Authors: Ella Norris
Tags: #fantasy, #steamy, #fates, #chocolate addiction, #humour adult, #witty and charming, #mythology and romance, #mythology and magical creatrues, #fun and flirty
Riley's mouth quirked up a little on one
side, "What religion does this dish represent?" he asked, pointing
to the fifth and empty candy dish.
I looked at the forgotten empty dish,
Riley frowned, obviously not getting my
"You know, it only exists because you believe
it does, and the dish is empty so…"
Riley continued to look stoic.
I sighed heavily. "Nothing is worse than
having to explain a joke. Look, it doesn't matter. I'd have to have
a hell of lot more candy dishes and table space to represent all
the different beliefs. Sheesh, you really know how to ruin a
perfectly good lesson."
"You forgot an important point."
I started removing ingredients from the candy
dishes and adding the dough, pecans and chocolate chips back into
the mixing bowl.
"Please, do tell, Professor Riley."
"I liked Uncle. I have never had a niece," he
"Okay, Uncle," I said, not -I repeat, not-
feeling lonely for him.
"The reason Mrs. Crowell will never see the
River Styx is because she believes in the Pearly Gates. This is why
Hades is so… short tempered. Not many believe in him anymore, which
limits his power."
I folded pecans into my dough. "So, because I
really got into Greek mythology in my two years of high school
Latin class, and I've never read the Bible, I get Hades and Mrs.
Crowell gets George Burns?"
"I guess Buddha was the one to get it
"They all got it right," Riley said.
"If you say so," I said, not really wanting
to think about it anymore. My brain was starting to feel heavy, and
I didn't think it could handle anything else at the moment.
I pulled out my favorite cookie sheet and
started spooning cookie dough onto it. Riley quietly watched. I
finished, put the sheet into the oven and grabbed two large spoons,
scooping out a spoonful of dough for each of us.
“Do you like cookie dough?” I asked.
“Never had it. I’m not one for sweets.”
"Eat this. It's a family custom," I said.
Riley, looking doubtful, put the entire
spoonful in his mouth at once, swallowing instantly.
I shook my head in disappointment.
"Obviously, you're from my Daddy's side of the family tree. Even my
mama knew how to savor." I handed him another spoonful. "Let's try
this again. Take just a little taste, close your eyes and let it
melt on your tongue."
Riley took a smaller bite and closed his
eyes, opening them at the same time his mouth curved into a slow
"Ha. You have just evolved," I said, savoring
my own spoonful of cookie dough, evolving a little myself.
Three, maybe five cookies later -you should never count cookie
consumption, it ruins the chocolate high- Riley and I had finished
baking and put away the rest of the cookies.
"Thank you for the cookies, niece," Riley
said, ruffling my hair.
"You may be taking this Uncle thing a little
too far," I said.
Riley grinned. "It’s fun. I don't usually do
fun. We get in some good practical jokes on the souls we collect
from time to time, and we have a betting pool on various situations
that usually result in a good laugh or two, plus I guess back when
I was lopping off heads, it could have been categorized as fun,
but… this is different." He looked puzzled as he ran his hand
through his hair and shifted his glasses. "I haven't laughed this
much in centuries. I had heard accounts of familial bonds, but
always with a dark consequence- unwanted, unending responsibility.
I didn't know I would feel so light-hearted, though I wouldn't
categorize my feelings as light-hearted when you were baiting
Hades. I think I was more concerned for your safety than I was my
own. I'm not sure what I would have done if Persephone hadn't
I was choosing to ignore the lopping off
heads comment, at least until a later date. "I was not baiting
Hades, I was being honest."
"Honesty is not always the best policy."
I rolled my eyes. I was not going to get into
this conversation again. I glanced at the wall clock- 6:15 a.m.
Damn, no wonder I was so tired. I was trying to function on less
than an hour of sleep, and that's if you counted the time I had
been dead. I sat down in my orange chair and swiveled, stopping in
front of Riley, who was sitting on the couch. He was leaning
forward with his elbows on his knees, hands forming a steeple, with
his chin resting on the tips of his fingers. The look in his eyes
was intense, maybe even a little cold. I had to wonder if the guy
"What now?" I said, a little embarrassed by
the whine I heard in my voice.
"We go meet your trainer," he said, standing
"Don't you think it's a little bit early?
Wouldn't it be wiser to get a little sleep and do a meet and greet
later when we're rested?"
"No," was all he said, stepping in front of
He was holding out his hand. My stomach
muscles tightened at the sight of that hand. I absolutely did not
want to take it.
"I don't want to do the beam me up Scotty
thing again. It hurt worse the second time, so I can only assume
it's going to hurt even more this time. If you want to drive, I'm
more than willing- otherwise you'll have to go without me."
"Driving isn't an option."
"Why the hell not?"
"Bartholomew lives in San Francisco."
"We can find someone else, someone local," I
said, slowly turning my chair away from him for a quick escape.
Riley stepped forward, halting the chair's
movement with his knee. "There is no one else."
I kicked out at his knee, swiveled the chair
and jumped up, running for the bedroom door.
Riley caught me and threw me over his
shoulder, laughing. "I can't believe you kicked me- very spunky.
You should have gone for the other door though. You wouldn't have
made it, but it was the better option."
I pounded on his back. "I'm not going. Put me
He grabbed my waist, I think to put me down,
but he was still laughing and his hands slid over my ribs which
happen to be my most ticklish spot. I squealed, trying to squirm
out of Riley’s arms while he laughed harder.
This is how Bo Kelley found us when he opened
my front door, thinking the squeal he heard was a scream, and he
was coming to my rescue.
"Myra!" he yelled, barreling into the
Riley turned toward Bo as he put me down on
the floor in front of him. I don't know about Riley, but my mouth
was still open wide in a smile. Well, until I watched Bo's eyes
travel from Riley, whose hands were still on either side of my
waist, to me, and his expression changed from one of worry to
I was not going to feel bad about this. Bo
was not my boyfriend. I had adamantly and often told him to back
off and leave me alone. I had nothing to feel guilty about. So what
if he looked like he'd just been stabbed in the back? It was
nobody's fault but his own. In fact, I so very much didn't care how
he felt, I was about to drive the knife a little deeper.
"Bo, what a surprise. This is Riley my
"Uncle, on her daddy's side, Riley Collier,"
Riley said, leaning over me to shake Bo's hand. "Just got into
town. Sort of surprised our little Myra Jane, but you know how
sweet and accommodating she is. Right away, she offered to let me
stay for a while, until I found my own place."
Bo limply shook Riley's hand but otherwise
Riley just kept on, drawing out his vowels
and inserting a twang that spoke of the Deep South. "The way you
came barging through the door, I guess you figured Myra Jane was in
some kinda trouble. Sorry bout that, I haven't seen her since she
was knee high to a tadpole, and what can I say, I got a little
exuberant in my display of affection." He wiggled his fingers over
my side, making me dance away from him with a giggle. "She has
always had that tickle spot."
Bastard. He took away my chance to finally be
rid of Bo. All he had to do was keep his mouth shut and let me
introduce him as my boyfriend.
Bo put his hands in his pockets, rocked once
forward and back. "Myra, could I please speak with you in private?"
he asked, his usual deep voice, soft and quiet.
I elbowed Riley in the gut, smiled at Bo and
walked into the kitchen.
"This isn't exactly private," Bo said,
looking behind him at Riley, who was now sitting in my orange
chair, leaning back with one of my romance novels opened inches
from his face.
"Maybe we could go to your bed-"
"We're not going to my bedroom," I said.
Suddenly, Bo's pensive frown turned into a
huge smile, making his eyes crinkle adorably at the corners. "You
didn't have a problem with me being in your bedroom last
"That was a moment of madness, brought on by
Andrew Lloyd Webber and copious amounts of alcohol."
Bo stepped forward, crowding me toward the
edge of the sink. "Phantom of the Opera and two glasses of wine are
hardly precursors to madness, if that's what you want to call what
we experienced last night."
"I was vulnerable from the movie- you know
how I feel about musicals. Plus, I was drunk and not aware of my
Bo's smile only got wider. "You weren't even
tipsy, and I'm not sure vulnerable is the right word to describe
what you were feeling when you straddled my lap and started
unbuttoning my shirt."
He was right of course. I was not feeling
vulnerable last night. Tortured heroes and red wine had nothing to
do with what I had been feeling.
The truth was I had been fighting my
attraction to Bo for months now. At first, I didn't really think
much about him. Yeah, he was kind of attractive. Okay, okay, he was
more than kind of attractive. Hell, half the town called him their
He could have garnered the nickname because
he was the head coach of the Dempsey High School football team, the
Titans, but I was pretty sure it had more to do with his wavy blond
hair, blue eyes, high cheek bones and full mouth. He was beautiful,
and as an added bonus, he had charm, confidence, and a body that
made even Mrs. McNealy, the eighty-two-year-old citizenship
teacher, crane her neck to do a double take every time he passed
her in the hall. I had seen many beautiful men in my lifetime. My
mama was no slouch, and she had standards -well, as far as looks go
I had always been immune to the men who
strutted through my mama's and, consequently, my life. The problem
with Bo… well, there were actually two problems with Bo. First, he
was a good guy. Assholes, liars, drunks, thieves, etc- these types
of guys I knew how to deal with. I didn’t really have much
experience with good guys. Obviously.
The second problem was that Bo was smart,
patient, aggressive, and, worst of all, a planner. Along with
coaching football, he taught history and economics. He knew
strategy. He made a plan and then followed it, plodding along, no
matter what, until he reached his goal.
What kind of defense can a person have
against someone like that? I did all the usual things I had done in
the past. I was sarcastic, unfriendly, short tempered,
unresponsive, hell I've been at my bitchiest for eight months, and
through it all, Bo just smiled and continued his campaign.
And then, last night, I gave in. I don't know
what happened. One moment I was watching Phantom of the Opera,
crying as Raul sees the black ribbon wrapped rose left on
Christine's grave, and the next, I was crawling up Bo's massive
chest doing my damnedest to remove his shirt. I don't even remember
how we got to the bed, where my shirt went or who removed it. I
just know that we were two buttons and a zipper away from doing
something I swore I'd never do again. Luckily, Bo's phone rang with
the song Back That Thang Up, blaring into my lust filled mind. I
quickly came to my senses and backed my thang up and out the door.
Bo joined me in the living room a few minutes later, apologizing
and laughing, going on about football players, phone theft,
practical jokes and poor timing, while I grabbed a sweater off the
hook by the door and sat wrapped in wool and silence until he
I held my hand up to stop whatever agenda he
was working at. "Look, it was a mistake. I don't know what got into
me last night but it was a one-time thing. I told you when I agreed
to watch movies on Friday nights that you were wasting your time
with me and five minutes of lust doesn't change anything.”
Bo pushed his body into mine. He was much
taller than I -another reason I thought he was all wrong for me-
but he bent his mouth to my ear with ease. "It was not five
minutes, and it changed everything." He nipped my ear lobe and then
whispered, his breath caressing the curve of my ear, "You want me
as much as I want you."
I started to shake my head, but Bo stopped
me, wrapping both his hands around me, one at the nape of my neck,
the other cradling my jaw and cheek.
He laid his head against mine. "No, Myra. No
more games," he said, before he covered my mouth with his.
His lips were so soft, yet his kiss was hard
and as his mouth overtook mine, I tasted desire, satisfaction and
need. I didn't want him to stop. I never wanted him to stop. He was
right, I desperately wanted him-his mouth, his hands, all of him.
My body sang with want for him. So it was not surprising that it
was Bo who pulled away, Bo who had the strength to stop the kiss.
"Is he really your uncle?" he asked, placing tiny butterfly kisses
on my neck.
I was still burning from his original kiss,
and it took me a minute to catch up and realize what he asked.
"Yes, on my father's side," I said, though I
should have said something different. I should have lied to save
myself from Bo, not lied to save Bo from me. I shouldn't have cared
if he got hurt. I should have welcomed the opportunity to finally
end his pursuit.