Urban Fantasy Author
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In a wicked game, the God of Love falls to his own arrow, and a gentle scholar learns how dangerous knowledge can be.
Aphrodite has had it.
It was bad enough that her son Eros walked a fashion show in drag, but did he really have to show the entire world his wings? Desperate to rein in the impulsive young god, she recruits the scholarly muse Rees to lure him back to Olympus until the scandal dies down.
After hundreds of years, Eros has finally located the reincarnation of his former love, Psyche. The only way to her heart is through fame, so the God of Love plans a daring campaign to win her back. Yet the closer he gets to Psyche, the more he’s drawn to a geeky young professor who came crashing into his life.
Eros drags Rees into his wicked world of high fashion and risqué parties, only to expose him to danger from an unexpected source. When Rees’ secrets come out, they threaten to destroy Eros’ love for him. Yet when Rees is kidnapped, Eros is forced to turn to the woman who set this catastrophe in motion—his mother, Aphrodite.
Reader Advisory: This book contains some scenes of kidnapping/captivity and graphic scenes of death and violence. This book also contains references to/discussions of rape.
Pride Publishing: https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/the-tenth-muse
He looked up and relief flooded through him—Eros strode down the hall. He was clad in a long black coat over jeans and a T-shirt. Oddly, his hair was messy and one eye seemed swollen. There was a slight bruise at the corner of his mouth, making it a little lopsided.
The feeling of dread returned. His entire existence narrowed down to the blond god approaching him, and once again, he was dizzy. Everything was about to change.
He broke away from the other two, briefly forgetting their presence. “Is everything all right?” He reached and brushed his fingers against the injury, and Eros flinched away.
Gods didn’t bruise easily.
“Why do you think something’s wrong?”
Even Eros’ voice was odd…strained. “Just one question, Rees. Did she send you? Did my mother send you for me?”
“W-what?” His heart crashed. For an eternity, maybe longer, they stood staring at each other, oblivious to Barry and Elena. It took Rees a moment to recover, then he took Eros by the arm and led him into the makeup room.
“Don’t bother to deny it, you may be good at deception, but you aren’t very good at the outright lie. The truth is on your face.”
Eros waited, gazing at Rees, and what little hope that lingered in his eyes withered and died. Rees was at a loss for words. How did he explain…how did he justify his actions?
“Yes. She hired me to keep an eye on you. To keep you out of the tabloids. She was—”
“Fuck!” Eros shook him off, walking away. It didn’t matter that he gave Rees his back, he could see the god’s furious image reflected back in dozens of mirrors.
“Who hurt you, Eros?”
He turned, facing Rees. “What else?”
Rees swallowed, his mouth suddenly parched. “She wants you to go home. To Olympus. I explained about Psyche, so she agreed to give you more time. Rumors are beginning to spread, though. Both here and…there. We were trying… We were trying to keep it from Ares.”
Obviously, they’d failed.
Eros stood, his golden head bowed. When he looked up, his blue eyes glittered. He laughed bitterly, the sound harsh and angry.
“Of course, it was all for my own good. The timing was perfect. I was able to fob off Ares with the promise of good behavior. I believe I might also have agreed to spend time with him…learning.”
“No.” Rees shook his head in denial. “You don’t belong with him.” The thought of Eros at the mercy of the God of War…it sickened him. “Eros, you know what you did. You know Aphrodite did the best she could. You may be immortal, but that doesn’t make you immune from the wrath of the pantheon.”
He stepped forward, reaching out, and Eros backed away. He let his hand drop.
“Did my mother suggest that you seduce me? Brilliant plan, except that she had to realize how…how furious I’d be when I found out.” He shoved a hand through his hair. “I find that at the moment, I hate my mother. I hate you too. The difference is, in time I’ll forgive her, because I know she acted out of love. You though…”
“I do, Eros. I didn’t lie. I lo—”
“Stop! Don’t say it.” Eros took a step back. And another. “I packed your things and sent them to your hotel. I’m sure you won’t need the room, you can just flash back to wherever you came from.”
“I can’t, Eros. I have no powers, not anymore.”
Eros rolled his eyes. “I’m sure you’ll manage. Aphrodite must have you covered in some way, right? Now move out of my way so I can leave.” He blinked rapidly, tears filling his brilliant eyes. “I can’t believe she was so stupid to send you and not realize I’d figure it out. And you know what gave it all away?”
Wordlessly, Rees shook his head.
“Your friend out there…Barry. He said…he said you’re like a muse. And I didn’t really understand the literal fact. But you are, aren’t you? A Muse?”
Rees shook his head. He pressed a hand to the wall, fighting to stay on his feet. “My sisters, they are. I’m just a teacher.”
Eros stared at him, an expression of near-horror on his face. “Gods. You’re the son of Mnemosyne and Zeus. You’re a full-on fucking god. You’re literally the Tenth Muse. Too reclusive to walk among the humans or even to visit Olympus. You came from your gleaming castle in the Elysian Fields just for me. I’m so honored.”
He pressed a hand over his heart and gave a mocking bow. He then edged past Rees as though he were something repulsive. “Go back to your life in those shining heavens. Bother me no more, Rees, or I promise you’ll know the revenge of Eros, and it will not be pretty.”
Belinda was born in Inglewood, California, but grew up far to the north in the shadow of Mt. Shasta. While her upbringing seemed pretty normal to her, she was surrounded by a fascinating array of friends and family, including various cowboys, hippies, scoundrels and saints.
She has a degree in history and cultural anthropology, but in 2006 made the life-changing decision to quit her job as a public health paraprofessional and stay at home full time to care for her severely disabled niece. This difficult decision gave Belinda the gift of time, which allowed her to return to writing fiction, which she’d abandoned years before.
Belinda’s hobbies include soap making, dog shows, collecting gemstones, travel, and Chinese martial arts. She has two daughters, three Siberian Huskies, two Salukis, and an array of wild birds that visit the feeders in the front yard.
As an author, Belinda loves crossing genres, kicking taboos to the curb, and pulling from world mythology and folklore for inspiration. She won the Passionate Plume in science fiction for her m/m romance An Uncommon Whore and the EPIC in paranormal romance for Blacque/Bleu, and in science fiction for The Bacchi. She, along with co-authors Cherise Sinclair and Sierra Cartwright were nominated for an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award.
I like to say that I've never met a mythological being I didn't love and McBride's are no exception. If the Greek gods were driven by larger than life human characteristics and emotions (and they were), then McBride has captured the essence and flavor, the essential mythos of the genre in this character-driven story.
One can’t help but appreciate the passion and anger the main character, Eros, feels as he experiences the betrayal and disappointment only centuries of longing and denial of his true love can produce, and McBride portrays his emotion in a believable way and sets the scene for the sequence of rather spectacular events that follow. It's a love story, after all, his long lost love, Psyche, that he feels he can't live without that leads him to earth where he meets a new love, Rees, (secretly sent by his mother to seduce and bring him home) who he thinks he doesn't care about, until he realizes he does.
There are other gods and demi-gods and muses and amusements and world-building aplenty to keep you rooting for your next favorite role players in this series, because between fashion model cross-dressing and love interest gender-swapping, the main character in this novel plays no favorites at all and shoots his arrows wherever they fly. This romance novel is certainly not for the gender-friender shy.
Book Bling gives this 4 stars!
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