He might have been high on Brimstone when he met her. But he wasn’t too drugged to recognize a good thing when she stuck a knife under his chin!
Hermes figured he had no future, so he gave up, wasting his days inhaling Brimstone in a Succubi House on Olympus. Cursed from birth, Nidras knew her future was sketchy at best. But the last thing she intended to do was give up. She thought she had to fight the curse alone, but she never counted on a drug muddled Cupid setting his sights on her and gumming up the works. Especially one as sexy and fun as Hermes. So what if he didn’t have the first clue how to protect himself in her dangerous world? It didn’t stop him from trying!
The tones of Bach’s Sonata da chiesa formed a lively backdrop for the gentle tinkle and scrape of silver against china and carefully muted conversation in the grand dining hall of Zeus’ castle.
Arion and Christian sat across the table from me, their heads together for much of the meal. They were lost in their own little world. Next to me was the goddess Aphrodite. She was a beautiful woman to be sure, with her thick, auburn hair, worn in long, gentle curls sliding like fine silk over her shoulders and dipping into the flawless, white vee of her cleavage. But her hungry gaze and pouting, cherry-colored lips were a bit much for me.
So far, just during the soup and cheese courses, I’d had to remove her hand from my thigh three times and once from my crotch. I was doing my best to ignore her constant attempts to catch my gaze, which meant I had my head turned away from her, toward the opposite end of the table.
That was the end where Zeus held court. It was always interesting to watch the body language around Zeus. The Court of Gods was never at a loss for intrigue and sizzling passion. Though Zeus had held his spot at the head of all the intrigue through millennia, it had been a rocky path at best.
Over the centuries, he’d been forced at times to rule through strength, force and sometimes even base brutality. But he was known as a fair and, when possible, even kind ruler.
That didn’t stop those beneath his rule from existing in a state of near constant jealousy and bitterness. Everybody thought he or she would make a better ruler.
Personally, knowing the whole lot of them much better than I cared to, I highly doubted that.
The cheese course was removed and a plate of fish was settled in front of me. I grimaced at the dish. In my opinion, there was only one thing worse than fish on a plate and that was fish on a plate that still had its eyes in its head.
Since I had no intention of eating the nasty stuff, I focused on Poseidon, across the table and just two gods up from Zeus. With his violent temper and atmosphere-altering outbursts, Poseidon was always good entertainment. Unfortunately for me, at the moment he was having a rather calm conversation with Adonis, but I was hopeful something would piss him off soon. The last time he’d gotten irritated at a dinner, there’d been a full-on rain storm inside the hall and the fish course had been returned to its natural element.
Looking down at the glassy eyed monster on my plate I couldn’t help feeling that would be a vast improvement. “Bring it.” I murmured hopefully.
Unfortunately, Aphrodite took my comment as verbal encouragement and grabbed my thigh again. Leaning close, she placed her cherry lips close to my ear. I jerked as her breath washed delicately over that ticklish organ. “I’ve been waiting all night for you to say that, Cupid. I must say, you’re the yummiest dish this party has served up yet.”
I fought a full-out eye roll. Fortunately the goddess and I were both distracted by a slight commotion at the door.
A man and a woman entered the room, arm in arm. The man was enormous, easily seven feet tall and broad shouldered, with arms that were as big around as my thighs and legs that spanned the width of my waist. He looked like a human king of old, wearing deep red velvet robes, trimmed in white fur, probably ermine, flecked with gold beads. His brow was wide and deeply lined, his jaw square. He wore a jewel-encrusted crown atop his long, mahogany colored hair.
The woman on his arm wore a skin-hugging velvet gown, its low, wide décolletage, sleeves and hem trimmed in ermine. The gown was simple and elegant and clung tightly to her perfect form.
Her face was a pale oval beneath glistening black hair and seemed vaguely familiar. When the couple moved into the room, after being greeted warmly by Zeus, I realized why.
A second couple came through the door behind them. A much younger couple. The man was tall, slender and blond, dwarfing the woman on his arm with his height. But nothing about him could possibly dwarf the woman’s presence.
Nidras fairly shone with power and purpose. Her small body was rigid with evidence of royal birth and training. But her eyes flashed with her force of will and her expression dared all who faced her to get in her way. The tension level in the room changed just from her appearance there.
The room filled immediately with murmurs as she swept it with her haughty gaze. I jumped to my feet when her gaze landed on me. But a slight shake of her head kept me from striding across the room.
“What in Hades is she doing here with him?” Aphrodite murmured into my ear. I realized then that she’d stood too. In fact the whole table had stood up when I did. I looked around the room in shock. Showing homage to a demon king and his family. What was that all about?
Zeus led the king and queen to a spot just down from where I sat. Nidras and her “date” took places on the opposite side of the table.
I glared at the man who’d been lucky enough to enter the room on her arm. He didn’t even notice.
Nidras pointedly avoided my gaze, focusing instead on her parents, the man beside her, and Zeus.
The only good thing that happened over the next few minutes was that the fish was taken away and replaced with a fine hunk of beef.
Unfortunately I’d lost my appetite.
Aphrodite didn’t seem to want her beef either. She appeared to be more interested in inserting her tongue into my ear.
Damn. I hated court dinners.
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