Bearing the Curse Azalee wants a home—one that isn’t a cold, dirty prison deep within the earth. Even if she wanted to escape, she can’t walk in sunlight. Her skin will burn and flay, blisteredby a god. Defying the Fates Joel wants to get her somewhere safe. Both are outcasts, shunned, and forbidden from taking proper Greek names. He breaks her out of an underground prison, and they flee toward Mykonos. Angering the Gods The battle-worn Kurios sends Niribelle after them. She’s gorgeous, she’s cunning, and she seems to have a thing for Joel. She arrives armed with Hecate’s magic, and blessed by Aphrodite’s beauty. Inciting the War Soon the three teenagers discover one horrifying thing: Mykonos will be no paradise. 14+ due to adult situations
The imagery came in spurts: curling blonde hair, skin smooth and golden, a pure white tunic that had never seen a speck of dust since its creation, curves galore, and startled eyes the icy color of pure aquamarine. A bag made of the finest leather hung from her back, the strap lifting up the already large swell of her breasts.
Azalee took it all in as she dove for her tattered shift. The young woman before her stepped back in a swirl of scented oil. Terror and adrenaline pumped Azalee’s body into swift action. She dove for the intruder, stabbing wildly with her shiv.
The young woman ducked.
Gasping, Azalee swung at the blonde once more, this time missing her by literal hairs. The curls caught momentarily under Azalee’s nails before the young woman darted down over the nearest slope of grass.
“Furies,” spat Azalee. Her first thought was to chase after the trespasser, but she recalled her nudity. She yanked her filthy clothing over her dripping body. The shiv fell from her fumbling grasp as she fought to tie the leather strap at her chest.
By the time Azalee grabbed her weapon and staggered over the hill, she knew the girl had too far a head start. She muttered a slew of curses and continued on.
Joel was over this hill.
She had to make sure Joel was okay.
If she lost the only person who had shown her an inkling of kindness in years…oh, great Hera, Azalee didn’t know how she’d manage on her own. Not with her lack of education, not as she was.
Not as a Chertz in a world of Spinels.
Azalee tripped over a rock. Throbbing pain traversed her big toe and up her foot. She slipped in a loose patch of dirt. Panic swore to seize her, sending horrible tremors through her thoughts and to the hand gripping her bone shiv.
When she clambered over the hill and caught sight of Joel’s large, bronzed figure, her heart deflated with relief—and then immediately jammed tight into her throat.
The aquamarine eyes of the girl met hers, and another shriek flew from the intruder’s throat. She ducked behind Joel. Azalee darted down the hill, her chest expanding in dizzying anticipation. She brandished her shiv.
She barely heard Joel in her attempt to dodge around him and get to the girl. But Joel was fast despite his mountainous frame. He sidestepped to block her, his large hands grabbing Azalee by the arms. Azalee tried to jerk free. The move only dug her heels into the dirt.
“Stop,” shouted Joel. “What are you doing?”
“Move!” Azalee tightened her grip on the weapon, parting her lips in a snarl. “She’s mine!”
The girl twisted back, blonde curls swaying in the motion. Her voice heightened in a terrified squeak. “I—”
“It’s Niribelle,” thundered Joel. His eyes grew dark and fearful as he struggled to push Azalee away from the young woman. “She’s from the village. She won’t hurt us.”
Betrayal lit the ground beneath Azalee’s feet. She tried once more to wrench free, yet only succeeded in stumbling. Joel kept a firm hold of her. The iron grip on her arms boiled her blood. Heat swept across Azalee’s face and ears.
Joel at last released one of her wrists, only to snatch the shiv from Azalee’s grasp. Outnumbered and overpowered, she frantically kicked at the ground until Joel released her. Dull pain blossomed in Azalee’s rear as she tumbled to the ground.
It was a trap, she realized. Hysteria shortened her breath.
“She tried to stab me,” wailed Niribelle from the riverbed.
Joel looked doubtfully between the two. Confusion clouded his eyes, as though he didn’t know who to approach. In the end he carefully held the shiv at a distance and crouched near Azalee. “Hey. Look, I know she’s Spinel, but—”
“Of course she’s Spinel,” snapped Azalee. When Joel reached out as though to touch her shoulder, she bodily scrambled back. Dirt scrubbed her feet—so much for the bath—in her haste to put distance between them.
Hurt bled from Joel’s gaze. “If you’d just—”
“You don’t know anything,” yelled Azalee. A horrific wetness caused her voice to rattle and catch, and she blinked back stinging tears. “I know that’s Niribelle.” She glowered at the cowering young woman, wishing she could light her on fire the way the sun did her own flesh. It would only be fair, in her savage opinion. Jabbing an unclipped nail in the perfect Niribelle’s direction, Azalee angrily choked out, “She’s the reason I’m Blistered!”