Authors: Addison Fox
“So forget our history. Let’s make a future full of new moments.” Aidan pressed his lips to hers, convinced of her rejection even as he hoped for her acquiescence.
When her mouth opened to him, greeting his kiss with an answering response of her own, he leaned in and swooped her up in his arms.
And took a large step toward their future.
Aidan settled her on the bed and came down over her, his weight supported on his forearms. With another hard, searing kiss, he made love to her with his mouth. Long, lazy moments stretched out as they touched and took, remembered and rediscovered.
Meg felt the feather-light touches along her stomach as Aidan lifted her blouse once more. His beautiful hands roamed over her, seeking, questing.
“I want to see you,” his words were whispered against her jaw as he rained kisses from just below her ear and down her neck. Urgency strained his voice. “Please let me see you once more.”
Meg gave herself up to the moment, no longer caring if they should stop. “Yes.”
He pulled her forward, then gathered the material at her waist and dragged it over her head. The brief urge to cover herself—to shy away from the adoration that filled his deep blue gaze—vanished when he brushed his hands over her. Meg felt an answering tug deep inside as her body came to life after so many long, lonely years.
Face-to-face, they sat opposite each other. Aidan reached behind her and unhooked her bra, running his hands over her as the thin, silky material slipped to the floor. She watched, unable to tear her gaze away as his large hands covered each breast, his long slender fingers roving in tight circles over her nipples.
Sensation arrowed through her as a lazy pleasure began to build at her center. Her head fell back when his mouth replaced his hands and his quick and clever tongue mimicked the same circle against one breast while he continued to touch the other.
Meg reveled in his ministrations, the satisfaction of finally being in his arms after so long away only adding to the impossible joy of the moment.
“You feel terribly overdressed,” she whispered against the soft hair at his temple. When he lifted his head from her breast, his wicked smile held a world of promise.
“So just what do you plan on doing about that?”
Meg didn’t need any further encouragement. Reaching for the hem of his T-shirt, she dragged it up over the thick muscles of his chest, on past the heavy, curved roundness of his biceps and shoulders. Flames seared her as her fingers brushed his skin and with deliberate movements she dropped the T-shirt before seeking more of that delicious heat.
The muscles of his stomach quivered under her touch as her fingers danced over flesh, but it was the unmistakable groan of need she heard when she dipped lower, past the waistband of his jeans, to where his cock pressed against the heavy zipper.
“Touch me,” Aidan whispered against her mouth as his hand moved unerringly to cover hers.
“Yes.” She couldn’t stop the answering response as her fingers closed around the hard, heavy length.
With their lips still joined, Meg slid her tongue around his as she ran her hands over the smooth skin of his penis, tracing the underside before moving back around to the thick crown. Without thinking, she reprised her movements of more than two thousand years ago, her sense memories of what gave him pleasure filling in the gaps of time as if they’d never been apart.
“Oh baby,” he groaned as she used the beaded wetness at the tip to add silky moisture to the increasing speed of her touch.
Lost in Aidan, Meg barely felt it when he undid the button at her waist. It was only when he was dragging her to her side so they lay face-to-face did she feel his fingers skim the edge of her thin panties before he slid one inside to trace the line of her slit.
A wanton wave of pleasure assailed her and she fumbled briefly, her hand fisting his cock even harder than she intended.
With his free hand, Aidan stilled her movements, his breath escaping on a harsh rush of air. “You’re so wet. So hot. And it’s been so gods damned long, Meg. I need you. Now.”
The impossible pressure dug its claws into both of them and the hard, urgent moments whipped into something full of dark desperation as the pleasure made them both its slaves.
Both made quick work of the clothing that remained between them before Aidan returned to her, his body poised over her.
With one hand on his back, she used the other to guide him to her. A low moan escaped her throat as he filled her. With that, the long years of aching memories and a deep-seated emptiness were replaced with the exquisite reality of him.
And then there was no room for memories as the present took her. With long, hard strokes he filled her, their bodies joining and rejoining in a matched rhythm that demanded everything.
Meg reveled in his heavy body that moved over hers, in the harsh control he maintained that corded the muscles in his neck, in the low moans that telegraphed his pleasure. As her own built under the pressure, she pushed herself to give more.
And in the giving she fell over that glorious edge.
* * *
Aidan thrust one last time as her body wrung everything from him. He buried his face in the soft skin of her neck, the thin sheen of sweat there dragging an almost caveman-like satisfaction from the very depths of him.
She’d been pleasured.
She pressed small kisses on his temple and he slowly lifted his head. The mindless haze that had filled his vision faded as her flushed face and ripe, wet lips broke into a broad smile.
“It really is true.”
He smiled in return before shifting to the side and pulling her against him. “What’s really true?”
“You don’t forget how to do that.”
Aidan lifted an eyebrow. “You were worried about forgetting?”
“The thought had crossed my mind. It’s been a long time.”
The meaning under her words finally registered and he shifted to move up onto an elbow. “How long?”
“When was the last time we were together?”
Something rather fierce and possessive unfurled in his chest as what she offered to him became clear. “There’s been no one else?”
“No,” she said softly as she lifted a hand to his face. “There’s been no one else.”
He struggled to make sense of the gift, intangible in value and offered freely. “Surely that can’t be.”
“Oh, it be,” she laughed lightly.
Aidan heard the hints of embarrassment under the words and fought to sooth her, surprised when no words rose up to his aide. “I . . . but we . . .”
“Why do you think I clung to you like a desperate monkey yesterday in the library when you kissed me?”
He couldn’t hold back the laughter as he once again pulled her close. “I was too busy clinging back to notice.”
When she only smiled in return, he slid his arm out from underneath her and moved so that he lay over her, the length of their bodies fully flush. “Speaking of clinging,” he whispered with a row of kisses down her throat, on a path to her breasts, “I find the need to cling to you desperately once more.”
Aidan received no arguments when she wrapped her arms fully around his neck and pulled him close for a long, lazy kiss.
* * *
Meg glanced at the small cup of espresso at her elbow, the warm, rich scent inviting her to take the first sip.
“Why are we here again?” She didn’t want to come off like a petulant child and she knew full well they had a lot to deal with in the form of Tyrus’s threat, but nothing would have pleased her better than to spend a good month wrapped up in Aidan, sprawled across that very large bed of his.
His eyes flashed with a wicked gleam that had a wave of need spiraling through her belly like wildfire. “As opposed to my bed?”
“I didn’t mean that, exactly.”
He leaned in and pressed a loud, smacking kiss to her lips. “But you were thinking it.”
Meg wanted to be shocked—knew she probably should be—but all she felt was sheer, unadulterated happiness.
After one more kiss—this time slower and more deliberate—Aidan turned back toward an interactive station embedded in the tabletop and began typing commands into an on-screen keyboard. “I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. But your comment about the library gave me the idea.”
“From the size of yours, I got the idea you had all the books you needed at home. What are we doing here?”
“Our little collection is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, my dear. This is where the good stuff is.”
Meg looked around once more, the rich smell of worn paper and old wooden shelves setting off one of her earliest memories. “I haven’t been here since I was a child and forced to come here for my lessons.”
“That’s too bad. I come here all the time.”
“You do?” The thought intrigued her and as she turned it over in her mind, Meg realized it fit.
Aidan placed a finger against her lips as the librarian-slash-hostess placed a foamy cappuccino on the table next to him. “The books you requested will be up shortly,” she added in a low tone.
Meg looked around the austere room. Large, marble columns rose what looked to be about three stories and a heavily-painted ceiling arched overhead.
The library was one of the foremost centers of learning on Mount Olympus and home to every work ever published. While the gods had always been known for their capricious whims and equally changeable natures, their love of learning was absolute.
Knowledge was power and no one believed that more than the immortal members of the Pantheon.
The fact no one was here besides the two of them was a different matter entirely. Just because the gods liked access to information didn’t necessarily mean they were all that anxious to spend their time enmeshed in it.
Still fascinated by the idea of Aidan spending time here and unwilling to let the matter drop, Meg waited for the librarian to disappear before pressing him again. “You really come here all the time?”
In all the years she’d sought to avoid him, she’d never imagined they could have nearly crossed paths. Although she did much of her work on earth, she spent the majority of her free time on Mount Olympus.
“Looking for what?”
Aidan shrugged as he looked up from the screen. “Whatever.”
“I don’t know why you hide from the truth.”
“You’re a scholar to the core.”
The same hesitation he’d shown earlier crept into his eyes. “It’s part of what I do. In service to Themis.”
Meg was intrigued. She’d heard of Themis, of course, and knew what Aidan had become after he allied with the goddess of justice, but she didn’t actually know what he did. “Like a job?”
“Sort of. All my warrior brothers and I realized early on we’d be far more effective in our battles if we actually had a base of knowledge and unique skill sets that contribute to the greater good of what we’re doing. So we all do something different.”
“Montana mentioned something yesterday about finding Quinn in the security center.”
“Exactly. That’s his area of expertise. He’s always loved gadgets and thinking up ways to catch assholes. Modern technology has allowed him to hone those skills to a sharp point. Hell, he invented our first security system via a set of ropes, pulleys and a series of heavy boulders you didn’t want to be on the business end of.”
“And the others?”
“Archaeology, the criminal underworld, rogue members of the Pantheon. Everyone focuses on a different area of expertise.”
“What does archaeology have to do with service to Themis?”
“Do you have any idea the power housed in some antiquities? Our Leo, Brody, finds them and destroys or disables them, whichever’s easiest.”
“So you’re the scholar.”
Aidan nodded, but the discomfort she’d sensed earlier faded as he warmed to his subject. “In the same way antiquities have some serious properties, ancient texts are often full of ways to disarm enemies, manage problems or understand where something came from.”
The librarian returned pushing a cart of books and she saw Aidan’s bright blue gaze warm with their arrival. Something opened inside of her in that moment, as she watched the man she loved do something he loved.
In the same way the moments they shared gave her an insight into his soul, it was still only one piece. One part of who he was.
When Aidan lifted the first book and began flipping gently through the old, brittle pages, Meg realized she was being given the opportunity to see yet another facet.
Aidan reached for his coffee and willed the caffeine to work its magic. They’d been at this for hours and he still hadn’t put his finger on exactly what he was looking for.
The information he sought eluded them, despite the fact that he knew it was there.
The answers were
there, if only he could dig deeply enough. If only he had enough patience to find them.
Tyrus was sponsored by someone. Oh sure, he’d managed to stay off the collective radar of he and his warrior brothers and even Themis, presumably, but he was there. As immortals, they left a mark on each other and on the history of humanity that unfolded each and every day.
He just had to find the thread.
Meg walked back to the table and added a couple of large volumes to the pile. “I’ve been through every book I could find on your father’s battles as well as Tyrus’s father’s battles. Nothing’s turned up.”
Aidan glanced up at her, the disgusted note in her voice obvious. A small moue turned down the edges of her lips and as he caught sight of her, something hard slammed into his gut.
Whatever control he’d always prided himself on snapped as need and desire formed a knot in his belly. “Can you come here for a minute?”
Her head tilted slightly in confusion but she followed him as he walked to the nearby stacks, the heavy bookcases rising around them.
“Is everything o—?”
He never even gave her time to finish the sentence as he pulled her against his body. He took the impact of the movement, presenting his back to the heavy wooden bookcase while he pulled her close. Aidan felt her momentary confusion as her lips stayed solid against his, before recognition hit and she opened for him. Her arms wrapped around his neck and then she was there with him, riding the moment, feeding the conflagration that burned around them even as she took greedily from it.
Mindless with need, he took and took, desperate to feast on her. He dragged his tongue through her mouth once more, the exquisite sensation of having her meet him and drive him harder tightening his body nearly to the point of pain.
“Aidan!” she whispered against his lips.
“What?” he mumbled, stroking her through the thin barrier of her clothes.
“We can’t do this here.” Despite her protests, she didn’t break the contact of their mouths, instead pressing her lips against his with maddening insistence.
“Then let’s go.”
The air grew heavy around them as Aidan transported them back to the brownstone, the tools they were accessing in the library a distant memory.
“That’s handy,” she added dryly while his bedroom shimmered back into view around them.
“I’m nothing if not efficient,” he added before unsnapping her slacks and dragging them down her legs.
Meg felt his hands reach for her blouse and she couldn’t stop the tease that sprang to her lips. “Who knew old books were such an aphrodisiac?”
“Baby, you have no idea.”
* * *
“Nothing like a little geek love to get the blood pumping.” Aidan lay on his back, Meg sprawled over him. Her breath dragged in heavy pants in and out of her lungs and he abstractly wondered if they were going to kill each other in their rush to get reacquainted.
As he ran a lazy hand over her firm ass, Aidan acknowledged it would be an outstanding way to go.
She sat up and brushed the hair out of her eyes. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“I just ravished you in a library.”
“So?” The warm brown of her eyes tugged at him and a pang of discomfort began ringing bells in the back of his mind.
He shrugged. “So.”
“So I can tell by your tone you’re slightly embarrassed.” Meg shifted off of him to lay alongside his body.
“I’m not embarrassed.”
“Yes, you are. It’s subtle, but it’s there. Why do you seem to think your intelligence and love of learning is something to be sorry for?”
“I’m not sorry for anything.”
“So why the comment about geek love?”
“It was a joke, Meg.”
She stood and crossed the room to where they’d discarded his T-shirt upon their return home. Slipping it on, she continued on across the room to take a chair, the cotton swirling around her thighs. “No, it’s not. Why do you insist on hiding from who you are and from what makes you special?”
“I’m not hiding from anything.”
“You are. Just like before.”
Her words waved in front of him like a red flag in front of a bull and he got up from the bed, unwilling to stay horizontal. “What the hell’s that supposed to mean?”
“Our fight that ended us. Tyrus set you up.”
“And you believed him.” The memories attacked with bitter clarity. The long moments when everything they had came crashing down around them.
The endless moments when it was clear she didn’t believe him. “You took Tyrus’s word that I’d taken that woman to my bed and you never gave me a chance to explain.”
Her eyes narrowed and he heard the quaver underneath her voice as she stared him down. “You never tried to explain. You just let me think what I wanted and you refused to engage.”
“I shouldn’t have had to engage in anything. You should have believed I wouldn’t do that to you.”
“You know what I am, Aidan. I can’t change that. I can’t fundamentally alter who I am.”
“I never suggested you should be something other than what you are. Fine, so you’re a Fury and you despise lies and infidelity. Punish humanity for that if you see fit. But don’t lay at my feet that you believed me capable of doing that to you. You judged me and found me guilty.”
“But you never defended yourself!”
“I shouldn’t have had to!” The words ripped from the very core of him. “I spent my life defending who I was, both literally and physically. To my father. To my community. Even to fucking Tyrus. I shouldn’t have had to defend myself to the woman I love.”
“Your father loved you.”
“I wasn’t a warrior, so no matter how much he valued my mind, my lack of strength as a small boy had him discarding me as worthless.” Memories long-buried swamped him. The desperate desire to prove himself, even while he loved to bury himself in his books and learning.
His father eventually came around and no one was more surprised than Philopoemen when Aidan had suddenly began growing at eighteen. By that time, it hadn’t really mattered any longer. Aidan had long passed the point of expecting—or needing—the love of his father.
“But you’re not worthless. You were never worthless.”
A harsh, bitter laugh dragged from his chest. “It took me a long time to get to a point where I could agree with that. And then you threw it back at me when you discarded what we had.”
* * *
Meg fisted the large T-shirt in her hands as nausea flooded her stomach and filled her throat with a harsh, metallic taste.
So much time had been lost. And through it all, she’d never known the depth of Aidan’s pain.
The secrets he harbored underneath the austere demeanor.
That was why he downplayed his intelligence. Why he refused to give full credence to books and knowledge and learning.
Because he’d been told it didn’t matter and, by default, that he didn’t matter.
“You’re right.” The words came from a place deep inside of her. The place where she buried all the worst parts of who she was. “Tyrus used us and he used who I am against me.”
“And you gave him that power.”
“Yes, I did.”
Meg stood and crossed the room to her discarded clothing. With quick movements, she shucked the T-shirt and began to dress.
“What are you doing?”
“Getting it back. He said he’d find me, wherever I was, after forty-eight hours. I’m going to go meet him.”
Aidan reached for his own discarded jeans. “Not alone, you’re not.”
“This isn’t your battle to wage, Aidan.”
“It’s as much mine as it is yours.”
* * *
Tyrus had been right, Eris thought reflectively as she paced the length of the hotel suite. The Destroyers had never returned with any sign of Meg and she could only assume they’d been handled. Enyo would be pissed, but when wasn’t her sister fuming and ranting over something.
She glanced at her watch once more and fought the rising unease brewing in her stomach.
Dragging her hands through her hair, she wondered when she’d gone soft. Was it something she needed to lay at Rogan’s feet?
Or had it started before the two of them started burning up the sheets, and Rogan was simply a handy excuse?
Even this little op. Sure, she was anxious to give Meg a taste of her own medicine, but now that the moment was here, she couldn’t really say she cared all that much.
For years, she’d taken great pride in her work. As the goddess of discord she had fun weaving her webs and working her cons.
But something wasn’t gelling.
A heavy thud sounded outside the hotel room door and she glanced up, drawn from her thoughts. The door swung open, slamming on its hinges as Tyrus stumbled through, a woman in his arms.
“What is this?”
Tyrus looked up, a bright gleam flashing in his dark eyes. “Bait.”
The discomfort she’d felt earlier—hell, the nagging feeling she always had when she was with him—coalesced into something solid and hard in the pit of her stomach. “What do you mean, bait? Who’s this woman, Tyrus?”
“She’s a worthless whore, but she’s also the insurance Meg will show up, just as planned.”
He tossed the semi-conscious woman onto the bed. Mascara had run down the woman’s face, forming dark, black circles under her eyes and her frame was gaunt and skinny, evidence of some very abusive choices.
Eris crossed to her when the woman moaned with a harsh, guttural cry of pain, but Tyrus moved into her line of vision. “Nope. Sit down.”
She fought the hitch in her stomach and forced as much disdain into her tone as she could. “Excuse me?”
“New rules, honey. Take a seat and let me explain.”
Before she could do anything further, a large knife gleamed in the soft glow of the hotel room lamps, the point perilously close to her throat.
“Don’t make me ask you again.”