by Amanda Meuwissen
The elements touch everyone on Earth—Fire, Water, even Light—but every so often someone becomes more attuned to their elemental leaning and develops true power. When an evil Elemental known as Thanatos arrived in Olympus City, it saw the rise of its first hero—Zeus. But the death toll caused by defeating Thanatos changed Zeus, who by day is young detective Danny Grant.
It’s been six months since Thanatos terrorized the city at the start of Lovesick Gods. Danny should be used to his duty behind the mask, but the recent past haunts him. His girlfriend left him, he snaps at the barest provocation, his life feels empty—he needs an outlet, any outlet to pull him out of his depression.
Enter notorious thief Malcolm Cho, the Ice Elemental Prometheus. There was a time when Danny welcomed a fight with Cho, filled with colorful banter and casual flirtations that were a relief compared to Thanatos. Even as a criminal, Cho had recognized the threat Thanatos posed and promised to help Danny stop him, but the day Danny needed Cho, he never showed. Cho was the reason so many people died that day—including Danny’s mother.
Danny decides to teach the man a lesson and fan the fire of their attraction into something more. At worst, he’ll get some no-strings-attached sex out of the deal and finally blow off steam; at best, he’ll get Cho to fall in love with him and then break his heart to spite him. Danny doesn’t expect to fall for Cho in the process, and he certainly can’t predict the much darker threat on the horizon.
“I’m just making some weekly...check-ins.”
As amusement lit up Danny’s face, his mouth dropped open. “Oh my god, you are a mob boss.”
Jerking Danny by the sleeve of his trench coat, even though no other passersby were close enough to have overheard, Mal snapped, “Please, Detective. Be louder.”
“Wait,” Danny glanced around them, “how much of this neighborhood is yours? Here…down to Haven…your apartment building…” He spun in a slow circle as he listed everything off and painted a mental picture in his mind of the area. His eyes were wide when he turned back to Mal.
It wasn’t that big of a radius. “Danny…”
Stuffing his hands into his pockets again, Danny regarded Mal like he had everything figured out. “So what do you charge these people if that’s the tip,” he nodded at the bulgogi.
Mal debated for all of ten seconds whether or not he should paint a harsher picture to keep Danny in line or tell him the truth. The heist was a week from Monday. Mal couldn’t afford to alienate his nemesis now, and he honestly wasn’t sure if he wanted to. But in the long run, everything hinged on Danny believing Mal would stick to their deal, which he had every intention of honoring—as long as it continued to suit his aims.
Even if Danny was being a little shit.
“They give me things because they choose to,” Mal said, indicating the general store, then looking around at the other obvious shops and places of business in the neighborhood. “If you want to call me a mob boss, fine. I do offer protection, but I never ask for anything in return. Things…happened when I first moved in. It wasn’t overnight. Some of them have kept the police off my back. They think they owe me. They don’t. But if it keeps a positive relationship going, I won’t prevent it from continuing.”
Scanning down Mal’s body from head to toe, it was like Danny expected nothing less than for all of that to have been a lie. “They don’t owe you,” he repeated, no censor to his skepticism.
Mal shaped his face into as honest of an expression as he could—or at least as honest as he ever got. “I don’t work that way. Not unless I have to.”
“If someone challenges you, you mean.”
“If they’re someone like the Dunkirks or Mendozas, yes.”
“Or me?” Danny’s face went neutral too, and Mal wasn’t quite sure he could read it.
Frowning, he leaned into Danny's space. “No one ever owes me like that.”
Danny’s stoicism fell with a wave of embarrassment as his hands came out of his pockets and he reached for the back of his neck. “I didn’t mean for…”
The sex. No, Danny wouldn’t think of what they were doing as an exchange of services. But truth was, sleeping together meant they could use their new arrangement as a weapon against each other.
~Buy LOVESICK GODS on Amazon. Only 99c during the tour.
Amanda Meuwissen has been writing and posting online for many years, including maintaining the website and blog for the software company Outsell. She is an avid writer and consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games, and is the author of the paranormal romance trilogy The Incubus Saga and young adult novel Life as a Teenage Vampire. Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their two cats.
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Amanda will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway