“What is the other reason?”
“It has become home to me.”
“You hate it here.”
Hades moved to sit on the ledge, letting the water hit him on his back. He raised his hand to push his hair back sleekly. “Not anymore.” The seductive nuance of his voice had her nipples tightening below the water. “You make it bearable.”
She felt a lump in her throat. Swallowing it down, she swam nearer toward him.
Her throat bubbled with laughter. “You’re basically keeping me for company?”
His hooded eyes became slumberous with sexuality. “That’s not all.”
“At least you’re honest.”
His face turned serious. “I’m not. I lied about Zora.”
The fate of the woman churned her stomach. Deep down, she had known he had lied to spare her feelings.
“Did her punishment suit the crime she committed, or was it decreed because you were angry at me?”
“I have only let my anger affect one person’s fate.”
“Whose was that?”
“Did you give her the same punishment you gave Zora?”
“Yes. I threw them into the pit. No other men will fall under their spell again.”
“Then I understand.”
“You’re not angry?”
“No. Many times I have been forced to watch a soul I have given become dark, feeding off their own greed and pretending a passion they can never feel.”
“You’re wrong there. A dark soul can feel lust.”
“I wasn’t talking about lust. A dark soul may pretend a passion for another, but they are incapable of pretending to love someone.”
“You’re wrong. Some men and women are experts at it.”
“You’re still talking about lust,” she murmured, swimming forward to place her hand on his knees.
“I remember my mother coming home from court and describing who she had seen there. They became my bedtime stories. She told of how Zeus and Odin would compete to catch the goddesses’ attentions. She talked about you, too, but in a different way than she did the others.
“She said you were always joking around with your brothers and the other gods. She said you used to drive Chronos crazy by hiding his weapons, and Mother furious when you would sneak up behind her to scare her. My mother said you had more friends at court than anyone else, both men and women. Where is the man my mother admired and I grew up wanting to know?”
She tightened her hand on his knee. “He’s not dead. You’re sitting here, right before me.”
“What you see is what is left.”
“I don’t believe that. I think those parts of you are still there. That’s why every game imaginable is in your game room. That’s why you have so many concubines to keep you company. You may not be in Mother’s court anymore, but you have your own servants seeking to please you in every way. They might not be cupids, gods, or goddesses, but the wraiths fill your home when you can easily have them removed from your sight.”
Hades reached down, lifting her by her upper arms. “What do you want from me?”
Her bottom lip trembled at his fury. “I don’t want anything. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. I love you. I don’t care about your concubines. I don’t care that you don’t return my feelings. I don’t even care that there isn’t a part of your heart that can understand what I’m trying to show you.”
She gazed at him, surrendering her mind to him, letting him know that she accepted the parts of him that he believed were dead and the man he was now. Not only as a god that was his birthright, but the man he had become since becoming King of the Underworld.
Mother had gifted Zeus the beauty of the heavens, and Poseidon with the beauty of the cool blue oceans. Hades’ gift had been the Underworld, where darkness ruled. And miraculously, he hadn’t become the monster or the demon she had believed him to be. Instead, he was intrinsically kind, mischievous, and loyal, which were the same qualities he held the souls that entered his domain accountable for.
He tightened his hands on her arms. “I haven’t changed my mind. I’m not in love with you.”
“I know,” she admitted sadly, though it didn’t stop her from what she had been aching to do.
Branching her hands on his thighs, she leaned forward, pressing her mouth to his.
Zerina didn’t just kiss Hades; she gave him her heart.
When he parted his lips, the desire that was never far from the surface fused their mouths together in a passion that neither took or gave, both greedily taking what the other was willing to give.
Zerina tore her mouth away to take deep breaths. “You always taste of cinnamon and orange.”
Hades licked her bottom lip. “Come and get more.” He raised her until she was straddling his legs as he captured her lips, driving his tongue forcefully inside. Then he gripped her thighs, pulling her up until her pussy was over his cock.
She didn’t expect foreplay, nor did she want it. The last few weeks had strained her resistance until she had none left.
Her head fell back when she felt his thrust. There was no pain this time, just a fullness that hit a chord in her heart. Each movement he made was like a symphony, with her sighs of pleasure and Hades’ low groans.
He leaned back on his elbows, his eyes going to her pink-tipped nipples. The sheet of the water was between them as she rocked her hips up and down. All she could see was his silhouette.
Wanting his lips, she leaned forward, taking the force of the waterfall on her back.
“Do you know how much I want you?” He brought his hand to the nape of her neck, thrusting his tongue into her mouth as he thrust upward, driving higher inside her.
Zerina shuddered from the sensation of the frigid water and Hades’ body, a living flame underneath her fingertips. He had scorched her heart, branding it the first time they had sex. Now he was marking every line and crevice of her body to make sure she wouldn’t be able to deny him again.
“How can I blame your concubines for wanting you when just your cock inside has me wanting more?” Zerina raked her fingers through his wet hair, forcing his head back so she could lick the spray of the water that fell from his chin to his throat.
She moved her hips faster, feeling a million needles of sensations creating an inferno inside with each stroke.
She jutted her hips upward, then slammed down.
“Slow down; you’re going to hurt yourself.”
Zerina took his bottom lip between her sharp teeth. “Maybe I want you to hurt me.” She repeated the same move, nearly screaming when he responded by taking her hips and slamming her down harder.
“Yes,” she moaned.
She didn’t need to read his mind to know that he considered this just another sexual encounter that he would forget about as soon it was over. He had said he didn’t love her, and the gleam of triumph and desire in his dark eyes proved it. She could see he was already planning the days and nights of her willing submission. That was where her power would lie. That was where Hades’ lust was clouding his judgement. Their desire for each other made them equal. Not god and captive, but man and woman, both striving for the same pleasure that she was determined would blow his detachment to smithereens.
She sweetly placed kisses along his jaw to prevent herself from speaking the words he didn’t want to hear, forgetting that he was able to read them in her mind. Her silent outpouring of love had her clenching her sheath around his cock, not wanting the brief interlude to end.
She tightened her hands in his hair. “I will never be your concubine,” she whispered against his jaw. “What I give to you, I’m giving to you because I want to. If you give me a necklace, I’ll throw it into the fire pit.” She meant her words as a warning, but they came out with lingering traces of hurt. “You think you can use me for your pleasure? Be careful, Hades, or you’re going to step into your own trap.”
“I’ll take my chances.” His hands on her hips became more forceful, grinding her down on his cock. The sensations inside of her intensified until she had to rise to look down at him. The sexual gleam in his eyes showed that his movements weren’t the cause.
“That’s not being fair.”
The charm he had shown over the last few weeks was gone. His sexual arrogance was now plain to see as the molten tide swept through her body, starting to become more than she could take.
He calculated every sway of her breasts to every rise of her hips to maximize the pleasure that was contingent to his whims and desires.
“Hades … it’s too much.”
“I’m only giving you what you wanted. A little pain will make your release so much sweeter.”
“I take it back …” she whimpered. So far, she had been able to retain a semblance of control, while trying to steal his. She should have known Hades wouldn’t accept anything but complete submission.