Stamp of Fate – Gods in the Modern World

July 30, 2012

I asked you what jobs you’d give the Greek gods and goddesses in today’s world, now it’s time for me to tell you what jobs I gave them.

Here’s the list of gods and goddesses in Stamp of Fate again, this time with the job they have in the book in italics.

  • Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty – owner of a matchmaking service
  • Apollo, god of the sun – actor
  • Ares, god of war – CEO of a weapons manufacturer
  • Artemis, goddess of the hunt – Recruiter for women-owned businesses
  • Athena, goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare – Museum curator
  • Demeter, goddess of the harvest – Agricultural researcher
  • Dionysus, god of wine – Vineyard owner
  • Eros, god of sexual love and beauty – Owner of a 1-900 sex line
  • Hades, ruler of the underworld – unemployed (too busy and stuck in the Underworld)
  • Helios, personification of the sun – CEO of an automotive company
  • Hephaestus, blacksmith of the gods – Owner/ironworker of a decorative ironworks business
  • Hera, queen of the gods – unemployed (she’s a “whale” at Olympus Casino)
  • Hermes, messenger of the gods – CEO of a communications company
  • Hestia, goddess of the hearth – Interior designer
  • Pan, god of the wild – Traveling musician
  • Persephone, queen of the underworld – Tour guide (well, when she’s above ground)
  • Poseidon, god of the sea – Deep sea fisherman
  • Tyche, goddess of fortune – CEO of Olympus Casino
  • Zeus, king of the gods – Owner of Olympus Casino (but spends his time as an odd-jobs man to get to know the people who come in)

How did I do? Do you think they fit, or do you think some of them should have done something else?

Stamp of Fate – Quiz #4

July 30, 2012

Have I mentioned yet how excited I am to talk about Greek mythology during the Olympics? I know there’s very little relation, particularly between Stamp of Fate and the modern Olympics, but I love that tenuous connection. There’s something satisfying about discussing this while the athletes compete for gold on my television.

These questions won’t get you Olympic gold, but you can win a prize if you get them right.  This is where you might start seeing gods/goddesses show up again. Remember, one correct answer on any of the quiz posts will enter you into a drawing to win an ebook copy of Stamp of Fate.

  1. This god caused the seasons by eating a pomegranate.
  2. This god is the symbol of the Greek post office.
  3. This god impregnated Medusa to conceive Pegasus.
  4. The Olympic Games were originally held in this god’s honor.
  5. This god’s helpers included Thanatos and Hypnos.

Stamp of Fate – Another Peek

July 30, 2012

Okay, I’m home from the evil day job and able to post my own posts now (instead of having the wonderful Julyssa do it for me), so it’s time for another excerpt! This one is a little steamier. ;)

“It’s my fault Adara’s dead.”

Declan looks up from the program running searches on Cal’s recordings. He widened the search, including Egan’s and Adara’s names in it as well in the hopes he can find something besides their history linking them to either Cal or Sofia, and now he’s watching the results scroll across the screen almost faster than he can read. “What do you mean?” he says, furrowing his brow in confusion. “I know you didn’t kill her, so how is it your fault?”

Tadd lets out an unamused laugh that makes him sound slightly crazy. “I’m glad you realize that, at least.”

“Tadd.” Declan sighs. “Please.”

“Sorry.” Tadd tips his head back and stares up at the ceiling. “She came to me,” he says, lowering his gaze so he’s looking at Declan again. “She specifically asked me to keep her safe from Egan, and I didn’t.”

Declan rolls his chair around the corner of their desks and stops it right next to Tadd’s. “You did what you could.”

“No, I didn’t. That’s the point. I was pissed off, Declan, mad at you, mad at Lukas, and I didn’t want to put up with her bullshit. I told her I needed to arrange protection for her because I couldn’t stay with her all day, and she didn’t want to wait. She left and I let her go.”

“You couldn’t have known.”

“I should have!” Tadd jerks his arm out from under Declan’s hand and slams his fist down on the desk. “She asked me for help!”

Declan waits long enough to be sure Tadd isn’t going to hit anything else, and puts his hand back on Tadd’s forearm. “You asked her to stay, didn’t you?”

“Told her to.” Tadd rolls his eyes. “She didn’t listen.”

“So how is that your fault?”

“I should’ve—”

“You know how to do your job, Tadd.” Declan squeezes Tadd’s arm and starts stroking his thumb along the inside of Tadd’s wrist. “You couldn’t have stayed with her all the time, anyway, especially not if you were going to listen to Bront and keep me safe too. Arranging for help was the right thing to do.”

“I could have waited, let her run her errand first.”

“And then she would have wanted to run another, and another, and another.” Declan lets out a breathy chuckle. “She would have kept you running until you dropped, just because she could, and you would have gone along with it to be nice.”

Tadd raises one eyebrow. “Nice? Me?”

“Yes.” Declan pokes Tadd’s shoulder. “I know about the gooey inside under that crusty exterior.”

Tadd raises his other eyebrow. “You. Over there. Now.” He points back toward Declan’s desk with a scowl, but it’s mostly faked. Even when Tadd is mad at him, Declan is able to push all the right buttons to calm him down.

Declan slides back around the desk and stops just on the other side of the corner. “Fine, but this doesn’t change the fact that I know you’re secretly a fluffy marshmallow inside.”

“Would you like me to show you how wrong you are?” Tadd narrows his eyes further. “I can.”

Declan stills and slowly lifts his gaze to meet Tadd’s. “I’m not wrong.” His heart is pounding in his chest, and he has to fight to keep his breathing under control. He doesn’t want to seem too eager, but he’s been itching to touch Tadd. It’s killing him that he feels like he can’t.

Tadd’s blood starts to boil. “Yes, you are,” he growls, fisting his hands in his pants to keep from shaking with anger. “I would not have followed her around all day. I—”

“Yes, you would, and we both know it.” Declan stands, sending his chair rolling toward the wall as he pushes it away. “If you’d given in and gone with Adara on one errand, you would have spent all day following her around. You’d still be with her.”

“And she’d still be alive!” Tadd jumps to his feet and takes a step closer to Declan. “Adara is dead because I didn’t go with her!”

“She’s dead because some asshole killed her, Tadd!” Declan steps forward, rounding the corner again so he’s chest to chest with his husband. “If you want to blame yourself for not going with her, you should blame her for being so stubborn and not listening, and you should blame me for not having caught the killer yet. Hades, blame me for Cal too, while you’re at it. I should have figured out who killed Sofia before either Cal or Adara died!”

“You were trying!” Tadd throws his hands out wide as he pushes up into Declan’s face.

Declan leans down to meet him. “And so were you! It’s no different!”

“Yes, it is!” Tadd moves quickly, grabbing Declan’s shirt and shoving him against the desk. The edge digs into Declan’s thigh as Tadd manhandles him, laying him out flat across the wide, clear surface. He leans over Declan, his breath hot on Declan’s cheek, and growls, “It’s my fault.”

“No, it’s not.” Declan keeps his voice quiet and his body still. “It’s the killer’s fault and no one else’s.”

“Shut up!” Tadd shakes Declan hard enough to rattle the pens in the cup on the other side of the desk.

Declan looks him straight in the eyes, meeting his gaze calmly as he twists his lips up into a purposely goading smirk. “Make me.”

Tadd growls and lunges forward to capture Declan’s mouth in a bruising kiss.

It would be easy for Declan to give in, to let Tadd have his way and control this from beginning to end, but that’s not what Declan wants at the moment. He wants to get them back on the same page, to eliminate the friction between them, and the only way he’s going to do that is to get Tadd to work out all of his aggression now. If there’s something he can do to speed that along, he’s going to do it.

Especially when it’s so much fun.

Declan leans up into the kiss, tangling his fingers in Tadd’s hair and holding him close as he slips his tongue into Tadd’s mouth. Tadd snarls as he pushes his tongue back past Declan’s lips, curling it around Declan’s. They battle back and forth, their tongues gliding over and around each other until Tadd growls again, nipping at Declan’s bottom lip as he slides his hands up Declan’s arms and pins them to the desk above Declan’s head. “Don’t.”

“Don’t what?” Declan asks, shifting under Tadd. He lifts his hips, deliberately brushing against Tadd’s groin and letting Tadd feel how hard he is. He’s aching, his hard cock tenting his dress pants. It almost hurts to have it rub against the silky material of his boxers, and he wants nothing more than to pull it out and let Tadd wrap his hands around it, but instead he lowers his hips back down, twists his head so he can look into Tadd’s eyes, and meets Tadd’s stare with one of his own. “Don’t reciprocate? Do you want me to lie here and take it, Tadd? Let you pin me down and pound all your anger into me?”

Tadd falters for a second, but then his eyes narrow and he leans in closer, pressing his body against Declan’s everywhere he can make them touch and putting his lips right against Declan’s ear. “Yes.”

The word comes out as almost more of a growl than speech, but Declan knows exactly what Tadd means. He waits until Tadd pulls back enough for them to look into each other’s eyes, and then lets his lips curl up into a lazy, smug smile. “No.”

Before Tadd can do anything, Declan moves, using his speed to twist free from under Tadd and drop to the floor. He lands on his knees, grins, and yanks on Tadd’s pants without bothering to unbutton them. The material rips, easily giving in to his immortal strength, and Tadd’s cock springs free, bobbing in front of Declan’s nose. He leans in and slides his lips all the way to the base in one swift movement.

Tadd’s knees buckle at the unexpected sensation. He catches himself on Declan’s shoulders, digging in with powerful fingers as Declan grabs his hips, holding him still as he pulls back, licking as he moves.

It’s phenomenal. Declan has always had a talented tongue in more ways than one, and he’s always enjoyed using it this way. From the first time Declan gave Tadd a blowjob, distracting him from Plato’s obnoxious alarm clock, this has been Tadd’s favorite of Declan’s talents. It’s nothing like laying Declan out beneath him and having his way, but the sensations shooting up his nerves and threatening to short-circuit his brain are among the best he’s ever felt.

He thrusts hard, fighting against the grip of Declan’s hands and the wobbliness of his knees, controlling the pace as Declan continues to suck. His teeth scrape lightly along the swollen skin of Tadd’s cock, sending pleasure and pain shooting through his body and leaving him breathless. Tadd thrusts harder, pushing his hips forward so he’s fucking Declan’s mouth, taking back every little bit of control Declan claimed. He throws his head back, letting his mouth fall open as he moans and his eyes flutter closed so he can focus on the feel of Declan’s mouth around his dick.

The world narrows to just this, Declan on his knees, his fingers digging into Tadd’s hips and his lips curling around the tip of Tadd’s cock. He licks and sucks, humming as he bobs up and down, keeping time with Tadd’s thrusts and moving opposite them, pulling back when Tadd does and pushing in so his lips slide down Tadd’s cock with a speed he’d have to use his powers to match. He grazes one hand along Tadd’s hipbones, brushing fingertips over the sensitive skin before slipping them between Tadd’s legs and carefully curling them around Tadd’s balls. Tadd gasps, his hips bucking wildly as he lets out a deep moan and starts chanting Declan’s name. He digs his fingers hard into Declan’s shoulder until Declan stops moving, and then tangles them in Declan’s hair and pulls him back.

“No,” Tadd growls, dragging Declan up with not-so-gentle pressure in his hair and twisting him around and pressing himself against Declan’s back. Declan is still completely dressed, and his pants feel rough against Tadd’s cock as he presses into Declan. Tadd fumbles for the waistband as he bends Declan over, and when his fingers curl around both pants and boxers, he yanks, ripping the material with his full strength and tearing it away from Declan’s body with ease.

Declan shudders at the sudden blast of cold air, and his cock dips a little bit, but then Tadd rubs his finger along the cleft of Declan’s ass, and Declan shudders, his elbows wobbling as he braces himself on the desk. “Hurry,” he breathes, pushing back into Tadd and begging for more.

Tadd complies, giving in to Declan’s demands easily now that they match his own. He shoves Declan forward, pushes his arms out from under him, and pins him to the desk. His cock presses hard against Declan’s ass as Declan curls up over the desk. He’s hard and aching, leaking precome onto the mahogany surface, and when Tadd shifts to grab lube from the closest drawer and slides one slick finger inside Declan’s body, Declan moans. “Tadd. Now.”

“Yes,” Tadd breathes, vanishing his shirt as he slides a second finger in. Declan makes his own shirt disappear as he squirms beneath Tadd, shoving back against Tadd’s hand as he slides one of his own down the dark wood of the desk and curls it around his cock. He strokes in time with Tadd’s scissoring movements, his hand banging against the wood as his ass presses against Tadd’s hip.

He’s almost at the edge, his hand slick with precome and his cock red and engorged, when Tadd pulls his fingers out, lines himself up, and thrusts in, hard. He shoves Declan down over the desk, pressing his cheek into the smooth surface, and pulls almost all the way out before he adjusts his angle and plunges in again. He thrusts over and over, hitting Declan in his sweet spot every time.

Declan clenches around him, his buttocks squeezing Tadd’s cock. His hand grips tight at the edge of the desk, giving him extra leverage, and Tadd pushes hard, slamming forward again. He puts one hand at the base of Declan’s spine, holding him to the desk, and curls the other around Declan’s cock. He strokes as he thrusts, the movements fast and ragged and yet still falling into a synchronized rhythm as he moves.

It doesn’t take long before Declan is whimpering and moaning. “Gonna… Tadd… gonna come.”

That’s all the warning he’s able to give, and then he spurts over Tadd’s hand, crying out Tadd’s name as his entire body shakes and writhes. He can still feel Tadd inside him, slamming forward and pulling back, and it’s the best feeling in the entire universe. It carries him through the aftershocks, and then Tadd pushes forward one last time, leaning over Declan and pressing his lips to the back of Declan’s shoulder as he comes.

They lie still for a minute, gasping for breath, their sweat-slicked bodies pressing against the strong polished wood of the desk. Tadd is heavy and warm over Declan, but his weight is comforting, reminding Declan this argument they’re having is temporary. He’s uncomfortable—sticky and hot and struggling for breath he doesn’t really need—but he doesn’t ask Tadd to move.

Tadd stays still for a few minutes, his breath ghosting over Declan’s neck. When he pulls out, he slides his hand down Declan’s back as he stands. “I’m going to shower,” he says, stepping away and grabbing his clothes off the floor.

Declan pushes himself up and twists so he’s leaning against the desk. “Want me to join you?” He keeps his tone light and hopeful, though he doesn’t expect Tadd to agree. Sex is one thing; showering together is probably far more intimate than Tadd wants to get right now, given their earlier conversation.

“No.” Tadd manages a strained smile as he looks at Declan. “We have things to figure out. We can’t keep getting distracted or someone else might die.”

“Right.” That’s the last thing Declan wants, and it’s what he focuses on as he wipes himself down with the bundle of fabric and heads off toward the bathroom.

This job comes first. Then they can work out their issues.

Stamp of Fate — The Last Game

July 30, 2012

The big “whodunit” clue is the main myth I used in Stamp of Fate, but it’s not the only one. Even in mortal guise, there’s a lot of history between these characters, and it’s all played out in Greek mythology. I could hardly ignore that, so bits and pieces of a few other myths made their way into the story.

For example, Hermione (aka Demeter) has some pomegranate trees in her garden, but they’re off to the side because she’s none-too-fond of the fruit that caused her daughter to have to spend time in the underworld every year. Lukas (aka Helios) owns an auto company, and the model names of his cars are the horses that drew his chariot across the sky.

There’s more, of course, but you’ll have to read the book to figure them out *winks*. Meanwhile, why don’t you show me how much mythology you know by answering another set of quiz questions? Remember, one correct answer on any of the quiz posts will enter you into a drawing to win an ebook copy of Stamp of Fate.

Question Set #3:

  1. This god was jealous of Zeus’s amorous affairs and punished both his mistresses and their children with implacable fury.
  2. This god fell in love with the mortal Psyche but asked her not to light her chamber when he visited.
  3. This god presented the Greek people with an olive tree at the Acropolis.
  4. This god was also known as the god of earthquakes and the god of horses.
  5. This god becalmed Agamemnon’s ships when he was on his way to Troy.

Stamp of Fate — A Question To You

July 30, 2012

A slightly bastardized version of one of the Greek myths is a big clue to “whodunit” in Stamp of Fate. (No, I’m not telling you which one.) I actually started with the murder mystery idea and then brought the myth into it when I was stuck as to who the killer was and why, but I really enjoyed pulling the mythology together with the mystery.

What myths do you think would make a good book (whether they’ve already been turned into one or not)? You don’t have to stick with Greek myths. I’d love to hear stories from mythologies I’m less familiar with.

I will select one random response to win a signed bookmark.

Stamp of Fate — Second Round of Games

July 30, 2012

My favorite part of writing Stamp of Fate was researching all the mythology. I (re)learned a lot of things I didn’t end up using in the book, and I probably spent far too much time surfing the web to find information as I tried to find everything I needed for the story, but I had a lot of fun doing it.

And since I hope you guys enjoy mythology as much as I do, it’s time for another set of Greek god/goddess quiz questions. Remember, one right answer to any of these will enter you in the drawing for an ebook of Stamp of Fate and if you get all 30 right, you may be eligible for some bigger prizes.

See the first post for full details.

Question Set #2:

  1. This god’s symbols were a cornucopia, a rudder of destiny, and a wheel of fortune.
  2. Some myths say this god was born from sea foam.
  3. This god forged a magic throne that entrapped Hera.
  4. This god was saved from being swallowed by his father when his mother and grandmother substituted a swaddling-wrapped stone in his place.
  5. This god often backed non-Greek people in battle, such as the Trojans and the Amazons

Leave your answers in the comments!

Stamp of Fate — Meet the Gods

July 30, 2012

In Stamp of Fate, the various Greek gods and goddesses live under mortal identities with mortal jobs. I had a lot of fun trying to match their characteristics to jobs in today’s world. I’ll tell you later who I gave what job, but I’m curious, what jobs would you give the Greek gods and goddesses today?

I’ve provided a list of gods and goddesses in Stamp of Fate below. Answer for one, all, or anywhere in between. My favorite answer will win an ebook of your choice from my back catalog.

Gods/Goddesses in Stamp of Fate:

  • Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty
  • Apollo, god of the sun
  • Ares, god of war
  • Artemis, goddess of the hunt
  • Athena, goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare
  • Demeter, goddess of the harvest
  • Dionysus, god of wine
  • Eros, god of sexual love and beauty
  • Hades, ruler of the underworld
  • Helios, personification of the sun
  • Hephaestus, blacksmith of the gods
  • Hera, queen of the gods
  • Hermes, messenger of the gods
  • Hestia, goddess of the hearth
  • Pan, god of the wild
  • Persephone, queen of the underworld
  • Poseidon, god of the sea
  • Tyche, goddess of fortune
  • Zeus, king of the gods

Stamp of Fate — Let the Games Begin!

July 30, 2012

Stamp of Fate involves a lot of characters from the Greek Pantheon living under assumed mortal identities. I thought it could be fun to give away a copy by testing your knowledge of Greek mythology.

I have six sets of questions to go up today, and anyone who gets at least one right answer will be entered to win a Stamp of Fate ebook (you pick the format). If anyone happens to get all 30 questions right, there might be some other prizes. Please note I called them all gods in these questions, but some of them could be goddesses. Also, there are 30 questions and 19 answers, so some gods and goddesses are the answer to two questions.

I’ll post all the answers at the end of the day, so be sure to respond before midnight US Eastern time. The source I double checked with for these “facts” was Encyclopedia Mythica (http://www.pantheon.org/).

Every answer is a character that appears somewhere in Stamp of Fate.

Question Set #1:

  1. This god’s first achievement was to rid Delphi of Python.
  2. This god taught mankind the art of sowing and ploughing.
  3. This god sat on a throne made of ebony.
  4. This god made the first lyre and gave it to Apollo in payment for cattle he stole.
  5. This god was the patron god of the Greek stage.

Good luck!

Stamp of Fate – Release Party

July 30, 2012

Hello everyone! I’m here to celebrate the release of my second novel, Stamp of Fate. This one’s a murder mystery with a mythological twist, and I’m really excited that it’s finally here. I had a lot of fun writing this and I can’t wait to share it with all of you. To celebrate, I’ll be giving away an e-book copy of Stamp of Fate. To win, you’ll need to comment on one of my Greek god trivia posts, so brush up on your mythology and enjoy the excerpt below.

Blurb:

A dead body is never a welcome sight, but it’s especially troublesome when Tadd Leventis and Declan Anagnos return home to find one in their foyer. Most people know the dead woman as a curator at the local museum, but Tadd and Declan recognize her as someone from their distant past—Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and strategic warfare. To Tadd and Declan, it’s more than a murder. It’s a threat to the mortal lives they’ve worked so hard to build—and a wakeup call that their immortal lives are in danger too.

At Zeus’s request, they once again don the mantles of Ares and Hermes, but when they start investigating their fellow Olympians, Tadd and Declan discover things are far more complicated than they seem. As the body count rises, tracking the killer becomes more dangerous, and the investigation starts to strain their relationship. Can they patch things up in time to catch the killer, or will the killer catch them first?

Excerpt:

Declan stalks inside when he gets home, snatches his car keys from the hook by the door, and catches Tadd’s eye. “Let’s go.” He’s in the car, garage door open and engine running by the time Tadd makes it out, and the moment Tadd’s door closes, Declan throws the vehicle into reverse and careens out of the driveway.

He’s halfway to his office before Tadd shifts in his seat and clears his throat. “So, Sofia didn’t know who killed her?”

“I didn’t talk to Sofia.” Declan jerks the car around a corner, making the tires squeal, and smiles slightly as the harsh noise eases his tension a little. “Hades has her locked in Tartarus and wouldn’t take me to her.” He yanks the wheel to the left, sending the car skidding around another corner. “I can’t challenge him on his territory. We have to do this the hard way.”

“We could—” Tadd starts, but Declan cuts him off before he finishes the sentence.

“No. He won’t let you leave if you come with me. That’s a last resort.”

“All right.” Tadd holds up his hands, clearly taken aback by Declan’s vehemence. “We’ll try the hard way.”

“Thank you.” Declan eases back on the gas a little as he merges with traffic. Most of his anger is gone now and he relaxes his grip on the steering wheel as he maneuvers the car into the pattern of moving vehicles.

Tadd fiddles with the radio, flipping through all of Declan’s presets before turning it off. “Can you tell me what he said? I’d rather be prepared if we have to go back later.”

“There isn’t much else, but sure.” They’re still a few miles from the office. Declan fills Tadd in on the entire conversation with Hades, answering all of Tadd’s questions and finishing just as he pulls the car into his assigned parking spot. “Perfect timing.” He climbs out, waits for Tadd to follow, and hits the remote lock as he leads the way into the building.

Rachel Chambers is sitting in her usual spot when they reach Declan’s office, an earpiece in her ear and her computer screen showing Declan’s calendar as well as the memo she was typing. A PowerPoint presentation is minimized to her taskbar, and Declan has a brief flash of worry before he remembers he asked her to edit the presentation he gave the board last month so it could be used in pitches to other companies. It’s nothing he has to do, which is good, because he strongly suspects he won’t be able to take much of a hands-on approach to running the business for the next few weeks.

“You’re late,” Rachel says, pointing her pen at him with one hand as she presses the disconnect button on the phone with another. “I’ve had to reschedule two appointments already, and I was starting to think I’d have to reschedule your lunch meeting too. Where have you been?”

“With me.” Tadd steps in before Declan has a chance to formulate a response. Rachel always manages to make him feel uncomfortable, like he’s the clueless mortal and she’s the god, and he’s never quite sure how he’s supposed to respond when she scolds him like that. She’s his administrative assistant, but Tadd hired her for him when they first orchestrated the switch from being their “fathers” to being themselves, and he’s not sure he can fire her. Tadd would probably just hire her right back.

“Mr. Leventis.” Rachel lets a small smile slip through before she directs her stern gaze at Tadd as well. “I should have known you’d be at fault here.” Her gaze narrows, and she purses her lips as she stares at him.

She looks so ridiculously serious that Declan has to step in. “He actually wasn’t. It was personal business. Something came up unexpectedly. I’m sorry.” Declan sits on the edge of her desk and directs his most winning smile and widest eyes at her. “Can you forgive me?”

“Is it over?”

“Unfortunately, no.” Declan’s reluctant sigh is only half-fake. “I’m not going to be able to be around much for the next several weeks, at least.”

“What should I tell your appointments? I can’t just ask them to keep waiting on their bids because you don’t know when you’ll be back. The business will go under. I’ll be out of a job!”

“Like Tadd would ever let that happen.”

Behind Declan, Tadd shakes his head, a small smile playing on his lips. “I’d find something for you to do, Rachel. I promise.”

“Well,” she huffs, “that’s better than him.”

“Hey!”

“Well, you wouldn’t find something for me, would you?”

“I wouldn’t have to, Tadd would!”

“Not the point.”

“Fine.” Declan assumes his most put-upon expression. “I would find you a better job than Tadd would. Happy?”

“I will be once you tell me what to do with all these meetings I have you scheduled for.”

Declan closes his eyes for a minute, trying to think. Running the business can’t take top priority right now, not with Bront expecting him to solve this mystery, but he can’t let the business sink, either. He and Tadd have worked too hard to get things the way they are. Declan Anagnos, CEO of Alpha Wing Communications, and Hermes, spy for Zeus, must remain separate entities. “Give as many of them to the directors as you can. If there’s anyone I need to handle personally, forward it to me, and I’ll find time.”

“Will do.” Rachel nods. “Anything else?”

“One thing.” Declan waits until he has her full attention. “Did you schedule me for a dinner meeting with Lukas Gallo last night?”

Rachel blinks twice and then her hand flies to her mouth. “Oh my God! I didn’t tell you!” She sucks her bottom lip into her mouth with a hissing noise. “He called yesterday while you were at lunch! I was going to tell you, but you had that conference call, and then you rushed out like your office was on fire. I’m sorry!”

“So he did have an appointment?”

“Yeah. That’s what I just said.” Rachel tilts her head to the side. “Was that wrong? You didn’t have anything on your schedule, and I thought….”

“It’s fine.” Declan flashes a smile at her and squeezes her shoulder as he slides off the desk. “I was caught up with this personal business last night and he surprised me, that’s all. I’ll call him to reschedule.”

“Okeie-dokie.”

Tadd laughs as he takes Declan’s hand. “Thanks, Rachel.”

“Bye, Mr. Leventis.” She wiggles her fingers in a tiny wave as they walk out the door.

As soon as the door shuts behind them, Declan turns to Tadd, a mischievous grin on his face. “Sometimes I think Rachel likes you better than me.”

“What can I say.” Tadd grins back at Declan. “I’m irresistible.”

“Good thing you’re mine, then.” They get into the elevator, and Declan pushes Tadd against the wall and pins him there with his slightly larger frame. He slides his hands up Tadd’s sides to cup his face and leans in to kiss him deeply. As the elevator goes down from the top floor, people start to get on but stop short when they see Declan and Tadd inside and universally decide to take the next car. Declan ignores them, instead concentrating on kissing Tadd, his tongue sliding between Tadd’s lips as he presses their bodies together.

When the elevator is close to the bottom, Declan pulls his keys from his pocket and uses one of them to override the elevator controls. Once it’s locked down, he yanks Tadd’s shirt from his pants so he can slide his hands under it.

“Careful,” Tadd murmurs, pulling back from the kiss just enough to talk. “Don’t pop the buttons.”

“I like popped buttons. They’re a good look on you.”

“You think everything’s a good look on me.” Tadd puts his hands on Declan’s chest and pushes firmly, making Declan take a step back. “We can’t, though.”

“Why not?”

“We’re in the elevator at your office building! While investigating a murder!”

“So I’ll be fast.” Declan leans in as close as he can with Tadd’s hands in the way and smirks. “I’m good at fast.”

“Oh, well, that’s just what I want.” Tadd rolls his eyes. “A quickie in the elevator. You’re almost as classy as Eros.”

Declan winces as he straightens. “Ouch. That hurts.”

“Truth often does.” Tadd pats him on the chest as he leans up and kisses him softly. “I still love you, though, classy or not.”

“Love you too.” Declan’s scowl transforms into a grin, and he kisses Tadd deeply before pulling back and turning the key to return the elevator to the ground floor. He kisses Tadd again as he tucks Tadd’s shirt back into his pants, and when the elevator doors slide open, they step out, their hands entwined once more.

——–

Stayed tuned for more posts about my novel as well as a giveaway!