Wind gusted around me, tossing across my cheeks the short, thin strands of blonde hair that had fallen loose from my bun.
The late-evening air was still cool for early June. At least from what I was used to, having grown up in south Missouri, where it could feel like the devil’s butt by this time of year. But I had a feeling it never really got all that hot here in the hills of South Dakota.
Drawing in a deep breath, I focused on a large, gray boulder. Probably been sitting where it was since time began. Lifting my arm, I tapped into all the aether that now poured through my veins, since I no longer had my powers bound by a pair of not so ordinary bracelets.
It felt good to have that power back, especially right now when I wanted to blow stuff up.
I was super irritated at a certain golden-headed god at the moment.
Instead of pushing that anger aside like I normally would have, I tapped into it and used it to feed akasha, the deadliest element known to man and immortal. Summoning the air element was something I had always struggled with in the past. Sometimes I’d want to move something and I’d set it on fire instead.
That was why Luke usually stayed far away from me when I was practicing with the elements.
I pictured the boulder lifting into the air and held that image. Power coursed through me. At first, nothing happened, and then the boulder began to tremble as if the ground was shaking. A heartbeat later, the great rock shifted, and then it was like a great hand reached down and pulled on it. The scent of rich soil filled the air as the boulder broke loose from the ground and rose.
I moved the boulder to the left and then to the right. The massive rock slid back and forth like it weighed nothing more than a feather.
I was doing it, but it wasn’t perfect. I needed to be able to use the elements immediately, with no hesitation. I lowered the boulder, wincing at the jarring impact it made as it settled crookedly into its hole.
Turning at the waist, I scanned the ancient statues of unnamed gods rising out from tall, wispy weeds, half-expecting one of the many Sentinels or Guards to come rushing onto the low hill, but the field I was practicing on remained empty.
I wiped at the sweat dotting my brow as I turned back to the boulder. Ignoring the weariness cloaking my body, I shook out my shoulders and arms. A huge part of me wanted to take a nap.
I’d been sleeping a lot lately.
Supposedly that was normal, even in the early stages of pregnancy. I knew this because I had done some Google sleuthing. Okay. I’d done a lot of reading. Part of me wished I hadn’t, because I’d learned about all kinds of things I was just better off not knowing about.
I’d discovered I’d become a bit of a worrywart.
Because holy crap, there was so much that could go wrong. So much! And that wasn’t even taking into consideration the nightmare-inducing birthing stories I’d spent an afternoon reading.
I was traumatized from that.
But there was so much that could happen. What if something happened to this baby? I didn’t think it was a crazy question. Normal pregnancies failed all the time, for one reason or another. Hell, some women never even learned why they lost their babies. Sometimes, it just happened and there was no reason.
And like I’d said to Seth, we were not normal.
He was a god, and I was a demigod. His life was crazy dangerous, and mine wasn’t any safer. In all reality, my life was a heck of a lot more dangerous than his. He was absolute. Meaning only another absolute being could kill him. That was still scary, but there were only two other beings alive that posed any real risk to Seth.
But for me?
My heart lurched in my chest. Pretty much any other being that was better trained at physical fighting and was more skilled at controlling the elements posed a risk to me and my child. Granted, as a demigod, I would be harder to kill.
But I still could be killed.
And what if I was seriously injured in a fight with the Titans? What would that mean for the baby? The fact the child had survived the time I was captured by Hyperion proved that this kid was a fighter. No doubt about it, but it was still vulnerable, because I…I was vulnerable.
But I wasn’t weak.
Which was why I was out here and not cowering in my bed.
Once again, I summoned the element of air, but this time I didn’t raise my hand.
A moment passed and then the boulder rose.
Good. That was good.
Exhaling through my nose, I gently lowered the boulder and then lifted it again.
I kept doing it until my will became an immediate action, until there wasn’t a tremble before the rock lifted.
I didn’t stop until I did it right, and after about a dozen times, the boulder did what I wanted, lifting without hesitation.
A smile tugged at my lips as I stared at the boulder hovering a good three feet off the ground. That thing had to weigh a ton, but I had lifted it off the ground with my mind.
How cool was that?
Even after everything I’d been through and everything I’d seen, there were still times when I couldn’t believe any of this was real.
That I was a demigod.
That I was in love with a god.
That I was preg—
A twig snapped, startling me. The boulder fell back to earth, slamming into the ground with enough force to collapse the knee-high iron fence at the back of the field.
“Wow,” came the deep, slightly melodic voice. “You dropped that like it was hot.”
It was him.
He was back.
I spun around, and like always my breath hitched. No matter how mad I was at Seth, seeing him never failed to get my heart pounding. He was…he was simply beautiful, almost painfully so.
He had a face that was so perfectly pieced together, there were days I didn’t think Seth was real. Like those broad cheekbones and full lips were molded from clay. And the curved jaw was chiseled into perfection from the finest marble, as was every square inch of his body.
And I would know, since I was well versed in every square inch of his body.
The first time I saw Seth in the stairwell at Radford University, back when my life was normal and gods were just ancient Greek myths, he’d reminded me of a fallen angel. A fallen angel with personal boundary issues, but I’d never seen anyone who looked like him before, but Seth was no angel, fallen or not. He was, literally, a god.
The Appointed One.
The God of Death and Life.
So of course he’d look like a god.
And I didn’t care how hot he was at the moment, I was pissed at him.
He seemed oblivious to this, because he smiled at me—that one smile he had that usually caused my chest to feel like it was full of butterflies.
“Have I told you how much it turns me on when you’re moving stuff with your mind?” He stepped around several smaller rocks that were piled up on one another. “Because if I haven’t, let me inform you now. It really turns me—”
“Don’t.” I crossed my arms over my chest.
Brows a little darker than his golden hair furrowed. “Don’t what?”
“Don’t come over here and try to flatter me,” I said. “I’m mad at you.”
Seth stopped a foot away from me. Confusion settled onto his striking features. “Mad at me for what?”
I stared at him for a moment and then realized he really had no idea that I knew what he’d been doing. “There’s something we haven’t talked about, Seth.”
Lifting a hand, he tucked his hair back behind his ear. “Yeah, I’m getting a feeling there is.”
“I know a lot has happened in the last couple of weeks. Months, even. My entire world has changed. So has yours! I found out that my dad is freaking Apollo and I’m supposed to help entomb some crazy Titans, which by the way, we still don’t know how to do. Anyway, everything with my mom and grandparents happened.” My voice cracked, and I swallowed the sudden knot in my throat. “And then everything with Atlas and Solos went down, and you became a god and freaked out.”
The corners of Seth’s lips started to turn down.
“Then I got kidnapped by Hyperion, but you found me, which was obviously great and all,” I went on in a rush as I kept giving him the highlights of the last several months. “Then we find out I’m pregnant, and then you kill Hyperion, so yeah, a lot of crazy things have been happening, but I haven’t forgotten.”