Immortal Heat by Lanette Curington by Lanette Curington - Read Online

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Resumen

Aglaia is one of the Charites, a goddess of grace and a messenger for her half-sister Aphrodite. Righting a wronged love on the isle of Lemnos puts Aglaia in danger when her duplicity is discovered. Dark and brooding Hephaestus, god of the forge, is in seclusion on Lemnos after the humiliation he suffered from his former wife Aphrodite’s infidelity. He finds the injured Aglaia and nurses her back to health. As their attraction for one another heats up, only the ingenious creations of Hephaestus can save Aglaia from destruction, and only by the grace of Aglaia can Hephaestus’s heart mend.

A Greek myth historical fantasy romance novella, approx. 25,000 words or 84 pages.

Immortal Heat was previously published.

Publicado: Silver Heart Books on
ISBN: 9781497767423
Enumerar precios: $3.99
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Prologue

On Mount Olympus, Charis Aglaia hastened through the misty aether toward the palace of Aphrodite. A dove had delivered an urgent summons from the goddess of love just before dawn. Aglaia had dressed quickly, not even taking the time to put up her hair, and her red-gold tresses, shimmering with the colors of a radiant sunset, cascaded across her shoulders and down her back.

Aglaia was one of three sisters called the Charites, goddesses of grace. Their mother Eurynome, an Oceanid, had been a wife to Zeus, and with Zeus as their father, they were half-sisters to Aphrodite as well as serving as her attendants. Aglaia had been appointed Aphrodite’s personal messenger and was occasionally sent on errands if the goddess of love were otherwise engaged. She enjoyed helping Aphrodite when she was called upon. While she felt the immortals should interfere as little as possible with the lives of mortals, she enjoyed being among them occasionally.

Of course, she was always happy to return home to Mount Olympus when a task was successfully completed.

The gate to the rose garden opened as she approached, and Aglaia dashed in to find Aphrodite seated on a marble bench. Aphrodite wore a troubled expression, her silver-blue eyes brimming with tears and her bright golden curls in tumbled disarray.

Oh, Aglaia, I’m so glad you’re here! Aphrodite’s voice trembled with emotion. Princess Tebris of Lemnos is to be married to an Achaean prince.

Aglaia didn’t know the princess personally. Aphrodite wouldn’t summon her just to announce a successful betrothal, and she certainly wouldn’t be overwrought by it. Who is the fortunate prince?

It doesn’t matter because she doesn’t love him! Aphrodite wailed and burst into tears.

Aglaia rushed to her side through a flutter of rose petals. The garden overflowed with blossoms of every color imaginable, and when Aphrodite was distraught over a love gone wrong, the roses shed their petals in empathy. Aglaia brushed petals from the marble bench and sat beside Aphrodite, placing an arm around her shaking shoulders.

Nobles never marry for love, Aglaia reminded her. It’s always politically or financially advantageous to one family or the other. Or both.

I know and it’s horrid, just horrid! Why can’t everyone believe in love? Aphrodite covered her face with both hands and wept.

The goddess of love knew firsthand that the course of love never ran smoothly, but she blithely insisted love was the answer to everything. Zeus had arranged her marriage to Hephaestus, although Aphrodite had never loved him. Then she began a torrid affair with the god of war. When Hephaestus discovered the lovers, Aphrodite was unable to cope with the public humiliation, ending the affair with Ares and her marriage to Hephaestus at the same time. She and Ares had eventually renewed their relationship and married, but it had taken much time and much coaxing from Ares before Aphrodite would relent.

Dear sister, Aglaia murmured soothingly and patted her arm in comfort. Some do believe in love, but sometimes love doesn’t find those who believe.

Aglaia frowned, unsure whether she was now talking about the mortals or herself. Although Aglaia had had several lovers among the immortals, her affairs ended insignificantly by their own lack of impetus.

Gentle Himerus, god of longing, had left her yearning for more, and brooding Moros, god of doom, had left her bereft of hope for the relationship. While Aglaia hadn’t been in love with either, she was still fond of both.

In truth, Aglaia had never been in love at all. While she might look askance at Aphrodite’s tempestuous love life, she was envious of it at the same time. She wished she possessed Aphrodite’s capacity to love freely and allow herself to be consumed by passion no matter the cost or consequence.

Aphrodite uncovered her face and looked at Aglaia, her silvery blue eyes shining with tears. Aglaia, you simply must go to Lemnos for me, she cajoled. I am in the midst of taking care of a delicate situation or I would go. Please say you will!

Aglaia was bound to do Aphrodite’s bidding, but she appreciated that Aphrodite made it sound as if she had a choice. She smiled and wiped away the tear streaks on her sister’s face. Of course I’ll go, sister, but I don’t know what you want me to do. Perhaps the princess is content to marry this Achaean prince even if she doesn’t love him.

Oh, no, she isn’t! Aphrodite protested. I haven’t told you the most important part. Tebris is in love with another man.

Aphrodite burst into fresh tears, and Aglaia patted her arm once more. That does complicate matters.

It gets worse, Aphrodite said through her tears. She’s in love with the prince’s brother!

Chapter I

"I can’t marry him. I won’t!" Princess Tebris shouted as soon as Aglaia closed the door to one of the palace’s smaller rooms.

Tebris’s cousin Cydippe had joined them, but she stopped short, her eyes widening in shock at the outburst.

Aglaia sighed. As soon as Aphrodite had calmed down and the roses stopped shedding, she sent Aglaia to Lemnos. Aglaia was always embarrassed when circumstances called for one of the immortals to aetherize her to her destination. She could aetherize short distances if she concentrated hard enough, but she had no sense of direction and was always afraid she would reappear inside a rock or wall or even a mortal! Aphrodite had no such problems, and Aglaia arrived safely.

Aglaia was readily accepted as a distant relative here to attend the wedding. Indeed, she really was a distant cousin. Tebris’s and Cydippe’s fathers were brothers and their pedigree included an immortal or two, but Aglaia hadn’t taken the time to study the lineage. Now, Tebris’s tirade reminded her of Aphrodite’s emotional outbursts.

Is that what true love does to you? Aglaia wondered. She wanted love and passion, but did she want to chance the heartache that often accompanied it?

"Prince Oileus is vile and arrogant and fat, Tebris continued. How can I ever bear to have him touch me?"

Cydippe gasped. Y-You can’t mean it, Tebris! I mean, the wedding is only a week away. Everyone is here or soon will be. They brought gifts, and the wedding games have begun.

They can take the gifts back. Tebris’s brown eyes sparkled with defiance. And who cares about the games? This wedding is about the rest of my life! I don’t want to spend it with Oileus. Oh, Aglaia, whatever am I going to do?

The sparkle of defiance dissolved to be replaced with despair. Tebris and Cydippe had eagerly accepted Aglaia as a friend and confidant. Cydippe’s mother was dead, and Queen Eupompe was a calculating woman who showed no warmth toward anyone, not even her own daughter. In appearance, Aglaia looked only a few years older than the cousins, and a natural rapport had developed between them in the fortnight she’d been on the isle of Lemnos. Starved for guidance and support, the younger women naturally confided in Aglaia when she displayed a genuine interest in them and their needs.

No, Aglaia, you must talk sense into her! Cydippe insisted. The arrangements have been made, guests are here and more arriving every day. I told her to take a stand months ago, but it’s too late now.

Aglaia gathered a cousin in each arm. She was always the stalwart one, always comforting and consoling. She mediated the emotional upsets of her sisters, and soothed Aphrodite’s ruffled feathers, and now she played arbitrator between the cousins.

Now, Cydippe, you don’t want Tebris to be unhappy, do you? Aglaia asked gently.

"Of course not. But she