Today’s guest blogger is Cara Lockwood, the USA Today bestselling author of I Do (But I Don’t), a romantic comedy about a divorced wedding planner which was made into a Lifetime Original Movie in 2004. Cara has since been drawn over to the paranormal – first with a series for young adults about Bard Academy, a haunted boarding school – and now with her new Dogwood County series about a small Texas town beset by comical demons and some pretty colorful characters fighting evil. The second book in the series, Can’t Teach An Old Demon New Tricks was just released in April, and she’s here today to talk about her favorite character in the new book – a fallen angel named Sam who might just be one of the world’s original bad boys.
by Cara Lockwood
Hi there! I’m so glad to be blogging today, and I’m really excited to tell you about my new series, where the ultimate showdown between good and evil happens in a small east Texas town. In Dogwood, there’s a gun-toting priest, a would-be angel trapped in a French bulldog’s body, a half-demon toddler who likes to set his Goldfish snacks on fire, and a sexy fallen angel who is one of the devil’s best bounty hunters. Dogwood is the home to the world’s largest pecan pie (weighing in at nearly 500 pounds) and also happens to be the ancient battleground of good and evil, where the fate of mankind might hang in the balance.
Other than that, Dogwood is just your average, ordinary east Texas town.
In Can’t Teach An Old Demon New Tricks, the second in the Dogwood series, Rachel Farnsworth is just your regular mom of a rambunctious toddler. When Rachel’s husband (the lazy, good-for-nothing sitting on the couch drinking Bud) disappears without a trace, she soon discovers that the man she thought she knew was actually a demon in disguise. Her toddler, who is impervious to immunization needles, fire and falls, and who also happens to be able to set things on fire with a simple breath, is actually half-demon, she’s going to need a whole lot more help than the babysitter down the street can provide.
Turns out, Rachel’s husband has stirred up a lot of trouble, and he’s got heaven and hell looking for him. In steps Samsapiel, or just Sam to his friends (and enemies), a fallen angel who has spent the last two millennia trying to hold on to his angel powers by being the devil’s bounty hunter. Bringing in wayward demons and monsters hiding out on earth back to hell where they belong is Sam’s job and he’s good at it. He also has his sights set on the missing demon husband of Rachel Farnsworth.
Here’s a little excerpt from Can’t Teach An Old Demon New Tricks.
Sam double-parked his motorcycle outside Farnsworth’s hardware store and glanced up. He was so close to Kevin Farnsworth now he could smell it. Once he bagged him, Sam could happily claim to have the most top-five captures of any bounty hunter, ever in the history of time. No escaped demon was safe when Sam was around, and that’s how Sam liked it.
He’d spent the better part of a thousand years getting demons on the run and turning them into the devil for an apt reward – his angel powers, fully restored, minus, of course, the wings. If he stopped the bounties, he would lose his power and become human, with all the pitfalls of sickness and age.
Fallen angles didn’t become human overnight, but they did eventually. Most simply skipped to the chase, pledged their souls to Satan, and joined his army, where they usually got a permanent boost in their powers and a promotion to boot. But Sam didn’t have a taste for the devil’s army. He wasn’t about to pledge his allegiance to anyone, least of all Satan. But he wasn’t ready to grow old and die, either, so he’d been walking the fine line between doing the devil’s work and staying a free agent.
Sam told himself that the demons he caught and returned to Satan did less damage within his army or in hell than loose on their own. In the ongoing war between heaven and hell, there were ground rules. A freelance demon played by no rules whatsoever, and that was dangerous. And, half the time, the really nasty demons Satan just destroyed anyway, since he didn’t like anyone who might compete with his power. It was one of the reasons Satan’s army was never really a match for God’s. Satan kept executing all his strongest soldiers.
Besides, Sam did good deeds now and again. Truth was, he did more good fallen than he ever had as a Wrath angel. Back then, when God told him to kill a demon or level an entire town, he would do it without asking why. God said it must be so, and he was a Wrath angel just following orders. He would tell himself what other Wrathers did: that they deserved it. That the demons or the people had it coming. That God knew best, and their deaths were all for the greater good.
Sam lost his wings because he refused to kill a mortal woman in Sodom. He simply couldn’t get himself to strike down an unarmed woman, despite the fact that God’s orders were clear. But, after that one selfless act – letting the woman live at the cost of losing his own wings – he spends the rest of his time focusing on himself. When he meets Rachel and her toddler son, he starts looking outside himself for the first time in a long time.
Rachel changes everything he thought he knew about humans. Rachel isn’t weak or cowering, and she seems to have a frustrating immunity to his angel charms. When Rachel corners Sam and tries to figure out what he knows about Kevin, she is determined not to give up until she gets some answers.
“I don’t get tired of asking questions, you know. I can keep at this all night,” [Rachel] warned [Sam].
“I can keep at this all century,” Sam said evenly.
Rachel blinked twice fast, and then gave an appreciative laugh. She knew when she’d been had. “You fallen angels don’t play fair.”
“We definitely don’t,” Sam agreed, leaning forward and showing her his even white smile. Between his dazzling grin and his distinctive smell, Rachel was quickly losing her ability to think clearly.
“If you’re not going to tell me about Kevin, then you ought to tell me something else.”
“Like what?” Sam asked, unfolding his arms and leaning forward.
“Something about you. Like what you can do.”
A slight frown creased his forehead. “You don’t really want to know that.”
“Oh, yes, I do,” Rachel said. “I know you can run fast and you’re strong, but how fast? And how strong?”
“Fast enough,” Sam said. “Strong enough.”
“Show me.” Rachel gave Sam an expectant look, and he seemed to waver a second. She pounced on his hesitation. “What? Are you scared you aren’t as strong or fast as I think you are?”
The dare seemed to work. Sam’s blue eyes grew serious.
“Is this” – he started, and then, before he even completed his sentence, he was on the other side of the room, at the top of the altar, leaning against the podium—“fast enough?”
Rachel had only seen the hint of a blur and then he was on the other side of the room. So she hadn’t imagined it at Branson’s. When he’d picked her up, he’d been so fast, he’d flown from one side of the room to the other.
“And what about—“
“Strength?” he finished for her, and suddenly Rachel was suspended six feet in the air, Sam having rushed back across the church in a blink and lifted up the pew she was sitting on, holding it casually with one hand, looking as if the solid oak pew and her added weight caused him no more trouble than lifting a roll of paper towels.
“Okay, I’m convinced,” Rachel said, clutching at the pew to keep it from sliding off. “You can put me down now.”
Sam gently laid the bench back down on the cement floor and sat down beside her. “Scared?” he asked her, as if it were a dare.
“I don’t scare that easily,” she said. The proximity of him suddenly made her nervous. And his spicy sweet smell was even stronger now.
“Well, you should,” Sam said.
Of all the supernatural characters, I think fallen angels are the easiest to relate to, because they are so much like we are. They have the same emotions and weaknesses that we do – like jealousy, pride and anger. They are like us, except that when they make a mistake, they lose a piece of who they are – their wings. I’m also very much interested in the story of redemption, and the story of a bad boy making good is very compelling to me because I think we would all like to think we get second chances in life.
Sam was such a fun character to write because he made this selfless gesture in saving a mortal woman, but then spent the rest of his time looking inward, thinking only of himself. Rachel and her son force him to look outside himself again and to realize he can’t really stay neutral in something as important as the war between good and evil. Eventually, everyone has to take sides – even a fallen angel as fiercely independent as Sam.
Thanks Cara for stopping by. Come back anytime.
Can’t Teach An Old Demon New Tricks by Cara Lockwood
Get an east Texas girl good and mad,and there’s going to be hell to pay!Rachel Farnsworth doesn’t believe in the paranormal—she can find plenty of evil forces right in Dogwood County, like the Mega-Mart that’s driving her family’s hardware store into the ground. Then there’s her own little hell-raiser—a rowdy toddler who can turn his birthday candles into a blazing inferno with just one breath. But when her marriage goes up in smoke, Rachel discovers her husband, Kevin, isn’t just a deadbeat, he’s also a demon (a sloth demon, no less, which explains why he never helped around the house) with a renegade bounty hunter—a fallen angel named Sam—chasing down a powerful secret Kevin has kept for a millennium or two. Sam’s downfall was a beautiful mortal woman . . . and now, the heavenly attraction zinging between them has down-to-earth Rachel believing in celestial magic. But will it be enough to save her and her son from the dark forces Kevin has unwittingly unleashed on Dogwood County?
- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Pocket Star (March 30, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1416550976
- ISBN-13: 978-1416550976
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