Dream-Hunter Lydia has been charged with the most sacred and dangerous of missions: To descend into the Nether Realm and find the missing god of dreams before he betrays the secrets that could kill her and her kind. What she never expects is to be taken prisoner by the Realm’s most vicious guardian…
Seth’s time is running out. If he can’t hand over the entrance to Olympus, his own life and those of his people will be forfeit. No matter the torture, Seth hasn’t been able to break the god in his custody. Then there’s the beautiful Dream-Hunter Lydia: She isn’t just guarding the gates of Olympus—she’s holding back one of the world’s darkest powers. If she fails, an ancient curse will haunt the earth once more and no one will be safe. But evil is always seductive...
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St. Martin's Paperbacks
November 01, 2011
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Excerpt from The Guardian by Sherrilyn Kenyon
THE GUARDIAN (CHAPTER 1)
Hell had many connotations, each one as unique as the individual who defined it. To one person, the idea of being trapped for eternity in a Michael Bolton video was the epitome of horror. To another, it was being stuck in an elevator with someone talking too loud on a cell phone, and not being able to gut that person for their rudeness.
To Lydia Tsakali, hell was the darkness surrounding her that echoed with the screams of the damned being tortured. It wasn't just their loud misery or their pleas for mercy to the ones who didn't care that made it so bad, it was the memories those screams evoked. The haunting terror of something she never wanted to think about again. Long buried, those flashbacks of that one night in her life, and the raw emotions they exposed, still had the ability to bring her to her knees.
Don't think about it.
How could she not? That night had been the last time she'd had a family who loved her. Then, like now, she'd only been able to see the oppressive black that had made her eyes ache. The darkness had pressed so hard against her that she'd feared herself blind as well as mute. And when she'd finally breached the dark to see light, all she'd found was blood and terror ...
You're not a pup anymore.
No, she was a jackal full grown. More than that, she was a well-trained warrior with over a thousand years of hard combat training behind her. There wasn't a single soul in Azmodea who could harm her.
You forgot about Noir.
All right. There was one.
What about Azura?
Okay, two ... But that was all right. She'd had much worse odds more times than she could count. Yeah, but they didn't have the powers of a primary god.
Mind? Are you trying to turn me coward?
I'm trying to talk sense into you before it's too late. We haven't lived this long by being eat up with stupid--not with all the people out to kill us. And for what? Solin? He'll slaughter you when he finds out you did this.
What kind of idiot are you?
Apparently one with a limitless supply of stupid. If it'd been anyone other than Solin trapped here, she'd have never done this.
But she loved him too much to leave him to this end. He'd taken her in when no one else would. Had trained her and stood by her. Taught her how to survive and how to fight. Without him, she'd be dead.
Even he would call you stupid for this.
And he would, too.
Kindness is a rotten fruit that poisons anyone who partakes of it. Throw it in the face of your enemies and let it ruin them instead.
How many times had he said that to her?
Yet, in spite of the hatred he'd carried in his heart and had voiced repeatedly, he'd raised her like a beloved daughter. Never once had he been stingy with his love, patience, or kindness.
Not with her.
Others ... they saw a side of him that he very rarely turned in her direction. Thank the gods.
The personality is defined by its inconsistencies, not its consistencies. Another favorite Solin quote. It's what makes us unique and who we are. The sound of his voice in her head was enough to make her smile in spite of the danger she faced.
I've got to find him.
He would come for her if she needed it.