Kat was also extremely Greek, with blond hair and sharp green eyes. She’d joined their team only a few weeks ago-right after they’d found the wall they were trying so desperately to excavate. "Do you know something about our guest?"
Kat shrugged nonchalantly. "Nope. Why would I?"
"Hmmm…" Geary wasn’t so sure if she believed that or not. There was something in Kat’s demeanor that said she might be withholding information.
"Kat, you’re from Greece, right?"
She laughed again. "Born and raised. I seriously doubt anyone comes more Greek than me, why?"
"Do you really think this guy can help us get our permits?"
Kat sobered. "I guess we’ll know soon."
But not soon enough in Geary’s book. "All right. I need to change before we dock. I’ll see you two shortly."
Kat waited until Geary had vanished belowdecks before she looked at Thia, who at eighteen bore a frightening resemblance to the goddess Artemis. "By the way, I heard Scott was looking for you."
Her face lit up. "Really?"
"Yeah. You better run before he changes his mind."
Thia couldn’t have bounded off faster if she’d been wearing Hermes’ enchanted sneakers. Which was definitely a good thing.
That should occupy the redhead for at least a few minutes so that Kat could go visit their latest acquisition and not be disturbed or, more to the point, overheard.
As soon as she was sure Thia was out of the way, Kat headed to Teddy’s cabin, where Arik had been taken. She knocked once on the door before she pushed it open.
Arik stood by the window with his arms crossed over his chest as he gave her a very cool once-over.
"You’re not Megeara."
"No, I’m not. But what I’d like to know is how a person like you made it onto this boat."
"A person like me?"
She nodded as she took a step closer to him. "Tall, dark haired. Sexy beyond belief with eyes so blue they glow? I suppose the question of the day is who’s your daddy?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Who’s your daddy?" she repeated before she expanded the question. "Morpheus or Phobetor?"
He gave her a suspicious look. "Who are you?"
"Katra Agrotera. But most people in this realm call me Kat."
She saw the recognition in his eyes. "Agrotera?"
"Yes," she answered his unasked question. Agrotera was one of the names often attached to the Greek goddess Artemis-a name often used by her servants. The very same goddess who’d sent Kat here to watch over the progress of this team. "I’m one of her koris ."
"What are you doing here?"
"I used to work with Geary’s father from time to time, back in the day when the two of them weren’t speaking. Since she’s getting a little close to the matter at hand, Artemis thought I should put a few roadblocks in front of her."
"And why is that?"
"Simple. Atlantis can’t be found."
He scoffed at her. "You’re the second person to tell me that in less than an hour. Why is it so important to Artemis that it stay hidden?"
"The why isn’t that important. Just believe me when I say you don’t want to go there… in more ways than one."
He didn’t flinch or show any emotion, which given his birth made sense to her. Still, it was time he learned to fear.
When he spoke, his tone was level and deadly. "Megeara wants to find it."
"And people in hell want ice water. The entire history of mankind is written by people wanting something they can’t have. She’ll get over her disappointment, trust me." She approached him slowly and lowered her tone to make damn sure that no one passing by in the hallway outside could overhear her next words.
"But that still doesn’t explain how it is a Dream-Hunter is here, in the flesh, on this boat. I’m sure you didn’t come to this plane just to help the good doctor on her quest."
He was more guarded than a priceless treasure. "I wanted to know what it was like to be human. Is that a crime?"
"On Olympus, it can be."
"Are you threatening me?"
"I’m warning you to forget you ever even heard the name of Atlantis."
"And if I don’t heed your warning?"
"Oh, it’ll get ugly. Real ugly."
He gave her a cocky grin. "My flesh is used to being stripped from the bone, little girl. Is yours?" He didn’t give her time to answer before he continued. "You can’t threaten or intimidate someone who won’t be able to feel any emotions in a few weeks. Pain doesn’t scare me since it’s all I know."
"You’re a masochistic bastard, aren’t you?"
"Isn’t that the very nature of a Skotos? After all, it’s what your kind damned us to."
Kat paused at his words. It was true. What had been done to the Oneroi was deplorable and unfortunate. But it still didn’t change the fact that he couldn’t be allowed to uncover Atlantis. Artemis wasn’t the only god who would be furious to have it exposed. This little Skotos was playing with a fire he couldn’t even begin to understand.
"So you’re just here to be human and experience the world? Nothing else?"
Kat could almost accept that except for one thing. "And how does Geary fit into this?"
"Who says she does?"
Kat laughed as she noted the speculation in his crystal eyes-he was hiding something. "Don’t mistake me for an idiot. You have no god powers, I can feel it. While your kind does come to this plane from time to time to scope out victims, you don’t lose your powers when you do it. You’ve bargained yours to
be here and to be human, and you’re helping Geary. Why?"
"First you tell me why Artemis is interested in this and then I might answer you."
He was quick and clever. She’d give him that. "All righty then. It appears we’ve come to an understanding. I stay out of your business and you stay out of mine."
Kat looked past him, out the porthole, to see the docks coming into sight. It wouldn’t be long before he took Geary for the permits.
Kat stifled a shudder at that. "Just remember one thing, Dream-Hunter. You get in my way and I will sacrifice you for my mission."
He laughed low in his throat. "And to that all I can say is a resounding ‘ditto.’ I won’t let you interfere with why I came here."
She arched a brow at that. "You would dare to threaten me? Have you any idea what happened to the last man who harmed a kori ?"
He shrugged nonchalantly. "I’m not afraid of Artemis. Even though I’m human now, I won’t be for long.
My powers will be returned to me in full. Both you and your mistress would do well to remember that."
She tsked at his arrogance. "Oh, Arik, Artemis is the least of your problems if you succeed in finding Atlantis. There are powers so deep and dark buried with that continent that they make a mockery of Zeus. I’m only a minion in the grand scheme of things. You have much more to fear than either me or my lady-goddess. And on that pleasant note, I will leave you with only one more piece of advice."
"Things are very seldom what they seem. Atlantis and what happened there was a blight on the nose of many a god and many a pantheon. As you know, the gods seldom agree on anything, but they are all united when it comes to this. You would do well to leave here as soon as we dock, and find a new playmate for your dreams."
"So you’re lying to Megeara about your presence here. Pretending to help while hindering. How noble of you."
"And you’re here to seduce her and do what? Kill her? Is that your plan?"
He looked away and she didn’t miss the fleeting grief that darkened his eyes before he hid it. "Does my intent matter since you’ve already made up your mind to kill her?"
Anger whipped through her at his words. "I’ve never killed any human. I’m not that cold. Hell, I even tried to save her father and it’s for him that I’m watching over Geary now, instead of allowing another kori to be here. I don’t want to see her die. She’s too decent a woman for that. So again, I say to you, move on."
"And if I can’t?"
"Then you and I are at war."
"Unfortunate, but I can accept that." He moved to stand before her and she hated the fact she had to look up at him. It was what he’d intended by the action, but it would take more than that to intimidate her. "Stay out of my way, Katra. For your own sake."
Fine then. At least she knew the stakes. Now she just had to visit her friend and do everything she could to get Geary to throw Arik overboard as soon as possible. He was human at the moment and couldn’t play with Geary’s thoughts or emotions. That was a blessing.
"Oh, don’t worry. I intend to be the thorn in your side until I drive you mad with fury. You may succeed in seducing Geary, but you’re not going to hurt her. Not on my watch."
Arik had opened his mouth to return her comment when he heard the door behind them opening. He turned his head to see the woman Thia standing there, gawking at them.
"Am I interrupting?" Thia asked in a snide tone.
Kat shook her head. "I was just leaving." She gave him a stony look. "Remember what I said."
"Ditto to you."
Fury blazed in her eyes before she pushed past Thia and left them alone. Arik didn’t move as he considered this latest turn. So Megeara had one of Artemis’s koris as a protector…
That did put a bit of a crimp in things, but it by no means deterred him. He wanted to fully experience Megeara as a man. And nothing, not even Zeus himself, was going to stop him.
Now he just had to get Megeara to cooperate.
GEARY HADN’T GONE NEAR ARIK SINCE SHE’D LAST LEFT him. She had no idea whether or not she should believe him, and until she had more facts she wanted to be as reserved as possible where he was concerned.
They’d just docked and she was in the process of putting her things away for her trip back to town.
She looked up from the table as Tory burst into the room. "Holy Shinola, Gear, you’ve got to come see this!"
Frowning, she set her pad aside and followed Tory to the deck. Geary looked around but couldn’t rind anything that should have excited Tory. Nothing looked out of place. Christof and Althea were going over inventory while a couple of the other sailors were checking the line. Thia was on the deck in a bikini, sunning herself.
Tory pointed toward the shore.
Geary followed the line of Tory’s finger. And as soon as she saw what Tory was pointing to, her jaw dropped.
Holy Shinola nothing. Holy shit and then some.
Just at the edge of the dock was a white Rolls-Royce that had a driver in full chauffeur regalia standing by the door with his gloved hands folded in front of him.
But that wasn’t the impressive part. Not by a long shot.
What made her gape was the hot piece of cheese who was on the dock, striding straight for them.
With shoulder-length black hair, the man had a gait that was just plain sexy. It was one of raw determination and extreme confidence. He wore a white linen suit with a pale blue shirt that had been left undone to show the promise of a very well-defined body. On any other man that suit might have brought his sexual preferences into question, but on this one there was no doubt. He was all male and all deadly.
A dark pair of Versace sunglasses covered his eyes, which she had a sneaking suspicion were trained on her.
Tory cleared her throat. "I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that he’s Arik’s brother. What do you think?"
Yeah, that would be her guess. They both held an identical arrogant swagger-as if the world were their stage and they were the only actor in town capable of playing on it.
Without a word to Tory, Geary moved forward to meet the man on the gangplank.
He paused in front of her with a hint of a grin an instant before he deftly removed the sunglasses. Her breath caught as she saw the same exact killer eyes that Arik possessed. It was followed by a dimpled smile so choice that it actually made her heart race.
He offered his hand to her. "You must be Megeara. Pleased to make your acquaintance."
She shook his hand, but before she could let go, he brought it to his lips and laid a very romantic kiss on her knuckles. Her hand actually tingled from the sensation of his lips on her skin. "It’s a pleasure to meet you as well."
He released her at the same time the smile faded from his lips. His gaze slid past her.
She turned her head to find Arik standing there. He was silent and cool as he regarded his brother. So cool, in fact, she was about to get frostbite. There was definitely no love lost between them. They looked like two opposing soldiers sizing each other up before battle.
"Arik," Solin drawled in a velvet baritone. " Long time no see."
Arik inclined his head to Solin. "Yes, indeed. I hope you’ve been well."
Solin laughed. "It depends on whom you ask. Well has a variety of meanings. But I’m fit enough to cause problems. That really is all one can expect in life, no?"
"It’s all I expect out of your life anyway."
Solin tsked at him. "And yet here you are, asking for my help. Call me crazy, but one would expect a little less belligerency."