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First pages

1.

"Hey, Phro! A word?"

Aphrodite’s dangling her foot in a clear pond, her toes gently caressing a water lily. It prims up, petals immediately coloured with a pink blush. Athena walks out from around a tree, her curvaceous body clad in a tunic of the latest fashion, an inch above her knees, a very popular slit cut on her right thigh. She’s so fit, she doesn't need any magic for everyone to go randy around her. Seriously, how do they still call her the virgin goddess of wisdom?

Aphrodite sighs. She’s so bored!

"Phro, are you listening to me?"

Aphrodite turns her head and frowns at her mate. Thea helps her owl from off her shoulder, and lowers the sleepy bird on a branch of Aphrodite’s myrtle bush. She then sits on the grass and looks at the goddess of love attentively.

"You’re awfully chill for the current aggro." Athena’s voice is cautious.

Aphrodite’s twirling a mirror in her hands. She inspects her nose, and hums pleased with her freckles. They’re additionally adorable today.

“Why wouldn’t I be chill? And what aggro?"

She quickly thinks back at the latest news. Nothing to really concern her. Eros got pissed again, shot some old blighter in Lindos. That was hilarious. Zeus was cheesed off, but who can stay angry at the chubby berk with the bow? He’s such a poppet.

Hermes nicked Apollo's lyre again. And there’s some chat about Daphne and Hermes; but Phro had nothing to do with it. The daft kiddies have gotten into that barney themselves.

"Have I missed something?"

Thea bites into her plump bottom lip; and suddenly Phro feels very, very alarmed.

"C’mon, Thea, you are being dodgy! What is it?"

Thea puts her palm on Phro’s shoulder and sighs. "Dad announced it today at the staff meeting. He made his decision..."

Phro properly doesn't like the sound of it. Not liking it at all. She wasn’t at the meeting; she was fixing a cocked up marriage of a senator on Cyprus.

"He chose a husband for you, Aphrodite. I thought Hermes has already came to talk to you about it."

"What?!" Phro jumps to her feet. No bloody way in Hades! And then a scary thought comes. Oh no, please tell me, it's not Hades! Him and his Gothic make-up, all black, and that weird Scandinavian rock with barmy hollering in it that he listens to!

"I am not going to bloody like it, am I?" Phro asks. Judging by Thea's facial expression, she’s not.

Bugger, it is Hades. Even Apollo is better than Hades. He’s a ponce and such, but at least he’s got taste.

There’s still a chance it’s Ares. Yuck, he’s a bloody jock! All muscles and testosterone, blagh! Phro prefers sensitive blokes - the artistic type, the ones you can talk poetry to.

"It’s Hephaestus," Thea deadpans.

Sodding hell, Phro is fucked.

She plops on the grass and stares at Thea. The corners of her mouth are lowered mournfully.

"No, Thea, tell me you are taking the piss out of me here! Not him..." The war goddess sadly nods, and Phro flails her arms. "Is Zeus off his onion?! In what universe me and Hephaestus are a brill idea? The bloke is grotty!" Phro dramatically presses a hand to her forehead and groans.

"The limp!” she wails. “The manky clothes! Have you seen his chiton? It’s so last season. And he’s obsessed with his hammer!" Thea snorts. "Oh grow up, Thea! You’re supposedly the goddess of wisdom! Not that hammer!" Phro sits up, her eyes widened in panic. "Speaking of hammers, what if he… you know… small? I can't marry a bloke with a tiny pecker! I am the goddess of shag after all! What will people say?!"

Thea pats her shoulder. "He’s alright. He is tall and wide after all..."

Phro screws her eyes at her mate. "Are you telling me you don't know what's he like between the sheets? C’mon, Thea, I am not that dozy. Surely you have been there, you glorious trollop." Thea vigorously shakes her head. "Thea..." Phro’s tone is menacing.

"I swear to you, Phro, I have not. I'll tell you the whole story, but promise me, you'll never tell it to anybody else!" Aphrodite solemnly nods. Thea sighs. "I did go to him once, you know, to the forge. He threw me out." Aphrodite hikes up her eyebrows. "Literally. He grabbed me across my middle, and tossed me out. There was some giant washtub there. I reckon, they dunk the swords in it after forging. I landed in it. That pillock ruined my toga! And I had just had it made by my arachnes."

Phro’s gaping at her. That’s the most mental story she’s ever heard. No one says ‘no’ to Thea. Especially to Thea in her special togas. The arachnes know what they’re doing. An even more horrible thought comes to Aphrodite’s mind.

"He’s floppy, isn't he? That is what it’s about." Her voice’s bleak.

"No, I am certain, he’s not. A bit po-faced and Billy no-mates, but I'm sure..."

Aphrodite doesn’t let her finish. With a tragic sob she falls on the ground, all flowers immediately withering around her. A couple of dead birds fall off a tree; and Thea's owl isn't looking that well either.

Aphrodite’s hollering tragically, "I don't want to marry him! I want parties, roses, myrtle, my swans and sparrows, and doves!.."

Thea’s momentarily distracted from Phro’s hysterics. "What's with you and your bloody birds, Phro?"

"Oh bugger off, Thea! I love birds. They’re fluffy and cheery! Look at the latest thing I made!" Phro conjures a wren on her palm and pushes it under Thea’s nose. The war goddess is looking at the bird with suspicion, and Phro sniffs. "It's a wren, you barmpot! Look how cute it is! And look at this upturned arse! Such a fit bird, all other birds will be in love with it!"

Thea looks very doubtful, and Phro falls on the grass again. She’s sobbing, and Thea moves a bit closer.

"Seriously, Phro, he’s not that bad! Have you seen his chest and arms?"

That shushes Phro’s crying a bit. What about his chest and arms? She’s struggling to remember what he looks like exactly. After Hera threw him out of Olympus, no one has seen much of him. He’s dark, that much Aphrodite can recall. Tall, wide, and there was something strange about his eyes. Either they were of some mental colour, or one was different from another. Around that time she was so preoccupied with Adonis, the eyes of some limping geezer were the least of her concerns. He had manky clothes, that's for sure.

Phro sits up and wipes her eyes.

"I don't remember what he looked like..." And then she shakes her head sadly. "But you of all people should know, Thea, that looks aren't everything. The content of his noggin is more important." Judging by the fact that Thea’s suddenly preoccupied with her nails, she’s not that optimistic regarding Hephaestus' noggin. Neither is Phro. The bloke’s working his arse off in a forge all day. The two of them have zero in common.

Aphrodite decisively gets up and throws her ginger curls behind her shoulders. She’s not going to give up that easily! She’s an Olympian, not some chavvy goddess of biscuits, or something. She is beauty! She is love! She’s bloody Aphrodite! She’s not letting them marry her out to some uneducated, unsophisticated git, whose sacred animal is an ass!

She squares her shoulders and claps. The previously dead birds and flowers around her perk up; chirping and pleasant aromas fill the air; and she looks at Thea haughtily.

"I want to see Zeus. I need to talk to him. Surely, there’s some mistake, and someone in HR arsed up." Thea’s silent. "What?"

"It was Zeus' decision. He chose Hephaestus himself. And then all gods voted. Unanimously."

"What?!" It seems to be the word of the day. "Based on what sodding argument?"

"Pretty much all gods thought that you needed to marry someone… well… not so fit. To balance out how delicious you are." Thea gives her an apologetic butcher’s. "You know, you are all lush, and a sex kitten; so they thought it would sort of mellow you down. And Dad suggested Hephaestus." What the actual fuck? "And the smith agreed. They sent Hermes to him, and he said he would marry you."

"He said he would marry me?" Phro feels like all air has been knocked out of her. "Tell me the truth, Thea!" She slowly turns to the other goddess and pins her down with a burning glare. Thea squirms. "What exactly did the bloody smith say?"

Athena sighs and gives in to her fate.

"He said he would marry a horse if he were allowed to return to Olympus for that."

Phro grinds her teeth. A horse?! She will show him a horse! After she’s done with him, the story of her birth will seem like a cheery bedtime story in comparison! She conjures a cloak and wraps in it.

"Phro, where are you?..."

Aphrodite turns to Athena, and the war goddess shrinks away.

"I’m going to visit my dearest future hubby. I’m going to give him a chance to look his gift horse in the mouth, so to say." She flexed her fingers. She might not have Thea's spear, or Temmy's bow, but she can always just knock a few of his teeth out. Since they’re marrying her out to him for his mankiness, no one will care if he’s missing a couple of canines.

2.

Aphrodite attempts to majestically apparate in the middle of his forge, but she’s so cheesed off that her aim is bodged up - and she’s standing in the middle of a field in front of an old stone building, walls darkened, roof crooked. The grass below her feet is botchy, yellowish, and uncared for; and she notices a few stumps. Phro sees red. Bloody smith! Bloody fire! It kills and dries out everything around!

She shakes off her cloak and gets to work. A few nice fluid movements of her arms - and here are primroses showing their cute heads around. She twirls gracefully - and cedars make two proper rows on the sides of the alley, leading to the forge. She can already hear birds chirping inside the dark green branches.

"What in the name of Zeus Almighty are you doing?" a gruff angry voice behind her barks, and she turns on her heels. Yep, that is indubitably her future master and commander. Bloody fuck, he is large!

And Thea was right. Phro hates when Thea’s right. That is one glorious chest! And the arms. Which is rather easy to notice since he’s naked from the waist of his manky trousers up. Phro wrinkles her nose. Whatever his physique is, he’s wearing trousers, like a barbarian! And they are dirty. There’s soot, and oil, and coal on them. He’s holding a giant hammer in his hand. And he looks mad. Aphrodite jerks her chin up.

"What you should have done from the start. You’re killing the field around your forge with all this..." She vaguely gestures around his torso. Bloody hell, that is a delectable torso. Concentrate, chick! He compared you to a horse!

He draws dark thick eyebrows together.

"You are Aphrodite, aren't you?" He doesn't seem that happy. Or impressed. Hm, is there something on her face?

Usually they swoon and fall at her feet. More often than not, quite literally. No way in Hades he doesn't see how fit she is. It’s a new tunic too, hugs her in all right places; and the sandals are scandalously high. Also, when Thea found her, she was planning to take a bath, so her hair is pinned up, a few curls as if unintentionally run away, her glorious neck showing. How is he not whimpering on the ground from lust and longing?

And then he turns around and starts walking back to his grotty forge. What?! She’s standing like a pillock, and he’s just leaving! And here she thought she couldn’t get any more livid.

"Hey! Do not dare turning your back at me, smith!"

He throws her a dark look over his shoulder.

"I didn't call you here. If you want to talk, you'll have to do it inside." And he continues walking, heavily limping. Phro clenches her fists.

"I am not going inside your skanky forge. It’s dark, and dirty, and..." She makes a small disgusted noise. He halts, his shoulders visibly tense.

"Unlike you, lass, I have work to do." His voice is low and furious. "I don't have the luxury of just sitting and being pretty. I have weapons and jewellery to make. Unlike others, my responsibilities are not limited to letting others get randy over me."

That is when the first bird attacks him. Phro didn't even have to use much of her magic. They’re angry at him themselves. A small flock of swallows descends on his head; and he starts flailing his arms, the hammer swishing the air. Is he actually hoping to hit them? What a plonker. They’re vicious, pulling at his hair, pecking his naked shoulders and back; one of them grazes his cheek with its beak, and Aphrodite sees blood. She considers conjuring a nice chair and some sweets to enjoy the show in comfort.

He’s roaring and growling.

"Call off your darned birds, witch!" There’s a scratch on his other cheek now, and she should take pity. Or not.

"I’m not commanding them. They don’t like you on their own accord, smith."

Suddenly a column of fire shoots out of his hammer. The birds squeal and dash away from him.

"Call them off, or I'll enjoy them for dinner!" He’s glaring at her, his eyes burning, fists clenched. She starts laughing. He’s completely and utterly ridiculous.

And then she notices one swallow awkwardly thrashing on the ground. Its wing is charred; and she feels tears rolli onto her eyes. She dashes and picks up the bird from under his feet.

"You bloody brute!" she yells into his face, and he’s gawking at her in disbelief. "First, you deprive them of their home, and now this!" She pushes the small body trembling on her open palms under his long nose, and he jerks away.

"You are mental, aren't you? How did I not know you’re mental?" He’s breathing heavily and shakes his head.

She doesn’t bloody care about his opinion on her. She gently blows at the bird and then kisses its round head. The wing straightens up, feathers grow back; and it stirs. The swallow chirps, and takes to the air to follow its mates.

"They lived in the trees that you chopped off, you prat!" She’s standing so close to him now that she can finally remember what it was about his eyes that seemed memorable. They are blue, bright and icy, in a stark contrast to the thick lashes, almost black hair, and the beard. Yuck, beard. And now that she had a good look at him, she’s back to her initial opinion. Lithe and blond and smooth are so much better, than this… monstrosity. He’s covered in coarse dark hair - the chest, the forearms, even the stomach; beard unkempt, the lower border of it uneven, all his neck covered in stubble. The dark tangled strands fall on his shoulders, two thick braids on the sides of his face.

"Have you had a good look, goddess?" His tone is sarcastic, and she realizes she’s staring. Her face twists in a disgusted grimace.

"Unfortunately, yes." To look in his eyes she has to drop her head back. The crown of her hair doesn't reach his clavicles. She shudders. She'd rather die than have this in her bed.

He gives her a similar treatment. His eyes roam her body, and he doesn't seem pleased with what he sees. Whatever. His brows are drawn together, and he exhales. She takes a step back. He’s radiating heat, and it’s uncomfortable. No wonder the barmy future Italians call him Vulcan. It’s like sitting in a thermal spring, but not in a nice way.

"Talk, goddess." He suddenly sounds tired. "Give me your spiel, and let me go back to my forge."

She looks at him coldly and proudly.

"I came to tell you I do not wish you for my husband. Whatever scheme you had in your barmy mind, I am not going to be a part of it."

"Scheme?" He narrows his eyes.

"Yes." She needs to be firm. Bloody Hades, he’s intimidating now that he started taking sharp breaths in, and his massive chest is heaving. "The scheme of returning to Olympus. I am not helping you. I will not be your wife."

"Listen, birdie!" He suddenly grabs her upper arm, and she gasps. No one bloody grabs her! Firstly, she’s a goddess! No one ever thinks they can! And secondly, that usually leads to rather interesting results everyone is aware of.

Yep, apparently he forgot about the Girdle.

He sways, his eyes suddenly unfocused; low rumble erupts in his chest; and then he stares at her lips. Oops, really shouldn’t have stood so close to him. His hand is actually hurting her; and then he jerks her closer, and crushes his lips to hers. She squeaks and tries to batter him away.

Firstly, he’s hot. And not in the sense those barmy Corsicans with their slang use this word, as in ‘deliciously fit.’ His skin is actually scorching. She pressed her palms into his chest trying to push him away; and it’s like Pythia's tripod.

After the temperature, she finally notices other details. Such as that he tastes like black cardamon. And that his lips are very, very soft.

And also, he apparently knows what he’s doing. After the initial assault, when he caught her mouth and devoured it, he now switched to nips and licks; and then he catches her bottom lip between his warm ones; and her knees give in. His second hand lies on her lower back, palm splayed; the tips of his fingers suddenly brush the tops of her buttocks; and she whimpers. Was that a moan? Bugger, it was; and it came from her.

And then she knees him in the bollocks. He lets her go and bends in half. Yep, that should negate the effects of the Girdle. Quoting another ace ginger, let's call it ‘cognitive recalibration.’ He’s a man; their cognition resides exactly where it hurts at the moment.

He’s clutching his wedding vegetables, taking short breaths in. She cautiously takes a few steps away. Who knows what he'll do when he can move. Well, at least when he can breathe.

"Bitch..." Yep, that’s pretty much what she expected.

"Wanker."

She tries to shake the dirt off her tunic, but the soot is very sticky. She twirls and looks at her arse. Oh yeah, there’s a nice hand print there. She honestly doesn't remember when he moved that low. But let's face it, he’s good. Also, at some point his hand must have grazed over the Girdle under her tunic, and it surely spurred him. She can’t recall it, she was busy moaning and arching into him. Ugh, so embarrassing.

He finally straightens up, his face contorted in pain and rage, and he steps towards her. She jumps away.

"It was your fault! You grabbed me. There was no explicit consent! And how daft do you have to be to forget about the Girdle?! It can wake the desire in a rock!"

He freezes, and then it dawns on him. He’s a wee bit slow on the rise, isn't he?

"Bloody girdle… How could I forget? Made it myself..." He’s shaking his head and chuckles joylessly.

That catches her attention. He made it? Wow… It’s so beautiful! Her second favourite jewel. The intricacy of the decorations on the Girdle is mind-blowing! She discreetly strokes it on her hip through the tunic. She’s so used to the weight of it on her body; she never takes it off. Not that she had a chance to test it on a god before. The result did not disappoint. Oh wait, no, it was horrible! Simply horrible… Cursed brute…

He exhales, gathers his thoughts, and looks at her.

"Well, now that we sufficiently wounded each other, let's talk, goddess."

3.

"I am here to tell you that I will not be your wife, smith."

He cocks one eyesbrow. Ooph, that's wicked! The remnants of buzz from his snog make her body react to the gesture. Good thing she uses her brain for thinking, and not her fanny. And yes, she understands the irony.

"What is it with you, goddesses? You think everyone is dafter than you. I'm not deaf, I heard you the first time. But since you have no say in this matter, you’re just wasting my time." He gives her a derisive look. "Zeus offered, I agreed. End of the conversation."

"I am the goddess of love!" She stomps. "I do have a say in this!" He barks an obnoxious laugh. Sod his male sense of superiority!

"You are not the goddess of matrimony, little one." Oh, she so wants to claw his eyes out at the moment! He smirks even skankier. "I met her. Much better arse, to my taste."

This does it. She shortly wonders why they always forget that she, if one thinks of it, is one of the gaffers of the Pantheon. Do they really think she just dasses around all day?! The fact that she doesn't like violence does not mean she’s bloody incapable of it!

A glowing ball of her magic forms between her palms; she swirls it once and hurls it into his chest. She’s not trying to kill, wound, or maim him. Not too much, at least. But she is not amused.

His heavy body crosses the yard with a merry whistle, like a shot put, and slams into the wall of his forge with a very satisfying thump. She comes closer and gently kicks his leg. Mostly she’s holding back because she doesn't want any soot on her lovely sandals. They are silver, tiny straps hugging her calves just perfectly. Better arse, was it? Tosser.

He opens his eyes and smirks.

"I take it back. From this angle you are not that bad." The nerve in him!

"I am love personified, you wanker. There is no one better than me." She changes her mind and gives him a nice juicy kick into his hip. It’s rock hard. At least, he winced. "If you think I’m just a pretty face, you are cruelly mistaken, smith. I have a job just like any other god, and I’m doing it well. Just because you all think it is less important doesn't change the fact that without me you are all fucked." He blinks and seems to be actually listening. She’s not talking to him really; it's just sort of bottled up through centuries. "Your weapons, Ares' war, matrimony, politics, sciences - all that happens because of me. Because even if you think that the man rules the world, he himself is ruled by his cock and his heart.” She bends and fists her hand in front of his long nose. "And both are in my power."

She straightens up, and with a swoosh of her copper curls she apparates her fit self into Olympus. She has an aggro to settle with the man upstairs.

***

Zeus is in one of his sulky moods today. Shite. He’s sitting on a balcony, in a shape of an old man, all noble and grey-haired. Sort of kind grandpa wizard type of a sod. Git.

"Zeus Almighty is not accepting any visitors today..." His PA is mincing behind Aphrodite, but the goddess of love gives her a glare and strides towards him. The nymph scampers. He’s so shagging her. Yuck, Phro just hates the vibe she gets from the whole ‘May and December meet workplace harassment’ set up. Manky.

"Aphrodite!" He gets up from his bench, all poise and posh friendliness. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

Phro decides to skip pussyfooting.

"My liege, I just had a lovely chat with my future better half. It all went slightly higgledy-piggledy; and now I think you will have to find him another wifey. And perhaps, another spine."

Let's be fair, not a single muscle twitches on Zeus’ face. He gives her a soft, slightly condescending smile.

"True marriage is knowing not how to take offense, but when to forgive it. I am certain Hephaestus understands that you are just under a lot of stress. The excitement of the upcoming wedding, and such..."

"There will be no wedding!" she shrieks.

"Aphrodite, my dearest." His decorum wavers; he’s never been one for patience. Good, she needs him miffed. Men are easier to control when their trolley is sliding. "It is decided. It’s time you wed; and Hephaestus will be the perfect husband for you."

"Based on what? That he’s grotty?!"

"The more he will appreciate your beauty, child. And value your presence in his life." Phro snorts. Is she supposed to believe in this rubbish?

"He said that Hestia, your sister by the way, was fitter than me."

"No one is fitter than you, Aphrodite. And after some time he will see your wonderful mind behind the perfect looks as well."

"Is this how it is for you and your doxies?" Ooph, Phro is nippy today. Knowing that he was just thinking of the quickie that him and the slag of the PA had had on his throne doesn't improve Aphrodite’s mood either. Sometimes she hates her job. He suddenly becomes twice the size, a dark shadow spilling on the balcony.

"Enough! If I say that Hephaestus is your future husband, then your future husband he is!"

It’s time for Phro’s trump card.

"Very well. Then next time some cheeky Greek bird catches your eye, do not come to me for help! Let's see if Eros alone, with his poxy aim can help you out! Make sure he doesn't shoot a chair she’s sitting on. We don't want another Pygmalion. Let's see how you manage if your paramour is snogging a settee."

Oh yeah, point Aphrodite. He’s glaring at her, drumming his fingers on his staff. She’s keeping her regal dignity.

"Alright, Aphrodite, be it your way. Let's make a wager." Oh, not good. Careful, Aphrodite, it’s obviously a ‘twap.’

"I am listening," she draws out cautiously. He walks around the balcony, plotting.

"Spend ten days with him. Get to know him better. And then, if he’s still not to your taste, I'll let you choose your husband yourself."

"He is not to my taste, I can tell it to you now. Not only I can't stand him, but he’s also exiled from Olympus if you have forgotten. He lives on Earth, with mortals; he eats their food; he needs sleep. He bleeds!" Zeus cocks a brow at her knowledge. What? Did he think she didn't understand what Ambrosia deprivation does to a god? "Why do I have to spend ten days to figure out that I'd rather stop partaking Ambrosia myself than to marry him?"

"Because if you last ten days, you’re free of him. If not, if you run before the ten days are over, you will do as I say, and marry him that very day. He will be allowed back; and the Olympian Dozen will be complete again. Zeus's Twelve!" He giggles like an imbecile. Seriously? And this bloke is the father of gods and men? "And for those ten days you will leave your Girdle here."

"What?!" No way! She’s not taking it off!

"Oh, don't be vain, Aphrodite. You are still the fairest of them all. You will just have a wee bit less power over him. Makes sense if we want to test your determination. We don't want him to eat out of your hand and prostrate on the floor for a chance to kiss the hem of your tunic, do we?"

A shudder of disgust runs through her. The magic of the smith’s snogging has worn off, and also he said Hestia was fitter than her - so, now the thought of him touching her makes her cringe.

By the way, she had to change. The soot on her tunic from his grabby hands wouldn't come off. She should take it to Hestia; the slag should be able to come up with something. She’s good at cleaning and scrubbing. Better arse, my arse.

Aphrodite considers her options. Ten days, with that brute, on Earth. She won't need food and sleep obviously, but she will have to stay in his manky forge. She can always conjure herself a nice tent, with a bath, and a fountain, and a butterfly garden.

"And you will have to stay in his household, obviously. Otherwise, how is that anything but jolly hols for you? All play and no work make Aphrodite a spoilt girl." Zeus' voice is sing-song, and she shortly considers making his pecker go off line. Not forever - but maybe, just for a couple days. Or ten. But she should be smarter. She needs to play it right and get out of this aggro.

"Alright. And after I spend ten days in his household, and at the dawn of the eleventh day I leave his forge, I can choose myself a husband."

"Yes, we will organize a feast in the evening. And at the feast you will announce who is the lucky sod." There’s way too much sarcasm in his tone. Tosser.

"A god, a mortal, a centaur, a phaun, anybody?" She needs to make sure there are no loopholes in this wager.

"Any creature of your choice, as long as it is corporeal and capable of producing an offspring with you," Zeus answers firmly. She does want kids, by the way. She loves kids. It’s just that right now she needs to make sure those are not the sprogs of the lame smith they are talking about here.

"I will consider this wager and will come back with my answer," she responds in an even tone.

Zeus nods and dismisses her.

***

Aphrodite spends the night tossing and turning in her bed. She doesn’t require sleep, but she decides to have some rest before her Day One with the brute. This is the moniker he got in her head. Brute. Barbarian. Moron. Nutter. Grotty, grotty wanker.

She pushes a hand under her cheek and closes her eyes. She doesn’t doubt she can last ten days with the brute - but then what? Her choices are slim here. Apollo, who cares about his hair more than she does - and she does love her hair. Poseidon is weirdly into fish. Bacchus is perpetually bladdered. Ares... oh no, just yuck. All muscles and weapons; and then again, something tells her he’s all mouth and no trousers, no pun intended.

She tries to fight it, but her mind jumps to the smith's trousers. When he was pressing her into him, she got quite closely familiar with the content of the said trousers. And my oh my… Thea was right - Phro hates when Thea’s right - the build matters. Also, he does know what to do with the gifts he had been bestowed with. Phro angrily exhales and turns on the other side.

Tossing the thoughts of the surprising effect the smith’s had on her, she goes back to her scheming. She needs to be cold and calculative about it. She will compare physique; she will ask Thea who has slept with most of them; Phro needs one with good stamina. She is, after all, the goddess of sensuality. She’s properly looking forward to hands-on approach. And not just the ‘hands’ on - that she’s had more than enough. Her wrist is properly tired sometimes. And let’s face it, the size matters. That eliminates Hades from the race. And again, yuck, no. Pale, melancholic, barmy pets. Ugh.

She needs a man who can share her love for poetry, for music, for sunshine, and seaside. She misses sea these days; she misses her dolphins. When her ten day imprisonment is done, she will go to Cyprus and spend a whole month there. White sand, warm water, yum!


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Katya Kolmakov was born and raised in the turbulent post-Soviet Saint Petersburg, Russia, in a posh but whimsical family. Two Master's degrees; sixteen years of teaching languages, literature, and translation; and two tattoos later Katya lives in an odd rented house in Winnipeg, Canada, with her husband, her six year old, and a mad assortment of house plants. She grows vegetables in her garden; and writes, and draws in watercolours and China ink.

Q. Why do you write?
A.
It took me thirty somethings years, but I now know that that buzzing I've been hearing in my head since I was little is narration; and the voices in my head are characters demanding to be shared with readers. I write because I can't help it. And because that's how I learn, and grow, and have fun!
Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
I have a blog: kolmakov.ca, which can provide a reader with the links to my assorted media (Facebook, Fanfiction, Archive of Our Own; JukePop; DeviantArt; Instagram, etc.)
Q. What is the inspiration for the story?
A.
I was making pasta, and saw a drawing of a Greek goddess on the bottle of olive oil. By then, the couple described in the story had been my constant protagonists for a few years - and I decided dropping them into the world of Greek mythology would be fun.

Next in:
Romance
Bruin
It all started with an unexpected limousine…
GOLD FROM ETHER /novel/
The method of extracting gold from ether.
Healing Hearts
Will her abusive past stop her finding love?