“I can practically smell the money,” Alex commented as we started down one of the steep dirt trails that led to the beach. “You think the guy we’re looking for lives in one of those houses?” There were massive houses all along the bluff. The kind of homes that could fit an entire football team in them. Mansions of all shapes. I bet there were celebrities who lived here.
Oh my God, what if Poseidon’s son was a celebrity?
Hercules moved swiftly down the trail, and I was surprised I didn’t tumble down the path, knocking everyone out of the way like a sling-shot Angry Bird.
The moment we hit the beach, Hercules hung a right. Up ahead there was a cluster of guys standing among surfboards that were stuck upright in the sand. Some were wearing board shorts. Others had wetsuits half-on, pulled up to their lean waists.
Alex’s steps slowed even though Hercules was stalking past them. “I have a feeling we’re not welcome here.”
“Understatement of the century,” I murmured as one of the taller guys broke free from the group. His damp blond hair curled across his sun-kissed forehead.
“Hey,” he said, reaching Alex first. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing here?”
Alex looked at him and laughed—laughed and kept walking. The surfer dude didn’t think that was funny. He grabbed her arm, and that was all it took.
She spun on him, capturing his arm. Yanking him forward, she used his body weight against him. Thrown off-balance, he stumbled, and Alex dipped under his arm, twisting it back behind him. “Didn’t your mama teach you not to grab girls?”
“Wrong answer.” Alex twisted his arm and flipped him. The guy hit the sand on his back, his expression absolutely dumbfounded. “I’d stay down if I were you.”
Shouts rose from the group of surfers. They started toward us, their bare feet kicking up sand.
Seth faced them. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”
All of them—all six of them—skidded to a halt. Whatever those guys saw in Seth’s face had them backing up like scolded puppies.
He chuckled. “Smart idea. Have a nice day, fuckheads.”
“God.” I stared at Alex as we started walking again. “You’re a ninja.”
She shrugged, and she kind of looked like one in her black tank top and shorts. Of course, she looked super-cute. Not like a blonde ogre. I glanced back at the guys. They were crowded around the dude still laid out on the sand. Had Alex seriously injured—
“There he is,” Hercules announced.
My head whipped around. At first, all I saw was Hercules, but then, several yards ahead was a lone guy coming out of the ocean, a surfboard lifted over his head. Waves lapped at his knees and then his calves. Within moments, he was on the beach, biceps flexing.
This guy looked like a demigod.
Tall and lean with a tightly ripped stomach, his dark hair was slicked back from a classically handsome face. Skin bronzed and eyes that were an odd mix of blue and green, he smiled and nodded when we neared him. He looked about my age.
At least he didn’t seem like he was going to cuss at us.
I had no idea how this was going to go down. It was something we’d talked about during the ride down here and over dinner yesterday. Breaking this kind of news was going to get crazy.
“You sure it’s him?” Seth asked in a low voice.
Hercules chuckled. “I have never been wrong.”
“That’s not entirely reassuring,” Alex muttered, and then gave the guy a little wave. “Hi!”
“Hey. Saw you guys had some problems up there,” he said, lowering the board and shoving it in the sand. He smiled at Alex. “That was hot, but you guys should be careful. If you’re not a local, you’re not going to be very welcome here.”
“Thanks for the heads-up,” Seth said, stopping beside me. “But we’re actually looking for you.”
The guy’s brows flew up. “Me? I’m sorry.” He took the four of us in. “I don’t recognize you guys, and I think I would.”
“I’m Hercules,” Herc said, spreading his muscled arms wide as he smiled. “Yes, that Hercules. I’ve come from Olympus to find you—you, the son of Poseidon.”
My mouth dropped open. Oh my God.
“Tactful,” muttered Alex as she turned sideways, placing her hands on her hips. “Gods.”
The guy stared at Hercules and then laughed. “Man, you’re as high as balls, aren’t you?”
Hercules frowned as he glanced over at me. “I don’t even know what that means.”
“It means you’re an idiot,” snapped Seth. He shook his head. “He’s not high. He’s just . . . socially inept.”
Hercules turned to Seth, scowling.
“We really need to talk to you,” Alex jumped in. “It’s very important and we’ve come a long, long way to find you.”
“Look, I’m not sure what’s going on here,” he said, looking over his shoulder. “But I’ve got to go.” He started to lift the board. “I’ll see you—”
“Wait. Please.” I stepped forward, and surprisingly he stopped. “I know what he said sounded completely crazy—”
“No, it didn’t,” Hercules snapped.
“Dude.” Seth placed a hand on Hercules’s shoulder. “Can you like, keep it quiet for a minute? Just a minute.”
The demigod mulled that over. “Maybe.”
I drew in a frustrated breath. The demigod part was out of the bag, so it was time to go full crazy on the poor guy. “What he said is true, though. My father is Apollo. I’m a demigod, just like Hercules, who is that Hercules.” I jerked my chin at Alex. “She’s also a demigod. Not like you or me, but she’s one too.”