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A Shield of Fate and Ruin

A Shield of Fate and Ruin

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Series: Apollo Ascending

Book: 3 of 4

When the world is at war.
No one is safe.
Not even the gods.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

I devoured this book! Nicole has done it once again!

 

Synopsis

When the world is at war.
No one is safe.
Not even the gods.

Apollo would hide with Hyacinth and hold him until the sun burned out.

But that is not their destiny.

When Ares arrives announcing a turn of the tides and war thundering towards Niria, Apollo and Hyacinth take on a journey to save everyone from Zeus’ wrath.

But when things don’t go as planned, they might destroy themselves instead.

In this third installment of the Apollo Ascending series, romance, fate, adventure, and tragedy intermingle into an exhilarating story of loyalty and sacrifice.

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“Golden boy.”

I fluttered my eyes open and shifted towards Hyacinth. He swept his fingers down my arm, his head resting on his free palm, his elbow dipping against a pillow. 

“Did I fall asleep?”

He grinned and my heart flew about like a bird loose from a cage. I couldn’t believe he was alive. Part of me had expected to wake and find that his return was all a vision that desperation and grief had created for me.

I feathered my hand over his bare shoulder, down his arm, along the sharp edge of his hip. He didn’t glow as the high gods—as I did—his tan flesh holding a touch of a shimmer instead, his hazel eyes only slightly brighter than they had been in his human life.

He was here.

He was alive.

And he was a deity. Gods, that was not a twist I had expected. I twined my fingers with his. He nodded to the window where peachy light swept in alongside misty clouds. “We should go.”

“Shit.” I jumped out of the bed and snagged my tunic from where it lay on the wood floor. “The sun… I can’t believe I slept into the afternoon.” I yanked the clothing over my head.

Hyacinth stood as well and pulled on his outfit and robe—the one he’d apparently bargained with Hades for. “The sun?”

I sighed and stepped with him out of the bedroom and into the only other room in the cottage—a small sitting space with two oversized chairs in front of a fireplace. We opened the door and our feet dipped into the clouds that stretched in a million colors of lavenders and golds and ice-blues as the day swept away.

“Now that I’ve ascended, my magic is directly connected with the sun. I have to pull it up in the morning and down at night. I’ve learned, the hard way, that if I don’t, it causes issues in the human world.”

Hyacinth studied me, his eyebrows forming that v-shaped dimple that I loved. “Issues?”

I swallowed and squeezed my fingers into the back of my neck. “When you… I mean after you’d…” I couldn’t form the words. Tears bit at my eyes just from thinking about losing him. Even with him standing right there in front of me again, the pain still roiled its way through me.

“When I died,” he whispered.

I nodded. “I was so broken, Cyn.” My teeth clinked as I clenched them down hard to keep the swelling emotions at bay. “I wasn’t taking on the mantle of my role as I should. The weather in the human world…” I gave my head a shake. “It was strange. Storms would rise out of nowhere and then disappear. The sun stopped following a consistent schedule. It was chaos.”

He brushed a hand down the lapels of his robe. “Because you weren’t guiding the sun?”

I shrugged. “I suppose so. Temi was the one who worked it out, that my ascension had enmeshed my powers with the sun, and it no longer would rise and fall steadily without me guiding it. And that me neglecting my role would cause issues with the weather. She convinced me to…” I gestured to the cottage and the throne that sat in front of it couched in puffy clouds. And to the heavens there at the top of the mountains overlooking Niria.

Hyacinth walked over and pulled me into his arms. I rested my head against his shoulder, breathing in the sweet jasmine scent of him. “It’s all right. I’m here now, golden boy. I won’t leave you again.”

I nestled in closer but didn’t answer.

It was hard to say if that would be true or not.

After all, war had finally built up. Hyacinth’s father believed it could break out for their country any day.

And it was Zeus we stood against.

Zeus didn’t know that yet—I didn’t think so, at least.

Now that Hyacinth returned… I sucked in a breath at that thought.

My father wouldn’t hesitate to harm him to manipulate me. With Zeus holding the spark, he was the only god who could kill a high god. But Cyn wasn’t even that. He was only a low deity. Zeus could end him so easily. 

I tightened my grip on him as the wind picked up, causing goosebumps to rise on my arms.

Cyn studied me for a moment, a trace of concern in his expression. But he didn’t share his thoughts. Instead, he turned towards the world elongated out below us. “This is so beautiful from up here.”

I shifted to where he gestured and wrapped an arm around his back. The earth stretched out in miniature. Niria—the massive city that it was—glimmered like a stack of golden pebbles, lilac mountains shadowing it in the distance. From our height, the sea was just visible on the horizon, a razor thin line of glistening navy. 

I shivered, my stomach swirling, but closed my eyes and leaned in closer to Hyacinth.

“Are you still afraid of heights?”

I chuckled breathily. “A bit, yes.”

“Hmm.”

“Do you want to see your family tonight?”

Hyacinth’s features tightened, a muscle in his jaw jumping, but he nodded. 

“Let me call Temi, then. I believe a forewarning might be helpful here.”

“That makes sense,” Hyacinth whispered. He raised his free hand and smoothed down the lapels of his robe, his eyebrows dimpling together.

“It’ll be fine, Cyn,” I said. “I think it may help with the shock if Temi lets them know before we come. She’s all but joined your family in the last months.”

His posture eased. “Is that so?”

“Hmmm,” I hummed in reply. “Let me call her, and guide the sun, and then we’ll go.”

Hyacinth crossed his arms, the burgundy silk of his robe rippling out on the wind. Gods, he was beautiful and perfect. I didn’t know what I’d done to deserve a second chance with him, but I would make the most of every moment.

I pulled my knapsack off, removed a bowl, and dumped herbs into it. I called on my magic to produce a spark that lit them, their rich smoke drifting into the air. “Artemis,” I said. “Goddess of the moon. Hear me and come to me.”

A cringe coursed over me as I shifted the herbs around, snuffing out the fire. She was going to chew my ass out for summoning her. In the last months she’d dragged me into practicing her powers with her—I suspected for my sake as much as her own—and we’d figured out that even though she hadn’t ascended yet, I could summon her. She had also threatened my life if I ever used it. But she would understand once she arrived.

I stuffed the implements back into my bag and rose, facing the sun. I sank heavily into my powers, letting them fizzle and warm their way through my blood. The glow grew until the cottage, the clouds we stood on, the heavens as far as I could see, all illuminated.

The massive heat and curling fires of that bright star reverberated within me. I whispered to it with my magic, like shushing a child to sleep. Time to finish your path for the day and tuck yourself down behind the mountains now.

The sun glimmered and then lowered incrementally, stars just piercing the violet edges of the sky. 

The magic drew back into me, and I turned to face Hyacinth.

Who stared at me, his mouth agape.

Oh, right. He’d never seen me like that.

Divine.

Ascended.

A curl of insecurity wisped through me. Perhaps he would find it disgusting or terrifying. Like so many humans did.

He walked up to me and reached out, tracing my cheek with his thumb. “That was impressive, golden boy.”

I ducked my head. “It was nothing.”

Hyacinth replaced his thumb with his lips, pressing gentle kisses over my face that caused me to shiver. “Oh, that was a great deal more than nothing. Hades showed me how to connect with the magic I have—growing flowers and things—but your powers make that look like a party trick.”

The world darkened around us, and the clouds turned plum as the sky gave way to a velvet ebony. “What all did Hades tell you?”

Hyacinth hesitated, grazing fingers over my knuckles. It was then I realized his hands were unadorned, and I had never seen him without rings before. He brushed the tip of his thumb over the naked edge of his finger as though he shared the same thought. “It was a choice for me to return, Apollo.”

“What do you mean?” I whispered.

Tropes

🏳️‍🌈 LGBT Romance

⚡️ Angry Gods

❤️ Soulmates

👑 Immortal God x Human Prince

🗡️ Mythical Battles & Magical Disasters

🫂 Found Family

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Mission Statement

Hey there! Welcome to Nicole Bailey's store! I'm all about diving into fantasy worlds that reflect our amazing, diverse real world. I adore writing about found families, creating dark yet fascinating realms filled with myths, and spinning heart-melting romances. My aim? To whisk you away from reality into magical lands where anything is possible! I want to offer you an escape and introduce you to captivating worlds and characters.

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