New York Times best-selling paranormal romance author Felicity Heaton is here today for the book tour of her new paranormal romance release, Thanatos, the latest release in her popular Guardians of Hades Series.
This is book 8 in this series, but don’t worry, you can dive right on in with Thanatos, or start at the very beginning with Ares, which is FREE at all retailers right now. Binge-read to your heart’s content!
If you love passionate paranormal romance featuring hot alpha heroes and strong heroines bringing them to their knees, new twists on old myths, and lush, detailed words, then this series is definitely for you. Plus, each book has a happily forever after and there are no cliff-hangers, because there’s nothing worse than a cliff-hanger!
Thanatos (Guardians of Hades Series Book 8)
by Felicity Heaton
Thanatos, god of death, has a mission: scour the unknown realms of the Underworld and retrieve the only daughter of his god-king, Hades. Murdered six centuries ago and her soul captured before it could pass on, she now falls under Thanatos’s domain. Armed with only a description of the location of her prison seen in a vision by her oldest brother, Thanatos has spent four years hunting for her, determined to complete his task and save her.
But when he locates Calindria, she’s not the delicate little girl he remembers—she’s a fierce, bewitching and beautiful warrioress who stirs unwanted feelings in his black heart and she’s on a mission of her own.
Calindria, daughter of Hades, has a mission: escape her prison, hunt down the ones who murdered her twin brother, and then make her family pay for abandoning her. But the Fates have other plans, placing a distractingly gorgeous god of death in her path—a warrior who is determined to convince her that what she believed is the truth is in fact a lie.
In a realm that turns memories against them and where anything can be an illusion, can Calindria and Thanatos learn to trust each other enough to work together to escape the hellish domain, or will the darkest moments of their past prove too powerful to overcome?
Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win a signed paperback of your choice from my backlist of available titles plus awesome book swag! This giveaway is international and open to everyone, and ends at midnight on June 27th. Enter now: https://kingsumo.com/g/vvgksb/thanatos-book-tour-grand-giveaway
He was a mountain of a male, with impossibly silver eyes that seemed to shine like the moon, and huge glossy black feathered wings. His bare chest was cut with muscle, carved from granite, with thick broad slabs for his pectorals and a heavy eight-pack that shifted with each hard breath he drew as he stared at her. His wide shoulders tapered into a narrow waist, the ridges of muscle over his hips leading her eyes downwards to black leathers that hugged powerful long legs.
She lifted her eyes again, and they caught on his left hand, the casual way it rested on the hilt of an enormous sword unsettling her, flooding her with adrenaline and making her hyper-aware of her surroundings.
Of every possible exit.
Her gaze collided with his again and a flicker of a frown danced on her brow as a strange sensation filled her, making her feel she knew his face from somewhere. Knew that piercing silver gaze and thick, short onyx hair, and those wings.
He had to be someone who had visited her cage in the past. It was the only explanation that made sense. She had seen this male at some point during her captivity and the image of him had understandably seared itself on her mind.
He was every bit the warrior, every bit as brutal and dark as her guards had been.
Bile rose up her throat as she saw a flash of the one she had touched, saw his skin blackening and blistering, charring before her eyes.
“Calindria,” the behemoth before her whispered, his expression something akin to stunned, as if he couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing.
Giving her pause.
Was it a name? Why would he use it for her? Was it her name? It was familiar.
He looked her over and she clutched the pouch to her chest, afraid he would try to take the precious water from her when she was still so thirsty, parched beyond belief. A war erupted inside her, a battle between whether to run from him or not. Her legs were already tired, her muscles unused to supporting her weight now. She wasn’t sure she could outrun him. If she tried, would it anger him? Would he hurt her? The alternative was giving up and she had come such a short distance from her prison. She couldn’t give up now. She flexed her fingers around the waterskin, thoughts blackening as she recalled how she had hurt the guard. Could she use that power on this male too, buying herself time to escape?
The thought sickened her, twisted her heart and stomach in knots for some reason, and no matter how fiercely she fought to tamp down her fear of her power, the desire not to hurt others that insisted on rising within her, those knots wouldn’t loosen.
She needed to be stronger. Colder. This power was a weapon and she could use it to defeat her enemies—to have her revenge. She couldn’t let this soft part of her that had somehow survived the years stop her from doing whatever was necessary to complete her mission.
When he lifted his hands, her resolve to fight shattered and running won.
She broke into a sprint, her muscles protesting as her legs carried her swiftly across the black ground. She didn’t feel the pebbles that bit into the soles of her bare feet, didn’t feel the ache in her bones with each jarring step, she knew only the desire to escape, to do whatever it took to elude this male and the cage.
“Calindria!” he bellowed.
The sound of that name gave her pause again, had her step faltering as a sensation that she knew it shot through her, but the second he closed in on her, she was running again, heart thundering and legs pumping harder. She rounded a corner, stumbling as her footing slipped, her eyes darting around, seeking a way to escape him.
There! She spied a tunnel in the far right of the cavern. The entrance was narrow, might be small enough for her to make it through, but not him.
She skidded to a halt as he landed in front of her, his great wings beating hot air against her, her heart lodging in her throat to silence the scream that wanted to escape. Fear blasted through her as she almost collided with him, as she leaned back to avoid the collision and ended up landing on her backside on the hard ground.
She stared up at him, adrenaline making her limbs quake and her breath stutter. Her entire body trembled as shock rolled through her, as the fact she had almost touched him shook her to her core. She might have killed him. She didn’t know who he was, was aware he might be another guard, but she didn’t want to hurt him.
What if he wasn’t a guard? What if he was innocent? The thought of killing an innocent turned her stomach.
“Calindria?” He gentled his tone, the rugged lines of his face softening as he gazed down at her, keeping perfectly still. He knew she would run if he moved. Wise male. “Let me take you away from this place. I can fly you out of here.”
He looked up at the roof of the cavern where an opening yawned, revealing thick dark grey clouds.
She shook her head and scrambled backwards on her hands and knees, refusing to let him near her. He couldn’t touch her. If he did, she would hurt him. It wasn’t only fear of harming him that had her backing away from him though. She didn’t know him, which meant she certainly wasn’t about to trust a word he said to her, or believe that he was here to free her.
She had heard all that before.
“You are like the others,” she growled, glaring up at him as she eased onto her knees, as she tucked the waterskin close to her and remained in a crouch, ready to run. “They came to my cages… offered to free me… bargained with me. They made me believe I would escape… and instead they had led me to another cage.”
There, they had laughed at her, shattering her spirit as they had easily overwhelmed her, too strong for her to fight.
This brute looked just as strong, if not stronger, than those males had been, and the cruel edge to his expression as his lips twisted and his black eyebrows knitted hard, narrowing his silver eyes, said he would laugh just as viciously at her weakness, at how gullible she had been.
“Calindria—” he started and then closed his eyes and planted a large hand to his brow.
His hand fell away from his face and his shoulders rose in a sigh that lifted his furled wings too. When he opened his eyes, there was a flicker of blue fire in his silver irises, and she sensed a shift in his power. Shuffled further away from him when he held his hand out, palm facing her. She eyed it suspiciously.
There was something dark about this male.
His dark eyebrows pinched in another hard frown as he studied the distance she was placing between them, as he lifted his silver gaze to pin it back on her.
“I swear, I am not here for a nefarious reason, Calindria.” He lowered his hand and eased back, his enormous body relaxing at the same time. The danger and darkness he radiated fell away, that change in power she felt falling away with it.
He was trying to appear unthreatening. Something which was impossible given his size and his appearance.
“Why do you keep calling me that?” She flexed her fingers around the water, attempting to ignore her thirst, how she wanted the sweet quenching taste of it flowing over her tongue to soothe her and restore her strength.
“Calindria?” He frowned at her, a curious edge to his silver eyes. “Because it is your name. You cannot be anyone other than the one I was sent to find.”
Someone had sent this formidable male to find her? She scoffed at that. She had been held captive for what she was sure was centuries. If someone had wished to find her, they would have done so long before now.
“Calindria.” She rolled that name around her tongue, frowning as she tried to figure out whether it felt familiar because he kept saying it or because it was her name. She stared into his eyes, seeking the truth in them. “And who are you that you know this name that is meant to be mine?”
His chin rose almost imperceptibly, a slight upwards tilt that spoke of pride, and belief in his strength and his reputation. “Thanatos, god of death, loyal servant of your father, Hades.”
“Hades,” she murmured. She had heard that name before, muttered by the guards in fear.
It evoked an image in her mind, one of a tall black-haired male with ashen skin and blue eyes who had been ruthless towards others, but had always had a smile for her.
She pushed away from that image, sure it was an illusion. This realm was filled with lies. She glanced at Thanatos. He was probably an illusion too, constructed by this realm to torment her now she had escaped, designed to weaken her and slow her enough that the guards could catch up with her and recapture her.
“Leave, Thanatos, god of death. I do not require your help.” She rose onto her feet and strode past him, ignoring the way he glared at her, his face blacker than the darkness that lived within her.
“No.” He reached for her as she passed him, attempted to seize her arm but she was quick to dodge his hand, placing herself beyond his grasp. “My mission is to save you and I will not fail my god-king.”
Something clicked into place in her memories, made her feel certain of something from her past.
Hades was her father.
The very male the guards had spoken of in fear and this male served.
Which meant Thanatos was a liar.
She looked over her shoulder at him, sneered as she found him watching her, a false look of concern on his handsome face. “You mean to deceive me. I want nothing to do with you.”
His face blackened with each word she hurled at him, darkening by degrees as his eyes gained an ethereal blue shimmer. She was angering him, but rather than making her want to shrink away from him, the darker he grew, the more she felt the need to stand up to him.
Her breaths came faster as her heart pumped harder, courage rising inside her as she moved to face him, as she stared up into his eyes and set her jaw. Her blood burned, on fire with a need that grew stronger with every frantic beat of her heart.
A need to fight this god of death.
She reined it in, the softer part of her reasoning that this male had done nothing wrong. If he spoke the truth, he had been dispatched to help her, and therefore didn’t mean her any harm. If she lashed out at him and used her newfound powers on him, then she would be hurting an innocent.
So rather than fighting him, she backed away from him, heading for the tunnel she had spotted, one that would be too small for his big frame.
“Calindria.” His deep voice held a note of warning. “Do not run.”
“You do not need to chase me.” She knew from the look in his eyes that he did, that he had spoken the truth earlier and refused to fail in his mission.
She steeled herself. She had a mission of her own, one that did involve her family, but one she had committed to fulfilling in a specific order.
Revenge against her brother’s murderers first.
And her family second.
“I have things to do,” she whispered, her mind filling with pleasing images thanks to the darkness. It flashed them before her, a thousand ways she would kill the nameless, faceless, male who had killed her brother. “I will not let you stop me.”
“What things?” He levelled another black look at her, one she was beginning to think was a standard look for him.
There were fine lines between his eyebrows, ones that confirmed he frowned too much.
And the lack of laughter lines around his mouth said he smiled too little.
“A mission.” She put it into words she was sure he would understand.
“What sort of mission?” He canted his head.
She didn’t hesitate. “A mission of revenge.”
The hard planes of his face softened again, the blue fire in his irises fading as he gazed at her in a way that told her that he did understand.
That he was very familiar with the lure of vengeance.
But those same eyes told her that he valued his mission over hers.
And so, she ran again.
Because the alternative was letting him take her to her family, and to do that he would want to fly her out of this cavern. She couldn’t let him touch her. She flinched as another horrific replay of what had happened to the redheaded guard flashed across her eyes. She couldn’t trust Thanatos, she couldn’t trust anyone, but that didn’t mean she wanted to hurt him.
He made it hard to keep hold of the desire not to harm him when he landed in front of her again, his enormous black wings remaining spread this time to block her path. They spanned the route to the tunnel she had wanted to take, stretching from one wall of the cavern to the other.
Her eyes darted over him, seeking a way past him, and she wanted to growl when she found there was no getting around him, not without touching him. Her gaze strayed to his wings, to the beautiful raven feathers. If she touched them, would they crumble and turn to ashes? She shook at the thought of it, unwilling to risk it in order to get past him.
That shaking worsened as he advanced on her.
She backed off, each careful step measured, keeping the distance between them steady.
“Let me fly you out of here.” He held his hand out to her.
She shook her head. “No. You cannot touch me.”
She wrapped her arms around herself, one hand clutching the waterskin to her breasts while the other gripped her bare waist. The darkness that had been emerging in his eyes fell away as they dropped to her body, as he saw the way she was holding herself, and his expression softened in a way that she hated because it made her feel weak.
He thought she feared him touching her because she had been abused.
She didn’t correct him when he backed off, when he lowered his wings and furled them against his bare back, and dipped his head.
“Very well, I will not touch you.” He twisted at the waist to look at the narrow tunnel and then around the cavern, his gaze seeking something. “But let me escort you away from this place.”
She weighed up the pros and cons of accepting his presence.
If he was lying, he could be leading her to another cage, as males had before him. If he wasn’t lying, and was here to help her, and guards came after her, then he could prove invaluable in a fight. Pleasing her father seemed important to him. Important enough that he would do whatever it took to protect her?
She eyed the sword sheathed at his hip and then him. He was a warrior. The god of death. The thought of killing turned her stomach, but he had been born for it.
She drew down a breath and sighed it out, resolve flowing through her as she met his gaze.
“You may escort me.” She pivoted on her heel, seeking a tunnel that would be big enough to accommodate him as she made a few changes to her plan.
Find the one who had killed her brother.
Have Thanatos kill him.
And then convince the god of death to turn against his king.