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Zeus followed Hades back to his room, breathing down his neck and leaving him with a brief but troubling threat. "You will never have Lexi. Just find yourself a mortal to fuck and do your fucking job."

Hades was tempted to slam the door in Z's face, but he held his temper, not wishing to wake the house. The room felt cold and unwelcome as he let his clothes fall to the floor, and when he slipped beneath the sheets of the bed, he immediately missed Lexi's warmth. Was she feeling the same about him?

After their rendezvous in the garage, Lexi said she had come undone. Had she been telling him, in her own way, that he had won her affection? Or, was it a case of highly charged emotions? He tended to have that effect on females.

On the one hand, the weekend had gone exactly as Hades had planned. While on the other, it had gone decisively wrong. His heart and emotions had been taken hostage, and they now resided with Lexi. It had been ages since he took up the post of caretaker of the dead, and he managed to woo just one. Persephone was the only goddess who didn't pass judgment on him. The only one who was willing to give up her rights to Olympus to share eternity in his world.

Of course, their romance was short-lived, as Demeter's grief could not be ignored, and Persephone was forced to return to Olympus, or the entire city would suffer. Since then, he had found other goddesses who were happy to take him to bed, but they laughed in his face if he proposed they stay with him. While his mind enjoyed playing with the idea of Lexi becoming his full-time companion in the underworld, he knew it was a long shot.

In many ways, Lexi reminded him of Persephone; her candid wit, her demand for righteousness, her seductive beauty. Lexi had all the markings of a mighty goddess and a venerable mate, but it seemed she would be lost to him once she took her place next to her father. A chuckle escaped as he remembered her appalled reaction to Z's suggestion that he would one day take her as a consort. Mortals did not carry on like the gods, taking siblings as mates and propagating with offspring. Hades admired humans for their simplicity in this regard.

If Lexi's gifts took ten more years to reach their potency, Hades would have plenty of time to court her. And, with the grace of Gaia, Z would assign Chromia as her guardian. Being the daughter of a nymph, Chromia was easily persuaded into mischief. Ultimately, there was little he could do but hope Lexi continued to stand up to Z and demand she be allowed to see Hades whenever he visited her world.

With a miserable sigh and a bitterness he could not rebuke, Hades turned to face the window, gazing out at the stars over the dark horizon and lamenting the loss of the sun even before he had made his journey home.

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