Updated: Jan 22
by Jennifer L Armentrout
Published by Jennifer Armentrout
Book #3 in the Titan Series
A BLOODY PATH HAS BEEN CHOSEN…
The war against the Titans continues, and they remain determined to wreak havoc on the world, but Seth has become something all gods fear. Now the most dangerous, most absolute power no longer resides in those who have been freed from their tombs.
THE GREAT WAR FOUGHT BY THE FEW IS COMING…
All may doubt and fear what Seth has become. All except the one woman who might be his final chance at redemption. Josie will do anything to prove that Seth is on their side, but fate has a nasty way of changing lives, of changing people.
IN THE END, THE SUN WILL FALL…
The only way they can save the future and save themselves is by facing the unknown together. It will take more than trust and faith. It will take love and the kind of strength not easily broken. No matter what, their lives will never be the same.
FOR WHAT THE GODS HAVE FEARED HAS COME TO PASS. THE END OF THE OLD IS HERE AND THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW HAS BEEN USHERED IN…
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Mythical Exciting
The Struggle by Jennifer L Armentrout is the third book in the Titan series, and starts off right when the second book ends, with Seth leaving Josie behind with the others after escaping confinement, and struggling with his new found powers, and Josie, upset that Seth has left her ... again. The Struggle is action packed from the first page, to the last, so buckle up, book nerds!
Holy. Crap. This book was absolutely insane. So much happens, and every single thing seems to be building to an epic conclusion in the next book. The story sucks you in right away, and while one little thing was predictable, I think it was meant to be. If you read the book, you know what I'm talking about. Hint: it happens at the first of the book, and the consequences are found out two thirds of the way in. That's not a bad thing though. It made me keep reading well past the point where I should have been in bed. The Struggle continues the series' trend of being original, well-written, and an exciting read.
One of the best parts of The Struggle; despite EVERYTHING that happens, these characters don't lose their fundamental character traits. Jennifer Armentrout does an amazing job keeping all of these characters consistent. Everything that happens with Seth, he is still Seth. He is changed in the way where he tries harder to be a good guy. He is changed because he now loves someone more than himself. He is changed because of what he becomes. But he is still Seth. Reckless. Passionate. Dark and twisty. Josie still holds true to most of her mortal values, but she will still fight and protect herself and others, something she wasn't sure she could do at the first of the series. She goes through SO much in this book, physically, and emotionally, but she is still herself. Stronger than she knows, brave, and Seth's calm in the storm. I'm obsessed with their relationship with one another. Seth's love for Josie is probably the only thing that is 100% pure, and the moments when he is vulnerable with her add depths to a rather harsh character. Josie's understanding nature, and her acceptance of Seth's dark side, his flaws, is amazing. We get the bad boy Seth we love, and the softer side we didn't get enough of in the Covenant series. The big reveal in this book is what I predicted, but boy, was I happy! It means big things for this series' star couple.
Out of our side characters, the two to shine in The Struggle was Alex and Aiden. We get a hint of their current struggle (which I don't want to spoil for you), and boy do I want a happy ending for them. We don't get too much of Luke and Deacon, Marcus, or Apollo. We get some new characters in the mix (mostly Titans), and the people that live in and around Seth's family home. The Titan's are obviously evil, but I get a weird feeling about those around Seth's home. I don't know. We'll see. Apollo is probably the one character I am flummoxed by. AHHH! Apollo! It's clear what your daughter needs from you! Come on!
And now I am typing messages to fictional characters. Gah.
The Struggle is an amazing leading up book to the final book. It answers questions some of us have had since the Covenant series. It ends off with a pretty heavy realization, and I can't wait to start the next book to find out what happens to these amazing characters.
Hades stopping by to help Josie and crew deal with the escaped daimons
Josie standing up for Seth against Apollo
Deacon telling Seth he should have been there for Josie when she was taken
Seth killing Perses after Perses admitted he held Josie down while she was fed on
Alex and Seth talking about what it means to love someone
Seth taking care of Josie, feeding her soup
Seth telling Josie he loves her
Seth and Josie walking in on Aiden and Alex making out in the kitchen
Josie asking Alex to come along when she went to get a pregnancy test
Seth falling on his ass after Josie told him she was pregnant
Caleb <3 ... and Josie realizing she has the gift of prophecy
Seth killing Hyperion
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Doing the right thing had never felt more wrong than it did right then.
Maybe that was how it always felt.
I wouldn't know.
It was so rare when I actually did the right thing.
My knuckles ached from clenching the steering wheel. Every cell in my body demanded that I turn the vehicle around and go back - go back to Josie, because she was mine, and I belonged with her, in her and beside her.
But I couldn't.
Everything had changed now.
Ewan: "She loves you. Do you even realize what that means? No. No, you do not."
There was a pause.
Ewan: "But you will."
Ewan: "Do you want to know about love?"
Rolling my eyes, I kept walking.
Ewan: "Love is the root of all is good, and the root of all things that are evil. Love is the root of the Apollyon."
The fine hairs on my arms rose, and I stopped. Something about what the nymph was saying rang eerily familiar.
Ewan: "Fate is afoot. Things cannot be undone. Fate has looked into the past and into the future. History is on repeat."
Slowly, against my will, I turned around.
Ewan: "Know the difference between need and love."
Ewan's voice carried on the salty breeze. Those amethyst eyes rolled back, revealing all-white pupils.
Seth: "Oh hell no."
The nymph glided forward and spoke the words that had been meant for the first Apollyon - for Alex - and brought life to a prophecy once unfinished.
Ewan: "For what the gods have feared has come to pass. The end of the old is here and the beginning of the new has been ushered in. For the sun child and the new god will give birth to a new era and the great creators will fall one by one, reshaping our homes and hearths, reaping man and mortal alike."
Oh, fuck me sideways.
Sun Child? New God? Give birth, and reapings? Yeah, I wanted no part of this.
Seth: "You know, you can -"
Ewan: "A bloody path has been chosen. The Great War fought by the few is coming, and in the end, the sun will fall and the moon will reign until the new sun rises."
My brows rose. Sort of sounded like a normal day to me.
Ewan: "Know this. The strength of the sun will be needed to conquer, for the strength of war and cunning will not be enough. Love and need must be reconciled. If not, the great land will perish, for the bull is in the house of the lion."
Ewan the nymph dropped to one knee.
Ewan: "Goodbye, Seth, the God of Life ... The God of Death."
Josie: "Free. It said 'free.'"
Deacon: "Free from what? The set of The Walking Dead?"
Josie: "I ... I didn't meant to do that. I mean, I meant to stop it, but not make it go splat."
Luke: "I guess it's a good thing you didn't accidentally set one of us on fire."
Josie: "I only did that, like once!'
Josie: "Should we bow or something?"
Luke slid me a sidelong glance
Luke: "I'm just not going to move to draw any attention to myself."
Hades: "Too late."
Apollo: "Do you all have any idea what you've done?"
Alex: "You're going to have to be a little more detailed. We've done a lot of things."
The kitchen door opened once more and Deacon drew up short. His gray eyes widened as he spotted Apollo.
Gable bumped into him from behind
Gable: "Who's that?"
Turning right back around
Deacon: "That is all kinds of nope right there."
Hercules: "And exactly how do you think you would've stopped the God Killer? Even I, the Hercules, would've been unable to stop him. He could kill me."
Hades: "Oh, the tragedy."
Apollo: "It doesn't mater. What you need to be focusing on it locating the other demigods -"
Josie: "I know what I need to be doing."
Apollo: "And what is that? Running off after him? As if what I've ordered you to do is not more important?"
Josie: "Alex and Aiden have agreed to -"
Apollo: "I know what they've agreed to do. It does not matter. You will locate the other two demigods and then wait for me at the Covenant in South Dakota."
I Almost laughed.
Josie: "Oh, I don't think so."
Apollo: "You'd disobey me?"
Josie: "I will do what I feel is right, and finding Seth is what I need to do. I love Seth. I love him when no one else believe in him and I will still love him when everyone realizes who and what he truly is. That will never change. And there is nothing you can say that will change my mind, so you might as well not even attempt it and just tell me how you plan to neutralize Seth."
Apollo: "You won't love him when he drains you dry."
I sucked in an unsteady breath
Josie: "He would never do that."
Apollo: "He wouldn't? Because I'm pretty sure he has already fed from you. You don't understand, Josie. You approach everything with Seth as if it is a black or white issue, as if there is not gray. You don't know him like I do - like all of us do. Whether you want to admit it or not, we do not know what Seth is capable of. We never have and you did not know him when he worked alongside Ares."
Josie: "Since you seem to be watching from afar like a total stalker, then you know he stopped and he told me what happened."
Apollo tipped his head back.
Apollo: "You sounds like a foolish child in the middle of a tantrum."
Luke: "Oh geez."
Alex's eyes widened.
Josie: "How would you know what a child sounds like in the middle of a tantrum? Like you're actually around children enough to know that? I mean, you weren't there for any of my tantrums. Or my birthdays. Or holidays. Or any of the hundred times my mother had a relapse and I was scared to death that she would accidentally hurt herself."
My words struck their mark. I knew this because the room suddenly filled with electricity. Alex and Aiden shifted uneasily, and I had a feeling Luke was slinking away.
Apollo: "You think that's what I wanted? That I chose to not be there for you?"
Josie: "Right now you choose to not even look at me when you speak to me, so yeah, I'm going to go with you chose not to be there for me."
Apollo whipped around so fast I barely saw him move. I couldn't read the emotions in his face. I didn't want to.
Josie: "You barely speak to me when you do decide to appear. Hell, you seem more happy to see them than you are to see me, your daughter. You won't even tell me anything about my mother. You always disappear before I can even ask."
His chest rose and those large hands opened.
Apollo: "Sometimes it is best to not be given the chance to ask a question that will lead to an answer you will not want to hear or need to know."
Alex: "You were right when you told Apollo that no one knows Seth like you do."
I snapped my mouth shut.
Alex: "You know this Seth, and I'm not sure who or what he really is now, but we know the old Seth, too, and because of that, we have to be cautious. And they were cautious because apparently they kind of knew more than what they told us."
Josie: "He's not evil."
Alex: "I think ... I think you're right."
Josie: "I am."
I closed my eye and instead of being sucked back into those long nights and mornings of staring out this window, watching my mother, I saw Josie's face and I wanted to be there. I wanted to see her -
And then it happened.
My heart took a beat and every cell in my body scattered. One second I was in my old bedroom and the next I want standing in a small room that appeared o be a hotel. I took a step back as my gaze swung around the room. Heavy curtains were drawn, blotting out the sun. I caught a glimpse of blonde hair splayed out across a pillow.
I hadn't meant to do this.
But I had.
I'd brought myself to Josie.
It had only taken a second, and I was suddenly within feet of her, and she was right there, lying on a bed, curled onto her side. Her back was to me, but I knew that was Josie. I knew the line of her body, even under a thin white blanket. That was her curve of the hip and waist. That was my Josie - that was psychi mou. My soul.
Hyperion: "Miss me?"
Josie: "Like I'd miss a gunshot wound."
Seth: "You know, there was nothing more annoying than Apollo or any of the other gods just randomly popping up whenever they wanted. But I've got to admit, being able to do it is pretty fucktastic."
Marcus continued to stare.
Seth: "Yeah, spoiler alert. I'm kind of a god now."
Seth: "I went to the house in Malibu. Looked like some crazy shit went down."
Dark shadows were under Deacon's normally lively silver eyes
Deacon: "Um, yeah. Apparently we were never supposed to kill a Titan."
Seth: "Oh, really?"
Luke: "Killing Atlas caused some major earthquakes. You didn't know that?"
I raised a brow
Deacon: "It also punched a hole straight into Tartarus. Charred daimons escaped right into Gable's living room. It was like a scene out of a horror flick."
My stomach twisted.
Luke: "We fought them off until Hades and his men came up after them. Then Apollo showed up. Things got ..."
A rare form of anger flashed across Deacon's face as he stared at me.
Deacon: "You weren't there. How could you not be there?"
Seth: "I like you, Deacon. I always have, so I'm going to say this once and only once. I had to leave."
Deacon: "But you're here now."
Deacon: "No. Josie stood up for you - defended you after you left us - left her. She stood up to Alex and Aiden who were afraid you had turned into evil Seth, hell bent on killing everyone."
My eyes narrowed.
Deacon: "She stood up to her father - to Apollo when he showed up and started talking trash about you. She had your back. And you weren't there."
Seth: "I couldn't be there - be around her, Deacon. It's for her safety."
His laugh was harsh and so very unlike Deacon.
Seth: "Look, I'm here to make sure she's okay since I can't ... I can't sense her. That's all."
Deacon's mouth dropped open.
Behind the desk, Marcus briefly closed his eyes.
Marcus: "You don't know."
As I stared at them, unease coursed through my veins like battery acid.
Seth: "I don't know what?"
Luke: "After the daimons were taken care of, Apollo told Josie that her mother had died along with her grandparents."
Seth: "No. Apollo said - Apollo had lied to her this whole time."
Luke: "Josie kind of lost it. A burst of akasha left her - knocked Alex, Aiden and me flat on our asses. Apollo vanished at that point."
A wry smile tugged at my lips. That's my girl.
Marcus: "That's not all. You shouldn't be there. Seth, you should be home."
Seth: "My home?"
Luke: "The islands. Josie thought you might go back to the islands you grew up in. That's what she was planning to do. She -"
Seth: "She went to Andros?"
Surprise stowed my breath. How in the hell did she figure out that was where I was going? I'd mentioned the islands only a few times.
Because she loves you, whispered that same voice in the back of my thoughts, and it was one hundred percent right. Because she loved me, she knew enough about me to figure out what my next steps would be, and she was going to come for me.
I needed to get back there. Gods, if she showed up and Basil found her - if she saw the temples and met Karina and - I could feel my form beginning to flicker out.
Deacon: "Seth, wait. Josie didn't make it."
I stopped. My heart. My lungs. Everything stopped, except for the earth, because it felt like it had shifted under my feet.
Seth: "What do you mean by that?"
Luke: "Hyperion came after her. We'd left Gable's house and moved to one of his relative's houses so we could have time to plan what everyone was going to do. Josie was outside with Alex. They found Hyperion - Aiden went out there, but he got her."
The edges of the room started to blur and turn white.
Seth: "Hyperion has her?"
Deacon lifted his chin
Deacon: "He got her and he's ... he's had her for about nine days now."
Hyperion had had Josie for nine days.
Terror exploded in my chest as red-hot rage pumped through my veins. He had Josie.
Marcus: "Alex and Aiden left to find you, Seth. They've headed to the islands."
I was already halfway gone when I heard Deacon
Deacon: "You should've been there."
Alex: "You don't look any different. I men, if you're a god now, wouldn't you look more ... I don't know, godly?"
Seth: "I think I've always looked godly."
Behind her Aiden rolled his eyes.
Alex: "Are we supposed to, like, bow before you now?"
I coughed out a harsh laugh.
Seth: "While I'd find that utterly amusing ..."
I shot a pointed look in Aiden's direction.
Seth: "Let's not do that."
Seth: "It's late, Alex, and I suddenly find myself with a case of shut the fuck up."
Alex: "I really would like to punch you right now."
Seth: "Get in line."
Seth: "I've left her three times, and it still hasn't changed how I feel about her. If anything, what I feel has only gotten stronger."
Alex: "Well, that's how love works, dumbass."
I slid her an arched look
Seth: "You really going to talk to me like that, knowing what I am?"
Alex: "Do I really look like I'm scared of you just because you're a god now? You're still a dumbass. Obviously. You love her and you leave her. Over and over. It's like the definition of insanity, you know? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
Seth: "I'm not good for her."
She lifted her brows
Alex: "Then try being good for her. Have you ever thought about that? You know, fighting yourself to be with her?"
I opened my mouth
Alex: "Love means you're going to be there for each other even when it sucks. Love means you're going to have each other's back and trust that the other person will be there for you. What you're doing isn't love. As soon as shit hits the fan for you, you up and leave. You shut down and push her away. That's not the Seth I know."
Every muscle in my back stiffened.
Seth: "Okay. First off, you're starting to piss me off. And secondly, do you really want me to be the Seth you used to know?"
Alex: "First off, I don't care. And secondly, the Seth I used to know didn't run from anything that was difficult, even when he was super duper wrong. You need to man up, Seth."
Seth: "Did you seriously just tell me to man up?"
Alex: "Yeah. And I'll say it again. Man. Up."
Seth: "Gods. Don't you have something to do? Like go annoy Aiden?"
Alex: "Nope. Do you really think you can seriously let her go."
My gaze fell back to Josie. She hadn't moved once during the conversation and that scared the shit out of me. Slowly, I leaned forward and placed my hand over hers. A jolt traveled up my arm and I inhaled sharply. Truth was, if Hyperion had never gotten her and she made her way here, I would've tried to resist her.
And I would've failed.
Because I did love her.
And if Hyperion hadn't taken her, and if I'd found her at the Covenant or on her way to find a demigod or on her way here, I wouldn't have been able to leave again.
Because I loved her.
I admitted in a low voice, drawing her limp hand to my mouth.
Seth: "Even if we weren't together, I wouldn't be able to let her go."
Alex: "Are you okay with me leaving, Josie? Because if not, I'll make Douche Canoe over here disappear."
Seth let out an aggravated breath, and I opened my eyes. I could only look at Alex. Her face was flushed with anger, and I had a suspicion she would gladly throw down with him.
Josie: "I'm ... I'm okay. It's okay."
She hesitated, shooting one last glare in Seth's direction.
Alex: "You're a dumbass - such a fucking dumbass."
Turning to me, she gave a faint smile.
Alex: "I'll check in on you later."
Seth: "Right now, they have no idea where we are, but we're not warded against Titans or any other god. I'm not leaving you. Not again. You're my number one priority. You are what I'm focused on. You're all the matters."
Frustration rose like a swelling river within me. It mingled with the very real pain that had settled into every joint and muscle. giving way to the terror that still hummed under my skin.
Josie: "But you already left me!"
Seth flinched as his back stiffened.
Josie: "You left me already. You left me, Seth. So I wasn't all the mattered to you a few weeks ago, so how can I be all that matters to you now?"
Needing space, I scooted over. Seth went to block me again, but I shoved his arm away.
Something akin to pain flickered across his face as he pulled his arm back. I stumbled off the bed, my skin feeling like it had been stretched too tight. I walked a few feet away and then stopped, standing on trembling legs. I closed my eyes as I tugged the hair back from my face.
Seth: "I deserved that."
I opened my eyes, but didn't face him.
Seth: "I did leave you. And I wasn't there for you when you found out about your mom or when Hyperion came from you. I let you down in the worst possible way. I cannot say I'm sorry enough. I'll never be able to make up for how I failed you."
Seth: "When I left you, I told myself that I'd never see you again. Obviously I hadn't held myself to that. I came to you after I left, and then I tried to find you again. That's how I learned what had happened. I didn't - I didn't even know what happened until then, and when I heard that Hyperion had taken you, I have never felt so helpless. I've never felt such terror before, because I couldn't find you. I didn't know how to find you. I could've lost you - lost you in the worst possible way, but I didn't. You're here, and right now, I just want to help make you better. To get better, you need to eat, because you told me earlier that you didn't remember the last time you ate. Please let me do this."
Josie: "I was coming after you. Even though the whole feeding off me was so ... so wrong, I was going to come after you. That was my plan. I was going to stand next to you. I was going to fight for you. Prove that you ... you are worthy of how I feel for you. And after everything, I finally see you, and that - that was all I wanted - was to see you, and that - that was all I wanted - was to see you, and I found you with another woman."
My heart cracked all over again at her words and the tears building in her eyes.
Seth: "It wasn't how it looked."
She coughed out a harsh laugh.
Seth: "I know how that sounds. I truly do, but it is the truth. Her name is Karina and she is the high priestess here."
Josie: "High priestess?"
Seth: "That's a part of the convoluted story I need to tell you - she's a big part of it, and gods know, it's a messed-up story, but I was not embracing her. There is absolutely nothing between us. Nothing. There never has been. There won't be."
Josie: "Don't lie. I saw you. You had your hands on her. You were touching her -"
I shot forward, moving faster than she could track. Carefully clasping her cheeks, I guided her gaze to mine.
Seth: "It wasn't like that, Josie. I swear to you. It could never be, because I love you, Josie. I love you."
Josie: "Okay. Wow. So, you're a god now that apparently can take out Titans easily. That's pretty amazing."
Seth: "It is. I mean, I've always thought I was god-like, so it's not that big of a change."
Heart thumping, I lifted my gaze to his.
Josie: "I'm ... I'm tired again."
He hesitated and suddenly he didn't look like a god - a powerful being with no match. He stared up at me through thick lashes, and he looked like a man about to ask for the world.
Seth: "Can I stay with you?"
Seth inched closer to the bed.
Seth: "I don't think I can leave your side, Josie."
My heart was going to crawl out of my chest, and in an instant, the past and present collided. I loved Seth. I would always love him.
Loving him didn't mean I wasn't disappointed in his choices - that those choices hadn't hurt me. Loving him didn't mean he could keep making those choices and I would keep forgiving him. Loving him meant that I knew from the first moment that I fell for Seth that he was complicated - that loving him wouldn't be easy. Loving him ... Well, it meant that I was willing to fight for him.
And loving him meant he had to be willing to fight for me.
Josie: "If you stay, you stay. You can't leave me again. If you can't promise that and mean it, you can't stay with me."
He moved as quick as a bolt of lightning. One second he was standing next to the bed, and in another, he was only an inch or so away from me, bent at the waist, his hands planted on the bed, beside my hips.
Seth: "I will never leave you like that again, Josie. You will never have to fear that. I swear to you."
Josie: "This is your temple?"
Josie: "And those are your priests and priestesses?"
Seth: "Double yep."
Josie: "I don't even know what to say. Have you gone in there?"
Seth: "I haven't. Do you want to?"
Josie: "Not yet. It's just a little too weird for me right now."
Relieved, I chuckled.
Seth: "You and me both."
Josie: "I'm surprised you're not reveling in all of this."
Seth: "I don't need this - any of this. I just ..."
Seth: "I only need you, Josie."
Seth: "I've let you down."
When I opened my mouth, he raised his hand.
Seth: "I have, Josie. More than once I've ... I've pushed you away. I've made the wrong choices. I know I haven't come even close to being the kind of man you deserve, but I'm going to change that. You'll never have to doubt me again. I'd die before that happened again."
Josie: "I wouldn't be standing here if I didn't love you, Seth. I wouldn't have let you sleep in the same bed with me last night if I didn't. There's a lot I don't really understand right now, like, for example, the whole ' you're a god' thing. I mean, I get it. You're a god."
Slipping my hands free, I wiggled my fingers.
Josie: "Yay! You seem the same - well, you're more mellow, but I live that, and I love you whether you're a god or a normal human being. And yeah, there's a lot we need to still figure out. Like that whole feeding thing, because I am so not okay with you getting all super close with a woman who looks like she could double for Angelina Jolie, and -"
Seth moved so fast I didn't even register what he was up to until I felt his lips on mine. I sucked in a startled gasp. It felt like an eternity had passed since the last time he'd kissed me.
Just the tips of his fingers cradled my cheeks as his mouth gently moved over mine. He appeared fully aware of the split in my bottom lip, and was careful to not injure it further. His face was tender and so sweet, bringing a wave of fresh tears to my eyes. My hands went to his chest, and I could feel his heart pounding under my palm. My lips parted, and the kiss deepened, sending my pulse racing as the tip of his tongue touched mine.
I was immediately lost to him- to the feel of his lips, to the touch of his hands, and to his taste. I was lost and a part of me never wanted to be found.
He made a raw, hungry sound as his fingers glided down my throat and over my shoulders.
Seth: "Say it again."
Dazed with desire, I opened my eyes. I knew what he meant without any further explanation.
Josie: "I love you, Seth."
Seth: "I missed you."
He curled one hand through my hair and he rested his chin atop my head.
Seth: "I missed you when I was with you."
Looping my arms around his waist, I closed my eyes
Josie: "How did you miss me when I was with you?"
Seth: "I don't know. It's hard to explain, but I guess I wasn't ... I wasn't entirely me, so there was a part of me that wasn't actually there."
I lifted my head and stared into his eyes
Josie: "And you're completely here now?"
Seth: "I am. For the first time in my life, I'm actually me."
It was Alex and Aiden.
They were in the middle of the room, near a multiple-burner stovetop. It looked like they had been in the process of making eggs to go with their bacon, but the eggs remained in a bowl, uncooked, whisked and frothy. It also appeared they'd forgotten everything except each other.
Alex was sitting - barely - on the counter near the stove. Aiden's hips were pressed between her thighs, and one of his hands was somewhere under the loose tank top Alex was wearing. She was grabbing the back of his head with one hand and the other had Aiden's shirt balled, tugging it up. Their mouths and hips were practically fused together.
Heat invaded my face as I glanced up at Seth. His brows were raised.
Seth: "I think they're about to make a baby. And maybe eggs."
Seth snickered as Aiden stiffened and then slid his hand out from Alex's shirt, dropping his palm to the smooth countertop. His forehead pressed against hers, and what I could see of Alex's face was blood red.
Seth: "I would like to be able to eat food out of this kitchen again. And actually use the counter to prepare food."
Alex: "Shut up. As if you know how to cook food."
Seth smirked as he swaggered forward, picking up the forgotten bowl.
Seth: "I am quite the chef, among other things."
Passing a pointed look at Aiden, he leaned again the counter.
Seth: "Unlike some."
Aiden: "Just because you're a god doesn't mean I won't punch you."
Seth: "Just because you're a guest in my house doesn't mean I won't drown you in the ocean."
Josie: "Oh dear."
Aiden: "That was almost ... reassuring. Are you feeling sick?"
Seth rolled his eyes
Seth: "The gods know what I am. They know I can end them. So they're going to stay far, far away."
Aiden: "And are you planning to do that? End the gods?"
Seth shrugged a shoulder as he scooped up some eggs.
Seth: "You know, I haven't decided."
I raised a brow as I glanced down at the bacon.
Seth's gaze flickered to mine
Seth: "There are one or two I really would like to straight-up murder."
Aiden: "Well, maybe you should try to control your murderous impulses. You never know when the gods might actually be useful."
Seth: "That is just as likely as you actually being useful."
One side of Aiden's lips kicked up.
Aiden: "You know, I think you have a crush on me."
Seth simply smiled in return, and it was a bit of a creepy, hide-your-kids kind of smile that actually reminded me of Apollo, and that really made it even more weird.
Alex: "It's like the Twilight Zone. Watching them work together on anything, even when it's just eggs and bacon."
I laughed under my breath.
Aiden: "Seth sort of has a point."
Seth: "Holy shit, someone record this."
Seth: "The mere idea of you having a child frightens me."
Alex: "You and me both."
Josie: "Holy crap! Holy crap!"
Seth: "I don't really have to walk anywhere anymore."
Josie: "No shit! How about warning me next time?"
A sheepish grin tugged at his lips
Seth: "But then I'd miss that look on your face."
Josie: "What look?"
Seth: "Like you want to kick me and kiss me at the same time."
Josie: "Seth -"
Seth: "And I'll free Mitchell. Even though I really don't care about him, and I know that is an asshole thing to say, but I only care about you."
Josie: "That's not true. You care about Alex and Aiden."
His brows rose.
Seth: "Only because I'm supposed to."
Seth: "Okay. It would suck if something bad happened to them, especially Alex. She will always be important to me. Aiden? Well, I wouldn't exactly miss him."
Seth: "But you? If something happened to you again? I would burn this fucking world to the ground and then I would destroy Olympus."
Alex: "Holy daimon nuts!"
Alex shrieked as coffee sloshed out of her cup and onto the front of her shirt.
Alex: "Jesus. That was not necessary."
Seth's grin grew to epic proportions.
Josie: "It really wasn't. Just because you can poof in and out of rooms does not mean you should."
Seth: "But it's so much fun."
Alex was patting at the front of her shirt.
Alex: "Gods, you're going to be just as bad as freaking Apollo."
Seth: "That's actually kind of insulting."
Josie: "You're a jackass."
Seth: "You love me."
Josie: "You're lucky that I do."
Josie: "Seth, I ... I want you."
His eyes drifted shut
Seth: "I will never get tired of hearing that."
Josie: "Then let me ... let me have you, all of you."
Lowering his forehead to mine, he murmured
Seth: "Psychi mou, I want you to be ready."
Josie: "I am ready."
Josie: "I trust you, Seth. I trust that I will always be safe with you. That you ... you will always make sure of that."
Seth: "I don't deserve you."
I cupped his cheek
Josie: "See, that's where you're being just plain stupid."
A startled chuckle left him
Josie: "You do deserve me. You deserve my love."
Josie: "I'm ready."
Seth: "You look like you're about to jump out of an airplane."
Josie: "Shut up"
I grumbled, keeping my eyes closed.
He laughed again, and then I felt his breath on my cheek. A heartbeat later, his lips brushed over mine. I gasped in surprise, and he took complete advantage of that, kissing me deeply.
Aiden: "I'm glad that's not how I got here."
My eyes flew open and at first all I saw were glowing, tawny eyes, and then I stepped back, looking around. I wasn't in Seth's house anymore. We were standing in a large office. I immediately recognized the older man standing by the desk. Marcus - Alex's uncle and the Dean of the University. We were at the Covenant.
Seth: "Did you forget how I excel at distraction?"
I flushed hotly.
He was good.
Josie: "How are we sure she's who we're looking for?"
Alex: "That's a good question. Kidnapping is a felony."
Seth: "Well, technically, even if she's a demigod, they still kidnapped her."
Seth shrugged when we all looked at him.
Seth: "Hey, I'm just pointing out the obvious here."
Deacon: "Once we got back here with Gable, we had no idea how we were going to find the last two demigods. So I had this idea. Why don't I try to find the librarian?"
Aiden's mouth dropped open
Aiden: "You went to Medusa? Please tell me you did not attempt to talk to Medusa."
Marcus: "I just want to add at this moment that she is not an official employee of the university."
I smothered an absurd-sounding giggle.
Deacon: "It was a risk I was willing to take. What's the worst that could've happened?"
Alex: "She could've, you know, turned you into stone?"
Josie: "What the hell? I didn't have any cool abilities like that. Not at all."
Seth was bent at the waist, so his head was next to mine when he laughed.
Seth: "Ah, but you're still special."
Josie: "Shut up."
Aiden: "I can tell what you're thinking. You have to care about this."
Seth: "See, that's the thing, Aiden. I don't have to do anything I don't want to. I'm not you. I'm not here to save the world. That's not who I am. I will never be that."
A muscle ticked in his jaw
Aiden: "Then what are you?"
Seth: "You know what I am."
Aiden: "A selfish, arrogant prick?"
My smile spread
Seth: "There is only one person I truly care about. Only one person I would go to the ends of the earth to keep safe. You're not that person. It would be wise to remember that."
Aiden lifted his chin as his eyes flashed silver.
Aiden: "You need to remember that I would do anything to keep Alex safe, and if killing Titans put her in danger, then I will do whatever it takes to stop you."
Seth: "I think you will try to stop me. Look, what do you want me to say, Aiden? What would you do if Hyperion had gotten a hold of Alex and did those things to her?"
His lips thinned.
Seth: "I know what you wanted to do to Ares. I know what you wanted to do to me. I'm not completely irresponsible, contrary to popular belief. If there is a way to entomb those Titans without putting Josie in harm's way, I'm all for it, but I will not let Hyperion live. There is no convincing me otherwise. SO if you have a problem with that, then you should probably sit this one out, because if I come face to face with him, he's a dead motherfucker."
Aiden: "That I can understand. Hyperion is the god of heavenly light - one of the pillars of the earth. The east, I believe. Not sure what taking him out would do."
Aiden drew in a shallow breath
Aiden: "I don't agree with you nine out of ten times, but this ... this thing with Hyperion, I understand. If I'd had a chance to kill Ares, I would've taken it.
My gaze met his.
Seth: "And if you'd had a chance to kill me, you would've taken it."
Aiden: "Yes. Yes, I would've."
Seth: "Glad we're on the same page."
Aiden: "Yes, he's really a god. And yes, he can do all the cool god things, but we really have limited time, so if we can get the shock and awe out of the way, that would be great."
I slid Aiden a long look
Seth: "Well, that takes the fun out of everything."
Seth: "It's the section of windows right there? Correct?"
Kia: "Yes. That appears to be some sort of living room."
I faced them
Seth: "Can you guys keep a secret? Like, a really big secret that I'd kind of have to kill you if you shared level of secret-keeping?"
Aiden sighed with a roll of his eyes
The Sentinels exchanged looks
Torin: "Yeah, I guess so."
Smiling, I pivoted around and lifted my hands. A surge of power rushed the room.
Seth: "Because I'm about to straight up murder some people. See you on the flip side."
Luke: "How did things go with Cora?"
Josie: "She finally opened the door and let us in. She's starting to come around. I mean, she believes us now. But I think we need to proceed with baby steps so we don't overwhelm her."
Colin: "Baby steps? And you left her in there with Deacon? He's probably lighting things on fire for her."
Luke: "Shit. You're so right. I better go check on them"
Luke: "Look, it wasn't really kidnapping. It was more like witness relocation against her will. Totally different."
Alex: "Seth ... doesn't know, does he?"
Josie: "No. It wasn't something I really thought about until recently and I didn't want to get him ... worried? I don't know what he'd do or even think. It's not exactly something we've talked about."
Alex: "Honest? He's probably going to be as shocked as you, but Seth loves you, Josie. He really does, and that is something amazing."
Josie: "I know."
She gave a little shake of her head
Alex: "I don't know if you really do. I never believed Seth was capable of loving anyone more than he loved himself, but he does with you. And because of that, you shouldn't be afraid of telling him if that test comes back positive."
I clapped my hands together
Heads jerked up. Eyes of all different shapes and colors widened.
Seth: "Hey. My name is Seth. I have a few questions."
Dark shadows leaked through the whites of their eyes like ink into water. A low hissing sound radiated from all corners of the room, like the air being let out of several balloons. They rose at once.
Seth: "I'm glad to see you guys are going to be so helpful."
Seth: "What do you know? Looks like you're stuck in the body now. Guess you're fucked."
Seth: "You're pregnant?"
Her chest rose with a deep breath. Those beautiful eyes - eyes that were like two polished sapphires - glistened with unshed tears.
Josie: "I'm sorry."
I jerked. I mean, my entire body jolted.
She was sorry - sorry about being pregnant with my child? My brows flew up, and for a small instant that icy terror poured into my chest. How could I be a good father? After everything that I had done - everything I would do to keep Josie safe. My hands were dirty, but they'd soon be soaked in blood. Was that why she was sorry? Because she knew I was probably the last person in the world who was fit to have and raise a child?
But I'd give up my life for my child.
Josie: "I know this is a surprise. It ... it shocked me. It had to be that one time - right when you left. We didn't use a condom. I know we're not ready for this, but I was hoping we ..."
Trailing off, she shook her head as she pressed the tips of her fingers to her mouth.
Then it struck me.
She thought I was unhappy with the news, and she had good reason to believe that, because I was sitting on the godsdamn floor like a dumbass.
Snapping out of my stupor, I flew to my feet and grasped her hands.
Seth: "I am not sorry. I could never feel sorry that you're having my child."
Her eyes widened
I brought her hands to my chest as I hauled her up to her feet.
Seth: "I was ... fuck, I was shocked. I was not expecting you to say that. At all. But I am not sorry."
Josie's chest rose against our joined hands.
Josie: "You're not? You're okay with me ... with this?"
Seth: "How could I not be okay? Gods, Josie, I was shocked enough that I just fell over on my ass, but I love you - I will always love you. That means I will love our child."
Seth: "I'm going to be a father."
I could feel my lips curving into a smile - a smile I couldn't stop even if I wanted to.
Seth: "I never ... It's not something I've ever thought about."
I brought her hand to my cheek
Seth: "I just never thought it would be in my future. Probably because it wasn't until recently that I even had a future, but I never ... I'm going to be a dad."
Josie smiled as she nodded
Josie: "You ... will be an amazing father. No child would ever be more loved, more safe."
Her beautiful face blurred as stark emotion punched a hole right through my chest. Who knew hearing those words would have such an intense impact? But they did. And my own eyes felt oddly damp. My knees felt weak again and my body ... my body reacted strongly and without thought.
Lifting her up, in one powerful lunge, I had Josie on her back, and all that glorious hair was spread out along the bedspread. I hovered over her, my fist punched into the bed beside her head and my other hand gripping her hip. My heart was a battering ram against my ribs as I stared down at her.
Seth: "I love you."
My voice shaking - my fucking hand trembling as I slid it over, resting just below her navel.
Seth: "And I love this ... this child already. Neither of you will ever want for anything. I promise you that."
And that was a promise I would kill to keep.
And die to ensure.
Seth kissed my stomach, just below my navel.
My breath caught at the sweet gesture.
Josie: "Seth ..."
Seth: "This. This is a gift. It is nothing less than a ... than a miraculous gift."
Josie: "I love you. I love you so much."
Seth: "You okay?"
Josie: "Yeah. That was ..."
Yes. That was everything.
Seth: "Gods, Josie. You've ... you've made my life."
Seth: "You know what?"
Seth: "You're going to be my very own MILF."
I blinked. For a moment, I didn't think I heard him correctly.
Seth: "And I'm going to be your DILF."
My mouth dropped open
Josie: "I can't believe you just said that."
Seth grinned as he gave me a lopsided shrug
Seth: "It's true."
I stared at him and then I turned, laughing as I threw my arm around his waist.
Josie: "You're so ..."
Seth: "Amazing? Perfect? Sexy? A beast?"
Giggling, I shook my head
Josie: "You're insane."
Seth: "Insanely in love with you. Josie?"
Seth: "Thank you."
Alex: "I'm sorry for saying something, but ... but you're ... you're going to be a father."
I blinked slowly, unfolding my arms
Seth: "Yeah. Yeah, I am."
Alex clasped her hands together.
Alex: "I am made of questions right now."
Seth: "You and me both."
Alex: "Are you ... are you happy -?"
Seth: "I'm fucking thrilled. I'm shocked. I'd never been more shocking in my life. I actually fell flat on my ass when she told me. It's ... it's crazy timing with everything going on. But how could I not be happy? I love Josie. I already ... I already love this child."
Alex's smile raced across her face.
Alex: "I think I might cry."
Seth: "Please don't."
Aiden: "I can't believe I'm saying this, but you're going to do good. You're going to do more than good, Seth."
I stared at him, unsure if he was having some kind of medical emergency.
Alex: "He's right. That kid will want for nothing. Wait. Does this mean your kid is a god? I have no idea. I need to find some books on this."
Aiden: "Not sure if there are books on this, Alex."
Seth: "All right. This convo is over."
Aiden: "We really are happy for you, Seth. I still want to punch you in the throat, but I am happy for you."
Seth: "It's not Apollo I'm worried about. It's Hades. There's always a catch with him."
Caleb: "Well, there is a catch."
Josie: "What do you mean?"
Caleb glanced at Seth with a sheepish grin.
Caleb: "Hades wants me to put the bands on you."
Luke: "Oh shit."
Seth crossed his arms
Seth: "Is that so?"
Caleb: "Yep. I looked at him like he was crazy because I'm not quite sure how he expects me to put the bands on without you noticing. And I'm pretty sure if Apollo had normal eyes when this was going on, he would've been rolling them."
Josie: "Wait a second. You're expected to free me but turn around and bind Seth's abilities?"
Caleb: "Expected to? Yes. Am I going to do so? Nope."
Alex: "What will happened if you free Josie and don't do what they ask?"
Caleb: "Come on, Hades has to know that Seth isn't going to stand there and let me slap those babies on him. SO, what I was thinking, you could just hit me with a god bolt and send me back that way. Then, at least I'm not lying when I say Seth stopped me."
My mouth dropped open
Alex: "What? He is not hitting you with a gold bolt!"
Deacon: "This has gotten really weird."
Seth: "Not like it's going to kill him or anything."
Seth: "Sometimes I have no idea how your brain works, but I love you. I love you with every ounce of my being."
Hyperion: "I waited. Took you long enough. Did you have to work up the nerve?"
With my back to him, I tilted my head.
Seth: "Oh, yeah. I was so scared."
Hyperion: "You should've been, you little bitch."
Hyperion: "You can't even look at me, can you? You may have the other Titans scared, especially since you took out Atlas and then Perses, but I know what you are."
Seth: "And what is that?"
Hyperion: "You're just a supped-up God Killer and that means I can kill you. But I'm not going to kill you fast. I'm going to keep you down here just like I did with your pretty girlfriend. I'm going to feed off you. And I'm going to go find that blonde bitch again and then I'll gut her right in front of you."
Power crackled along my knuckles
Seth: "Is that a promise?"
Hyperion: "Oh, yeah it is. But not before I have a little fun with her. Then when you're begging for death, I'll hand you over to Cronus and he'll reward me by giving me Apollo."
Seth: "Well then."
I said, turning around.
Seth: "I was planning on killing you slowly."
Seth: "Yeah. I was going to drag it out, cut little slices into your skin, turn you into a living fucking coloring book. You know they're all the rage now. Then slowly burn you from the inside out, but not before I cut your dick off and shoved it down your throat and hang your balls around your neck like a noose."
Hyperion: "Sounds like a fun evening."
Seth: "It would've been, but, you see, I've matured."
Smirking as I took a step toward him, Hyperion tensed, and my smirk grew.
Seth: "I'm not going to drag this out. I'm not going to take pleasure in turning you into a weeping mass of flesh and broken bone. But I am going to take great pleasure in killing you."
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