The Struggle (Titan 3) - Page 64

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That I was not prepared for.

Stunned, I dropped Josie’s arm. What in the world?

“Caleb!” Alex shrieked, causing Josie to jump. “What are you doing here?”

He grinned in her direction. “Long story, but first, there’s something I’m here to do.” His bright blues eyes focused on us. “Something really important.”

Gods, he looked like the last time I’d seen him alive, all messy hair and a big smile. He started toward us, and out of instinct I blocked Josie.

Caleb’s smile spread, reaching his eyes. “I’m here because of Apollo.”

“What?” Alex whispered in a thick voice.

“Let me see her,” Caleb asked. “I can help her.”

There was a part of me that didn’t trust him—trust anyone when it came to Josie’s safety, but that damn girl had stepped around me. I looked down as Caleb reached over and took Josie’s hands in his.

“Hi there,” Caleb said, turning her hands so they were palms up. “It’s time, don’t you think?”

“Time for what?” she asked, that strange look settling into her features again.

Caleb smiled, and Josie gasped. My heart about fucking stopped in my chest.

“Oh my gods,” Josie said, pulling her hands free as she stumbled back.

Spinning, I reached out and wrapped an arm around her. Blood drained from her face as she stared at Caleb like she’d seen a ghost. But that was impossible, because Josie had never met Caleb.

He’d died before we met her.

“I’ve seen you before,” she whispered.

I swung toward Caleb. His brows were pinched together. “Sorry.” He looked over at Alex. “But we’ve never met before, and I just need to ho—”

“But we have,” Josie insisted, lifting her startled gaze to mine. “I’ve seen him before—I’ve seen this in a dream. Oh my gods, I get it. It wasn’t a dream. None of the dreams have been dreams.”

“What?” I clasped her cheeks, confused as all hell. “What are you saying?”

Josie then did the damnedest thing, considering she was so pale. She smiled—smiled wildly. “I am special.”

“Um, yeah . . . yeah you are.” I was starting to get worried.

Alex shifted closer to Caleb. “What is she talking about?”

“I have no idea,” Caleb said.

“You don’t get it.” She gripped my wrists. “Some of the dreams I’ve had—they weren’t dreams. They’re prophecies.”

Chapter 33

Josie

Holy crap, I was special!

I just hadn’t known it.

Well, I wasn’t as special as Cora, who could bring plants back to life, and tell when someone was sick or pregnant, but I had been having prophecies. And it made sense. My absentee father was the god of prophecy among many other things.

“Josie, what are you talking about?” Seth’s amber’s eyes were full of concern.

“I saw this—I saw him coming to me in a dream. Just like I saw Atlas, but didn’t realize it was him,” I explained, slipping free of Seth’s gentle grasp. “Every time, right before and after I’d have those dreams, I’d get headaches. Remember the headaches?”

“Yeah, I remember them.” Seth dropped his hands to his sides.

I whirled around. Everyone was staring at me like I’d grown a third boob out of the center of my forehead, and no one seemed to care about the gaping doors that appeared out of nowhere—doors to the Underworld that were still wide open.

“I saw you!” I said to the boy who had to be a year or so younger than me. “You walked up and took my hands. And you—” I faced Alex. Her cheeks were damp. “You were crying in my dream.”

“I’m so damn emotional,” Alex said, wiping at her cheeks. It was then I remembered who this boy was. Deacon had told me about him—about Alex’s friend who’d died in a daimon attack. Caleb. “It’s just different seeing him up here.”

Spinning back to Seth, I threw up my hands. “I know this sounds crazy, but I’m positive that’s what’s happening. If only my . . .” I trailed off, lowering my arms. If only my father was around to fill in the blanks, but this boy had said his name. Turning away, I faced him. “You said my father sent you?”

“Yeah,” Caleb responded. “He’s been in the palace—Hades’s palace, and let me tell you, those two threw down like cray.”

Seth was by my side. “Is that so?”

“Yep. Like, it was so bad that Persephone threatened to leave if Hades didn’t agree to whatever Apollo had demanded, and I don’t know, but that screws up the seasons or something,” Caleb explained. “And then I was summoned to the palace.”

“Why did they summon you?” Alex asked the question that was obviously at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

“He figured that, since I was already dead, Seth couldn’t really kill me.” Caleb shrugged as my jaw popped open. “I think it’s also because Seth wouldn’t want to hurt me, right?”

“Right,” murmured Seth.

Deacon was standing. “Damn, it’s good to see you. Really is, but why would they send you up here?”

“Because none of the gods will come near me,” Seth answered rather smugly.

“Bingo,” Caleb agreed. “So they got this idea to send me up to take off those things—those bands on your wrists.”

Now what he’d said in the dream—in the prophecy—and a few moments ago made sense. “You . . . you can remove them?”

Caleb extended his hands again. “That’s what they tell me.”

I started forward, but Seth stopped me. “Wait. How do we know that this isn’t a trick?” he demanded. “No offense, Caleb, but they could be using you without you even knowing.”

“Do you really think that?” Alex asked, sounding stunned. “That Apollo would use Caleb to harm his own daughter?”

“Damn,” Luke muttered. “That would be beyond messed up.”

Pressure expanded in my chest as I looked over at Seth. “He wouldn’t.”

His jaw hardened as he stared down Caleb. “How do you remove the bands?”

“I just need to touch him,” Caleb explained. “See, Hades had placed his hand on my head and said some weird, magical mumbo-jumbo. Told me that all I needed to do was take her hands and move my fingers over the bands. They’d unhook.”

“And that’s all?” Seth demanded.

I really couldn’t believe Apollo would agree to anything that would harm me. Granted, I wanted to drop-kick him, but he was my father. He’d weakened himself to unbind my powers.

“I know what you’re thinking,” Seth said in that freaky way that made you think that he was reading your thoughts. “It’s not Apollo I’m worried about. It’s Hades. There’s always a catch with him.”

“Well, there is a catch,” Caleb said.

I stiffened. “What do you mean?”

Caleb glanced at Seth with a sheepish grin. “Hades wants me to put the bands on you.”

“What?” I gasped.

“Oh shit,” Luke said under his breath as Alex stepped forward.

Seth crossed his arms. “Is that so?”

“Yep. I looked at him like he was crazy, because I’m not quite sure how he expects me to put the bands on without you noticing.” Caleb shrugged like it was no big deal. “And I’m pretty sure if Apollo had normal eyes when this was going on, he would’ve been rolling them.”

“Wait a second,” I jumped in before Seth could do something stupid. “You’re expected to free me but turn around and bind Seth’s abilities?”

“Expected to? Yes. Am I going to do so? Nope.”

Alex reached Caleb’s side, tipping her head back so she could meet his gaze. “What will happen if you free Josie and don’t do what they ask?”

“Come on, Hades has to know that Seth isn’t going to stand there and let me slap those babies on him. So, what I was thinking, you could just hit me with a god bolt and send me back that way,” Caleb suggested. “Then, at least I’m not lying when I say Seth stopped me.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Titan Fantasy
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