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Neon Gods: Chapter 9


I’m wrong about Persephone. Every time I push her, test her, see if this will be the thing to send her scurrying home to the upper city, she steps to the line. But it’s more than that. I think going around with each other excites her as much as it does me. Every time her lips curve and she embodies a human-shaped sunbeam, I know things are about to get interesting.

And now?

I have no words to describe what I’m feeling now, not with her naked in my home, her tanned skin flush with desire for my touch. I skate my hand over her stomach, hating her mother and the rest of the upper city for creating circumstances where this woman is so focused on surviving and getting out that she ignores her body’s needs. She’s too thin. Not breakable, exactly, but she as much as admitted that she doesn’t take care of herself the way she should.

“Hades.” Persephone presses back against me, leaning her head against my shoulder, giving herself to me entirely. “Please.”

As if I could stop now, even if I wanted to. We’re on this road to the Underworld together, well past the point of no return. I don’t waste any more time. I cup her pussy, and I can’t help my growl when I find her wet and wanting. “You enjoy these games. Enjoy being on display.”

She nods. “I already said I did.”

I concentrate on moving slowly, because the alternative is to fall on her like a starving creature and undo all the fragile trust I’ve built. She’s soft and wet and hot as fuck. I work two fingers into her and she lets loose the most delicious whimpering sound and clamps around me. I explore her slowly, looking for that spot that will make her go molten, but it’s not enough. I need to see her. See all of her.


I reach down with my free hand and hook her thigh, lifting it and spreading her wide to give me better access. Putting her on display for an audience of none. I’ve always liked to play publicly, and I can’t deny how intensely I anticipate claiming her like this in front of a crowded room. Her response tonight indicates that she’ll get off on it just as hard as I will.

I stroke her clit with my thumb, experimenting until I find the right motion that has her whole body going tight. I lean down until my lips brush her ear. “Tomorrow night, this room will be filled with people. Everyone showing up to get a look at your pretty pussy, to hear how sweetly I can make you come.”

“Oh, gods.”

“Will you put on a good show for them, Persephone?” I can’t help dragging my mouth along her neck. It’s like the realization that I can touch her however I want, that she’s dancing on the edge of orgasm, that she wants more… It’s finally hitting me. This woman is mine, even if it’s only for a few months. It’s heady knowledge.

“Hades, please.”

I go still, and she tries to roll her hips to keep fucking my fingers. That earns her a nip on her shoulder. “Please what? Be explicit.”

“Make me come.” Her inhale is ragged. “Kiss me. Fuck me. Just don’t stop.”

“I won’t stop.” My words come out as a growl, but I don’t give a damn. I kiss Persephone and resume driving her toward orgasm. She still tastes like summertime. I want to wrap her up and keep her safe. I want to fuck her until all her masks shatter and she cries as she comes around my cock.


As much as I intended to draw this moment out, we’re both dancing on the edge of control. I press the heel of my hand against her clit, giving her that extra bit of friction. She moans, breathy and low, and I’d give anything to hear her make that sound again. To know that I’m the one causing it. “Let go. I’ve got you.” I move back to her neck, kissing her as she writhes against me. Her breath comes in harsh pants and then she tips over the edge, her pussy clamping around my fingers as she orgasms.

I gentle my touch, towing her back to earth even as I lift my head. Persephone shivers in my arms, leaning against me and letting me carry her weight in a way that indicates a trust I don’t deserve. I ease her leg back down, but I can’t quite help kissing her neck one last time. We haven’t even had sex and I’m already craving the feeling of her in my arms, her taste on my tongue, with a desire bordering on frenzy.

I have to close my eyes for several long moments to fight down the impulse to lay her down on this dais and fuck her now. The reasons why I shouldn’t feel flimsy as spiderwebs, easy enough to tear through without a second thought.

Not yet.

It takes effort to lock myself down, to retreat behind the cold mask that usually feels more natural than my actual self. I shift back from Persephone, keeping a hand on her hip in case she wobbles. She doesn’t. Naturally.

I ignore her questioning look as she turns to face me. I can barely look at her for fear that the need coursing through me will take control, so I scoop up the discarded dress and drag it over her head. She gives a muffled curse but manages to get her arms in the proper place and pull it the rest of the way down her body. It was a tantalizing tease even before I knew everything that lay beneath it. Now I have to concentrate to keep myself on task. It would be so easy to fall into this woman and spend the rest of the night learning what I can do to draw those delicious whimpers from her lips. To memorize the taste and feel of her until I’m imprinted on her skin.

Impossible. If I give an inch, Persephone will run a mile with it. I may not know her well, but I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt. This woman is no blushing princess in a tower. She’s a goddamn shark, and she’ll attempt to top from the bottom if given half a chance.

My reputation, my power, my ability to protect the people in the lower city, they all depend on me being the biggest, baddest motherfucker this side of the River Styx. That reputation is the reason I don’t have to bloody my hands; everyone is too scared to test me.

If a pretty upper-city socialite starts leading me around by the cock, that will jeopardize everything I’ve spent my entire life fighting for.

I can’t allow it.

I scoop her into my arms. For such a big personality, she feels so small when I hold her like this. That sends protective instincts I thought nonexistent rising to the surface. With each step toward the door, it’s easier to ignore my body’s demand for her. I have a plan, and I’m sticking to it. End of story.

Persephone leans her head against my shoulder and looks up at me. “Hades?”

I sense the trap, but I couldn’t ignore this woman if I wanted to. “Yeah?”

“I know you have this plan for tonight and tomorrow.”

“Mm-hmm.” I open the door and pause to ensure it’s closed firmly behind us. Then I start down the hallway in the direction of the stairs. Five minutes and we’ll be back in her room so I can get a little distance between us.

She runs her hand up my chest to lightly hook my neck. “I meant it when I said I wanted to have sex with you.”

I almost miss a step. Almost. It takes everything I have not to look at her. If I do, we’ll be fucking in the middle of this hallway. “That so?”

“Yes.” She strokes the sensitive skin at the nape of my neck. “The orgasm was nice, really nice, but don’t you think we should have a trial run before you fuck me in front of a room full of people?”

The little vixen. She knows exactly what she’s doing. I reach the stairs and concentrate on moving swiftly but not so swiftly it could be termed running.

Persephone keeps up that light stroking that has me feeling like I’m about to come out of my skin. “I suppose there’s your plan to consider. You seem like a man who likes a plan, and I can respect that.” She cuddles closer and rubs her cheek against my chest. “How about a compromise? Why don’t you reassure yourself that I am, in fact, just as fine as I told you I was, and then I’ll suck your cock?”

I don’t answer until I reach her room and we’re inside. Then I sit her on the bed and tangle my fingers in her silky hair. The way her lips part when I wrap it around my fist has me fighting not to growl again. “Persephone.” I give her hair another tug. “It strikes me that you’re used to getting your way.”

She’s watching me like she expects me to pull my cock out and fuck her mouth until we’re both undone. She arches her back a little. “Only in some arenas.”

“Mmmm.” One last tug and I force myself to stop touching her. I cannot lose control now, or I’ll never gain it back. If I was just another man, I wouldn’t hesitate to accept everything she’s offering. But I’m not just another man. I’m Hades. “I have a word you’d do well to get used to.”

Her brows pull together. “What word?”

“No.” It takes more effort than I’ll ever admit to turn away from a rumpled Persephone sitting on her bed and walk into the bathroom. The distance does nothing to help. This woman is in my blood. I dig through the cabinet under the sink for the first aid kit. We keep them in every bathroom in the house. I’m not technically at war with anyone, but my line of business means that sometimes my people are dealing with unexpected injuries. Like gunshot wounds.

I half expect to find Persephone ready to mount her next seduction when I return to the room, but she’s sitting primly where I left her. She’s even managed to smooth her hair a bit, though the flush in her skin betrays her. Desire or anger, or some combination of both.

I go to one knee beside the bed and shoot her a look. “Behave.”

“Yes, Sir.” The words are sugary sweet and poisonous enough to knock me on my ass if I wasn’t expecting it.

I’ve never kept a submissive. I prefer to confine things to the playroom and to individual scenes, even if there are repeat partners. The only rule is that it stops the second the scene ends. This is something else, and I’m not prepared for the conflicting feelings that twist through my chest as I unwrap Persephone’s feet and examine them. They’re healing well, but they’re still a mess. That sprint through the upper city truly did come close to maiming her. Not to mention that she was dangerously close to hypothermia by the time she made it to me. Much longer out in the night and she might have done irreparable damage to herself.

She might have fucking died.

I’d hope Zeus’s men would have stepped in at that point, but I have no faith when it comes to Zeus. He’s just as likely to let her run herself to death to punish her for the act of fleeing him as he is to sweep in and haul her back to his side.

“Why didn’t you call a cab when you left the event?” I don’t intend to voice the question, but it lands in the space between us all the same.

“I wanted to think, and I do that better on the move.” She shifts a little as I spread Neosporin on the worst of the wounds. “I had a lot to think about last night.”


She tenses. “It’s not stupid. By the time I realized that I was being pursued, I was being herded to the river, and then it just…” Persephone lifts a hand and lets it fall. “I couldn’t go back. I won’t go back.”

I should let it stand at that, but I can’t seem to keep my mouth shut around this woman. “Hurting yourself when they cross you doesn’t do a damn thing to them. If anything, it’s what they want. You treat your body like it’s the enemy; it makes you too weak to fight them.”

Persephone huffs out a breath. “You act like I’m committing self-harm or something. Yes, sometimes I put my body’s needs on the back burner because of stress or dealing with all the various bullshit being one of Demeter’s daughters entails, but I’m not doing it to hurt myself.”

Once I’m satisfied that I’ve got the ointment on every cut, I begin the process of wrapping her feet in bandages again. “You only get one body, and you’re a shitty custodian of yours.”

“You’re taking a tiny injury really personally.”

Maybe I am, but the way she insists on downplaying the danger she was in aggravates me in the extreme. It means she’s done it before, often enough for it to be barely worth mentioning. It means she’ll do it again if given half a chance. “If you can’t be trusted to take care of your body, then I’m going to do it for you.”

The silence stretches on so long that I finally look up to find her staring at me with her mouth in a perfect O. She finally gives herself a shake. “It’s a nice thought, I suppose, but hardly necessary. I might have agreed to sex—and happily—but I did not agree to you signing on as the world’s crankiest babysitter. Are you planning on feeding me by spoon, too?” She laughs brightly. “Don’t be absurd.”

Her dismissal rankles more than it has a right to. Not because she’s attempting to deny me. No, there’s something brittle beneath her feigned amusement. Has anyone ever truly taken care of Persephone? It’s not my business. I should get up and leave the room and leave her until the required public scenes.

To do anything else invites the kind of ruin a man like me might not recover from.


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