This book is a
work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products
of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is
entirely coincidental. The author makes no claims to, but instead acknowledges
the trademarked status and trademark owners of any wordmarks mentioned in this
work of fiction including brands or products.
Copyright © 2016 by Nazarea Andrews.
by Nazarea Andrews
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States of
America by A&A Literary.
Summary: Apollo thought he left his family and his
power behind. But when he meets Iris, he realizes power isn’t so easily
forgotten and destiny is hard to escape.
mythology 2. Romance. 3. Paranormal romance
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in
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quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
For information, address
Nazarea Andrews, 14207 Ridge Court, Upatoi GA 31829.
Edited by Owl Word Editing
design by Melissa Stevens of The Illustrated Author
art copyright©: Nazarea Andrews
Formatting by Nazarea Andrew
is a strange and broken thing.
the sun god, the
god of healing and song.
has lived alone for centuries, content to spin out the years wandering a new
and strange world, lost in the past and endless versions of the future. He has
cut all ties with the remains of Olympus and his power, and hidden himself in
twin thinks he’s depressed, spending his time in coffee shops, hospital waiting
rooms, and concert halls…and nothing matters. Not really.
With her teasing mouth and soulful music and eyes that remind him of the past.
can’t resist her smile.
girl as wild as he was, once, with a poet’s tongue and the body of a siren, who
for one night makes him forget all the years and everything he gave up.
he can’t stop fate.
knows he’s tried.
can’t help taking her.
if he knows better.
Iris wakes up screaming, caught up in visions of the future, Apollo realizes
that he didn’t leave his power quite as far behind as he thought.
the god of prophecy and he’s been running from it, for centuries.
is everything he has to avoid.
he has a furious Oracle on his hands, his sister trying to fix him, and someone
is killing the gods.
not just his tenuous sanity that hangs in the balance this time.
all of Olympus.
really wasn’t supposed to be this hard.
A very long time
ago, I sat in a pagan temple.
It was cedar and
oak, with designs and prayers burnt into the
, and the smell of incense thick in the
air. I could hear two dozen girls, young and beautiful and virgin, chanting in
quiet tune with each other, a song of healing and death.
I didn’t care about
them. I knew their names, could summon their faces with little thought, could
read their deepest secrets and most twisted desires. But they meant little to
The one who
mattered. The one who had always mattered, was the one sitting cross
legged across from
me in that little forgotten temple. She hummed under her breath, and I hid my
All of my girls
sang, when I was close.
“You know it’s
against the rules,” she murmurs, almost singsong and I nod.
Because I do.
I made the rules.
sighs. “This is dangerous. Even for you.”
“Worried for me,
Del?” I tease. She frowns at me, bright eyes staring hard at me in disapproval.
“For your sanity,
Knowledge is a
is a dangerous thing.
why I give the gift to my girls. Because I
have not wished to carry it, and when I did…
“If I do this, I
cannot take it again. You will know. Until the end.”
I nod, and my lips
go tight. “Do it, Del.”
Her eyes roll back
and the tension in her body slides loose, until she’s barely sitting upright,
her hands flexing on her knees and her voice a low purr.
I know this look on
She is my girl,
more than any of the others, and I know what she looks like in the heavy grip
When she speaks,
it’s a sweet rumble, like a kitten being stroked, and her body shivers under
the weight of it.
And then I
And I shatter.
I spend a lot of
Artie says it’s in
my nature. That I will eternally chase the sun. But then, my twin is a bit
annoying. I just like to
Back when the world
was young and I was young, I rode the winds and sunbeams, and when that got
old, I walked.
I met Del there. On
a dusty road outside what would one day become an empire’s capitol, and then
turn to dust.
I met many people
on the road, over the years.
But that doesn’t
Artie says I spend
more time in my head than I do in reality, and that’s part of my problem.
I think reality is
a little bit fucked up when you’re an immortal god, but I’ve long since stopped
arguing with her.
I wake before the
sun rises. Always. Slip into a pair of scuffed up jeans and loose flip-flops
that look like they’ll fall apart but fit like a second skin. I wiggle my toes
around and tug on a black t-shirt and a beanie over my long hair, and then I
push out into the darkness.
I live in the
center of the city, in a shitty
apartment over a Korean
place. It’s dirty
and needs to be ripped down and rebuilt, and the lights in the hallway don’t
work—neither does the deadbolt.
But it does the
job, and it’s close to three of my favorite coffee
and a little bar
that has the best indie bands on the weekends. Sometimes, when I leave the
windows open, I can hear the music from my bed, and I don’t even have to leave
the apartment to get my fix.
But now, the sun is
rising and with it, me.
There’s a spot, a
few miles from my place, that I can go. Climb to the top of the five
story building and
sit on the edge of the roof, my feet dangling into nothing. It’s not the
tallest building—there are others that obscure my vision, but there’s a sliver
of horizon, where everything breaks perfectly to let me see for miles.
And I wait for her
My sister thinks
it’s ridiculous for the god of the sun to live in a place that is perpetually
covered in cloud.
What she doesn’t
understand, what she’s never understood is that my power isn’t bound just
because I can’t see her.
I can feel the way
the air lightens and the heavy weight of darkness eases back, a little. The way
the power that is mine, that I have ignored for centuries tingles awake like a
limb that hasn’t been used in too long. Tempting to shake out and flex, just to
make the pins and needles pain go away.
I shove that down
and twist my ring and tilt my head back, until I’m smiling into the clouds, and
far beyond the dreary gray, my girl rises to greet the day, and me.
I sit there for a
long time, while the sun creeps up and the city comes awake.
It’s a strange
place for me to choose as my own, but I like it. It reminds me of the little
temple where Del lived, all those centuries ago. She always liked the way the
mist clung to the grass and the shadows played in the valleys and between the
sides of the mountains. She would tease and tell me that even as powerful as I
was, I did not rule everything.
Del always liked
knocking me into my place. Liked to forget that I was a god.
eyed girl shaking with terror and screaming with visions,
cowering from me.
A girl with a smirk and violet eyes that seem worried and
ancient, and her fingers dig into her skin, drawing blood even as she laughs
and kisses me.
I shudder and sway
on the edge of the roof.
The past is blurry.
So damn blurry, but there are moments that stand out, sharp and painful.
This is a bad idea, Father.
I smile, tight and
bitter. She would be so proud of herself, that she was right. My girl was
always damn good at reaching into the future, even further than the ones who
came before her.
I shake that
thought, shake the fingers of madness that clutch too tight today, and push
The sun is sweet
and shy behind her clouds and I tip my head back as I stand there. Blow a kiss
into nothing and smile at the soft heat. And then I turn away and head down the
dark stairs to the waiting city.
The coffee shop is
one of my favorites. I frequent many. Here’s a tip: if you’re the god of poetry
and music, the best place for you is a coffee shop. I even own a few, scattered
down the coast and into California. It keeps me in enough money that I don’t
my power to survive. But I don’t
like handling the business, so I leave it in the hands of a girl I met a few
years ago. Smart. Pretty. Not bad in bed, but even better running my shops.
It worked well for
us, as long as she didn’t forget that I was happy with nothing more than a fuck
once a year or two after the quarterly meetings.
She’d figured it
out and seemed content.
Well, I paid her
enough that she should be more than fucking content, but that was her business.
I slid into Top Pot
Brew and tugged my beanie lower, almost into my eyes, as I waited in the line.
The shop is close enough to the college campus that it’s always busy,
especially this time of year. When the students milled here, cramming for
finals and drinking coffee with the kind of desperation I’ve learned to
failed studious and
I love finals week.
I wait patiently while the line inches forward, as the students order these
ridiculous concoctions that barely qualify as coffee, and I hide my smile in my
chest, ducking my head and reaching into my pocket.
people, by the constant streams of future, I have to reach for the distraction.
Let my pad of my thumb brush over the smoothed edges of the deck of cards, and
let the comfortable weight of them settle my nerves as the crowd swells and
pitch loud over
the machines and baristas shouting orders to each other.
The girl at the
counter is new. If she was someone who'd been at the shop for more than a day
or two, she'd know there was no need to ask me what I want. No need to try to
drag me into a conversation about breakfast pastries that I have no interest
She'd know that
smiling wide and flirty would do nothing but annoy me, and that I was never
interested in that.
this early in the morning, when the sun was still creeping up and gaining slow
strength, not when the shop was full to the brim with people and the music was
almost drowned out.
So when she smiles
and tries to tease me into some Americano shit, I give her a very flat stare
and say simply, "Cold
brewed coffee. Large. Black." I let
the money--exact change because I hate being handed back change--drop on the
counter and behind her, Callie gives a startled little bleep of noise.
take this one," she says sharply, and the girl--Lace--has a second to look
confused and the first hint of offended before Callie tugs her far enough away
that she can take her place at the register, and she smiles, quick and brittle.
I nod once, and she
scoops up the money, shoves it in the register and spins to pour my coffee,
ignoring the growing line behind me. Only when it's pressed into my hands and
I'm stepping away, does she try to talk again.
She's new. It won't happen again."
I hesitate and look
Callie is giving me
this wide, searching stare. Still ignoring the other patrons, and she bites her
She can't know that
me being here is good for the cafe's business. That it brings in the best
musicians and poets and that brings in the larger crowds, and all of them are
centered around me.
She can't know
because I would never say anything to indicate that I know. But she's staring
at me with that careful, knowing sort of gaze that my girls would get.
But the others. The
ones who could have been Del, but weren't.
I shiver, and nod
again. Go to the corner table, the only table that's empty, and slide into the
She has a touch of
power, and that's enough. I make a small face into my coffee and pull out my cards,
shuffling them and laying them out, letting my fingers dance over the smooth
surface, and the brilliantly colored backs.
I have to leave
this cafe behind.
Pity. They have the
best fucking coffee.
But I never stay,
once someone with a touch of power notices me.
It used to be that
we killed them.
Anyone who had even
the barest hint of power. All of the children that Father scattered across the
Sometimes I think
Zeus thought it was his job to single handedly ensure the human race
Which, you know,
She led the war
on the god-children when Zeus and his brothers decided to forsake Olympus. But
that—gods, that was a long time ago.
Artie and I left,
long before it ever got that bad.
I wonder, idly, as
I sip the coffee and play with the cards, and listen to the stream of humanity
spilling around me, where she is.
The cards go stiff
and unwieldy in my hands and my eyes roll back a little and I slur out
something I can’t hear or understand.
Some of the people
at the tables nearest mine are watching me, with that nervous look I know so
The one that says,
The look that makes them edge a little bit away from me and makes my skin
How many times had—
The words roll
through me again, spilling like glass shards on to the table and I don’t even
know who the fuck they’re about.
whisper, and this time it’s not a word spoken empty into the void.
It’s a prayer.
“Sister,” I whisper
again, harder this time.
The coffee shop is
almost empty, when it finally passes.
When the words stop
spilling out. My phone is blinking at me next to the deck of cards, and I reach
for it with hands that don’t shake, even though they should.
I click it off,
and sixteen seconds.
I spoke words of
prophecy for almost half an hour, and I did it in fucking public, where I was
helpless and defenseless.
Artemis will be
The worst part
isn’t that I lost a half hour.
It’s that I was
scared and off balance enough that I called my sister.
I haven’t done that
in almost ten years.
She’ll be here
soon. If I’m lucky, I’ll have until the sun sets, and she can move under the
light of the moon.
But then, when
Artie thinks I’m in danger, she sometimes forgets little things like balance
I sigh, and shuffle
the deck of cards up and into my pocket. Stand and shrug deeper into my coat.
With Artemis about
to descend on the city, I should spend it walking. Because gods
she won’t want to
do anything but talk to me about moving and going home and all the reasons I
shouldn’t bind my power.
But wandering the
city, drinking down the music and poetry and the sunlight, weak though it is?
That is definitely not going to be high on her list.
So I whistle, and I
let the cards play their smooth edges against my palm as I wander through the
I’m near the wharf
when I sense it. Which isn’t
surprising, all things considered.
But the power
ripples along my skin like waves, and I go very still.
I fucking knew this
would happen. It’s been almost twenty years since I settled in Seattle, and
almost a thousand since I left Athens and Olympus behind.
And still, feeling
his power brushing against me, I feel like a kid behind dragged in front of
Father and my uncles.
Olympus was failing. Even I knew that, and I had been lost in my
own madness for centuries. The Greeks and the Romans had grown past their
borders, and the gods were being forgotten. Lost to the wave of the new gods,
the Norse and the Germanic, and the Far East.
We were dying.