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* Steam Warning *

Lexi was wrong. She had been able to sleep, and she drifted off to the memory of Hades making love to her rather than the dismal conversation she had with Zeus afterward. In fact, she wanted to wipe Zeus from her memory, but her throat clenched around a knot as she watched the sun rise through her balcony door. Her life was still a mess.

Why did Zeus have to be her father? This was a man she adored; who bounced her on his knee and threw her in the air to hysterical laughter. Now, he acted like a warden, putting limitations on her like he owned her. Hadn't she followed the formula set up by her parents and adhered to the rules laid down by her teachers? Hadn't she played fairly in every game she competed in? It should be her turn to make the rules for her life. Wasn't that what her glorious birthday weekend was supposed to be about?

Lexi climbed out of bed, determined to make the day count. She took a shower and styled her hair. She even put on makeup. Then she chose her favorite pair of comfy pants, made of ass-hugging gauze fabric that flared at the bottom. She paired it with the black crop top she'd bought at a trendy Boston boutique. The words printed on the shirt stated No Touchy, but the message was not meant for Hades. Maybe it would entice him, a flirty taunt to make him forget the names of his former lovers. Hopefully, there would be time for more romance before the weekend came to a close.

She padded barefoot down the stairs with her laundry basket under her arm, blowing past the dining room door where she heard the chatter of guests enjoying breakfast. She ignored them and the smell of freshly-baked croissants, pretending it was just another day at the Maxwell estate as she headed for the laundry room.

After tucking her bras into a garment bag and setting the washing machine to delicate, she stared out the French door that led to the croquet lawn. The place where she had her big win. That was fun, especially seeing the look on Zeus's face when he had to settle for runner-up. Would she have enjoyed the win more if she had known his true identity then? Probably.

Lexi's nerves pricked, and she sensed a presence just before a pairof hands slid around her waist. She knew it was Hades by his scent, and in aspontaneous move, she grabbed one of his arms, using it as leverage to spinaround and twist it behind his back. The fact that he never resisted made the maneuver easier than it should have been.

"We need to work on your reflexes," she said. "I could have had my way with you before you had a chance to fight me off."

"Who says I would have fought you off?"

Lexi released his arm, and he quickly pulled her in for a kiss, paying no heed to the warning on her shirt. She responded in kind, opening her mouth so he could reach her tongue. Blood rushed to her groin, which immediately started to throb, and when she pressed her body against him, she discovered he was throbbing in the same place. The fact that he could have her engine revved in a matter of seconds offered more proof she was falling hard, which would only lead her down the road to heartbreak if Zeus had his way.

Had Lexi's brain been on vacation all weekend? Did she really think she could survive a three-day love affair with this perfect specimen of a man and not have her feelings crushed to dust by the end of it? She reluctantly pulled away, shaking her head as she backed into the door. "Dammit, Hades. Why does this have to be so hard?"

He looked down at his crotch. "Oh, you noticed."

"Be serious. You know what I'm talking about. How are we going to keep this up? And, believe me, I'd lie through my teeth to keep our affair a secret. But really, how?"

"I'm working on a couple of ideas. But first, can we talk about how amazing you are and how horny you make me?" He reached for her hips, using them to pull her back towards him. His touch felt like a branding iron as he staked his claim on her. And she wanted to be claimed by him, but there were so many hurdles to scale. Hurdles that disappeared once Hades found her lips again to continue his onslaught of tongue versus tongue, triggering the ache between her legs. She rode the wave until she felt herself getting wet. How did he do that?

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