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All's Fair

By Brenna Lyons



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All's Fair in Love and War. It better be.

When a grudge match between the gods of love and war catches the next generation in their battle, sparks will fly. But they won't be sparks of anger.

Five millennia ago, Davon -- Horseman of War, son of Ares -- insulted Eros, God of Love and Lust. Young and headstrong, Eros decided to teach Davon a lesson about his own nature. Until the young horseman can embrace the god of love with affection, he will be impotent. Such a loss for his lovers.

While Davon cannot stomach the idea of embracing Eros with anything but his hands around the other man's scrawny throat, Love will eventually find a mate and produce heirs that Davon might have a chance of liking, despite their parentage. After all, it is Love's nature to do so.

When two strange men who don't show up on film save Khrystal from a mugger, her life takes a turn toward the strange. Considering the fact that her mother is a psychic who is completely besotted with her husband, a man that left them two decades earlier, saying Khrystal's life has become weirder is saying a lot.


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Excerpt

Prologue

Sumer, circa 3000 B.C.

Davon marched toward Eros, his fury going from a simmer to a boil at the sight of the god of love’s mocking smile. “Undo this,” he demanded.

“Undo what, Horseman of War?”

“As if you don’t know what I’m talking about? Undo whatever damned spell you’ve cast over me. Undo it now.” Lachesis’s laughter when his cock had failed him still rung in his ears. Davon was not a demigod to be toyed with, even if the toying was being carried out by a god.

The god in question’s expression was all false sympathy. “Now you know as well as I do that a spell, once spoken, cannot be undone until the conditions are met.”

“What are the conditions?” Whatever they were, Davon would meet the challenge quickly and get back to his usual amusements. It wasn’t as if Eros could pose a test he was unequal to.

Eros took a swig of his Egyptian brew and smiled sweetly. “A test of your claim, Horseman.”

“What claim? Stop playing games with me, lover boy.”

“You claim love has no place in the life of a warrior. I intend to test that.”

“I have to fall in love to be able to have sex again?” He was joking. Eros had to be joking. His father was proof enough that War had no place in his life for love, and Davon was certainly his father’s son.

Eros made a noise that spoke of uncertainty or correction to be given. “You have to come to love someone other than yourself. Specifically, me.”

Davon recoiled, the most literal meaning of that causing his mind to rebel.

“Not like that, War,” the god of love snapped at him. “I have no interest in what is beneath your leathers, and I hope to Zeus and Hades that you have no interest in what lies beneath my Egyptian cotton.”

“Then what is this test?”

“Until you can set aside your fury and pride and embrace me in an honest show of affection, the curse remains.”

Never.

As if Eros read his mind, he made a clucking sound of censure. “It may take you a long time to admit you are wrong, I know. What a pity for your stable of lovers.”

“I could always kill you,” Davon suggested smoothly.

The laughter that answered him was dark and confident. “Without an heir to my powers poised to accept them? We both know what the other gods would do to you for it, and you’re not even a god, Horseman.”

But I will be. Soon.

Eros rose, sliding from the stool like a woman. “Oh…Horseman? Your hopes of using my bloodline to best the curse would be in vain. I have no children. I cannot produce children without my true mate. Surely, you know that about gods of love.”

He hadn’t. Davon cursed the Moirae for their interference yet again. Why couldn’t all the gods have the same rules? The only two that seemed constant were the sacred ban on killing a god without heir and the legacy of promise or curse. In short, if a god or goddess made a promise or was part of a curse, it would pass with the power to each successor of that god until the promise or curse was concluded.

“It may be some time before I find my mate and produce children capable of replacing me.”

“At which point, I can safely kill you,” Davon reminded him. I look forward to that day.

“Not until my child takes his or her godhood from me. It’s the way of my kind.” With that, Eros sauntered away; no doubt smug in the fact that Davon couldn’t take revenge for what the god had done to him.

He will meet his mate eventually. How long can that take?

A niggling unease told him that he should have listened to the prophetess at Troy and stayed the hell away from Olympus. If Davon hadn’t gone there and heard Eros boasting, none of this would have happened.

 

Chapter One

February 9th, 2011

Pittsburgh, PA

“You’re sure she’s the right one?” Davon asked.

Aret didn’t look up from the skin mag in his lap. “She’s the one.”

A wry smile pulled his lips up. “Finally.” It had taken Eros five millennia to fuck up, but the bastard had just handed Davon what he needed. As if keeping his distance from her would trick me. The old man was one sorry strategist if he’d thought that would work. After all, if there was one thing integral to war, it was information gathering, and as the current bearer of the red sword, no one surpassed Davon at the art of war.

Five millennia. Fury boiled and burned in his gut. Rendered fucking impotent by a pansy god of love for five millennia. His lip curled, and Davon pushed a hand through his hair.

“A few more days, brother,” Aret drawled. “Less than a week.” Aret didn’t need to see Davon to know he was brutally angry. His magic would be all too evident to any demigod or god within miles, and as his older brother, Aret was as much a demigod as Davon had been before he’d bested his father and taken the old man’s godhood from him.

“Too fucking long.” Five millennia without feeling a woman around my cock!

“Way too long,” his brother agreed.

Davon glared at him. As the horseman of death, Aret had always been far too calm and collected for Davon’s tastes. “You’re not the one with the dead cock, brother.”

Aret laughed a harsh laugh. “Patience, brother. You always were the hotheaded one, War.”

Davon growled and stalked out of the penthouse they were currently sharing. The night air was crisp, and the balcony was far above much of the light pollution, so the stars were bright and clear. Davon closed his eyes and savored the embrace of the night.

His hand crept to the photograph in his pocket, and he traced the top edge with his forefinger. Davon didn’t have to look at it. Already, he’d memorized her face.

“Khrystal.” She was more beautiful than Aphrodite. “And all mine.” Before Eros’s blasted feast day, she’d be impaled on his cock, breaking the curse Eros had saddled him with all those centuries ago.

Davon may not be able to embrace Eros in affection, but the pretty face of the god’s daughter said he’d be able to embrace her. More than embrace her. As a young goddess of lust and love, I intend to test her prowess at her arts.

 

****

 

A shiver of delight worked down Khrystal’s back. What in the world was that?

Her mother looked up from the stove and smiled. “He’s coming. You can feel him coming for you.”

“Oh, Mom! Please, don’t start.”

Her mother was the sweetest woman on Earth, but she was also a bit of a kook. Cassandra Cupid. Khrystal was sure her mother had changed her name to that, so she had no qualms about changing her own surname to Carver.

It sure beats Cupid. Khrystal had taken years of shit for the name. Yes, children were evil little bastards sometimes.

Cassandra made a decent living as a psychic in a small storefront on Liberty Avenue. Her specialty was predictions of love, and she’d been predicting Khrystal’s “soulmate” since her birth.

Now she’s predicting that we’re going to meet. Khrystal sighed. While she wouldn’t mind meeting a man that interested her, she refused to put stock in her mother’s predictions, no matter how good she was at her job.

Cassandra shook her head and chuckled lightly. “Your father said this day would come.”

It’s not like I’ve seen him often enough to know what he looks like, let alone what he says.

“Now you’re just being peevish,” her mother chided.

“And that’s downright spooky,” she countered. But Khrystal still wondered why her mother—so hopelessly in love with her absent husband after all these years—had not a single picture of the man in the house.

It did no good to ask, of course. Every time Khrystal asked questions about the mysterious Aris Cupid, her mother said she would understand in good time.

“Well, you will.” Cassandra’s gaze went unfocused. “Very soon, I think. Yes, it’s all coming together now.”

Life with a psychic was decidedly weird. “And on that note, I think I need to get going. Work in the morning, you know.”

“Precisely right.”

Khrystal had expected her mother to argue, as Cassandra usually did when she announced she had to leave. Cassandra was horribly impractical when it came to things like work and sleep. The reversal unnerved her, and Khrystal considered staying the night and calling off work.

That’s ridiculous. Khrystal forced a smile to her face. “See you in a couple of days, Mom.”

“Sooner, I think. Enjoy yourself, dear. Oh, and don’t be so rude.”

Khrystal stopped short, her winter jacket halfway up her right arm. “What? I wasn’t rude to you.” Or did Cassandra mean Khrystal would be rude to her in the future? I’ve told her before that it does no good to offer correction before I’ve done something. If I’ve paid the time, I feel I’ve earned the right to commit the crime.

She sighed. “Not to me, but you really should be nicer to him.”

“To who?” Past? Present? Future? Dealing with a psychic decidedly sucked ass.

“You’ll see. Just remember what I said.”

Future. “Do I ever?” Her mother was very much like the Cassandra of mythology in that respect. When she issued a warning, people tended not to heed her words.

“I’ve thought the same myself,” her mother replied.

Especially about me.

“Indeed. Now get going, if you’re going to go.”

That sounds like a warning. “Absolutely.”

 

****