Everyone assumes life’s one big party for Dionysus, but even the god of wine and orgies has problems. His anger management issues are out of control, and his siblings suggest a visit to the Eternal Library to find a cure. The library of the gods is a strange and confounding place, though, one that Dionysus has avoided for centuries, and his certainty that the library hates him is confirmed when a killer strikes during his visit. Life as the only librarian is blissfully peaceful for Leander, giving him the security and quiet he so desperately needs. Considered a monster as a child, Leander’s memories of his imprisonment in the Labyrinth left deeply carved emotional scars. But when a young woman is murdered in his library, he needs to emerge from his self-imposed seclusion to help find the killer who might still stalk the hallways. Forced to keep company with Dionysus, Leander swings between whether the unpredictable and charming little god will keep him safe or drive him to distraction before the killer is found.
.Uncle Hades removed a painting of a storm-swept beach from the far end of his study and tapped the wall. There was a snick, then the outline of a door glowed faintly against the patterned wallpaper. “The Eternal Library was built as a labyrinth. The library assistants will bring you back here if you cannot find your way.”
When he tapped the door outline again, it was no longer a part of the wall but a solid door of polished black stone that swung open at the touch of his fingers. “One last caution.”
Dio stopped with his foot halfway over the threshold. “Yes?”
“Don’t be alarmed by the librarian. His appearance can be…startling to some.”
“Uncle Hades, I hang out with fauns. My brother’s boyfriend is a dragon. One of my guardians was Charon the ferryman and I sometimes hang out with animal-headed gods. Seriously?”
“Even so.” Uncle Hades swung the door wide for them and stepped aside. “Knock when you wish to leave. Charon or I will be here.”
“Thanks, Uncle Hades.” Dio threw his arms around his uncle’s barrel chest, gratified when the hug was returned. Years ago, his socially uncomfortable uncle wouldn’t even have allowed the hug.
They stepped into a room of dark paneled wood and heavy, masculine furniture. Not exactly a shock, but it was a comfortable room all the same, a good place for reading if you liked that sort of thing. On the central table, a sheet-cake-sized book lay open in Gothic script and gold-leafed splendor.
Meghan tugged at his sleeve. “Is that book hissing at us?”
“Hmm. Yes. Shh. That’s a good book.” Dio leaned over and stroked the book until it fell silent. “Chthonic mysteries, knowing Uncle Hades. There’s snakes and stuff in those.”
“Whoa. Cool. Does it bite?”
Dio shrugged. “Maybe? I haven’t been around too many living books.” Or any that I recall.
The door to the condo had vanished, leaving them in a rectangular room with comfortable chairs and a leather chaise, but only a few scattered books. Obviously not the library proper. An open archway on the far side of the room promised further exploration, though, and Uncle Hades had said the place was a labyrinth. Probably lots of little hideaways like this one.
He caught sight of library-esque bookshelves through the arch, floor-to-ceiling but the ceiling was low, not even seven feet high. “Char would get a backache in here so fast.” Dio peeked out and found that a bookshelf blocked the way to the left. They had a choice of right or straight down a short corridor. “This doesn’t look so bad. I mean, all the books are in reach and there aren’t that many.”
“All these look like they’re in Etruscan, anyway, boss,” George said as he leafed through a book with plant sketches. “So your Thracian charms wouldn’t be in this section.”
“See? We can do this.” Dio smiled and headed right, marching past the rows of ancient Etruscan gathered into folios and bound books. The row ended and he was forced to take another right and then another as the walls herded them around the outside of Uncle Hades’s reading room. Brighter light shone up ahead. Dio headed for that, and stopped at the end of the corridor with his jaw unhinged.
Straight ahead and to the right, the corridors opened up into wider passages where they could walk side by side. The bookcases soared upward, shelf upon shelf for thirty feet with rolling ladders attached. As good as Dio’s eyes were, he couldn’t make out the colors of the books at the top, let alone the titles.
“Aw, fuck me.”
“Maybe not right now, boss,” George muttered.
“It’s a joke, right?” Dio paced forward slowly, turning to take in the multitude, thelegion of books. Even though it was intimidating and the sheer volume of books was frustrating, it felt oddly welcoming…
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Angel Martinez is the erotic fiction pen name of a writer of several genres. Her experiences as a soldier, a nurse, a banker, and an underpaid corporate drone give her a broad view of the world and a deep appreciation for the astounding variety of people on this small planet.
She currently lives part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head. She has one husband of over twenty years, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.
To learn more about Angel, please visit http://angelmartinezauthor.weebly.com