Authors: Mayandree Michel
The Descendants Series
Copyright © 2012 by Mayandree Michel.
All rights are reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without written permission of the author.
Cover design by Mayandree Michel
Model: Giselle Elyse Lopez
* * * * *
To Aaron, my loving husband, thank you for understanding that I’m the type of wife that needs her “Me Time” and for actually reading my books. I feel very lucky to have you.
To Blake and Kale, my sons and the two sources of joy and happiness in my life, thank you for reminding me, every day, how great my life is with you in it. I love you both very, very much and couldn’t imagine my life without you.
To Adrienne, my sister and best friend, thank you for your constant support, laughs, babysitting, and… the list goes on, and on.
To Mary, my favorite cousin, thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
To Justina Sirianni and Charia Underwood, thank you for helping to make this novel the best that it can be.
To Giselle Elyse Lopez, thank you for taking time out of your busy school schedule and for adding your beauty to this cover as well.
War has never been won, and
Love has never been saved without
One month ago…
Their eyes were fixed on me as I walked up the street. Evan, whose beauty radiated from where he stood on his porch, observed my every move. All the while, I watched Victor from the corner of my eye, assessing his arrogant stance as he stood on my porch, leaning against one of the pillars. He was beautiful as well, gorgeous even, but I had made my choice. I chose to be with Evan completely.
As I entered the ornate Capius estate gates, a blast resonated and broke my stride. The eruption was followed by another, and another. The exploding sound came from a distance, possibly from town. At first, I figured it was just another shootout between Nickel City’s rowdy towns folk. Oddly, as the shots continued to fire, the prickling heat rose within me and my blood began to boil. I felt the burst of each bullet as if it ripped through my core.
“They’re shooting at our members. We have to investigate,” I said, telepathically, to Evan.
We were not in any danger of being hurt, but being targeted made me a bit wary. The members of my empire lived in this town for nearly fifty years with their identities hidden, and have never been attacked.
“I agree,” Evan said, telepathically.
“Go inside. Now,” I told Victor telepathically. Gunshots could hurt him just as easily as they could hurt one of the mortals in town. He hesitated at first but eventually, he did as he was told.
The little boy, playing in the alley between the mercantile and town cobbler, eye’s widened with shock to see Evan and I appear out of the thin air, and right in front of him.
“Hello darlin’,” I said to the little boy whose blue eyes gleamed brighter than the sun. “We just moseyed down the street didn’t we?” I asked, Glamouring the bashful boy.
The boy nodded, smiled, and agreed to having seen us walk up the alley just as more shots rang out over C Street. Evan and I made our way onto the main street. We joined the crowd of mortals on the wooden planked sidewalk. They gaped at the gunslinger and his victim.
It was one of my disciples. I watched in horror as Heracio, the largest of the three sons of Hercules, took several steps toward the shooter, and deflected the bullets. Heracio was now face-to-face with the shooter. He lifted the hulking cowboy off the ground and well above his head. The cowboy’s legs and arms flailed in the air as his Stetson floated to the ground. All the while, he continued to fire in every direction, causing the frightened mortals to duck or run.
“Don’t do this!” I said telepathically, but Heracio ignored me.
He flung the cowboy clear across the street at an accelerated speed. Every pair of eyes witnessed the cowboy smash into the wall of wooden barrels that stood against the wall of Benson’s Brewery a second after he was thrown.
Silence rang out over the main street as the dark mass emerged. The shadows slithered from every sidewalk and from every side of every building on C Street. Hades’ Apolluon, the misty shadows which lay dormant until woken by displays of power, moved swiftly and headed straight for Heracio. They were always ready to smother a soul and drag it into the Underworld unless it was nightfall and they were blood thirsty vampires until the first sunlight at dawn.
They encircled him as he held out one hand – palm out – in an attempt to bar the shadows from smothering him. The prayers he whispered to the gods couldn’t save him now. I swooped in faster than the speed of light and snatched him up from within the fast closing circle of dense black smog.
“You defied me!” I snapped, after teleporting to my parlor.
“I’m sorry Empress,” Heracio said, looking down at his feet.
“Sorry almost got you smothered. Sorry won’t Glamour an entire town!” I threw both my hands up in the air.
Evan appeared, stood beside me, and faced Heracio whose massive muscular build practically engulfed the parlor. He towered over both Evan and I, but looked particularly subdued now.
“What were you thinking?” Evan asked.
“I wasn’t,” Heracio admitted.
“Clearly,” I added.
The sons of Hercules were known to have quick tempers, but they were also taught early on in their childhood, as every other Ischeros had learned – never show power in public.
“What the mortals have seen, they will not forget,” Evan said. “After you both disappeared, the mortals stood in shock. They couldn’t process what they saw. But they remember and they know what they witnessed today was supernatural.”
“What if I hadn't been there?” I reminded Heracio that he and his brother’s talents didn’t include teleporting.
“I–I just lost it. He started pointing that pistol at me. Even though I knew he couldn’t hurt me, I couldn’t get past the smug look in his eyes. I was angrier than I have ever been. It bothered me that a little bastard like that could show that he was more powerful than me, in front of all those laughing mortals, just because he had a gun. I just made a bad decision. How will I be punished, Empress?”
“Throwing the mortal may actually have been a good idea,” Evan said, taking a seat on my plush velvet couch.
“What?” I asked, as my mouth dropped open.
“Really?” Heracio asked, with a raised brow.
“It isn’t the fact that you threw a cowboy. After sizing you up Heracio, it’s not hard to believe that you could lift a man into the heavens. I believe watching those bullets melt into your body and not kill you, and the vision of both of you vanishing in the midst of moving shadows is what may never leave the mortal’s psyche for a lifetime.
Oh no! Evan was right.
I was at fault.
I shouldn’t have teleported. Nevertheless, how else could I have saved Heracio? If I hadn’t gotten him out of there, the Apolluon would have devoured him.
I certainly couldn’t punish him. I turned to Heracio and held out my hand.
“Evan is right. It wasn’t your fault. Sometimes we’re put in a situation where there’s only one way out. If saving you brings on speculation from the mortals then so be it. I would do it all over again.”
Heracio bowed, kissed my hand, and turned to leave my house.
“This whole empress thing suits you.” Evan said with a grin that split his gorgeous face.
“You’re making me blush, Lord Evander.” I looked into the most breathtaking blue eyes I had ever seen.
Evan rested his hands on my waist. My skin prickled with the stifling heat of his aura. I knew that he could feel my desire for him. He smelled of sandalwood and salt water and was intoxicating. He pulled me close and my heart skipped a beat. Leaning into me, he pressed his lips against mine, hungrily. Evan tasted sweet and salty. I couldn’t get enough of his deliciousness. I smashed my body onto his and he combed his fingers through my hair as a soft moan escaped my lips. He feathered kisses along my jaw line until his lips reached my earlobe. My heart was pounding as I opened my eyes and fastened my arms tightly around his neck.
“I love you,” he breathed. My heart jolted in my chest as if it was the first time Evan had said those words.
Without any warning, Victor strolled into the parlor. He regarded us as his mouth formed a thin line across his face. I tuned into his thoughts. He was furious and certain of one thing. I was the prize. As far as he was concerned, Evan hadn’t won.
One - Victor
Like Father, Like Son
For a month, that felt much like an eternity, I’ve had to swallow profane words in front of Delia as I watched Evander try to steal her away from me. Enough was enough. She belongs to me and it’s about time that he understood that.
I closed my eyes and called for him. His overwhelming presence was always accompanied by the distinct metallic scent of blood and the intoxicating aura of victory.
“I will be punished if Zeus discovers that I’ve interfered with matters pertaining to demigods, young lord,” Ares said, stomping across my bedroom rug. I couldn’t take my eyes off my father’s boar skin cape.
“It’s been a month since I’ve been living with the empress. A little insight wouldn’t hurt, father. I–.”
“I told you to stop calling me that.
will do just fine.”
“Well, what’s with all the ‘Young Lord’ business?” I asked.
“I know how you demi’s like your respect. Especially you.”
“Victor will do just fine.” I said, getting up from behind my desk. I was six feet and the God of War dwarfed me.
“Now where were we?” Ares continued. “Ah yes, you had a vision, am I correct?”
“I dreamt that I was about to finally kiss my betrothed when suddenly something came over me. It was dark and compelling and I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I watched myself from the side lines, sort of, and I was… turning into…”
“Hades has a strange way of doing things, but I must applaud him for his strategy with you demi’s. I do get my Chameleon charms from him,” he said, chuckling. “As do you, my son.”
I sighed and my shoulders sagged.
“Oh come on now. Cheer up. You wear him well.” Ares’ laughter filled the room.
Lucky me, I thought. My father would rather be the God of Comedy.
“Is this Hades’ plan?”
“Perhaps,” he said, throwing his hands up in the air.
“Is that all you have to say?” I asked, anxiously. I knew that vision meant more.
“What more is there?” Ares asked, raising an eyebrow at me.
Was he kidding? Was he really going to make me beg for his help?
“I know that you know more than you’re letting on, so tell me.”
“I would like too, but Zeus would never approve of my meddling.”
“Is Zeus just going to
as his children are destroyed?” I said, raising my voice.
“Well, he does like to keep a close eye on things,” Ares chortled.
He turned away from me and headed toward the French doors, leading out to the veranda. I couldn’t let him leave without telling me something – anything.
“You mustn’t worry yourself over these things. You’re not even sure if she’ll dump Poseidon’s aquatic tornado, for you.”
“Of course she will. She loves
. She just doesn’t want to accept it yet.”
“And you are sure that when she finally does accept it, as you put it, young Lord Evander won’t put up a fight. You know how those waters can get pretty choppy.” Ares looked at me quizzically.
“Oh, I bet he will.”
“And when he does, I’ll bet on you,” Ares said. “Especially, if you use all of your resources. By the way, how is the fireball?”