For the Love of a God

By: Rosanna Leo

Doing her best to ignore it, Maia continued her work.

Within minutes, she knew it wasn't working. Her back was burning.

She should have expected it. She felt the same way each time she was in the presence of the Eryx statue. It wasn't just her love of antiquities making her heart palpitate each time she saw him. Ever since she'd thought he'd winked at her all those years ago, she'd developed a ridiculous crush on the gorgeous statue. In a way, she thought of him as her own.

Of course, he'd always been her favorite of all the Greek gods. She loved the stories about him and couldn't help falling a little in love with him from an early age.

The statue merely enforced the feeling. She loved the perfection of it. The way his curls fell about his strong face. The clean lines of his muscled abdomen and legs. Even the enticing length of his marble erection, as if the sculptor had wanted him captured in a state of eternal arousal.

He was the sexiest goddamn statue she'd ever seen. Michelangelo's David was an effeminate pansy by comparison.

She shook her head. It was pathetic, how she mooned over him.

Over it.

She could never tell anyone Eryx was one of the reasons she'd chosen to remain with the Toronto Museum, rather than working for another. Since the first time her father showed her the sculpture, she'd felt oddly connected to it. It had been her inspiration as she planned her education and career. She looked forward to seeing him every day, even took extra shifts whenever she could. Just to keep an eye on him and make sure no other conservators got their mitts on him.

Let administration think she was just a devoted worker. She'd keep her strange infatuation a secret.

Frowning, she turned back to face Eryx. He looked so proud on his pedestal, so vibrant. As if he might simply walk off it. His shoulders were squared, and his face angled down toward the viewer. Although he was made of white marble, Maia had no trouble picturing what he might look like in color. Somehow, she just knew those thick curls would be honey blond. Those flashing eyes would be green and his nude body would be tanned. His generous penis could fill her, stretch her ... a velvety pillar of lustful strength.

"Oh, man, I need to get out more.” She ran a hand over her hot forehead. “This place is playing tricks on my mind."

She heard a deep, manly laugh.

Automatically, her eyes shot back to Eryx's statue. Why was it the laugh seemed to come from his direction?

"Okay, I've had enough. I'm outta here.” She folded up her stool and walked right up to Eryx. “You don't fool me, buster. I know you winked at me all those years ago. Now you're talking to me? Maybe I am losing my mind, but if you have something you need to say to me, just get off your perch and say it. Stop messing with me."

Then, feeling foolish for admonishing a piece of marble, she turned on her heel, and left.

As a flustered Maia exited the Greek room, Wally turned out the lights and dragged his mop toward Textiles and Costumes.

In the darkness of the Greek gallery, a pair of white eyes watched Maia's retreating form with suspicious curiosity. Hidden deep inside the cold marble shell of the statue, the god Eryx pondered the odd conservator. “What a funny little woman."

But as she hurried away, his eyes dropped to the funny little woman's rounded ass. Frowning, he forced himself to look away from her wiggling jeans.

Inhaling deeply, he surveyed his kingdom, his Gallery of Greece. It would be his tomorrow when he made his first official appearance at the museum. This evening, he had just wanted to slip in unnoticed, to get the lay of the land. His powers enabled him to do so.

Eryx could change his form. He could fly. He could swim like a dolphin. He could assume different shapes with ease. He could fuck with such wild abandon his partner would quiver with an ecstasy she'd never imagined. And he'd indulged that particular power many times throughout the centuries, usually in Dionysus's depraved company.

He just couldn't make love ever again. Couldn't allow himself to seek a deeper, spiritual connection which came from being with a woman who actually meant something to him.

Not after what happened before. Not after Chloe, and the others. He refused to let Nemesis torture another poor creature because of him.

Besides, it was too painful. When his heart broke, it took forever to heal. Literally. It was his curse.

For the god of love, it was sheer hell not to be able to love. And so, just to be safe, he'd stayed away from women altogether as much as possible. Tried so hard not to get distracted by a lovely pair of legs or ample breasts. As long as he could keep Dionysus's liquor out of his gullet, it was easier. But under the influence ... he was as base and selfish as any other god in the pantheon.

Instead, he'd channeled his considerable energies into his work, trying to make a difference in the lives of mortals. He was done with his capricious ways. Done with screwing with them, and screwing them, just because he could.

So why had he noticed the conservator's fleshy bottom?

He considered what he knew of her. Maia Douglas. Expert in Greek antiquities and mythology. Daughter of a renowned archaeologist. And from what he'd seen tonight, she was as loony as those old guys who talked to themselves on the subway.

She talked to statues. Talked to his statue. What was that all about?

"Of course,” he whispered to himself, “in fairness, I was watching her.” It was no wonder she felt paranoid. The fervent gaze of a god could be a distracting thing.

He just didn't understand why he was so distracted by Maia Douglas. All he'd wanted tonight was to sit quietly in his museum and absorb the atmosphere. His statue had provided the perfect vantage point. But rather than contemplate how he would improve the gallery, he'd ended up playing with the mortal Ms. Douglas. When he'd seen her cup Poseidon's nuts, he hadn't been able to resist making a comment.

The look on her face had been so prudish, so amusing. In another lifetime, she would have been just the sort of woman he would have enjoyed corrupting.

Except he wasn't attracted to her. Gods, no. With those scruffy jeans and her bird's-nest hair? No, thank you. He knew exactly what sort of woman Maia Douglas was. She was a scholar. Head in a book. Probably never even known the touch of a man.

And yet, just wondering about her sexuality had his stomach in tight knots.

No, he told himself. Don't.

He decided on the spot he didn't like Maia Douglas. Couldn't like her. For her good, as well as his own. Besides, she looked a little too full of herself. And if there was one thing Eryx still enjoyed about being a god, it was taking mortals down a peg or two. Ms. Douglas undoubtedly deserved to plummet down a few pegs.

He'd be sure to pay some particular attention to her work as soon as he started. Maybe ruffle her feathers a little.

Besides, he was in his new museum and could do what he wanted.

Night had fallen. The museum cleaners were having their supper break in the basement. The gallery was a shadowy empty hub. It was the perfect time for Eryx to transition.

Not a soul would witness the astonishing sight of a fine white mist enveloping the statue of the god of love. No one would see as the mist began to travel, taking the shape of a tall man standing next to the marble artwork. The white fog began to mutate, turning into muscled, tanned flesh. A handsome face took shape. Eyes the color of a verdant forest appeared. The head was crowned with curls the color of golden barley. And full, manly lips spread into a smile of eager anticipation.

Security cameras would not capture the image of a naked man in the Gallery of Greece. They would not register the sight of him snapping his fingers, magically clothing his hard body in a designer suit.

And no one would notice as the man slipped out of the museum. On the front steps of the building, Eryx scanned the length of Yonge Street and took a deep breath. His nostrils were filled with the fragrance of sauteed onions and street meat. His eyes took in the weaving mass of color which was the shoppers rushing to and fro. He took a step and joined the crowd in the summer night.

It was time to put his alter ego Eric Lord to work.Chapter Three

Maia arrived at the museum on Sunday morning, way before opening, and was astounded at the number of staff in the cavernous foyer. She could hear angry whispers as people huddled in small groups. A couple of women from Etruscans and Romans were crying quietly. Others just looked spooked.