Authors: Stephannie Beman
Will their love withstand the storms of winter?
In a world where Gods rule and Daemons are feared, Hades, the most notorious Phlegethon
daemon-god to roam the ancient world, is released from his prison in Tartarus by the Olympian Zeus to aid in the war against the Titans.
Past shrouded in darkness, Persephone, daughter of the earth goddess Demeter, heals from the ordeal that stole her memories and the magic that is an integral part of who she once was. When she meets a stranger in the woods, her life is forever changed.
Betrayed by the Gods he once served, battle-weary Hades promised to never allow another god power over him, but he didn't plan on the intervention of the Fates intertwining his future with the stunning woman dancing in the moonlight, or the rise of his Phlegethon nature that demands he claim her as his own. Persephone has become the siren calling him, promising the completion of heart and soul, but only a fool accepts the gifts of a siren, or fight against the will of the Fates.
MY LORD HADES
Children of Khaos Series
This book contains graphic language, sexually explicit scenes, and violence. It is intended for the enjoyment of adult readers. Please keep out of the hands of children. All sexually active characters in this work are 18 years of age or older.
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either used fictitiously or the product of the author’s imagination. Except for review purposes, no part of this book may be reproduced in whole or part, without written permission of the author.
Cover by: Stephannie Beman
Cover photo courtesy of dreamstime.com, Francesco Cura of Curaphotography
My Lord Hades © 2010 Stephannie Beman
Dedicated to my husband Don,
My own personal cheerleader, for believing in me and loving me despite all my many writing moods.
May our love be eternal.
And to my best friend Ruth Ann Nordin,
Whose invaluable writing wisdom and encouragement made this book possible.
Note to Readers
Every effort has been made to cleanly edit the text. However, typos do happen. If you find any errors, please email
[email protected] s
o I can continue to provide better books.
“HADES,” HER soft voice whispered across his senses, a sudden and sharp relief to the
screams whirling around him. “I know you can hear me, Hades. Wake up.”
He groaned, shifting his tired muscles. The effort to move taxed him, but the thought of
seeing her again, even for a moment bolstered his failing strength.
Jagged stones and shards of broken pottery sliced the soles of his tattered feet as he placed his weight upon them and straightened. The chains above his head rattled and the pressure on his suspended arms lessened. Needles tingled beneath the surface of his numb limbs.
Peering through the greasy black strands of his long hair, he stared at the renewed torment that would be his. The pale cast upon her lovely features tore at his soul. She was dead, a mere shade of the woman he had known.
She stood before him, stunning and child-like, highlighted by the faintest glow in the cold, windowless cell of his prison. Her black hair was a tangled mess and her skin marked by bruises and smudges of dirt. Her white dress hung in soiled tatters from her willowy frame, revealing the fullness of her rose-tipped breast, the curve of her hip, and the length of her thigh. It was a peek and tease that held no desire for him.
But Coronus couldn’t have know that when he sent her in to Hades. Leuce was here to break his will, his soul. She was here to destroy him.
“Go away, phantom,” he rasped.
“Look at me, Hades,” she snapped. “See what your pride has done to me!”
He winced, fighting the urge to play Coronus’ game. She might look like his Leuce, but it wasn’t Leuce. This was his enemy, his tormentor, his unwelcome king. This was Coronus and he had to be careful, because if Coronus realized how her presence affected him, she would be trapped in this cesspool of misery, her voice joining the masses inside his cell. He could survive anything they threw his way, but not that, not her.
She stamped her foot. “Look at me, damn you!”
He lifted his head. The coarse hair of his beard pulled against the half-healed scabs covering his chest. A triumphant smile twisted her innocent face. He knew if she stayed, he would grow to hate her with the same passion with which he loved her.
“Why? You’re not her. You’re a shade, paltry replica of the real thing.”
She glared at him, hands on her narrow hips, chin jutting out in that way he’d thought so adorable when she was a child, her black eyes blazing. She was as passionate in death as she’d been in life. “You killed me!”
“Killer! Monster!” the voices shrieked in unison.
Their accusations grounded him. The world condemned him. They reviled him. They hated
him. They had made him the murderer, the assassin, and the killer. But he was also a warrior, a hunter, a hero, and a god. He was a Phlegethon daemon-god, a spirit of fiery passions given immortal form.
He faced her, he faced Coronus. “The Titans killed Leuce. If you’re going to torture me,
Coronus, stick with the voices of my victims. At least I killed them.”
“Murderer!” the voices screamed in agreement.
Her eyes narrowed, and she glided closer, her black hair whipping around her face as if she was standing in the middle of a maelstrom. “And you don’t think you’re responsible for my death?”
“I’m a rotting corpse, Hades!”
A blue tinge spread across her lovely bronzed skin. The faint blue turned white then grey. Her skin shrunk upon her bones and the stench of rot filled his nostrils. In seconds, her flesh showed the decay of decades.
She reached for him in a strange parody of death’s embrace and he held his breath against the stench, waiting for to come to him. Globs of flesh dripped from her arms, plopping wetly against floor.
“You killed me as surely as if you’d thrown me from the cliff yourself.”
“I won’t take responsibility for Leuce’s death, Coronus.”
Her arms closed around him. Her rancid breath fanned across his face. “They came for you
and they found me. You should have warned me.”
So that was how they found her? Waiting for him to return and give her the news of his
victory. But there’d been no victory, only defeat and death.
“This should have been you!” she snarled.
“Leuce…” Her name held all the emotion and sorrow in his soul. It also betrayed them both.
Triumph flared in the fiery depths of her eyes. Coronus had finally found the perfect weapon against Hades. Leuce would never know the peace she deserved. She would be bound to him
forever, like the ghosts lashing at him. She would remain in this cesspool of despair, a pawn forced to play the game of her Titan overlord.
He prayed to whatever gods listened to his kind, that the peace of death could be had for all the souls trapped with him. He prayed for vengeance against the Titans; not for himself, but for those who didn’t have to die. He prayed for the passionate, beautiful Leuce he knew in life, for the woman who didn’t deserve the fate she earned in death. He prayed for his freedom and the chance to make Coronus pay for every one of his mistakes. He would make the cruel god writhe in pain at his feet.
The last of the decaying flesh and hunks of black hair sloughed from her bones, leaving a screaming skeleton in tattered rags. But the lack of vocal cords didn’t halt her voice.
“I was never good enough for you! I could never be what you wanted! All I wanted was your love!” Her hands swept down her skeleton. “This is what I am because of you!”
“You’re not Leuce!”
“Murderer! Assassin!” the cacophony of voices hissed.
She slapped him. The force disturbed his precarious perch and he scrambled to right his
footing. The chains drew taunt, his joints wrenched in their sockets, his abused muscles screamed as he swung by his arms. Wounds, old and new, split open, spilling blood and pus onto the ground.
She slapped him again and again. “You’re a selfish bastard! I loved you! I trusted you! And you betrayed me!”
“Killer! Daemon!” the chanting voices continued their relentless assault.
Leuce grabbed his chin, steadying him. He stared into the empty eye sockets, every word
burned into his mind. “You’re a worthless god! An incompetent man!”
“Murderer! Assassin!” the voices of his victims echoed their agreement.
Squeezing his chin, her bony fingers dug into his flesh as she laughed. Her laugh, sharp and cutting, did more damage than the pottery slicing his feet to ribbons. “Pathetic fool!”
It wasn’t her, he reminded himself. This wasn’t his Leuce. It was Coronus.
The infinitesimal change in the stale air alerted him to the presence of others: an electric charge in the atmosphere and taste of sea mist. He breathed deep, savoring the scent. It gave him the hope of a reprieve.
Hades glanced past Leuce’s bony shoulder, and his sharp eyes focused on the two gods
shrouded in the gloomy dark of his prison. Not Titans.
The web of magic in the room drew tight. The power snaking along his skin felt wrong. The subtle shift in the dense net jangled through the tendrils, shattering the strands, and releasing the compulsion upon them all.
The voices ceased. Flesh reformed over Leuce’s bones as she turned on the two gods like an attacking long-tooth tiger. Her finger bones scraped bloody furrows down his cheeks.
“Who are you?” she demanded.
“A little dramatic,” the shorter of the two gods said, stepping into the cell. He waved his hand in a half circle, obvious disgust in his eyes as they rested on Leuce. “Be gone, phantoms. Return to your rest.”
Hades clenched his teeth. His hands curling into fists. Leuce was worth more than all the gods combined. If he was free of the chains binding him to this prison, even in his weakened state, he could crush the self-important god with practiced ease. He gave the appearance of strength, but he was weak inside.
Leuce sighed, a heavy sound filled with relief. She turned to Hades, her flesh completely reformed as she touched her lips briefly to his cheek. “I love you, too, brother.”
She disappeared, leaving him alone with the two gods.
The smaller god stepped forward into the dim glow of the flameless torchlight, a charismatic smile on his red bearded face. He stared hard at Hades. “Are you sure this is him?”
The other hesitated a moment, a giant of a man with black hair and black eyes, before he
moved to flank his leader. He would be a real challenge. “She said it was,” he rumbled deep within his chest.
The redheaded god sniffed the air delicately and a grimaced. Hades hoped the gods choked on the stench of a thousand years of old blood, infection, and stale sweat.
Smiling pleasantly, as if he wasn’t standing in a room of torture, but a grand hall, the redhead asked, “Are you the man that defied Coronus?”
“We don’t have time for this, Zeus. That guard will be found.”
“Rhea and Eris told us to find—”
“I know what that deceptive bitch said! Warrior or no, we have to leave now.”
“Eris sent you for me?” Hades interrupted.
Zeus nodded. “Are you the one imprisoned for attacking Coronus in his own home?”
“You can’t believe anything he says, brother. He would lie to get out of here.”
Hades chuckled. The dark god was right. He would do anything to escape Tartarus. “Why did she send you?”
The two brothers exchanged questioning glances. Hades processed the minute expressions
and appearance of the two men. “You’re the sons of Coronus.” He licked his dry lips. They were his freedom! Only those who had the blood of Coronus could break the enchantment upon the chains and the room. “Release me, and I’ll fight for you. I’ll bring your enemies to their knees.”
The dark one with the soulless eyes stepped forward. “You make hearty boasts for a dead
Hades smiled. It was a smile that suggested violence and unpleasantness. He knew its effect.
He’d seen the horror or the uncertainty or the fear on the faces of others. These gods were no different.
Focusing his gaze upon the red-haired man, Hades knew he could convince the god to free
him. All he had to do was dangle the prize before the god’s eyes until he took the bait. And since the best way to convince a greedy man was to appear greedy himself, Hades demanded a reward.