“Is that who I think it is?”
Fate blinked her eyes like an owl as he approached the bar where Destiny was whispering to her sister.
Hades stopped before them, bowing. “Ladies, may I join you?”
The women remained silent as he took the stool on the side of the bar so he could watch both their reactions.
“How did you get in here?” Destiny stared at Fate, who shrugged before turning to Hades.
“You really think that weak spell you gave Broni was strong enough to keep me from entering? It’s no protection from a god of my caliber. May I?” Hades nodded at the whiskey.
“Help yourself.” Fate slide the whiskey bottle closer to him, then waved a hand to have a glass appear next to it.
“Can we ask why you have decided to grace us with your presence?”
“I thought it was time we have a little chat about Zerina.”
Destiny and Fate were regaining their senses from the whiskey they had consumed.
“I was about to return home and ask for Mother’s permission to speak to you again.” Fate’s hand tightened on her glass. “A little bird told me that she is in your domain.”
Hades’ lip curled sensuously as he poured the whiskey. “Which little bird are we talking about? Jinx or Destiny?”
“Does it matter? Is it true?”
“I want her returned to me.”
Hades narrowed his eyes. “No, she’s mine.”
“You can’t have her.”
He cocked his head to the side. “Do you hear someone telling me no?”
Destiny and Fate tensed.
Dispassionately, he read their minds, seeing the fury and plans to help Zerina escape being planned in their minds.
“There is no one who will dare enter my domain without my permission. Even Mother doesn’t. She may send me a message that someone wants to speak to me, as you did, Fate, but that is the only intervention she will make. And in case you’re wondering, she does know where Zerina is and asked me to keep her safe.” Gracefully and arrogantly, he put their minds to rest that Mother had betrayed them by not trying to get Zerina back.
“If you still think you can get her out of my domain, which I already said won’t be happening, Zerina wouldn’t be able to return. Only a god can carry her back home, and no one would dare thwart me. No one, including Odin or Thor.
“Come join us, Broni, Rhys. I am anxious to meet Zerina’s sister and her new brother-in-law.” Hades didn’t even bother turning around when he felt their presence. In his mind’s eye, he had seen the couple sneakily watching them from the hallway. Fate had telegraphed to Rhys when he had entered the clubhouse.
The couple moved to stand next to Fate, ignoring the hand he held out to them.
Hades’ face grew even more glacial at the snub. He didn’t offer his hand lightly.
“I know your concern for Zerina is overwhelming, but being rude to me will delay your reunion even longer. I wish for us all to be one big, happy family.”
“Family?” Destiny’s sharp screech had a human male and Balder coming into the room at the side of the bar.
“Who the fuck is he?”
“I am Hades, and you are Adam. You are the leader of what used to be a motorcycle club. I have been looking forward to meeting you.” Hades didn’t bother extending his hand to the human.
The male stared around him, seeing the grim expressions on everyone’s faces. Then he reached behind his back and pulled out his gun, pointing it at him. “I’m asking again. Who is he?”
With a flick of his wrist, the gun disappeared from Adam’s hand, settling harmlessly in front of Hades. It couldn’t have harmed him. It was just the point that it had been aimed at him.
“I told you who I am, but I can understand your human mind having trouble wrapping around that fact. Don’t be alarmed; I am not here for you … yet.”
“Is he really Satan?” Adam belligerently squared his shoulders.
Broni sighed. “We don’t call him that.”
Rhys wrapped his arm around his wife’s waist, tugging her closer to his side.
“You must have a small part of Baptist in you from when you were younger. Shame you didn’t remember that when you grew older.”
Adam fell to his knees, crouching in excruciating pain.
Hades stood over the human, sighing regretfully. “I didn’t come here to create drama, but I will if I have to. This is what happens when you mix with humans—they think their disrespect will be tolerated.” Hades buried his hand in Adam’s hair, tilting his head up and backward so he had no choice but to stare into Hades’ eyes. “You ready to apologize?”
“I’m sorry,” Adam choked out through clenched teeth.
Hades released him then straightened his suit. “Good. Now, let’s all play nice and we’ll get along fine. Do you agree?” Hades directed his question at Fate.
“Yes.” Fate waited until Adam regained his feet before asking, “What did you mean by one big, happy family?”
The club door crashed inward as Hades was about to speak.
“You bitch!” Rocque snarled, baring his teeth as he strode toward the group at the bar.
At his yell, the door from the hallway slammed open and two women ran out of the kitchen.
Hades sat down on one of the stools, laughing. Waving his hand, he froze Rocque in place.
Destiny jumped off her stool. “Don’t hurt him.”
“I have no intention of hurting Rocque. I am merely giving him time to cool down. He wants to rip your head off, Fate, so prepare yourself before I release him.”
“I can handle myself. I don’t need your intervention.”
“Fine.” Hades released Rocque as Rhys released Broni, stepping in front of Fate. Rocque bounced off Rhys’s chest.
“Move,” Rocque growled.
“As much as I can sympathize with you, I cannot let you harm my mother-in-law.” Rhys and Balder now blocked Rocque from reaching Fate.
Fate peeked out from between the imposing immortal males. “In case it has escaped your puny mind, I was in the middle of a conservation with Hades.”
“I don’t give a fuck who I interrupted, you man-hating bitch!”
“I don’t hate men. Just men who think their dick gives them a reason to act like we should bow to your demands. It will be a cold day in …” Fate broke off her lament when she realized what she had been about to say.
“Don’t mind me. I’ve heard that before. Zerina said the same thing.”
When he brought Zerina’s name up, the fight went out of Fate.
“I want my daughter back.”
“As I keep trying to explain … Now that everyone is here, maybe I can finish.” Hades waited for their interruptions. When none came, he settled himself more comfortably. “I have taken a liking to Zerina. I still need to meet Cara, but your other daughters do you justice.”
Broni blushed, moving a scant inch closer to him, as were Abby and Zandra. Rhys reached out, pulling her back to his side.
“Thank you. I am very proud of my daughters. Their beauty isn’t just skin deep.”
“I’m aware of that. Zerina’s family is very important to her, and she misses you greatly. Unfortunately, it isn’t convenient for me to welcome visitors into my domain at this time.”
“You’re worried for her safety in Hades?”
“No, I protect what’s mine. I worry about what I cannot control.” He stared at the group that had gathered. “You are losing your opportunity to find the one who has created this mess. I normally don’t care”—Hades shrugged—“because it doesn’t affect me or mine, but now I must take Zerina into consideration at the risk of angering Mother. None of us are supposed to interfere in human lives, but if you all don’t get you heads out of your asses, we are going to be annihilated.”
“Zeus is going to strike us?”
“I don’t know who is responsible. If I did, I could handle it my
self before it escalates further, but I don’t.”
“You would risk Mother’s anger?” Fate put out her hand to move Rhys and Balder so she could see him better. “Why? To help Mother or Zerina?”
Hades shrugged. “Does it matter if everyone benefits from my interference?”
“It matters to me.”