The Struggle (Titan 3) - Page 36

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“Oh.” I was surprised.

“They’d already left for the island when I went to the Covenant. When I learned you’d been taken, I kept looking for you. The whole god-thing allows me to . . . to sense out people. It’s how the gods can pop in and out, but you were blocked from me, just like the demigods had been blocked.”

Seth could now appear and disappear at will? Why didn’t I get a cool ability like that?

“It wasn’t until yesterday, when I was trying to sense you out and I felt you. Gods.” A muscle flexed in his cheek. “I found you in these woods. Perses—I don’t know if you know who that is.”

“I know him,” I murmured, hitching the blanket up further.

Seth closed his eyes. “I’d helped free Perses, along with Alex and Aiden. I guess once he realized who you were to me, he thought to repay me and freed you.”

“He did?”

His gaze drifted to mine. “You don’t remember that?”

“I remember . . .” I remembered being taken to Cronus again, and he looked younger than he had the last time. He no longer appeared ancient. Skin smoother, black hair sprouting through the silvery white, and muscles replacing frail bones and tissues. I remembered being held down and him feeding—pulling and pulling from me until my vision turned black and there was nothing. There was more—fragments. “I remember Perses coming to me, but I . . . I think I passed out before we left the room.”

Seth was staring at me and he looked like he wanted to ask me something, but changed his mind. “Well, he brought you out, and that’s how I found you.”

Holding the blanket close, I shivered as I recalled him being the one to hold me down. “I guess that was nice of him, but I won’t be thanking him anytime soon.”

“Thanking him will never be necessary.” Seth’s voice was sharp. “He’s dead.”

My chin jerked up. “What?”

“I killed him for what he took part in.”

I gaped at Seth. There wasn’t an ounce of remorse in his tone or expression, but I . . . I didn’t care that there wasn’t, because I wanted to kill Perses. I wanted to kill all of them for what they’d done to me—to Lauren, and would continue to do to Mitchell.

“I’m glad,” I said, meaning it. Seth exhaled heavily, and we sat there for a couple of moments. “Okay. Wow. So, you’re a god now that apparently can take out Titans easily. That’s pretty amazing.”

“It is.” A half-grin appeared. “I mean, I’ve always thought I was god-like, so it’s not that big of a change.”

“Ha.” I raised a brow. “Wait. If you’re a god, then that means the other gods can’t tell you what to do now, right?” Hope sparked deep in my chest, spreading through me like a wildfire. “If you’re a god, then they can’t kill you and you won’t be spending your afterlife working for Hades.”

He nodded, his eyes lighting to a tawny gold. “No, they can’t control me any longer and Hades is going to have to find a new toy to play with.”

“That’s so good. Oh my God, that’s such great news.” It was so amazing I almost started to cry like an overly emotional toddler. “Seth, I’m so happy to hear that.”

His entire expression softened. “It’s possibly the best part about all of this. Well, next to the ability to will myself from location to location,” he teased, and then those thick lashes lifted once more. “I . . . I have a future, Josie.”

My mouth dried. A future. Something Seth had never planned on having. Something that I’d hoped to overcome, but never knew how. Now Seth had a tomorrow, a next month, and so on. There was nothing stopping us from—

I cut those thoughts off, because it was all . . . everything was too much. I thought about my mom and . . . and I just didn’t want to think.

Seth and I stared at one another, and the silence stretched out. The air practically hummed by the time he looked away, swallowing.

“I need to use the bathroom,” I whispered, and then flushed, because Jesus, was there a better mood killer than that?

Nodding, he rose from the bed and gave me space to gather up the robe under the blanket and make sure I wasn’t flashing him as I scooted out of the bed.

Wholly aware of his gaze on me, I slowly made my way to the opulent bathroom, closing the door behind me. After using the bathroom, I washed my face, wincing at how the bruised and raw skin stung. By the time I was done, I was exhausted again, and my reflection showed it.

I looked like I’d been riding on the hot-mess express all night.

Dismissing my appearance since there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it, I tightened the oversized robe around me and left the bathroom.

Seth stood by the bed, holding a pale pink and blue cloth. “I had Basil bring you a smaller robe, but we will have clothing for you in the morning.”

Glancing at the door, I shuffled over to him. “He was here?”

He nodded.

“That was quiet . . . and fast.” I took the new robe from him.

Seth smiled narrowly. “Basil is . . . well, he’s pretty useful.” He stepped back and then turned away from me. “Let me know when you’re done.”

My mouth dropped open.

He wasn’t going to ogle me and make some sort of sexual comment? That was far more surprising than him being a god.

There . . . there was a time when Seth wouldn’t have turned away. He would’ve stared, and the intensity of his stare would’ve felt like a caress. He’d said he loved me. He promised to protect me, but he was standing there now with his back to me, spine rigid.

Unsure of what to make of what was going on between us, I let the larger robe drop. Seth’s head fell back, and I stared at him a moment too long, feeling my skin flush hotly.

It was probably a good thing that he wasn’t looking, that he was thinking about my modesty. While the mere thought of his bare skin pressed against mine nearly swept my legs out from under me, my head was still all over the place.

The new robe was thin and silky soft as it slipped over my arms. Cinching the belt around my waist, I was relieved to see that it reached my knees and wouldn’t fall off my shoulders or gap in the front. I cleared my throat. “I’m decent.”

Seth slowly turned around and his gaze roamed over me. My breath caught at the stark hunger in those stunning eyes.

Well, he definitely still wanted me.

And I still wanted him.

My gaze dropped to the band of his pants.

I’d always want him.

“Yeah,” he said, and that was all he said. I wasn’t even sure what he was responding to.

I moved forward, stepping around him. I climbed into the bed, tugging the blanket over my bare legs. Heart thumping, I lifted my gaze to his. “I’m . . . I’m tired again.” That might’ve sounded lame, but it was true. My body felt like it was weighed down with lead.

He hesitated and suddenly he didn’t look like a god—a powerful being with no match. He stared up at me through thick lashes, and he looked like a man about to ask for the world. “Can I stay with you?”

I wasn’t expecting that question.

Seth inched closer to the bed. “I don’t think I can leave your side, Josie.”

My heart was going to crawl out of my chest, and in an instant, the past and present collided. I loved Seth. I would always love him.

Loving him didn’t mean I wasn’t disappointed in his choices—that those choices hadn’t hurt me. Loving him didn’t mean he could keep making those choices and I would keep forgiving him. Loving him meant that I knew from the first moment that I fell for Seth that he was complicated—that loving him wouldn’t be easy. Loving him . . . Well, it meant that I was willing to fight for him.

And loving him meant he had to be willing to fight for me.

“If you stay, you stay. You can’t leave me again,” I heard myself say as I held his gaze. “If you can’t promise that and mean it, you can’t stay with me.”

He moved as quick as a bolt of lightning. One second he was standing next to the bed, and in another, he was only an inch or so away from me, bent at the waist, his hands planted on the bed, beside my hips. “I will never leave you like that again, Josie. You will never have to fear that. I swear to you.”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Titan Fantasy