ISBN 1-59578-260-5
Devil's Food Kate is the third book in Darragha Foster's erotic paranormal series Teaching Old Gods New Tricks. The gods in question are the Norse gods that have retired to New Mexico and other places in America after their religion fell out of favor. The title of this book has me scratching my head a little until I realize that "Kate" is supposed to be a play for the word "cake". Get it? No? Never mind, let's move on.
Kate Tabor is a pastry chef who owns Naughty Bits, an "erotic bakery". That's right, she makes her yummies in the shape of human genitals complete with creamy and sweet gooey fillings. One day, into her shop walks Odin Borsson. He takes a bite from her cannoli - hey, take your mind out of the gutter - and she's hooked. He then purchases 24 of such cannolis (shaped into a woman's you-know-what) and pays $16.00 for them. If you think that's cheap, wait until you see those two in action. Anyway, Odin is the leader of the displaced Viking gods and he is interested in having Kate as his new consort because she is a descendant of a Valkyrie, Alfheitur. Odin in the past banished Alfheitur for daring to fall in love with a mortal so now he's going to marry her descendant Kate as reparation. I'm sure Alfheitur will be touched by this gesture. Kate, unaware of her upcoming wedding to a randy bisexual oversexed ex-god, is busy preparing for a very important event. A part of me wonders whether I have the courage to attend such a social function if I'm invited, heh. Anyway, she also has no idea that her client is Odin and the event she is cooking for is going to be her big day when she takes a bite from the devil food cake she has made and becomes a demigod-like creature that Odin will marry and beget fine warriors from. She also has no idea that the specific recipes she is told to use contain special ingredients that will awaken her divine spark that she inherited from Alfheitur.
Odin will marry her after he's drugged her up and made her cook for the big day. Be still, my ever-romantic heart.
One very good thing about Devil's Food Kate is that the author has finally found a decent balance between sexual tension/scenes of intimacy with plot development. While characterization could be developed further, for its length however the story manages to give me a pretty good idea of who Odin and Kate are. The story is coherent and flows smoothly. The sophomoric humor involving the names of the pastries Kate makes aside, Devil's Food Kate feels like a complete and well-written from start to finish. It doesn't feel like it ended too abruptly to me. Technique-wise, therefore, I think Ms Foster has finally got it right in this book.
I also adore the ending which sees Kate throwing Odin's he-man antics right back at his face. How can I not adore a heroine who tells the hero, "I am a self-made woman, Odin - not a simpleton with a magic vagina and holy womb!" Her confrontation with Odin is too good not only because Kate manages to show Odin that he cannot boss her around, I can't helping thinking that everything about the scene is a very nice jab at all those oh-so-helpless and oh-so-innocent heroines in too many paranormal stories that end up finding love after serving as, er, magic vaginas for the heroes. Odin starts out thinking that Kate is so innocent and therefore so sweet and so marriageable only to have Kate show him how wrong he is. And he, of course, loves being proven wrong this one time.
If this story has been longer, I'd give it a higher grade.
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