Zaren had been in love with Venus since she’d turned fifteen. He’d cared for her much longer . . . as a friend, a Formytian and his queen-to-be. Given his station in life, there’d never been any hope for more. He’d accepted his lot and loved her from a distance. Now they were on Earth. Everything had changed.

Venus had released him from his vow, as her eternal guardian, which meant he could pursue her as a potential suitor. There was still the issue of Palmo. Joining the countries had been a desire of his king and queen for many years. Zaren knew Venus would abide her duty and marry him. On their planet, love hadn’t meant anything to her. Of paramount importance to her were the needs of the people. They mattered most. Her honor ranked highly as one of many traits he loved about Venus. 

On this foreign planet, she’d been experiencing real feelings. Sure they were over the top, more than normal, but that she felt at all, filled him with happiness. He’d wanted her to understand what she’d been missing. Zaren wished to give her all of the love, pleasure and joy she deserved.

He knew there was affection between them. Zaren also knew she wasn’t sure what that meant, especially since she harbored feelings for the human, too. He wanted her to realize the beauty of love and everything the word meant. 

Turning her on, but resisting the urge to kiss her lips, as she so clearly craved, had taken all of his effort. It was possible, though, because he wanted their first kiss to be when she had control over her physical desires, when she really wanted only him. He’d wait for that day.

Venus watched his face, intently.

Right now his greatest desire was to share the most beautiful love story—ever. The account of the Gods, Ith and Aetha, and how they came to be together. Allowing her to experience the way their love began, and grew even now, would help her understand the exquisiteness of finding and loving your soul mate. And someday, perhaps he and Venus could find that same splendor with each other.  

“Lie back down and close your eyes.”

“Okay.”

When she’d situated herself, he lay next to her.

“Clear away your thoughts. Relax.” 

He expanded his mind, pouring his thoughts into hers, like spilling grape juice over a clear countertop. Once it’d covered hers, he felt a ripple and knew their minds were synched. Then he released the story into her mind. A breaking dam, he felt the memories of the Gods rush through her. And, as though a movie turned on, the images began to flow. Except they weren’t viewing the memories. They were living them, as the Gods.

Zaren breathed in, smelling death and decay.  He peered down at his body—the body of Ith. Then he searched the smoking countryside. He let the air in his lungs rush out. Next to him stood his eternal lover—Venus, in the body of Aetha. 

“C’mon,” he said with a smile, grasping her hand and pulling her forward. “We’ve a world to save.

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