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Goddesses #2: Three Girls and a God

Goddesses #2: Three Girls and a God by Clea Hantman
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The muses were doing fine until he showed up....Dylan from Denver, on dinner with Thalia: "I'm not sure, but I feel this is fate. I feel a connection to you.Plus, you are totally adorable -- just have dinner with me."

Thalia, on dinner with Dylan: "Stop stalking me."

Thalia, Era, and Polly are giving life on earth another try. But it's hard for the Muse sisters to concentrate when Era's as flaky as always, and Polly is busy trying to prevent catastrophe. But the biggest problem of all comes disguised as a handsome, crazy football player who won't leave Thalia alone. The trouble is, she kind of likes him. But why does he seem so...familiar?

Only the evil Furies know who "Dylan from Denver" really is, and there's no way they'll let him get his goddess....

HarperCollins; June 2009
168 pages; ISBN 9780061954146
Read online, or download in secure PDF format
Title: Goddesses #2: Three Girls and a God
Author: Clea Hantman

Chapter One





Throp. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.

"Ow! Hey, sir, I thought you said we were square," cried Apollo, who had just been grazed on the ear by a lightning-fast tennis ball.

"I win again," exulted Zeus with a grin, revealing a set of teeth as bright as the moon.

"Yes, again. You win again. Is this making you feel better? Because it's not really helping me." Apollo rubbed his ear, scowling. That ball had hurt.

"Why, yes, I do believe it is making me feel a tad better," Zeus answered cheerfully. "Thank you. Anyway, it's just good to get out of the house. It's been a touch depressing with those three girls gone. Thalia was always making me laugh, and I miss Polly's seriousness, her beautiful stoicism. And, well, Era, I miss the frivolity she brought to the palace. You know," Zeus continued, tugging at his beard, "I have been meaning to ask you-how are you doing, young man? Have my daughter's reckless shenanigans gotten the better of you?"

But Zeus didn't really want to know, and he didn't bother waiting for the answer. He just continued. "She's a handful, that one." He let out a long sigh. "Thalia, oh, Thalia. As much as I would have liked to have seen a match between you two, and, well, Hera would have loved it ... er, Hera." With these words Zeus paused, cringing a little. "You know she still has some lingering green around the ears, but she is a bit consoled by the addition of that music room out of Thalia's old bedroom. Although I told her, I don't know how long Thalia will be gone, but she-"

"Sir, with all due respect, this is the very matter I want to speak to you about. This tennis game was just a ruse."

"Is that so?" said Zeus with a leering eye. He wasn't paying all that much attention to Apollo. He was concentrating on a tiny little lint ball that he'd just noticed on his shoulder. He just wasn't able to grab it.

"Well, yes, you see, I've thought long and hard," said Apollo, "and I haven't slept for a month at least, not since the party, the incident, the Scyllia and the green ooze. Not since Thalia was sent away."

"That explains the lousy tennis game. I may be Zeus, but you are considerably younger than 1. Beating you was a bit too easy."

"Um, yes, perhaps. Anyway, I want to speak with you about Thalia," said Apollo.

Zeus looked a little exasperated. "What do you want? I owe you for sure -- just name it. Jewels? A higher title? A different daughter? What?"

"No, I don't want a payoff, no, sir." Apollo was a little insulted by the implication, but he carried on. "I do want something, though. I want ... Thalia."

Zeus's eyes widened. "Are you mad? After what she did to you, to me, to Hera? Thalia will be lucky if any man wants to marry her at this rate. She might as well truly be green for all the men she'll attract."

"Please don't talk about her like that," demanded Apollo. Zeus's eyes revealed he didn't like being spoken to as such, so Apollo followed up with, "I say that respectfully, of course."

Apollo then began to walk and talk. "I've thought about this a lot. All those sleepless hours and, see, maybe Thalia isn't ready for marriage just yet, today or tomorrow. I now know it was foolish of me to rush into things without openly communicating my feelings to her. She was blindsided. I don't blame her for the way she acted."

"I know someone who does," Zeus said out of the side of his mouth as he conjured up a picture of his oozing, pussing, chartreuse wife.

Apollo was getting more nervous by the second. His hands were trembling; his voice even cracked. But he knew he had to defend Thalia. He knew others didn't understand her, not even her own father, but that didn't matter. He just wanted Thalia to come back home. "Well, I don't blame her, sir. And I think we just need a chance to talk, Thalia and I, and we can work this out. I think I would like very much for Thalia to be my -- my -- my -- well, if she will have me, my girlfriend. And see, I think, no, I know, deep down in the pit of my stomach, I know Thalia has great, wondrous, feelings for me."

Apollo twitched a little. He rubbed his nose. And then he said, more quietly, more thoughtfully, with a small smile, "Your daughter is the most special, incredible, creative, dangerous girl I have ever known. Your daughter is everything to me." He couldn't stop wringing his hands, rubbing them together, faster and faster. He gulped for air and then said, "I have come here to ask you to return her, and her sisters, of course, to Olympus."

Now the whole time Apollo had been making this speech, he paced. As he paced, so did Zeus, just two steps behind. The two men slowly switched feet back and forth. They weren't on a tennis court, in the traditional sense. It was more like a flat mountaintop on the peak of a very tall summit. And now they were moving around it freely. And while Apollo wasn't paying much attention to where he stepped, Zeus was. Right at the end of the speech Apollo went a step too far and almost went feet first down the mountainside. Zeus nabbed him by the back of his white robe and brought his feet back down to the dirt. Apollo didn't even notice. He was lost in his thoughts of Thalia...

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