She was the face that launched a thousand ships,
The fierce beauty at the heart of Olympus,
And she was never ours to claim.
*A scorchingly hot modern retelling of Helen of Troy, Achilles, and Patroclus that's as sinful as it is sweet.*
In Olympus, you either have the power to rule...or you are ruled. Achilles Kallis may have been born with nothing, but as a child he vowed he would claw his way into the poisonous city's inner circle. Now that a coveted role has opened to anyone with the strength to claim it, he and his partner, Patroclus Fotos, plan to compete and double their odds of winning.
Neither expect infamous beauty Helen Kasios to be part of the prize...or for the complicated fire that burns the moment she looks their way.
Zeus may have decided Helen is his to give to away, but she has her own plans. She enters into the competition as a middle finger to the meddling Thirteen rulers, effectively vying for her own hand in marriage. Unfortunately, there are those who would rather see her dead than lead the city. The only people she can trust are the ones she can't keep her hands off—Achilles and Patroclus. But can she really believe they have her best interests at heart when every stolen kiss is a battlefield?
Please enjoy an excerpt from
“I am so fucking late,”I mutter under my breath. The hallways of Dodona Tower are blessedly empty, but that only makes the clock ticking down inside my head worse. Tonight is the night everything changes. The night when I stop being a pawn in other people’s games and finally gain the agency I’ve craved ever since I was a little girl. And I can’t believe I’m fucking late. I pick up my pace, barely managing to resist the urge to run. Showing up out of breath and flustered to an Olympus party is even worse than showing up late. Appearances matter. It’s been a long time since Olympus experienced anything resembling traditional warfare, but every day, little battles are fought and won using the most mundane things. A carefully designed dress. A sweet word hiding a poisonous sting. A marriage. I duck into the elevator that will take me up to the ballroom floor and barely resist the urge to bounce on my toes with impatience. Normally, I wouldn’t give a damn about any of this. I make petty rebellions an art form. Tonight is different. Tonight, my brother Perseus—Zeus, now—is making an announcement that will change everything. Less than a week ago, Ares passed away. It was hardly unexpected—the man was old as dirt and had been knocking on the doors to the underworld for three months—but it’s opened up an opportunity that’s usually only seen once a generation. Of the Thirteen titles who rule Olympus, Ares alone is open to absolutely anyone. A person’s history, connections, finances don’t matter. You don’t even have to be Olympian. You simply have to win. Three trials, all designed to cull the wheat from the chaff, and the last person standing steps up to become Ares. One of the thirteen people who create the ruling body in Olympus. Each handles a specific part of keeping the city running smoothly, but more importantly to me, no one can compel any of them to take an action they don’t want to. Not even Zeus can force the hand of another member of the Thirteen—or at least that’s the theory. My father never paid attention to those sorts of niceties, and I doubt my brother will now that he’s inherited the title. It doesn’t matter. If I’m Ares, I’m no longer daughter to one Zeus, sister to another, a spoiled princess with no real value beyond her pretty face and family connections. Becoming Ares will set me free. The elevator doors open, and I hurry in the direction of the ballroom. The long hallway has changed since the last party, the dour, dark drapes that hung floor to ceiling on either side of the doors replaced with an airy white fabric that has silver threaded through it. It’s still not welcoming, but it’s significantly less oppressive. I’m curious who made that design call, because Perseus sure as fuck didn’t. Since he stepped up as Zeus after our father’s death, the only thing my oldest brother cares about is running his business and ruling Olympus with an iron fist. Or at least trying to. “Helen.”I stop short, but recognition brings a relieved smile to my face. “Eros. What are you doing out here lurking in the shadows?”He steps forward and holds up a tiny jeweled bag. “Psyche forgot her purse.”He should look ridiculous holding the purse, especially considering the violence those hands have done, but Eros has a habit of moving through life as if he’s untouchable. No one would dare say a word and he knows it. “What a good husband you are.”I take the last few steps and press a quick kiss to each of his cheeks. I haven’t seen him much in the last couple months, but he looks good. Eros is one of the most gorgeous people in Olympus—which is saying something—a white guy with curly blond hair and a face to make painters weep at its perfection. “Marriage suits you.”“More and more every day.”His gaze sharpens. “You’ve pulled out all the stops tonight.”“Do you like the dress?”I smooth my hands down my gown. It’s a custom piece, the golden fabric molded to my body from shoulders to hips before flaring out the slightest bit. It’s heavy with a subtle pattern that’s designed to catch the light with every move. A deep V dips between my breasts, and the shoulders have been shaped into sharp points that give the slightest impression of military bearing. “It’s a showstopper, as my mother would have said.”I ignore the twinge in my chest at the thought, just as I always do when my mind tries to linger on the woman who died far too young. She’s been gone fifteen years, having suffered a mysterious fall when I was fifteen. Mysterious. Right. As if all of Olympus didn’t suspect that my father was behind it. As if I didn’t know it for certain. Pushing this thought away is second nature. It doesn’t matter what sins my father committed. He’s dead and gone, just like my mother. I hope he’s been suffering in the pits of Tartarus since he drew his last breath. When I think of his death, all I feel is relief. He died before he could marry me off to secure some bullshit alliance, before he could cause even more of the pain he seemed to enjoy inflicting so much. No, I don’t miss my father at all. “She’d be proud of you.”“Maybe.”I glance over his shoulder at the doors. “Maybe she’d be furious over what I’m about to do.”Rock the boat? Fuck, I’m about to tip the boat right over. Eros doesn’t miss a beat. His brows rise and he shakes his head, looking rueful. “So it’s Ares for you. I should have known. You’ve been missing a lot of parties lately. Training?”“Yes.”I brace myself for his disbelief. We might be friends, but we’re friends by Olympus standards. I trust Eros not to slide a knife between my ribs. He trusts me not to cause him undue trouble in the press. We hang out on a regular basis at events and parties, and occasionally trade favors. I don’t trust him with my deepest secrets. It’s nothing personal. I don’t trust anyone with that part of me. On the other hand, everyone in Olympus will know my plans very shortly. I square my shoulders. “I’m going to compete to become the next Ares.”“Damn.”He whistles under his breath. “You’ve got your work cut out for you.”He’s not telling me he thinks he can’t do it, but I wilt a little all the same. I didn’t really expect enthusiastic support, but being constantly underestimated never fails to sting. “Yes, well, I’d better get in there.”“Hold on.”He surveys me. “Your hair is a little lopsided.”“What?”I lift my hand and touch my head. I can’t tell without a mirror. Damn it, I’m going to be even later, but it’s still better than walking into that room out of sorts. I start to turn in the direction of the bathroom back toward the elevators, but Eros catches my shoulder. “I got it.”He opens Psyche’s purse and digs around for a few seconds, pulling out an even smaller bag. Inside, there is a bunch of bobby pins. Eros huffs out a laugh at my incredulous expression. “Don’t look so surprised. If you had a purse, you’d have bobby pins stashed, too. Now, hold still and let me fix your shit.”Shock roots me in place as he carefully fixes my hair, securing it with half a dozen bobby pins. He leans back and nods. “Better.”“Eros.”I gently touch my hair again. “Since when do you do hair?”He shrugs. “I can’t do more than damage control, but it saves Psyche some trouble when we’re out if I can help like this.”Gods, he’s so in love it makes me sick. I’m happy for him. Truly, I am. But I can’t help the jealousy that curls through me. It’s not about Eros—he’s more brother to me than anything else—but at the intimacy and trust he shares with his wife. The one time I thought I might have that, it blew up in my face and I still wear the emotional scars from the fallout. I manage a smile, though. “Thanks.”“Knock ’em dead, Helen.”His grin is sharp enough to cut. “I’ll be rooting for you.”I drag in a slow breath and turn for the door. Since I’m late, I might as well make an entrance. I straighten my spine and push both doors open with more force than necessary. People scatter as I step into the room. I pause, letting them look at me, and taking them in at the same time. This room has changed since Perseus inherited the title of Zeus. Oh, the space is still functionally the same. Shining white marble floors that I can barely see beneath the crowd, an arching ceiling that gives the impression of the ballroom being even larger than it is, the massive windows and glass doors that lead out to the balcony on the other side of the room. But it still feels different. The walls used to be cream, but now they’re a cool gray. A subtle change, but it makes a difference. Most notably, the larger-than-life portraits of the Thirteen that line the walls have different frames. Gone are the thick gold frames that my father favored, replace by finely crafted black. I would have to get closer to verify, but each looks like they might be custom, unique to each member of the Thirteen. Perseus didn’t make these changes, either. I’m certain of it. Our father might have been obsessive about his image, but my brother doesn’t give a fuck. Even when he should. I start through the crowd, holding my head high. Normally, I can identify every single person who attends a Dodona Tower party. Information is everything, and I learned from a very young age that it’s the only weapon I’m allowed. Some people meet my gaze, others stare at my body in a way that makes my skin crawl, and still others all but turn their back on me. No surprises the. Being a Kasios in Olympus might have its perks, but it means being born into generations’old grudges and politicking. I grew up learning who could be trusted—no one—and who would actually shove me into traffic if given half a chance—more people than is comforting. But this party isn’t a regular one, and tonight is not a regular night. Nearly half the faces are new to me, people who have arrived from the outskirts around Olympus or been ferried into the city by Poseidon for this special occasion. I don’t stop moving to memorize faces. Not everyone here will be nominating themselves as champions; plenty of them are just like the majority of the people here from Olympus. Hangers-on. They don’t matter. I don’t pick up my pace, moving at a steady stalk that forces people to get out of my way. The crowd parts for me just like I know it will, whispers following in my wake. I’m making a scene, and while half of them love me for it, the rest resent me. Everyone has pulled out all the stops tonight. In one corner, my sister Eris—Aphrodite, as of three months ago—is laughing at something with Hermes and Dionysus. My chest gives a pang. I would like nothing more than to be with them now, just like I am at every other party. My sister and my friends are what makes living in Olympus bearable, but the last few months have driven home the new differences between us. It wasn’t so noticeable when Eris was still Eris, but now that she’s also one
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New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Katee Robert learned to tell her stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her 2015 title, The Marriage Contract, was a RITA finalist, and RT Book Reviews named it 'a compulsively readable book with just the right amount of suspense and tension." When not writing sexy contemporary and romantic suspense, she spends her time playing imaginary games with her children, driving her husband batty with what-if questions, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
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