Devil To Pay
by Renee Bernard
Workplace comedy is always fun but when the company in question in H.E.LLc (Hades Enterprises LLc) and your job is being Lucifer, let’s just say, there are some unique challenges beyond Casual Fridays and who keeps taking your lunch out of the break room. Even if Hell really is just a place where evil is tracked and analyzed in endless cubicles-no brimstone and not a human soul in sight-there’s no room for error. This Lucifer (who is the seventh unlucky archangel to get the position behind the black onyx desk) is about to have his entire world rattled when a very sweet and likable mortal woman crosses his path.
After all, angels can’t lie. And when Jayne Hamilton wants to know what he does for a living, all bets are off. Because “dating” isn’t exactly in the cosmic scheme of the Eternity Gambit, but Love… Well, Love is never really off the table.
Now, if Lucifer can just figure out how to win the girl and get himself fired, he’ll be one very very happy angel.
“Filled with sparkling wit and devilish charm, DEVIL TO PAY is a delightful visit to the Shangri-La of Hell!” — Erin Quinn, The Three Fates of Ryan Love, NYT Bestselling Author
“Only Renee Bernard could make dating Satan sexy as sin! Funny, fresh, irreverent and utterly adorable!” – Dakota Cassidy, National Bestselling Author
First book in the new Eternity Gambit series from USA Today bestselling author Renee Bernard. This is a romantic comedy series with an original paranormal twist that defies categorization and turns every notion of Heaven and Hell on its ear.
“Smitten without a prayer,” Lucifer regained his focus on the present moment. “There’s no Sanction for me.”
“Wrong,” Uriel said softly. “How many people have walked into your building’s lobby in the last seventy-five years?”
Lucifer calculated his answer trying to remember. “Two. Besides her, I think it’s two.”
“Invited?” Uriel asked.
“Of course! Mortals can’t even see the structure unless—“ Lucifer stopped himself. “Oh, my God!”
Uriel smiled in triumph. “See? Sanctioned.”
“What did I just miss?” Raphael put the cards in the box.
“She found him without an invitation. She walked in of her own free will and unless it was Sanctioned, Management would have never allowed it.” Uriel smugly folded his hands like a magician revealing his best trick. “I’d say Michael’s going to eat his own hat when he finds out.”
Lucifer was speechless as he absorbed the implications.
Sanctioned. Was it really true that she’d been allowed to come to me? That there’s a chance? It’s all still human free will and the long shot of the millennia, but oh, God…thank you. I’ll have to get Malcolm to send you a gift in the morning for this one!
Luke shoved the chips at Azrael and excused himself with a bow. “I hate to win and run, but I have to see a Demon about a fruit basket.”
He instantly vanished and Raphael’s laughter filled the room. “You gotta love his exit lines!”
What in the world is a retired Navy chaplain’s daughter doing writing scorching hot historical romances and paranormal romantic comedies and even comic books? Renee Bernard is applying a great education from traveling all over the world to story telling and doing her best to keep her father proud. Truthfully, her father is her number one fan, even though he has sworn never to read a single word of her books (a vow he has kept to this day!) Nothing stops him from telling everyone he knows that his daughter is now a USA Today Bestselling author or from handing out bookmarks on the golf course. Love can make even a minister do strange things!
Renee Bernard is a freelance writer and host of “The Romance Bookmark” on Readers Entertainment, as well as a contributor to Romantic Times BookReviews magazine. Renee currently lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. (Note an interesting proximity to great wineries!)
DEVIL TO PAY is available now online wherever books are sold and is coming soon to Audio! The Eternity Gambit series is a fun departure from her well-known Victorian set historical romances and creates a new world for readers unlike any other. DEVIL TO PAY is the first book in this new series and is gathering up 5-Star reviews and momentum as more readers discover that office politics can hit a whole new level of crazy when you work at Hades Enterprises, LLc (or H.E.LLc).
For more information, please visit her website at http://www.reneebernardauthor.com or http://www.eternitygambit.com .
You can also find her at:
FaceBook at Renee Bernard Fan Page
Buy Links for DEVIL TO PAY:
Amazon – http://tinyurl.com/qckqaza
Smashwords – http://tinyurl.com/n9l4jvf
B&N – http://tinyurl.com/lhuchbe
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I grew up as a Navy brat so the answer to that one is always, “All over the place!” My dad was a chaplain and I loved the adventure of moving and making friends all over the globe. It taught me to pack light, keep an open mind and heart and to never underestimate the power of stepping out of your comfort zone and letting go a little. Now, I live in Northern California in the foothills of the Sierra-Nevada mountains with husband, two little girls, cats galore and a new puppy (thanks to Santa). It’s rural and not the most glamorous spot on the planet, but I love it. Did I mention that I’m surrounded my wineries?
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
I wanted a change of pace from my historical romances and I wanted to laugh. I enjoy the drama and flair that can come with Victorian England but sometimes a girl just needs to unlace a bit. I have so many friends who write Paranormal Romances and it looked like fun. Of course, since I knew I was going to break a lot of rules with my own comedic take on PNR, fun was pretty much my prime goal.
As I had a conversation with a friend about the appeal of “bad boys” and as we tried to analyze what that heroic character had to have to work on the page, it hit me that it would be really hilarious to shift the perceptions of good/bad guy and simply put angels and demons on a payroll. I made everyone sexy, tangible and concerned about their next performance evaluations. I boiled down the basics, gave human beings all the power, began building a world that was balanced, fair and quirky where nothing is what it seems and no one is one hundred percent on one side or the other. Think of it like “Office Space” meets “Moses” meets “Sex in the City”.
DEVIL TO PAY is a romantic comedy and I’m proud of the way it gets The Eternity Gambit series off on the right foot. I was tired of gritty, dark stories and wanted to create a series where readers could laugh, fall in love and trust that at the end of the day, the only thing left to fear is fear itself.
How do you create your characters?
I love to build my conflicts into the characters themselves when I can. I think it makes it so much more interesting for the plot if the obstacles are hard-wired in and not just simple misunderstandings or the overdone tricks of the genre (i.e. someone has a secret in their past and must lie, someone is damaged, etc.) The hero usually arrives first once I know what genre I’m working in and when I have him and his issues/state of conflict set, then I cruelly decide who would be the Worst/Most Challenging Woman in Existence for him to land on? Who would press every button and guarantee that he will have to fight to earn his ‘happily-ever-after’? Then I craft her.
The hard part is that once I have them set in my mind; once I cross an invisible line of a strange internal creative agreement that they are who they are—there’s almost no chance of going back. If I said he was stubborn and we’ve crossed the Rubicon, then in the plot, I’d better not try to make him waffle on his beliefs or back down on a subject he’s passionate about… Once my characters ‘exist’, it becomes a negotiation and a cooperative effort more than a dictation to obedient puppets on the page. I find I have to respect them to make it work and so far—it’s worked pretty well.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
To be honest, years ago I’d read a bad book or two and wondered how in the world had that person gotten through the magic sparkling gates of NY publishing? Writing a book had seemed so out of reach until that moment when that author gifted me with the humble notion that maybe ordinary, non-genius souls had a shot. Even so, I dabbled. I already had a job and a career I hated, bills to pay and a life to lead.
And then Sept. 11 happened. There was a lot going on and I’m not saying this was my only take away from that fateful day, but I lost a lot of sleep afterward because I imagined that if my cubicle had by sheer chance been in that building, I’d have gone down as a very unhappy, unfulfilled and frustrated human being. If our existence is that precarious, then what was I waiting for? An engraved invitation? I jumped ship, and pursued my dream of becoming a published author with the fanatical energy of a woman on borrowed time.
Because after all, isn’t that exactly what I am?
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I have a little office in the house where I try to write when the girls/animals/spouse/mother-in-law allows but when the crunch comes, I’m at a coffee shop anonymously working away, headphones on with my playlists, tucked in and happy. I love the white noise, the company without company, and the strange energy that comes from being away from the stresses of home. I’m a creature of habit and have a cup of tea going constantly, snacks and nibbles, and dark chocolate to reward myself when I need it.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Who knows? I’m inspired by conversations with friends, images in research books, small snippets or mentions of facts on the news or in documentaries, by art, by a constant internal narration running in my head that wants to speculate about why that woman looks so sad on the street or what is that man’s life like or where is that person going with a broken gait and a smile? I’m inspired when someone uses words like “never”, “always” or “you cannot” or “no one ever”…
I love a dare and more than one book has come out of a challenge from a peer to break a rule and survive.
What do you like to read?
From all the research for historicals, I’ve come to love reading textbooks, reference books of the period, strange niche academic works, fiction from the Victorian period and any thread I can find from the work. It’s hard to find time for fiction so I drift to biographies and autobiographies…But I also love comic books and graphic novels. That’s an art form I would love to master one day!
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
My advice is to focus less on the method of publishing since you have so many avenues open to you and many of those without any barriers between you and the reader and instead focus on the writing itself. Don’t just write. Write Well. Be the Best Writer You Can Be. Pay attention to craft, to the mechanics, to the underpinnings of grammar, spelling and style. Please. Make your glorious literary skills and your style part of your brand—not just the highlights of your plot points or the shock value of how you decided to publish twenty novels without using spellcheck or a single proofreader. Please. I beg you.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I want to say thank you to all the readers out there who continue to support romance in all its forms and faces. I’m grateful for each and every one of you and appreciate every email and message of encouragement along the way. Let’s face it. I write for you—and for me so that I don’t end up in a rubber room—but mostly for you.
Please look for DEVIL MAY CARE, DEVIL OF A JOB and DEVIL IN THE DETAILS, all coming soon in The Eternity Gambit Series!!
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