Before Mother had sent him to earth, he wouldn’t have cared if one of his brothers’ wives had wanted to fuck him. Either from becoming an earth god or from sitting in judgment of others, he had found himself changing.
When he was still in Mother’s court, he’d had no hesitation on trying to convince Fate to have an affair with him, though she had been married to Valentine. It had taken him seeing Zerina to change his mind.
“Do you miss Persephone?”
“No. I should have divorced her when she betrayed me the first time. After that, every time she talked to me, I had to search her mind to find the truth behind the lies she was constantly telling me.”
“It hurts when someone lies to you.”
He swung back to face her. “I have never lied to you.”
“Maybe not in words, but you did lie in your actions. I believed we were growing closer. That you were starting to care for me. “
Hades was torn.
Finally, he reluctantly admitted the truth. “I want you, Zerina. I have never hidden that fact. I accused you of being spoiled when, in reality, I am the one who has become spoiled in achieving my desires.” Hades dug his hands in his suit pockets. “I kept concubines before and after Persephone. When you arrived, I found myself not visiting them. I only wanted you. I broke when you touched me to save Jinx and Zora.”
Zerina put her hands over her ears. “I don’t want to hear more!”
Hades strode forward, grabbing her wrists and pulling her hands down. “It was only that one night. I know it doesn’t make it easier for you, but it’s the truth. I sent her away in the morning, disgusted with myself.”
“It didn’t last long!”
“Yes, it did. I haven’t touched any of my concubines since then. How can I when I still want you?”
“You’re lying. You called for Ixcuina right in front of me. You touched her! I heard—”
“You saw and heard what I wanted you to.”
Zerina stared at him in confusion. “She wasn’t there?”
“No. Don’t mistake me, Zerina. I don’t love you. I’m not capable of it—you said so yourself—but I want to be with you. If that means you don’t want me touching other women, I can do that.”
“I want you not to want them! There’s a difference.”
“Fate has sheltered you. Men will want attractive women, and women will want a male that is attractive to them. It’s nature, decreed by Mother. It’s what is in a man or woman’s mind that gives them the ability to resist temptation.”
“Are you saying you would resist temptation for me?”
“Yes, I would be completely faithful to you.”
Her biting on her bottom lip gave him hope that she was considering what he was saying.
“You want me to become your concubine?”
Hades shook his head. “No.”
Zerina frowned, and he read her confusion in her mind.
“I want us to become lovers,” he clarified.
She adorably blushed a bright red at his statement.
“Will you allow me to see my family?”
“Yes, as long as you don’t ask me to let you leave. I can’t do that.”
“Why? You say you don’t love me. Once it’s safe, will you allow me to leave then?”
“Because I don’t want you to leave.”
“If there comes a time in the future when you decide you don’t want me, will you let me leave then?”
Zerina nodded in thought.
“I need to think about it.”
Hades raked his hand through his perfectly groomed hair. “How long do you need?”
“I don’t know. Maybe a day or two. Maybe a month or two. Maybe a century. I’ll let you know when I decide.”
Hades closed his gaping mouth. His sexual frustration that had been building since he’d had her had the inner demon demanding he take her now.
Taking a calming breath, he forced his demon down.
“I can wait.”
He raised his hand to leave.
“Can we be friends until I decide?” She gave him an impish grin.
“I’d like that.”
“I would, too. By the way, what did you do with Zora?”
Hades smoothed his tousled hair down until it was once again smooth. He didn’t want to lie, neither did he want to tell her the truth.
“I found the perfect place for her.”
“Do you think that’s fair?” Zerina lazily swam across the cool water, putting even more distance between herself and Hades’ tempting body.
He had appeared when she had begun her swim, unselfconsciously showing his nudity.
“I didn’t want to get my suit wet.”
Zerina snorted in frustration. That he was beautiful standing on the rock with the sunlight gleaming down on him was an understatement. The light caught his bronze skin, showing every plane and angle of muscles under his skin.
His semi-hard cock had her swallowing hard, remembering when he had thrust him
self inside of her. The memory of what had happened with Ixcuina had begun to fade in the last couple of moons she had spent with him. Their friendship had grown until she now spent most of the afternoons and evenings with him. Sometimes he would sit quietly, reading beside her, her legs propped on his as they spent the time silently.
He dived cleanly into the water, coming up within several inches of the waterfall and shaking his wet hair back. She watched as he swam to the waterfall, hoisting himself onto the ledge to stand underneath it.
Mesmerized, she watched him take the full beating of the water’s force from the cliff overhead. He stood, lost in thought, as if he had forgotten she was there.
A fierce tide of longing struck her as he lowered his guard in his thoughts, giving a clearer image of the man whom the rushing water couldn’t hide. He was giving her an insight into the stark loneliness he lived with every second of his day.
She had gotten to know the true Hades. Some parts she was sure were inspired to take their relationship to the next level. Other times, she was just as sure were the moments he didn’t mean for her to see.
He jealously guarded his emotions while he continuously searched for hers. She was used to him reading her mind, just as she had grown used to the knowledge of the concubines being in the rooms next to hers. She never asked if he was visiting them. Somehow, she knew he hadn’t. However, she had been fooled by him once before, so she never took it for granted that he didn’t. A woman could only stand so much hurt before she would block it all off. She had blocked it off once, too cowardly to want the truth if it meant losing the closeness that grew every day.
Even though she was there, just a few feet away, she could sense how isolated he felt. Her heart ached for him, surrounding himself with fake sunlight and beautiful women to ease the desolate monotony of his days and nights.
“Have you ever asked Mother to return home?”
“Why? I know you miss it.”
“For two reasons. Who else could control those held here?”
Zerina couldn’t think of any god who would be able to bear being here for a single day, much less centuries. They would become just as dark as the souls they held.