What a Goddess Wants Online - Stephanie Julian

Prologue

The third blow from the iron hammer sent Caligo to the ground.

His face hit first, of course, and he spat blood until it pooled on the blacktop beside him. He thought about getting up, but really, why bother? He’d just end up back there again.

Three blows from the pissed-off Roman God of Volcanoes and Blacksmiths were two more than enough to convince Cal that no woman was worth the beating.

Not even Venus.

“Not so pretty now, is he, babe?” Vulcan shook his head, the girly black curls he was so proud of quivering around his ruddy face. “I don’t know why you continue to bed these inferior humans. They’re weak. And you know they can’t satisfy your needs.”

Cal couldn’t help himself. “Maybe because she knows your dick is no bigger than my thu—”

Vulcan stepped on Cal’s neck, effectively cutting off his air supply and his voice with one dainty Italian loafer. “Let’s go home, babe. I’m sick of this crap.”

“Oh, fine.” Venus sighed. “I’m bored now anyway.”

The Roman Goddess of Love and Beauty flung flame-red hair over her shoulder and barely glanced down at Cal as she stepped over him to take Vulcan’s arm.

Her heel landed mere centimeters from Cal’s nose.

He remembered those shoes. She’d worn them the last time they’d fucked. He probably still had the indentations in his thighs from where she’d dug them in, screaming his name as she came.

As Cal watched the deities walk away, Venus turned, her little black dress swinging around her ass, to give him a wink and a little wave.

To which he replied with a time-honored one-finger salute. Bitch.

As the couple disappeared down the deserted alley off South Street in Philadelphia, Cal dragged himself to the nearest wall and leaned against it, wiping blood from his chin and his left ear. The ringing in his head sounded like the extended buzz of a heavy-metal guitar, and his face throbbed, though he felt no pain. Probably gonna have a few new scars to add to the collection.

He shook his head, which just made him dizzy, and began assessing the damage. “When are you going to learn, asshole?”

He’d asked himself the question before. But here he was again, wounded and pissed off because he’d gone out of his way to help a pretty woman who obviously hadn’t needed his help.

Fucking goddesses. Never a good idea.

As he cataloged the various bruises, cuts, and broken bones, he considered making the trek back to his car on Bainbridge but he figured someone would call the cops at the first sight of him.

Here seemed as good as any place to die. And if, by some miracle, he didn’t die, this was the last fucking time he ever took a job for a deity.

They screwed you over every damn time.

Chapter 1

Dying was so beneath her.

Of course, she hadn’t done much living lately, so if he caught her now… Well, that would just suck. Because she’d recently decided it was time to change her ways. Get out more. Live a little. Get laid.

How pitiful was it that she couldn’t remember the last time she’d had sex? Or if it had even been any good.

Pretty freaking pitiful.

Thesan, Etruscan Goddess of the Dawn, Lady of the Golden Light, was sick of being a pretty, useless deity. Much less a pretty, useless one usually just called Tessa.

For centuries… millennia… she’d brought light and beauty to the world. She’d guided the sun into the morning sky. She’d seen the rise and fall of empires. Gods had lusted after her. She’d worn out her share of mortal men in her bed.

She’d been worshipped by millions. Okay, maybe millions was stretching it just a bit. Still, she’d had a following, people who’d adored her and who’d worshipped her.

Now she was being chased by a crazed god intent on consuming her powers and leaving what was left of her soul to rot for all eternity in the dreary Etruscan Underworld of Aitás.

That totally sucked.

So did this. Her lungs heaved as she ran through a dark forest, the night sky black. No moon shone above. No stars twinkled. No reflected sunlight gave her even a hint of power.

Her legs shook like wet noodles, threatening to collapse at any moment. The underbrush swiped at her calves, and tree limbs caught at her hair, yanking and pulling.

Peering over her shoulder, she saw a dark shape weaving through the trees behind her. Her heart hurt as it pounded in her chest. Her bare feet bled and ached as she stumbled along.

Oh, she knew