Divine Redemption

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The son of a god, Thanos once walked the streets of ancient Greece and viewed pleasure as his birthright. He’s spent centuries punished by The Fates, but now he’s been given a second chance with the wife and male lover he so grievously wronged.

They don’t remember any of their past lives. But reunited in this one, a glance between him and them is enough to ignite the flames of desire, and the touch of skin to skin creates a burn for all eternity.

It’s the ultimate do-over for them all—but only if he gets it right this second time around.

Please note: A previous version of this story was published by Ellora’s Cave. It has been expanded and extensively revised for this edition.

Connected Books: Matched by The Fates

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Book 1

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Read an Excerpt

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Hot water struck Temperance. It wet long black hair and flowed over slick olive-toned skin in a caress that never failed to harden Demetri’s cock.

She knew he was on the other side of the glass shower door. She’d known the minute he stepped into the bathroom but was pretending she didn’t instead of sending him a come-fuck-me invitation.

He grinned and tugged off his tank top. Two could play at this game.

His shorts followed the tank top to the floor and his cock bobbed and licked across his abs. She did it for him. Some days it still surprised him just how much he could want her—all of her. She’d become his inspiration, his motivation.

He wanted to make good for her. His days of hard drinking and engaging in risky, anonymous sex were over, not that he was ready for the white-picket fence and the two point five kids.

Not that she was either. She had her shop. He had his art.

Right now all they needed was each other. And before the picket fence, before the kids, it’d be better to find their third.

He rubbed his fingertips over his nipples and his hips gave a quick jerk as pleasure streaked straight to his dick. Until Temperance, he’d never wanted to be with a woman more than he did another man. He wouldn’t again. When it came to the female sex, she was his one very permanent exception.

The night she’d come into the club where he worked as a bartender to support his real passion, his art, he’d known he wanted to be with her forever. Later, stretched naked on the futon in his studio, she’d said their meeting was fated. Told him about going with a friend earlier in the day for a tarot reading and drawing The Lovers card from the deck.

He’d agreed then that it had to be fate.

He agreed now, she was his fate.

On the other side of the shower door she turned her back to the water then smoothed soapy hands over her breasts. She teased dark, beautiful nipples into sultry pouts.

He licked lips that suddenly ached to clamp and suck. She took her nipples between her fingers and tugged rhythmically.

His cock pulled away from his body in time to her movements. Fuck if he hadn’t already lost this game.

He curled his hand around his shaft and shuddered with need. His dick pulsed against his palm and he dragged his eyes downward to her pussy.

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The steamed glass only allowed an impression of the tiny black triangle of hair that pointed and issued a command. He loved being inside her, but he loved sucking her clit almost as much. It probably came with being bi, closer to gay than straight. Then again, he loved everything about Temperance.

He closed his eyes to shore up his resistance. If he didn’t he’d be on his knees the moment he joined her in the shower.

A laugh escaped though it was more of a pant acknowledging her power over him. They both knew that when it came to pleasure, he was her slave.

He opened his eyes and at least had enough stamina to stroke his shaft long enough to drive one of her hands to her pussy.

That made the ache in his dick worse. Much worse.

A few steps took him to the shower. He tightened his fist on his cock before opening the door and joining Temperance beneath the water.

Her mischievous smile had his heart lifting and his lips curving upward. She said, “I thought maybe you’d decided being with a woman didn’t do it for you anymore.”

She wrapped her arms around his neck and a leg around his hip then rubbed her pussy against his dick. His hips bucked. He moaned and forced her backward against the wall.

Pressing his cock against her swollen clit, he said, “Does this feel like I’ve lost interest?”

Dark lashes dipped. Her tongue darted out and traced her upper lip. “I’m not sure.”

He placed open-mouth kisses along her shoulder and up her neck, smiled at her soft moan and arched back, at the press and rub of her nipples against his chest.

He bit her neck, sucked, tasting Temperance and honeysuckle. They had body paints, but from the beginning, he was content to have nothing between her skin and his fingertips and tongue.

She shivered as he approached her ear, shivered harder when he reached it and sucked her earlobe. “Demetri,” she said, her hands going to his nipples.

It was enough to have his dick screaming for her touch. He fucked his tongue into her ear and she grasped his nipples, tugging and twisting and sending fire streaking to his cock so it jerked for her like a puppet on a string.

He palmed her ass and kissed his way to her mouth. “What about now? Convinced I’m interested?”

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“Almost,” Temperance said, aching with the need to have him inside her. Whether she was with him or not, men and women both hit on him, drawn by his dark-angel face and shoulder-length black hair, by an artist’s soul in a totally fuckable body.

She sucked his bottom lip and he shuddered, ground his cock against her clit. He wanted to go down on her. He loved to bury his face between her thighs. Loved it more when she had his cock in her mouth, sucking as he sucked. Licking as he licked.

Liquid hunger pooled in her lower lips, parting them so she was open for him. Ready for his tongue and the hard length of his penis.

She brushed her thumbs back and forth over his nipples. Followed it with twisting pinches meant to blend pain and pleasure.

Before Demetri, she’d never played sex games. She’d never trusted anyone enough to let them tie her up. Then again, Demetri easily switched roles so he was the one tied to the bed and on the receiving end of carnal discipline and sensual torment.

Arousal slid from her opening, heated like the water striking her skin. Anticipation pounded into her in time to the race of his heart against her palm and the throb where his cock pressed to her mound.

His tongue tangled with hers. Stroked and rubbed and twined. His fingers speared her hair, pinning her to the slick tile.

With a moan he took his mouth off hers. “Say it.”

Needy ache throbbed in her nipples and pussy.

Sometimes he made her beg. Sometimes he ordered her to pleasure him. But this time, the tone of his voice said he was in the mood to prove he was her slave.

“Get down on your knees,” she said. “Put your mouth on me.”

She reinforced the command with a hard squeeze to his nipples and his hips jerked, his cock spasmed.

He panted and closed his eyes. Opened them and met hers to let her see just how turned on he was, then kissed downward, stopping to lick and suck her nipples. To bite them and share the pain.

Her fingers tangled in the long strands of his silky black hair, tugged in silent demand. Need rippled from her breasts to her pussy and her channel clenched, opening and closing, hungry for his tongue, his cock, his fingers.

Heat filled her belly. She loved him. She loved this game.

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She canted her hips and rubbed against him. “Just like a cat,” he teased, “a pussy that wants attention.”

She retaliated by tugging on his hair and pulling him lower.

He went, leaving a heated trail with his tongue, a stinging path of nips across her abdomen. He reached her mound and draped her leg over his shoulder for better access.

“Beautiful,” he said, his voice holding a lover’s appreciation and an artist’s.

“You always say that.”

“That’s because it’s always true.”

He nuzzled her mound. Inhaled. She was bare except for a tiny triangle of pubic hair. She’d left it for him because he loved the play of lines and shapes, curves and textures.

Demetri pressed his mouth to her sex and pleasure blasted into every place he kissed and licked. “More,” she said, thrusting against his face, rubbing slick folds over his lips, her hands clenching and unclenching in his hair.

He fucked his tongue into her slit, retreated. Did it again. And again. Tormented her with the promise of a release kept out of reach until she demanded what she needed. “Suck me.”

He latched on to her clit and icy-hot shards of sweet sensation spiked to her toes and into her nipples. Her hips jerked in time with his sucks.

She closed her eyes and leaned over him, hands on his back. Her fingernails scraped over his skin. Her reality narrowed to the ecstasy centered in her clit.

He stopped sucking and she cried out, dug her nails into him. His mouth formed a tight seal around her stiffened clit. He flicked and rubbed his tongue over the naked head in a demand she couldn’t refuse—and master became slave.

She straightened and fucked through his closed lips as if her clit was a tiny penis. Her whimpers blended with the sound of her rapid breathing as need and pleasure layered, sharpened and became too much to bear.

“Please,” she begged. “Please, Demetri.”

He sucked her again and it was all she needed. Her head tilted back and her body blissed out in a rush of heat.

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Demetri stood and lifted her. Holding her against the wall, he guided his cock to her opening, inserting just the head. Moaned with the hot clench of her slick channel.

He was desperate to get inside her but he resisted. He wouldn’t last long. He was too close to coming.

His eyes met hers and his heart swelled. Luck. The Fates. It didn’t matter how she’d ended up in his life, he was just glad to be with Temperance.

Before her, lust and love and gender hadn’t always completely meshed. There’d been times he’d had to close his eyes to become aroused enough to fuck a woman. That never happened with her. He only had to think of her to need and want her. He craved the intimacy he experienced with her. Love and desire were as intertwined as their two bodies during sex.

“Do you want me to beg?” The slumberous post-orgasmic look was now the fuck-me expression of a born seductress.

She licked her lips in a siren call for him to lean in. Her tongue darted out, caressed his lower lip before she took it in her mouth and bit.

She shivered at the decadent pleasure at tasting her arousal on him. “Sex with you has got to be a sin,” she said, and he deepened the kiss, pushed his cock into her in a forceful thrust.

She moaned and clung, the wall against her back and his arm around her ass keeping her just where he wanted her. He pistoned in and out, harder, faster. And she came again, her pussy clamping on his dick and demanding total surrender.

He gave it to her. Panted her name as shudder after shudder racked his body in a high that was better than alcohol or drugs.

Temperance unwound her legs from Demetri’s waist. Her feet landed on the wet tile and he sagged against her dramatically. Not that they wouldn’t do this again in a heartbeat regardless of who might have been solo in the shower.

She turned off the shower before the hot water ran out and they got blasted with cold. He said, “What’s that term they use on those cop shows you love?”

“Circling the drain.”

“Yeah, that’s the one. That’s how I feel, like I’m circling the drain.”

She bit his lower lip in a playful rebuke. “Not very romantic. Especially for an artist. You should be speaking in French, talking about la petite mort. The little death.”

“That’d describe it too. Now I need a nap.”

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“Poor Demetri.”

“Believe it or not, I came in to tell you something. But then I got sidetracked by the sight of your naked body and what you were doing with your hands.”

“So you’re saying sex was the last thing on your mind when you stepped into the bathroom?”

He pressed his mouth to the place where her neck met her shoulder and smiled against her skin. “I’m taking the Fifth, except to point out that I am a guy, Tempe.”

She curled her fingers around his semihard cock. It pulsed against her palm and revived. “Yeah. Definitely a guy.”

He gave her a love bite then followed it with the swipe of his tongue. “Hunter called. That’s what I came in to tell you.”

“About Jason?”

“He’s heading for another breakup.”

Which meant he’d come back to Demetri. Which meant the hardening in Demetri’s cock wasn’t only because she had her hand around it. He still cared about Jason.

It would be easy to be jealous and insecure. Once she would have been—had been, though not of Demetri.

Her throat locked and she rubbed her thumb where she’d once worn Ryan’s engagement ring. The memories of him were always strongest around this time of the year, of his being home on leave, partying with friends. Of her walking in to find him kissing another girl—or the girl kissing him.

She hadn’t waited around, just thrown the engagement ring at him and fled, full of teenage hormones, foolish and self-absorbed, a stranger to herself.

She should have talked to him before he deployed. Or taken his calls after he’d gotten to the Middle East. Or even written him a letter…

Too late now. Time couldn’t be rewound. And she’d grown up since Ryan. She knew what she needed to be happy. She’d gained the courage to live life on her own terms.

Demetri caught her left hand and carried it to his mouth. “I never even met him, but I know he’d say, Let it go, Tempe. I forgive you.”

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She blinked back tears. “Thanks.”

“That’s what I’m here for, to keep you moving forward and not looking back.”

She laughed. “I notice you didn’t say, to keep you on the straight and narrow.”

“Well, since I’m not totally straight…”

She brushed her thumb over Demetri’s cock head. He thrust reflexively.

“I can’t share you with Jason.” He was funny and sweet, flamboyantly gay and proud of it. He was also sensitive, needy, very high maintenance and always surrounded by drama.

She liked him, even loved him. But she’d end up feeling excluded and left out. Even if Jason were bi, he couldn’t be more than a friend.

Demetri gave her a quick kiss. “The right guy will come along. For both of us.”

“I wish it would happen soon.”

“Me, too. But until then it’s just you and me forever, Tempe. And if you kill me off with the great sex, we’ll just do it as ghosts.”

A chill swept up her spine. She used to joke about sensing ghosts, but she’d never actually been scared of them until the old bookseller had manifested more strongly in the building she rented from her gramps.

Before that, the occasional glimpse was kind of cool. But once he’d become scared that someone was going to discover his treasure…

She shivered and Demetri’s arms tightened. “You okay?”

“Thinking about the ghost in my shop.”

“Bryn and Atticus took care of him. He’s gone.”

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“I know.” And thanks to the stuff they’d discovered the ghost was guarding there’d be enough money for a lot more inventory. Plus she could help others be successful at doing the things they loved.

At the top of her list was sponsoring a multi-artist exhibit that’d showcase some of Demetri’s work. He hadn’t wanted her to at first, had said she should put the money into Vintage Threads, but she’d finally talked him into letting her do it for him—for them.

He’d believed in her, told her she had what it took to own her own store. He’d convinced her that being too afraid to go for her dream was the true meaning of failure.

“I love you,” she said, the feeling welling up inside her, sharp and intense and forever.

“I love you too.” He hugged her then reached over and opened the shower door. “Atticus come by the shop this morning?”

“Yes, with his brothers. They wiped me out of 1920s and ‘30s stuff for men.”

He stepped out of the shower, tugging her after him. “I’ve got to get dressed and head to the club. It’s my turn to do inventory. After that I’m filling in for Mark while he’s at Lamaze class with his girlfriend. You going back to Vintage Threads?”

“Today’s the day Ava is picking up her bridesmaid dress and giving me the check for the book. Plus Bryn’s coming to choose a wedding dress. She loves the idea of wearing vintage which is perfect considering she really is a ghostbuster.”

“Come to the club after you’re finished?”

“Definitely.”

He snagged a towel but instead of drying himself off, crouched in front of her, his cock hard against his abs and his testicles hanging beneath, causing heat to flare in her pussy and her channel to spasm.

He placed the soft material on either side of her ankle. Dried her skin there and slowly moved upward, over her calf and knee and thigh, stopping with his hand between her legs.

She was hot and needy again. “I thought you were in a hurry to leave.”

Demetri lapped his tongue over her clit. She was a sweet temptation he couldn’t resist. “I’m never in too much of a hurry to take care of you.”

“Let’s use the bed this time.”

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As if to enforce her will, her hands went to her breasts. Her fingers captured dark nipples and squeezed.

His cock jerked and left a wet lick of arousal on his abdomen. “Circe,” he said against her pussy, suddenly feeling the same sense of expectancy he had the night he met her, that something important was about to happen, not just in his life or hers, but theirs.

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Read the Reviews

“Talk about sexy and powerful! DIVINE REDEMPTION is a nice combination of spicy and paranormal.”

— Sarah W., Romance Junkies

“If you want a story that’s filled with heat, heart, and a plot that’s fresh, then you need to read DIVINE REDEMPTION.”

— Tiger Lily, Whipped Cream Erotic Romance Reviews

“This is a story that you won’t put down until it’s done!”

— Stacey Krug, Siren Book Reviews

“Lovers of fantasy romance will find a fun read here and will, I think, revel in Strong’s ability to stuff so much into such a short number of pages.”

— Judith, Book Binge

“This story is enchanting, intriguing, and absolutely enthralling until the very last page.”

— Sussan W., The Romance Studio

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