by Shiloh Walker, paranormal (2009, reissue)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-616-7
The Redeeming is said to be a reissue on the publisher website, although a quick search on Google suggests that this one may also be an expanded version of the original edition. I can't find even a hint on Google as to which publisher previously released this short story, so I can only guess that it was a publisher who had since gone out of business. Anyway, if you are not sure, you have best contact the publisher or the author for more information.
Lilan, our succubus heroine, is a daughter of Lilith, the first demon if we are to go by Biblical references. However, she's not your everyday evil creature who kills men after sex and kidnap babies for her mother. She hates being evil and, as an act of rebellion against her family members, draws the mark of angelic protection on the infants she is supposed to kidnap. Her actions draw the attention of guardian angels who are, thanks to Lilan's actions, drawn to the side of the infants she has marked over the years to protect them from evil.
One day, three angels release her from her family's torments and offer her a chance to be truly free from her mother and her sisters. For two months, Lilan is free to do whatever she wants. Whether she chooses to revel in her demonic side or be what she wants to be, a creature of goodness, is up to her. The path she travels in those two months, however, will be a permanent one by the end of the duration so she will have to think hard about what her heart truly desires.
And then we have Adamm Cochran. He died after living a really messed up life, but the angels decide that he wasn't that bad a fellow so they offer him a second chance to make things right for himself. He awakens in the body of Jonah MacLean who had spent three years in a coma. Without telling them who he really is, Adamm now has to make penance by stopping his nephew from repeating his mistakes. His sister Lydia's son is running wild, you see, dabbling in dark magic just like Adamm did in his youth. Fortunately for Adamm, he has an unexpected ally in nurse Lily Conrad, who is Lilan in her new human form.
A short story that requires three paragraphs of summary can only mean one thing: the length is too short to do the story justice. Indeed, after all the intriguing work the author has done in setting up the story and getting the two characters to meet, I find it most disappointing that the story leads to an anticlimatic confrontation scene that feels much "smaller" than it should be. The author spends some effort in fleshing out the characters as well as the setting, so I can only sigh when the bad guy and the good guys meet and... oops, that is all, the good guys have won, the end.
I like The Redeeming, I do, but the pay-off is most measly compared to the all the built-up anticipation I have while reading the story. If only this one has been longer, really.
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