A promise of revenge.
A murder in sanctuary.
A desperate search for answers.
A storm has taken the island prisoner.
When a ritualistic murder occurs at a muse’s sanctuary, Piper Prince must put her own past’s mystery on hold to confront this new threat against her and her friends. Could the Sons of Poseidon be seeking new power to fuel their plans for vengeance?
With the aid of two new Protectors, a devoted genie, and the challenging-yet-charming Finnian Kalani, Piper must discover and halt the killer’s plans before the ritual’s dark magic is unleashed on the island. But what happens when a third task is added to her to-do list—find her missing sister?
Piper Prince will need more than her forensic psychology skills, her friends’ help, and her growing power to save her sister and stop a new darkness from rising.
Darkness settled over their shoulders, comfortable and cold. The moon rose, low in the sky at half-power, and a dense fog coated the sea, which lapped at the dock with a soft sucking sound. The brothers shared a small shiver of pleasure and stretched outward, their jaws clicking in succession as their human skin fell away, freeing their ghostly forms.
Father had banished them to this island centuries ago. A punishment, to keep them from the sea, to keep them from him, from Mother. He hadn’t understood their bond, their ability to craft their situation to match their needs exactly.
He hadn’t known, hadn’t guessed that it was never the sea they wanted, but the storm.
And the storm needed to be fed.
The oldest brother, their leader imbued with height and brimming with power, gestured, the green glow of his hand following his movement like sea fog trailing a lost ship.
The body floated forth, a bluish tint of something long frozen covering its skin, and it settled in the gap among the brothers, where two had been, but now was nothing.
The remaining four brothers raised their hands and placed them on the body, the power of the storm crackling under their hands. Less without the might of their departed two, but still more together than separate.
Loki’s son rose under their fingertips, electric currents running through his body, reanimating his arms and his legs, awakening the buried god power resting deep in his frozen veins. The brothers drank their fill, until each glowed ghastly green. Once sated, they laid the body back on its bed of ice and dismissed it with a flick of a finger.
“The plan has changed, brethren.” The oldest’s voice vibrated through the others, inaudible to a human ear, speaking in the tones of the storm.
Two brothers nodded, their bone-filled jaws widening. “She must die.”
But the fourth brother, the smallest, the youngest, did not speak.
The oldest stepped forward, growing in height, in bulk. “We will drink her power until she is no more than a husk.” He leaned in, capturing the gaze of his brothers. More than brothers they were. One did not function without the others.
But the youngest averted his gaze.
“You doubt our power, Aphrodisios?” The oldest invoked the youngest’s name, not done. Not done. Especially not his name, not the one named for their mother.
“Never, brother.” Aphrodisios did his best to add form to his spirit, to match his brother in height. “But it is not the plan. It is not what is wise.”
“You fear her,” the oldest stated.
“I fear nothing.” The words slashed from his mouth with the force of a lightning strike. “But there are larger plans in play. This is bigger than revenge. We must stay the course and be rewarded with eternity, power, restoration.” Aphrodisios could almost remember what they once had, who they had once been. He could almost remember the feel of morning light warming his skin.
Before the curse, before their unspeakable deeds, before their banishment.
“Pretty words that mean nothing,” the other two brothers grumbled from the sidelines.
“I thank you for the compliment,” a new voice said from the shadows.
The brothers formed a line, without thought, forming an impenetrable barrier without any need for communication.
A form walked out of what had been nothing, a play of moonlight and night and the spray of the sea.
“For beautiful oration is the speech of the gods,” the form continued, “and honeyed words have power.”
His form, like theirs, existed on an ethereal plane, unaffected by the elements of the physical world. But their forms were spirits, while his was a projection of his earthly self. Not here, not really.
“Ari Fawkes, you are no longer welcome.” The oldest of the four Sons of Poseidon stepped forward, blocking Ari from his brothers.
“Oh, I strongly doubt that. Missing some of the family, is that right, boys?” Fawkes circled his finger, pointing out the gap in their ranks, the vulnerability.
A wave of irritation flowed through the brothers.
“This is what happens when you stray from our plan. Piper Prince is not to be trifled with. This situation requires delicacy. Hard for you, I know.”
“Your plans are your own, Ari Fawkes. If you require delicacy, perhaps you should find some courage and come here yourself.”
Fawkes raised his head, and the smile that spread across his mouth was not kind, not joyous, not comforting. It was cruel, tilted askew at the corners, a smile that held a knowing of what was to come.
“Courage? You really have not listened, have you, daimones proseoous? It is not my time, but soon.” At this, the projection focused his gaze on the youngest. “As long as you are successful.”
“Piper Prince must die,” the oldest repeated, but his radiant form had lessened.
“Yes, she must,” Ari agreed. “But my way. Not yours, mine.”
The youngest brother nodded his agreement, and the rest of his brothers soon followed. They were one mind, after all, and could not exist in discord with each other.
Once he had the brothers’ recommitment to his cause, the projection of Ari Fawkes faded. The brothers slowly left the dock, donning their human skin once again.
The moon rose in the sky, a shade darker than before, and the mist of the sea washed away the fog, leaving the night cold and clear and quiet.
But in the distance, far away and beyond human sight, almost at the limit for the mind’s eye of Loki’s son, lightning bolted from the sky and burst into the shadowed sea.
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