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Seduction (Curse of the Gods #3)
Author:Jaymin Eve & Jane Washington

Meanwhile, I was about to pee myself because I had a very bad feeling about this.

“It’ll be fine, Soldier.” Siret wrapped an arm around me, pulling me closer. “Staviti is used to us, we might have our time on Minatsol extended, but I doubt anything else will happen.”

Usually I would have sunk into his heat, into the comfort of touch, the soul-link no longer strained, but the worry just wouldn’t leave.

“What will Staviti say when you bring me along? Does he know you’re linked to a dweller? Does he know I might be a Chaos Beta? Is it a good idea to clue him into those things?”

Coen and Rome moved closer together, their broad shoulders blocking out the entire room.

Coen was the one who answered. “You can’t come with us, Willa. For those very reasons, and a few more. Staviti won’t kill you, but he could make your life very difficult. And we won’t let that happen.”

I knew my brow was furrowed, I could feel my forehead wrinkling right up as I processed those words. “The soul-link will kill me if we’re that far apart.”

Which worried me even less than the fact that every time the six of us were split up, something really terrible happened. Like Cyrus … wait a freaking click!

“You guys better not be thinking about transferring the soul-link to Cyrus again. Because I would rather take my chances with Staviti and Rau.”

Rome’s low growl rumbled through the table to me and I was pretty sure the wood actually vibrated.


Aros spoke up when it didn’t seem as if Rome was going to do more than curse and growl. “We won’t be transferring the link to anyone. Yael had an idea a while ago, and we finally managed to find the right god to help out. There is a way to temporarily extend our link—you’ll be able to be quite a distance from us and not suffer. It would only be temporary, of course. Eventually Rau’s curse would eat through the energy, but it would last long enough for us to get through this meeting, and even long enough for the trial, should it come to that.”

I was slumping into my chair again when dwellers appeared at our table. They carried laden trays of food, all of which were deposited down in front of us. The guys had to move back to make room for the many selections. For once I really didn’t care about the cheesy toast, or the little swimmer puffs.

Before I could stop my hands, they were reaching out and scooping a bunch of both foods onto my plate. Okay, I might have cared a little. Really though, it is important to keep your energy up when you need to argue with five hulking gods.

“You don’t have to argue with us,” Rome said, reaching for a bowl of pasta. “We will do what is necessary to keep you safe.”

“Who keeps you safe? I should be there!” I argued back, before shoving a bite of crunchy bread into my mouth.

Stupid gods and their stupid rules.

“Willa-toy,” Yael’s voice was surprisingly gentle, for him, and I was astonished enough that the bread halted halfway to my mouth as I focused on him and his next words. “We’ll be fine. Staviti would never piss off Abil by trying anything underhanded. He likes to keep the Originals happy.”

Siret then brushed his hand across my hair, ruffling it slightly, and I turned to him. “We’ll be back before you know it.”

My eyes narrowed on him, then with a grunt, I resumed eating. This conversation was definitely not over. I had four sun-cycles to figure out what was going on with Emmy, and to convince the guys that it was much safer for me in Topia with them. Which meant that it was time for another scheme, only this time I wouldn’t have Siret to help me. This time I was on my own.





Three





“So how exactly is this plan going to work? How can we hold off the pain from the soul link?” I asked, toying with the bread still in my hand. “I think Rau did it once before, but it didn’t last long. Only long enough to get me to Topia.”

Aros pushed back his chair, tugging a timepiece from his pocket and checking it, before settling his eyes on my face. “We have about thirty clicks before classes start up again. Grab some more of that bread—since it’s the only damn thing you eat anyway—and we’ll go for a walk. This isn’t the place for these conversations.”

I glanced around at the sols that stared and the dwellers that skirted past him, giving him and the rest of the Abcurse table a wide berth. It was easy to think that they were invincible—that they couldn’t be held accountable for anything in Minatsol because they weren’t from Minatsol, they were from Topia. Unfortunately, that wasn’t true. People still had ears, and dwellers especially still liked to gossip. I was sure that the gods would have spies within the halls, watching every movement the Abcurses made. They clearly didn’t care that they were being watched, but there was always a line. Apparently, discussing the secrets of the gods out in the open was one of those lines.

“Okay.” I nodded, dropping a few slices of the cheesy bread into a napkin and wrapping them up.

I jumped out of my seat, waiting to see who would follow us. When none of the other guys stood, I found my eyebrows inching up in surprise. It wasn’t like them to let me have alone time with the Seduction god. Usually, it caused me to misbehave.

There had to be something else going on.

“Well … bye, then,” I said awkwardly, looking around the table.

“See you in class.” Siret winked at me, before shooting a look to Aros, who ignored it.

“See you, Willa-toy.” Yael only glanced up momentarily before returning to his food.

“Don’t be late for class,” Rome grunted.

I looked to Coen, and he grinned back, his eyes flicking to Aros the same way Siret’s had. I had no idea what that was supposed to mean, so I only shrugged and moved to follow Aros out of the hall. Once we were clear of the doors, I pulled out one of the cheesy bread slices and began to eat, strolling quietly by his side until we were out of the building altogether and walking toward one of the gardens.

“Are you bringing me out here to murder me?” I asked casually, finishing off one slice and moving onto the next.

Aros snorted. “Why would I take you to a rose garden in the middle of the sun-cycle to kill you? Give me a little credit. I’d do it in the dark at least, and at most, I’d pick a more interesting location. Always do a job properly, even if it’s murder.”

I followed him to a bench and plonked myself down, taking more care not to drop the cheesy bread than I took to make sure I plonked myself onto the actual seat. Fortunately, Aros was paying attention, and he caught my arm right before I missed the bench completely, moved me a few inches to the right, and then released me. I resumed plonking, and then resumed eating, all without blinking an eye. I was getting used to our routine of me almost making a fool of myself and of them only just catching me in time.


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