Hades looked up as Persephone entered his office, and he immediately felt his cock twitch. She was dressed s in red, and the fabric clung to her body and dipped at her breasts, inviting his gaze. Her expression was impish, and his eyes narrowed, suspicious. He hoped she had come to seduce him. The thought made his groin grow thick and heavy, and he rested his hands on the arms of his chair to keep himself seated as she approached.
“So the desk is not just for show,” she teased, a smile curling her inviting lips.
That depends on what you consider work, Hades thought, raising a brow. He had definitely labored over her upon its pristine surface and he could tell by the flush on the apples of her cheeks that she was thinking the same thing.
“I can be very productive when I wish,” he said.
“Yes, as you are aware, darling, I am a great multitasker.”
He could kiss her, knead her breasts, and fuck her.
“Hmm. I seem to have forgotten you possessed that particular skill. Perhaps you can enlighten me?”
He narrowed his gaze, taking her banter as a challenge. Perhaps he had not branded her skin or fucked her hard enough. He considered how he might surprise her—vanishing from this spot to her in seconds, he would take her hair in his hands, and pull her head back to devour her mouth before settling her on his cock. He would take her against the windows overlooking the club.
Except that he now noticed that she held something in her arms—a plant in a red pot.
“Have you brought me something?”
Persephone pulled her lip into her mouth, and his gaze burned. She placed the pot on the edge of his desk and suddenly all he could smell was sweet spearmint—it was a mint plant. He did not like it because it covered up Persephone’s aroma.
“Actually, I’m returning what was already yours,” she said.
“I think I would remember leaving a mint plant at your home, Persephone.”
“Well, you see, this…plant wasn’t always a plant.”
“She was a nymph. Minthe.”
His brows knitted together and he pointed at the plant.
“You’re saying that. Is my assistant?”
It took more control to not laugh then it had to stay seated when he wanted to fuck her.
He could tell she was anxious about admitting what she had done. Hades has never told her that he had dismissed Minthe. There were a few reasons, among them, that he had not really thought about the nymph since he had captured Sisyphus.
Still, as he looked at Persephone, he was curious. How has this come to be?
“And why is my assistant a plant, Persephone?”
“Because,” she answered, averting her eyes.“She upset me.”
He knew she was not telling the whole truth. He waited, thinking that she might cave and tell him on her own, but he knew better—Persephone never felt pressure to expound on anything, and would likely only do so when forced to after losing to him.
“What did Minthe do to upset you?”
There was a long list—her closeness to Hades, her opinion that Persephone was all wrong for him, the fact that the nymph had tricked her into entering Tartarus, but what had really pissed her off was when Minthe had called her powerless.
Given all of that, she wasn’t here to snitch so she answered, “That doesn’t matter anymore. I took care of it.”
Hades raised a brow and before he could say anything else, she continued.
“I thought I would give you the option of returning her to her true form.”
His brow rose to meet the other. He was clearly amused, and she felt a small amount of her anxiety lessen.
“You wish for me to make that decision?”
She looked confused and said, “She is your assistant.”
Hades tilted his head to the side, studying her. Then he rose to his feet and came around the desk. Persephone turned toward him. Hades’ captured her chin between his fingers, tilting her head back, her throat taunt.
“How shall I convince you to tell me the truth?” He asked. His voice was low, husky. It promised passion.
“Are you asking to play?”
He watched her for a moment. She still couldn’t figure out exactly what he thought about this whole situation. Then he pressed his lips to the hollow of her throat, tracing the column of her neck and the edge of her jaw with his mouth. Persephone clung to him, her hands fisted into his jacket, and when she gasped, Hades moved. Gripping her hips, he guided her to the edge of his pristine, obsidian desk.
“Multitasking,” he said as his hands slid up her thighs and under her dress. His mouth closed over hers. Teeth and tongue and breaths twined together—and as he consumed her, he slipped her panties off and spread her legs wide, straining her dress at the seams. He exposed her heat to the cool air. Anticipation coiled low in her stomach as Hades’ wicked gaze fell upon her. His fingers parted her hot flesh and as he entered her, her head fell back. Did Hades intend to pleasure her into answering his questions?
His fingers thrusted, working hard and deep. He drew back to watch her, and as her breath quickened, she moaned his name.
“Do you like that?” He asked, moving in and out, the friction of his fingers driving her to the edge of a cliff she would kill to fall off.
“Yes,” she breathed.
“Tell me what you want.”
“More. Harder,” she said, breathless. “Faster.”
And that was when he withdrew.
His sudden absence was shocking and a guttural sound came from her throat. She glared at him, and reached for him, but Hades took a step back, chest rising and falling. For a moment, she thought someone might be approaching the office, but when Hades made no move to help cover her, she knew something else was amiss.
“Why did you stop?”
“Tell me why you snapped,” he said. “What did she say to upset you?”
Persephone glared at him. “This is your game?”
“You think this is a game?”
Her anger was so fierce and so acute, she thought she might turn him into a plant, too. She started to push off the desk, but Hades trapped her, bringing his lips to hers again, fingers twisting into her hair, he pulled her head back so he could explore her mouth deeper. For a moment, she stiffened in his arms, hands pressed firmly against his chest. It was like she had thought to push him away, but couldn’t—wouldn’t resist him.
But she’d make him pay.
He was wrong if he thought he could do this—even more wrong if he thought he could resist her.
Persephone unbuttoned his shirt, her hands sought the planes of his chest, rock hard abs, and the waistband of his slacks. His arousal strained against the fabric, and when she freed him, he groaned against her mouth.
Her fingers closed over his shaft and she pushed into him, slipping off the desk and directing him backwards until his back hit the wall.
Then she snapped her fingers, and they found themselves in the Underworld—in the garden Hades has granted her at the start of their contract. Hades’ back was pressed against the stone wall. She still held his cock in her hand, and she smiled—she loved having Hades’ favor.
She snapped her fingers again, and this time vines wound their way around Hades’ wrists and ankles. His eyes darkened, his jaw tightened. “Persephone.”
“Yes, my lord?” She asked innocently.
“What are you doing?”
She stroked him, and his chest heaved.
“What does it look like?” she asked.
She worked him up and down, and used her thumb to stroke the head of his member. She rose on the tips of her toes to kiss his lips and down his neck. Hades strained against the bindings she had put in place, desperate to reciprocate.
“Tell me what you want,” she whispered as she nibbled his ear.
Hades growled. “You, Goddess.”
She pulled away, smiling deviously, and then kneeled to take him into her mouth. He tasted like salt, and she took him deeper, the head of his cock hitting the back of her throat. Hades’ groaned over her. She held onto his legs, feeling his muscles cord beneath her hands. She worked him until he exploded in her mouth, and when she was finished, she rose to her feet, keeping his dark, fiery gaze, and stepped away.
“Is it torturous?” she asked—it was a challenge.
He didn’t answer but his eyes burned, and the vines around his wrists were taunt.
“To take pleasure from me, and not give it in return?”
She lifted her dress over her head and tossed it aside. She stood naked before him, and asked, “What do you want, Hades?”
She underestimated his strength and will to possess her. The vines she’d called forth to hold him snapped, and he pounced. Dragging her up his body, and entering her without hesitation. Persephone’s moan shattered the air as he stretched her and took her deep. His hands gripped her thighs so hard, it felt like he was holding her bones. The god shifted, resting her against the stone wall, thrusting into her hard. The jagged rock scraped her back, but she didn’t even feel it, she was too busy clawing at Hades, reaching for his hair, lost in his body as he filled her to bursting.
Hades had awakened a darkness within her, an ache that constantly needed attention. She would always crave him.
Her climax was violent and Hades’, too.
He knelt in the dirt then, holding Persephone close. She clung to him for a long time, legs shaking, unable to move or stand.
Once their breathing returned, Persephone pulled away, and met Hades’ gaze.
“You will not use sex to get what you want, do you understand?” she asked.
“Yes, my queen.”
Persephone’s eyes widened.
“But I will tell you what I want,” he said quickly. “An answer when I ask for it.”
Persephone reddened. “Why? Do you not trust me?”
“I could ask the same of you.”
Persephone looked away, “It is not so easy to answer you.”
She was quiet, and Hades touched her chin, drawing her eyes back to his. “Are you ashamed?”
It took her a moment, and then she said, “I was angry and rash in my decision, but she questioned my power and I thought to teach her just how powerful I was.”
Hades was quiet for a moment and then he kissed her.
“If you had not punished her, I would have for leading you to Tartarus.”
Persephone looked at him, surprised.
“I suspected,” he said. “You confirmed.”
She glared at him, swatting at his arm. “That is deceptive.”
Hades chuckled, but grew more serious. “Still, why protect her when she put you in danger?”
“I wasn’t protecting her…I was handling her on my own. I don’t want you to fight my battles, Hades.”
The look he gave her next was one of admiration and astonishment. “My lady, it is very clear to me that you do not need my helping fighting your battles.”
Hades helped Persephone dress, and once their appearances were restored, he snapped his fingers, and Minthe the Mint Plant appeared in his hand.
“Now, what shall we do with her?”
“I have not completely forgiven her,” Persephone admitted. “But I should like to provide her with at least one comfort, and that is to be returned to the Underworld.”
Hades seemed amused, observing a few wilted leaves. “Is that because you have neglected her in the Upperworld?”
Persephone became defensive. “No!”
That just made Hades laugh.
“If you must know, I spend more time here anyway. I’d rather she not die under my watch.”
Hades, still smiling, kissed the top of her head. “As you wish, darling.”
Hades helped Persephone plant Minthe in the coarse, black soil. Once she was settled, the two set off on a stroll through the fields of the Underworld.
The days was bright, full of the Underworld’s strange, unnatural light. Around them were tall shoots of grass and flowers the color of blood oranges. Black mountains and dark forests encroached. This world was beautiful, surreal, magical. It was a haven to the dead, a prison to some, and, in the last few months, it had become one of her favorite places.
She looked forward to her visits to the Underworld, not just to see Hades or the lands, but to visit Hecate and the souls in Asphodel. They had come to expect her, celebrate her. They called her queen.
It was that thought that gave her pause, and the fact that Hades had, too. She had tried to put a stop to their use of the title, but what was going to stop them if their King used it, too?
“Hades…I wish to ask that you not call me my—”
“Queen,” she said.
The God came to a stop, his expression unreadable. She hurried to continue.
“I recognize you spoke in a moment of passion—”
“I meant it,” he said. “You are my queen. Only you hold sway over me.”
“Why do you fear it? The title?”
“It’s not fear…it’s…” she couldn’t find words. “Your people already call me their queen, don’t you think it’s a little…too early?”
”So it is fear,” he said. “Fear that you and I will not work.”
Persephone didn’t need to say anything. It was fear.
“My people will always see you as their mistress because of how you have treated them whether you choose to love me or not,” he said. His words made her heart her. She wanted to tell him that she did love him, but he continued.
“As for me, well—you will always be the ruler of my heart.”
“You cannot know that,” she said.
“I have waited lifetimes for you,” he said like it was an oath he was swearing upon every star in the sky, upon every drop of water in the ocean, upon every soul in the entire universe. “I know it.”
He walked on, and she followed, feeling a weight settle upon her shoulders. Perhaps she shouldn’t have doubted their love, but she had fears—fears that still loomed like clouds over their future.
Her mother was just one.
The other was far more complicated.
Persephone was a goddess, but she still hoped to keep that part of her life a secret from the rest of the world. The biggest problem? The whole world wanted to know everything about her since she’d been revealed as Hades’ lover.
They came to a stop on the edge of a sliver of cliff. Beyond, silver trees glistened like a foaming sea, and the muted sky above was growing dusty with night. Persephone had never seen this part of the Underworld before, and that was one thing she loved about being here. Every day was an adventure.
“This is beautiful,” she said.
She felt Hades gaze on her, but she kept her eyes on the grove below, part because she was in awe of the sight and because she was ashamed to face him.
“I am glad you think so,” he said. “Because it is yours. Welcome to the Grove of Persephone.”
She had to look at him now, shock evident upon her face. “But—”
“I thought you might like to have a place to yourself—somewhere to practice your magic. A place that doesn’t…remind you of our beginning.”
He was referring to her garden in the Underworld and their bargain.
She reached for him, placing her palm against his cheek. “Hades, I love our beginning.”
He smiled faintly, but she could tell he didn’t believe her, and that was painful, too, so she explained, “It is true I haven’t always loved it, but I could never hate anything that brought me to you.”
He took her hand and pressed his lips to her palm, then reaching for her, he drew her against him—their bodies aligned. Hip to hip, chest to chest. He kissed her, holding her tight, as if he feared she might vanish. When he pulled away, she was breathless, her fingers twisted into his jacket.
He stared at her, eyes burning into hers and swore fiercely, “You will be my queen. I do not need the Fates to tell me that.”