Child of War – A God is Born
by Lisa Beth Darling
Publisher: Moon Mistress Publishing
Publication Date: October 4, 2011
Genre: Adult Paranormal / Mythological Contemporary/ Romance
Do you remember Damien? Raven makes that kid look like an angel.
In book #2 of the OF WAR Series, Ares settles down with his wife, Alena, to await the birth of their son, Raven. As Alena struggles to enjoy what should be a blessed event, prophetic visions of an adult Raven haunt her dreams. Are they true visions or false ones implanted by Cernunnos who told her the boy would bring glory to Ares but only pain and agony to her? The strong but delicate Fey is relentlessly bombarded by hostility from the Olympians making her yearn to be back on Ares’ secluded island home, far away from all the bickering and backstabbing that makes up Life on mighty Mount Olympus.
Before Raven is even born, Zeus outwardly despises him for his Fey blood given to him by his filthy Celtic mother. With no way out and no way to keep his family safe from his father, Zeus the God of Gods, Ares enters into a blood pact that could cost the God of War everything he holds dear.
After a harrowing birth wherein mother and son are nearly lost to Ares, it quickly becomes clear that Raven may be the most powerful and cunning Olympian ever born despite his muddled bloodline.
As Zeus, Apollo, and Aphrodite plot against the new family by carefully planting the seeds of rage and doubt in Raven’s mind, they turn son against mother. It appears as though Alena’s visions and Cernunnos’ prophecy are coming to life as Raven grows to be a very angry young man.
As the true past between the Olympians and Celts is revealed, the battle for Ravens’ mind and the ultimate control of Olympus begins. Before it’s over, the white snows of Olympus will run red with blood.
Certain help would never arrive in time, Alena allowed that instinct to take over. She began pushing as she gasped for breath and sweat ran into her eyes. With her knees up by her shoulders, she could nearly see between her splayed legs but as hard as she pushed, Raven’s head did not emerge. He didn’t even seem to move downward as she dug in with her heels and gave it all she had with the next contraction. Feeling as though her abdomen was caught in some wicked vice holding her in its unyielding grip Alena bore down, throwing her head back against the footboard as she held onto her knees, hoping for extra leverage. Blood and fluids ushered forth, but Raven did not. Instead of making his way down the birth canal, Raven continued his struggle to claw his way through his mother’s stomach as though he knew that was his only true way out.
“A-Ares!” she screamed without any force of breath. “Where are you?” He picked a fine time to run down to the mortal world for a gallon of milk.
Her Son was not going to wait for his Father or his Grandmother to come aid in his arrival. The contractions were so close together it felt like they never ended. Just one long burst of unending agony as she struggled to give birth and Raven fought her from inside. One hand on her knee, she tried to ease the baby downward with the other hand while she bore down again. “I know it’s t-t-tight but puh-lease.”
Raven wasn’t having any of it. He punched upward with a force so brutal that it knocked her hand away from her belly. Then he continued on, stretching upward until her undulating stomach looked like the Gut-Buster scene in ‘Alien’, and she was certain he would just explode out of her the way the slimy little alien had done, leaving a gaping bloody hole where her innards had once been.
“N-no! D-down!” Tears streaming down her ashen cheeks, Alena tried again to coax the baby downward as she pushed and prayed with all of her might. More blood and fluid expelled and then, under her hand, she felt Raven move downward. “G-good, good boy, good,” she stuttered as she tried to catch her breath. Wiping her silver hair away from her sweaty brow, she prepared to push again with the next contraction, but suddenly found her body rising into the air. Looking up with startled eyes she saw Ares, he was lifting her off the floor and putting her on the bed. “I th-ough-t you’d n-never…make it.”
“I’m here. I’m here,” he soothed, looking at the bloody puddle on the floor. “Everything’s going to be all right now.”
“This place is disgusting. Why would you ever bring her down here?” Hera openly complained as she gave her surroundings a quick glance.
“I cleaned it, Mother!”
Letting out a grunt, she gave Ares a shove. “Get out of my way.” Before she could maneuver between Alena’s open legs to get a bead on the situation, another contraction hit. Alena bore down hard. “Stop, stop, stop,” Hera commanded. “Don’t push, Alena.”
“I have to…”
“Stop, I know it’s hard, I know, but don’t push.” Hera looked up from between Alena’s legs where Raven was just beginning to crown, to Ares. “Why did you wait so long to come get me?” she hissed. “You knew how important this is!”
Panic rising within him as he tried to stay calm and hold Alena close, he roared at her through lips thinner than a dime. “Do what you have to, Mother.”
“It’s too late.” Alena had done what any woman in her position would do and she pushed with each contraction until the boy dropped just enough to get his head past those slender hips, but his shoulders were too wide to make the same squeeze and now Raven was stuck in her pelvis. Opening Alena’s womb would do them no good. Pulling the boy back through the narrow opening would only result in injury to him and her. On the verge of losing her Grandson, the only thing the grand Goddess of All the Olympian Gods could do was stand here and watch both of them pass into the Underworld.
Not believing his Mother, Ares left Alena’s side to stand at the end of the bed and inspect the precarious situation. As they stood there watching Alena writhe in agony as she tried to hold back the urge to push, they saw Raven’s feet push upward. The little toes curled as though they were fists as he started slamming them against the inside of Alena’s womb. Listening to Alena’s near silent screams and seeing her face gnarl and twist in a way he never wanted to see again, his Warrior’s Mind hit upon a plan. For a split second, he tried to talk himself out of it, but in his heart, he knew it was the only way to save them. Reaching out cautiously with one hand, he held to it Alena’s cheek as he stared into her stormy eyes. “Do you love me?”
What a question! Here she was in the deepest clutches of labor with his Son and Ares wanted to know if she loved him? If this wasn’t love, what was it? “Y-yes.”
He leaned in further as his hand slid down to her hip where the other was waiting on the opposite site. “Do you trust me?”
“I love you, Alena.” With that, Ares planted his lips over hers. In one brutal but mercifully swift motion, he pushed down on her hips with all of his strength and did the unthinkable. With a loud snap, her slender hips cracked open like a clamshell. His mouth over hers silenced the shriek of utter agony that went through her.
The way to freedom suddenly open, Raven began making his way toward it with much haste. But he couldn’t do it alone.
Q&A with the Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m almost 50 years-old and still working on getting my graduate degree from The School of Life.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
I discovered I was a writer when I was in the 4th grade and was given as assignment to write a baby bird’s first flight. It was the first time any teacher assigned a creative writing lesson but when I put pencil to paper I was instantly transported away to a magickal place that I knew I would never want to leave.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
Being a child of the 70s and 80s I grew up on Stephen King, VC Andrews, Judith Rossner, Jacqueline Susan, and Harold Robins. All of it, save King, was very hot steamy stuff. My writing tends to combine all of those writers best qualities.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
I get up to the annoying sound of the alarm clock at 6:45 and have coffee with hubby, we watch the morning news and then part ways for the day. I leave for work around 7:30 or so, get in there, open the place up and do my thing before shutting down for the day and coming home. When I get in the door I have approximately 2 ½ hours of uninterrupted time to write so that’s when I do it. Then it’s time to make dinner and clean up the house then off for the night cuddling with hubby or watching a movie while he plays a game. Go to sleep, get up the next day and do it all over again. I must say it’s a lot easier now that our daughters are grown and out of the house.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
“Child of War-A God is Born” is the second novel in the OF WAR Series of contemporary adult fiction, it picks up shortly after the first novel, “The Heart of War”. The whole series came to me in a flash of inspiration when the Muse posed the question: What would happen if Ares God of War fell in love?
I’ve always adored Greek mythology and thought that was wonderful question as the God of War, according to most legends, never actually married or fell in love even though he had many children and lovers including a torrid affair with Aphrodite.
In this novel, Ares and Alena, our happy but unlikely couple, are settling down on Olympus to await the birth of their first child, Raven. While Ares adores his wife and unborn son, the rest of the Olympians hate her and they have many ways of making life difficult for her the most effective of which is turning Raven against his mother.
6) What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
It defies classification, although we have a couple falling in love and building a life together it’s definitely not a ‘romance’ in the traditional sense. The series is very dark and gritty, it isn’t for the faint of heart or those who need to be guaranteed a HEA. It’s full of love, lust, betrayal, sex, rage, and with a smattering of luck, redemption.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
Ares is my favorite he’s so badass, he’s big, he’s bold, he’s large and in charge and he knows it. Not to mention he’s devilishly handsome and built like a Greek God. In those respects he’s who most people would think he is, at least on the surface, but there’s a lot more to our Alpha Male Supreme than kicking ass and taking no prisoners. I don’t think there’s very much of my actual self in him but he has a lot of qualities that I aspire to.
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
Although it’s quite harrowing, I think Raven’s birth is the scene I had the most fun with.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
Hopefully, they come away with a strong desire to read the third novel, “Child of War-Rising Son”.
10) What are your hopes for this novel?
Simply that people will give it a chance and enjoy it.
11) What do you have in store next for your readers?
I’m working on “Prodigal Son”, the last novel in the Sister Christian Series and I hope to have it out in late summer. Then I think we’ll be getting back to Ares, Alena, and Crew with a new novel. The OF WAR Series is concluded so I’m hoping not to do a whole new series but I think it’s time we checked in with them to see how they’re doing and how their Brave New World is making out.
About the Author
It was in the 4th grade when Lisa Beth Darling discovered she was a naturally gifted writer. For her very first creative writing assignment, the teacher asked the class to pen a story about a baby bird’s first flight and read them to the class. Putting pencil to paper, Lisa was instantly whisked away by a force she couldn’t explain. When they were finished, all of the children read their happy stories to the class. Not Lisa. She got up and told of how the baby bird flew too high, hit a plane, crashed to the ground and died. She told of how the mama bird and daddy bird cried of how even God was upset sending the rains pouring from the sky. The class was speechless when she finished all they could do was stare at her. The teacher kept her after class told her the story was very good but it was different from the others. She asked Lisa if she’d ever heard of Icarus and had she based her story on him. Lisa had yet to encounter Greek Mythology or hear a whisper of Icarus. As Lisa left the classroom the teacher again told her how good the story was but suggested she might want to write something happier next time. Perplexed, Lisa turned and asked her teacher: “Why?” The teacher had no answer. Luckily for us, Lisa never took that teacher’s advice.
Today she brings us complex multi-layered stories rich with the trials and tribulations that make up the world in which we live. Not one to be pigeonholed into any single genre, Lisa’s stories revolve around the intricacies of couples from range the intimacy of lovers, to mothers and sons, and brothers and sisters.
Lisa Beth Darling is 49 years-old, lives in her hometown of New London, CT with her husband of nearly 30 years, Roy. She is the author of more than fifteen novels along with several short stories and non-fiction books.