Persuasion (Curse of the Gods Book 2)

By: Jane Washington & Jaymin Eve


One





If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my eighteen life-cycles, it’s that the most special moments—the most magical pockets of our existence—are always going to be the parts of us that the rest of the world won’t understand. Take my friendship with the Abcurses, for example. No one really understood that. They didn’t understand why the Abcurses didn’t kill me on my first sun-cycle at Blesswood, and why they have continued to not kill me, every sun-cycle since then. Part of me didn’t understand it either, but it wasn’t something I questioned any longer. I just accepted my unusual good luck in finding them, and let the rest fade away.

Before coming to Blesswood I’d only ever had Emmy. My pseudo-sister who was actually closer to me than blood, even though she spent most of her time lecturing me with the scowl of a haggard old grandma, telling me that I was prematurely aging her. With Emmy and the Abcurses, I had found my place. My family.

“I need you to concentrate, Willa-toy.”

I glanced up, meeting Yael’s moss-green eyes. The colour seemed lighter than usual. Softer. But that was definitely a trick of the early-morning fog that was slowly seeping out of the courtyard. The Persuasion-gifted god was never soft. He was snarly, competitive, confusing, and he probably tortured soft things like me as a fun morning activity. Not that I was soft. I had it on really good authority that I was pretty damn resilient. That is, if the healer back in the seventh ring could be considered good authority despite his lack of apparent healing skills and healing knowledge. Only the best for the seventh ring.

We were seated on a stone bench, our legs turned toward each other. Yael was leaning back, his broad chest drawing my eye as his arms stretched out behind him, hands gripping the sides of the bench. I was leaning toward him, shifting inch by inch—trying to put our bodies into contact without him noticing. A moon-cycle ago, the only god of Chaos in existence had ventured into Minatsol and attempted to attack the Abcurses. I had gotten in the way. I wasn’t good at many things, but I was excellent at getting in the way. Especially if it was ‘in the way’ of something dangerous. Like a freaking curse that would split my soul into six pieces, leaving me only a tiny little morsel while delivering the other five slices to the five sacred beings who had been standing closest to me.

The Abcurses.

So now Yael had a piece of me inside him, and I wanted—no, I needed—to be in constant contact with it. With him. With them. It didn’t matter which one of them, I just needed the reassurance of touch. I needed it to calm the pain inside my heart, to dull the panic that occasionally clawed at my throat.

“You’re still not concentrating,” Yael murmured, his eyes tracking over my face.

“I am,” I lied, finally managing to press my knee up against his.

He spread his knees slightly, and I was able to slide further forward on the seat, my legs slipping up against the insides of his. He constricted his legs around mine after a moment, forcing me to stop moving.

“Try again,” he said. “Block me out of your mind.”

I growled a little, frustration making me agitated, but I obediently closed my eyes, focussing on the phrase that he had told me to repeat, while simultaneously trying to block him from it.

Yael is Number One.

Yael is Number One.

I could almost hear his smirk. Which meant that I wasn’t blocking him properly. I furrowed my brow, projecting a different phrase at him.

Yael is an egotistical shweed!

The pressure eased from the outsides of my legs, and I felt his hands on my knees, pulling them up and over his thighs, sliding me almost to his lap.

“Eyes shut,” he ordered, as my eyelids began to flicker.

I screwed them closed a little tighter, tensing my spine. I fought back a lot with the Abcurses, but that didn’t necessarily mean that it was a wise thing to do. I just couldn’t help it. I didn’t like being pushed around, and I’d always thought that I’d go down fighting when my time to die finally arrived. I’d probably be fighting a pillar or a stone floor as I fell on my face, but it still counted.

I felt a tug on my hair. He had the braid in his hand, pulling it over my shoulder and applying pressure, drawing my face forward. I could feel his breath on my neck, and my brain started to short-circuit.

“What’s a shweed, Willa-toy?” He spoke so quietly, so gently, so persuasively, I almost thought that he was whispering something completely different. Something that might encourage me to take my clothes off and rub up all over him.

Wow. I had no idea his voice could do that. He needed to maybe never ever do that again, because I did enough embarrassing things as it was. I didn’t need to add ‘accidental rubbing’ to that really long list.

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