In his arms, her magic powers are on the rise.
And she's the only one who can bring him into the light.
Tessa, Etruscan Goddess of the Dawn, is desperately fighting off a malicious god, but her powers are weakening. She needs a hero and fast, because only sexual energy can give her strength. So she seeks out Caligo, whose sexual prowess is legendary...
Caligo is a fabled Cimmerian warrior determined to stay away from spoiled goddesses who trample hearts after they've had their fun. But there's something irresistibly hot and inviting about Tessa, and he knows he's her only chance to escape the encroaching darkness...
Forgotten Goddesses series:
What a Goddess Wants
How to Worship a Goddess
Goddess in the Middle
Praise for Stephanie Julian:
"Full of explosive passion...Ms. Julian gives readers what they want and so much more."-Fallen Angel Reviews
"Ms. Julian weaves an intoxicating tale of love and lust...the writing is truly magical."-Simply Romance Reviews
"Bringing all the expected intensity of sex, suspense, and romance...I have become a fan of Ms. Julian's writing style."-Just Erotic Romance Reviews
"The author creates a unique and rich world...That's skill!"-Smokin' Hot Books
"Ms. Julian will tempt a saint and give the sinner what they want...brutally vivid characters and flaming hot passion that just leaps off the pages."-Fallen Angel Reviews
About the Author
Stephanie Julian is the author of two erotic romance series with Ellora's Cave-the Magical Seduction (7 books) and Lucani Lovers (2nd book available). She is a member of RWA and Valley Forge Romance Writers and is an entertainment and lifestyle feature writer for the Reading Eagle newspaper. Stephanie lives in Shillington, Pennsylvania.
Read an Excerpt
Dying was so beneath her.
Of course, she hadn't done much living lately, so if he caught her now... Well, that would just suck. Because she'd recently decided it was time to change her ways. Get out more. Live a little. Get laid.
How pitiful was it that she couldn't remember the last time she'd had sex? Or if it had even been any good.
Pretty freaking pitiful.
Thesan, Etruscan Goddess of the Dawn, Lady of the Golden Light, was sick of being a pretty, useless deity. Much less a pretty, useless one usually just called Tessa.
For centuries... millennia... she'd brought light and beauty to the world. She'd guided the sun into the morning sky. She'd seen the rise and fall of empires. Gods had lusted after her. She'd worn out her share of mortal men in her bed.
She'd been worshipped by millions. Okay, maybe millions was stretching it just a bit. Still, she'd had a following, people who'd adored her and who'd worshipped her.
Now she was being chased by a crazed god intent on consuming her powers and leaving what was left of her soul to rot for all eternity in the dreary Etruscan Underworld of Aitás.
That totally sucked.
So did this. Her lungs heaved as she ran through a dark forest, the night sky black. No moon shone above. No stars twinkled. No reflected sunlight gave her even a hint of power.
Her legs shook like wet noodles, threatening to collapse at any moment. The underbrush swiped at her calves, and tree limbs caught at her hair, yanking and pulling.
Peering over her shoulder, she saw a dark shape weaving through the trees behind her. Her heart hurt as it pounded in her chest. Her bare feet bled and ached as she stumbled along.
Oh, she knew she really wasn't running. She was actually asleep in her lonely bed in her home in the quiet hills of eastern Pennsylvania. She knew that because she'd had the same dream for the past three weeks.
Charun, that blackhearted bastard, was taunting her like a high school bully picking on a weaker kid. But Charun's intent wasn't to merely frighten her, though the bastard did get a kick out of it.
No, he was wearing her down, waiting for her to make a mistake so he could pinpoint her location. So far, she'd been able to keep her whereabouts a secret. But when he broke through her defenses, he'd send one of his demons to drag her down to Aitás. To him.
The bastard couldn't come himself. He was tied to Aitás by bindings even he couldn't break. At least, not now.
But if he found her, if he managed to accomplish what she thought he had planned, then soon, maybe, he would be able to break those bonds. And this world would suffer as the demons and the damned escaped with him.
And she'd never get laid again. Damn it, she'd much rather go out with a literal bang than a figurative one.
With a gasp, she broke free of the dream and sat straight up in her bed, blinking at the bright light even though it was... three o'clock in the morning, according to the clock on the bedside table.
She'd left all the lamps blazing in her bedroom. An infomercial blared from the television, and the stereo on the nightstand blasted Puccini. None of it had been able to keep her awake. Probably because she could count on both hands the number of hours she'd slept in the past three weeks.
Damn it, she needed help.
Her nose wrinkled at the thought. She, a goddess, needed help. Wasn't that a real kick in a perfectly fine ass?
"Which won't mean a damn thing if Charun gets hold of it," she muttered to absolutely no one.
Hell, if she survived Charun, she needed to get out of the house so someone could see her fine ass again. Playing the hermit didn't suit her. She'd been one of the original party girls in her day, playing all night before hurrying off to meet the lovely sun each morning.
But now she was a forgotten goddess, her main reason for being usurped by that bitch of a Roman goddess named Aurora-
She took a deep breath. No, she couldn't think about that. Those thoughts led to teeth gnashing and sore jaws.
Still, she'd become a goddess without a true calling. What should she do with her never-ending life?
Oh, she delivered a baby or ten or twenty every year. In addition to being a sun goddess, she also helped bring new life into the world, one of the more pleasurable aspects of her life.
But that left her with a whole hell of a lot of time to fill. A girl could only do so much shopping and have so much sex before it all became so very... mundane.
She wanted to be useful again. She wanted the remaining Etruscans, those who still followed the old ways, to remember that she even existed. And she most certainly did not want to be eaten by Charun.
She needed help. And she knew just the person to help her find it.
"Hang tight... I'm coming. Just give me a minute."
The voice came from the second floor as Tessa stood in the entry hall of the small townhouse in Reading, Pennsylvania.
In front of her, a stairway led along the right side of the house to the upper floors. To the left of the stairway, a hall led straight down the center of the house. To the far left, a doorway led into the front sitting room.
Every inch of the place looked like it belonged to an inner-city Brady Bunch, from the '80s-era paisley wallpaper to the colonial blue paint on the trim. Cream carpet covered every inch of the floor, and an umbrella stood next to the small half-round table in the entry.
It all looked so normal, Tessa thought. So middle class.
Until Salvatorus began to stomp down the stairs. Then what would have seemed completely normal to any eteri, any nonmagical human, made a complete left turn into mythology land.
At four foot nothing, Sal had the fully developed upper body of a grown man. Wide shoulders, strong arms, nice pecs.
His face was a true marvel of his Etruscan heritage, handsome and strong. And those brown eyes, so dark they looked almost black, held a knowing warmth that always made Tessa smile.
As did the two shiny black horns sprouting from just above his forehead to peek through his glossy, black, curly hair. On any other man, those horns would have been enough to make a grown man choke on his own breath.
On Sal, well, the goat legs stole the show.
Beginning just below his belly button, those legs were covered with hide, a silky chestnut brown fur that was not a pair of pants. No, Sal had the actual legs of a goat.
"Hey, sweetheart," he said as he clomped down the stairs. "Haven't seen you for a while. What's up?"
His deep Noo Yawk accent made her smile grow. But her fear must have shown in her eyes because Salvatorus's gaze narrowed.
"Are you hurt, Tessa?" He descended the rest of the steps on those small hooves so fast she worried for his safety. But he made it safely to the bottom, took her hand, and began to lead her through the house.
"No." Not yet, anyway. "I'm fine."
"Well, you let me be the judge of that."
Salvatorus led her to the kitchen at the very back of the house and pointed her toward a seat at the small table there. He didn't speak, not right away, but set about making her hot chocolate, the rich scent of it making her stomach rumble.
Tessa had been here many times before, mainly for parties. She did love a good party, and Salvatorus threw some of the best. But his home also served as a safe house for anyone of Etruscan descent, including those deities who needed his aid.
She'd never sought aid from Salvatorus before. Really, a goddess who needed help? It sounded ridiculous.
And yet, not so much now.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was a fun story to read. You have Tessa who is running for her life and needs a bodyguard to keep her alive, and then there is Cal the Cimmerian warrior who has sworn off goddesses and refuses to have anything to do with them. But when a mutual friend send Tessa to Cal's house, Cal is sort of forced to keep her alive. The attraction between Tessa and Cal is instant and the hotness continues constantly throughout the book. However, the storyline was a good one and I liked the spin on mythology that the author took. This was the first time that I had ever heard of Cimmerians and I was fascinated by them. I liked the contrast of Tessa who is goddess of the sun and who needs the sunlight for energy is paired with Cal, who is burned by the sunlight and lives in the dark mists on his homeland. The only thing I wished was a different was the ending. It seemed really rushed, one minute it is all dark and depressing and the next thing you know it's a happy ending
My Review: This was one of those books that I just wasn't sure I was going to like...the story line seemed a bit complicated (I get lost in all the gods/goddesses of the different pantheons,) the reviews that I had seen about it were up and down, but I fell in love with the cover (yes, I know, I am a cover whore,) and I REALLY like the description of the story for book #2 in this series, so I broke down and decided to read it. OMG, why did I ever second-guess this book?!? This book was FABULOUS!! I probably need to preface this review by saying that this is an erotica novel and, as such, there is a LOT of sex in it....A LOT! But it's good! Tessa is a forgotten goddess from a basically forgotten pantheon...the Etruscans. She used to be in charge of the rising of the sun, but the Roman Goddess Aurora has taken over that job, so now Tessa basically lives out her life in rural Pennsylvania, handling the occasional midwifery duties when she is called upon. Her powers are basically non-existent at this point, but she is being stalked in her dreams by Charon. He is trying to escape from the underworld and his plans are to steal the forgotten goddesses remaining powers to do so. Because he steals through their dreams, Tessa has stopped sleeping, but obviously, this can only be a temporary solution so she goes in search of help and is led to the Cimmerian warrior Caligo. Caligo is human, although he has a few powers of his own. He has been acting as a mercenary (hired gun for anyone willing to pay) for a long time, and he has had one too many Goddesses use and abuse him, so he is NOT happy to see Tessa. Regardless, of that, there is an instant chemistry between these two which is explosive, and surprisingly, that chemistry empowers Tessa's embattled Goddess powers. When a demon comes after her on Caliga's land, he can no longer ignore this damsel in distress. Like I said, I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. It sounds like a complex story line, but it's really not. The book takes place in modern times and while there is a lot about the different pantheons and the mythology, there is a handy little dictionary at the beginning of the book to clarify anytime I got even the slightest bit confused. At the heart of this book is two characters that I really loved who are falling in love. Caligo has very real reasons for distrusting any of the Goddesses, but once he becomes committed to helping Tessa, he is all-in. He is passionate, gorgeous, and tough. He's a human, but doesn't think twice about going up against Gods when he knows they can kill him in an instant. This is the kind of alpha hero that we all love to fall in love with. At the end...OMG...so gorgeously written. Yay, Stephanie for writing those final scenes so perfectly. I was literally sobbing. Then there is Tessa. She is a Goddess with no real reason for existing any longer, but she maintains a happy disposition. She is doing the best that she can with the lot in life that she has been given. She is straight-forward, compassionate, and outspoken. I love that when she wants Caligo, she flat-out tells him. No games for this Goddess. This was a GREAT first novel for this series. I will be honest, I am so close to giving this an A rating. This one is right on the edge for me. I am excited to read the second book, How To Worship a Goddess, coming out December 1st. That book features a Goddess and a hockey player...I can't wait!
What a Goddess Wants is the first book I've read by author Stephanie Julian. I was intrigued by the blurb and that interest was reaffirmed as I began to read the story, but after the beginning all I was left with were unanswered questions, and what I consider a less than erotic paranormal romance. Overall, I thought there were quite a few inconsistencies in the story that I could not explain. One of the biggest ones was why Cal, a Cimmerian warrior, was able to feel heat (as in sensory, not emotional) when touching Tessa because Cimmerian warriors do not feel pain...but they do fell pleasure? I could go with the idea of not feeling pain to make them the fearless and ruthless warriors they are breed to be, but to me it didn't make sense that you could have one without the other. Another big thing that bothered me was that neither Cal, nor Tessa grew very much as characters in my eyes. I felt the story was very "in the moment" and as a result I felt it was almost immature because of the lack of emotional depth or discovery between the characters about each other and themselves. Some other questions I had were why it seemed that all of the other Gods, Goddesses and beings in the story had the ability to transport into different dimensions except for Tessa. Why? Sure, it was convenient to the story to not have her able to do this, and that's what it seemed to me.a convenient way to make her vulnerable. If the villain was able to reach Tessa through her dreams, shouldn't he be able to find her wherever her body was physically located? The whole premise of Cal and Tessa going on the run was to safeguard her against the God trying to steal her powers through her dreams. But why do they need to run? Her physical location shouldn't really matter. Then there are the lesser "issues". For instance, why Cal would repeatedly say " Thank the Gods" when his people don't worship any deities? The Cimmerians don't have any Gods, or religious beliefs so in essence their atheists. And why Cal could heal from major injuries in hours or days when he is a mortal, but Tessa being an immortal Goddess takes weeks? And I just couldn't get past the glaring contradictory errors in the final love scene that is supposed to be magical and triumphant since their loved survived against all odds; I.e. Tessa's panties going from cotton to silk from one sentence to the next. Tessa wearing a halter sundress one minute to having Cal's hand under her shirt..and I don't think it was a typo. These are little things, but they all happened is such a short period of time (within a page or two) and occurred at was to be the pinnacle of their love, ruined it for me. The biggest disappointment came at the end of the story when Tessa reveals that in order to return to Cal from the otherworldly home of her Gods, and to assure that the villain would no longer seek to steal her powers, that she had to give up her powers of being the Goddess of the Dawn. In essence that said to me that Cal wasn't hero enough to save her. To me it cheapened the story because it lessened Cal as a hero and took away something that was so essential to the heroine. I was actually really looking forward to reading What a Goddess Wants but the lack of convincing world building and character development ruined my enthusiasm for this book and this series. Thankfully, What a Goddess Wants, and the ENTIRE Forgotten Goddesses series, can
Old gods versus new gods and the power plays they conspire to achieve wreck havoc on those that get in their way. This story about Caligo and Tessa takes readers on a hot and furious ride as the hero and heroine try to outwit a powerful foe while trying to resist the passion brewing between them at the same time. Something has to give and finding out who or what has to be sacrificed kept me riveted. The first thing Ms. Julian does is set up for a reader the basis for Caligo's internal conflict. It's a pretty gritty scene and provided nice insight into the gruff and rough personality that makes up the hero. Cal, as he's referred to through most of the book, is a Cimmerian. I'd never heard of them before and I got a kick out of how the author provided details with a subtle and deft hand. The information comes through dialogue, some internal discourse and from some of the secondary characters during the course of the tale. I liked that because every tidbit and hint was one more reason to keep on reading. Cal is a fun character. He's seen and done things that no ordinary human man can and yet his problems are basic to all humanity. When he meets Tessa, the heroine, and realizes something about her, he is almost helpless to resist her. It's his needs and how they connect to him emotionally that resonated with me. His appeal is his trying to resist her in his manly way, and failing. How can a man ignore and push away something that is an intrinsic part of himself? A reader finds out and there's one scene where I felt very sad for the hero. It was sweet, poignant and actually quite romantic when his mood gets lifted. I got my happy back when he did. Tessa is in way over her head. It's her external conflict that brings Cal and her together as well as providing movement and motivation for the plot. She's an old goddess who has had a cold dash of humility thrust upon her. She's hanging on to her current life by her fingernails and she's running out of time and options. In spite of her dire situation, she retains her spunk, her hope and her attitude. I loved the sparks she ignited off of Cal. I also enjoyed the scenes where she doesn't deny herself physical satisfaction. She may not be the prominent goddess she once was but she sure knows her way around a man's basic needs and that made for some very steamy and entertaining reading. Speaking of hot stuff - the very first time Tessa meets Cal knocked my socks off with a scorching bed scene that inspired my need for ice cubes. Turnabout is fair play and Ms. Julian has the hero and heroine taking turns driving each other sexually nuts and then delivering satisfaction with well written dialogue and descriptions. For secondary characters I liked Cal's dad. His father contributed a nice bit of internal conflict for Cal which in turn made the hero a more likable personality. It provided depth, more emotion and a delightful and exciting surprise cementing my enjoyment of this book. Salvatorus is another secondary character that is important to the storyline. He's humorous, cunning and a good friend to both hero and heroine. There are a few times Cal is less than happy with Sal's contributions which surprised a few grins and giggles out of me. Their dialogue and interactions provided lighthearted entertainment and were some of my favorite parts. Full Review at Whipped Cream Reviews
If I was to pick one word for this story it would be, Hot! Hot! Hot! A tale that is steeped in magic and mythology, I loved it. Tessa and Caligo are excellent characters. Although as much as I love the cover it doesn't do them justice. Stephanie Julian never fails to wow me. The suspense and passion are a driving force. I know I have said this before and it's still true, Stephanie's world building is amazing.What A Goddess Wants is fast, exciting and sizzling hot. Looking to crank up the heat this summer - then definitely check out this book.
This is the first book in the Forgotten Goddesses Series and I have to say really I liked this twist on mythology. It was a fast read which was smokin and not just because of the sex scenes. It had humor to it even though I did have some issues with how fast they got together after at the start of the book. (I don't post spoilers so if you read this book you will know what I mean). As the book progresses though Tessa and Caligo (Cal) have a great chemistry and grow to care for each other. Even though they face attacks from Charun's (god who is stuck in underworld) minions and Tessa's weakening powers. I do love the push and pull they have as Tessa even though she is a forgotten goddess still has a job to do (with or without Cal's help). The secondary characters are entertaining as well Sal and X are great additions to the book. Over all Stephanie Julian writes steamy scenes but also the story line and action keeps the book going and makes for an easy enjoyable read.
good book reading second one now.
I've never read Ms. Julian's work, so I was happy to give this erotic paranormal a try. And when I say erotic, I mean erotic. Cal finds an sleeping Tessa in his house, where he proceeds to strip her naked and tie her up...and the sex doesn't slow down. It wasn't necessarily out of place within Tessa's and Cal's growing relationship -- the pair also uses sex to "recharge" Tessa, so to speak -- but at times I felt it wasn't necessary for the plot and would have almost preferred conversations to the loss of clothing. I did enjoy the world Ms. Julian created with the Etruscan goddesses, and I hope to learn more about them and the secondary cast of characters in future books of this trilogy. What a Goddess Wants is a lighter paranormal where there is the threat of death, but it's an not overwhelming fear, though it is what brings Tessa and Cal together in the first place. It's a quick read with a lot of sex and a bit of conflict. Mix them together and you've got a lot of fun.
Charun was given no choice except to guard the Underworld. He must never leave his post but over two thousand years of ennui has left him deranged with an obsessed need to free himself from his eternal yoke. To break his chains of duty that bind him to Aitas he needs incredible power with the only easy source being the ignored Forgotten Goddesses. Charun orders his demons to bring him Thesan the Etruscan Goddess of the Dawn of the Golden Light. Ignored by almost everyone, Tessa flees for Reading, Pennsylvania where she asks her Etruscan friend with the New York accent Salvatorus for help after telling him she believes Charun consumed the missing Mlukukh. He sends her to mercenary Cimmerian warrior Caligo to protect her. She breaks his wards and falls asleep waiting for him. When he arrives he thinks she is Goldilocks who became dinner in the real story. He also distrusts Goddesses since Venus conned him into challenging Vulcan. Unable to resist Sleeping Beauty, he wakes her with his sexual touches. They make love. As she brings warmth to the frozen tundra mercury and brings her a sense of safety, they fall in love while Charun's demons keep coming for her. The freshness to this exciting erotic romantic urban fantasy is the intermingling of various pantheons with an emphasis obviously on the Etruscan into a cohesive Julian universe. The lead couple is a terrific combo of an Etruscan Goddess and an immortal unfeeling Cimmerian warrior who loathes that SOB fame seeker Homer the muckraker for outing his race. Tongue in cheek, readers will enjoy What A Goddess Wants, a Goddess gets and she wants Cal. Harriet Klausner