Writer In Progress; Luscious, by Renee Miller
January 1, 2014 2 Comments
[A day late, but I was kinda busy yesterday, sorry Renee. ~Darke~]
Another year has come and gone, and I am blessed to have so many wonderful authors give me the chance to show you some of their work. So much talent, so little time! For December’s excerpt instalment, I managed to entice my good friend Renee Miller to give us a peek into LUSCIOUS, the sequel to her book LUCKY.
Aphrodite cringed at the colorful establishment Dionysus selected as his hideaway from Zeus. He always chose the dirtiest, darkest corners possible. Eros strolled in behind her, frowning as he gazed about the large room.
“Makes me think of a barn,” he said. “But it smells worse.”
Dionysus already had the party in full swing. She cursed herself for returning home to retrieve Eros before following. She’d wasted precious time.
“Where is he?” Eros sighed. “Honestly, Dee, I don’t see why you care where Dionysus goes. He is careless with your affections and Ares is going to implode if he finds out you’re following him like some sort of pet again.”
Aphrodite scowled. “I’ve never been anyone’s pet, thank you. This has nothing to do with caring for Dionysus or wanting him. You should know better.”
“Should I? You went to him, and you never go to anyone. Not even Ares. When you fetched me, your eyes held the ugly gleam of jealousy. Don’t such emotions stem from things like wanting and caring?”
“I don’t get jealous. Dionysus could be a useful ally, but since he doesn’t align himself with anyone, no matter how loyal they’ve been to him, I need an ace up my sleeve. If I had some leverage against him, I can bend him to my will should the need arise. Dionysus is so crafty; it’s hard to pin him down.”
“You’ve managed a time or ten.” Eros said.
“Who’s the jealous one?”
“I don’t care who warms your bed, Dee. I just wish you didn’t tangle me up in your dirty sheets. They’re a little itchy.”
“Keeping tabs on the others is never a bad idea. It’s worked in my favor more times than I can count.”
“So, is this what you’re going to tell Ares? I’ll admit he’s short on intelligence, but even Ares isn’t likely to buy what you’re trying to sell. ”
“Ares doesn’t own me. I owe him no explanations.”
Eros shrugged his slim shoulders. Curling a strand of golden hair around his finger, he sighed. “If you say so… You know, you’ve drug me to some interesting places, Dee, but this one takes the cake. There are creatures’ heads on the walls, and gods, look at the beasts on the floor.”
She giggled. The basicness of the scene offended Eros’s delicate senses. Her preferred sophistication, elegance and love; things Dionysus fought against. “What’s wrong with a little fornication? It’s what we encourage, is it not?”
“There’s no beauty in their lovemaking; no art. Disgusting.”
“Don’t judge them, love. Dionysus is influencing their actions. Besides, we’ll only be here long enough to find out what he’s doing and possibly spring a little trap.”
The floor in the center of the bar writhed with coupling humans, limbs stroking and bending every which way. She didn’t see the appeal in such things, but supposed having the ability to incite such lust must be exhilarating.
“Where is my naughty boy?” She scanned the room for Dionysus’s curly dark head.
“He’s in the corner,” Eros nodded.
Aphrodite followed his gaze and smiled. Dionysus spoke to a dark haired woman, his body relaxed, his hand stroking hers, but the fire in his eyes told a different story. She fascinated him. Not good.
“Why is she not behaving as the rest?” She wondered aloud.
“She’s damaged. Can’t you feel it?” Eros rolled his blue eyes.
Aphrodite frowned. His power enabled him to sense emotions and tiny details she could not always detect. Of course, he specialized in matters of the heart. Aphrodite’s main concern rarely extended to love. However, her power was much greater than his even without the ability to tap into human emotion. She really hated his arrogance. On Olympus it wasn’t quite as pointed. Of course, most of her peers boasted the same cocky confidence. On Earth, when she didn’t have the distraction of the others, she realized just what an asshole Eros was.
“And?” she asked.
“She cannot control the many emotions in her heart, and they overwhelm her. They’re so intense they obliterate each other, leaving her with nothing. Her heart is so full; it’s left her empty.”
“Shall we tell him he’s caught so we can return home? I’d like to get back to dealing with my own problems.”
Aphrodite took a deep, calming breath, reminding herself she had only herself to blame for Eros and his spoiled nature. “We should teach Dionysus a lesson. Perhaps his interest is due to her ambivalence. Once he is able to grasp her mind, which he will do eventually, his attraction will wane.”
“You can’t make him fall in love. Zeus, for one, would object very strongly, and the Fates already deemed it impossible.”
“Then it’s not a concern, is it?”
“But if you try, someone will know.”
“Stop behaving like a frightened child and try to imagine what we might do here.”
Eros sniffed. “Fine. I’m assuming you want to cast a spell on him. Love is out. So what sort do we cast?”
“Maybe a small infatuation spell. Perhaps we could add a smidge of lust? Imagine his torture when he can’t put a pathetic human like her out of his head.”
Eros chuckled. “Really? Dee, you can do better. Besides, you do recall his last obsession, right?”
“I do, and it was shameful how the woman misconstrued his confession. I do love the Catholics, but Isabella took her piety to ridiculous extremes. Honestly, believing our little Dionysus to be the god. He’s a bastard for crying out loud. Although, the little affair gave Zeus what he wanted, did it not? Worshipping a single god caught on like wildfire.”
“And Dionysus had his heart wounded in the process. Don’t forget the fallout from his tantrum. Gods, the bloodshed was unseemly, even for him.”
“But as you pointed out, he cannot love. She wounded his pride, not his heart. This time I want his infatuation to bear good fruit. We must teach him to treat others with a little more care.”
“Like you? I hardly think getting him to respect you is a valid reason to cause bloodshed and anarchy.”
“Isabella and her kind are no more than pages in a history book. The humans have progressed past the burning at the stake and tearing each other limb from limb nonsense. You game or not?”
“Sure, I’ve got all this time on my hands anyway. It’s not as though we’re responsible for the continuation of the human race or anything.”
“Drama queen,” Aphrodite rolled her eyes. “Ready?”
She pressed a finger to her lips, and kissed it softly before blowing gently on the tip. Across the bar, the woman stiffened, and locked eyes with Aphrodite for a brief moment. She looked back to her hands after her generous mouth lifted in a faint smile. If any man came to love this woman, and managed to inspire true feelings in her, she’d be so fertile that the briefest touch would result in his child growing inside her. Aphrodite was proud of her ingenuity. While Dionysus would never manage to feel real emotion in his empty heart, the woman would know happiness after he abandoned her. It was win-win. If Dionysus refrained from using his power to influence others, he might even be that man, and he’d finally find something meaningful, but he was too arrogant to think of females as anything but toys.
“My turn?” Eros grinned.
“Yes, love. Go ahead.”
Eros drifted across the room, his form dissipating as he neared Dionysus. Aphrodite held her breath, certain Dionysus would sense the presence of her child, but he seemed unable to draw his gaze from the woman. The hair curling around Dionysus shoulders shuddered slightly, and he straightened, a frown marring his delicate features. Eros’s light touch would soften the bastard god’s jaded heart. All they needed was a kiss and Dionysus would become a man obsessed.
Eros materialized beside Aphrodite. “It is done. Can we go now?”
“Don’t you want to enjoy this just a little?”
“It would be endlessly amusing, but how do you think Hermes will react when he comes to collect Dionysus?”
Aphrodite chewed her lip. If Hermes knew of his absence, he’d retrieve Dionysus to keep him from angering Hera. For reasons Hermes refused to explain, he felt responsible for the wayward Halfling. If he found Aphrodite and Eros lurking in the shadows, Hermes would demand to know what they’d done.
“Yes, we should go immediately. We’ll return when our seeds have germinated.”
“If you ask me, the fool’s already besotted with her. I felt like I was tampering with a full vessel, if you know what I mean.”
Aphrodite paused. If Dionysus felt a connection without Eros’s interference, the odds of love increased greatly…as did the odds of a child.
“He can’t love her. His fate won’t allow it.”
“Fate is a fickle thing. You know how quickly and inexplicably it can change. Besides, he feels many other emotions. Love isn’t too far from many of those he incites in the humans.”
“What have you done?” Eros asked. “Because I recall agreeing we wouldn’t cast a love spell.”
“Not love exactly.”
Eros paled. “You didn’t. Gods, Dee, tell me you didn’t.”
“I’m the goddess of fertility. Why wouldn’t I?”
“Because Zeus forbade it?”
“It won’t matter. The only way the woman will conceive his child is if he truly loves her and she truly loves him. I only did it to ensure her happiness when he abandons her. And he will leave. Dionysus always leaves.”
“I love you Dee, but you’re not the brightest star in the sky, are you?”
“He can’t love. It’s never happened, and far greater females than her have tried.”
Aphrodite hated how he always dug out the parts of her heart even she didn’t know about. Maybe she was a little jealous. She didn’t love Dionysus, but it would’ve been nice if he’d shown some concern for her feelings at least once in their long relationship.
“He can’t love.” She insisted. “But just in case the Fates decide I’m wrong, Zeus must never know we were here. If anyone asks, even Zeus, you deny everything. Got me?”
“Do I look like I jumped off the stupid train? I value my hide too much to breathe a word of this to anyone.”
“Good.” Aphrodite turned to look at Dionysus one last time, and met his wine-colored gaze.
He stood just a few feet from her and Eros, the woman next to him. Raising an eyebrow, Dionysus tilted his head. Aphrodite saw the question in his mind. She smiled.
Let the game begin.
Last year she co-founded On Fiction Writing, a website for writers, created by writers. IN THE BONES is her first published novel.
Where to find Renee on the web: