The Grey God (Chapter One, page 1 of 13)

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Present Day

Fortress of the Black God

The Black God was slipping out of her influence. Though he consulted her as frequently as he always had, he no longer took her with him everywhere he went or told her what he was doing. In fact, he rarely looked her in the eye, as if she was a reminder of something he didn't want to recall.

Jenn did her best to act like everything on her end was the same. She came as soon as he called, offered encouragement when he seemed lost, and pretended to believe his shitty excuses as to why he wasn't taking her with him this time.

Maybe next time, he always said.

She stood before the panoramic window of his lair, gazing at snowfall so thick, it hid the nearby mountains from sight. The steady downward spiral of snowflakes was mesmerizing, peaceful. Dawn had come an hour earlier but only just managed to push away the shadows of night from the cloudy mountain hiding place that had become her home. And probably her grave, she admitted to herself with a grimace.

Duty, honor, courage, selflessness. Her worry faded with the comforting words. If she didn't make it out of here, she'd at least go down serving the Guardians and the White God.

"You sleeping down here now?" Jonny, the Black God, broke her Zen-like moment.

"I figured I'd rather see who was coming for me than risk being killed in my bed," Jenn replied without turning. "Xander took my door off a week ago."

"Xander wouldn't …" Jonny drifted off. "I can … well, I'll think about talking to him."

Jenn rolled her eyes at the window. Jonny's newfound confidence melted like snow every time the name of Xander-the tree-sized forefather of all vampires-was mentioned. But she let Jonny's words slide, as she did everything else he'd said to her the past few days.

"I appreciate you taking care of me." She said the words she knew he wanted to hear.

"I made a promise," Jonny said, his tone confident once again.

"And you've kept it," Jenn said, turning to face him.

The Black God glowed like a storm cloud. His dark eyes and caramel features seemed much older than his nineteen years. He'd lost the air of indecision and regret, trading it for acceptance and resolve. In less than two weeks, he'd aged, transforming from the lost youth she'd tried to take care of into a young immortal exploring his dark powers.

"If you want, you can sleep in my chamber," he said.

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