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“A dark, lush retelling of the Persephone myth as only Kitty Thomas could tell it.” — Anna Zaires, New York Times bestselling author of Twist Me
When Persephone was born, Zeus received a troubling prophecy. Some day his beautiful innocent daughter would be taken captive by Hades, the dark god of the underworld. Determined to protect her, her father hid her away in the human world where she would be shielded from her fate.
Hades learned of this betrayal nine centuries ago. He’s been searching for his destined queen ever since. And when he finds her, no power on earth or below it will stop him.
He will take her. He will corrupt her. And Zeus will suffer for daring to keep her from him.
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“I don’t know how you do that. It’s damn near magical,” Lynette said as she stared in wonder.
“That.” She pointed at all the flowers around the shop as if this should be obvious to any thinking person. “The way you take nearly dead broken things and bring them back to life. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“Oh,” Persephone said. “I don’t know. You just have to listen to them. They tell you what they need, but they speak very quietly. It’s hard to hear them in the city.”
The Perfect Posie was a quaint flower shop situated between an authentic Italian sausage shop and an old vinyl record store. It wasn’t exactly the quietest or best place for plant life to flourish in Persephone’s opinion, but she worked with what she had.
Lynette shook her head, her long, dark curls falling behind her back, hiding a black raven tattoo on her shoulder. “Fine. Don’t tell me. I’m going to lunch; do you want anything?”
“No. I had a big breakfast this morning.” It was a lie, but if she admitted she hadn’t had anything but coffee, Lynette would start mothering her.
“If you don’t eat something, you’ll blow away.”
“I’ll have something later. I’m fine.”
Lynette slipped out of the shop into the bustling New York City streets, leaving Persephone with her flower arranging. Her boss was right; the lilacs had been wilted and nearly dead when they’d arrived that morning. Lynette had been about to make an angry phone call to her supplier and order more when Persephone had taken them to a back room and just…
What exactly had she done with them? She wasn’t sure. She gave them some flower food and water and sunlight and talked to them a little. It was what you were supposed to do. She just did it, and they’d come back. It wasn’t magic. It was common sense and patience and love. You had to love them, or the spark of life wouldn’t come back. But every time she did it, Lynette had acted as if it was something close to a goddamn miracle.
She sighed and left the lilacs to do whatever healing it was they needed from their arduous trip to the store and stepped outside for some air.
Persephone had been promised a beautiful perfect day today by everyone. The weather man, her chiropractor neighbor, even the bees had seemed to be in agreement, but instead, what she’d come to work in was an ugly overcast day with heavy oppressive clouds that seemed to push down on the city until it almost felt smaller somehow.
Now the sky was clear and blue and perfect with only a few wispy clouds that hadn’t seen fit to leave yet. Each time she’d looked out the window, she’d seen a little more hope in the forecast. But she’d never seen the clouds move. They’d instead seemed to unobtrusively melt and disappear into the sky.
It was the least foreboding day one could imagine. And yet.
The hairs on the back of her neck prickled and stood on edge as if zapped by a jolt of static electricity. Across the street, she spotted a nondescript black sedan.
It’s probably a bookstore customer or somebody who works in the area.
But she couldn’t shake the overwhelming paranoia that the sedan was here for her. It felt like death coming to claim her. A long, slow shiver whispered down her spine. Just a breeze. But she wasn’t convinced.
She went back into the flower shop and to the back room and sat next to the vase of lilacs now blooming happily in a patch of sunlight. She felt as though she were huddling. Hiding. But from what? This was so ridiculous.
The bell over the flower shop door jangled.
It was a deep, gravelly male voice. It was a melody, a song. It was the kind of voice that would lead you over a cliff if you followed it. And yet Persephone got up off the stool she was perched on and stepped out into the main room.
“C-can I help you?”
The stranger turned. He wore a black suit with a black linen shirt underneath. It was clearly professionally tailored. Not off the rack. It fit too perfectly. He had dark olive skin, eyes black as coal, and hair that was the same. He had hands that… could crush you.
Persephone pushed that thought away.
Every inch of him was perfect, but that smile. It promised evil things.
While Persephone had never seen the car door across the street open, she somehow knew this man had come out of that black sedan. He was the thing that made her hair stand on end. He was the thing that made her hide in a back room with a vase of flowers as if it could protect her.
“Persephone.” Her name rolled off his tongue like a prayer. “You have no idea how long I’ve been looking for you.”