QUOTE:?I struggle with my Spirit within. The Thunderbird wants what it cannot have. ~ Mace
A bet between Eros, the God of love & desire, and Chloe (Chlotho), the Fate of birth, leads to a year filled with match-making and passion.
One simple request?
Park Ranger Mace Seneca and Astronomer Piper Whitney have a past. One that bears repeating, if the Gods have their way?but, with a few slight changes. They broke up almost a year ago over something utterly ridiculous. She wanted him to come to Thanksgiving dinner at her parents? house. He didn?t. Instead of explaining that the thought of going freaked Mace out, as he was worried about expectations, he left Piper standing on the sidewalk. Cold. At night. In the middle of November. And on her own.
It should have been the end.
But, when the Gods dip their hands into the lives of humans and Mystics, things tend not to stay over. With a little astronomical fiddling, Mace and Piper are thrust back into each other?s lives. They?re forced to work together in order to recover a meteorite that just happened to land in the State Park where Mace worked. Each of them dread and anticipate the encounter. What would it be like to see the person you still had feelings for? How would you cope with not being an us?
Leads to a second chance?
Working separately during the day and then spending their nights in close quarters, each of them wonder if they could be a couple again. Before that can happen, however, they need to examine how they fell apart so easily, and if they can truly have a second chance at love.
NOTE: Mystic Zodiac is a 12 book series. It is NOT a serial. Each book ends in a happily ever after for the main couple. However, the prologue and epilogue of each story follows the Gods that kick off the series, Eros and Chlotho (aka Chloe). At the end of the series the bet between the two will come to a conclusion.
?Mace, we?ve got a bit of a problem,? Levi announced as he barged into the office. The door bounced against the door stop with a dull thud. Mace was used to Levi?s sudden and exuberant entrances, so it didn?t warrant looking up from his work. He hummed in that way that said you were half listening. Levi wasn?t deterred by the noise or lack of full attention, us usual.
Levi kicked the door shut behind him. ?Well, not me, more like you. You?re the one who?s stuck here for the next week or so, depending on the weather. And, I?m sorry dude, if I had known how it would play out, I would have arranged for someone else to be here.?
The last couple of words were what pulled Mace away from the report he?d been working on. He stood and stretched, deciding to make the most of the interruption. A series of pops came from his back, echoing through the small room. Clearly, he?d been hunched over the too-small desk for far too long. The Spirit of the Thunderbird, which resided within him, bristled; agreeing that they?d been cooped up and needed to get out.
There wasn?t anything he could do about that at the moment because of the shitty weather, but he should at least talk to his supervisor about getting a new desk. One that would, at least, fit him. The mental note he made was almost reflex at this point in his career.
This was not what he?d signed on to do when he became a Park Ranger. He?d expected copious amounts of time spent outdoors, letting the Thunderbird?s spirit roam free to keep watch over the tourists. Not?he scanned over the stack of unfinished work?that. It came with the territory he guessed, but it didn?t mean he had to like it. He should count himself lucky that, at least, the building they worked in was better than most Park Rangers had, especially for such a small island that doubled as a state park. They had a surprisingly nice place to kick back and relax. If you walked through the next door and into the lounge area. A decent stove and refrigerator. Pots and pans. Basic cooking utensils. Everything to make it through their weekly stays on the island with a modicum of comfort.
Shaking thoughts of papers and reports away, Mace walked over to the window. He peeked out through the blinds, and took in the dreary weather. Blake Island had been hit with light-to-heavy rain on and off the last few days, and were forecasted for more the next couple days; living up to the stereotypical rainy Northwest. There were a handful of people moored at the docks, which was why he holed away inside attempting to catch up on the shit they?d all let fall to the wayside.
?What problem, and how what would play out?? He glanced at the other Ranger over his shoulder before turning around and leaning against the window sill. Levi shook his head, sending droplets of rain all over the place, to include the stack of papers closest to him. He shrugged out of his heavy coat, flinging even more water to the floor before he hung it on one of the empty hooks next to the door.
?It?s not good. Or, you might think it?s good. If it?s something you want, but seeing how you never talk about it, I don?t actually know.? He grimaced, making Mace suspect it was the former rather than the latter.
Talk about not being clear. That could mean so many different things for him. The work boat coming late. They?d run out of trail mix. Or worse, ?please, tell me it isn?t a lost dinghy again. Or multiple lost dinghies. The last one ended up on the other side of the island, and was a complete bitch to get back to the owners. With this weather, it?ll be an absolute nightmare.?
?Nope. For once, everyone tied theirs up or stowed them properly because of the rain. I?m calling it my win for the day.? He grinned and swiped an imaginary check mark in the air.
?We?re out of microwaveable meals, then??
Levi shook his head.
?We?re having a surprise inspection, and that dick Humphries is coming out to make my life miserable? Again.?
?Nope, and I heard he?s getting transferred. Won?t be seeing him anytime soon, I would think.?
?Thank the Spirits for small favors. If it isn?t that, what?s going on??
Levi settled into Mace?s vacated chair, kicking his feet up onto the desk, and on top of the report he?d been working on. Mace tried not to cringe, but was sure he hadn?t pulled it off when Levi smirked and folded his hands over his stomach. ?Meteorite fragments.?
Everything in Mace stilled. Yep, never would have guessed that. He leaned a little closer to Levi and cocked his head to the side, cupping a hand behind his ear, ?excuse me, what??
Levi snorted and tipped his head back, resting it on the back of the chair. His eyes slid closed. ?You heard me,? he sighed heavily. ?Meteorite fragments. It was strange as hell too.? His head snapped up. Excitement lighting up his eyes. ?Bekah checked with everyone she could think of, there haven?t been any reports of fireballs or small post-hit aftershocks. No warning or sound either. And we sure as hell didn?t feel it. There hasn?t been any chatter of an asteroid breaking free, or anything of the sort. So, it was totally out of the blue. Or rain. Out of the clouds? Whatever.?
?And you?re telling me all of this because??
?You?re lead dog.? He shrugged, like Mace should know that.
?Not helpful,? Mace sighed, not really liking that he?d somehow become the person people depended on the most. He didn?t even know when that had happened.
Maybe after your epic breakup and transfer out here.
?Anyway, Bekah and I were out doing a patrol when we found it. It struck east of where the Cross Island trail branches. There?s a decent-sized crater. We marked the area off and put in a call to the University of Washington for someone to head out this way.? He dug into the breast pocket of his uniform and pulled out a wrinkled piece of paper before thrusting it in Mace?s direction. ?The GPS coordinates.?
?Seriously?? He shook his head at the sad slip of paper. Taking a step forward, close enough to snag it, he smoothed his fingers over the wrinkled mess and glanced at it. He didn?t know what he expected to find, other than numbers. His brain kicked into gear regardless. They needed to dig out the incident map and mark the area. He?d have to get online, or get with one of the higher ups to see if there was a procedure already in place for a meteorite crash.
Crap, this probably meant more paperwork. The huff that escaped his chest was world-weary and disgruntled.? ?I still don?t get what the problem is? It sounds like you and Bekah took care of everything. Except the massive amount of paperwork, I see in my future.?
The grimace spreading across Levi?s face left a heavy feeling in Mace?s chest. ?We did, and we?re on track with what needs to be done on our end from what I?ve been able to find, but I got a call back a couple minutes ago from UW about who they?re sending to do the recovery and study of the area.? He glanced at his watch, then back up with a tight smile. ?She?ll be here in an hour.?
That heavy feeling in his chest? Intensified by a bazillion. A sense of dread bloomed next to his heart. ?She??
Levi frowned and he nodded. ?Yep, she?ll be coming in with Tobias on the work boat. The one Bekah and I will be taking back.? He stressed the words like there was no way he and Bekah were staying to help out, even if Mace begged. Which he would if he knew it would do any good.
?Do I know this she?? He had a sinking feeling he did and exactly who it was. Could even taste her name on his lips. Still, he prayed to the Spirit Gods he was wrong, and it wasn?t who he thought. That damn sympathy-filled look on Levi?s face didn?t give him much hope.
Levi nodded again.
?Fuck.? There was only one woman Mace knew that dealt with comets, asteroids, and all things astronomy based. And they hadn?t parted on the best of terms. Damn, damn, damn. Of all the astronomers in the world. ?Please, say it isn?t Piper Whitney.?
Levi shrugged. ?Sorry, dude.?