Love’s Immortal: Pantheon, Vol. 3
Available from ARe
Word count: 14,660
Psyche, Adelfa, and Bliss. Three beautiful sisters. One timid, one selfish, and one caring; but all three hungry for the pleasures of the flesh.
Upon gazing at her beauty, Eros, the God of Love, demands the virginal Psyche be brought to his bed. Never mind that this is in direct defiance of the all-powerful Goddess Aphrodite, who loathes her earthly rival.
Psyche has her own feelings about whose bed she’d rather be brought to, and it’s not that of the mysterious being who summons her. Led by Bliss, the three sisters hatch a surprising deception of their own that will hopefully satisfy all their needs.
Lust. Jealousy. Betrayal. Sex. Lies. Love. The truth will be revealed in the end, but will they all survive it?
The soft swish of the door opening told Eros he was no longer alone. Drawing in a deep breath and letting it out loudly, he let his annoyance be clearly heard by whoever had disturbed him.
“Sigh all you want, Eros, but I’m not leaving. You’ve kept your own council to the exclusion of all others for far too long already.”
In no mood to be social, Eros didn’t bother to turn to face his friend. “I simply find my own council superior to that of any other. That’s all, Erato. Now, if you’ll excuse me…”
“Sorry, but no.” Erato moved further into the room and sat in the chair directly in front of Eros’ chaise, thereby blocking his view of the hills beyond his window. This was the vista he’d spent he didn’t know how many hours staring at of late.
Another sigh emanated from the deep sorrow within him.
“If you insist on being here, at least make yourself useful.” Eros thrust his empty cup forward. When Erato made no move, Eros nodded toward the flagon of wine on the table between them. “Pour one for yourself as well, my friend. It’s from Dionysus. Ever since I ‘befriended’ his maenads they’ve been most generous with his private stock. It does incredible things to a body.”
Erato raised a brow. “I know exactly what Dionysus’ private stock can do, thank you. I’ll pass.”
“Suit yourself.” Eros shrugged. He rose and splashed the deep claret liquid into his cup since it had become more than obvious that Erato wasn’t going to. “Though I must warn you that after drinking a bit more of this, I’ll most likely be summoning a few of the serving girls. Given that you don’t partake of orgies any longer since you’ve found your one true love in Acantha, you would do best to leave.”
“I’m not leaving and you’re not drinking any more of that.” Erato rose and grabbed the cup from his hand, sending scattered droplets into the air.
Brushing spilt wine from his hand, Eros frowned. “Why, my friend, would you take your life in your hands and do something so foolish?”
“I’m the only true friend you have. You’d never harm me, and you know it.” Erato scowled, and after placing the cup on a table out of Eros’ reach, sat again.
“Don’t be so sure.” For the first time since the unwelcome intrusion, Eros noticed Erato held a bound ream of paper in his hand. “Is there a purpose to your visit? Or are you here simply to annoy me?”
“Oh, there is a purpose.”
The book in Erato’s hand landed heavily on the end of Eros’ chaise. He barely gave it a glance, instead focusing on Erato. “You are the man of words, oh great muse of poetry. Not I.”
“Read it, Eros.”
He snorted in disgust. “I don’t read.”
Shaking his head, Erato grabbed the item back. “Then I shall read it to you.”
Couldn’t a man be left to wallow in sorrow and loneliness in peace? Eros leaned his head back and closed his eyes. “If you must. Forgive me if I take a nap while you do. I’m suddenly very weary.”
He heard Erato rifling through the pages. The man was actually going to read to him. What lunacy had gotten into his friend? Against his wishes, Eros found himself suddenly curious.
Erato cleared his throat. “My name is not important, but the story I tell is—“
“Not exactly Shakespeare, is it?” Eros cracked open one eye. “Why am I being forced to listen to this?”
“You’ll see.” Erato turned his gaze back to the age-yellowed parchment he held. “I am an old woman now. I feel my death upon me. Almost all whom I know and care for are dead. That is the reason I dare defy the gods and tell the truth which has never been told before. Not another living mortal knows what I do, until now. My tale begins in my youth, when I was a girl of seventeen—”
Eros sighed loudly. “Wonderful. How old is she at the time of the writing? How many years worth of this drivel must I suffer through the telling of?”
Ignoring him completely, Erato continued with the reading. “—working in the palace of the King and Queen of Miletis as a handmaiden caring for their three daughters, Bliss, Adelfa and Psyche—“
His attention captured now, Eros’ sat up, eyes wide open, his heart pounding. “Where did you find these writings?”
“In Sicily. I was conducting an inventory of the contents of the palace library. I found this hidden behind the books. It appears to have been there for quite some time.”
He eyed the book that most likely held the truth he’d long ago seen buried. The past he’d hoped would stay buried. The memories of which snuck up on him a few times a century and kept him secluded and morose until he could force back the darkness with enough wine and women. “Have you read it?”
“Oh, yes. Every word and I must say for the first time in our long friendship I actually feel as if I understand you, Eros. Now I see why the god of love hates love so passionately.”