“Team Packer” is a covert Catholic strike team against supernatural evil with a secret weapon in its arsenal: 16-year-old Delilah Vincentio—the world’s only Christian succubus. Trained by demons to despise humanity and lead them into sin, her unprecedented capacity for mercy caused her to renounce her place in Hell—and gain an angelic referral to Team Packer.
Delilah is assigned to infiltrate the Order of the Lightbringer, a Satanic cult that plans to make Pittsburgh a test site for the Apocalypse. After Delilah’s identity is almost discovered, Team Packer sends her to high school to hide out until things cool down.
But while Delilah may be reformed from her beguiling ways, she’s still very much a demon—and she hasn’t learned how to play well with others. In fact, trying to fit in and keep a low profile at high school may prove to be a tougher battle than bringing down the Order of the Lightbringer.
“5 out of 5 Pitchforks! One of the top ten stories about Succubi that I have encountered this year.The writing is wonderful, being the right tone for the moment when it arrives, and setting an image in the words that is very vivid and clear. Strong characters, settings, and plots that weave neatly through the work as a whole. In short, well and truly recommended reading. — Tera, Queen of the Succubi, A Succubi’s Tale blog
“The demons in Hell are secretly defecting and pushing their infernal realm towards Heaven in a handcart! This story kept me riveted from start to finish—and even a little tearful here and there. A ride and a half!” —Adele Abbot, author, Postponing Armageddon and Of Machines & Magics
“His name is almost like mine, he’s no relation, and he writes a kind of YA Fantasy all his own. Fast-moving, knowledgeable, historical, spiritual, heroic, Barton Paul Levenson’s Celibate Succubus is good reading at any age.” —Paul Levinson, author, The Plot to Save Socrates and Unburning Alexandria
“A unique twist on the challenges of being an immortal teenager. Delilah is a demon who renounces her evil ways to join the battle against her own kind. Barton Paul Levenson skillfully moves between theological musings to fun and inventive situations in a blink of an eye to create a delightful, easy read.” —Catherine Russell, author, The Stage and Exit Stage Left
Delilah had been born sixteen years ago in Cerchio Secondo, the Second Circle of Hell, eternal prison to those who had mortally sinned through unrepented lust. That she looked sixteen in the present was a coincidence; she had looked that way from birth. The Department of Temptation had issued a report in 5924 YS (1920 AD) officially stating that sixteen was the best age for tempting human males to commit fornication and adultery.
Like every place in Hell, Cerchio Secondo was ugly and depressing. But it had a certain bleak grandeur to it—a vast, rocky plain with a red sky full of black clouds. Immense hurricanes continually blew damned lovers through the air. The hurricanes also whipped up dust and stinging grit. The howling winds and the screams of damned souls made it hard to hold a conversation, as did the loud cracks of thunder from the unceasing lightning, so the demons did most of their work indoors. Damned human souls were not allowed inside, or to land anywhere at all.
Delilah spent her first few years in school at CSA—the Cerchio Secondo Academy of Seduction and Temptation. Experienced succubae and incubi instructed her in sexual technique. Demon anthropologists and psychologists lectured her on human culture and thinking. Demon linguists taught her the languages and accents she needed. And she also took the standard courses for young demons: how to fight, how to punish inferiors, and above all, the ideology behind it all.
“Let me sum it up for you,” her teacher said. The Doctrine instructor was a tall, thin, bat-winged demon, with horns and great yellow, bloodshot eyes. Foul-smelling drool continually dripped over his chin and down the front of his naked body. No one wore clothes in Hell. “God is the great enemy, Satan the great hero. Creation was God’s greatest affront to the spirit world. Matter is disgusting; human beings more disgusting still; human sexuality most disgusting of all. Only spirit is worth anything—spirits, like us. And the more powerful and important the spirit, the more respect that spirit deserves—and you will give that respect, along with unquestioning obedience at all times, or you will suffer.”
He went on. “Greater souls absorb lesser souls. In the end, when our great master, Satan, has conquered the physical universe, orchestrated the conquest of heaven, and killed God, all other beings will be absorbed into Satan—including you and me.”
All the young demons cried when they heard this, but only Delilah called out, “I don’t want to be absorbed into Satan!”
The classroom was large. The seats, made of connected bones, held over a hundred young demons. Delilah was a dozen yards from the teacher, but he flicked his whip unerringly across her face, bringing explosive pain. It felt like acid eating away her face. She shrieked.
“How dare you say such a thing!” the teacher screamed. “It is your destiny to be absorbed into Satan and you will accept it with gratitude!”
“Please… please,” Delilah said. “Can’t we do something else? If we’re really, really good, can’t we—”
“Don’t say ‘good,’” the teacher snapped. “Say ‘useful’ or ‘productive’ or ‘pleasing to our superiors.’ ‘Good’ has no meaning.”
“If we’re really productive and useful, can’t we just… go on living?”
“You will live eternally,” he said dryly. “You will simply do it in the belly of your immediate superior—whoever that is—at the end of what had better be your long and productive service. Do you understand?”
After that, Delilah mostly did well, pleasing her instructors and the demon in charge of her, an older succubus named Lilitu. Lilitu, whom Delilah called “Mistress,” was the closest thing she had to a parent.
She had just one major lapse after the day she got lashed in the face. Minos, Judge of the Second Circle and a very great demon indeed, had come to inspect the school. He was a huge, coal-black devil with an enormously long tail who towered over the other demons, even the tallest of the faculty. He lectured in the auditorium, his red eyes glowing brightly and his thunder-like voice painfully loud.
At the end of his lecture, Minos announced that he would tour the school grounds. “It is a fine day!” he said. “Come, let us go out and enjoy it!” He led the assembled students out into the school’s giant courtyard, a cratered, jumbled landscape of bare rock. Wind howled overhead as shrieking damned souls blew by hundreds of feet in the air. Delilah smelled dust and the rotten-egg scent of sulfur compounds.
“I will now demonstrate how I assign the souls of the damned to their places in Hell, based on their deeds.”
The demons applauded. Delilah realized why they were outside. The courtyard was the only place on campus Minos could unfurl his enormous tail. “I indicate the proper circle by the number of times I wrap my tail around my legs,” Minos said. “Let us say we have a sinner damned through either anger or sullenness. Such a soul is assigned to… Hui!”
Hui was a succubus in Delilah’s class. “To the Sixth Circle, Lord,” she said promptly.
“Idiot,” Minos said. “That is wrong! Wrong! Wrong!”
“Perhaps you didn’t have enough to eat this morning? Poor spiritual nutrition can result in poor intellectual performance. Did you have an adequate breakfast?”
Hui looked confused. “Yes, Lord.”
“Good.” Minos then whipped his tail around Hui’s middle and squeezed. Her breakfast came up in projectile vomit, spattering the field with steaming yellow goo. The other demons laughed uproariously. Delilah laughed with the rest, partly from normal demon meanness. She was also relieved that it hadn’t been her who had given the wrong answer.
“Those guilty of wrath or sullenness are punished in the Fifth Circle, Cerchio Quinto,” Minos said. “I would assign this destination thusly.” Letting go of Hui, he whipped his tail through the air in great, diminishing circles, his tail making a high-pitched scream in the air as it wrapped itself once, twice, thrice, four times, five times around his own legs. Again the demons clapped and cheered.
Hui crouched on her hands and knees on the field, panting. Her drooping bat wings and tail trembled.
“Perhaps our little Hui is feeling a bit sullen this morning?” Minos asked. “Perhaps she needs a little time in the Fifth Circle herself. What do you think?”
“Yeah!” the demons cried. “The Fifth Circle! Cool! Do it!”
Hui shook her head in horror, trembling. She got up and tried to back away. A thought flashed through Delilah’s mind: That could’ve been me . The punishment for the sullen was bad—immersion beneath the stinking mud of a swamp.
“Wait!” Delilah cried.
Everyone fell silent. “What did you say?” Minos asked quietly.
Delilah gulped, knowing she was in trouble. “I mean, Lord, that, um, anyone could have gotten the Fifth and Sixth Circles confused—I mean, it’s just one circle—so the offense was so petty it would be beneath the dignity of one as great as yourself to waste even a second more of your valuable time on an idiot like her.”
Hui looked at Delilah in astonishment. For one demon to stick up for another was unprecedented. A demon was only supposed to stick up for herself.
“Why, I’ve never heard such a remark before,” Minos said. “You’re clever, little Delilah, but not clever enough today, I think. Do you care for our little Hui, perhaps? Do you love her?” The other demons roared with laughter. Love was an obscene word in Hell. “Do you want to hold her and kiss her? Do you want to have sex with her?”
Delilah’s anger flared. Sex was disgusting. Succubae and incubi had sex with humans to damn them, not because the demons enjoyed it. They hated it. “That’s really dumb!” she shouted.
Minos’s jaw dropped. The laughing students fell silent. Delilah remembered the time the Doctrine teacher had lashed her face and knew she was in for it.
“Lord, I’m so sorry,” she said. “I’m really, really, really sorry. That was such a stupid thing for me to say. Stupid and bad and—”
“You’re not sorry enough!” Minos shrieked.
Virtual Book Tour
Author Barton Levenson will be discussing his YA Fantasy novel The Celibate Succubus during a virtual book tour on February 17-24th. Here is a list of the stops, with links:
February 17, 2014
Pembroke Sinclair (blog stop)
Trips Down Imagination Road (review)
February 18, 2014
Eclipse Reviews (character interview)
February 19, 2014
Musings In Fiction Alley (blog stop)
Midnight Musings with Bertena (spotlight)
February 20, 2014
Sabrina’s Paranormal Palace (guest blog & review)
Fang Freakin’ Tastic Reviews (guest blog & review)
February 21, 2014
Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock (spotlight & review)
Fang-tastic Books (guest blog)
February 24, 2014
Dalene’s Book Reviews (interview & review)
Share My Destiny (spotlight)