When I imagined my Slacker Demons series, I had in mind a diverse bunch of bums who were hot, lazy, great in bed, drunk, stoned, great in bed, retired gods and highly-paid sex demons, great in bed… but I didn’t have their personalities all planned out.
Consequently I didn’t know much about Kamadeva before I started writing Dancing With Cupid. I’d researched Hindu sex demons enough to know that there aren’t any, not the way Westerners know them, all bad intentions and sticky fingers. Instead, Hinduism has this tragic story about a god of lusty love who gets demoted to god of spiritual love—with a flamethrower.
Apparently Shiva was moping around, okay, meditating, mourning his dead wife. The other gods wanted him to get back to work. They asked Kamadeva (“Love God”) to shoot his arrows of desire into Shiva to get him interested in Parvati, who was destined to be his new wife. Shiva woke up all right. He was so angry, he opened his third eye and death-rayed Kama to a crisp! Later he repented and gave Kama back his spiritual body—but not his physical body.
The most interesting part of the story is the part nobody wrote. What did Kamadeva’s wife think about getting her husband back without his, well, business parts?
So what sort of heroine does Kamadeva need? Rathi (“Desire”) is the kind of woman who would leave him for being bodiless and lustless, and probably also for allowing Shiva’s worshipers to reduce women’s rights, and also for allowing a Delhi court poet to rewrite the Kama Sutra into a manual for teaching husbands how to dominate their wives sexually, socially, and legally. So after a few reincarnations she forgets all about being a sex goddess. Now she’s a feminist. And a virgin. An uptight, driven professional woman—the opposite of Kama, who has spent 550 years with a beer in one hand and a bong in the other.
Back to Kamadeva. He wanders away from his new job as Hindu Lord of Sexual Purity and Bodiless Love and falls in with a slacker crowd of career sex demons—guys like him, all former gods and heroes. Now he’s regular working Joe with an 88-digit Infernal Identification Number tattooed on the sole of his foot and an account in Inhuman Resources with the Regional Office. These boys know how to chill out. They have a hot tub on the roof, and a motorcycle repair clinic, marijuana farm, gas barbecue, and basketball court on the first floor of their loft. Upstairs: six refrigerator-freezers full of craft beer, five La-Z-Boys and matching big-screen video rigs, two Margaritaville machines (one broken), a small and unspeakably dirty bathroom, and no laundry machines at all. They throw their dirty socks away and buy new.
But Kama’s still carrying a torch for Rathi. He hopes someday to find her again. He doesn’t expect it to happen here in Chicago, while he’s running copy machines in the mail room of a civil rights law firm, and she walks in the door as the new partner.
Now he’s got to talk her into forgiving him for being such a coward all those centuries ago. But first, he’s got to wake up her past-life memories. To do that, he’s got to wake up her kundalini. That’s going to be fun!
This story came out so sweet. I’m not saying it’s sex-free. (C’mon. This is me.) But these two are just adorable.
The urban paranormal universe is littered with tough girls wearing leather pants and carrying machetes. Those mean streets are sticky with ichor, not curry. Those demons are fanged and dangerous—even the sexy ones.
Yet I really fell for Kamadeva as I was writing him. He may be a slacker, but he’s good-hearted and thoroughly kind, a lazy beta sweetheart who is permanently in love with a butt-kicking alpha virgin. He won’t get anywhere beating his chest. But he might make it work if he can get her to seduce herself.
Holy moly, I’ve written a virgin amnesiac runaway bride story.
Dancing With Cupid is available at Book View Café and, soon, at other sources of ebooks around the multiverse.