An excerpt from Ash and Diamonds, an unpublished/complete novel.

5:13 PM Nina S. Gooden 0 Comments


If Charis had known that something as simple as finding an injured stranger, bringing him home, and patching him up would turn her world upside down she would have left him in that puddle of blood. Instead she helps him and finds herself thrust into a world of gods and magic where she hears the word "Erinyes" spoken as both a curse and a prayer.

Erinyes; a mystical goddess of justice sworn to protect mankind at the behest of the dark god Hades. She is told that she has a brilliant past that she cannot remember and an even brighter future. Forced to take all of this in moments before being thrust back into her own world, she is sent to track down a ruthless killer escaped from Tartarus. A killer that she finds to be one of the pieces to the puzzle that stands as her questionable past.

To make matters worse she finds that the golden hunk she rescued is to be her partner and handler on the hunt. A part of her past long gone Arsenios stirs emotions in her that she shouldn't feel given the circumstances of their life now and the one they lost before.

As one of the Archaeos, an ancient group of men selected by Hades to serve him, Arsenios knew the dangers of having an Anathema roam free. What's worse, he sold his soul eons ago in order to defend against this particular monster. After spending so long guarding the hells of Tartarus he began to fear he had lost the ability to feel anything other than cold. Until the escape brings him face to face with Charis.

From the moment he lays eyes on her Arsenios swears that Charis will be his. But when he discovers that she's not only a lost Erinyes but the one responsible for his servitude he has to make the hard decision between burning for revenge or passion.


Mighty bat-like wings shuddered against the pale skin that stretched across her back. Her hair hung in thick, rolled locks the same shade as fresh blood. Her body trembled with the sheer force required to keep from crying out.
The rage that she had held so close became the weapon that tore her body and soul apart. It sunk into her on every level, in every form, cutting her into slippery ribbons of tortured flesh. She felt the betrayal so deep it made her want to scream with physical pain. It struck her in waves, toppling her over.
On her knees she slammed her fists into the hard earth. She felt her knuckles split and saw the mixture of blood and dirt turn the ground underneath her into an ugly mud. A mud that represent all that she was. Filth. Filth covered in blood.
Behind her a shadowed figure approached. Hades was the same as she had left him, the same as he always appeared to her. The god seemed carved out of a perfect marble pillar, as beautiful as he was unrelenting. As he was dangerous.
“Why?” The guttural demand that expanded in her throat and dropped from her lips could hardly be considered a word.
It didn’t matter. He knew what she asked. “You are a warrior. That is your single purpose in life. The relationship you felt, the sudden need to nurture was unnecessary and distracting.”
The Erinyes surged to her feet and for the first time since he had informed her of his decision, she looked like what she was. She looked like a goddess of divine retribution. She looked like a warrior of justice somewhere in the grey between holy and unholy. “You had no right!”
His expression did not so much as flicker as the air vibrated with her outrage. In fact, the only sign that he had heard her at all lay in the darkening of those soulless eyes. “I have every right. You are my sword, my blade. You are but a servant of Death.”
She looked as if she would strike him. The whip at her side uncoiled as she palmed the hilt, the heavy tip sliding to the ground and filling the air with the hollow clink of metal hitting solid mass. Her wings expanded and her hands stretched and twisted into claws. “You dare? You forget, Hades. You forget how this works. I’ve agreed to serve you of my own free will. You may govern the dead but it is we who have leave over the damned.”
Her show of anger fell on deaf ears. The god held up a hand and she was held captive in the vortex of truths she hadn’t known. “You think that I am the villain in this tale, little Justicar? It was not I who felled an innocent woman. It is not I who was tricked by the love she has for her charges.”
Electricity slipped into the funnel of wind and struck her. She knew what the bottled lightning was. It was the pain of her victim, the horror, the confusion that she had felt during the last minutes of her life. It was her guilt.
Tears fell from her eyes and mixed with the mud-blood at her feet. The anger she had learned so long ago to wrap around her like a shield failed. She felt none of the familiar warmth, none of the strength that came from the berserk.
Her whip slipped from her fingers and fell to the ground. He was right. As long as she remained here she would be nothing but a servant of Death. A sad smile spread over her face, reflecting the anguish she felt within.
She took a look around the misty grey world she had spent most of her long life in. It had been home for centuries. What’s more, it had been a place for her to look forward to. She would spend weeks on the surface, weeding out the darkest stains of the human condition but it never touched her, never tainted her.
Until now. She had had a place to come home to, a place to wash her sins away. Now there was nothing here but the hollowed echoes of what had once been. It hurt to know she would never see it again.
Before he could stop her she flapped her wings and raced towards the Judges. It didn’t matter how badly he wanted her to stay. Hades would never breach the sacred lands to keep her within his grasp for he feared the loss of his power.
Yes, she thought, a humorless grin pasted on her face, there is almost nothing that Hades loved more than his power. Almost. As she barreled across the Lethe she dashed for the water, drinking it in eager gulps. The three faces that judged her as she crossed were little more than surprised blurbs. Her heart pounded as she moved through the fountains of rebirth.
An Erinyes may not have the ability to die but she was about to find out if they could have the same second chances as everyone else. She would be reborn.