“I’d say Hades ordered his servants to make themselves scarce around you.”
Zerina picked up the king, absently studying the beauty of the craftsmanship, wondering who had meticulously crafted the pieces.
She rubbed her thumb over the piece as she thought of Hades. She hadn’t seen him since she had run from him in the underground chamber. That had been two moons ago. The amount of time passing hadn’t concerned her, happy to be without his presence and still angry that he had wanted to subjugate her to appease his anger.
To herself, she refused to admit that what had started out as a way to save Jinx and Zora hadn’t been a terrible experience. It was hard for a woman to admit, especially one of her age and position, who believed herself in control of every nuance of her body and life. To find her body had desires and needs that one look at the god had her thinking one elemental need—to fuck him until every part of her was possessed by him—unsettled her.
“Do you think he thought they would frighten me?” Her hand tightened on the king as she started to set it back down on the chessboard. She was a Moirai; nothing frightened her. “Do you want to play a …?”
The hair on the back on her hair stood up as the tiny piece begged not to be put down. “Don’t, please. Help me!”
Startled, she dropped the king, seeing it roll onto a knight. The king righted himself, running toward the end of the chessboard to jump toward her.
Zerina jumped up, screaming at the sight of the king’s face that turned grotesque at his high-pitched pleas. Her flight from the room was stopped when she crashed into Hades’ chest. She nearly climbed up his body as she tried to escape the room.
“What’s wrong?” In his commanding way, Hades stared around the room.
Zerina stared back, seeing the king had returned to his place on the chessboard.
“N-Nothing.” She struggled out of his arms, smoothing her hair down and remaining by the doorway.
“Jinx?” Hades raised a brow in her direction.
The fairy snickered. “The king didn’t want Zerina to stop holding him.”
Hades strode toward the chessboard and stared down at it. Waving his hand, the board disappeared.
“Where did you put them?” Zerina still hadn’t moved from her position.
“In my office.” He grimly started past her, but Zerina caught his arm.
“What are you going to do with them?” she asked hesitantly.
“Doesn’t matter. They won’t bother you again.” Again, Hades attempted to leave.
“Wait. It was just the shock of seeing him move. Don’t punish him if it was my fault.”
“I wasn’t going to punish him. I was merely putting them out of your sight.”
“Oh! You weren’t going to punish him?”
“No. It’s been a long time since Henry has been touched by a woman. I can’t blame him. Who wouldn’t want you stroking him.” He coldly removed her hand from the sleeve of his black suit.
Obviously, he didn’t, since he left her and Jinx alone in the game room.
“Well, that was intense.” Jinx giggled, popping up just to sit on the other chair to face her.
“I don’t know what you mean.” Zerina stared thoughtfully out into the hallway where Hades had gone down to his office.
Jinx lost her amused glance. “Come on, Zerina; you left the big guy hanging.”
She shot Jinx a withering look. She had refused to let Jinx talk about what had happened in the cavern. “Which was your fault!”
“I wasn’t the one who took off, leaving Hades all hot and bothered. That was you.”
“Like you would have done anything different.” Zerina snorted. “The first play you made for Grimm, you popped out and refused to come downstairs for a week.”
Jinx swung her legs back and forth. “That’s because I changed my mind when I got close enough to look into his eyes. It wouldn’t be fair to those concubines he keeps. I would put them all to shame.”
Zerina wanted to ask how many he kept, but she didn’t want to know about Grimm’s sex life. And she certainly didn’t want talk about Hades’.
“I’m going to read a book.”
“Don’t you want to know how many Grimm keeps?”
“Why do you always hide when you become nervous talking about it? I used to think you were fearless. You were the only one who didn’t run away when people saw me. Even though you told me you were afraid of transporting yourself, I still believed some of Fate had rubbed off on you. I was mistaken. You’re a coward, Zerina.”
Zerina’s anger rose. “Why am I a coward? Because I didn’t choose to demean myself for Hades? I’ve heard my mother and Destiny talk about Hades for centuries, making fun of the goddesses who left court at Hades’ summons after he divorced Persephone. Athena spent four moons with him, and Mother said she still complains that he hasn’t asked for her to come back. The goddesses bemoaned when he married Persephone and he stayed faithful to her. Now they line up to be summoned by him. I’m sure Hades has one of them tucked away upstairs, taking care of every need he has. Believe me, if I left him hanging, it wasn’t for long. Besides, he shouldn’t use sex as punishment. It should be exciting to share yourself with a man. Mother created sex to have children …”
Jinx gaped at her. “You’re kidding me, right? You think Mother and Chronos only get it on to have children?”
“They’re too old.” Zerina huffed at the fairy’s astonishment.
“No, they aren’t. I bet Mother and Chronos do the dirty dance every night.”
Jinx brushed away her reprimand. “She can’t hear me. Zerina, I may be a virgin, but at least I know better than that.” Jinx shook her head sadly at her. “Fate has overprotected you if you believe that. I bet if Mother were here, she’d tell you so herself. She could prevent some of the goddesses from being the sluts they are, but she doesn’t. Have you ever wondered why?” Jinx continued, not expecting her to answer. “Because at heart, Mother, like you, me, Athena, Venus, Aphrodite, are all women. We all have needs and desires. Mother doesn’t begrudge us from finding pleasure to satisfy ourselves.”
“Can we please change the subject? Talking about Mother and sex isn’t something I want to think about.”
“Why? I find it interesting to watch other couples. It helps me know what to look for when I search for my own mate.”
“So, Grimm didn’t make the cut to become yours?”
“I never expected him to become my mate. I just thought he would be a good choice to lose my virginity to. He’s sexy, experienced, and wouldn’t have taken away my freedom.”
“I’m sorry.” Zerina felt bad that many wanted to capture Jinx just to use her.
“It’s fine. It doesn’t bother me anymore.”
She didn’t believe her. Jinx desperately wanted to be loved and belong to a mate. She just didn’t want to become a prisoner to their desires. Her magic in the wrong hands could cause devastation to others, and the tiny fairy was a gentle soul at heart.
“They think I can give them control of my magic; they’re wrong. Maybe you’re wrong about Hades.” Sighing, Jinx jumped off the billiards table. “We’re never going to get out of here without Hades’ help. One of us needs to become friends with him, so he’ll want to help.”
“You have my permission. Go for it.” Zerina crossed her arms.
“I tried. He still tied me over that cauldron. It has to be you.”
“Exactly how did it go from us to me?”
Mischievously, Jinx mimicked her pose. “Do you want out of here or not?”
“Fine!” She dropped her arms. “But I’m not sleeping with him.”
“I don’t think sleeping with you is what Hades has in mind.”
Zerina nervously approached Hades’ office. Tartarus didn’t change in human form, nor did he open the door for her enter.
“May I speak to Hades?”
“Oh.” Zerina paused in indecision as the imposing being blocked her from entering. Zerina had no intention of barging inside.
Taking a step backward, she was then startled when the door flew open and Tartarus moved to the side.
“I guess he’s not busy anymore.”
If she had thought the king’s face was grotesque, when Tartarus smiled, he was hideous.
Zerina warily entered Hades’ office, seeing Hades sitting behind his desk, the chessboard set out upon it, all the pieces, including the king, back in place.
She tried to think of something to say, wishing she had thought of that before deciding to approach him.
“What do you want?” he snapped.
“Nothing. I was …” Her mind was drawing a blank. “I was wondering if you wanted to play a game of chess.” Improvising, she felt foolish.
Hades sat back in his chair. “You want to play chess, even though they’re trapped souls?”
“What are you up to, Zerina?”
So far, she was making a mess of trying to get on Hades’ good side. Jinx would be rolling her eyes at her if she were here.
“I can’t beat Jinx at any of the games we play. I was hoping I could beat you.”
Hades laughed. “You think you can beat me?”
“You don’t know. I may surprise you.”
“Of that I have no doubt,” he said wryly. “You want to play, we can play.” Meeting her eyes, he waved his hand and a chair appeared at her side. “Let’s play,” he said meaningfully, both of them knowing she wouldn’t be inside his office without an ulterior motive.
Taking the chair, she moved it closer to his desk. Despite Jinx’s words, she wasn’t a coward.
Hades motioned for her to make the first move. It took several seconds to plan her strategy, dreading touching the pieces.