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"Show yourself, Poseidon! We need to talk about your idiotic brothers!" Lexi shouted even though her voice was raw from all the shouting she'd done. And that arrogant god of the sea still had not responded.

Which one of her fake friends would he turn out to be? Richard from Malibu? He always had a dark tan. Or was he Philip, the lawyer from South Africa? Would she be serving him stuffed celery and craft beer at their annual Halloween party? Fuck that.

"Just because I'm human doesn't mean you can treat me like shit! Coward!"

A wave slapped Lexi in the chest, but she didn't care. She was already drenched. If Poseidon was really punishing her for her profanity, he needed to step up his game. "Is that the best you can do!" she yelled. "What kind of god are you? Too weak to stand up and fight?"

A moment later, a voice yelled back. "If my brother had wanted to fight, you would not be standing. You would be floating, face down."

Luke approached Lexi as she backed out of the water and retreated further down the beach. "I told you I want to be alone," she growled.

"And I was leaving you alone, until I heard you cursing Poseidon. That's when I decided to stop you before the waves pulled you under to teach you a lesson. I may be in charge of the dead, but I cannot bring them back to life."

"What do you care, anyway? You're just like the others. Big fat liars with egos the size of...of...Uncle Z's head. Did you really believe I would see this stupid endowment as a gift? Worst birthday ever!"

Lexi's throat clenched and her voice gave up. She turned her back on Luke and hurried to put more distance between them. Despite the tears she'd already wasted on him and everyone else who had screwed her over, she cried openly, letting the wind carry her sobs out to sea. She couldn't think straight, and her body had begun to shake from the biting wind. But she refused to stop walking until she was good and ready.

She also refused to find out if Luke was following her. She didn't care. What comfort could he offer? Comfort didn't seem like a skill the god of the underworld would be good at, although Luke had done a decent job, so far. How much of his story was a lie? Did he really counsel the dying or were they already dead when he talked to them? And what about Persephone? Was he still married to her? Did she know he was up here giving people their first kiss?

Lexi passed the outcropping of rocks where Will the clod acted like an idiotic moron. Why did men have to be such buttheads? James didn't seem like a butthead, but Lexi hadn't challenged his ego yet. Maybe she would put him through his paces tomorrow to see if he was worth a call to Oxford. Yes. That was how she would handle every man who tried to charm their way into her heart. Test their ego for buttheadedness then show them the door if they failed.

Lexi stopped her determined marching to take a few deep breaths. She was walking into the wind, which made it difficult to maintain her angry pace, a term Dion made up to describe her tantrums. Damn that Dion. Was he getting off the hook because he was a man? Was this a gender issue? Her stomach lurched at the injustice of it all. How could they lead her on then pull the rug out from under her? This was her own flesh and blood. If she couldn't trust them, who could she trust?

"Lexi." Luke's voice sounded distant, but she knew he was right behind her.

Wiping the tears off her cheeks, she turned around to glare at him. Although the wind had her hair flying in every direction, she had no trouble seeing into those beautiful amber eyes. They enchanted her, angered her, aroused her. Lexi knew nothing about this man. This god, other than what she had read in books. How accurate were the stories? Was this even his true form?

"I don't know what to say to you, Luke. I'm confused, and my body is spent."

"We don't have to talk, but will you let me walk you back to the estate? Your family is worried."

He extended his arm, leaving it there while Lexi deliberated. Did she want to endure the torture of having Luke close, still longing to taste him even after his deception? Her heart had been mutilated, and yet her lust was strong. Was he luring her with his godly powers, or was she responding to her own body's signals?

Too tired and upset to care, Lexi nodded her surrender, but she ignored Luke's outstretched hand and used her last reserves to propel her body forward. It wasn't until they were nearly at the path that her legs decided to clock out for the day, and she stumbled against him. Without hesitation, Luke lifted her into his arms and continued on.

She buried her face in his neck, breathing him in and listening to the rhythm of his pulse as it throbbed against her cheek. He felt human, but she knew that was a lie. Luke had never been human, and all she had to go on were stories about the gods behaving badly, too self-absorbed to care about a mere mortal's feelings. If only Lexi could hear his thoughts, maybe she would know if his kindness came from the heart of a compassionate human or a selfish god playing a role just to get his way.


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