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.
Maybe continuing along this path had been a mistake.
He probably should have turned back the moment the tunnel had started to narrow, picking another route to explore and chart in his mind.
Behind him, something chittered, as if mocking him.
He huffed and gripped the wall, fingers tight in the holds he found as he carefully navigated the steep slope. He hoped to the gods it opened out again soon and didn’t get any narrower. Fitting his seven-foot-two frame into small spaces was difficult enough at the best of times, but this was beginning to move past difficult into impossible territory.
A little like his mission.
Four years of searching and he had nothing to show for it, and his god-king, Hades, was growing impatient. Thanatos had charted realm after realm at the very edges of the Underworld, places beyond the sight of his god-king, seeking the one where Hades’s only daughter was being held.
With only a description of what Hades’s oldest son had seen in the memories of another to go on.
Thanatos raked his free hand through his damp onyx hair and exhaled hard.
He was beginning to doubt those memories, but every meeting he had with Hades and his sons had him coming away with a renewed sense of determination to complete the mission Hades had entrusted him with and find Calindria.
It wasn’t only the thought of pleasing his god-king that had him scouring uncharted lands day after day without a break though, refusing to admit defeat.
It was the toll he could see those days were taking on his god-queen, Persephone. Now that they knew Calindria’s soul had form, the gentle goddess needed her daughter back, a child she had mourned for almost six centuries.
A girl who had been ruthlessly murdered in front of her twin, Calistos.
His king and queen had believed her soul lost forever when it hadn’t passed through the veil to reach Hades for judgement. Now, they had entrusted him with her rescue, and he would do all in his power to bring her back to them.
Because she fell under his domain.
As god of death, it was his duty to reap the souls of the dying when their allotted time in this world ended, only he had never been summoned to separate Calindria’s soul from her body, as he should have been, and her soul had never passed on to Hades. Thanatos pondered that, for what he was sure was the millionth time, as the path levelled out and the tunnel thankfully widened. If she was dead, lingering in the place between worlds where he ruled, he should be able to feel her as he could others who moved through the veil.
Only he couldn’t.
He had tried. He had tried so many times and in all the ways he could think of to get a fix on her location, but no matter what he did, he couldn’t feel her.
The tunnel opened out into a cavern with a jagged ceiling only thirty feet above him that dipped lower in places, great pillars of rock joining it to the uneven ground. He kept a wary eye on the shadows as things moved in them, chittering to each other, wanting to avoid another encounter with some of the local wildlife. The largest bats in the mortal world had nothing on the leather-winged black beasts that called the stretches of tunnels and the caverns home. These fell creatures resembled gargoyles the mortals had once adorned their buildings with, with snub upturned noses and pointed ears, and claws as long as their fangs, and a dragon-like tail.
The first time Thanatos had encountered them, he had accidentally disturbed a large nest of them, and they had descended on him as one, ripping at his feathers and clawing his bare arms and chest. They had forced him to retreat and return to his castle to heal.
Something he had to do on foot or wing since there was a strange power over this wild land, one that stopped him from teleporting.
That power had strengthened his feeling that he was on the right track at last. It blanketed the entire realm, hindering him by not only stopping him from teleporting in and out but by dampening his senses too. He could feel things if he focused, but it was as if there was some kind of interference.
It made him feel that Calindria was here and the reason he couldn’t feel her was because of that interference. This realm shielded her somehow, making it impossible for him to sense her.
A power that didn’t seem natural to him.
Someone had taken great pains to ensure no one found Calindria. The one who had taken her or one among the enemy he had fought alongside the sons of Hades four years ago? That enemy had contained not only those of the daemon breeds, but demigods, gods and goddesses too.
A rebellion Hades’s sons had crushed, restoring peace in the Underworld.
Thanatos meandered around sharp spikes of black rock that jutted from the floor, his gaze scanning the route ahead of him, looking for an exit. Water dripped somewhere, the sound echoing around the cavern, punctuating his thoughts. Whoever had killed Calindria and had taken her soul had hidden it well, the method they had used to conceal it carrying on after their death.
If they were dead.
When Thanatos had raised that thought with Hades, his god-king had grown dark and had immediately left the palace, teleporting to Tartarus where he was holding Eris, Thanatos’s younger sister.
And the ringleader of the enemy that had risen up against Hades and attempted to bring about not only his downfall but that of the Underworld and mortal realm too.
Disgust rolled through Thanatos, as strongly as it had the night he had realised she had turned against their god-king, together with another two of his sisters and his youngest brother. His mother, Nyx, was still furious about what had happened, wanted blood and regularly visited Eris in Tartarus to sneer at her and threaten her.
So far, neither Nyx nor Hades had managed to convince Eris to tell them something other than the same denial she spewed whenever they tortured her. She just kept swearing she knew nothing about Calindria and what had happened to her.
Thanatos wasn’t buying it.
He spied three exits in total and picked the largest of the tunnels, the one set into the cragged wall of the cavern dangerously close to a pool of water. He lowered his hand to the hilt of his sword where it hung from his waist, attached to his thick leather trousers, and warily stalked towards the tunnel, keeping an eye on the water.
Wishing he had worn more of his obsidian armour than just the heavy vambraces that protected his forearms.
He had forgone the armour that he normally wore on his lower half. The thick plates offered protection but slowed him down and made it more difficult to move through the narrow tunnels or clamber into holes. He had decided to leave them in his castle for this trip when he had discovered the warren of tunnels in the heart of this vast mountain range were narrower than those in the last set of peaks that rose high into the smoky air of this realm.
Something moved in the water and his fingers tensed around the grip of his sword, ready to draw and swing it in the space of a heartbeat if necessary. Great serpents lived in the pools in many of the caverns, waiting for a creature to approach and drink the life-giving water. One had nearly taken his head off. Since then, he had avoided all the pools.
Thanatos eased around this one, facing it at all times, and was quick to duck into the tunnel. It was narrower than it had looked from a distance, but still large enough to accommodate him and his wings. He shook them out and furled them again, tried to ignore the itch to stretch them and fly. The next time he found a cavern that was large enough, and was lacking occupants, he would do a few laps around it to stretch his wings.
Ahead of him, in the gloom, creatures skittered and scurried away from him. He eased his head left and lowered his wings, edging around a dip in the ceiling. He was beginning to miss the world outside this mountain, even though it was as grim out there as it was in here. Perhaps more so.
The valleys of these mountains were great black lands, some riddled with crevasses cut by waterfalls that thundered into them, and others filled with dead-looking trees, and then there was his personal favourite.
A valley that had been infested with spires of jagged black rock with holes in it. The things that lived within the three-, four-, even five-hundred-foot-tall towers had not liked him being in their territory. Like the gargoyles, they had chased him from the valley, the veins of crimson that formed patterns on their black carapaces glowing like lava as they had scuttled after him on four bony legs, snapping at him with their pincers.
Thanatos was beginning to get the impression everything in this realm hated him.
Perhaps if he didn’t find Calindria, he would kill everything in it. Eradicate all life to make it easier for Hades’s legions to tame these wild lands steeped in ancient powers and bring them under his god-king’s control. He drifted in that pleasing imagery for a while, mentally getting revenge on the foul creatures who had tried to maim and murder him on far too many occasions.
Thanatos stilled as awareness rolled down his spine, making his wings quiver. Something was watching him. He’d had the same feeling several times now during his travels and was beginning to get the impression that someone and not something was following him.
Thanatos had encountered the black-haired male in another realm, one close to this one, and had thought Hades had sent his servant to relay something to him. Only he had startled the male when he had questioned him, asking what he was doing in an uninhabited realm if he wasn’t there to deliver a message from Hades.
The Messenger’s mismatched eyes—one green and one blue—had widened and then narrowed, had shone with fire when he had delivered a message of his own.
He didn’t serve Hades.
When Thanatos had brought up the male in his report to Hades, two of his god-king’s sons, Marek and Esher, had exchanged a look. Hades had noticed it and demanded answers.
Apparently, they believed they had met the same Messenger in the mortal realm.
There, the male had told them he was looking for Calindria.
“If I cross paths with him again, perhaps I will ask him to assist me,” Thanatos grumbled as he eased around another jagged spike of rock that blocked his path. “He can run the tunnels like the hound he is.”
Thanatos had never liked Messengers. The clones were creepy with the way they would silently appear close to him, and they had no boundaries, were always teleporting into his castle without invitation, bypassing all his wards. Hades had given them too many powers when he had created them.
Something which had proven dangerous during the rebellion, when several Messengers had sided with the enemy and revealed something that had unsettled even Hades.
Some of them had developed the ability to feel emotion.
Thanatos had witnessed it for himself in the Messenger he had encountered, the one who was looking for Calindria. The male hid it well, but Thanatos had seen the glimmer of emotions in his eyes when he had questioned him, had noticed it in the slight twist of his lips or twitch of his eyebrows.
Hadn’t been able to miss it when the male had snarled at him that he didn’t serve Hades.
Hades was going to have to deal with his creations. Servants with emotions and so much power were dangerous. At the very least, his god-king needed to cull those who exhibited feelings and ensure future Messengers were subjected to stringent tests and given less power.
Perhaps his god-king could fashion them to be more like Thanatos’s servants—loyal, emotionless, powerless. His staff existed to serve him and carried out their duties without question.
Ahead of him, the tunnel opened up again, rapidly doubling in width. He straightened and pressed his hand into his back, arched it and sighed as something popped. He drew down a deep breath and frowned as he swore he caught the scent of a fire. Not the wretched, almost sulphuric smell of the volcanoes that dotted this realm, but the smell of wood burning.
He quickened his pace, his hand falling to his sword again, his black eyebrows pinching together as he strode into the gloom. It grew brighter as he neared the end of the tunnel and his step faltered.
He recognised this place.
His eyes darted around, taking in the stalactite laden ceiling of the enormous cavern, and his steps slowed further as he approached the edge of the broad ledge that jutted out high above the ground on one side of it.
Thanatos drew to a halt near the edge of it, staring at the rusty oval cages suspended from the jagged cavern roof by thick chains.
This was it.
This was what Keras had seen.
His heart beat harder at the thought he was close now, would be able to fulfil his mission for his god-king and would be well rewarded for it.
Thanatos spread his black feathered wings and kicked off, sweeping down into the cavern. He circled the huge dome-shaped space, weaving around spires of rock. His eyes narrowed on each cage he passed. Some were empty. Others contained remains.
None held Calindria.
Or did they?
He hovered before one cage that contained bones and held his hand out, drew down a deep breath and closed his eyes. Images flickered before him, revealing a female but this one a brunette. Not the one he was looking for.
Calindria had golden hair and blue eyes, had been a bright and bubbly little thing when he had last seen her, hanging on the tails of Calistos. She had always hidden behind her twin or her father whenever Thanatos had visited, shyly peeking out at him, ducking back into cover whenever he had looked her way.
He flew to another cage and repeated the process, hoping the rotting corpse wasn’t her. It wasn’t.
Thanatos looked around the cavern, unable to imagine the delicate female in this place, unable to believe she had somehow survived being held here as her brother had said she had. Unsettled by how Keras swore she had felt pain when someone had attacked her with a spear.
Something about that felt wrong.
The dead felt no pain.
Thanatos checked the remaining cages, and even the bones that littered the floor, but none of them were the bright-eyed daughter of Hades. He landed and furled his wings against his bare back, strode towards the scent of wood fire and investigated the camp. It was well lived in, with ancient animal bones piled in one corner together with old blankets and discarded rotting bedding. Around the fire, the bedding was fresh and almost new.
He found evidence of two or possibly three people. Guards for those in the cages? Their tormenters?
Thanatos walked around the wall of rock that shielded the guards’ quarters from the cages and frowned up at them. Where had the guards gone? The fire was still going, but he sensed no life here.
His gaze fell and he frowned as it landed on a cage on its side. He canted his head as he strode to it, as he stooped and touched a dark patch on the ground. Damp. Someone had been in this cage recently.
He stood swiftly. Had it been Calindria? Perhaps they had moved her. He did another sweep of the cavern, searching for more clues, and backtracked when his gaze caught on something. Frowned. He kicked off, beating his wings, swiftly crossing the span of gritty dirt.
Thanatos landed soundlessly, his frown deepening as the turbulence caused by his wings destroyed what he had come to look at before he could investigate it. The two bodies crumbled to ash, swirled and scattered on the breeze. Whoever they had been, they had both been large males. He eyed the spear that lay on the ground near one of them. Guards.
He crouched and held his hand over the ashes, but saw nothing.
He looked back at the cage that rested on its side and then at the black ashes again. Had someone killed the guards and made off with Calindria? If they had, they couldn’t have gotten far.
Thanatos spread his wings and beat them, did a lap of the cavern and found only three exits. He checked the opening of each of them, using his senses to see if anyone had entered them recently. The realm dulled them too much for him to make anything out.
He huffed and looked at the ground, a thousand thoughts crowding his mind as he tried to figure out what to do. Which tunnel to pick?
Thanatos tilted his head to one side, his eyes narrowing on the ground as he spotted something. He walked to it, eased into a crouch and ghosted his fingers over the scuff mark in the dirt, looked around and stilled. Further inside the tunnel was another, only this one had a distinct shape.
It was small, dainty.
And the only ones he could see. No one had made off with Calindria, if she had been the one in the cage. She had made off with herself. Had something killed the guards when they had been doing something with her, allowing her to escape?
He rose to his feet and strode into the tunnel, moving as quickly as he could, his senses reaching out around him as he desperately sought a sign of life—a sign this was the right way.
The tunnel opened out again ahead of him and his heart drummed harder against his ribs as he spotted more footprints. This had to be the right way. He drew down a deep breath to focus his senses, honing them in the hope he would be able to sense the owner of those footprints.
Froze as he realised he wasn’t alone.
A female dressed in very little stood in the middle of the cavern with her side to him, gulping water from a dark pouch.
She froze too, her dirty shoulders locking up tightly, her fingers clutching the waterskin. She lowered it from her lips and turned slightly, her matted, filthy blonde hair that reached the small of her back swaying as she came to face him.
As her wide, luminous blue eyes landed on him.
“Calindria,” he breathed, sure it was her, only she was not a little girl as some foolish part of him had expected.
She pressed the pouch to the swell of her chest and stared at him like a prey animal facing a predator, her eyes taking on a wild and almost feral edge.
Thanatos slowly lifted his hands, hoping to calm her.
She broke into a dead run.Book 1: Ares
Book 2: Valen
Book 3: Esher
Book 4: Marek
Book 5: Calistos
Book 6: Daimon
Book 7: Keras
Book 8: Thanatos
Book 9: Hades – Coming Soon
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: