The Struggle (Titan 3) - Page 11

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She tipped her head back and smiled up at me. “Hey.”

“Hey.” I stopped in the middle of the patio and crossed my arms. “What are you doing out here?”

“Can’t sleep,” Alex said, running her hands over her thighs. “I mean, I did for about an hour, but I woke up and couldn’t fall back. I came out here so I wouldn’t wake anyone else up.” She paused. “You should still be sleeping.”

“Yeah,” I murmured, spying a rocky path in the dirt and crabgrass. “Do you think that leads to cliffs or the beach?”

“Don’t know. Want to find out?”

A weary smile tugged at the corners of my lips. “Sure.”

Alex popped up faster than I would’ve expected, but then again, she was like the Terminator on crack. We hit the worn path in silence. A couple of minutes later, we discovered that it led to a cliff. Not a sheer one like back at Malibu. The path continued down the slope to a patch of sand and rock.

Eyeing the hill, I decided I really didn’t want to climb back up. So, I found a boulder and sat down. “It’s really beautiful here.”

“Yeah, it is.” Alex’s hair lifted off her shoulder as she stared out into the sea. “I think I could live somewhere like this. You know, Aiden and I have been talking about a place we’d like to settle down when we’re topside. Right now, it’s wherever Deacon is, but we’d like to have our own place eventually.”

“You’re thinking it might be in California?”

One shoulder rose. “Maybe. Aiden would love some place in the mountains, though.”

“And you?”

Her whiskey-colored eyes met mine. “I’d love wherever he’s at.”

My heart turned over heavily. She really meant that, and God, I . . . I would’ve felt the same way with Seth. Wherever he was, I would be happy. I still felt that way. I just needed to get to the islands and hopefully convince him to stop being so . . . so damn stupid.

“So, what’s your game plan, Josie?” she asked. “You let us know if it’s changed. We’ll do whatever—”

The sky cracked behind us, and we both moved in unison. Every muscle in me protested, but I pushed through it. Springing to my feet, I spun around, having no idea what to expect and preparing myself for anything.

Anything except what I saw.

Chapter 7

My heart stuttered as I recognized the massive man standing before us. An eternity could pass, and I would never forget the curved pitch-black eyes, the shaved head, or the shade of skin that was neither black or white or tan.

I’d never forget Hyperion.

“Oh crap,” Alex muttered.

Fear exploded in my gut as everything clicked into place. My wild gaze gauged the distance between him and the house where Gable was resting. Bone-deep knowledge told me that, even if the home were only a few feet away, it wouldn’t matter. There was no safety in the house, and I’d used the Pegasus blade on Seth. The remaining blades were most likely inside the house, with Gable who could not be seen by Hyperion. And I had no idea how to entomb a damn Titan.

The same bitter knowledge also told me we would not win this fight.

“Miss me?” Hyperion asked.

Shimmery white light powered down my right arm. “Like I’d miss a gunshot wound.”

Hyperion laughed darkly. “Oh, but I’ve missed you.”

Terror trickled down my spine as I tapped into the aether. Power flickered inside me, weakened from the overuse and no real rest. “Run,” I urged Alex.

Brandishing blades she must’ve had hidden on her, she widened her stance. I noticed one of them was the Pegasus blade. “Never.”

“You should listen to her,” Hyperion warned.

“And you should stop talking,” she spat back.

His lips curled into a cruel smile as he focused on me. “I have a bone to pick with you, Sunshine. After our last well-spent time together,” he said, and I flinched, “I had to piece myself back together, and that was not pleasant.”

My heart was pounding fast. “Can’t say I feel bad about that.”

“Well, you will know exactly how it feels by the time I’m done with you. Told you I’d be back.” His chin tilted toward Alex. “And your idiot friend there is going to be an amazing snack. A made demigod. So thoughtful of you, Sunshine.”

Alex’s eyes blazed. “Oh, I am so not a snack.”

Hyperion sniffed the air and laughed again. “You’re not much of anything except soon to be very, very dead.”

I sensed the moment Alex was about to attack. Her rage was palpable, and I struck first, releasing the bolt of akasha. It slammed into Hyperion’s shoulder.

He laughed.

Laughed.

His smile spread as he stepped forward, and the ground trembled under his bare feet. “You’re going to have to do better than that.”

Alex launched forward, spinning in air. Her right leg extended, about to make an impressive dropkick as I tapped into the aether again.

Hyperion’s laugh was like a blast of icy wind. Stepping into her kick, his hand snapped out as fast as lightning. He caught her by the ankle and flung her—flung her like a Frisbee.

“Alex!” I shouted as she flew backward, slamming into a boulder.

She hit the ground and rolled, pushing up to her knees as she threw her head back, knocking the long strands of brown hair out of her face. The blades were still held tight in her hands.

So badass.

I let go of akasha, this time hitting Hyperion in the chest. He jerked back a step as Alex yelled my name. I turned just as she tossed one of the blades at me. It wasn’t dipped in Pegasus blood, but it would have to do.

Spinning back to Hyperion as Alex jumped to her feet, I tapped into the element of air. Loose strands of hair lifted off my shoulders and a gust of wind shot across the distance.

Hyperion powered through it. Gasping, I shot to the side and spun, thrusting the blade out. The fun end hit its target, sinking through his skin and embedding deep into his chest.

I lifted my chin.

Hyperion tsked softly.

Everything happened so fast.

He didn’t even look behind him as Alex came down on him, the blade raised high. Wrapping one hand around mine, which was still clenching the handle, he threw out his other hand, catching Alex in the chest. He swatted her back like she was a gnat.

I drew on the power of fire, heating the dagger until the skin of my hand was scalded.

Hyperion wretched my wrist hard enough that a cry of pain parted my lips. His other hand flew around, connecting with the side of my face. Black starbursts exploded behind my eyes.

I tore my arm free, blinking to clear my vision as I stumbled back several steps. Hyperion reached down, tearing the blade from his chest.

The blade disintegrated in his grip.

“Oh crap,” I gasped out.

He whipped around, catching Alex’s arm, snapping it like it was nothing but a dry limb. The tainted blade fell to the ground. Her scream of pain blistered my ears, and pure stark terror hit me as he wrapped his other hand around her neck.

Hyperion would kill Alex.

He would do it without a second thought.

I sprung forward, slamming my heel into the small of Hyperion’s back. He moved an inch forward, and I dipped down, reaching for the blade Alex had dropped. Between his tree-trunk-sized legs, I saw Aiden pounding up the sandy hill, his expression furious. Hyperion laughed as he threw Alex to the side like she was nothing more than a ball of paper. I caught just a glimpse of Aiden veering off to the side, going for her.

A deep voice shouted, and then a stream of fire went up, circling Alex and Aiden. Hyperion turned, kicking the blade several feet away. My gaze followed his and I saw Luke and Deacon racing toward us.

“Oh, even more things to play with.” Hyperion flicked a finger—a finger.

Luke was lifted off the ground without warning. He flew through the air like a bullet, slamming into the base of a palm tree. He hit the ground. Deacon didn’t stop.

My eyes widened with horror as Deacon threw up his hand again. Smoke wafted from his fingertips. Oh no, no. He could not face Hyperion. What was he thinking?

Popping to my feet, I took off as Hyperion shifted toward Aiden’s brother. I ran, ran faster than I ever had. Darting in front of Hyperion, I skidded to a stop and spun around, planting myself between them.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Titan Fantasy
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