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The Struggle

The Struggle

Page 11

She tipped her head back and smiled up at me. “Hey.”

“Hey.” I stopped in the middle of the patio and crossed my arms. “What are you doing out here?”

“Can’t sleep,” Alex said, running her hands over her thighs. “I mean, I did for about an hour, but I woke up and couldn’t fall back. I came out here so I wouldn’t wake anyone else up.” She paused. “You should still be sleeping.”

“Yeah,” I murmured, spying a rocky path in the dirt and crabgrass. “Do you think that leads to cliffs or the beach?”

“Don’t know. Want to find out?”

A weary smile tugged at the corners of my lips. “Sure.”

Alex popped up faster than I would’ve expected, but then again, she was like the Terminator on crack. We hit the worn path in silence. A couple of minutes later, we discovered that it led to a cliff. Not a sheer one like back at Malibu. The path continued down the slope to a patch of sand and rock.

Eyeing the hill, I decided I really didn’t want to climb back up. So, I found a boulder and sat down. “It’s really beautiful here.”

“Yeah, it is.” Alex’s hair lifted off her shoulder as she stared out into the sea. “I think I could live somewhere like this. You know, Aiden and I have been talking about a place we’d like to settle down when we’re topside. Right now, it’s wherever Deacon is, but we’d like to have our own place eventually.”

“You’re thinking it might be in California?”

One shoulder rose. “Maybe. Aiden would love some place in the mountains, though.”

“And you?”

Her whiskey-colored eyes met mine. “I’d love wherever he’s at.”

My heart turned over heavily. She really meant that, and God, I . . . I would’ve felt the same way with Seth. Wherever he was, I would be happy. I still felt that way. I just needed to get to the islands and hopefully convince him to stop being so . . . so damn stupid.

“So, what’s your game plan, Josie?” she asked. “You let us know if it’s changed. We’ll do whatever—”

The sky cracked behind us, and we both moved in unison. Every muscle in me protested, but I pushed through it. Springing to my feet, I spun around, having no idea what to expect and preparing myself for anything.

Anything except what I saw.

Chapter 7

My heart stuttered as I recognized the massive man standing before us. An eternity could pass, and I would never forget the curved pitch-black eyes, the shaved head, or the shade of skin that was neither black or white or tan.

I’d never forget Hyperion.

“Oh crap,” Alex muttered.

Fear exploded in my gut as everything clicked into place. My wild gaze gauged the distance between him and the house where Gable was resting. Bone-deep knowledge told me that, even if the home were only a few feet away, it wouldn’t matter. There was no safety in the house, and I’d used the Pegasus blade on Seth. The remaining blades were most likely inside the house, with Gable who could not be seen by Hyperion. And I had no idea how to entomb a damn Titan.

The same bitter knowledge also told me we would not win this fight.

“Miss me?” Hyperion asked.

Shimmery white light powered down my right arm. “Like I’d miss a gunshot wound.”

Hyperion laughed darkly. “Oh, but I’ve missed you.”

Terror trickled down my spine as I tapped into the aether. Power flickered inside me, weakened from the overuse and no real rest. “Run,” I urged Alex.

Brandishing blades she must’ve had hidden on her, she widened her stance. I noticed one of them was the Pegasus blade. “Never.”

“You should listen to her,” Hyperion warned.

“And you should stop talking,” she spat back.

His lips curled into a cruel smile as he focused on me. “I have a bone to pick with you, Sunshine. After our last well-spent time together,” he said, and I flinched, “I had to piece myself back together, and that was not pleasant.”

My heart was pounding fast. “Can’t say I feel bad about that.”

“Well, you will know exactly how it feels by the time I’m done with you. Told you I’d be back.” His chin tilted toward Alex. “And your idiot friend there is going to be an amazing snack. A made demigod. So thoughtful of you, Sunshine.”

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