Daimon (Guardians of Hades Paranormal Romance Series Book 6)
by Felicity Heaton
Daimon is ice. His heart is frozen by it. His body caged by it. And he likes it that way. But the sexy sorceress that storms into his life and declares herself a part of his team in his battle against the daemon uprising is determined to melt the ice that has shielded him for centuries, and he’s powerless to stop the burning need she ignites in him.
Even when he’s sure it’s only a game to her.
Cassandra has a sword hanging over her, a duty she has no choice but to perform and one she’s been putting off for years. Her latest excuse? Helping a band of immortal brothers with a war that might mean the end of this world if they fail. Her delaying the inevitable has nothing to do with the gorgeous Greek god who keeps rebuffing her and everything to do with saving the world. He’s a nice distraction and nothing more. She keeps telling herself that.
Even when she’s sure he’s a danger to her heart.
As things heat up in the battle to save the mortal world and the Underworld, will Daimon’s icy heart be able to withstand the fiery witch who can scorch him with just a look?
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This wasn’t going well.
Daimon slipped a throwing knife from the holster that sat against his ribs over his navy roll-neck long-sleeve, and funnelled his power into it before sending it flying at the daemon running right at him across the dewy moonlit grass of Hyde Park. The small blade hit its target, nailing the human-looking male in the chest. Ice immediately spread outwards from the point of impact and the male grunted and went down clutching his chest as glittering frost flowers rapidly covered it. His skin darkened, turning mottled in the low light, appearing almost black.
Beside Daimon, his older brother Ares unleashed a wave of fire at another two daemons, driving them back, and tossed a fireball at a third.
They had expected this.
What they hadn’t expected was that it would take so long to close one of the main gates.
Behind him, Valen grunted and muttered a black curse in the mortal tongue. The scent of his brother’s blood hung heavily in the damp autumnal night air. Worry ran through Daimon, and not only him. Ares flicked a concerned glance over his broad shoulder, the fires of the Underworld raging in his eyes, making them glow in the darkness.
Eva bit out something in Italian. She had stopped speaking English around five minutes ago, when Valen had announced the gate was resisting his attempt to seal it and had decided to spill more of his blood in the hope it would speed the process along since twenty daemons had descended on them.
“I’m going to need more,” Valen gritted, his voice tight and speaking of the frustration Daimon could feel in him.
As well as the pain.
“Too risky,” Ares answered as a whip made of fire appeared in his right hand and he narrowed his gaze on the trees that enclosed one side of the area around the gate. Daemons spilled from them, cutting across the paths and the grass, heading right for him. He grunted as he lashed out at the daemons with the flaming whip, driving them back and stopping them from reaching Valen. “You sure you’re using the right wards? Or doing them right? I mean, we all know how shitty your wards are.”
Valen chuckled, the sound out of place given the graveness of the situation. “Don’t know what you’re talking about. My wards are beautiful.”
They weren’t. Valen had never bothered to apply himself when it came to studying wards. Their father, Hades, the god-king of the Underworld, had gone as far as calling them bad. It took a lot for their father to admit to a fault in any of his sons, let alone point it out to the entire family.
“You’re definitely using the right ones?” Daimon didn’t take his eyes off the daemons as they made another attempt to get past him and Ares, breaking into four teams of four and coming at them in one wave.
The longer this war to protect the gates between the mortal realm and the Underworld went on, the more organised the daemons were becoming. He swore the enemy were training them, teaching them how to fight as a unit—turning them into soldiers.
He had to admit he’d preferred it when the daemons had been lone wolves, only a few of them reckless enough to succumb to the lure of breaching a gate and entering the Underworld—a realm they were forbidden to enter.
Just like Daimon and his brothers.
Only unlike the daemons, he could go home once this war was done.
He drew down a breath and threw his right hand forwards as he summoned his power. The dew on the grass became a thousand tiny ice needles that flew through the air and hammered into one of the daemons, taking him down. The female daemon who had been running beside that wretched male shrieked as she was caught by a few of the small spears of ice, her ear-splitting cry piercing enough that Daimon flinched and his next wave missed their target.
“Exactly as Cal told me.” Valen huffed and water sloshed as he moved, a reminder to Daimon to keep his distance from his brother since standing in the Round Pond was the only way for Valen to get close enough to the gate to spill his blood on it. The last thing Daimon wanted was to accidentally freeze the small lake. Valen grumbled, “And Keras hammered home around thirty times.”
His violet-haired brother wasn’t embellishing that.
Keras, their oldest brother and self-appointed leader, had sat Valen down on one of the cream couches in the Tokyo mansion and gone over the wards at least three dozen times. In the end, Valen had stepped, a term they used for teleporting since it only took a single step for them to travel great distances, to escape another round of which wards went where.
It wasn’t that Keras didn’t trust Valen to get it right, it was that this was important.
Since the enemy had revealed they were in possession of two of the Erinyes, goddesses who had the ability to siphon powers and who strengthened that power by passing it between them in a cycle, and those Erinyes had gotten their hands on the ability to command the gates Daimon and his brothers protected, they had been on red alert.
The gates were the focus of their mission, the reason Hades had banished Daimon and his brothers to the mortal world two centuries ago, after the Moirai had foreseen a great calamity, one where an unknown enemy would breach the gates between the mortal realm and the Underworld, fusing the two into a new hellish realm.
It had come to light that he and his brothers were more than just protectors of the gates though.
They were bound to them in blood, a bond forged at the time of their birth, one gate created for each of them.
Cal had managed to close their twin sister’s gate in Seville, and had gone over everything he had done, using wards, a sort of spell, to seal it and conceal it, stopping it from opening and rendering it safe from the enemy.
With the enemy able to open the gates thanks to the power the Erinyes had stolen from Marinda, Cal’s girlfriend and the third Erinyes, and the fact the enemy seemed bent on breaching at least one gate before that power faded, Keras had decided they needed to act.
Closing the gates was dangerous, because it meant there were fewer gates to share the power that flowed between them all, and that would make them more unpredictable and harder to command, but it was a necessary risk.
And the only path open to them.
It would not only give the enemy fewer gates they could hit, but it would mean that the enemy couldn’t split him and his brothers up as easily.
Valen had volunteered to seal the London gate, which was bound to him, and Cal had volunteered to close the main Seville gate. Cal was there now with Keras, Marek, and Caterina, Marek’s girl-fiend as Valen called her because she was a hybrid, a human who had been given daemon blood by the enemy in an attempt to take down Marek.
Everyone had thought sealing a main gate would be as simple as closing the twin gate had been for Cal.
Apparently, everyone had thought wrong.
Ares took out another two daemons, bringing their numbers down but still not enough to satisfy Daimon. He imbued another two knives with his ice and let them fly. One of them buried to the ring-shaped hilt in the forehead of a female daemon, and the other slammed into the throat of the male behind her.
Valen bit out a ripe curse.
Daimon didn’t take his focus away from the daemons charging towards him.
Ares looked back at their brother and swore too.
That didn’t sound good.
Daimon risked a glance over his shoulder as he sent a thicker spear of ice flying at the closest daemon, cleaving the male in two at the waist.
“Shit,” he muttered as he spotted what his brothers had.
More daemons, sprinting towards them from the other side of the Round Pond, a shadowy mass of them silhouetted before the elegant red-brick and sandstone Kensington Palace.
The new horde of daemons split into two groups as they reached the far end of the pond, coming at them from both sides.
Above the water, the flat disc of the gate shimmered in a rainbow of colours, chasing back the darkness. The thick rings rotated slowly in opposing directions, all of them chasing around the central violet circle. Glyphs encircled each band, smaller ones that filled the gaps between them, and larger ones inside the ring. The power of the gate hummed in the air, inside him, drew him to it with a promise that on the other side was home.
A place he wanted to go more than anything.
There, his power was under his control, would no longer shimmer over his skin in a way that felt like a curse. Here, he couldn’t touch anyone, not even his brothers, without risking killing them with his ice, or severely maiming them at the very least. Here, he was alone, even within the circle of his brothers.
The blood Valen had spilled on the gate absorbed into it, the colours that danced across its surface and curled into the air like faint smoke brightening again.
It was beautiful.
Beautiful and vulnerable.
Daimon’s stomach swirled as the daemons closed in, the foul coppery odour of them filling the air, drawing out his darker side. He wouldn’t let them near the gate.
He closed his eyes, drew down a slow breath that filled his lungs, and focused his power, calling on it. His blood chilled and he shuddered, huddling down into the tall neck of his long-sleeved sweater and his ankle-length black coat, trying to keep that cold at bay.
It never worked.
It was always there, always part of him in this world, a constant presence that drained him emotionally.
He flicked his eyes open and swiftly raised both of his gloved hands.
Around him, his brothers and the gate, hundreds of clear shards of ice shot from the earth and the water to form a circular wall forty feet tall.
Daimon sagged forwards and Ares came to check on him as Valen muttered an oath.
His older brother ghosted a hand over Daimon’s spine, the warmth that emanated from him giving Daimon a brief reprieve from the cold. Ares shared his problem. His brother’s power over fire had manifested in this world, meaning he couldn’t touch anyone without the risk of burning them.
Or at least he hadn’t been able to until Megan, a Carrier with the ability to heal, had come into his life. Megan was immune to Ares’s fire, and could withstand Daimon’s ice, and he and his brothers had surmised she was closer to her demigod ancestors than most Carriers.
“Can you get it done?” Daimon pressed his hands to his thighs and ignored the way the frost on his leather gloves spread onto his black jeans.
“Give me a minute.” Valen went back to work, holding his arm out over the gate and closing his eyes as his blood spilled onto it. Beside him, Eva, his brother’s mortal assassin girlfriend, shifted foot to foot, concern shining in her rich blue eyes.
“I’ll handle these guys.” Ares straightened and broke away from Daimon, heading for the few daemons that had ended up within the ice wall.
Daimon wanted to help him, but he needed to focus on the wall. Where it touched the water, it was in danger of melting, was weaker and vulnerable. The daemons had already figured that out and were beating it with fist and claw, attempting to break through. He focused there, summoning more shards of ice to reinforce it.
Wishing Esher was here.
His brother would have used that water to his advantage, would have drowned all the daemons in a heartbeat.
Daimon looked at the gate and fought the urge that suddenly sparked to life inside him.
Esher was on the other side of that gate, in the Underworld, hunting for one of the enemy who had slipped through the gate in Paris. He was alone. Lost to his other side. Daimon rose to his full height and drifted towards the gate, pulled to it as his heart filled with a need to find Esher.
Pain bloomed inside him, searing his bones in multiple places where an injury didn’t exist on his own body.
It existed on Esher’s.
Daimon could feel them, the depth of the bond they had forged over the centuries relaying not only the pain his brother felt, but the anger and frustration.
The other side of Esher, the savage and cold one that had been born in the darkest of times, was firmly in control. Daimon could feel that too. He needed his brother back with him, not only because he needed to know he was safe and because he was worried about him—missed him.
He needed him back so he could bring him back.
Esher had confessed to him once that he feared that other side of himself, that he loathed it. Daimon could only imagine how his brother was suffering now, a slave to his darker side, driven to hunt and not rest until he had secured his prey.
If they could get their hands on him, they might be able to find out who was behind this attempt to breach the gates. Once, they had believed it was purely the work of daemons, but then they had discovered a Hellspawn, what he and his brothers called the species of daemons who had been allowed to remain in the Underworld after the last rebellion against Hades, was involved, and now there were goddesses on the enemy side.
Where did it end?
Someone was behind all of this, and all they had to go on was that it was a female.
Their father had sent them a long list of possible enemies currently residing in the Underworld, far too many for Daimon’s liking. Discovering which of them, if any, were behind everything would take too long. It was quicker to get their hands on the wraith and make him talk.
An ominous creaking noise drew Daimon’s gaze to his left. His eyes tracked the jagged fault line spreading up the ice from a point where several daemons were clawing at it. Was he imagining it, or were there even more daemons now?
“You guys got this?” Valen said.
“Sure.” Daimon readied himself, shoring up the wall of ice but aware it wouldn’t hold, not against that many sets of claws.
The daemons’ black blood streaked the clear ice, the foul stench of it filling the air. Disgust rolled through him and he curled his lip.
Ares grunted in response from the right side of the pond as he slammed a daemon into the pavement that encircled the water.
“Good, because I’m not sure I can do this.” Valen sounded tired now, and when Daimon fixed his senses on his violet-haired brother, he felt it too. “Not without a little more juice.”
Daimon looked back at him.
Valen’s golden eyes glittered, glowing in the light shining from the gate as he raised one of his blades.
“No,” Ares snarled, pivoted towards him, and kicked off.
He wouldn’t make it. Neither would Daimon, not even if he stepped.
All he could do was watch as Valen ran the blade across his wrist and blood gushed from the wound.
“Stronzo!” Eva barked and lunged for him, her short black hair flying out of her face as she reached for the blade.
Valen sagged as blood poured from his wrist, splattering across the surface of the gate and spreading outwards, and Eva grabbed him instead of the knife. She caught him as his knees gave out.
He breathed hard from between gritted teeth, his eyes rapidly darkening as they narrowed.
Eva muttered soft words in Italian, sweet chastising ones coupled with a few strong swear words that Daimon decided his brother deserved.
Valen leaned heavily on her slender shoulders, his arm shaking as he tried to keep holding it out over the gate. Eva took hold of his arm for him, helping him, and he looked at her, a hell of a lot of love in his eyes that was still strange to see. Valen’s default setting for his entire life had been caustic, and it had only gotten worse in the centuries after their sister had died and Zeus had punished Valen for his insubordination by removing his favour from him, leaving a ragged scar down the left side of Valen’s face and neck, a permanent reminder of what he had done.
So it was weird seeing his brother looking at someone with genuine warmth in his eyes.
The blood Valen was spilling onto the gate seeped across the surface, muting the colours.
“I think it’s working,” Valen slurred.
Eva struggled to keep him on his feet.
Daimon wasn’t sure how their youngest brother, Calistos, was going to be able to handle closing the main gate in Seville if closing London was draining Valen this much. Cal had been out of sorts since they had lost the chance to discover the location of his twin sister, Calindria’s, soul and Esher had disappeared. Cal was blaming himself for both of those things. Daimon doubted he was strong enough to handle closing Seville on top of all that.
“Think I’m—” Valen cut off as he suddenly dropped, his knees hitting the bottom of the shallow pond, and Eva yelped as she was dragged down with him.
Daimon looked at the gate as he called on his power, summoning one last wave of ice. It rose up around the inside of the wall, the shards only seven feet tall but enough to keep the daemons at bay while Ares checked on Valen and the gate.
A gate which Daimon could no longer feel, not as he could before. The power that flowed from it now was muted, barely there. Had Valen done it?
The rings slowly began to shrink, the innermost one winking out of existence as it touched the central violet disc.
It was closing.
“Is he good?” Daimon hollered, keeping his focus on the wall of ice, aware the daemons were still there and still trying to get to them.
Ares looked up from his position crouched next to Valen and nodded. “Think so. He’s out cold though.”
Daimon didn’t like the sound of that.
Closing the twin gate had been taxing on Cal, but he hadn’t passed out.
Ares pulled a phone from his pocket, the screen casting white highlights in his overlong tawny hair and across his face as his thumb danced over the device. “Calling in a retrieval.”
Because neither he nor Daimon could teleport with Valen without harming him.
Eva tore the hem of her T-shirt and bound Valen’s wrist, muttering obscenities in Italian under her breath the whole time.
Beyond Ares, Valen and Eva, the last ring of the gate shrank into the central disc. It shrank too and then disappeared with a violent flash.
Once the enemy was dead and the threat over, Hades would want the gates opened again. Their father had sent a Messenger to Keras to say he had stopped all traffic through the gates, but had made it clear he couldn’t keep the Underworld closed for long.
Gods, goddesses and Hellspawn didn’t appreciate being caged in that realm, having their freedom taken from them. Hades’s staff were already dealing with hundreds of complaints.
Considering the alternative was them all losing their home and being ruled by whoever was behind this uprising, Daimon figured they could put up with their freedom being impacted a little.
Daimon kept an eye on Valen as Eva tended to him, worry a constant weight in his heart as his senses remained locked on the daemons. They retreated into the night, but he kept his boots firmly planted where they were, resisting the urge to follow them and eradicate them all.
Valen needed him here.
The ice walls surrounding them were beginning to crack as Marek appeared, black ribbons of smoke curling from the shoulders of his torn charcoal linen shirt and onyx daemon blood streaked across his face and darkening his wavy brown hair.
His earthy eyes shimmered with green and gold flakes as he looked down at Valen where he lay in Eva’s arms. “Cal suffered the same fate.”
Daimon cast a glance at Ares. Concern etched hard lines on his older brother’s face, unease that ran through Daimon too as he thought about not one but two of their brothers out cold with no sign of coming around.
If he had known closing a gate would cause this to happen, he would have spoken out against it rather than going along with it. The look on Ares’s face said he wasn’t sure what he would have said, and Daimon didn’t envy him.
Marek looked just as conflicted as he stooped and lifted Valen into a fireman’s carry over his shoulder.
Daimon was glad he wasn’t one of the oldest of their group. He felt the weight of responsibility enough as it was. He couldn’t imagine how heavily it weighed upon Keras, Ares and Marek’s shoulders.
Keras was under enough pressure as it was, without having to order them to close the gates knowing full well they would end up like Valen and Cal.
Closing the gates was something they needed to do, but Daimon feared the cost of shutting them down was dangerously high.
He only hoped he was wrong about that.
Marek held his hand out to Eva. Her blue eyes reluctantly shifted away from Valen and landed on it. She placed hers into it and they both disappeared.
Ares was quick to follow them.
Daimon lingered, waiting for the ice walls to break because he wanted to be sure all evidence of their existence would be gone by morning, when mortals would enter Hyde Park. He didn’t want them seeing anything out of place.
That was the only reason he hadn’t teleported.
It had nothing to do with the sorceress who was probably waiting in Tokyo to give him hell.
He scrubbed a hand over the spikes of his white hair, watching the ice begin to crumble.
The ancient Edo period mansion felt far too small with her staying in it, but when he had suggested she bunk elsewhere, Cass had been quick to launch into an argument with him. Her ward, Marinda, was staying in the mansion with Cal since the London townhouse that was his home had been breached by Eli and the enemy, which meant Cass had decided she was also staying in Tokyo, right under Daimon’s feet.
Daimon rubbed the back of his neck and huffed.
The sorceress had a bad habit of just deciding things, and no one got a say in them.
Daimon had been staying in Tokyo to take care of the mansion, which was primarily Esher’s home now although their father had built it for all of them, and so he could be there for Aiko. Aiko was devastated by Esher’s disappearance, and Daimon needed to look after her for his brother.
He was doing his best, but some days were harder than others.
Some days, Daimon’s dark thoughts and fears about his brother weighed too heavily on him and he couldn’t face her, or anyone.
His phone vibrated and he didn’t bother to check the message that had come in. It would be from Keras, asking him where he was.
He focused on the wall, raised his hand and curled it into a fist. When he squeezed it, the ice shattered, and Daimon stepped. Darkness whirled around him, cool and comforting, a connection to the Underworld that he savoured, and then his boots hit gravel.
He opened his eyes and looked at the mansion, aching inside.
It felt empty without Esher in it, even when all his brothers and their women were there, crowding the long main room of the single-storey horseshoe-shaped building. Morning sunlight reflected off the glazed grey ribbed tiles of the roof and brightened the white panels that filled the spaces between thick dark wooden beams. It warmed his back, casting his shadow out before him, across the gravel and the steppingstones, to the base of one of the large stone lanterns that were dotted around the front garden.
From inside, voices rang out, a cacophony that had him wanting to teleport to his own home in Hong Kong to get some peace and quiet.
And avoid the owner of the angry female voice that for some damned reason he picked out from the blur.
“You should have taken me with you. Now look what happened. I could have helped,” Cass snapped, her words harsh and clipped, bringing out her Russian accent as they rang with the fury he could sense coming from her.
Keras didn’t respond to that. He carried Cal towards the right side of the mansion, disappearing from view with Marinda hurrying behind him. Cass turned, her pale blue eyes tracking her ward, a worried edge to them that almost made him feel there was a warm heart somewhere beneath that irritating, haughty exterior of hers.
Daimon forced himself to walk to the front porch, stepped up onto the raised wooden deck as he toed his boots off, and steeled himself only a little before entering the house.
As expected, Cass’s eyes immediately leaped to him.
He cursed when he realised they were alone.
She strode towards him, the thigh slit in her long black dress flashing a lot of creamy flesh at him. He swore she never took the damned thing off. Would it kill her to wear something less revealing, less figure-hugging? The soft black material embraced ample breasts and a small waist, and flared over curvy hips. It flashed every inch of her and made it impossible not to notice things about her.
Things he didn’t want to notice.
Before she could open her mouth to launch her first salvo, he held his hand up and strode past her.
Daimon made a beeline for the garden nestled between the three sides of the house, needing air and some space because he felt as if he was drowning.
Had been feeling that way since Cass had come crashing into their lives.
He couldn’t get a moment alone, and gods he needed a moment to breathe.
Cass stepped into his path, the flare of anger in her ice-blue eyes rapidly fading into something far worse—concern.
She gave him a once-over. “Those wounds need looking at.”
She pointed to his chest and then his legs, and he had never been more aware of his own body as he was whenever she was gazing at it.
“I’m not in the mood for you, Cass. Just leave me alone.” He stepped past her, heading for the garden and the air he badly needed.
Space to rein his riotous feelings back under his control.
Needs he had no right to feel.
“Daimon, wait…” She started after him again.
Wanting to be sure she got the message and left him alone, he turned on her with a growl as his feet hit the wooden planks of the covered walkway that ran around all three wings of the house.
“I don’t have time for this right now. Esher is still missing, I’m tired and injured, and we don’t know when or where the enemy will attack next and I need to take care of Valen.”
Cass inched back a step with each harsh word he threw at her. It wasn’t like the sorceress to shrink away from someone, especially him.
“I just want to help,” she bit out, a little too sulkily for him to not feel anything other than like a royal dick. “Let me help with Valen.”
“Fine,” he muttered, and took some of the bite out of his tone as he added, “I’d appreciate that.”
He turned to his right, towards the southern wing of the house where Valen’s quarters were.
Cass murmured, “It wouldn’t kill you to let me help you too.”
He knew that, but he couldn’t. He needed to keep his distance from her.
He’d made a promise.
He drew his long black coat back and slipped his right hand into his pocket, and clutched the pendant hanging from his phone.
A promise he intended to keep.
Grab your copy today at http://www.felicityheaton.com/guardians-of-hades-daimon-paranormal-romance-book.php
Book 1: Ares
Book 2: Valen
Book 3: Esher
Book 4: Marek
Book 5: Calistos
Book 6: Daimon
Book 7: Keras – Coming Fall 2020
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: