by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published by Spencer Hill Press
Book 3.5 in the Covenant Series
Aiden St. Delphi will do anything to save Alex.
Even if it means doing the one thing he will never forgive himself for. Even if it means making war against the gods.
RATED: 14+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Foul Language Young Adult Action
This novella is no longer in print, but is included in Deity (or you can buy it separately on your kindle). This is written from Aiden's POV, in the time between Deity and Apollyon. No review, as it is short, but I wanted you to be aware, because it is SUCH an awesome addition to the series. :)
Where to Buy
Alex: "I thought you loved me?"
I moved so fast I startled her. My hands shot through the bars, clasping the sides of her face. My forehead pressed against the cold bars and my lips were on hers. The kiss was hard and fast. Angry. Desperate.
She went still, unsure of how to respond. Several times in the past forty-eight hours it had been the only way to shut her up.
I pulled back, released her.
Aiden: "Because I love you, I won't release you."
I shook my head.
Aiden: "Alex, you have to be in there. I know you. My heart would not be beating if you were truly gone."
Alex: :Gods, isn't that just so sweet? My heart is all aflutter."
Aiden: "There he is. I wondered how long it would take to bring you out. Does my love for her both you, Seth?"
Aiden: "Need is not love, Alex."
Marcus: "Yes, Alexandria?"
One side of her lips tipped up as her gaze slid to mine.
Alex: "Does it both you that Aiden and I have been ... how do I put this? He's seen me naked? Multiple times."
Oh. Dear. Gods. Here we go again. Shaking my head, I scrubbed my hand over my eyes.
Aiden: "Alex ..."
Marcus: "I've had time to come to terms with it. I can't say that I'm surprised, though."
He glanced at me, scowling.
Marcus: "If there's a rule, you'll break it, Alex. But I didn't expect Aiden to be so ..."
I rolled my eyes
Alex: "And such a bastard to take advantage of me - your poor niece who has been through so much? He took advantage of me. Used a compulsion on me. He forced me."
My hand dropped to my side. Horror rolled through me, leaving me reeling.
Marcus: "He's a bastard, but I doubt he took advantage of you or used a compulsion."
Approaching the bars, I slipped my hand through. My fingers brushed aside the tangled mess of hair. Alex was so still I wasn't sure she was breathing as I found the chain and gently tugged it up so that the crystal rose was cradled in my palm.
She sucked in a sharp breath but didn't bolt.
Aiden: "If you hated me, you would've destroyed this."
Alex: "Give me time and I will."
I laughed and let go of the rose. She opened her eyes, watching me warily.
Aiden: "No. You won't. As long as you wear that, I know there is still a part of you in there. That there is still hope."
Solos: "I don't think he was successful in finding a way to break the bond. I hate to say it -"
Aiden: "Then don't say it."
Solos held up his hands
Solos: "Look, all I'm saying is that we have to consider the possibility that we can't break the bond."
Aiden: "There is nothing else to consider. We'll find a way."
Solos: "And if we don't? Do we let her out of the cage so she and Seth can go all Bonnie-and-Clyde on the world? Or do we let her rot in the basement and starve to death?"
Marcus: "Solos, I am warning you that it would be wise to stop."
Solos: "Don't get me wrong. I like Alex. I think she's a pretty cool kid. But isn't it more humane to put her out of her misery instead -"
My fist connected with his jaw before I even knew what I was doing. His head jerked back as he staggered to the side. I shot forward, grabbing him by his shirt, and slammed him into the wall, rattling several paintings.
Aiden: "We are not going to harm Alex. We aren't going to touch a hair on her head. Do you understand me?"
Solos' eyes bugged
Solos: "I know you love her -"
Aiden: "You don't know shit. You sure as hell don't know the lengths I will go to keep her safe."
I dropped him and he slumped against the wall
Aiden: And if that means killing one half-blood to make sure nothing happens to her, I won't hesitate."
Apollo: "As entertaining as you going all grrr on Solos is, we need to talk. So knock it off, Aiden."
Upon taking one look at Apollo, my eyes narrowed.
Aiden: "Don't say it."
Apollo: "Oh, you going to hit me again? I kind of like it that first time."
Dionysus: "You snap your fingers and demand I just appear? Like I have nothing better to do?"
Apollo: "Isn't that what happened?"
Dionysus: "I am not one of your servants, brother. Next time I will break that finger off and shove it so far up your -"
Apollo: "We have an audience. And no one wants to hear about the things you like to do in your spare time, Dionysus."
Deacon: "Which god was here?"
Deacon: "Dude? Are you serious? He's like my favorite god of all time."
Luke: "Why doesn't that surprise me?"
Apollo: "I know you feel strongly for her."
I met his stare
Aiden: "I love her. You don't get that."
Aiden: "Really, if you wanted to hold my hand and snuggle, all you had to do was ask."
I grabbed her wrist.
Aiden: "Geez, Alex, normally I'd love you being all grabby, but knock it off."
Aiden: "You're letting Seth control you. Do you remember how afraid of that you were? How terrified that you'd lose yourself to him? What happened to that? I swore to you that I wouldn't let that happen, and I know I've failed you, but I'm not going to just give up, Alex. I'll never give up on you."
Her lips formed a tight line and a shudder rolled through her.
Aiden: "You've always been so strong - unique. Only you controlled your life. No one made decisions for you. But this - not even questioning or fighting what's happening - is weak."
Alex: "I am not weak."
Aiden: "Then prove it! Shut him out, just for a few minutes. I know you can. I know you worked for month on blocking him. Shut him out, Alex, and talk to me. Prove to me you're not weak. I know you can do it. I know you have that strength in you, because that's what I love about you most. Your strength is admirable - beautiful. It is who you are. And what you've become is not you."
Aiden: "Please come back to me, Alex. Please. I love you too much to lose you. And I love you too much to allow what's about to happen, but you're leaving me no choice."
Deacon: "That bad, huh?"
Aiden: "I didn't say it was bad."
He arched a brow
Deacon: "I know you, Aiden. Your disappointment - in yourself, not Alex - is written all over you. It's practically dripping from your grubby face."
My brows rose
Aiden: "I'm grubby?"
Deacon: "You're kind of gross. Might want to think about shaving, too, unless you're going for the homeless look with no chance of getting laid."
I laughed and stood
Aiden: "I'll keep that in mind."
Deacon: "She's going to be okay, right? I mean, someone will find a way to break the connection and she'll be snarky-but-not-homicidal Alex in no time? They have to."
Aiden: "Gods, I hope so, Deacon. I can't ..."
Deacon: "Live without her?"
Turning away, I didn't answer because there was no need.
Aiden: "Has it always been that obvious?"
Deacon: "Honestly? I knew you had a thing for her and her for you from the moment you came back from Atlanta and bitched me out. To me, it was obvious, but only because I know you. It's funny, because she's a half, but in a weird way she's perfect for you, don't you think?"
I smiled weakly
Aiden: "Yeah, I think so."
Deacon: "Damn, Aiden..."
Deacon: "It's just ... wow, I'm happy for you. I think this is great. It's love - the real kind you make sacrifices for. The kind where you scream 'screw it' to everyone else. That's envy-worthy."
I arched a brow
Aiden: "Not quite sure any part of my life is envy-worthy right now, considering that Alex thinks I'm her Master."
Deacon: "Hey, you know, that could be -"
Aiden: "Don't even go there."
Aiden: "Alex? What are you doing?"
Alex: "My head hurts."
I started to sit up, but Alex shifted, throwing a leg over mine as if she was asking me not to move without saying a word.
Aiden: "Uh ... Do you want me to get you some more aspirin?"
She placed her head on my chest again, snuggling down.
Alex: "It feels better now. Empty."
I swallowed. Hard.
Alex: "Mmm-hmm. It's quieter when I'm near you."
Aiden: "Quieter? Are you hearing things? A person?"
Alex: "I don't know. It's like ... It's like someone talking to me far, far away. Does that make me ...?"
Alex: "Crazy? Does that make me crazy?"
Aiden: "Not at all, agapi."
I lowered one arm and reached down, tugging the quilt up so it covered most of her.
Aiden: "Can you make out what the voice is saying?"
She shook her head
Alex: "I don't want to know. I don't have to, do I?"
I ached for her.
Alex: "Good. Can I stay with you."
Good gods, I didn't want her to be anywhere else."
Aiden: "You can't sit next to me and play chess, agapi."
Alex: "I like sitting beside you. I like when you laugh, too. I think I just like you."
My mouth opened but nothing came out.
Alex: "Sometimes I feel ... I feel like I should be doing more than this. With my life. With you, too."
I knew I needed to say something, but there was too much I wanted to say.
She scooted closer and rested her head on my shoulder
Alex: "I have these memories. They are like dreams. Some are really good and others are dark and red. I know there is more ... to all of this."
Aiden: 'There is."
Alex: "I like this. I like when you hold me at night. That feels right ... real. Thank you."
Aiden: "You're welcome."
Alex: "I have a feeling you do not say that often."
My breath caught. A ball of emotion formed in my chest.
Aiden: "I don't."
Alex: "Do you like it?"
Aiden: "Of course I do, agapi."
Apollo had said he knew what this kind of love was capable of. And I finally understood why Paris has risked his country and his blood for Helen. Selfish, yes, but I understood. I would burn down the world if that meant Alex would be safe.
Aiden: "Did I ever tell you about the first time I saw you?"
Closing my eyes, I felt her snuggle closer. My hand curled into the thick material of her sweater. I rested my chin on her head.
Aiden: "I was sixteen and you were probably fourteen."
Alex: "I can't remember fourteen."
Aiden: "That's okay. I remember for both of us."
I counted to ten before I continued, making sure my voice didn't give.
Aiden: "It was toward the end of the day and I was heading in into the training rooms with a friend. Classes were still going on, and I was walking by the door - it was open - and I heard laughter. Something you don't usually hear during training. I had to stop and see what was going on."
It was the first time I'd seen her. No one could miss her. She was the smallest in the room, shorter and skinnier than all of her opponents, but that wasn't why she stuck out. There's been this impish grin on her face, an energy that was infectious as she'd bounced around the mats, circling a tall, blond-haired boy. The instructor had been irritated, no doubt by her and the attention she was drawing from a pure and an entire class riveted on her. But once I'd seen her, I couldn't look away. It was like being hit by lightning.
Aiden: "You were training with Cal - with a friend - going through take-down moves. He kept trying to get the upper hand, but you kept laying him out, laughing the entire time. Both of you were laughing. That's why I looked."
Alex: "Did you know me then?"
Aiden: "No. But I knew in that moment, you were amazing."
Apollo: "I only allow you to speak to me like this because I know your love and pain, because I have felt it myself. Hyacinth wasn't turned into a flower by my brethren. It was I who did it. It was the only way I could save him from them. So I know what love does and the pain that comes from that kind of sacrifice. But make no mistake, I do not regret what I had to do. And I will do it again."
Aiden: "And make no mistake, Apollo, I will not make that same sacrifice."
Clotho: "Their threads are intertwined closely - the First's and hers."
My hands clenched
Aiden: "And there's no way that can be undone?"
Clotho: "No. Just like yours cannot be undone. Fate is fate, you see, but there is one thing we do not take into consideration when we spin the threads of life, not even when we cut it."
Aiden: "What is that?"
Clotho: "Love. We do not take love into consideration."
She laughed and it carried on the breeze
Clotho: "Love is such a wild and reckless creature. It cannot be planned or threaded. It cannot be controlled. Love can coexist with Fate, or it can undo it. Love it the only thing more powerful than Fate."
Clotho: "You want to know how to break the connection?"
Sympathy creased Clotho's brow. Stepping forward, she placed a small hand against my chest, above my heart.
Clotho: "There is no god or person who can break their connection, but there is still hope. There is the heart, Aiden. There is love, which means there is always hope."
Aiden: "Alex ..."
My lips curved into a s mile for her - always for her.
Aiden: "Do you believe in love?"
Alex: "Yes. Do you?"
Aiden: "I do. I believe in love."
Alex: "I think I am in love."
Six words stopped my heart when facing down a horde of daimons couldn't.
She bit her lip and a faint blush strained her cheeks.
Alex: "I feel it in here."
She placed her hand against her chest, and then against her stomach.
Alex: "and here. It's like there's not enough air or room inside me. That I may ... burst out of my skin or drown in it, and that wouldn't be a bad thing. I don't know why I feel this way, but I always have ... and will. It's you. I ... I love you."
Heart pounding, I swept her against me in a fierce hug, lifting her off her feet. Her giggle was smothered but light. I buried my face in her hair.
Aiden: "I love you, Alex, always you."
Alex would get no more doses, and when the Elixir wore off, I would do what I felt was the worst thing possible. I'd place her back in the call, and then I'd wait.
Alex. Seth. A whole slew of gods if necessary. No one was going to take Alex. No one was going to give up on her or hurt her - not even Alex.
Apollo had changed Hyacinth into a flower to protect him. I would give Alex back control so she could protect herself instead of making the decision for her. That's how we were different from the gods.
I lowered my lips to her cheek and kept them there, holding her tighter and tighter. The gods wanted war?
They were about to get it.