Excerpt

Living in Shadows

Prologue

“Nocturnal Desires – where your darkest dreams can come true” flashed the neon sign outside the club doors. This meeting spot had Mira written all over it. My other two handmaidens were not going to be amused. Misery was going to be a nightmare in a place like this. The gods forbid that some unfortunate soul makes a pass at her.  

    A line of patrons wrapped around the corner into an alley. Invisible to the mortal eye, I strolled past security undetected. Mira was the easiest to spot. She had short blonde hair in what I believed to be some form of pigtails that spiked out from her head. Her clothing consisted of a short black skirt and a light pink tank top that left nothing to the imagination. Looking around I noticed she actually fit into the club scene quite well. It was safe to assume she picked the meeting spot. She wouldn’t let a little thing like work interfere with her play time.
    What made her so noticeable were the three men groping her while she thrashed about to a hammering techno beat. The room was dark enough to reveal myself with little effort to cloud the mortal’s minds. Not a single soul noticed my appearance as I stepped out of the shadow realm into reality.
    “Nemi!” Mira shrieked shoving her dance partners out of her way. “You could have summoned us. I know how you despise the mortal playgrounds.” I laughed to hear her repeat a phrase I’d used centuries ago. Although I suppose I deserved it. I tended to be a bit critical of new ideas.
    “Come on,” I said walking towards a round table where Mab and Misery waited. Misery could have fit into a biker bar, but this place was far out of her comfort zone. She was the most out of place among my girls. Her long straight black hair blended into leather pants, which blended into a pair of black leather boots. The crimson corset was the only thing stopping her from fading into the shadows. Misery had a leather motorcycle jacket draped on the back of her chair for just that purpose. 

    Someone chose a table in the corner. Misery had her chair backed into a corner so she could watch the room. You could tell she saw everything but appeared to be bored as she nursed a glass of what was probably whiskey. The poor girl was predictable as ever. 
    Mab was her lovely self. She neither belonged, nor stood out. It was clearly written on her face the displeasure of her surroundings. Normally they worked apart as their skills sets were too specific to do much good together. Misery preferred to work alone. She had just finished tracking down the masters of a sex-slave ring that had her traveling all over the world. She was an Amazon warrior who hated all men equally. She may have enjoyed that last job a little too much.

    Mab was a shamaness born and raised in the Siberian Mountains. She died in her early 40’s and choose to remain that age after I resurrected her to serve me. Mab worked behind the scenes communicating with nature, spirits, and the occasional dream walking. My advisor for all things mystical. She was a steady rock and mother figure to all my girls.  

   “I take it the three of you have reacquainted yourselves?” I asked bemused by how uncomfortable they looked with each other.

   “Truthfully I was expecting a tomb or at least a graveyard when we let Mira pick the place. A night club was unexpected.” Misery stated.

    Mira laughed uncontrollably for a full minute. Her sense of humor has always been a little off. Although I suppose being forever affiliated with the dead will do that to you. She was the most powerful necromancer I’ve ever come across. Her death and resurrection only seemed to make her powers grow stronger. Even after three hundred years, her powers over the dead continue to surprise me.

  “Would it make more sense if I told you the club was owned by a vampire?” Mira said taking the seat next to Mab.

  “Yes,” Misery said draining the rest of her whiskey.

  “Why have you called us together Nemesis?” Mab asked completely ignoring Misery and Mira. She was not one to be distracted by idle conversation.

  “Hades had asked me to retrieve a few souls that he thought got lost on their journey over. Turns out Discord had stolen them, and something has gone horribly wrong. The souls have become broken and twisted somehow. They have mutated into monstrous creatures that are killing and consuming human flesh. These souls are too disturbed for me to call home. They are deaf to offers of eternal rest or justice. Their aura is shredded and red like they are bleeding from a wound that can’t be healed.”

  I hated admitting my own faults. Justice and vengeance can only be wrought under just cause. This was beyond my powers to fix.  

  “That is most peculiar. A mortal soul should not be capable of transformation without being poisoned by some darker force.” Mab said. “Vampires for example, but what you speak of sounds different from their affliction.”

  “This is something else entirely,” I said. Mab never spoke without purpose. She was a breath of fresh air when compared to what I put up with most days. I love my handmaidens like daughters, but they are a handful.

  “Few things are capable of damaging a soul to that degree without destroying it. Give me a moment to consult with the spirits.” Mab said leaning back and closing her eyes. I waved my hand putting up a thin barrier that would discourage mortals from glancing our way. Mab could sometimes become quite animated when communicating with the spirit world.

  “The lure behind soul mates is what you seek Nemesis,” Mab said. The three of us fell silent waiting for Mab to continue, but she kept her silence. Her eyes took on a glassy appearance. Her aura turned black, and the air was suddenly heavier. Before the club atmosphere had been light, now it felt bogged down.

  “Mab are you still with us?” Misery asked. Her hands were caressing her throwing knives at her waist.  They were barely visible to the naked eye. She had a band strapped around her torso that contained an assortment of throwing blades. It was a nervous gesture that gave away how uncomfortable Misery was with the current situation.  

   “When all the mated pairs are gone love, peace, and happiness will fade. In its place, chaos will prevail. The universal balance will be broken, and the world will slowly collapse. Certain balances must be maintained in order for each plane to exist, without this balance we cannot exist.” Mab’s voice was not her own. She had let herself become possessed to gain knowledge. Normally possession is not something you want to tap into, but Mab was an old pro. She had mastered the arts of working with spirts long before she became one of my handmaidens.

   Mab collapsed forward; Mira caught her head just before it smacked the table. The ambiance slowly returned to the relaxed club scene, you could breathe again without feeling as if death lurked over your shoulder.

  “Oh, goody end of existence trouble,” Mira said grinning a little too happily.

  “It’s Discord.” Misery stated. The goddess of chaos was forever a pain in my side.  I had to agree it was most likely something the crazy bitch would do for fun. Although she would never have come up with the plan on her own, someone had to be the brains behind her insanity.

  “The creatures are what is left of a mated pair. The spirits say if nothing is done the destruction will cause an imbalance in the universe. The fates are the only ones that can tell you how many pairs of soul mates exist and how many have been destroyed.

  If too many of them are damaged more and more chaos will follow.” Mab said.

  “Good luck getting that info. The fates are not exactly the giving sort.” Misery said. The look on her face said she knew all too well how the fates dealt the cards. She held a strong front, but her eyes spoke volumes of sadness that could not be missed.

  “I must speak with Hades. It will ultimately be up to him how we proceed. Mab see if you can channel anything else that would be useful.” I said. “I will summon you all to Olympus when I know more.”

  I took my leave vanishing from sight. Mab’s words weighed heavily upon me. There is no telling how Hades will handle this situation. I could not stand idly by letting Discord throw the world into destruction.  Sometimes the gods refuse to interfere in the mortal realm, and sometimes they just can’t seem to help themselves.

“Nocturnal Desires – where your darkest dreams can come true” flashed the neon sign outside the club doors. This meeting spot had Mira written all over it. My other two handmaidens were not going to be amused. Misery was going to be a nightmare in a place like this. The gods forbid that some unfortunate soul makes a pass at her.  

    A line wrapped around the corner into an alley. Invisible to the mortal eye, I strolled past security undetected. Mira was the easiest to spot. She had short blonde hair in what I believed to be some form of pigtails that spiked out from her head. Her clothing consisted of a short black skirt and light pink tank that left nothing to the imagination. Looking around I noticed she actually fit into the club scene quite well. It was safe to assume she picked the meeting spot. She wouldn’t let a little thing like work interfere with her play time.
    What made her so noticeable were the three men groping her while she thrashed about to a hammering techno beat. The room was dark enough to reveal myself with little effort to cloud the mortal’s minds. Not a single soul noticed my appearance as I stepped out of the shadow realm into reality. 
    “Nemi!” Mira shrieked shoving her dance partners out of her way. “You could have summoned us. I know how you despise the mortal playgrounds.” I laughed to hear her repeat a phrase I’d used centuries ago. Although I suppose I deserved it. I tended to be a bit critical of new ideas. 
    “Come on,” I said walking towards a round table where Mab and Misery waited. Misery could have fit into a biker bar, but this place was far out of her comfort zone. She was the most out of place among my girls. Her long straight black hair blended into leather pants, which blended into a pair of black leather boots. The crimson corset was the only thing stopping her from fading into the shadows. Misery had a leather motorcycle jacket draped on the back of her chair for just that purpose. 

    Someone chose a table in the corner. Misery had her chair backed into a corner so she could watch the room. You could tell she saw everything but appeared to be bored as she nursed a glass of what was probably whiskey. The poor girl was predictable as ever.  
    Mab was her lovely self. She neither belonged, nor stood out. It was clearly written on her face the displeasure of her surroundings. Normally they worked apart as their skills sets were too specific to do much good together. Misery preferred to work alone. She had just finished tracking down the masters of a sex-slave ring that had her traveling all over the world. She was an Amazon warrior who hated all men equally. She may have enjoyed that last job a little too much.

    Mab was a shamaness born and raised in the Siberian Mountains. She died in her early 40’s and choose to remain that age after I resurrected her to serve me. Mab worked behind the scenes communicating with nature, spirits, and dream walking. My advisor for all things mystical. She was a steady rock and mother figure to all my girls.  

   “I take it the three of you have reacquainted yourselves?” I asked bemused by how uncomfortable they looked with each other.

   “Truthfully I was expecting a tomb or at least a graveyard when we let Mira pick the place. A night club was unexpected.” Misery stated.

    Mira laughed uncontrollably for a full minute. Her sense of humor has always been a little off. Although I suppose being forever affiliated with the dead will do that to you. She was the most powerful necromancer I’ve ever come across. Her death and resurrection only seem to make her powers grow stronger. Even after three hundred years, her powers over the dead continue to surprise me.

  “Would it make more sense if I told you the club was owned by a vampire?” Mira said taking the seat next to Mab.

  “Yes,” Misery said draining the rest of her whiskey.

  “Why have you called us together Nemesis?” Mab asked completely ignoring Misery and Mira. She was not one to be distracted by idle conversation.

  “Hades had asked me to retrieve a few souls that he thought got lost on their journey over. Turns out Discord had stolen them, and something has gone horribly wrong. The souls have become broken and twisted somehow. They have mutated into monstrous creatures that are killing and consuming human flesh. These souls are too disturbed for me to call home. They are deaf to offers of eternal rest or justice. Their aura is shredded and red like they are bleeding from a wound that can’t be healed.”

  I hated admitting my own faults. Justice and vengeance can only be wrought under just cause. This was beyond my powers to fix.  

  “That is most peculiar. A mortal soul should not be capable of transformation without being poisoned by some darker force.” Mab said. “Vampires for example, but what you speak of sounds different from their affliction.”

  “This is something else entirely,” I said. Mab never spoke without purpose. She was a breath of fresh air when compared to what I put up with most days. I love my handmaidens like daughters, but they are a handful.

  “Few things are capable of damaging a soul to that degree without destroying it. Give me a moment to consult with the spirits.” Mab said leaning back and closing her eyes. I waved my hand putting up a thin barrier that would discourage mortals from glancing our way. Mab could sometimes become quite animated when communicating with the spirit world.

  “The lure behind soul mates is what you seek Nemesis,” Mab said. The three of us fell silent waiting for Mab to continue, but she kept her silence. Her eyes took on a glassy appearance. Her aura turned black, and the air was suddenly heavier. Before the club atmosphere had been light, now it felt bogged down.

  “Mab are you still with us?” Misery asked. Her hands were caressing her throwing knives at her waist.  They were barely visible to the naked eye. She had a band strapped around her torso that contained an assortment of throwing blades. It was a nervous gesture that gave away how uncomfortable Misery was with the current situation.  

   “When all the mated pairs are gone love, peace, and happiness will fade. In its place, chaos will prevail. The universal balance will be broken, and the world will slowly collapse. Certain balances must be maintained in order for each plane to exist, without this balance we cannot exist.” Mab’s voice was not her own. She had let herself become possessed to gain knowledge. Normally possession is not something you want to tap into, but Mab was an old pro. She had mastered the arts of working with spirts long before she became one of my handmaidens.

   Mab collapsed forward; Mira caught her head just before it smacked the table. The ambiance slowly returned to the relaxed club scene, you could breathe again without feeling like death lurked over your shoulder.

  “Oh, goody end of existence trouble,” Mira said grinning a little too happily.

  “It’s Discord.” Misery stated. The goddess of chaos was forever a pain in my side.  I had to agree it was most likely something the crazy bitch would do for fun. Although she would never have come up with the plan on her own, someone had to be the brains behind her insanity.

  “The creatures are what is left of a mated pair. The spirits say if nothing is done the destruction will cause an imbalance in the universe. The fates are the only ones that can tell you how many pairs of soul mates exist and how many have been destroyed.

  If too many of them are damaged more and more chaos will follow.” Mab said.

  “Good luck getting that info. The fates are not exactly the giving sort.” Misery said. The look on her face said she knew all too well how the fates dealt the cards. She held a strong front, but her eyes spoke volumes of sadness that could not be missed.

  “I must speak with Hades. It will ultimately be up to him how we proceed. Mab see if you can channel anything else that would be useful.” I said. “I will summon you all to Olympus when I know more.”

  I took my leave vanishing from sight. Mab’s words weighed heavily upon me. There is no telling how Hades will handle this situation. I could not stand idly by letting Discord throw the world into destruction.  Sometimes the gods refuse to interfere in the mortal realm, and sometimes they just can’t seem to help themselves.


1

Disgusting creatures, I’d kill every last one of them if it was not forbidden. I’d become the Goddess Kali with a belt of male genitals around my waist.  If even one of these vile beings touch me before I leave this house of whores I will castrate every man in it. Grinding my teeth, the music alone was enough to give me an aneurysm.

  “I’m leaving,” I said collecting my leather jacket and fading into the shadows. I made it outside without another incident. I had to send back three drinks before Nemesis arrived at our table. My motorcycle was two blocks away, tucked into a nice dark corner. I didn’t bother with much in the modern world, but my Honda was a precious thing. Black as the darkest night and light enough to outrun a demon. What more could a girl ask for between her legs?

  “Your soul is darker than the night, Misery.” Mab appeared beside me. I’d forgotten she had the power to travel the spiritual world with body intact.  A very stupid mistake on my part.

  “My soul is my own. It’s no concern of yours.” I continued toward the alley where I left my motorcycle.

  “Black souls are dangerous. They consume everything you are until you become the very thing you hate. The last few years have only made your soul grow darker.” Mab said.

  “Unless it makes me grow a penis, I don’t see that happening,” I said to an empty alleyway. She was gone. I blew a raspberry at the spot where she had stood.

  My Honda was untouched exactly where I left it. I pulled my long hair back enough to lock in my helmet. I felt a sense of home just sitting there. The familiar hum seemed to calm the tension from my shoulders. The tension returned just as easily at the sound of another motorcycle coming down the ally. I wrapped myself in the shadows and cut the engine to my bike. My hands began to caress one of the daggers in my boot, it was a nervous habit that gave me some comfort.

  The motorcycle came to a stop right in front of me.  The wide set of the rider’s shoulders strongly suggested he was male. Rage consumed my mind and I struggled to remain calm. Nemesis has been begging me to count to 10 and then backwards again, before taking unprovoked action. The dark rage continued to consume my soul. Nope, not working. Grinding my teeth, I held my breath.

  “Nice bike,” came a muffled voice from under the rider’s full-face helmet.

  I stayed wrapped in the shadows even though it obviously wasn’t doing any good. I thought about shooting him between the eyes and just riding away. He pulled his helmet off. A couple of deep breaths and curiosity stopped me from attacking. Dark brown hair barely long enough to touch his shoulders caught my eye as a few strands stuck to his beard. I glanced up long enough to see bright green eyes staring back at me.

  “What are you?” I asked in a hiss more than actual words.

  “I’m Thrace and I am simply a creature of the night same yourself, Misery.” His movements were very slow and cautious. He acted as if he were waiting for me to attack or trying not to spook me.

  “Leave me,” I said cranking my motorcycle again.

    The man reached out and caressed my hand. His touch soothed the rage back. That frightened me more than anything else he could have done. I jerked my hand away grasping the dagger from my boot and stabbing into his heart. The man didn’t even flinch, not a single drop of blood poured from the wound. My face probably gave away the horror I felt inside. I retrieved the weapon and gave the bike hell.

   That bastard laid his hand on me! What in the name of Zeus is wrong with me? I looked down at the blade in my hand, still clean. Not a single trace that just seconds ago it had been plunged into someone’s chest cavity.

    After about twenty miles of speeding down various roads, I let up on the gas. Images kept replaying through my mind. I could still feel his touch on my hand, akin to a brand.

    “You can’t hide forever,” came a whisper that echoed through my mind. Those were the words Nemesis spoke when I’d requested the power to blend into my surroundings. How did that thing know my name? An even better question is how did he know I was there?

    He had to have followed me from the club. A vampire, perhaps like Mira’s playthings, that would make sense. He did say he was a creature of the night. Part of me wanted to believe that, but my instincts were screaming that he was something more. I wasn’t thinking straight. A vampire would have bled from the wound, only a god could have taken that much damage without repercussions. Only a magically enchanted weapon could harm a god.

    I pulled into a parking lot at one of those all-night diners that truckers often frequent. There was a spot directly in front of the diner under a street light. Normally I’d find a place to stash my bike out of sight, but I should be able to see it from the counter. The motorcycle was a custom job that took more time and money than I care to admit. It tended to attract more attention than I was comfortable with.  

    The diner had a wrap-around bar with stools and a few tables scattered throughout the main floor. Overall the diner had seen better days, but those that frequented such establishments were usually not so picky. The place was mostly empty except for a trucker at the far end of the bar and a couple of old guys drinking coffee at a table.  I took a seat as far from them as I could get and ordered a coffee.

    Summoning Nemesis crossed my mind, but it felt too close to overkill for an odd encounter. Taking a deep breath I started a mental list of the things I needed to get done in order to relocate from France. I’d spent the last year tracking down and eliminating an underground sex-slave ring there. At least Discord causing chaos in America would give me something else to focus on for a bit.

    The little bell at the door chimed letting the waitress know a new occupant had entered the building. Normally I wouldn’t have even turned but the hairs on the back of my neck were at attention. The seat next to me moved. I cursed feeling his presence so close. I all but growled grinding my teeth together.

    “What do you want?” I asked putting as much distaste in my voice as I could muster. I forced myself to give him some intense eye contact and my breath caught at how attractive he was. His features were dark and brooding with a beard trimmed close to his face. His eyes were a piercing green I couldn’t look away from. I’d never found a man attractive before, up until now I’d never really noticed one in such detail.  I was embarrassed to realize that he was just staring back at me with the strangest look on his face.

    “My dark goddess,” it was a whisper through my head that was so light a sound I almost didn’t catch it, or maybe it was my imagination.

    “We need to talk,” Thrace said. He voice was a low, gravelly sound that stirred something inside of me.

    “We have nothing to discuss,” I said standing to leave.

    I turned to see two people loading my bike into the back of a truck. “Shit,” I said running for the door. I thought about chasing them on foot but decided against it. I grinned pulling out my phone and loaded the app that would give me GPS coordinates for my bike. The little map loaded on the screen showing my bike on the move. And I thought I was going to make it out of this city without having to bloody my hands.

    Thrace pulled his motorcycle up onto the sidewalk. “Need a lift?” It was his fault my motorcycle was stolen, to begin with. If he hadn’t distracted me, I would have been paying better attention. I shoved a foot into Thrace’s chest. It caught him off guard and set him off balance. He fell off his motorcycle and landed on his ass in the road.

    Before he had a chance to recover, I hopped on his bike and cranked it up. I spared him a look over my shoulder. He was just standing there with a stupid grin on his face. Seriously what is it going to take to piss this guy off? Maybe if I set his bike on fire when I’m done he will get the hint.  

    Thrace’s bike was heavier than mine, but I was able to get it balanced. I u-turned in the parking lot and accelerated straight for Thrace. I expected him to jump out of the way, but he disappeared an inch before I hit him. Definitely a god.

Disgusting creatures, I’d kill every last one of them if it was not forbidden. I’d become the Goddess Kali with a belt of male genitals around my waist.  If even one of these vile beings touch me before I leave this house of whores I will castrate every man in it. Grinding my teeth, the music alone was enough to give me an aneurysm.

  “I’m leaving,” I said collecting my leather jacket and fading into the shadows. I made it outside without another incident. I had to send back three drinks before Nemesis arrived at our table. My motorcycle was two blocks away, snuggled into a nice dark corner. I didn’t bother with much in the modern world, but my Honda was a precious thing. Black as the darkest night and light enough to outrun a demon. What more could a girl ask for between her legs?

  “Your soul is darker than the night, Misery.” Mab appeared beside me. I’d forgotten she had the power to travel the spiritual world with body intact.  A very stupid mistake on my part.

  “My soul is my own. It’s no concern of yours.” I continued toward the alley where I left my motorcycle.

  “Black souls are dangerous. They consume everything you are until you become the very thing you hate. The last few years have only made your soul grow darker.” Mab said.

  “Unless it makes me grow a penis, I don’t see that happening,” I said to an empty alleyway. She was gone. I blew a raspberry at the spot where she stood.

  My Honda was untouched exactly where I left it. I pulled my long hair back enough to lock in my helmet. I felt a sense of home just sitting there. The familiar hum seemed to calm the tension from my shoulders. The tension returned just as easily at the sound of another motorcycle coming down the ally. I wrapped myself in the shadows and cut the engine to my bike. My hands began to caress the dagger in my boot, it was a nervous habit that gave me some comfort.

  The motorcycle came to a stop right in front of me.  The wide set of the rider’s shoulders strongly suggested he was male. Rage consumed my mind and I struggled to remain calm. Nemesis has been begging me to count to 10 and then backwards again, before taking unprovoked action. The dark rage continued to consume my soul. Nope, not working. Grinding my teeth, I held my breath.

  “Nice bike,” came a muffled voice from under the rider’s full-face helmet.

  I stayed wrapped in the shadows even though it obviously wasn’t doing any good. I thought about shooting him between the eyes and just riding away. He pulled his helmet off. A couple deep of breaths and curiosity stopped me from attacking. Dark brown hair barely long enough to touch his shoulders caught my eye as a few strands stuck to his beard. I glanced up long enough to see bright green eyes staring back at me.

  “What are you?” I asked in a hiss more than actual words.

  “I’m Thrace and I am simply a creature of the night like yourself, Misery.” His movements were very slow and cautious. He acted as if he were waiting for me to attack or trying not to spook me.

  “Leave me,” I said cranking my motorcycle again.

    The man reached out and caressed my hand. His touch soothed the rage back. That frightened me more than anything else he could have done. I jerked my hand away grasping the dagger from my boot and stabbing into his heart. The man didn’t even flinch, not a single drop of blood poured from the wound. My face probably gave away the horror I felt inside. I retrieved the weapon and gave the bike hell.

   That bastard laid his hand on me! What in the name of Zeus is wrong with me? I looked down at the blade in my hand, still clean. Not a single trace that just seconds ago it had been plunged into someone’s chest cavity.

    After about twenty miles of speeding down various roads, I let up on the gas. Images kept replaying through my mind. I could still feel his touch on my hand, like a brand.

    “You can’t hide forever,” came a whisper that echoed through my mind. Those were the words Nemesis spoke when I’d requested the power to blend into my surroundings. How did that thing know my name? An even better question is how did he know I was there?

    He had to have followed me from the club. A vampire, perhaps like Mira’s playthings, but that would make sense. He did say he was a creature of the night. Part of me wanted to believe that, but my instincts were screaming that he was something more. I wasn’t thinking straight. A vampire would have bled from the wound, only a god could have taken damage like that without repercussions. Only a magically enchanted weapon could harm a god.

    I pulled into a parking lot at one of those all-night diners that truckers often frequent. There was a spot directly in front of the diner under a street light. Normally I’d find a place to stash my bike out of sight, but I should be able to see it from the counter. The motorcycle was a custom job that took more time and money than I care to admit. It tended to attract more attention than I was comfortable with.  

    The diner had a wrap-around bar with stools and a few tables scattered throughout the main floor. Overall the diner had seen better days, but those that frequented such establishments were usually not so picky. The place was mostly empty except for a trucker at the far end of the bar and a couple of old guys drinking coffee at a table.  I took a seat as far from them as I could get and ordered a coffee.

    Summoning Nemesis crossed my mind, but it felt like overkill to an odd encounter. Taking a deep breath I started a mental list of the things I needed to get done in order to relocate from France. I’d spent the last year tracking down and eliminating an underground sex-slave ring there. At least Discord causing chaos in America would give me something else to focus on for a bit.

    The little bell at the door chimed letting the waitress know a new occupant had entered the building. Normally I wouldn’t have even turned but the hairs on the back of my neck were at attention. The seat next to me moved. I cursed feeling his presence so close. I all but growled grinding my teeth together.

    “What do you want?” I asked putting as much distaste in my voice as I could muster. I forced myself to give him some intense eye contact and my breath caught at how attractive he was. His features were dark and brooding with a beard trimmed close to his face. His eyes were a piercing green I couldn’t look away from. I’d never found a man attractive before, up until now I’d never really noticed one in such detail.  I was embarrassed to realize that he was just staring back at me with the strangest look on his face.

    “My dark goddess,” it was a whisper through my head that was so light a sound I almost didn’t catch it, or maybe it was my imagination.

    “We need to talk,” Thrace said. He voice was a low, gravelly sound that stirred something inside of me.

    “We have nothing to discuss,” I said standing to leave.

    I turned to see two people loading my bike into the back of a truck. “Shit,” I said running for the door. I thought about chasing them on foot but decided against it. I grinned pulling out my phone and loaded the app that would give me GPS coordinates for my bike. The little map loaded on the screen showing my bike on the move. And I thought I was going to make it out of this city without having to bloody my hands.

    Thrace pulled his motorcycle up onto the sidewalk. “Need a lift?” It was his fault my motorcycle was stolen, to begin with. If he hadn’t distracted me, I would have been paying better attention. I shoved a foot into Thrace’s chest. It caught him off guard and set him off balance. He fell off his motorcycle and landed on his ass in the road.

    Before he had a chance to recover, I hopped on his bike and cranked it up. I spared him a look over my shoulder. He was just standing there with a stupid grin on his face. Seriously what is it going to take to piss this guy off? Maybe if I set his bike on fire when I’m done he will get the hint.  

    Thrace’s bike was heavier than mine, but I was able to get it balanced. I u-turned in the parking lot and accelerated straight for Thrace. I expected him to jump out of the way, but he disappeared an inch before I hit him. Definitely a god.