Lexi continued to peruse her list. "We also need to pick up a housewarming gift for Lisbon and Ink, and speak to Cassie about taking on the position as their house nymph."

"I thought the nymph was our housewarming gift," Hades said as he corralled Ely inside his arms.

"She is, but it's not like we can wrap her up and set her on the gift table. This is a formal housewarming party. Lisbon has been talking about statuary for their pomegranate grove. I wonder what Emanuel has in his showroom?"

Hades snorted his amusement, although he may have been reacting to his son's flailing arm. "Please, don't give them a statue of a minotaur. I believe the planting of the pomegranate grove was Ink's limit."

"Are you still on about that silly incident between Cole and Lisbon? Lisbon has not confessed anything to me apart from curious investigation. She is still fully committed to Ink, and I believe the feeling is mutual."

Lexi picked up her fork and ate the spanakopita meant for Ely. Her mind had veered off track again, distracting her with the council's current study of the bylaws. None had yet been adapted to reflect the new Olympus, the one that embraced all of its inhabitants as equals, and the incident with Lisbon and Cole had forced Lexi to consider the ramifications of a union between a god and a minotaur.

Hades set Ely down and the boy headed straight for the hedges again, but Hades made no effort to fetch him. His face had turned a shade paler, and Lexi didn't think it was from his half-eaten kleftiko. "If I ever learned of you engaging in such a practice, you cannot imagine how it would crush me. I want no other man, god, or beast to take pleasure in you, nor you in him."

Lexi shook her head before drinking deeply from her wine goblet. She adored this god who commanded kingdoms. He could be so helpless when it came to her affection. "You are letting your thoughts take you to places that don't serve you, my lord. I may have to punish you."

A lascivious grin spread across Hades' face as his skin flushed with color. "Do we have enough time for that? What does your list say?"

A plethora of scenarios ran through Lexi's head, each one involving Hades' mouth on some part of her body, but her thoughts were interrupted by Ely, who had slipped through the railing and between the hedge to charge into the park square. Hades had noticed the escape, but he chose to stare at Lexi instead of retrieving the boy. No doubt, he was engaged in the same erotic images she was. Lexi appreciated the fact that Hades wanted his offspring to be fearless, and the restaurant patio opened into the park for easy access, but Lexi wasn't about to let her inquisitive toddler go on a walkabout on his own.

"Hades. Do you mind fetching our son? You know he puts everything into his mouth."

"And, so far, he has learned to keep rocks and horse manure out of it."

Hades winked at Lexi, leaving her with a charming smile as he scaled the railing in one easy leap. This prompted Ely to squeal and trip over his feet. The next moment, Ely was tumbling in the grass and Hades was on all fours, giving chase. The picture could not have been painted more perfectly if Monet had captured it himself, and Lexi was swept into the joy of it, standing to lift Elm out of her chair so she could watch their antics.

Elm proceeded to giggle, and the breeze carried the sound of her laughter over the patio until everyone in the vicinity was laughing with her. Overhead, Lexi heard a bird join in the folly, and she was struck by the birdsong. It was one she had come to know well from her walks with Hades along the trail of souls.

Lexi glanced into the tree that sprawled over their table and caught sight of a chestnut brown bird with an orange breast, the likes of which she had never seen before. As with all the bird species in Olympus, none existed in the mortal world, but she thought she had seen every one. Yet there he was, singing Hades' favorite song, and Lexi stared pointedly at Hades as he wrestled with Ely. Whether or not Hades was aware his birds had come to join him in Olympus, Lexi did not think it mattered. What mattered was the reason they were with him now.

 ~FIN~

Greetings, my fellow Greek mythology fanatics. I want to thank you for your wonderful support of this series. Being an avid reader myself, I know how satisfying it is to come across a book you can't put down with characters you fall for. I never imagined this story would gain so many advocates, and I am grateful to Wattpad for giving me the resources to share it with youI have begun a new series following these same characters. The first book is already published on Wattpad and is titled THE FORGOTTEN WITCH. 

Kind regards,

M. Rider

 Rider

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