Saturday, May 11, 2019

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair @ScarlettStClai1 @XpressoTours

A Touch of Darkness
Scarlett St. Clair
(Hades & Persephone #1)
Publication date: Spring 2019
Genres: Adult, Mythology, Retelling, Romance

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a Goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.


“Do you play?” A voice asked from behind her. It was a deep rumble she felt in her chest. She turned and found the man from the balcony. Her blood heated to an impossible level, making her hot all over. She squeezed her crossed legs together and clenched her hands into fists to keep from fidgeting under his gaze. Up close she was able to fill in a few gaps in her earlier assessment of his appearance. He was beautiful in a dark way—in a way that promised heartbreak. His eyes were the color of obsidian and framed by thick lashes. His hair was pulled into a bun at the back of his head. She had been right that he was tall. She had to tip her head back just to meet his gaze.

When Persephone’s chest started to ache, she realized she had been holding her breath since the man approached. Slowly, she drew in air—with it, the smell of him—smoke and spice and winter air. It filled every empty place inside her.

As she stared, he took a sip from his glass like he’d done earlier, licking his lips clean. He was sin incarnate. She could feel it in the way her body responded to his--and she didn’t want him to know.  So she smiled and said, “If you are willing to teach.”

His lips quirked, and he raised a dark brow. He took another drink, then approached the table, taking a seat beside her.

“It’s brave to sit down at a table without knowing the game.”

She met the man’s gaze. “How else would I learn?”

“Hmm.” He considered, and Persephone decided that she loved his voice. “Clever.”

The man stared like he was trying to place her, and she shivered. “I have never seen you before.” 

“Well, I have never been here before,” she said and paused. “You must come here often.”

His lips quirked. “I do.”

“Why?” she asked. The question surprised him and her—she hadn’t actually meant to say that out loud. “I mean—you don’t have to answer that.”

“I will answer it,” he said. “If you will answer a question for me.”
She stared at him for a long moment, and then nodded.


“I come because it,” he said. “Now you—why are you here tonight?”

“My friend Lexa was on the list,” she said.

“No,” he said. “That is the answer to a different question. Why are you here tonight?”

She considered this for a moment, and then said. “It seemed rebellious at the time.”

“And now you aren’t so sure?”

“Oh, I am sure it is rebellious,” Persephone said, she dragged her finger along the surface of the table. “I’m just not sure how I’ll feel about it tomorrow.”

“Who are you rebelling againt?”

She looked at him and smiled. “You said one question.”

His smile matched hers and it made her heart beat harder in her chest. “So I did.”

Staring back at those endless eyes, she felt he could see her—not the glamour or even her skin and bones, but the core of her, and it made her shiver.

“Are you cold?” he asked.


“You’ve been shivering a lot since you sat down,” he observed. She felt her face redden and suddenly she blurted, “Who was that woman with you earlier?”

He looked confused for a moment and then said, “Oh, Minthe. She’s always putting her hands where they don’t belong.”

Persephone paled.  “I…think I should go.”

He stopped her with a hand on hers. His touch was electric, and she gasped at the contact, pulling away quickly.

“No,” he said, almost commanding and Persephone glared at him.

“Excuse me?”

“What I mean to say is, I haven’t taught you how to play yet,” Then his voice lowered. “Allow me.”

She relaxed. “Then teach me.”

His eyes burned into her before falling to the cards. He shuffled them, explaining, “This is poker.” She noted that he had graceful hands and long fingers. Did he play piano? “We will play five-card draw and we’ll start with a bet.”

Persephone looked down at herself—she hadn’t brought her clutch, but the man was quick to say, “A question answered, then. If I win, you will answer any question I pose, and if you win, I will answer yours.”

Persephone grimaced. She knew what he was going to ask, but answering questions was far better than losing all her money and her soul, so she said, “Deal.” 

Those sensual lips curled into a smile, which deepened lines on his face that only made him look more attractive. Who was this man? She guessed she could ask his name, but she wasn’t interested in making friends at Nevernight.

The man explained that, in poker, there were ten different rankings, the lowest being the high card and the highest being the royal flush. The goal was to draw a higher rank than the other player. He explained other things, like checking, folding, and bluffing.


“Sometimes, poker is just a game of deception.”

She considered this for a moment, as gods could not lie, but recalled words from her mother. ‘Just because the Divine cannot lie, does not make them pious. One may mislead and not lie.’

He dealt each of them five cards. Persephone looked at her hand and tried to remember what Hades had said about the different ranks. She laid her cards down, face up and the man did the same.

“You have a pair of queens,” he said. “And I have a full house.”

“ won,” she said.

“Yes,” he replied, and then claimed his prize immediately. “Who are you rebelling against?”

She smiled wryly. “My mother.”

He raised a brow. “Why?”

“You’ll have to win another hand if I’m going to answer.”

So, he dealt another and won again. This time, he didn’t ask the question, just looked at her expectantly.

She sighed. “Because...she made me mad.”

He stared at her, waiting, and she smiled. “You never said the answer had to be detailed.”

His grin matched hers. “Noted for the future, I assure you.”

“The future?”

“Well, I hope this isn’t the last time we’ll play poker.”

Butterflies erupted in her stomach. She should tell him this was the first and final time she would come to Nevernight. 

He dealt again and won. Persephone was getting tired of losing and answering this man’s questions. Why was he so interested in her anyway? Where was that woman he’d been with earlier?

“Why are you angry with your mother?”

She considered this question for a moment, and then said, “Because...she wants me to be something I cannot.” Persephone dropped her gaze to the cards, and then said, “I don’t understand why people do this.”

He tilted his head, as if questioning. “You are not enjoying our game?”

“I am,” she said. “But...I don’t understand why people play Hades. Why do they want to sell their soul to him?”

“They don’t agree to a game because they want to sell their soul,” he said. “They do it because they think they can win.”

“Do they? Win?”


“Does that anger him, you think?” The question was meant to remain a thought in her head, and yet the words slipped out between her lips.

He smirked, and she could feel it deep in her gut.

“Darling, I win either way.”

Her eyes went wide, and her heart stuttered. She stood quickly and his name slipped out of her mouth like a curse.


Author Bio:

Scarlett St. Clair lives in Oklahoma with her husband. She has a Master's degree in Library Science and Information Studies and spends a lot of time researching reincarnation, unsolved murders and Greek mythology-all of which made it into her debut novel, When Stars Come Out.



Scarlett St. Clair said...

Thank you for being a part of my tour!