The Chrysomelia Stories (Book Two)
New immortals are being created for the first time in thousands of years thanks to the tree of immortality discovered by Persephone and Hades. But Sophie Darrow is not one of them. Nikolaos, the trickster, has given the last ripe immortality fruit to two others, the reincarnations of the gods Dionysos and Hekate: Tabitha and Zoe, currently Sophie's and Adrian's best friends.
While the disappointed Sophie struggles to remember Hekate and Dionysos from ancient Greece, she must still face her daily life as a mortal university freshman. Tabitha and Zoe have their own struggles as they come to terms with being newly immortal and their own haunting dreams of past lives and loves. The evil committed by Thanatos invades all of them in heartbreaking memories, and worse still, Sophie and her friends know their enemies are determined to kill again. And even the gods can't save everyone.
ISBN Trade Paperback: 978-1-77168-016-5
FICTION | Mythology
List Price: $19.95
***** Night Owl Reviews Top Pick (Persephone's Orchard)
***** Long and Short Reviews Book of the Month (Persephone's Orchard)
"I read Persephone's Orchard a year ago and it still remains one of the most unique and engaging retellings of the Hades and Persephone myth I've ever read." ~ Rachel Alexander, Author of Receiver of Many
"Molly’s artfulness in setting patterns of relationships and events in ways that illuminate each other, create foreshadowing and dramatic tension is an especially enjoyable element of the book…" ~ Still Seeking Allies
"Underworld's Daughter is truly an entertaining and amazing sequel that will leave you wanting for more. Prepare to be mesmerized by the Greek Gods and their memories and by the absolutely thorough writing of Molly." ~ Bookish Confections
"This second book to Persephone’s Orchard was a great continuation of the first story. How the past and present characters are written together is great. I loved the addition of Hekate’s character, it brought so much more to the lives of Persephone and Hades, along with the other Greek characters that are in the story." ~ The Reading Cafe
After the sun set, Hades and Persephone moved to the warm rocks above the cave’s entrance and rested there. The souls poured in. Breaths of chilled subterranean air wafted up from the Underworld.
“Wouldn’t you like to go tell your mother where you are?” Hades said.
Persephone shook her head and kept watching the waterfall of souls. “Let her figure it out.”
The stars emerged. Though still aroused enough to be caressing Hades idly beneath his tunic, Persephone was growing sleepy, her head heavy against his shoulder. He carried her back to the chariot, called the salt-encrusted Kerberos in as well, and made the descent into the cave. Guided by the light of one of the leashed spirit dogs, Hades and Persephone walked with happy exhaustion down the tunnel to the bedchamber, disrobed, and fell asleep. Kerberos snoozed near the door, next to his ghost-dog friends.
They awoke some time later when he scrambled upright and barked. From the tunnel bloomed a glow of torchlight. A female voice shouted, “Persephone!”
Demeter burst in with the torch. Kerberos barked once more, then sat back beside the bed with a grumble and watched her distrustfully. She paid him no heed. She glared at Persephone and Hades.
They sat up. Persephone blinked against the bright torch and held the blankets around her naked body. Mother and daughter gazed at one another, Demeter’s fury against Persephone’s coldness.
Hades reached for his cloak and wrapped it around his waist before stepping out of bed. “Demeter, I should officially inform you—”
“She knows we’re married,” Persephone cut in. She kept her eyes upon Demeter. “And there’s nothing she can do about it.”
Demeter’s chest heaved in a breath. Long blades of grass had tangled around her sandals, and bits of leaf were stuck to her cloak, suggesting she’d been tearing through meadows and forests in search of her daughter. “This is how you tell me? Not a word of warning, you just disappear? Do you realize how worried I’ve been, how—”
“You brought this on yourself. You meddled.” Sitting tall in the bed, flower petals clinging to her rumpled hair, Persephone already had the bearing of a goddess.
“No one’s seen you since morning!” Demeter said. “You left to gather flowers and simply vanished. I found your cloak and basket and sandals, all scattered across the ground—what was I to think? Girls have been raped and killed at these festivals. Finally I found Adonis and Aphrodite, and they told me not to worry.” She said the words through clenched teeth. “They said someone had seen you in the forest with a black-haired man in a cloak. An immortal, who took you away into the spirit realm.” She slid a contemptuous glance toward Hades, then returned her gaze to Persephone. “I should have guessed from the start.”
“Yes, you should have. Now you know I’m married and safe. You may go.”
“Safe? With him?”
“I won’t get pregnant,” said Persephone, at the same moment that Hades said, “I will never hurt her.”
Demeter finally rounded on him. “To you I say only this. If you do hurt her in any way, or you leave her or betray her when she ages and you don’t, I will have the rest of eternity to hate you and punish you for it.”
Defenses rose to his mouth, but he held them in check. His gaze moved to the torch, which she must have brought with her from above. “You’ve never come down to the Underworld before,” he said gently. “Certainly not by yourself, at night, and without knowing your way in the tunnels. That would take a lot of courage for anyone. I know what Persephone means to you, that you’d brave this place to find her.”
“I still loathe it. Seeing it firsthand hasn’t changed my mind.”
“But she’s queen here now,” Hades said. “Does that change your mind?”
Demeter shuddered and turned back to Persephone. “This doesn’t have to be your future. You can still leave him, find a normal life. There are men who’d have you.”
“This is the only man and the only life I want. If you can’t accept it, you know the way out.”
Demeter lowered the torch and turned, but stopped at the doorway. “I’m sorry I lied to you. Both of you.” Her voice was strained. “Persephone, I’m sure you realize I only did so to keep you safe. To keep you with me.”
“You’d prefer I never grew up? Some of us don’t have that luxury.”
Demeter bowed her head, and departed into the tunnel.
Hades sent a concerned glance at Persephone. Her brows were lowered, her eyes troubled and stormy. She gathered dried petals off the blanket and crushed them in her fist.
Kerberos rested his chin on the bed and gazed at her.
“Don’t you want to go after her?” Hades asked.
“No. This is what she deserves, tampering with our lives.”
He sat beside her, and she leaned against his chest. “Look,” he tried. “Long ago, when Demeter found out she was going to have you, I told her I’d always be her friend, and the friend of her child. Now I’m…well, she must think I’ve utterly stolen and violated her child. Not to mention her trust.”
“You haven’t. This is her wrongdoing, not yours.” She looked up at him. “I promise you, this is where I want to be. And she must live with it. Let’s go back to sleep.”
“If you wish.”
They lay back and he cradled her in his arms until she breathed deeply and peacefully. But he stayed awake a long while, disquieted by the echo of Demeter’s words: I will have the rest of eternity to hate you and punish you for it.
By Molly Ringle