|Home|||||All About CJ|||||Available Books|||||Newsletter|||||Freebies & Fun Stuff|||||Shop|||||Contact CJ|
They didn’t speak until they reached the house. Then he stopped, and cupping her chin in his large hand, lifted her face to his.
“I don’t know what happened in the garden. I wish we could go back to when we were standing alone, surrounded by the scent of flowers. Kissing you was something I’ve wanted to do since I first saw you. I regret that you are angry with me. Will you not give me a chance to make up for it? Tell me what I did.”
Her throat tight with unshed tears, Emma bit her lip. “I wish we could go back in time too, but it’s too late for that. You’ve made how you feel perfectly clear.” She sniffed audibly. “Please… I just want to go back inside.”
Apollo’s heart fell. What did she mean? What had he said to upset her so? The look on her face was a stubborn one. He knew that without using his powers—which was forbidden—he would have no chance of changing her mind. Sighing, he led her back into the busy room.
Looking around, he saw that most of the guests had found their gods or goddesses. It would soon be time for his father to appear. He led Emma over to one of the benches in the corner. “I’ll go get us something to drink.”
She didn’t answer, just stared unseeingly across the room. With an angry growl, he turned and went to the refreshment table.
“How goes it?”
He turned from ladling rum punch into a glass and looked at Hermes. “She is very angry at me. I don’t know what I said to set her off.”
His brother glanced over at Emma. She was sitting stock still, her chin in the air. “Yeah… I can see that.” He looked up at Apollo. “You…you don’t think she heard us talking?”
Apollo stilled for a moment, but then shook his head, pushing away the worrisome thought. “No…I believe she was too far away.”
“I hope so.”
Catching sight of Zeus heading for the dais, Apollo picked up both drinks. “Looks like it’s announcement time.”
Hermes nodded. “Guess I better get back to my guest.” He motioned to a thin man with shifty eyes. “Wants to steal the crown jewels.”
Apollo laughed. “An easy one.”
“As is yours.”
The golden god lost his smile. “If she will allow me to give it to her. Right now she is threatening to leave.”
“Leave?” Hermes stopped in his tracks. “She can’t leave.”
“I am hoping Father’s speech will make her change her mind.”
“No one has ever left,” the shorter god muttered. “No one.”
Emma sat where he’d left her. She wasn’t really listening to what was going on around her. Her mind was too full of Apollo and her reaction to him.
She’d only known him a day. So why was what he thought of her so important? Was it because of how he made her feel when he touched her? Was all this just a simple case of lust?
A woman to her right laughed, and Emma found herself envying her. If only she hadn’t overheard Apollo talking to his brother. Then she could have gone on in blissful ignorance.
She felt him before he spoke. His scent and the warmth of his big body were something she would never forget.
“Here is some rum punch.” He placed it carefully in her hand.
“Thank you.” She sipped at the punch, finding it surprisingly good, especially on her dry throat. She felt him sit down beside her.
“My father is getting ready to speak.” He touched her soft cheek. “Whatever you decide to do, Emma, know this. I am glad to have had this night with you. In a very short time, you have become important to me. Your kisses will keep me awake for a long time to come.”
Her midnight eyes filled with tears again. “I wish I could believe that.”
He gave a growl of impatience. “I don’t understand why—”
“Hear ye, Hear ye!”
They both jumped when they heard Hermes’ loud voice.
“All rise for the supreme leader of the Olympian Gods. Lord of the Universe, God of the Thunderbolt, strongest of all who live. Zeus, the Magnificent.”
Apollo helped Emma to her feet and whispered, “My father likes to make an entrance.”
He heard her stifle a giggle, and he couldn’t help but grin. Maybe this would work out after all.
“My guests,” Zeus intoned in his loud deep voice. “I welcome you to the Olympus Resort on the beautiful island of Bintan. This is our paradise and a very special place.” He smiled as he looked over the crowd. “You were each invited here for a very special reason. Something you have done in your life brought you to my notice.”
Emma bit her lip and looked at her feet. Maybe everything bad was happening because she wasn’t supposed to be here.
“Even those of you who received the invitation secondhand were screened, I promise you. I cannot say this strongly enough. Every person in this room has been carefully selected.”
Apollo chuckled when Emma’s mouth drop open. He leaned towards her. “My father sees everything, omorfi.”
“You have been selected to receive a very special gift,” Zeus went on. “But before we go any further, you all must understand one thing.” He bent toward his feet, and the entire crowd gasped in awe as he pulled out a glowing bolt of lightning. His whole body shone with his glory.
“This mystical resort and all the gods and goddesses you see around you?” He sent the thunderbolt flying through the room, and the crowd screamed.
“We are all quite real.”
***end of excerpt***
BUY THE E-BOOK