“Where did you send him?”
“I’ll be long gone before he comes running back.” Fate sighed sorrowfully. “Once, you would have laughed and told me to send him to Mount Everest.”
“I’m starting to like him,” she confessed.
“No shit, Sherlock. I guess there is no sense trying to talk some sense into you.”
“You can’t say anything I haven’t said to myself. I can’t explain what he does to me.”
“You don’t have to. It’s the same way I felt when I met Odin. It must be in our DNA to fall for men who have a cock as big as their egos.”
Destiny shuddered. “Mother, I hope not. Did you get my message about where Zerina is before Rocque caught me?”
“I did. That jerk lied to me and said he had no idea where she was. If I wasn’t so busy trying not to fall to my knees and beg him to fuck me, I would have known she was there. He has some serious sex appeal.”
“I remembered when he attended court. He had all the immortals and goddesses begging for his favors then.”
“Magnify it by a million and it still won’t describe how hot he is now.”
“Wow. Maybe I should dodge Rocque and start back to where I was, trying to find Hades’ gate.”
“It wouldn’t do any good. I wouldn’t be surprised if he sent a message to Rocque that you were there.”
Outraged, Destiny sat down next to her sister. “That cunning …”
“Wolf?” Fate suggested helpfully.
“I wasn’t going to say that, but it works.” Destiny refilled her glass with what was left in the whiskey bottle.
“What did I teach you about sharing?”
“Get your own damn bottle. I plan on getting drunk enough to whip his ass when he shows up.”
Fate waved her hand and a new bottle of whiskey and a glass materialized. “Good thing for you, I don’t mind sharing.” Fate opened the bottle then poured herself a generous amount before topping Destiny’s off.
“When you fuck him, let me know …” Fate took an appreciative sip of her drink.
“Let you know what?”
“If his cock is as big as his ego.”
“You’re leaving so soon?”
Zerina nodded, rising from her chair. “Thank you for lunch.” She refused to feel guilty as a bleak look entered his dark eyes.
“I feel like taking a nap. Perhaps tomorrow.”
She buried her hands in the sides of her gown as she walked to her bedroom, counting the portraits to keep Hades from reading her thoughts. Once in her room, she tried to rest, but her brain refused to stop churning with thoughts of Hades. Needing to expend some of her energy, she decided to go for a swim.
Going downstairs, she wished there were another way besides passing Tartarus each time she wanted to go for a swim. She always sensed his scrutiny, though she hadn’t seen him in human form since Hades had introduced him. She was glad she only sensed the smirk behind that monstrous mask. Zerina bet it was the same smirk he gave each of the women who visited Hades.
The old man didn’t stop digging as she breezed by him. She missed Jinx’s company more and more each day.
She pulled her gown off, leaving the thin slip on. As she was laying her gown down on the large boulder, she saw a hair clip like the one in her hair. Her hand went to her hair, forgetting she had just placed hers in her hair before leaving the bedroom. Obviously, she wasn’t the only female who used the pool.
Zerina removed her hair clasp, leaving it next to the other one.
Counting how many strokes it took to the swim the length of the pool, she hid her thoughts of jealousy. She had to swim it three times to make her anger go away. Then another two to wash the tears that she had shed.
Finally exhausted, she sat down on the rocks, dipping her toes into the water and watching the water lap at them.
“What has upset you?”
Zerina laid her cheek on her knees, her long hair falling to conceal her face. “I’m not.”
“Don’t lie to me.”
His harsh voice wasn’t why she lifted her head. It was because of a sudden spurt of pain.
Putting her hands to her temples, she lifted pain-filled eyes toward him. “Why did you do that? You’ve never needed my permission to read my thoughts before.”
“You have become experienced at hiding your thoughts; that’s how I feel when I tried to read yours now.”
“Then stop trying to read mine, and we’ll call it even.”
“I read everyone’s mind in my domain.”
“I’m surprised one of your concubines haven’t stabbed you when you pull that on them.”
“No one has succeeded in keeping me out the way you have.”
Zerina shook her damp hair from her face. “That’s because they probably consider it foreplay.”
She knew she was right when he sat down on the boulder and stared down at her.
“You take sex too seriously. Do you think your sisters have your hang-ups? If they do, I feel sorry for their husbands, just like I do Odin. Fate raised you to think your pussy is filled with gold. Let me tell you something. It isn’t.” He had risen to stand over her as he ranted.
Zerina scrambled to her feet, not about to take his ridicule toward her, her sisters, or Fate. “You dare to deride my family because I won’t let you use me?” Zerina gave him a bitter smile. “Let me tell you a little something, Hades; you weren’t all that hot in the sack. Maybe I didn’t come back for more because it wasn’t worth the repeat. Can you even give a woman satisfaction without using your powers?” She gave him a mocking sound that sounded like pst.
His eyes grew dark with temper, but Zerina didn’t care. Every emotion that she had experienced since she had met him boiled over until it overflowed and she couldn’t hold back her condemnation.
“Do you even remember if I enjoyed it?” When she saw his gaze flicker, she knew he was trying to remember. “Mother above, help me!” Zerina lifted her hands up imploringly, knowing Mother wouldn’t be able to hear her plea. “You have no desire for me. You just want to add me to your collection.” She dropped her hands back to her sides. “You know why your marriage ended?”
“Shut up, Zerina,” Hades warned.
“It wasn’t because of Zeus, any more than Juno ended my mother’s marriage. It was because you didn’t love Persephone, just as my mother didn’t love Valentine. If you loved Persephone, you would have forgiven her, just like Fate would have forgiven my father. Neither one of you are capable of loving someone with every breath in your body.”
Zerina poked a pointed finger in his chest so hard Hades took a step back toward the water. “Do you even know what it feels like to love someone so much that it hurts to look at them? The way the hair on your arms stands up when they barely touch you? How you want to know what she’s thinking?” Zerina fumed. “Of course, you don’t. You can read them like the cover of a book.
“You have no concept of love. You probably thought you did because you stayed faithful to Persephone. I bet you patted yourself on the back for that,” she jeered. “You think Persephone didn’t figure out you didn’t love her? I can guarantee she did! Just like my father knew! How long did it take you to get over her? With a snap of your fingers? Long enough for you to have another at your knees?
“You want to know why you have a fireplace in every room, even though you live above the fires of Hell? Because no matter how hot it gets, it’s not going to warm that cold heart of yours! You want to get laid? Go fuck yourself!” With a ruthless hand, she punched out, striking his chest where his heart pretended to beat, knocking him back into the water.
When he resurfaced and raised a hand, she knew he was about to punish her. Therefore, before he could complete the swiping
motion, she picked up the jewel combs, throwing them at him one after the other and hitting him on his cheeks. When she saw the bright red mark she had left behind, she became sick at herself and him.
“I fell in love with a man who’s not a man,” she said through trembling lips. “I fell in love with a god who’s not a god. Despite everything you’ve done to me, I still love you. Do you think I don’t want to make love with you? I want you, even knowing you have your concubines living in rooms right next to me. I love you despite you mocking me by showing that portrait to me. I even love you despite you sending for Ixcuina and touching her in front of me!”
Zerina picked her gown up off the rock. “Punish me if you want to! You know something? I’ll probably forgive that, too! That’s the type of goddess my mother raised! And I know for damn sure Mother raised you better than you treat women!” Zerina started to storm off, then paused. “And I haven’t met Rhys or Jericho yet, but they’re damn lucky they got my sisters. They’re wonderful!”
She stubbed her toe as she stormed away, ruining her proud exit. Limping, she snarled over her shoulder. “I wish I could be Tartarus for ten minutes. I would beat your fucking ass, shove a fucking shovel up your ass, and tell you to dig yourself out of the shit you tell yourself!”
Hades watched her leave with astounded eyes. His suit was dripping wet, yet he made no move to make it disappear or get out of the water. Eventually, though, he did walk out of the water, waving his hand once he was clear of it and exchanging his wet clothes for dry ones.
As soon he was immaculate again, he sent for Tartarus.
“I’m going out,” Hades stated when he appeared in his human form.
“You want me to go with you?”
“No. I won’t be gone long. I want Grimm guarding Zerina’s room while I’m gone. Understand?”
Tartarus bowed his head. “Yes, my king.”
Hades flicked his wrist, disappearing from his domain and into one he had never entered before.
When he appeared, the occupants of the room stared at him with their mouths hanging open.