Uncomfortable is something I’m familiar with, but the level of unease I get around Moros beats the stares, the touches, and the ability to take over a room of humans if I cough. And it’s not because he’s gross, scum like Firthus, or cruel.
He’s…kind, and I’m not sure what to do with that.
This morning he remains silent at the kitchen table, seeming to give me space I desperately need to mill over thoughts and sip coffee. When he’s talking to me or trying to get me to work magic I don’t have, there’s an edge to him—a pompous, commanding attitude overflowing with determination, but I’m missing too many pieces to the whole puzzle so I can’t see the full picture of him. He’s patient with me, though he’s not patient. He wants me to be a goddess like it’s his one goal in life, and says it’s because I will be stronger and invincible, but there’s something else I can’t even name to question him. There’s a leer in his eyes when I fail or ask a question he doesn’t want to talk about. He diverts and dodges. Ducks under the truth or the lie. With his help, I understand more about myself and deities, but not enough. Never enough.
This house is a mess. The dishes stack through the day if I don’t do them, then disappear at night. I wake to a cleaner, but not clean, existence and breakfast. Moros still locks my door. For my protection because I’m not ready yet. He needs me. I’m important.
Curiosity gets the better of me and I wander over to take the wooden chair next to him.
He gives me an approving nod, holding out the hand with the black triangle scarred into his skin. “Let’s try again.” I trace my fingers over the raised lines and press my palm to his. The Olympians attempted to detach his attributes by using witchcraft, though they failed.
They always fail.
Except when Alex, Anice, Hercules, Comus, Zeus, and a bunch of others found him on Earth, broke his arms, and closed him in the hell realm. He said it took him two days to reset his bones because he kept passing out, and weeks to heal, all while fighting off darklings and scrounging for food. They don’t have fruit trees in hell.
He gives a compelling story, that’s for sure. He’s told me about Olympus. Much of what he shared is the same story Alex sold me, but the perspective is from another angle. Lesser deities fill important roles but need leadership. Goddesses aren’t even brought up besides mentioning that there are traditions in place. He’s explained it as an Olympian culture. Attributes matter most. All are needed, but the more powerful, the more respect a deity gains, helping them climb the hierarchy. Zeus has placed himself as king even though Moros believes he’s only there because of the powerful deities he surrounded himself with and still keeps close by use of manipulation and secret keeping. So far, Moros and the guys seem to be on the same page when it comes to Olympus, except I don’t know what the guys’ endgame is, but Moros claims he will rule—we will—if I step into the ultimate unknown.
He squeezes my hand to bring me from the thoughts that live on repeat. “Seek that deep place that’s aching to unravel. You can do it, Lula. It’s time to embrace your divine nature.”
Same words, different day. Same nonsensical meaning. I don’t ache. I don’t want to unravel, bloom, break through while attempting to reach zenith. He has the wrong person…siren. My eyes hurt. I want my sisters back, but apparently have to prove myself first. Hazel is excited to see me and Venora is glad I’m safe, Moros has told me. They’re carrots poised over my hungry mouth and the line is too short for me to reach. Amah must be so worried. I should have met with her a week ago. What did she do when I didn’t show? She has to know I’m with Moros. The Olympians would have killed me by now and she would have felt that break. Moros often reminds me of the bounty on my life. Before I was born, he made the mistake of speaking to Zeus about his relationship with my mother, and the king of Olympus blew up and sent his army for him. He sent Alex.
He sent Alex. My Alex is a liar. A murderer. He’s someone who would chase down another deity for falling for a non-deity. Then the hypocrite met me. Which means, he may not be a hypocrite at all, but a psychotic serial killer who needed me for…something. Maybe to find the rest of my sisters and wipe us all off the planet.
“I can’t.” I let my hand drop, but Moros holds tight. My lungs squeeze, making breathing impossible.
Visions flash through my mind in a TV series finale as my heart crumbles. Our electrifying first kiss. The flutter of every cell in my body as he tugged me into his arms. Pinning me to the wall after a fight over pizza and tracing my skin until I swore I’d explode. How he held me as I bawled for my lost sister whom he murdered. How could anyone hold another that perfectly after doing such harm? He tried to stay away during my heat, but did he really? He closed the portal and it was just us. I shattered around him so many times while he whispered words I never thought I’d hear from a willing, free partner.
I want you forever.
I love you. You. Everything about you.
How dare he.
MY SONG'S GIFT © 2023, Poppy Minnix all rights reserved. For information, contact City Owl Press.
Duet of the Gods #2
There’s no backing away from the rebellion Alex started in Olympus. He cannot give in and let Olympians, otherworldlings, and humans suffer any longer, and now the siren he loves, Lula is at his side. The problem is, Zeus is after her and wants Alex’s pledge of loyalty. But Alex won’t bend. When Alex does the right thing, confessing he knew Lula long before meeting her, she runs… straight into the enemy, Moros', arms. The enemy who has a secret of his own. He’s been creating chaos on Earth to draw out Lula. He wants her to rule Olympus. He demands she become as dangerous as he is. What does a siren with a broken heart do? She becomes apocalyptic.
Paranormal Romance [City Owl Press, On Sale: March 14, 2023, Paperback / e-Book, / ]
One bleary winter, Poppy Minnix accidentally wrote a novel—a paranormal romance she obsessively typed out in five weeks. Years later, she still barely sleeps, has nightmares of exploding biscuit cans when she does (it's a valid phobia!), and writes every waking minute.
She lives in Maryland with a husband who is far more romantic than she is and two delightful kids who kindly open the terrifying dough bombs for her. They are all kept busy by the best rescue lab-ish mongrel ever, and two cats who think they are dogs.
Along with authoring, she’s also the co-host of Punch Keys Podcast, an encouraging podcast for navigating the writing world.
Her contemporary romcom series, Simona Island, kicks off November 23rd, 2021 with Holiday Hotel, a festive Christmas romp that starts with a breakup escape to a Caribbean island.
Winner of the Toronto RWA 2018 Catherine Award in the paranormal romance category with My Song's Curse, published in August of 2020. Book two arrives in 2024.
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