Introducing the first book in April Zyon’s new series, Knights of Ares! Please read on for excerpt, links, and giveaway!
The Knights of Ares are a joint Navy SEAL and Army Ranger team that has been tasked with a new war. One that needs to be kept from being discovered, at all costs.
The first book in this series, First Contact, introduces us to this special task force, and two of it’s members.
Mikhail ‘Wolf’ Rossov and Gareth ‘Gunner’ Gruffyd are part of the team that are fighting a war no one knows is happening. Out on the job, they end up saving a woman who turns out to be more than they could have believed. Their first priority is to ensure her safety, before breaking the news to her, turning her life upside down.
Morgan Berry is a kindergarten teacher. The most dangerous part of her job is a wide spread flu epidemic in her class. Being a teacher is all she’s ever wanted, she never thought she’d soon be part of something bigger. But it’s not everyday one finds out they are related to the God of War himself.
Taking Morgan home with them to protect her might have been the original plan, but falling in love with her came all too easily. Mikhail and Gareth will do whatever is needed to keep her safe, and in their bed, forever.
Kidnapped to become a pawn in a dangerous, violent game, Morgan has only one hope. For her men to come to her rescue, before it’s too late. She knows that they would walk through the fires of hell for her. But will they make it in time?
It was good to be back on American soil. While he thought of himself as more Russian than American, America had been his home for all his life and would always be home.
Stepping out of the steam from the bathroom, he finished toweling off as he padded into the locker room. Nodding to his teammates who were scattered around in various states of undress, he grabbed up a pair of jeans and pulled them on.
Three weeks since their mission to extract the CIA operative from Greece without anyone, official or not, the wiser. While it hadn’t been smooth, they’d gotten in and out without alerting anyone that they’d ever been there. Bad guys notwithstanding of course.
Buttoning up his fly, Mik crammed his feet into a pair of boots. Grabbing his shirt, he hauled it on before dropping to sit on the bench to do up his boots.
They’d been in various meetings and sessions to debrief since they’d gotten out of Greece with the operative. All they knew about her was her code name for the op, Sugar. Not exactly fitting given the venom she’d directed their way the entire flight out of the country and then back to the States. But then again, she hadn’t looked all that happy before they’d met her so, really, who was he to judge.
What her mission had been in the country he couldn’t say. But since they were, currently, on friendly terms with Greece, who the fuck knew. Especially when it came to the spooks. Those guys just loved to root around in the darkest of corners looking for enemies and, if they couldn’t find one, making new ones.
Getting to his feet, he stomped them a little to settle the boots in place. Just as he grabbed his leather jacket, the door into the locker room crashed open and four MP’s came in.
“Sorry, sirs. The Admiral has requested your presence, immediately.”
Shooting his team mates a look Mik knew it wasn’t an actual ‘request.’ No one, an Admiral especially, needed four heavily armed MP’s to pass on a ‘request’. No, it was an order that if not obeyed, he would bet the MPs had very specific and detailed instructions about what to do.
Shrugging into his jacket, he leaned against his locker as his cohorts got dressed. Not a one of them in any apparent rush. While the MPs had said immediately, and he was sure the Admiral had meant yesterday, they weren’t really going to just give in. That wasn’t how a one of them was made. He watched his fellow team members as they all seemed to gravitate into their duos, as usual. He wasn’t surprised when Gareth shot him a small crooked grin. The men weren’t couples, but they all worked together very well and at least where he and Gareth were concerned, shared women more often than not.
Rubbing a hand over his mouth, he hid his smirk as James ‘Fury’ Ashton asked one of their team, Anton ‘Viper’ Lueger, which shirt went with his eyes better. Always pushing the envelope that one. Catching the look on the MP’s faces and the way they were fiddling with their sidearms, he cleared his throat. Catching everyone’s attention he gave them a couple of signals out of sight of the MPs.
It got everyone moving faster. If a bunch of highly trained military cops were that twitchy, something big was going down. No need to provoke them more than absolutely necessary.
Leaving the locker room as a unit, they all shared a look. No one had a clue what was going on and not a one liked it. Especially since they’d all just been told they had three weeks leave. Which, in their minds, meant they got to leave, no questions asked. Not good.
* * * * *
Twenty minutes later Mikhail could not believe how fucking right he’d been. “Excuse me, sir. I mean zero disrespect, sir, but are you off your fucking rocker?” he asked.
His teammates all nodded. Yeah, every single one of them had been thinking it. He was just the craziest of the bunch to actually say it out loud. But it was part of his rep, and he so did love to live up to his rep.
“I wish,” the old man said. He rubbed a hand over his military regulation cut and looked at them all.
Mik couldn’t believe how old the Admiral looked right then. Sharing a worried look with Marius, he shook his head. “Sir, this is crazy. I might buy that Marius might believe in the Greek Gods, growing up as he had, but coming from you,” he shook his head again. “I’m sorry sir, but I’m not buying it.”
“You’d better,” a new voice said. One that was deep, bowels of hell deep, and sent a shiver down every man’s spine.
Spinning Mikhail stared up, yeah up, at seven and a half feet of solid muscle covered in leather. Holy shit, where the fuck had this guy come from?
“Olympus by way of Athens,” the large male said. He turned his blacker than night eyes to the Admiral. “Andrew, sorry I’m late. Had a small family matter to attend to.”
“No apologies needed, come on in and grab a seat. I think I’ll let you tell them the rest of this, as they don’t seem to be taking me seriously.”
The large man chuckled and, not kidding, Mikhail could have sworn the room actually pitched and rolled like the deck of a battleship on high seas.
“They are trained to believe what they can see, hear and touch, Andrew. Of course, they are not going to just take you at your word,” the male said. He walked around them all, he was light on his feet too, and took the seat that the Admiral had offered.
Shooting Marius a look, he saw the same WTF expression he was sure was on his face. The guy was on a first name basis with the Admiral and seemed to be buying into the same delusion, too. This would be interesting to hear.
“It’s not a delusion, Mikhail,” the guy said. “The Greek Gods are real, all of us.”
“So, we’re to believe you’re one?” Meirion ‘Saber’ Jamison asked.
“Yes,” the male told them.
“Right,” Thomas ‘Brick’ Gordon drawled out in his Southern manner. “Which one, just so we keep it all straight and shit?” he asked.
The Admiral looked like he was either going to shit himself or be sick. Not a look one expected of a career military man who’d been through more wars than most could lay claim to. And all on the front lines for the most part.
“Ares,” the male said.
“God of War,” Stefan ‘Orion’ Patras said softly. “Son of Zeus and Hera.”
“Bingo,” the big male said. “Got it in one. Which, considering your heritage, I’d be truly miffed if you hadn’t.”
Shooting his Greek team mate a look, Mik shook his head. “Okay, I have a question, if we’re all going to play along with this delusion.”
“It’s no delusion and yes, the Gods are real.” Ares, or whoever the fuck he was, got up from his chair. He pushed it out of the way and settled with his feet spread so they were right under his shoulders.
A flash of light and they were staring at the guy in full battle regalia. As in, ancient armor with one hell of a big ass sword in hand, tip to the floor. Oddly enough, the guy even seemed bigger.
And he was walking straight toward Mik.
Standing his ground Mikhail notched his chin up to keep eye contact with the guy. Which was a lot harder than he’d thought now that they guys eyes were silver swirling pools, much like a whirlpool, trying to suck him in.
“Military men are always the hardest to convince,” the God, or whoever he was, said. Then he smiled, perfectly straight white teeth no less, and lifted a hand. “Let’s see if I can’t convince you, shall we?”
Mik would have protested, but he wasn’t quick enough. The God’s hand landed on his shoulder and suddenly he was being torn apart and then rebuilt molecule by molecule. He saw the beginning of the world, Zeus’s creation of man, the ‘birth’ of the other Gods and times in history that even scientists and the best historians could only make educated guesses on. He saw battlefields where the God before him was in the thick, covered in blood and other bodily gore.
He watched as cities burned, crumbling into dust, and civilizations fell. He watched the march of the Roman empire across Europe and their eventual retreat. Cities rose, fell, changed, grew and then technology began to come into sight. Then they were back in the room, in the present and he was staring up into a pair of swirling silver eyes.
The hand on his shoulder squeezed before falling away. “Believe now?” the deep voice asked softly.
Stumbling back Mikhail groped for a chair and fell into one when it was close enough. Shivering he couldn’t tear his eyes off the guy. “What the fuck?” he asked.
Ares just nodded. “Good. Now we’re getting somewhere.” Another flash and he was back in his leather striding back to the head of the table to sit down once more. “Gentlemen, sit,” he told the rest of the team. “We have a lot to discuss and very little time.”
He could feel the worried eyes of his teammates on him, but he couldn’t say anything. His mind was still fighting to resolve all he’d just witnessed and make sense of it. And he was failing miserably.
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