Chapter One

“Careful, guys. We want to finish the bolts for Zeus without any mishaps. He wants to celebrate the return of his sons’, Castor and Pollux, in a big way and that can’t be done if someone gets hurt.” Hephaestus’s voice boomed throughout the forge.

The god was a good boss and they liked their work, but Brontes knew his brothers, like him, weren’t focused on completing the task at hand. The job they chose to do was dangerous and required their undivided attention, except right then, their minds were closed to everything except their woman.

The day was hot and even hotter in their workshop, which was one of the reasons why they only wore thick leather aprons, gloves and boots for protection. It didn’t help matters that the forge wasn’t particularly large. The crude space was filled with fiery pits, massive boiling cauldrons, and the four large men intent on their duties made it feel even smaller and hotter.

None of their tasks were quiet either. Banging, clanging, sizzling, and pounding all were necessary in them building quality bolts of lightning with sufficient noise for the God of Sky and Thunder to be proud to throw. It was an intense job, full of risks, and they were the only Cyclopes who could and would do it.

A mixture of what was in their soul and their emotions played a big part in what they added to the raw steel rods Hephaestus produced. The potential for disaster became even higher when they were in a mentally unstable position.

Even though he didn’t need to vocalize thunder to add it to each strip of metal, his throat still burned from the effort he put into each one he constructed. Pulling the latest bolt from his personal cauldron filled with boiling oil and the essence of his personification, thunder, he walked over to the drying rack, and took a moment to see how his brother around the corner from him was doing.

Steropes who added flashes of light to each bolt, occasionally flickered, but still looked to be in control. With heavily gloved hands, he picked up a raw bolt from where they waited to be enhanced, and walked a different way back to his vat to check out his other brother. One look at Arges and he knew he’d found the reason for their boss’s concern. He was the sibling who made the bolts brighter and, as he stood working at his fiery iron tub, he was glowing like a lit lantern.

Brontes knew his brother wasn’t in a good place mentally. They had to do something to pull him from the path he was currently on as it led to a potentially tragic end.

They prided themselves on holding their special qualities in control. Thunder, lightning, and brightening were traits humans and many immortals couldn’t deal with in a raw state, but they could. When they’d first started working with Heph, the four of them had settled on a routine, and it helped them establish a controlled environment to enable productivity. There had never been any problems, but then again, they’d never been in love, nor were they prepared for the upheaval it caused in their lives.

The noise of the workshop was so loud. Brontes knew if he managed to shout a warning, it wouldn’t be heard by the others. Quickly, but with care, he made his was to their boss’s side, and let him know there was a big problem brewing.

“Boss! We have to stop! Agres is in serious trouble. He’s letting his personification take over!” Brontes was surprised to hear his voice rumble out. Apparently he’d let his thunder slip further into his body than he’d thought.

They’d never really believed it was possible, although they had been warned there was a downside to embracing their special elements. When they were young and just discovering their abilities, their mother, Gaia, used to tell them that if they allowed their personal qualities too much power over their souls, they’d be altered forever. Neither he nor his brothers wanted that to happen. They had to help pull Agres back from the edge before it did.

“Shit!” The concern radiating from Hephaestus was reassuring.

Having a single, albeit large, eye wasn’t limiting, but when it was something that could mean a drastic change to the man’s existence, he liked the confirmation he’d judged the problem correctly. His brother was in as bad a way as he’d thought and hopefully it wasn’t too late to help.

They quickly made their way to Agres’ side and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Steropes coming to join them.

“Agres, everything is all right. We’ll get her back. First, let go of the bolt, and step back.” Even though he was glowing, they were each immune to the others personification and could touch him, but didn’t because he didn’t want to startle him. Not while he held a bolt in his cauldron, because the boiling oil could harm him. He tried again to reach through to his brother by adding some of the thunder to his voice. “Let go, man.”

Tension permeated the heat in the room and surrounded them. Brontes didn’t want to expect the worse, but it was hard not to. Obviously, their mutually agreed path to ignore their problem wasn’t good enough. They had to do something. All three of them had to do something to bring the light of their lives, their woman, home.

“Let go, Agres.” Steropes looked to him for guidance and, with a nod, encouraged the man to carry on. Their endangered brother’s glow was starting to waiver, but they needed more than that to be sure he wouldn’t be consumed by his brightening ability. “Let go and we’ll figure out a way to get her back. Cyra isn’t lost to us. We’re proud Cyclopes, created from the Earth. Nothing can beat us. We fight for what is ours and will win her back, because she belongs to us.”

Brontes held his breath, hoping Agres heard them, and found a way out of the black chasm he’d evidently sunk into. After a few stress-filled minutes, he finally saw a hint that the brightness that had encompassed the other man had started to lessen.

Patiently, they waited for the right time and eventually, when it came, Hephaestus calmly took the bolt out of his hands and placed it on the rack, while he and his brother led Agres away from the fiery cauldron. They didn’t go far, but far enough that there’d be no danger if he made any wild moves.

Brontes couldn’t think of what to say to help the other man since he was in much the same position. It was obvious they couldn’t ignore their problem either.

“What is wrong with you guys?” Hephaestus joined them and delved right into the meat of the problem. “Is it Cyra? Did she leave you guys?”

“No, at least not yet,” Steropes offered their reality and, while it didn’t sound any clearer than it had earlier, he couldn’t put what was wrong into words either.

“What do you mean? Come on, tell me what happened, maybe it isn’t as bad as it seems to you guys.”

They looked at one another to see who wanted to step forward to explain their problem. After a long look, it was clear Agres still wasn’t mentally fit enough to speak coherently. Catching Steropes eye, Brontes felt nominated, and tried to gather his thoughts.

He’d been trying so hard to push the problem away, it wasn’t easy to pull it all back, and remain calm, but he did because he respected Hephaestus. The man had had his own female problems and solved it satisfactorily, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to tell him about what happened that morning. There was always the chance he had a solution to their dilemma.

With a deep breath, he spit it out, and didn’t stop until all the details were out.

“Cyra is pulling away from us. We could all feel it happening and didn’t know what to do. Then, before we could talk about it, she told us Dionysus was back. We know how much she cares for him and we aren’t beautiful like he is, so it’s obvious we don’t stand a chance against him. Before breakfast, she informed us a festival was set for tonight, and that she intends to go. We know she’ll go wild, hook up with the god of wine again, and leave us. That is what we are struggling with and why we’re finding it difficult to focus on our work.”

“Women,” Hephaestus snorted and walked into his office without saying another word. That was all he had to say? Brontes looked at Steropes for help. What had just happened? Had he said something to upset their boss?

“Did I say something wrong?”

“I don’t think so. It’s possible he still isn’t sure of Aphrodite’s loyalty and can’t see anyone else having a problem as bad as his, although I can’t believe that’s right either. She adores him more than ever and the contented smile he often wears is proof that he is often reassured of her love.”

“Maybe some men are never sure of their woman and where her emotions lie,” Brontes offered, but wished it weren’t true. He had enjoyed feeling love for Cyra swell inside him and had believed she felt the same way, then suddenly they were faced with the possibility it had all been an illusion. “Who knew such beautiful creatures were so fucking complicated.”

“It’s only that way because our hearts are involved and that’s never happened before.”

“Come on,” Hephaestus poked his head around the door jamb he’d disappeared through. “Let’s get everything out in the open and find a solution. You helped me when I needed it with Phria and here’s a chance for me to pay you back.”

They walked into the man’s office and sat in the proper chairs he’d arranged around his desk. There was no doubt they looked ridiculous and Steropes struggled not to laugh. It was no secret, he and his brothers were big, rough, odd looking men, but even he could enjoy the humor in their sitting in spindly chairs. They were so insubstantial, even his ass didn’t fully fit on the seat.

“Sorry about the chairs. I haven’t managed to talk my beautiful wife around to the fact I liked my office the way it was before. Don’t give up hope. As soon as I can find out where she hid the stuff, I’ll bring the old sturdy furniture back.” To hide the grin his boss’s words caused, Steropes raised a hand, and rubbed it over his lips.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a bright light. Looking down at his hand, he was stunned to notice a few of his fingertips flickered vividly. Maybe he’d been skating close to the edge as well. Not sure what to do, he quickly moved his hands under his apron, and refocused on what Hephaestus was saying.

“Enough of that crap, tell me what happened.”

Being the man who possessed thunder, Brontes usually spoke for them, and he looked over to ensure he knew it was for him to take the lead. From the look he received, Steropes knew his brother wasn’t happy to talk for them, but he wasn’t in any shape to do it either. Not after discovering his flashing light ability was still riding him, then he heard his brother speak, and realized they’d all somehow been affected by their problem with Cyra. She meant everything to each of them and they were losing her to a pretty fanciful god.

“Cyra told us she’s going to a special celebration tonight for Dionysus,” his brother told their boss with a rumbling tenor and explained why he hadn’t wanted to be their voice.

“So you said, but that doesn’t sound bad. She’s a maenad isn’t she? They go to raves and release all sense of reality on a regular basis. Is it because she’ll most likely join the others and let go her common sense without you guys there to protect her? Maybe even take another into her body?”

“Actually, she isn’t one of those crazy women. Cyra’s often seen as one because she lived with them, but really, she was simply a dedicated devotee. Besides, we don’t begrudge her need to express herself spiritually. Our problem is that we’re going to lose her for good because Dionysus will be there and she’ll, once again, be drawn to him and his beauty.”

“Oh, yes, that does put a different twist on the night.” It sounded like their boss was starting to understand why they weren’t in the best frame of mind to work.

“There’s no way we can win when you put us, one eyed, rough, and hard working Cyclopes next to the pretty, delicate, always ready for a party god of wine and theater.”

“Maybe not, but she loves you three.”

Steropes looked at his brothers and saw the same lack of confidence in what Heph had claimed as he felt.

“Right? You have told her you love her and she admitted to loving you.”

“Not exactly.”

“What exactly have you told her?” After a quick look at his boss, the fierce frown he wore helped Steropes accept his boss wasn’t happy with them.

They’d obviously done something wrong, but it couldn’t be helped. They’d never had a relationship before much less been in love and didn’t know the various things they were supposed to do so their lover was content with them. He’d been happy enough with the way things were going, except doubts sunk in. He was curious to know what they should’ve done and said so they could fix it.

“She’s beautiful. Her cooking is fine. That her body makes us hot, stuff like that.” Brontes looked at him and he offered a nod in support. There were other things they’d said to Cyra, but he gave Hephaestus the main ones.

“Shit, boys, no wonder she’s heading out to the party. A woman needs to hear more than she’s fuckable and keeps the home tidy and your bellies full. She wants to know you love her so much, you’ll still want her when she’s old. They want to know more than how horny they make you, they need to know what’s in your heart.”

“Remember the collar we made for her on our first night together? We poured everything we felt and our hopes for the future into that piece. At first, she acted as if it was a great treasure, but she hasn’t worn it for the past month.”

“She’s a smart lady. That piece had been constructed in a haze of immortally enhanced lust and held none of you guys personally or what you hold in your hearts. You didn’t know her well enough to have included any of that. Besides, it looked rough. Remember, women like their adornments to mean something, and to reflect the emotions behind giving it. They want to be proud to show everyone what their lover gave them.”

“True, but even if we make a new collar, she’s still going to meet Dionysus tonight.”

“A night of mysterious rituals does not make a firm commitment, especially not with that man. Don’t forget, men are no longer banned from attending, which means anyone of them, satyr, centaur, whatever possesses a cock could take advantage of her. My suggestion is that you make a collar and present it to her with all the words from your hearts that she needs to hear. She’s spent the past few months with you three and that must mean something. If you want forever with her, then tell her that.”

Even though Hephaestus wasn’t physically perfect, he still possessed the confidence of getting and holding the woman he loved. Steropes wished he and his brothers had the poise and assurance to do that. They wanted Cyra because she made their lives brighter than anything ever had before. She didn’t make him feel ugly or odd, but wanted and desirable. He wasn’t ready to give up on having her in their lives.

“What about Zeus’s thunderbolts?” Good thing Brontes was thinking realistically, because he definitely wasn’t. Not with his cock twitching for attention beneath his leather apron. His hands were covered in his lap, hiding the fact they still flickered, but he didn’t take his hard-on in hand. He’d leave it for their lover.

He blinked his eye and listened for the answer. It was curious that they were looking for time off. They’d never done that before. Neither he nor his brothers would ever do anything that would compromise their jobs, but the fact they were considering focusing on something else proved how important Cyra was to them.

“We have plenty of time to finish the order before they’re needed. Do you guys want me to help you with the design? I’ve done a few pieces of jewelry for Aphrodite and she’s always liked them.”

“No,” Agres surprised them all by quickly answering that question. “We should do it ourselves, that way it’s only us and what we feel for her in the piece.”

“Good point. If you guys have any questions about constructing such a small delicate adornment, just ask, otherwise you’re welcome to my personal stash of gold and stones.” Heph walked over to a cupboard and opened the doors. “Everything you’ll need to make something for a woman is in here. Have at it.”

They walked to the cabinet and looked over their boss’s shoulder at the contents of the boxes as he uncovered them. Steropes eye widened as he took in the vast assortment of colored stones and then his gaze reached the shelf that held containers filled with strips, strings, and chunks of gold. It was all so much to take in, but then he blinked, and started to get ideas of what they could make for their woman.

As if it was slow motion, he watched Brontes pick up an empty box and toss in a handful of green stones, and Agres added some smaller white and yellow ones. They’d picked up what he’d been looking at except for the gold chunks and so he added them with a few of the wires.

Their woman celebrated nature and what they held represented all four of them. All they had to do was make it look beautiful and elegant like her.