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Demons: The Romance Genre’s New Hero

By Larissa Ione

One of the things I love about the romance genre is that almost any male can be a hero.  We love the knights, the firefighters, the SEALs, and the hot Greek accountants.

But for a long time, lovers of the paranormal didn’t have a lot in the way of, well, paranormal heroes.  Every once in a while you could find a vampire book or series, but they were few and far between, and often, the vampires were so…nice.  There wasn’t much – excuse the pun – bite, in the heroes.

And then, suddenly, the paranormal romance genre exploded with vampires and shapeshifters, and eventually…demons.

Pleasure Unbound

Now, not everyone can get into a demon hero.  Let’s face it; demons have gotten a bad rap.  But it’s exactly that bad rap that makes them irresistible to many as romance heroes.  I mean, talk about the ultimate bad boy, right?

So what makes the demon such a fascinating hero – besides the ultimate bad boy thing?  Well, I made a list of what I like about them…maybe something on the list resonates with you!

1. Well, there’s the ultimate bad boy thing…

2. Even if they reveal a soft side, you know they still have no problem decapitating some jerk who looks at their woman wrong.

Desire Unchained

3. Usually gallows humor, but still…

4. Many authors have created alternate realities and worlds in which “demons” aren’t associated with religion at all, but are simply another race of beings in the same world.

5. Demons like to party.

6. Demons don’t like to lose. And who doesn’t love a man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants – especially if what he wants is the heroine?

7. Demons come in all shapes and sizes, which is helpful for finding that perfect one.

Passion Unleashed

8. Lots of…stamina.

9. When your boyfriend is a demon, no one messes with you.

10. One word: Incubi.

Oh, yes, love those demon heroes!  Their moral compasses might be a little screwy (but really, there are a lot of humans like that too,) and they might be a little hot-tempered and quick to fight, and usually there’s a little evil in them…but all that just makes them that much hotter when they find a woman who knocks them on their butt and makes them see the light.  Even then, a demon hero keeps his edge.  He might be a big ball of mush with his female, but everyone else…look out! 

So what about you?  When demons first came onto the romance scene, did you jump on it, thinking, hey, demons might make GREAT heroes!  Or were you wary at first?

Tell me, and you’ll be eligible to win your choice of any of my three demon books – Pleasure Unbound, Desire Unchained, or Passion Unleashed.

 Thanks for visiting!

***Remember all comments counts towards the drawing for the grand-prize:

In addition, there will be one grand prize winner for the week who will win a book from each participating author, a $20 gift certificate from me from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Borders, and two autographed books from Kresley ColeDark Desires After Dusk and Kiss Of A Demon King

All winners announced Sunday, May 24. Good Luck!*** 


93 Responses

  1. To be honest . . . . . I was like “Oh, my God!” *Hording and browsing demon books simultaneously* Something that I can fully engage in & be completely lost in! The word ‘demons’ seemed to ignite a sense of danger, seduction, myth & dark appeal.

    I think I recall . . . . my jaw dropping, being partially stunned & grabbing all the books I could get my hands on.

    ‘GREAT’ heroes didn’t even come close! My mind was on overload with the whole contradiction of a demon being a hero. — Aren’t they supposed to be EVIL??? *raised brows & a stupid grin* The whole contradiction thing swiped in & caught me in a choke-hold, denying me any form of escape. Really. – I was shackled. *Motions to wrist in chains* See? But I’m not complaining . . . . .

  2. Usually when it comes to the word ‘romance’ I hiss and flinch like a vampire exposed to the sun. I read this blog though and wonder if maybe I have been to closed minded about it. I usually think of silly wish washy people laying in their beds and pitying themselves till that ‘perfect’ man comes along. Didn’t stop to think that shapechangers could get involved, and demons too. I think now I will reconsider looking into it, so long as it has the paranormal involved 🙂

  3. Hi Larissa *waving*

    Hmmm . . demons. Well, for me, when they first came on the scene I was a little wary, after all, most of the stuff written about them in Lore is shades of nasty! Preying on women in their sleep, insatiable appetities, and overly large organs (!) . Hmmm – I think I might have read that one!

    Could they be redeemed and still maintain the characteristics that made them unique? They sure could – and it all adds another dimension to the Paranormal world out there . . YaY! 😀

  4. I’ve always been a fan of paranormal romances. When they came out using vampires and werewolves as the heroes, I didn’t even blinked twice. Since such creatures ‘supposedly’ don’t exist in reality, it’s easy to accept them as the heroes in the romance books.

    Demons, on the other hand, exist in some form or another in reality. When I browsed through those type of books, I kept an open mind. I was so used to them being the bad guys until Gena Showalter’s series popped up. Her series made me realized that demons can be heroes just as well as vampires and werewolves.

    So basically to answer your question, I was indifferent to demons being heroes until I discovered a story that made me realized that they could be heroes too. A good story makes all the difference to me.

  5. I thought it seemed to be a natural progression – and one that I have REALLY enjoyed!!! For me I think it is a whole new world to discover.

  6. Hi!

    I was very excited when the pananormal romance genre exploded! I had always been a fan of vamps – I loved Angel. And suddenly there were vamps, werewolves and demons to choose from.

    Demon/paranormal heros just seem to have more of everything that makes a romance hero appealing. They are more tortured, more bad, more hot and more devoted. They are the ultimate fantasy heroes.

  7. Wary? Never. I just went YUM!

    I feel like I say this everyday..actually, I do. hee hee but I LOVE tortured heroes and demons are the ultimate in that regard!

    Love your top 10 list. lol

    Demonica series rocks. 😀

  8. I agree that the early demons were either too good or all bad. I enjoy the new series of demons – they seem more ‘buman’??? :>)

  9. I loved #6. I have always enjoyed reading about demons and hey if the demon’s are heroes…even better.

    But I must admit, I have to have a good plot to read any story. It doesn’t matter how good or how bad the demon is, if the plot is too thin.

    Billie Jo

  10. I like multilayered characters and stories, and nothing challenges the black and white (or good and evil) thinking like paranormal… and especially demons. And like you said, authors have different ideas about demons and their “nature”.

  11. I loved demons from the beginning…what girl doesn’t want a tortured bad boy after her? (after her in a good way *g*)

  12. When they first came on the scene I thought they’d make great heroes because of that edge and because they just turned everything upside down. }:)

  13. I love paranormal romances and have been a lover of the demon hero from the start. I even like gargoyles and other assorted ‘different’ heroes in the paranormal realm.

    To me the important part isn’t what the hero is, but what the hero does, and the story of how he and the heroine get together.

  14. I’m still just big-toe dipping into the genre…haven’t quite jumped completely into the stream of things..yet!

  15. Afraid of demon heroes, wary of the hero or genre? Nope, took to it right away, loving every minute of it. There’s just something about super bad boy demon types. They want to be good so bad and at the same time are so bad that they’re good, in a yummy fun sort of way. I absolutely love it.

  16. I jumped on it. I think the first demon book I read was Jaci’s Surviving Demon Island and I loved it!

  17. For me..once I jumped into the paranormal world ..I was open to anything. I was just wondering if there is a species or a breed that can easily resist the Seminus-Incubus Demon charm? I am reading about Shade and Runa right now and the thought came to mind.

  18. I can’t say that I jumped on the bandwagon, but I was a little wary of the whole paranormal genre for a while–it took me some time to realize the appeals of these otherworldly creatures 😉

  19. Since I found paranormal romance I’ve loved every part of it, vampires, werewolves, demons… They all make great heroes!

  20. I just started reading PNR this year and I jumped right in with both feet. No looking back for me, I LOVE it!! I have always been a paranormal lover so it is only natural right..lol!! Besides how can you not love the ultimate bad boys expecally when they look like your demons!!!

  21. (Please don’t enter me in this drawing, I have all three books)

    Hi, Larissa!

    Well, at first demons were portrayed as evil, ugly, mean, and did I mention evil? Sort of how vampires had been for the longest time, you know? So it was hard to think of them as anything but villains (or minions for the villains)

    Then some people *cough* started writing demons that weren’t evil–even if they were still dangerous, and the absolute bad boys, of course–and my perspective changed 😀

  22. I was intrigued especially when there was so many different background stories besides religious reasons to their existence. Of course I loved them they are the ultimate bad boy.

  23. I’m all for demons! num num

  24. Hi Larissa, I admit I was skeptical at first, but wow, after my first demon book, I loved the ultimate bad boy image! Sexy! Hot! Yeorw (or whatever the spelling is). Now I go hunting after these books.

    Oh, by the way, can I say that I tried to buy your book from Fictionwise (when Pleasure Unbound was offered at $1, because you’re a new author to me and I wanted to try your book) but I wasn’t allowed to buy it because I’m not based in the US or Canada? I was, let’s just say, I wasn’t pleased. Could I please know the point of this geographical restriction? Thanks.

  25. Hi Larissa,

    Ok to be honest I stirred clear…. as in far far away. I wasn’t even the least bit interested then about a year ago I came across Gena Showalter’s audio of THE DARKEST NIGHT! I was so blown away I went crazy. I didn’t realize what I was missing!! What a wonderful world of fantasy and these demons are just plain delicious. Let’s just tell it how it is. Since then I have grown and have swallowed up as many paranormals as I can including your wonderful collection ;-)) Thanks for such great books!

  26. I love variety and read anything paranormal, so demons are ok with me. I am always looking for a good book and I have found so many over the last year and half. (Yours included).

  27. Hi Everyone! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂 I’m busy with a birthday party today but will try to pop in to answer specific questions.

    Sekhmet, do give it a try! I admit that long ago I had a very unflattering view of romance, but once I read one, I was shocked at how very wrong I was. And the paranormal genre has REALLY changed some minds. I actually have a lot of male readers because the dark paranormal element. 🙂

    Jennifer, great question about species being able to resist the Sems! I’m thinking that any species that’s inherently unable to be used as a “breeder” for them (egg-layers, for example) wouldn’t get too excited around them. Also, succubi. In the Demonica world, succubi and incubi are sort of like the two ends of magnets that repel!

    Carol, I’m so sorry about that! I have no idea why Pleasure Unbound was limited like that. In fact, it still is limited in many countries, while the other two are not. I’ve contacted the publisher about it in the past, and I’ll do that again. I hate the my books might not be available to everyone who wants to read! 😦

  28. I was a little wary at first, because when you think of a demon you just assume their evil, but after reading demon heros, I’ve got to say that I love the darker side of our demon hero it;s more dangerous and hot at the same time. I think it all comes back to my love of bad boys 😀

  29. I was wary! How were they to get over their curses!?! How was the story going to end happy?!

    Glad I read them though. Some of the best books ever!

    I ❤ Larissa!!!!

  30. Ok, I admit I was wary at first. Demons -unlike vamps, in my experience- were always portyed with a bad rep. Evil, nasty, vile being out to get ya.

    So Ya, I was hesitant to read anything, but then an excerpt caught me in it’s spell binding web and I was trapped, wanting to read more of this Hunky yet tortured unsouled person. Needless to say I’ve been unable to escape various levels of underworld and the places these men call Hell since this latest trend has started 😉 Can’t wait to see where it will go.

  31. Hey Larissa!

    Great post!! To be honest, I never thought much about it because I have always loved dark paranormal romance / horror sub-genre so when the demons arrived it was “ALRIGHT”… lol

    I LOVE the gallows humor laced with profanity and that good versuss evil battle that demons in romance inherently face. 🙂

    Please don’t enter me in the draw, because I have all your wonderful books. 🙂

    Thank you Larissa and Greta..

  32. Hi,
    When demons appeared I was so excited. I’m a sucker for a story of the troubled guy and a kick butt girl fighting together and eventually getting together. Demons are the ultimate strong guys and the women that they love and love them have to be just as strong. That is what I love. To me demons was just the next step and I’m so glad that authors went there. I love a good demon read, and to me they aren’t all that different from your troubled human man. Prehaps a little more able to be evil, but then anyone can be evil and a good woman can help them keep it straight!

  33. Hi. Great post.
    I was wary at first. And then I read them. Didn’t know what I was missing!

  34. Hi Larissa
    You hit the nail on the head by saying that romance authors have created realities that are not associated with religion . And in those realities it’s easy to love the “bad boy” demon.
    Some of my favorites are KresleyCole’s Immortals after Dark, Gena’s LOTU’s inner demons, Jacquelyn Frank’s NightWalkers and of course, Larissa’s Demonica series.
    Have a great weekend

  35. As soon as books with demon men started coming out I was hooked. To be honest, I’d read so many books with vampires and shapeshifters I was ready for a new kind of hero.

  36. (No need to enter me in this contest since I have all three)

    To be completely honest, when demons were being introduced as heroes, I was all for it because it was different, something unique. And I’m all for “different” and “unique”

  37. I tended to be on the cautious side and eyed demons with suspicion. After all, how do you trust someone whose moral code is so different from your own? But thanks to Buffy, I have been persuaded to join the other side.

  38. When I had my 1st “demon hero” sighting I was a little cautious and confused because I have always associated demons with evil. But, after reading Gena Showalter’s LORDS OF THE UNDERWORLD and Larissa Ione’s DEMONICA series, I couldn’t get enough of the “bad boy” heroes! I love that it opened up my mind to a whole other paranormal world where demons are beautiful and sexy with good hearts.

  39. I believe demons have been around for years in romance. Dracula was the ultimate romantic, for instance! Maybe some wouldn’t classify him as a demon, but he does fit the definition.

  40. Hi Larissa!

    I fell in love with demons from the start– I guess I was always a sucker for the bad boys. For as long as I can remember, I never had any nightmares about creatures of the Lore. Nightmares about Chucky, yes. Demons, vampires, werewolves, no. They’re intriguing, they’re amazing, they’re kick ass and I’m even more in love with them now.

    My favorite demons: all of the immortal warriors from the Lord of the Underworld, Rydstrom from Kiss of the Demon King, and those shmexy demons who have haugnted my dreams: E, Shade and Wraith!

  41. Ok, then what if your demonic boyfriend tries to hide or not acknowledge his feelings for his lady. You know some demons would not know human feelings if it bit them on the rump. And, I thought human emotions were too complicated for demons to understand.

  42. I haven’t been reading romance long enough to remeber when demons first came on to the scene but for me it was not suprising that they could be heros…. I have always had a soft spot for vampires and so i was not suprised or even apriehensive.

  43. Hi Larissa…I already have all your books and I jumped on demons in the romance scene faster than you can say “demon”. I had already embraced, vampires, shapeshifters, gargoyles, witches and ghosts so there was plenty of room for the demons.

  44. Hi Larissa,
    I loved the change from vamp/were’s to demons. Althought demon’s may have a bad rep that is why I love reading about them. Have a great day. 🙂

  45. Hi Larissa,

    When they first came on the scene I was wary because of all the bad things I’ve read about them and the movies protrayed them.

    When I read “Pleasure Unbound” it changed my point of view that demons can be heroes and sexy ones at that.

  46. Well I have to say, I don’t care if the hero is demon, vamp, alien or a flying purple people eater. As long as he is hot and sexy and knows how to treat his woman, I love them!!! But I must say that demons are the ultimate bad boys, so they hold a special place for me 🙂

  47. Ummmm…..I’m not sure when they came on the scene but I didn’t hesitate to read one when I found a story I liked. Thank you Gena!!!

    I have all of these waiting for their turn in my hands.

  48. Shoot ya! The minute demons entered the arena I was all for it. I get to bored of the mundane and I love anything extraordinary, so thank you and all of the other authors who push our boundaries with every book that you write.

  49. I was wary at first and didn’t think I could enjoy a romance with demons as heroes/heroines. Now I can’t imagine not having any paranormals to read.

  50. Though I totally love any kind of paranormal story, my first thought about demons as heroes, was no way, lol. Then I read Jaci Burton’s demon stories and got hooked on the ultimate bad boy. With demons, it tends to be all about redemption, and I love that theme.

  51. I had no qualms about demons as heroes…at least in the hands of talented authors and their inventive world building. I love romantic fiction…it is very easy for me to suspend disbelief and get lost in the pages of my books.

  52. Okay, first things first… I love this series!!

    Ever since I could read, my choice of books had always been paranormal. RL Stine’s Fear Streets, Lynn Beach’s Phantom Valley’s, etc. if it had ghosts, witches, vampires and shapeshifters, I was all for it. Of course back then, demons were evil and bad.

    Now when I started reading paranormal romance, and demons were heros… Yeah I liked it. Demons who are heros are the ultimate bad boy who you can’t help but love.

  53. I have always been a fan of paranormal romance, so when demons came along I jumped on the bandwagon.

  54. Hi Larissa!

    I think you already know my answer to the question, LOL. I’ve been on the demon bandwagon for a few years now. I can still remember the first book I read that had a demon as a good guy. The demon was only a secondary character at the time (later got his own book) but I remember thinking “Damn, that demon is HOT!” That book lead me to a new favorite hero type. It also made me have to explain to my ultra-conservative family why I have 2 tattoos that involve the subject of demons *g*

  55. Oh no, I wasn’t wary AT ALL….demons = hot as hell and I’m all for it!! Besides, who wouldn’t like a little challenge with the darker side? 😉

  56. I have to admit I was kind of late to the whole revolution in paranormal romance, not only demons, but all of them.
    I am now a convert, and would love to have any one of your books for my personal collection!

  57. Paranormal is my favorite genre to read, so yes I was looking forward to reading about demons!

  58. I think I was a little wary at first but the premise of a lot of the books sounded really good so I was at least willing to give it a shot and I am very glad I did. 🙂 There have been some great series out there not least of which is the Demonica series. 🙂

  59. I wasn’t wary at all. I was intrigued and wondered what kind hero a demon would be.

  60. Ever since middle school I’ve been into reading paranormal books. 😀

  61. Ugh, that makes me sound OLD, lol.

  62. My first contact with a demon was Jacqueline Frank’s Nightwalker series and I fell in love with them. At first, I was like “Demons?? Geez. This paranormal crap is getting too over the top” but once I tasted them, I become addicted (rightfully so! LOL).

    Can’t wait to get my next taste as well… *grins*

  63. I love them!

  64. Yes, I agree Demon heroes definitely add an extra hot spice to the flavor of a book…that old bad boy thing…

  65. At first I thought: “sexy demons???” I mean how sexy is “something” that’s some funky color with/without horns and who probably eats people. LOL! But I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how they can make great heros and still have that sexy bad boy thing going!

  66. I have not yet read very many demon stories! They sound pretty interesting – but I probably feel the same way I did about Vampires: I’ll like them if deep down they are good!! Guess I’d better get busy reading

  67. I thought yummy! Here comes some sexy devils who can be wicked and perhaps save the day too. I haven’t read much and I sure hope to read more. Cos those bad boys, oh yes please…with a cherry on top

  68. I loved it!! it was interesting at first because of the whole not-related-to-religion thing.. but it made it that much hotter!! The inner conflicts, the power struggles between them & their heroine… love them!! 😀

  69. I totally went for it. After all I’ve always loved alpha bad boys and isn’t a demon the ultimate bad boy!

  70. Once you go Demon you never go back. Which is soooo true for me, once I started reading paranormal no other romance novels will do it for me. Its just something about a demon/shapeshifter/vampire that makes me drool……….

  71. I think, no, I know the first Demon book I read where the Demon was actually the hero and I loved it was Surviving Demon Island by Jaci Burton. It ROCKED….and I thought, wow, I just didn’t think I could get into the Demon hero.
    Then Christine Warren had a Demon….Oh, yeah, and that Demonica series I recently discovered just did it for me. I LOVE me some Demons!!
    I like it that it’s not about religion, but about just being another race/species, whatever the case….it gives you a whole other outlook on what you’ll accept as a hero.

  72. I thought demons would make great heroes especially since I love the paranormal and have already read several books involving vampires or werewolves.

  73. I absolutely jumped on them. and don’t enter me in this contest. I have all three of these books.

  74. not sure what my first demon book was but I can tell you this… I have been reading paranormals since I can remember. There mysterious and just yummy.

  75. I was definitely wary at first. I thought how can a Demon possibly be a hero? But then I started reading Larissa’s book and I was hooked. I actually look forward to reading books with Demons in them now. 🙂 Love ’em!

  76. I was wary at first. But now that there are those out there that are not all evil I am happy they are on the scene. While its nice to see a truly evil character in a book for the hero to overcome. Its also fun to see a character that should be completely evil turn out to be a good guy.

  77. I was totally in love with the idea! I couldn’t wait to see and the different perspecitve sounded -amazing-!

  78. hey anthing goes i was fin e with it.

  79. I was completely open to demons as heros. After all, there had already been so many traditional *bad guys* in hero roles already. I do shy away from Angels as heros. I like my bad guys.

  80. I think I’m probably too late to chime in (it’s past midnight anywhere other than PDT) but I absolutely loved the idea of demonic heroes. I mean, come on. They’re the epitome of tortured good guys (at times), they’re bada**, and they get all territorial and stuff. It’s totally primal and would probably irk me if a territorial demon focused on me… but that’s the appeal in fantasy, isn’t it?

    I really loves me some demon good guys, much like I like the vampiric good guys…and werewolves…and gargoyles…pretty much all of them. Alphas are nice, but the betas are nice too. Oh shoot, I like ’em all!

  81. My first intro to demons as not-completely-evil characters was likely Simi in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. The first to-die-for demon hero was in Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series. Only KC could make the average woman fantasize about stroking a demon’s horns. 😉

  82. When demon first arrived on the romance scene, I thought they could go either way. Good or bad.

  83. I was happy to have a new kind of hero. Some of them have been put on my top favorites list. I never would have thought about a demon being the hero before reading about it.

  84. I love demon heroes. There too sexy to resist.

  85. Lilith (Demon Angel by Meljean Brook) might have been my introduction to demons. She is such a fantastic character. Kresley Cole’s Demon Horns are very, very hot. In general, I like Demons a hell of a lot more than Vampires. My favorite demon series is hands down Demonica, not to kiss up or anything. 😉 I’ve read all three books and loved them. Your demonic world building is amazing. I love the complexity and the moral ambiguity – no black or white, good or evil. E is my favorite – a protective demonic hero.
    (Please don’t enter me in the contest as I own, have read, and loved all three books!)

  86. Unfortunately, I got spoiled right off the bat with the yummiest demon heroes – thank you Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter. So did I fall head over heels for demon love? You bet!

  87. I think that demons are great heroes (or heroines)! I love characters with flaws and a lot of conflict. My first ones I think were the incubus and succubus in Lisa Cach’s books, Dream of Me and Come to Me and I have been happy with all the great series that have them now.

  88. You know, I cannot seem to remember when “demons” first made their appearances as heros in romance novels, but I have been reading “trashy romance novels” since I was 13 or 14, so well over 20 years and I would say it was a natural progression — but I love them as heroes — I love all kinds of heroes, demons, vampires, dukes, etc.

  89. I love books with good world building, so demon heroes with creative new worlds to be explored are awesome in my book!

  90. I wanted to write a really flawed heroine who’s done some really questionable things in her life and drinking and one-night-standing her way to oblivion. And what better hero for a bad, bad girl, than a badass demon? Well, that was my reasoning, and I’m sticking to it, ;-). Of course it helps that you can just let your imagination go wild and create your own worldview and rules. I love vamps and shifters, but with all the vamp and shifter lore out there, it’s hard to break away from the “rules”. With demons? Well, they’ve got it all, haven’t they? Shapeshifting, magical powers, stamina, blood-drinking if they’re so inclined–anything goes! The ultimate hero, IMHO.

  91. When paranormals first started getting really big, i resisted at first, because i wanted my heros more “real”. but eventually i gave in and Im so glad I did! I LOVE my paranormal hotties! I love how cranky they can be and still get away with it! It’s the fact that they arent “real” that draws me the most. I am able to leave my own reality for a few hours and go to a place where anythng goes with these brooding, sexy men!

  92. When paranormals first started getting really big, i resisted at first, because i wanted my heros more “real”. but eventually i gave in and Im so glad I did! I LOVE my paranormal hotties! I love how cranky they can be and still get away with it! It’s the fact that they arent “real” that draws me the most. I am able to leave my own reality for a few hours and go to a place where anythng goes with these brooding, sexy men!

  93. I love a good book…becoming engrossed in the world the author builds for me. So as long as that happens, I pretty much willing to read anything.

    As for the bad ass elements of paranormals…it’s why I love these (anti)heroes.

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