Acan, the God of Wine and Intoxication, has been partying for over ten thousand years. And New Year’s Eve, when humans around the world succumb to his naturally occurring spike in powers, is his big night. Only this year, things are bit different.
A plague is sweeping the immortal community, and he’s turning downright evil. All those New Year’s bashes will turn into bloodbaths if he doesn’t stop it. Sadly, the only known cure is finding a mate, and he is a giant, rude, beer-bellied mess. Definitely not husband material.
But can a little gym-time and help from the pros at Immortal Matchmakers, Inc. turn him into a divine sex-machine? Absolutely!
So watch out, ladies! The God of Wine is lookin’ for love. And he has absolutely no clue what he’s doing.
“You heard me. No more cocktails. No more beer. No more flaming assholes or Jell-O shots or even cough syrup.”
Belch gasped. No more flaming assholes? But those were the highlight of his mornings:
– ½ ounce grenadine
– ½ ounce crème de menthe
– ½ ounce crème de banana
– ½ ounce 151 rum
Light on fire.
The breakfast of champions. “What is this blasphemy I hear from your lips, sister?”
She poked his forehead from across the bar. “You! Have to. Get. Sober.”
Why the hell would he do that? People needed to party. He needed to party. It was the Universe’s will and purely instinctual for him. Asking him not to party was like asking the sun not to shine or for glue to stop being sticky.
“Because you have less than four weeks to find your mate—wait, make that two weeks.”
“Why two?” he asked.
“You know we all like to take the last two weeks of the year for vacation. So should you fail to find a mate, we really should lock you up beforehand. Wouldn’t want to ruin everyone’s fun, would you?”
“No. Fun is an essential part of a balanced and complete existence. Which is why I refuse to give up mine.” He stared defiantly, feeling disgustingly sober already. After all, he’d only had a few—ten or eleven beers. Or was it twelve?
“Brother, you can’t find your woman if you’re passed out or drunk. You need to be coherent and focused, and above all your senses cannot be dulled, or how will you know when you find her?”
He grumbled incoherently and stared into the mirror behind his sister, watching the old janitor sweep between the empty tables to his back. The bar wouldn’t open until four p.m., but he always loved to come early and prepare to greet the sad, the forlorn, the overworked masses in need of a little fun. To stressed-out humans, he was like an instant happy pill, and frankly, he enjoyed seeing their faces light up when he prepared the beer bong.
“Sorry. Nocando. I’ve been partying for over ten thousand years.” Merely a teenager in deity terms, but he’d been a late bloomer in finding his special powers.
“And?” Forgetty grabbed a rack of clean glasses and a dish towel and began checking for spots before storing them under the counter.
“And…and…if I stop, I will get a hangover. An epic, immortal-sized hangover.”
Forgetty blinked at him. “Don’t be such a child. You can handle a little headache.”
“Headache? Dear gods! I thought a hangover was feeling tired. Now I have to deal with a headache, too?”
She rolled her eyes.
“What? I’ve never had a headache, and in case you haven’t heard, headaches hurt. I am not a fan of pain.”
“You either get it over with now, or you’ll be doing it when we lock you up in Sedona, where there’ll be no booze, no fun, and no partying until the Universe has sorted things out and this flipping issue is flipping resolved, which might be a very, very long flipping time.”
Gah. Sedona. That was where his brother Kinich had his massive estate. Nearby was one of their largest immortal prisons and Uchben bases. Uchben served primarily as the gods’ mortal army; however, Uchben of every profession—doctors, teachers, accountants, scientists—were dispersed throughout the globe. After all, fourteen gods could hardly keep an eye on so many humans. Thankfully, however, the gods’ role was not to babysit every being on the planet. It was merely to ensure humans weren’t wiped out as a species, as was the case seventy thousand years ago when the super-volcano Toba erupted. The entire human population dwindled down to a few hundred as ash blocked out the sun for a decade. That was when the gods simply appeared. No one knew why or how exactly, but over time, they evolved along with humans and slowly began to specialize. Lately, the gods had begun taking mates and having children. A very new event in their history. Some had even transferred their powers to their significant others and shared their divine duties.
Well, fuck that. I’m not sharing my powers! And I’m not going to that horrible prison. Arizona is hot, and they have big bugs. Ick.
“I won’t do it. I’d rather die. Now, pass me that tequila.” He pointed to the expensive stuff on the top shelf.
“Nope.” Forgetty shook her head.
“How dare you defy me when I’m thirsty and in need of a tasty Mexican spirit…” His words faded as she dialed on her cell phone. “Who are you calling?”
She gave him her back. “Hi, all. This is you-don’t-know-who. I’m leaving a message in the emergency voice mailbox to inform you that Acan’s evil switch is flipping.”
Oh no! Forgetty was sending out an alert to his brethren.
He jumped and reached across the counter, swiping the phone from her hands. “You quisling! You cannot do that.”
She cocked a blonde brow. “I can. I will. And you’ll end up locked away.”
“Fine. Okay. Name your price. I have some thirty-year-old Margeaux tucked away. Or how about a nice Chateau OohLaLa.” He couldn’t remember the name of the winery, but OohLaLa sounded fancy, right?
“You will stop partying. You will get into shape. You will make yourself appealing to more than just drunk women looking for a good time they’ll forget they had, and you will find your mate in two weeks.”
Now standing and trying not to get annoyed by the room not swaying, he planted his hands on the bar. “Just how do you propose I do that?”
She smiled, her turquoise eyes twinkling. “We’re calling the Immortal Matchmakers.”
He scoffed. “Zac and Cimil? They couldn’t find their way out of an empty beer can.” Zac, God of Temptation, and Cimil, Goddess of the Underworld, had been banished to the human world for breaking several divine laws—illegal use of powers, lying to fellow deities, acting without regard for another god’s mate, the list went on and on. Zac and Cimil had also been stripped of their powers until they matched up one hundred immortal couples. The punishment was supposed to teach the two about the importance of love, family, and helping others rather than themselves.
Stupid. Zac would never learn, and Cimil was evil to the core. Always would be. Gods, I love her. So much fun.
“They do not have powers. What is the point?” he asked.
Forgetty sighed. “They don’t need powers to throw a party and invite every eligible single immortal woman they know. All you need to do is show up sober. And wear pants. Pants would be a nice start. Feel free to practice that one starting today.” Forgetty lifted a brow.
He looked down, past his beer belly, finding his big salami dangling against his thigh. “Damn. I could’ve sworn I stopped by my taco truck and grabbed my pants.”
“Taco truck? What happened to your house? Wait.” She stuck out her hand. “Don’t tell me. You threw another wild party and burned it down.”
How did she know? The woman was psychic. “Not on purpose. It is simply that I enjoy creating those flaming drinks the crowds so love.”
“You could make them outside.”
“What fun would that be?” The thrill of a flaming cocktail was just as much about the flavor and presentation as it was about the subconscious fear of something exploding in a blaze of glory.