Ares: A Guardians of Hades Book
Author: Felicity Heaton
Prince of the Underworld and Lord of Fire, Ares was banished from his home by his father, Hades, two centuries ago and given a new duty and purpose—to keep our world and his from colliding in a calamity foreseen by the Moirai.
Together with his six brothers, he fights to defend the gates to the Underworld from daemons bent on breaching them and gaining entrance to that forbidden land, striving to protect his home from their dark influence. Caged by the manifestation of his power, held apart from those he loves by his own fire and starved of physical contact, Ares lives a cold existence driven by duty and the desire to return to his world.
Until his world collides with a daemon who steals his power and a mortal female who shatters the ice around his heart and awakens the true fire within him—a soul-stirring passion both dangerous and seductive.
Megan has wandered far from her home, driven from everyone she loves by the devastating realisation that she is different to them all. Unsure who to trust in the world, she keeps to herself, until a fateful stormy night brings a temptingly handsome warrior crashing into her life and into her heart—a warrior who seems to hold powers more frightening and marvellous than her own.
When the New York gate comes under threat, and Ares is put to the test, will he choose his duty and regain the power he needs in order to save his world or will he choose the desires of his heart and sacrifice his fire so he can be with the woman becoming his whole world?
Ares hoofed it through Central Park, pursuing the daemon who had made a break for it. The bastard accelerated, cutting through the patchy darkness ahead of him, and Ares pushed harder, ignoring the burn in his legs, his focus locked on his target. The lamps illuminating the path at intervals flickered over him as he sprinted, intent on running down the daemon before he escaped. Those same lights flashed over the daemon’s back, dull as they hit the dark hood of his sweatshirt but bright on the back of his leather jacket.
The slim male veered left, crashed through the undergrowth and broke out onto one of the park’s dark open fields.
Ares swore under his breath in the mortal tongue and followed him. He wasn’t in the mood to play tag, not tonight. While he enjoyed toying with his prey, he had already done that once tonight with two daemons. Blood still slid down his chest, trickling from his wounds as he moved, and dripped from the gashes on his forearms, tainting his senses with the metallic scent. He’d also had a damn good scrap with another daemon.
Number four here wasn’t going to get off so lightly. When he got his hands on the man, he was going to rip him apart.
The bastards were getting cocky and persistent.
He couldn’t remember the last time he had fought so many in a single night.
Keras’s observations were wrong. The daemons were up to something and tonight proved it, and he was going to enjoy rubbing his older brother’s nose in it when he next saw him.
Ares grinned, shut out the way a thousand white-hot needles pricked his left arm with each stride, and sprinted after the remaining daemon. The man switched tactics and zigzagged towards a lake in the distance. Was he a water type? Ares hadn’t fought one of those in decades and he didn’t want to fight one tonight.
He hated water.
It really messed with his fire.
Every instinct screamed to pin the daemon down before he could reach the water.
Ares knew he shouldn’t listen to it and should conserve his energy and keep running instead. That was the sensible course of action, the one a seasoned warrior like himself should take. He needed the rest of his strength in case these weren’t the only daemons looking to pick a fight with him tonight. His mission to protect the city and the gate took priority, and he shouldn’t need to use the full extent of his powers to eliminate a single daemon.
The man began to pull away.
Keras would tear him a new one about this, pointing out that he was still rash despite his years, but he was damned if he was going to let the bastard douse him.
Ares focused on a point near the lake and the world whirled into darkness. When it came back, he stood between the dark water and his opponent.
He caught a glimpse of the daemon’s face, enough to clock a small goatee and the irritated twist of his lips as he spotted him.
The daemon skidded into a turn. His hood fell back to reveal messy short pale hair and he lost his footing. His right hand hit the damp grass and he pushed off, shooting away from Ares.
Ares cursed him again. He should have used his ability to step closer to him rather than going for the lake. As much as he wanted to teleport on top of the bastard and slam him into the ground, the last one had left him shaky and he knew his body. He couldn’t waste any more of his energy.
A twinge of pain shot down his left arm and he grimaced as he grabbed it and rolled his shoulder, cracking it back into place. He spat blood out onto the grass, huffed and focused on the pitch-black park. Clouds boiled above it, dark and foreboding, and the wind carried the scent of rain. Above that scent rose another—the coppery odour of daemon.
The slippery little bastard was heading back towards the gate.
Ares kicked off and bolted in that direction, his insides swirling with the weird burning sensation he experienced whenever a full-blooded daemon was nearby. He followed the feeling as it grew stronger, leading him towards his prey. He was closing in. Had the daemon stopped running?
Rocks rose ahead of him, silhouetted by the lights from a path that ran behind them. Perhaps the daemon was trying to hide from him in the shadows. Or was he waiting to attack?
Another blast of heat ricocheted down the length of his arm and he ground his teeth against it. He could rest up and heal soon enough. Eliminating this daemon took priority.
He rounded the rocks and the swirling sensation inside him disappeared.
He frowned and quietly moved forwards, not trusting his senses. The daemon couldn’t be gone. He had to be here somewhere.
Ares scoured the darkness, squinting to see into the shadows. Thunder rumbled in the distance and rolled across the city, echoing between the skyscrapers. He lapped the rocks three times, even scaled them and walked between them. No trace of the daemon.
It wasn’t possible.
Unwilling to give up, he did one more lap.
The bastard was gone.
He sat on one of the lower boulders and spat more blood out onto the path under his boots. Keras was really going to rip him a new one now. Ares couldn’t remember the last time he had failed to eliminate a daemon and the taste of defeat was bitter on his tongue.
How had the daemon escaped?
The only logical conclusion was teleportation.
A daemon that could teleport?
Coupled with the strength the man had displayed during their brief tangle, it set him on edge. He had witnessed the carnage that a single strong daemon was capable of and it wasn’t pretty. He drew in a slow breath to settle the growing rage in his blood as he shoved his right hand through the tangled lengths of his dark hair, pushing it back from his face. That sort of violence wasn’t about to hit his city. He wouldn’t allow any mortal to fall prey to this daemon.
He flexed his fingers and stared into the darkness, gathering his strength. It was a waiting game now and he had to take advantage of whatever small amount of time the daemon gave him before he popped back up on Ares’s internal radar. He would tend to his wounds, regain some strength, and prepare himself. The daemon would make himself known again tonight. No doubt about that. He knew that Ares was injured and would take advantage of it.
Ares closed his eyes and tipped his head back. Thunder grumbled again, miles from the city but closing in fast.
His night had been going so well.
He had grabbed a pizza and had lined up a string of action movies, and had planned to polish his motorcycle and maybe take the engine apart too and clean it. A good night. Then he had felt the gate calling. He cursed it too and pushed off from the rock. One wasted pizza and four daemons in one night. He needed to tell his brothers because he was sure that the fiends were up to something, and he didn’t like it.
He trudged back through Central Park, following the dimly lit path that led towards where the gate remained hidden from the mortal realm.
The first two daemons had been acting as a couple out for a midnight stroll in the park. It was always easy to spot young daemons. They flouted the rules and ignored their elders’ warnings about Ares and his brothers. They wanted to be the ones to do what those elders couldn’t and successfully make it through the gate to the Underworld.
They quickly learned their lesson.
Nothing slipped past him or his brothers.
He took his mission to protect the New York gate to the Underworld seriously and that meant any daemon within his city’s boundaries was a dead daemon.
The two had fallen easily enough, little more than a warm up for what had come at him next.
The moment he had met the female Hellspawn in the park as arranged and had completed the ritual to unlock the gate, causing it to materialise in this world so she could pass through, another daemon had come out of nowhere and tried to hitch a ride to the Underworld.
Ares left the path and stalked across the wet grass, his gaze fixed on the darkness where the gate remained hidden. The taste of blood in his mouth, the pain burning in his muscles, and the white-hot lacerations on his chest and arms, all of it combined to darken his mood until he was glaring towards the gate with violence back on his mind.
The female daemon had been stronger than he had anticipated and she had fought like a rabid beast once she had realised the gate would close before she could escape him and make it to the Underworld. She had screeched and clawed at him, and had even come close to sinking fangs into his flesh.
He had crushed her in the end, but not before taking some damage.
Damage that had put him firmly in the frame of mind for some payback against all daemons, but with no sign of one on his senses, he had focused on closing the gate so he could make his way home.
That was when he had met the fourth daemon. The one who had got away.
Ares growled under his breath, his anger directed towards himself now.
That daemon had casually strolled past him on one of the paths through the park and had paid no attention to Ares or the gate, even though it had still been visible at the time. It was almost as though the daemon had thought he could slip by unnoticed. Impossible.
They had clashed and the man had given him a taste of power that had caught Ares off guard. He had been far stronger than Ares had anticipated, his power beyond the level of any daemon he’d had the pleasure of battling in the past century. It was rare for a daemon of that age and level to go anywhere near one of the gates and that was why he had pursued him when he had turned tail and bolted. A daemon that strong was dangerous and he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was bad news, the harbinger of an event that oracles had foreseen centuries ago.
He needed to tell Keras and the others.
With the gate closed and safe, and no sign of his prey in the park, Ares turned north towards his apartment.
The storm in the distance grew louder and he caught a flash of lightning out of the corner of his eye.
His mood degenerated.
The perfect end to a perfect fucking night.
The first fat drops fell, hissing and evaporating before they hit his bare skin but soaking into his black t-shirt. Those drops rose as steam from his shoulders. He hated the rain. It was up there with daemons, that disgusting feeling that they gave him, and Hellspawn who called him out to the gate and never thanked him for opening it.
Like the woman tonight.
He huffed and quickened his pace, hoping to make it back to his apartment on foot before the rain really kicked in. He could teleport himself there, but not without draining more of what little energy he had left, and he needed to conserve as much of that as possible. He reached his exit and crossed the street, mind fixed on the daemon who had got away.
What had he wanted with the gate?
Ares wasn’t about to fall for his feigned disinterest. The man was up to something and he wanted to know what it was, and he would find out before dawn broke.
The rain grew heavier, hammering the pavement and the parked cars along the road, and he moved closer to the tall brick buildings, seeking what little shelter he could find. Heavy rain was not his friend, especially when he was in a foul mood, barely retaining control over his power. It broke through the heat that constantly surrounded him and evaporated when it hit his skin.
Nothing drew mortals’ attentions like a steaming man.
A yellow taxi drove by, headlights cutting through the downpour and tyres whooshing as they sprayed water over the cars parked along the street. He tipped his head back, watching the droplets fall and sparkle in the streetlights. He wanted a shower but not this sort.
It was still another block and a half to his apartment and he wanted to be home, in the dry. He would patch himself up, throw on some fresh clothes, arm himself and use the time to centre himself again so he could pull back control over his power. Control he badly needed.
When the daemon returned, he would be ready to deal with him.
It wouldn’t be the first time he had gone into battle injured and drained, and it wouldn’t even be the worst. Life in the mortal world was making him soft. He had once battled a legion of daemons with one arm broken and several arrows lodged in his left thigh, and he had decimated them.
Ares smiled. The good old days. It had been centuries since he had gone to war together with his brothers, unleashing the hunger for violence and destruction that made the god his parents had named him after so proud of him.
He focused and the street whirled and disappeared, replaced by his apartment. He flicked the light on, illuminating the pale coffee-coloured walls and dark furniture in the open plan kitchen and living room. He looked down at his boots and the puddle already forming around them on his wooden floor, and toed them off and kicked them into the kitchen on his right. They tumbled across the tiled floor, hit one of the oak cupboards and stopped. He reached over his shoulder with his right hand, grabbed the back of his ruined wet black t-shirt, pulled it over his head and tossed it onto the tiles with his boots.
The water around his feet evaporated, steam curling off his already drying black jeans. He needed to get his mood in check before something bad happened.
He closed his eyes and drew in several deep breaths, holding each one before slowly expelling the air, and reined in his temper together with his power, restoring the usual rigid control he kept over it and stopping his flames from emerging. The heat that always surrounded him settled to a more manageable, and safer, level, and he released another breath, this one more a sigh of relief. The last thing he wanted to do tonight was set his apartment on fire. Again. It had been a shitty enough night without that added cherry on top.
When he felt calm enough to maintain control over his fire, he walked into the open living room and pushed the second door in the wall to his left open. He switched the bathroom light on, turned and frowned at his reflection in the mirrored wall on his left above the vanity unit and sink.
He looked like hell.
The female daemon had done a number on him. Long gashes darted across his chest and forearms where she had caught him with her claws. He touched the deepest one of the three on his pectorals and beads of blood broke to the surface.
He frowned and the gold flecks in his eyes darkened to red, glowing against their earthy brown backdrop.
The daemon shouldn’t have been able to land a single blow on him, let alone several. He had been too complacent tonight. He had been dealing with low level daemons for so long that he had forgotten there were stronger ones out there, just waiting for him to drop his guard.
It wouldn’t happen again.
Find all the links, a fantastic 4 chapter downloadable sample of the book, and also enter the giveaway and be in with a shot of winning a $75, $50 or $25 gift certificate at her website: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/guardians-of-hades-ares-paranormal-romance-book.php
Felicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.
If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, her best-selling Her Angel romance series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm romance series or any of her stand alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try her Vampire Erotic Theatre romance series. Or if you like hot-blooded alpha heroes who will let nothing stand in the way of them claiming their destined woman then try her Eternal Mates series. It’s packed with sexy heroes in a world populated by elves, vampires, fae, demons, shifters, and more. If sexy Greek gods with incredible powers battling to save our world and their home in the Underworld are more your thing, then be sure to step into the world of Guardians of Hades.
If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places: