Marked by Elisabeth Naughton
Series: Eternal Guardians #1
THERON – Dark haired, duty bound and deceptively deadly. He’s the leader of the Argonauts, an elite group of guardians that defends the immortal realm from threats of the Underworld.
From the moment he walked into the club, Casey knew this guy was different. Men like that just didn’t exist in real life—silky shoulder-length hair, chest impossibly broad, and a predatory manner that just screamed dark and dangerous. He was looking for something. Her.
She was the one. She had the mark. Casey had to die so his kind could live, and it was Theron’s duty to bring her in. But even as a 200-year-old descendent of Hercules, he wasn’t strong enough to resist the pull in her fathomless eyes, to tear himself away from the heat of her body.
As war with the Underworld nears, someone will have to make the ultimate sacrifice.
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Elisabeth Naughton’s MARKED is a wonderful piece of escapist literature. I read it on my way back to the UK from Canada, when I was completely exhausted, and the story and the characters had me hooked even when I just wanted to sleep. (Trust me, that’s a big compliment since there’s very little that can keep me awake when I’m sleepy.)
MARKED is the first book in Naughton’s self-published paranormal romance series about Argoleans and their destined mates. Naughton has created some amazing mythology that combines Greek mythological figures with steamy romance and fast-paced action. Argolea is a realm established by Zeus for heroes and their descendants, including the Argonauts, an elite team of warriors who act as guardians for Argolea. Argoleans can travel from their realm to earth and mingle with humans; humans don’t know that Argoleans exist for the most part. Theron is a descendant of Heracles and is the leader of the Argonauts, making him an alpha male of the highest order. He’s all muscles and swagger and violence, until he meets Casey. Unfortunately, the reason he’s interested in Casey isn’t just the physical attraction; he’s also under orders to bring her to Argolea so that she can be used to heal Isadora, the princess of the realm, at the cost of Casey’s life. Naughton does a great job of introducing the series mythology gradually over the course of MARKED and I was very satisfied with what the reader and the characters learn about Argoleans and the daemons they’ve been fighting for centuries. Naughton’s created an interesting world with lots of different threads and themes and I was thoroughly engaged throughout.
The romance is definitely steamy. Casey and Theron spark off each other (though not literally). They have major chemistry and I liked Naughton’s spin on the one-destined-mate trope. She’s done a great job of building it into the series lore without it feeling forced. Sometimes it’s such a heavy-handed plot device but it seems like a very natural element in the Eternal Guardians’ world.
Sadly, the library doesn’t have the next book in the series available so I’ll have to wait for the next time I have an ebook coupon. (Trying to be frugal stinks.) In any case, I think MARKED is a great paranormal read and the start of what should be a very exciting and dramatic series. I’d encourage you to check it out.