New York Times best-selling paranormal romance author Felicity Heaton is here today for the book tour of her new paranormal romance release, CALISTOS, the latest novel in her epic Guardians of Hades series.
If you love dark, alpha Greek gods and strong heroines who bring them to their knees, together with epic action, sizzling passion and high stakes drama, 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!
by Felicity Heaton
Tormented by the death of his twin sister, Calistos wants nothing more than to find a way to save her soul, but the pain of continuing without her, the constant feeling that he got her killed, is slowly pulling him down into the darkness and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he succumbs to the call of the abyss.
Until a battle sets him on a collision course with a kind-hearted and beautiful mortal, one who rouses softer emotions he had sworn he would never risk feeling again, threatening to peel away his mask of playfulness and shatter the barriers around his heart.
Marinda is a woman on a mission—to become a great cellist and repay her father for his faith in her. But her regimented and studious life is thrown into chaos when a handsome man is carted into the ER where she works and takes her hostage, pulling her into a dark and dangerous world… one where she discovers there’s more to her than meets the eye and her entire life has been a lie.
When the enemy makes a play for Marinda and the gates, will Calistos find the strength to let someone into his heart again and look to the future, or will the pain of his past lead him to unleash hell on this world?
Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win one of a $75, $50 or $25 Amazon Gift Card at the Calistos book page. This giveaway is international and open to everyone and ends at midnight on August 16th. Enter now: http://www.felicityheaton.com/guardians-of-hades-calistos-paranormal-romance-book.php
He focused on it, attempting to bring his senses back online as his entire body throbbed, a deep ache that warned him he had been badly injured and was still recovering.
“I don’t think so!” Her French accent lent a hard edge to that refusal.
Who was she talking to? What didn’t she want to do?
“I helped him.” She sounded fearful now, but angry too. “You asked me to help him… and I didn’t ask to be brought here.”
Another voice rumbled in his ears, this one a black snarl, and he struggled to make out what they were saying.
A second female joined the conversation, her tone gentle, whisper-soft. “The waters of the Lethe will not hurt you, child.”
Cal growled as he was hurled back through time, memories flittering past him at high speed until he landed on the banks of that turbulent river, faced with a choice.
Drink the waters and forget her, or live with the constant pain in his heart.
“I don’t want to forget.” The French woman’s voice dropped low, the pain that laced each trembling word cutting through him.
He hadn’t wanted to forget either. He never wanted to forget.
He wanted to remember everything. He wanted to remember his sister. He wanted to remember what had happened to her. To him. He wanted to remember the face of the one who had tormented, tortured and murdered her.
But he never could.
In the vision building around him in the darkness of his mind, the river bubbling before him shifted colour and changed course, the waters receding to form a single sphere that then rose up before him. It dropped into a silver goblet, cupped in a delicate pale hand.
Mnemosyne offered it to him.
The water of memory.
Great pain rolled through him and he eased away a step, stumbled and fell on his back before her cell in the towering prison of Tartarus. Because the water offered only misery, only more pain when it failed to work. Not again. He would never drink it again.
“Drink the water.” Hades’s voice boomed like thunder rolling across the land, shattering the memory to leave only darkness behind.
Fear washed through Calistos. Fear that didn’t feel as if it was his own.
“You can’t make me.” That sweet voice lacked conviction as it shook.
He growled as he realised what was happening, as it all came flooding back in a torrent of images. Waking in a bright room. Finding himself surrounded by mortals. The agony. The fiery pain. The sudden explosion of energy inside him.
And then her.
A beauty who had looked as if she had stepped right out of Ancient Greece with her spun gold hair twisted into a braid across the top of her head and her warm blue-green eyes as inviting as the Aegean waters.
A snarl tore from his lips as he recalled seizing her, threatening her to defend himself against the other mortals, as he remembered trying to speak to her and how fiercely he had needed to keep her with him.
So fiercely he had apparently brought her with him to the Underworld.
“No,” he bit out, voice a hoarse scrape in his ears as he tried to move. He needed to stop his father. She was right and she had done nothing wrong. Gentle hands grasped his shoulders to hold him down, her touch light and offering comfort that he stole, strength that he absorbed as he gathered all that he could, preparing for a fight he would never win in his current condition. “No.”
When those tender hands attempted to keep him pinned, he brushed them away, as gently as he could manage as rage slowly built in his veins, roused by the thought of his father forcing the waters of the Lethe upon the mortal female who had helped him.
“Leave her.” Cal manoeuvred onto his elbows and managed to find the strength to crack his eyes open. They were sore, gritty and dry, his vision blurred. The room was a mash of fuzzy colours dominated by black. He blinked rapidly to clear his eyes and bring everything into focus. “I’ll take her back.”
“You will.” Hades stared him down from the end of the bed, his red eyes bright in the low light, stark against the long black lashes that framed them and his pale complexion. Obsidian spikes rose from his raven hair, a crown that suited the god-king of the Underworld, one meant to intimidate his enemies. “Once she has tasted the waters.”
Hades revealed the slender violet glass vial with a flourish, cupping it in the black claws of his left gauntlet. His father had come dressed for war.
Cal glanced at the golden-haired beauty where she stood off to his left, close to his mother, her soiled white shirt and grey pencil skirt so out of place in this dark ancient realm.
She wasn’t a threat to his father or this world. Hades was overreacting. She was mortal.
He could feel it in her, was deeply aware of it and what he had done, how he had placed the fragile female in danger.
“Just let me take her back.” He tried to sit up, but his strength failed him and he gritted his teeth as pain blazed through him. He sank back against his elbows.
For a heartbeat, concern surfaced in his father’s eyes.
And then they hardened again.
“She must drink the waters.”
“I don’t have to do anything,” the woman snapped, fire in her eyes that swiftly abated when Hades shifted his gaze to her. She shrank back and wrapped her arms around herself, her slender dirty fingers tugging at her soiled white shirt near her elbows.
She looked small like that. Vulnerable.
It roused a dark need inside him.
Cal wanted to fight in her corner and convince his father that she wouldn’t tell anyone what she had seen, that no one would believe her if she did, but deep inside he knew his father was only doing what was necessary to protect his realm and his people.
Persephone looked to Hades and then to him, concern softening her green eyes as they met his.
He pulled down a deep breath and then nodded, hating himself for consenting to this when every fibre of his being wanted him to fight his father on it. He didn’t want her to suffer as he did, forgetting things that happened to her, left to wonder what she couldn’t remember when she inevitably felt as if she had forgotten something.
He only felt worse when his father held the vial out to him. He shook his head. He couldn’t be the one to do it and his father had to see that. He had to see the guilt and shame that was building inside him, a swirling tempest that felt as if it was ripping him apart as he waited. Hades curled a lip at the woman and turned towards her, his crimson cloak swirling around his ankles as he came to face her.
Darkness reigned in his father’s eyes as they burned scarlet, rage that flowed into the room from him and drove Calistos to act, because he wasn’t sure his father wouldn’t hurt her if he had to do the deed himself.
Persephone moved before Cal could muster the strength to intervene, gliding towards Hades and gently lifting her hand as she reached him, closing it over the vial.
“Allow me, my love.” She carefully took the violet glass bottle from him, brushing her fingers along his as she did so, a soothing caress that worked its magic on his father and had the rage in his eyes ebbing away again.
Cal deserved his father’s fury for bringing this mortal into his world, and for returning when he had been banished to the human world to defend the gates to the Underworld, protecting them from a calamity the Moirai had foreseen centuries ago.
This woman was an innocent, caught up in this because of him because he was as reckless as his family believed him to be.
More reckless in fact.
If they knew the things he did, they would lock him away in Esher’s cage to keep him safe.
Persephone tipped the vial upside down and back again, pulled the stopper from it and held it out to the woman. “Only a drop. It will not hurt you and you can return to your world, to where you belong.”
The blonde looked as if she wanted to say something as she gazed into Persephone’s eyes, and as those tranquil blue-green orbs shifted to him, but then she nodded.
Opened her mouth.
Accepted the drop his mother placed on her tongue.
She closed her rosy lips, shut her eyes and swayed, a frown flickering on her brow.
When she opened her eyes again, they were dull and unfocused. She stared straight ahead of her, at his mother, a blank expression on her face.
“You have a few minutes to return her to her world before the waters take full effect.” Persephone handed the vial back to Hades, who curled sharp claws around it and levelled a black look on him, one that warned Cal that he wanted to speak with him about what he had done, and it wouldn’t be a pleasant conversation. His mother eased towards Cal and touched his arm, offered a smile that shone with love, and mischief. “I suggest you go now. Time is of the essence.”
It was. She was giving him an out, a chance to run before his father could explode at him over what he had done, and he was going to take it.
He let her help him from the bed, his strength returning as he shuffled towards the woman with her assistance. When he reached the blonde, he seized her arm, focused and muttered the words to activate the favour mark that Hermes had bestowed upon him at his birth. Blue light shone from the ancient writing on his right forearm and he focused on where he wanted to be as he looked at the woman. A portal shimmered into being just behind her, rippling like water as it expanded to fill a space large enough for both of them to pass through.
“Calistos,” Hades started.
Cal shoved her through and followed her, grimaced as they landed in the damp parking lot of a hospital. His father was either going to summon him to chew him out or send a Messenger to do it for him.
Either way he would deal with it. He was well aware of the massive cock up he had made, and he deserved the wrath his father was going to level at him.
He looked at the woman, taking in her dull eyes and how she stared off into the distance, completely unaware of the world around her. Vulnerable.
He released her arm and lifted his hand, brushed rogue honey strands back into the plait that curved over the top of her head, and feathered his fingers down her cheek. She didn’t react.
“Sorry,” he murmured, the apology tasting hollow on his tongue, not nearly enough to make up for what he had put her through. He couldn’t imagine how frightened she had been—of him, of the world he had taken her to, and of his father.
He should have stood up for her. He cursed low as he stroked her cheek, as she continued to stare straight ahead of her, across the busy car park. He was weak right now, still recovering from his injuries, but he should have defended her.
He looked down at himself, at the bandages and dressings that covered his healing wounds, and at the crimson and black that stained her clothing—his blood and daemon blood. She had helped him, and he should have helped her. She had been afraid, and he had allowed his father to go ahead and wipe her memory.
He should have fought.
Esher had fought their father, had gone against him and had gotten what he wanted.
Cal’s courage had failed him.
Or maybe he just wasn’t as insane as his older brother.
His phone vibrated in his pocket. He grimaced. No guesses needed to know who it would be and why they were messaging him.
He pulled his phone out, slowly, guilt fusing with anxiety inside him, a sickening sense of anticipation that set him on edge. He turned the screen towards him and grimaced again as he spotted his oldest brother’s name at the top of a very short message. Keras was pissed.
The message was three words.
Meeting. Tokyo. Now!
Apparently, his father had sent a Messenger as predicted, only he had sent it to his brothers.
The worst part about having six older brothers? Having seven mothers. It wasn’t as if there were centuries between them. Hell, there was less than forty years between him and Daimon, the second youngest. Cal was over seven hundred and sixty years old. Didn’t stop them from treating him like a kid though.
They were overprotective and overbearing.
Had been ever since they had lost his twin sister.
Pain struck across his skull like lightning and he flinched and rubbed his forehead, cursed low as that agony spread through him, condensing in his chest. He held himself together through sheer will alone, breathed through the pain and the fear, reaching for the other side. The pain slowly passed, the impending sense of doom lifting with it.
He hated that he couldn’t even think about Calindria without fear of blacking out. He wanted to remember her, needed to remember the good times because right now he was on the verge of stepping off into the darkness and he knew he wouldn’t come back.
The abyss beckoned.
Offered oblivion and an end to his pain. His suffering.
The only hope he had left in this world was the hope that through death he might be able to see her again.
The woman beside him murmured something. He stared at her, silently apologising again for everything he had done, and how she was going to feel when she came around, her memories of him stolen from her.
Would she feel as lost as he did whenever he blacked out and couldn’t remember anything? Would she hate that feeling as much as he did?
He hated that he had inflicted it upon her.
“I’m sorry,” he muttered again, lingering now, unable to bring himself to part from her while she looked so lost, so vulnerable.
He forced himself to take a step back and break contact with her.
Her stunning eyes gradually gained awareness.
Calistos stepped, a term he and his brothers used for teleporting, leaving her before she noticed him. Darkness embraced him, a cool and comforting touch as he passed through his connection to the Underworld to emerge on the other side of the planet in Tokyo.
He had barely touched down in the elegant formal garden of the ancient Japanese mansion before Ares, his second eldest brother, was collaring him. His brother’s hand briefly closed around the back of his neck, the scalding heat of it warning him that Ares wasn’t happy. It worked in Cal’s favour.
Ares’s power over fire had manifested when they had been banished to the mortal world, meaning his brother couldn’t touch anything without risking setting it aflame, especially when he was in a bad mood.
Which was around ninety percent of the time.
The only one who was apparently immune to his power was Megan, his wife, a Carrier who had inherited the power to heal from her ancient Hellspawn ancestry.
“Move it. You’ve got some fucking explaining to do.” Ares moved up behind him, a wall of heat that had Cal moving towards the wooden porch of the Edo period single-storey building despite the fact he wanted to run in the opposite direction.
Mostly because in his current mood, Ares wouldn’t be allowed into it. Esher would see to that. Esher protected the mansion that was his home as fiercely as he protected his family.
“Shit, man, you royally fucked up.” Valen greeted him at the door, his violet-haired brother grinning like a fool. The puckered scar tissue that ran down his jaw and neck pulled taut as that grin widened. “Good luck.”
Valen slapped him on the back as Cal kicked his boots off and entered the building, stepping into the long rectangular room that made up the communal area of the mansion.
To his right, Esher sat with Aiko on one of the cream couches in the modern TV area, holding her tucked close to him on his lap, fussing over her. Aiko murmured sweet things to him in stilted English, soothing him, increasing the guilt Cal felt. Apparently, his little trip to the Underworld had reminded his brother of when Aiko had been killed, and how he had fought to bring her soul back to the mortal world.
Esher was on edge enough as it was these days, without Cal adding to his burden. All Esher could think about was hunting the wraith, Eli, one of the ranks of their enemy. It was taking all the power Aiko had over his brother to keep him from losing control and surrendering to that need.
To his other side.
Thankfully, it appeared two of his brothers had found reasons not to attend his trial.
Although he could have lived without Keras being present.
His judge, jury and possible executioner towered before him, his backdrop a beautiful manicured garden of topiary and gravel framed by the white paper panels that had been pushed open to reveal it, an immaculate vision that suited his oldest brother.
As always, Keras wore perfectly pressed black slacks, expensive polished black leather shoes, and a crisp black dress shirt. If his brother had been worried about him at all, it didn’t show in the hard lines of his sculpted features or the sharp edge to his green eyes.
“You want to explain what happened?” Keras said, deep voice as calm and smooth as an ocean on a still day. His brother was just as unpredictable too. He schooled his features well, hid his emotions from everyone, but sometimes, just sometimes, he reacted.
Like when Cal was rubbing him the wrong way, which was pretty much every day.
Cal shrugged. “I don’t remember.”
Keras’s green eyes narrowed. “You don’t remember. How convenient.”
Cal glared at him. That was a low blow. Forgetting things was never convenient for him. He despised that he couldn’t recall what had happened before he had come around on that hospital gurney surrounded by a few too many curious mortals.
“Easy,” Ares murmured from behind him, and Keras levelled a black look on him that warned him to stay out of this.
Cal knew his brothers well enough to know that wasn’t going to happen. Ares would have his own choice words to say to him about what he had done, but he wouldn’t let Keras go too far, or strike low blows meant to wound.
“Try to remember, because our father is… furious.” Keras managed to pick a word that perfectly conveyed what Cal had felt coming from their father.
Probably because Cal could feel it coming from him too.
Cal cocked his right hip, rubbed his jaw with his left hand, ignoring the dull, sore ache in his arm, and pursed his lips. “I met a really hot girl. Bee-u-tiful.”
“Calistos,” Ares said, the warning in his tone aimed at him now. “You know the rules. We all agreed to them. Hellspawn are involved with our enemy, so whenever we go to a gate or it calls us, we go together. Just admit you went to a gate, admit you messed up.”
Hellspawn was the name he and his brothers used for the breeds of daemons that Hades had allowed to remain in the Underworld after the last rebellion when he had exiled all from the species who had been involved in the uprising and closed the gates to them. Hellspawn was allowed to come and go as they pleased with their father’s consent, travelling through the gates between the Underworld and this one.
Well, almost all the Hellspawn breeds were allowed to travel freely through the gates with Hades’s permission.
Since Keras had sent a Messenger to Hades about the possibility a necromancer was involved with their enemy, Hades had stopped giving permission to that breed, closing the gates to them and trapping them either in the Underworld or the mortal one.
Their father had also dispatched several of his legions to seek out the necromancers and bring them in for questioning, and every god and goddess allied with him was on the look out for them too.
So far, none had turned up.
“I have better things to do than this, so it would be appreciated if you would just fess up,” Valen put in. “I’m no saint, but even I agree that taking backup to the gates is the smart thing to do. The enemy knows we’re the keys to those gates now, and they know the only way to open one is to have us near it, so that means we work as a team. Safety in numbers and all that shit.”
Things had to be bad if Valen was going along with things rather than acting out and playing the rebel.
“Why didn’t you message for backup?” Keras moved a step towards Cal, a casual move but one that sent a cold chill shooting down Cal’s spine.
He preferred a little distance between him and his oldest brother when he was in a mood, and Keras was in a mood. He could see it now, building in his green eyes, a storm looming in the distance but rapidly growing stronger.
The sort Cal loved to unleash on the world.
He didn’t want to answer his brother’s question. To answer it, he would have to attempt to remember. Only pain lay that way.
“There must have been a powerful enemy involved.” Valen moved around him, casting golden eyes over Cal’s bare chest and ruined black combats. “Several of them. You were in bad shape. Father’s Messenger relayed that much.”
Valen placed a hand on Cal’s shoulder, and Cal shrugged it off because seeing worry in his brother’s eyes was unnerving. He preferred the fuck-you-all brand of Valen. This new, softer version freaked him out.
“Try to remember.”
Cal looked at Keras as he spoke those words, catching in his eyes how much his brother needed him to explain, and therefore at least attempt to remember. Hades hadn’t just sent a Messenger to inform his brothers of what had happened in the Underworld. He had sent a request for information, one Keras needed to fulfil.
Hades wanted to know what had happened.
Their father had been on edge since Keras had sent the Messenger to inform him of their suspicions about a necromancer being involved. Keras had to send regular reports to him now, sometimes more than once a day depending on their father’s mood. Cal could understand why both Keras and their father were so insistent on getting every scrap of information available to them, because anything could be a clue as to who was involved or what the enemy planned to do next.
Cal sucked down a deep breath. He was doing this then. No question about it. His father wanted the details, and as much as it pained Cal, both physically and emotionally, he would do his best to provide them.
“Fine,” he grated and went to the couch that stood with its back to the main area of the room. “At least let me sit down in case I pass out. I’ve had enough knocks for a lifetime tonight.”
He slumped into the seat, leaned back against the soft cushions and closed his eyes, ignoring Esher’s muttered words about dirtying the cream material.
He focused inside of him instead, on the darkness of his mind, conjuring an image of the first thing he remembered on coming around. The white room. The humans. The beauty, staring at him from the doorway, fascination mixed with fear in her striking eyes. He remembered speaking to her.
Cal forced himself to go backwards, denying the need to roll forwards and replay everything that had happened with her. He remembered pain. Incredible pain. Jerky movements. Someone lifting him. The paramedics?
He pushed back further, and gritted his teeth as fire spiderwebbed across his skull, red veins of it that he could almost see as it burned his mind, bringing darkness in its wake. He struggled against it, stretching for the memory that felt just out of reach, hoping this time he would be able to recall it all without the abyss devouring him.
The darkness roared up on him, a towering black wave that threatened oblivion, but he pushed back against it and a faint image flickered in his mind, and a feeling went through him.
He popped his eyes open and let everything go, releasing it in a rush of breath as he sank deeper into the couch.
“Well?” Ares knelt beside him, concern in his dark eyes, his overlong tawny hair mussed and pulled from the leather thong he wore it tied back with. His brother dropped his hand to his black jeans-clad knee. “Did you remember anything?”
While he couldn’t recall what had happened to him between fighting a horde of daemons and waking in that hospital room, he could remember a few things.
Like where he had been.
“Seville. I was at the twin gate.” The one that had been bound to his twin sister before he had been forced to seal it shut and close it down, leaving him feeling as if he had lost her all over again. “A lot of daemons showed up. I think I ended up teleporting to get away from them.”
His brothers exchanged sympathetic glances. Would they be so sympathetic if he told them what else he had remembered?
He hadn’t fought back.
In that moment, he had felt so empty, so hollowed out, that he hadn’t been able to bring himself to fight the daemons.
He had wanted to die.
Death wasn’t the answer. Keras was right about that. Dying wouldn’t reunite him with Calindria. To see her again, he needed to find whoever had her soul and discover the location of it. He had to live.
But it was so hard to do that.
The daemons had caught him at a low point, when the pain of closing the gate linked to her had been too raw and too much for him, opening him to the thought of escaping it all by letting oblivion claim him.
Part of him hated that he had sunk this low, that he had craved death because Keras was right about another thing too.
Calindria wouldn’t want it.
She would want him to live.
He just wasn’t sure he had the strength left in him to do that.
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, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm 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 the best-selling London Vampires series. Seven sexy and sinful Greek god brothers can be your new addiction in the Guardians of Hades series. Or how about four hot alpha shifter brothers in her Cougar Creek Mates series? Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the Eternal Mates series.
If you want to know more about Felicity or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places: