The Struggle (Titan 3) - Page 13

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I couldn’t breathe.

“Do you know how the gods maintain their power, their immortality?” he asked casually, like we were discussing how to spruce up the place.

“No,” I grunted out, heart thumping. “But I guess you’re going to tell me?”

“No, Sunshine. I’m going to show you.”

“Yay,” I muttered, lifting my gaze to his.

“Your bravado is false. The stench of terror seeps from your pores.”

I shuddered.

“But that’s okay. Pretend you’re brave. It will be so much more fun breaking you, and I will this time.” Hyperion crouched in front of me. “But back to the more interesting part of the conversation. For the gods to live outside of Olympus, we must . . . feed.”

My stomach hollowed as I trembled.

“We can make it feel good or we can make it feel like your skin is being flayed from your bones, but you . . .” He reached out, folding his hand around my jaw. I winced at the touch, and he smiled. “You already know that.”

Breathing raggedly, a scream built in my throat as the male demigod whimpered.

“And it’s time to feed.”

Chapter 8


“You need to feed, Kýrios.”

Lowering the glass, I raised a brow as the amber liquid swirled along the crystal. At some point, I stopped drinking straight from the decanter and bottle. That was an improvement.

Night had fallen, the sky was blanketed with stars, and until Basil had spoken, I’d been alone on the balcony. It had only been the sound of waves crashing against the shore and my thoughts.

Thoughts only of Josie.

Every spare moment was consumed by her. How was she feeling? Did she still mourn the death of Solos? Was she okay? Angry? Hurt? I assumed she was furious at me, and I hoped for that, because anger was better than pain—pain I’d inflicted upon her. And when I wasn’t thinking about that, I was remembering what she felt like—her silky skin, her soft hair, and her plush lips. I recalled her throaty laugh and breathy moans. Sometimes, when it was quiet in this massive tomb of a home, I’d hear her calling out to me.

I was fucking losing my mind.

My lips curled up on one side as I lifted the glass. At least I hadn’t unintentionally willed myself to her again, but my head was a relentless one-way train I couldn’t get off of. Three days had passed since I’d arrived here, since I last saw her sleeping, and the only thing I’d done was pop out of one room and into the next.

Well, that wasn’t the only thing I’d managed to do.

I was making an impressive dent in the liquor stock. The liquor here was blended precisely for our kind, mixed with only the gods knew what. One shot would probably knock a mortal flat on their ass. Maybe even kill them.

I was pretty sure I’d spent the last three days in what most would consider a drunken stupor.


Gods, this man did not give up.

“I’ve already eaten.” I took another drink, lips peeling back as the burn cascaded down my throat. Each evening, a feast that could feed an army was prepared. Duck. Cow. Pig. Chicken. Tonight there’d been a random pizza in the mix of the roasted hen and grilled fish. “And how many times have I told you not to call me master?”

“Yes, Kýrios,” he replied in thickly accented English.

My eyes rolled as my fingers tightened on the glass. I glanced over to where the dark-haired Basil stood. He was maybe a decade older than me, dressed in all-white linen. He was a half-blood.

A servant.

He didn’t have the mark of servitude on his forehead, though.

When I realized there were over a dozen halfs in service, I told them to leave. Released them from service or some bullshit. None of them left. I’d ordered the pures to hit the road. None of them left. According to Basil, they were pleased to serve their theós.

I was the God Killer, but I was no god.

At least that was what I kept telling myself. Kind of hard when the half and pures bowed whenever they saw me. Or the fact that the men and women here who wore cloth the color of amber were priests and priestesses, for shit’s sake.

And they were chock full of aether. Not like a demigod or a god, but more potent than a pure or a half.

Just because I was the God Killer and could pull an Apollo, randomly poofing into rooms, didn’t mean I was a god. It didn’t matter what that nymph had said when he’d finished the prophecy given to Alex all that time ago.

I was not a god.

I also recognized I was surfing the mad river of denial.

But what the fuck ever.

“You must feed, Kýrios. It is the way of your kind,” Basil tried again. A medallion hung from his neck. Engraved in the center was an “S” closed at the end. The invincibility rune. The priests and priestesses wore the same symbol. I was currently not acknowledging what that medallion symbolized.

I knew what Basil was getting at with the whole feeding shit. Yeah, he wasn’t talking about consuming calories.

Real fucking weird around here.

I could leave. Even considered it on the second day when I entered the large bedroom facing the sea, the one I’d decided would be mine, and found a priestess waiting for me. On my bed, completely . . . nude.

Males across the world probably hung their heads in shame when I’d ordered her from my sight. Hell, the Seth before Josie would’ve been all halle-fucking-lujah, but when I saw the woman, all I saw, all I wanted, was Josie.

Screwing Josie out of my system would probably speed along the process of detaching myself from her, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, to even entertain the idea.

I was beginning to wonder if the odd urge to return here had meant something else. Something that obviously had to do with Ewan, the servants, the priests and priestesses, and the damn medallion.

Closing my eyes, I tipped my head back against the chair as I bent one knee. A low, simmering burn in the pit of my stomach rode me hard. It was a burn that no food would satisfy. Liquor dulled the need a little. Not a lot, but some.

Basil snapped his fingers, drawing my attention again. Opening my eyes, I saw a woman step out onto the balcony. Her golden gown billowed around her legs.

I stilled.

She was a blonde and tall like . . . I sucked in a sharp breath. The gown did very little to hide the curves of her body.

“Lydia would be honored to serve you,” Basil said softly, so quietly I thought I was hearing crap.

The pure-blood came forward, and my brows rose as she lowered herself onto her knees before me. “Please,” she said, staring up at me with eyes as blue as the sea at the shores. “We can help you.”

“Help me?” I repeated dumbly.

She nodded.

“You’re blonde,” I croaked out, wondering why all the damn priestesses that I’d seen so far were blonde.

A look of confusion marked the woman’s face as her hand floated to the long strands. “Do you . . . do you not like blondes?”

I really didn’t have a preference to be honest, and Josie’s hair wasn’t just one shade of blonde or brown. It was an odd mixture I’d never seen before.

I also couldn’t believe I’d said that out loud.

Irritation rose. “I’m done.” I waved one hand as I looked over at Basil in warning. “This is not going to happen.”

The priestess hesitated and then looked over her shoulder questioningly. When he nodded, she rose. She hurried from the balcony.

“Go,” I ordered roughly.

Basil bowed stiffly and then exited through the archway, entering the house. I was alone once more.

What in the hell happened to this place?

Not that this wasn’t an improvement from when my mother ran this house. There’d been beatings and parties and beatings and guests. There hadn’t been priests or priestesses.

Or staff that actually wanted to be here.

There most definitely hadn’t been a pillared temple at the end of the honey-scented, wild thyme-filled courtyard. The really weird part of that? The thing had to have taken at least a year or so to build. It didn’t just appear in the last couple of weeks.

I’d seen the temple on the first day. Above the entryway, the invincibility rune was carved into the sandstone. Two priestesses in amber-garbed gowns had waited outside.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Titan Fantasy