His faint snore had her smiling in the darkness.
Turning on her side to face him, in the shadowy interior, she saw the rise and fall of his chest. Featherlight, she ran her hand over it, feeling the curly hair on his chest narrow to a line above the sheet that fell at his hips.
Rocque didn’t have the pale perfection of Apollo, nor Adonis. His masculine perfection came from an earthy sensuality. She had avoided him like the plague during the council meetings and when she had to come to earth to change a course of a human’s destiny.
Misty-eyed, she stared at his profile. While she didn’t know her own future, she knew Rocque’s.
“Why are you staring at me?”
“I thought you were sleeping.”
He rolled to stare back at her, and her hand that had been resting on his waist went to his hip. “You being touchy-feely woke me.”
“I must be missing Apollo.” She took her hand away, lying back so she wasn’t facing him.
Rocque raised himself on an elbow to peer down at her. “Are you trying to make me angry?”
“Why would me talking about one of my lovers make you angry? There is nothing between us, nor will there ever be.”
“You are my mate.”
“Lord Rocque, you and your warriors may take the form of wolves and adopted their habits, but you’re not a real one.”
“Real enough to be able to recognize you as my soulmate.”
“You’re mistaken. Trust me; I know where your destiny lies, and it’s not with me.”
She kept cool control, but an unconscious inflection must have given a hint of the turmoil that was in her soul.
“If you don’t see me as your mate, who do you see me with in the future?”
She couldn’t see his eyes in the darkness, but she knew he could see hers clear as day. How do I tell him there is no future to see?
“While I find your lies amusing, they don’t answer my question. You’re my soulmate, as much as you hate to admit it.”
“I don’t hate it. I loathe it.” She desperately cloaked the tone of her voice with venom. She had to protect her heart at all costs. If they made love and he proved she was his soulmate, she would have to bear centuries with his loss. Years would become decades, and decades turn into centuries that she would have to endure without him.
Tennyson said that it was better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Well, Tennyson didn’t have a wolf claiming to be his mate!
A knock sounded on the door, and Destiny sat up when Rocque got up to get redressed.
“Go back to sleep. I’ll wake you when we get back.”
“They’re leaving already?”
“Yes. Rhys wants to be back before the Road Demons wake in the morning.”
“I’m going.” Destiny had no intention of staying behind.
Rocque looked as if he was going to argue.
“I can warn you if they try to attack.”
“I thought the Moirai stay impartial? Won’t you get in trouble with Mother if you warn us? Besides, it’s only the immortals who are going—me, my warriors, Rhys, and Balder. Stay and sleep. I’ll wake you when we get back.”
Destiny caught the back of his T-shirt as he turned to leave. “I’m going.”
His eyes met her determined ones. “Destiny, nothing is going to happen.”
“You don’t know that for sure. Not even I know that.”
“Fine, go. But if you plan to make an escape from me, just know that I won’t give a fuck about the vampires attacking the compound. I’ll chase you down.”
“You don’t trust me?”
“Do you blame me?”
“I gave you my word. A Moirai doesn’t know how to break their word. That’s why we don’t give it often.”
“Fate has managed to avoid the promise she gave to Odin.”
“Fate will keep her vow when all three of her daughters are home safe. When they are, she’ll keep her word. And I swear I’ll keep my word. I will return home with you.”
“No conditions.” Destiny let the truth shine out of her eyes. If anything were to happen to Rocque, she didn’t want him doubting her words. She might not be able to change the path his future held, but she could make sure that, when the future played out, that was one lie she wouldn’t be burdened with.
“Then let’s go. You can ride with me.”
“Have you ever driven a vehicle before?”
“Don’t look so worried. We’re immortal; how hard could it be?”
Zerina nodded at Tartarus as she approached Hades’ office. Going through the door he opened for her, she saw Hades sitting with his back to her at his desk.
When he didn’t turn around, she cleared her throat, taking a step back when he spun his chair around.
Tilting her head to the side, she studied Hades. He looked surprised to see her.
“I’m sorry to disturb you, but I wanted to ask for permission to move my room.”
“What’s wrong with the room you have now?” Hades’ face was molded into harsh lines that showed he didn’t appreciate his solitude being broken.
“Don’t pretend not to know. I’m sick of having Ixcuina’s portrait in my room, and when I tried to move into Jinx’s old room, it was already occupied by another of your sluts.”
“I don’t think Circe would appreciate being called a slut. I hope you didn’t insult her. She has a bad temper.”
“Don’t you get tired of making everyone dance to your tune? I know I am. I didn’t come here to start an argument with you. If you refuse to remove the portrait from my room, then give me another.”
“I don’t have anything available on that floor of my castle.”
“Then I’ll take one in the dungeon.”
She stared at the powerful god, emotionally drained at what to do next. She felt like how Maxi must feel—trying to dig out from Hades’ control.
“I hate you.”
“You tell me that every minute of the day and night. As you can see, it has no effect on me. If you’re done, you can leave.”
Unable to bear the sight of him another minute, she left.
In no mood to read, she returned to her room to see a wraith cleaning it. Usually, when one saw her, it would fly away. This one didn’t, completing her chore as if Zerina wasn’t there.
Zerina sat on the chair with the portrait staring down at her, her face unmarked by the wine she constantly threw at it.
“Why do you let it bother you?”
Zerina gaped at the whispery voice that came from the wraith. “Are you speaking to me?”
“Do you see anyone else in the room?” The wraith plumped the pillows at the head of her bed.
“It must be me, then.”
None of the wraiths had talked to her before. That was what had shocked Zerina. That this one seemed to have an attitude; it was amusing and took her mind off the autocratic god downstairs.
“All the women are Hades’ lovers.”
“That’s true, but why should that bother you? You’re giving them power they shouldn’t have. Women always have competition. At least Hades is honest about it.”
“I wish he would be less honest if I have to look at their faces constantly.”
“Hades doesn’t care about them. You’re the one he’s giving tours to, giving you access to his library and game room. Have you seen any of them in those rooms?”
Zerina shook her head at the wraith’s admonishment.
“You could have Hades wrapped around your finger if you get off your high horse.”
She didn’t believe that, but she did believe that she had put herself in a vacuum that wasn’t going to get her out of Hades if she didn’t change.
Going to her closet, she inspected her clothes, choosing one that shimmere
d with silver threads and would show her breasts to their best advantage.