Written by Chantal Gadoury, Blinding Night takes readers on an adventure of Greek Mythos and spellbinding romance. Now, the Blinding Night Audiobook has been narrated by Dollcie Webb and is available for your listening pleasure with Audible–download it here!
We are thrilled to kick off our official Audiobook Tour for author Chantal Gadoury's Blinding Night. Today, we will be celebrating with a few surprises, including a giveaway, prizes, and more!
But first, here's a special sneak peek of what's next to come in the Blinding Night universe...
Gilded Ruins (Blinding Night, #2)
By Chantal Gadoury
Arae adjusted a curl around my ear as she placed a golden crown of twisting vines on my head. I knew she was enjoying this. Far more than I was. The soft, blue dress she had chosen for me to wear hung off of my shoulders, pooling onto the ground like a waterfall. Intricate pieces of gold thread weaved through the gown, making it sparkle like a crystal in the sun. It was vastly different from all the jeans and sweaters I had been wearing since my arrival to the Underworld.
I never thought in a billion years I’d ever say that. Me - in the Underworld.
“If you’re going to face the Gods of Mount Olympus, you should appear as one,” Arae said as her fingers trailed along the length of my necklace; a black diamond necklace had come in the selection of gowns Arae brought to me. Black like death.
The messenger of the Gods - Hermes - had appeared in the dining hall of Elysian nearly three days ago with a warm, clever smile on his lips. He, in his golden glory, had come for me, to whisk me back to my mother’s side. Back to the Goddess, Demeter and the nameless other Gods who all had sided with her.
“But I’m not one,” I muttered under my breath as I gently pushed her prying fingers away from my neck. Arae wrinkled her nose, irritated. She had been the one to insist I come to her room and try on a gown she had picked out for me. She had been the one advising me on “Goddess” lessons - quizzing me on the different names of those I would likely meet at Mount Olympus. I was tired of the endless cycle of names and fabrics.
“Perhaps not completely,” she agreed, breaking the silence. “But you are the one Darce has chosen.”
I was the one he had been searching for; the reincarnation to his long-ago bride - Persephone. She had come to the world during various eras, and he had spent each century seeking her. Each time Darce had met Persephone’s new form, she had slipped between his fingers - dying in front of him before he could whisk her away back to the Underworld. But I had been different. After losing both of my parents in a car accident, Darce had brought me down to the Underworld, in hopes of remembering the past.
“You’ll see for yourself,” Arae continued. “The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus care more about how you dress and carry yourself, than your ranking as a mere mortal.”
“But you care quite a lot about that detail. . .” I retorted, glaring at her. She smiled snarkly and took a step back as she lifted her hand to her chin. Her eyes peered at me curiously, scanning me from head to toe.
“I don’t,” she replied. I snorted.
“Yes you do.”
She shrugged and crossed her arms against her chest. “It’s not my fault you look like a vagabond.”
“Excuse you,” I muttered under my breath.
“Shoes?” She asked, pointing to the hem of the long dress. I knew she was going to crack down on me. With a grimace, I lifted the dress just slightly, revealing my Keds.
“I told you,” she said, clicking her tongue. “It matters on Mount Olympus.”
“Won’t they be too busy talking to Darce and I -”
“Do you recall a French Queen from your mortal history?” Arae asked, raising a brow. “Imagine Mount Olympus as though it were Versailles. And you are the new foreign queen entering new territory. Everyone who's anyone will be there. Everyone judges everybody. And they’ll be exceptionally ruthless when it comes to you.”
“Even towards my shoes?” I lifted the hem of my gown, revealing my Keds.
“Oh Summer,” she growled as she snapped her fingers. “Take them off.”
Pursing my lips, I glared at her and pushed them off. She crossed the room and gathered a pair of what looked to be gladiator sandals. They were tan, but encrusted with small diamonds over the tops of my feet.
“And these are supposed to be better?”
“At least it goes with the outfit,” she replied with an irritated sigh.
“Did you dress Darce this diligently too?”
Her glare could have sliced bread.
“Thankfully my Lord knows how to dress himself, unlike his counterpart.”
If there was something we could agree upon, it was that Darce did in fact know how to dress himself. And he definitely knew how to undress not only himself, but me, like a pro. In the few days that had passed since Morpheus had shown me my past lives, Darce and I had filled the few hours that we had together, with each other. Maybe he thought of it as making up for lost time. Since Hermes’ arrival, Darce hadn’t let me out of his sight. Not that I could really blame him. If Hermes took me back to Mount Olympus without him. . . it was almost sure I would never see him again. After dinner each night, Darce led me back to my room, and peeled away my clothes. Peeled away the layers of the memories I hadn’t discovered yet. And in-between the silent hours, Darce would tell me stories about the women who I had been before; Winnie, Celena, Lorena, and Persephone. Sometimes, when I closed my eyes, and sank into my bed beside him, I wondered who he missed the most. If he, as he watched me from across the table at our meals, looked at me and wished for another face to be there instead. The thoughts were fleeting as Darce would pull me closer, tighter against him - keeping me warm and safe in his embrace.
This certainly wasn’t where I imagined myself to be these summer months- hidden away in the Underworld with a Greek God. But I also never imagined that I - Summer Mavros - was actually a Greek Goddess: Persephone. And yet, here I was, having a gown prepared for my arrival to the infamous Mount Olympus, a place I had always presumed as fictional. And I was going to meet the most famous Greek God - Zeus, along with the many other Gods and Goddesses I had only heard about in books and movies.
“Does this really mean Zeus is my father?”
“He was the father to Persephone, so I suppose that would mean he’s yours too?” Arae replied as she took a step back, tapping her finger against her chin.
“But wouldn’t that make. . . Darce. . . my uncle?” I cringed at the thought.
“Look,” Arae replied, snapping her fingers as she gazed at me. “Things are different here. Much different than in your rule-riddled world. Gods and Goddesses aren’t made the way you humans create life.”
“How were the first humans created by God?” Arae asked, raising a brow. “Didn’t he just create them from ash and dirt?”
Quietly, I chewed my lip, turning to look back at my reflection. I didn’t recognize the girl - woman - I saw staring back at me. It was much more than just the beautiful gown I wore or the crown of golden leaves on my head. I wasn’t just me anymore. I was a Greek Goddess. Or rather, had been? I remembered my past. I remembered all of the past lives I shared with the women who loved Darce - Hades; God of the Underworld. In knowing everything, I felt like I looked different. Perhaps it was all in my eyes, or the way I tried to keep my back straight.
“I think you finally look presentable enough,” Arae murmured before she flicked a strand of my hair over my shoulder. “Enough to appease the Gods of Mount Olympus.”
“I’m not going there to appease anyone,” I muttered under my breath.
“For the last time,” she hissed. “You’re not going there for a party. You’re being summoned. That means you and Darce are in more trouble than you might realize.”
“We didn’t do anything wrong.”
“Minthe will say otherwise.”
Right. Minthe. She was the sole reason why Hermes came to the Underworld in the first place. She had been rejected by Darce, and ran to Mount Olympus to tell Zeus and my mother where I was. That I, Summer Mavros was indeed, Persephone, and had been returned to Hades.
“Currently it’s her word against yours.”
“But soon it’ll be hers against Darce. That should make a difference.”
I swore I heard Arae mutter, “Not likely,” under her breath. I raised my brow as she took a step back, admiring her handiwork.
“Perfect. When we go to Mount Olympus, this is exactly how you will dress. There will be no question of who you are.”
As I tilted my chin back towards the mirror’s reflection, I couldn’t help but feel Arae’s words were layered in a lie. Perhaps everyone who looked at me would see who I was trying to be - trying to fulfill the shoes of the long-ago Persephone. Perhaps they would see that I was. . . Darce’s partner.
But everything for me was different. I didn’t feel like me anymore. But there was more to me than just the life I had always known. Now, I carried the memories of several; relived the moments of others, and tried to keep it all sorted in my head. It was often I would get memories and emotions confused as my own.
“Where is Darce again?” I asked, turning my attention back to Arae.
“He and Thanatos are on the other side of the Underworld, in the Asphodel Meadows.”
“Oh,” I murmured as I quickly began to pull the golden crown from my head. “I think I’ll change and start packing.”
“You could leave the packing to me,” Arae said with a smirk.
Yeah right. Arae detested my comfortable human clothes, and I was not willing to give up the chance of having something wearable brought with me. Even if it meant I could only wear it in my room with Darce. I tried to give her a warm smile as I shook my head.
“Don’t worry, I’ll pack what you want me to.”
“You’ll thank me later,” she promised in a sing-song voice.
But it wasn’t likely. At least, not any time soon. I flashed her a small half smile as I tugged the black necklace from my neck and handed the jewels to Arae before disappearing through the door of her room.
I was glad that at least the shoes she had selected for me, didn’t clatter against the marble floor as I walked. Just as I reached the hallway leading back towards my rooms, I decided to take the other way, leading to the docks. Perhaps there was a chance Darce and Thanatos would have returned early. And maybe Darce could give me his real opinion on Arae’s dress.
As I approached the main entrance, I saw the familiar figure of a man whose back was to me. Large, black wings were tucked gently in place, and long silver hair faded with blue ends fluttered in the gentle breeze from the river. His hand was against the wall, bracing himself as he watched the gentle waves. I knew those wings anywhere; I knew his hair, the broadness of his shoulders. I was even more familiar with his dark gaze and charismatic smile.
Morpheus. The God of Dreams.
While our first encounter upon my arrival to the Underworld had been strange, things began to change as time passed. Morpheus had become my first real friend.
Sometimes, it felt as though he were my only friend, short of Darce. He had been the one who had helped me realize the truth about my past; the truth about my being the Goddess, Persephone.
Without him, I might have lost Darce to Minthe.
Without him, I might have lost myself too.
I watched as he tilted his chin to the side, turning slowly to glance over his shoulder. The corner of his lips turned into a careful smile as he caught my gaze; his eyes were warm and welcoming.
“I see Arae had her hands on you,” he said with a slight chuckle.
“Is it that obvious?” I asked, wrinkling my nose as I slid my hands to my waist.
He slid his hands into his dark trouser pockets; his clothing was the usual black with the swirling silver crest of the Underworld on his chest. Upon his head, he wore a small silver diadem - a formality.
“Arae did it,” I explained as I tugged at the skirt.
“I’m surprised you let her,” Morpheus replied, raising a brow.
“I really didn’t have much of a choice.” At least that was true, and everyone who knew Arae, knew it.
“His Lord isn’t back yet, but should be soon,” Morpheus explained, gesturing back towards the river with his hand. “I presume he is who you came to look for.”
My cheeks flushed as I slowly nodded.
“I apologize in the disappointing surprise,” he said as slowly turned on his heel, glancing back at the water. I shifted slowly, taking a step closer toward the dock. I could feel his unease.
“You being here isn’t disappointing, Morpheus,” I admitted softly. Something had changed between our short-lived friendship, since he had helped me in remembering my past lives. Now when I gazed at Morpheus, I saw a deep sadness in his eyes - as dark as the night sky. I was too terrified to ask about it; too terrified in knowing the reason why. I wrapped my arms around myself and darted a quick glance in his direction, before darting my gaze back out to the waters.
“Are you sure you want to go to Mount Olympus?”
“And leave you and Darce to all the fun?” He asked with a small smirk. I felt his eyes move on me, and I shrugged as indifferently as I could manage. Morpheus shook his head.
“Someone must keep an eye on you. Darce. . . will have his own things to attend to.”
“I don’t need a babysitter,” I replied sharply, daring to turn my gaze to meet his. His eyebrow rose with amusement.
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Thanks for reading, and as always, Happy Casting!
The Attic Witch