Esher (Guardians of Hades Series Book 3)
Prince of the Underworld and Lord of Water, Esher 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. Tormented by his past, Esher burns with hatred towards mortals and bears a grudge against Hades for forcing him into their world, condemning him to a life of battling to keep a fragile hold on his darker side—a side that wants to kill every human in the name of revenge.
Until he finds himself stepping in to save a female—a beautiful mortal filled with light and laughter who draws him to her as fiercely as the pull of the moon, stirring conflict in his heart and rousing dangerous needs long forgotten.
Aiko knows from the moment she sets eyes on the black-haired warrior that he is no ordinary man, just as she’s no ordinary woman. Blessed with a gift, she can see through his stormy façade to the powerful god beneath, and the pain and darkness that beats inside him—pain she grows determined to heal as she falls deeper under his spell and into his world.
When the daemon bent on turning Esher against his brothers makes her move, will Esher find the strength to overcome his past and fulfil his duty, or will the lure of revenge allow the darkness in his heart to seize control, transforming him into a god intent on destroying the world?
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Rain hammered the pavement around him, scoured the walls of the towering buildings that hemmed him in and stole the clouds from view with their bright neon signs, and saturated the two daemons gathering their wits around fifty feet from him in the narrow Tokyo alley. It mingled with the black blood that turned the air rank and coppery, a stench he wanted to erase from this world.
And he would.
Esher moved forwards, through the heavy droplets that began to gather and condense, responding to the hunger mounting inside him—a desire to eradicate the foul creatures stumbling onto their feet now.
At the far end of the narrow street beyond them, a mortal male tucked beneath a clear convenience store umbrella paused and glanced their way.
The darkness was swift to rise, to pound in Esher’s blood like a tide that battered him, powerful waves that rolled over him and washed all the light away.
On a black snarl, he pressed the toe of his right boot into the wet pavement and launched forwards, little more than a blur as he closed the distance between him and his prey.
The male daemon swiftly turned his way and stepped in front of his comrade—a female. Protecting her? Valen had reported the daemons in Rome had done something similar.
As if the creatures were capable of feeling anything tender or sweet.
They were as devoid of softer emotions as he was.
But still the male reached behind him and shoved her in the hip, forcing her to stumble out of the firing line just as Esher threw his right hand forwards. The rain that had been gathering around him exploded towards the male, whipping into a spiralling spear as it zoomed away from Esher. It hit the male with the force of a tidal wave, sending him flying through the air. The wretched daemon hit the pavement near the far end of the alley and rolled to a halt next to the mortal.
Esher growled and spat on the pavement, the gnawing hunger growing stronger as he stared at the wretched human.
It would pay in blood for daring to remain near him, for daring to gaze upon him.
It would pay in its own blood.
His lips stretched into a cold grin, the lower one stinging as the cut on it pulled, filling his mouth with the metallic tang of his own blood.
He twitched as memories surged, wrapped around him and felt as if they were pulling him down into them with claws that shredded his insides—tore his heart to pieces.
So much red.
He had never seen so much of it, had emptied his stomach more than once when they had been butchering the male in front of him, spilling crimson and flesh on the hay and dirt. Their sick laughter had prodded at him, ripping at his strength and dragging him down. He had been weak. Stripped of his powers. Left vulnerable. He had been an easy target for their fear, their rage. They had beaten him. Tore more of his strength from him. He had been weaker. Wounded. Bound and broken.
But fucking gods, he had shown them the error of their ways when his power had returned.
Just as he would show this human.
Esher reached his left hand out and focused on the mortal male. It took only a brief thought. One moment the male was standing, the next he was prone on the floor, blood leaking from his eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Weak. Humans were weak. Pathetic. Unworthy of the protection of the gods.
Thunder rolled overhead, golden lightning striking a split-second later, snapping at the buildings that loomed over him and tearing a fearful gasp from the daemons.
A warning from the king of gods.
His uncle could go fuck himself.
The mortals deserved death.
He wasn’t on this plane to protect them. He was here to protect one realm—the Underworld. His home.
This entire world could burn and he wouldn’t give a shit as long as his home was safe.
The male daemon picked himself up, pausing to look at the dead human, his dark eyes wide and a flicker of fear emerging in them as he turned them on Esher.
And the female.
The blonde staggered onto her feet, clutching her stomach, her limbs visibly trembling beneath her long black raincoat that matched the one the male wore. They had come prepared for the turn in the weather. It was almost a shame they hadn’t come prepared to win. It had been a long time since he had fought a worthy adversary.
Keras’s words rang in his ears.
An adversary was coming for him, one of the group bent on destroying the gates to the Underworld that he and his brothers protected, all in an effort to merge the worlds and claim dominion over both.
Esher just hoped they were worthy.
He wanted a good fight, one that would test him to his limit.
Fire tore through his right arm and he grunted and snapped back to the alley. The blonde bitch leaped away from him, her silver knife stained crimson.
With his blood.
It rolled down his forearm to his wrist beneath the sleeve of his long black coat and he raised his hand before him and watched it drip to the ground to dissipate in the water beneath his leather boots.
Water that began to vibrate, tiny droplets of it bouncing higher and higher into the air as he stared at the blood flowing along the side of his hand to bead at the tip of his little finger and fall.
Typical of inferior creatures to use weapons in a battle.
He had never understood why some of his brothers relied on them too, one or two of them even favouring mortal-made guns, when they were gods and wielded powers strong enough to defeat any adversary they might face.
Personally, he never used weapons.
His powers were more than enough.
Without even taking his eyes off the blood, he flicked his left hand towards the female as she launched at him again, her blade flashing in the neon lights and a battle cry on her lips.
It turned to a scream.
She dropped from the air, landing in a shaking heap on the wet pavement, her convulsions growing more and more violent as he slowly turned his gaze on her. Hatred seethed inside him as he looked at her, as he commanded every molecule of her vile blood to dance to his song. He despised using his power over water to end his prey in such a way, because it was just too easy, but she had brought it upon herself.
“No!” the male barked and sprinted towards her.
He sank to his knees at her side and grabbed her arm, pulling her onto her back.
Black blood rolled from her eyes and her mouth, streamed from her nose and her ears.
Esher closed his right hand into a fist.
Her body lurched upwards as her heart exploded.
“Bastard.” The male daemon shoved to his feet.
Esher slowly smiled. Crooked a bloodstained finger.
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 Vampire Erotic Theatre 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 new Eternal Mates series.
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