The Tenth Muse

The Tenth Muse

by Belinda McBride

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Overview

The Tenth Muse by Belinda McBride

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781786514165
Publisher: Totally Entwined Group Ltd
Publication date: 05/17/2016
Series: Aphrodite Project , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 222
Sales rank: 988,308
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Belinda is an award-winning, top-selling author of erotic romance, speculative fiction and LGBTQ romance. She lives in far Northern California with her family, a pack of Siberian Huskies and a rogue Saluki.

A graduate of CSU Chico, she managed to attend the notorious party school without once getting drunk, arrested or appearing in a ‘Girls Gone Wild’ video. Her main focus of study was classical and archival history, cultural anthropology and theatre arts.

After several years in the workforce. Belinda purchased a laptop computer and from there, knew that her childhood dream of being an author would come to life.

Belinda's books are available at all the typical distributors as well as on the publisher's homepages.

Read an Excerpt

Copyright © Belinda McBride 2016. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.

“Oh, Eros…you fucking little son of a satyr…you’d better not—oh…ohhhh—”

Rees staggered back from the anachronistic machine on his studio workbench and pressed the heels of his hands over his eyes. He was firmly caught between swearing and laughing hysterically. Because what he’d just witnessed on the computer… He was grateful to be alone. It was bad. Very bad.

When Zeus finds out about this, lightning bolts will fly.

He shook his head in resignation and returned to the laptop his sister had brought him. He wasn’t sure what powered the thing, or by what magic it connected with the human world, but he’d fallen in love with the device on first sight.

But now he was cursing the screen. Because he didn’t want to witness Eros’ mind-bending, skull-crushing, cross-dressing misadventure. Still, he bit a knuckle, leaned closer to the monitor and almost stopped breathing. Rees had never met Eros in person, but was familiar enough with his image to know that the man moving down a long stage wearing nothing but women’s underwear was the darling son of Aphrodite, who just happened to be Rees’ mother’s closest friend.

It was like a train wreck, as the humans would say, and Rees couldn’t look away.

Eros sauntered, his body wrapped in a complex black corset, his privates barely hidden behind a filmy triangle of black silk. His muscular ass was bare and pale as that of a marble statue.

“Eros, I don’t know where in hell you’re hiding your balls, because they must be big as a Minotaur’s.” Rees felt heat in his face and knew he was blushing.

The camera cut tight to the god’s beautiful face. He looked wicked and sexy under a glistening mask of elaborate makeup. Bolts of silver and blue slashed across his face and down his neck. His long blond hair defied gravity, standing in a wild halo around his head.

His legs were buckled into black leather boots that rose to his thighs.

And he was wearing a bra.

Rees groaned again, chagrin mingling with reluctant arousal.

The air crackled with power as Rees’ sister entered the room. He didn’t turn to look at her, still mesmerized by the computer.

“By Hades’ whiskers…is that Eros?”

Rees nodded. “Yes. I think this is happening now.”

“Rees, that’s the Dark Angel’s live telecast. It’s one of the biggest fashion shows in the world!” Like his other eight sisters, Calliope spent most of her life walking among humans, whispering inspiration in the ears of artists, writers and musicians. She was frighteningly familiar with human culture.

“Do you suppose he hijacked that outfit from one of the girls? Because I know damned well that there’s never been a male Angel before.” She leaned down, looking closer at the screen.

As if in answer to her question, the camera panned back, showing a stunned audience and a parade of beauties who looked angry, resentful and outraged. In the audience, one particularly lovely woman was laughing helplessly.

“That’s Rosalinda, she’s one of the top models in the world. It’s nice to see her laughing.”

He kept an eye on the screen as he spoke to his sister. “Calliope, how likely is Ares to find out about this? Unless I’m way off, Eros is using his own wings. He’s just charmed the color to black.”

“Gods.” Calliope went sober. “When Ares gets hold of his son, he’ll make the maenads look like Orpheus’ maiden aunts.”

At the mention of the ill-fated god, Rees went breathless. He felt slightly sick. The brutal death of Orpheus was now a legend, one made resonant in its horror. The maenads were bad enough, but frighteningly, Ares was worse.

“Ares.” Rees shook his head. “He comes here sometimes, badgering warriors into rebirth. I’ve kicked him out more than once.”

“I don’t envy you.” Calliope gave a delicate shudder. “When he holds a grudge, he holds it close to his heart.”

On the screen, the shots faded to a scrolling list accompanied by music. Putting Ares from his mind, Rees studied the names, committing them to memory. Calliope reached around and closed the lid of the machine, and he glared at her. With a final glance at the computer, he followed her to the balcony that looked out over the streets below and leaned forward, resting on his elbows.

Strains of music rose on the sweet air, gently competing with the song of myriad birds as they flitted from tree to tree. Laughter echoed as the residents of the Elysian Fields wandered, serene in their eternal peace. There was no rebirth for Rees’ people, no more sadness and pain. They’d learned all they needed from their earthly lives and had chosen to drink the water of memory. They chose Paradise.

Everything was perfect here. Except when Ares came around to muck it all up.

Calliope tilted her head, peering at a handsome man below. “Is that Archilochus the Poet?”

“It is. I was pleased, though puzzled, that he opted to remain here.”

His sister laughed merrily. “Given that irreverent poem about abandoning his shield, I’m sure he still has Spartans after his head.” Her smile was slow to fade. Clearly she had a fondness for the poet.

“He does tend to stir strong emotion…even here.”

“That’s your kind way of saying that he pisses people off.” She squeezed his arm gently.

If there were reincarnated Spartans after Archilochus, he’d be fairly safe here, though he’d eventually become bored. Warriors and adventurers rarely chose the Elysian Fields. Hercules, Achilles and Jason had all chosen Hades and rebirth. Men and women of passion returned to their rocky human lives, leading Rees to one conclusion—life in Paradise was dull. He had no doubt Archilochus would eventually petition Hades for rebirth.

Rees looked down at the residents of heaven and had an epiphany—he did not belong in the Elysian Fields. Those men and women had struggled and fought for their peace. In all his existence, Rees had faced no decision more difficult than what shade of blue to paint the sky or which turn of phrase most perfectly described the serene beauty of Athena.

And he didn’t particularly like Athena.

He sighed heavily. What to do? He’d once approached his aunt Aphrodite about working on Earth with the hunters she employed. That hadn’t gone well. Aphrodite had politely considered his request then moved on to visit his mother, leaving Rees feeling rather silly. When she had men like Zagerus the Shadow working for her, what need had she for a second-rate muse?

Rees was an ornament. He was lovely to look at, gifted at entertaining and always said the right words at the right time. His skill with the sword and bow were flawless, though he’d never seen battle. His strategic abilities were legendary…in the chess circles. He knew nothing of the other world, yet he ached to learn, to prove himself.

“Brother?”

Barely hearing his sister, he turned and stared behind him, into the rooms where he lived his endless life.

His studio was a vast, airy space peopled with exquisite statuary and colored with paintings and frescoes. Walls were lined with books ranging from truly ancient scrolls to the latest literary offerings from Earth. A large set of double doors opened into a small amphitheater where he lectured.

One wall held his most cherished possessions—a collection of ancient lutes, many too ancient and fragile to play. Not that he’d ever tried. When he held the lute, his usually skilled hands went numb and stupid.

“Rees?”

“Calliope.” He took her hands in his and leaned in to kiss her soft cheek. Like all his sisters, she was beautiful. Exquisite. After all, the Muses were the inspiration for some of the greatest minds ever to have lived. Their faces graced paintings by great masters, their forms were immortalized in marble. Words describing their beauty danced through the years in verse and song.

He led her to a low chaise, and with a wave of his hand, a tall glass of wine appeared, its surface beaded with chill water. She took the glass and sipped, pleasure brightening her face. They sat quietly, for they’d existed so long in harmony that the siblings simply enjoyed each other’s company. He gazed at her in appreciation, taking in the soft golden curls nestling around her face and neck and the gentle brown eyes that were the mirror image of his own.

Those eyes were sad.

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The Tenth Muse 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book, so good I read it straight through. I love the author and have read many of her books already, so I had high hopes for this one, especially since I love mythology as well. This did not disappoint. Eros is out of control in his search for his lost love, Psyche. He knows she has been reborn into another life and is trying to get her love back, but to do so, he draws dangerous attention to the Gods. His mother, Aphrodite, sends Rees, a teacher and all around Rennaisance god who lives quietly in the Elysian Fields, to get Eros under control somehow. Eros and Rees end up falling in love, but Rees has deep secrets and dangerous hidden memories and Eros believes Rees is only human, not a god. Add into that, both have long past loves that they aren't sure what to do about and putting a muse into the mortal world among creative types brings even more chaos and danger into the mix. Mix in some immortal gods and you have a heartbreaking, yet lovely story. Well-written and evenly paced, I was hooked from the beginning and couldn't put it down. You don't have to be familiar with mythology to read it, everything is explained easily in a new and updated way, while keeping very close to the classic mythology of Greece. Excellent story and I do hope there are more to come (maybe Herma can get his own story, hint, hint). 222 pgs.
Arch_Angel More than 1 year ago
What a wonderfully entertaining story! Always a fan of Greek mythology and the mischief the Gods feel is their right to enjoy, I was enraptured by the cross-over between these legendary beings and modern day high society with its glitz and glam. A powerful tale of the passionate Eros, whose feelings of betrayal and disillusionment for centuries of longing for his beloved Psyche, set the scene for a kaleidoscope of events; some intense, some heart-wrenching and even on occasion just plain laugh out load, but with the myriad of captivating characters along for the ride, this story was never going to be predictable. Patiently waiting for Ms McBride’s next instalment in this fresh and exciting new series, will be near impossible!
n1ght0wl More than 1 year ago
An ARC of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. When Eros does a fashion show where he presents his real wing, his mother, Aphrodite knows she'll have to do damage control by getting Eros to come back to Olympus before the other pantheons take matter into their own hands. But she knows Eros won't come back on his own. So she enlists the help of Rees, her best friend's son. Rees has been feeling listless and is more than willing to act as one of Aphrodite's hunters. The moment Eros and Rees meet, the two take an immediate liking to each other. Rees is nothing like anyone Eros has encountered and before he knows it Rees is in his every thought. Rees is a bit cautious with his friendship with Eros since he believes Eros is stuck on Rosa, the reincarnation of his beloved wife, Psyche. But Rosa is nothing like Eros beloved Pschye and he finds himself unable to keep away from Rees. Rees is enjoying his time with Eros and doing set work but fears the day he must confess to Eros. When the truth comes out things look dire. Rees finds himself left alone and in that time he's kidnapped by an unhinged artist. It's up to Eros and the other to figure out who captured Rees and get him back before he succumbs. I'm really off (not up to date) on my Greek/Roman mythology so I had to do a bit of researching on my own to get the back story for some of the characters in the book since they weren't the focus of the story. That being said, I really really enjoyed this book. I liked reading Eros and Rees meeting and getting to know each other somewhat. Then being mature enough to state what they expect from their relationship. I liked how all the characters (gods, demi-gods) had a part in their lives and the revelations concerning Herma, Rees and Eros. It was unexpected but a very nice surprise especially in Rees' case. It was very easy to get sucked into this book. I did have some issues with it though. I thought Eros name in the human word was a bit uninventive. He named himself Eros Stephanopoulos...he introduced his own brother as Herma...I think it would have been easy for any nut to make a comparison to who they were. Ugh, the irony! It was just one of those scenarios to hide in plain sight (made me think of batman and superman >.
BrendaMald More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of The Tenth Muse from the publisher in return for an honest review. Young and beautiful Eros gets a little carried away in the human world and needs to be coaxed back home. Aphrodite sends handsome/geeky Reese, brother of the Muses, to do the job. When the "job" becomes a true romance between Rees and Eros, things start to get interesting, and romantic, and hot. The strength of this book is in the characters: Eros, Rees, Zephyrus, Herma, Wind Sprites, Shadow... The story is built on an awesome cast of interesting characters that left me wanting more. More Herma? More Zephyrus? Yes, please! The challenge this story presents is large number of tertiary characters, important to the world building but not critical to Rees and Eros' story. It was hard to keep track of all the names at one point. I can't wait for the next book in the series. With major world building done, I suspect the next story will be amazing!
PansyPetal More than 1 year ago
Are you into Greek Mythology at all? I find it interesting, but I haven’t actively researched or anything. What I know I have learned from the movies and TV, occasionally from books like this. Belinda McBride, on the other hand, evidently actively researched the subject and it shows in this story. I am sure it won’t hold up to scrutiny by a scholar, but she is an author and they love to take artistic license. Now that being said, this was a fun story. It was your basic love story between a couple of guys who fell instantly in lust followed quickly by love. Just because one is Eros – the God of Love – is beside the point. He still has an interfering mother. Okay, so she is Aphrodite. Wait until his dad Aros – God of War finds out! All these Gods and Goddesses popping in and out of the story, meddling er, helping all the time. It made for an entertaining story. But be warned. There are also some dark moments. Maybe even abuse triggers for some people. It was a fascinating twist that added dimension. I very much enjoyed this look into Greek Mythology in the modern area. It was fun and entertaining. Check it out. I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated in any way for this review. All conclusions are my own opinions and responsibility.
debbiereadsbook More than 1 year ago
interesting take on Greek Gods of old. Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted my copy of this book. Eros is taking the modelling world by storm. But he showed his wings and his mother Aphrodite has had enough. She sends Rees, a scholar and teacher, brother to the Nine Muses, to convince Eros to pack up from earth and return to Mount Olympus. Eros grows attached to the young man and, dare he say it, falls in love with him. But the Eros discovers what his mother did, and Rees disappears. As much as Eros hates his mother right now, Aphrodite is the only one to can find Rees, so Eros can apologise and attempt to salvage their relationship. Most of the major characters in this book are Greek Gods and Goddesses. And we get a lot of legends and myths from them. Now, I don't know if I'm not remembering Ancient Greek history correctly, or they appear slightly different here. Regardless, once I turned my remembering off, and I just read the story as a story, so to speak, I enjoyed the book a whole lot more. Eros has his says, so we get his immediate reaction to Rees when he literally falls into Eros' life. We get Eros' love of Psyche, the woman he has been searching for, for so very long. We get his reaction to finding her, but not liking her and discovering she is in love with another. We get his slowly dawning realisation of what his mother has done, and his utter devastation when he realises Rees is missing. Rees also has a say, so we get his unsettled feeling in The Fields. We get his growing love for Eros. His awful reaction when he meets she who Eros doesn't like. And we get when he remembers. When EVERYONE remembers. Its very well written, and flows wonderfully.at a steady pace. I didn't spot a single spelling error. And I got the whodunnit wrong too! I LOVE being proven wrong, I really do! It's the first I have read of this author and I would like to read more. This book is billed as book one in the Aphrodite Project. I'd love to be able to follow the series, because I have no idea who might be next. Whether someone else gets a story, or Eros and Rees return for more. I really don't care, I still want to read them. It does get a little . . . . . .painful, when Rees is remembering, graphically painful and because of this violence, I've filed it on my over 18 shelf. A really really good read, I thought. 4 solid stars *same worded review will appear on Goodreads, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo**
eureka1 More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. For me, this story was the perfect mix of drama, humor, cruelty, jealousy, love, and sex…just as the Greek gods--and their human descendants--would have wanted it. Belinda McBride’s twists on Greek mythology made it even more enjoyable, definitely renewing my youthful interest in mythology. Belinda showed me gods who are real, appealing, flawed, and as human as the rest of us. Eros and Rees are both likeable MCs. They’ve had to overcome trials and tribulations in the past and have to do so again in the present as they come to understand, accept, and love each other. The moments of humor that were woven into the story really made me laugh. I can just see Eros trying to divest himself of his “skinny leg pants”. “Gods, what a dysfunctional family!” ROTFLMAO. My favorite line in the story. I think the modern soap opera must have been modeled on this family. Who slept with whom, who fathered whom, who loves whom, who wields more power, etc. More of this family, please! I’d especially like to read about Herma finding love. And I’d like to follow Ares’ adventures to find out whether he redeems himself in his new identity.