by Chace Verity
Publication Date: October 21, 2020
As a single mother working two jobs, Heidi Murphy can barely keep her head above water on the best of days. When her full-time job fires her and her kids get in trouble at school, Heidi begins to drown in stress. She needs help--and help arrives in the form of a QR code that summons an unexpected visitor.
Heidi’s world gets turned upside down when she meets Drystan, a demon from another realm. Upside down in this case, however, is for the better since Drystan is supposed to bring her success. His visage is strange and almost frightening, but he quickly becomes a valuable member of the household with his excellent cooking skills and devotion to making sure the Murphys are happy.
Heidi has twenty-eight days to find success before her contract with Drystan ends. Four weeks seems like plenty to find another job, but as Heidi starts to fall for Drystan, there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the world for what she really wants--him.
Content warnings: View Spoiler »deadbeat dad (not on page, but referenced), estranged family (due to MC’s pregnancy at a young age), MC is briefly followed home by a creepy guy, references to murder « Hide Spoiler
Cover aside, this is 22,000 words of unbelievably fun fluff, starring a tired and overworked mom of two teenagers and a cinnamon roll demon who literally bakes cinnamon rolls.
Having a demon who could bake cinnamon rolls, do chores, and help teenagers around for a few weeks would be really nice.
Divorced mom Heidi is having a rough few days. She’s been fired from her day job, her two teens are getting into trouble at school, and the only job she can find not only doesn’t have benefits but would also mean working the night shift, leaving her kids home alone. Even worse, when she downloads an app promising her success without reading the terms & services, she accidentally summons a demon. Drystan says he’s there for the next twenty-eight days or until she gets her success – whatever that means. He can’t give her material things – like the car she desperately needs – but she could sell a photo of him or, gulp, his dead body for money. Heidi has a better idea: he’ll be her live-in secret demon housekeeper.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! No one is killing anyone!” Heidi held her hands up and shrieked when she accidentally brushed against Drystan. His cool skin felt smooth, but dry. Almost like a snake. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to touch you.”
A snort sound escaped Drystan’s flat nose. “You can do that too. It’s in the terms and services. If you want to kill me, it will be easier to do it up close. Do you know how to gut a fish?”
This is exactly as domestically fluffy as that sounds. It’s a humorous story in general, between Drystan’s confusion at Heidi’s refusal to use him as a quick paycheck, the very businesslike Success for Humans demon corporation, and Drystan’s continual urging for Heidi to “use him.” The insta-love is a bit silly, but look, it’s 2020, the thought of someone who’ll make me cinnamon rolls and help my kids with school is pretty much my definition of swooning romance right now. It’s a short novella, so their relationship moves very quickly, but their chemistry was good. Everybody needs a demon who can rock their socks off in bed and then cook them a nice steak dinner. Heidi’s kids, Sebastian and Savannah, were a good mix of teen angst and hilariousness, and I loved how much of the focus of the book was on Heidi’s love for them.
“You learned to bake and cook so easily,” Heidi said. “Are you enjoying it?”
Drystan cracked three eggs into a bowl. “Does it matter if I’m enjoying it? This is my job.”
Fluff aside, there’s also some pointed commentary on capitalism. Heidi’s trapped in a spiral where she’s limited to what jobs she can take because she doesn’t have a car, and she can’t afford a car because all of those jobs don’t pay well. She gets fired from her job because, even though her boss told her it was ok to be occasionally late due to taking the bus, corporate didn’t agree. And then there’s Drystan. He doesn’t really have choice what the human he’s contracted to does with him. It seems corporate slavery is still the same, no matter if you’re human or a demon.
Overall, this was a fun, quick read, and I would seriously read more about Heidi, Drystan and the kids. Christmas follow-up novella, please?