Ruined

Adrian Paul, Clive Owen, and Dwayne Johnson were in my office. 

Okay, okay, it was actually Gregar, Conn, and Ruin.  Gregar and Conn were shooting the bull so loudly that I could barely read my e-mail.  Gregar had challenged Conn to an arse competition–something I would pay a great deal of money to see, actually–but Ruin moped in the chair beside me.
 
He arched that infamous Rock brow at me.  “So?”
 
“I don’t think they like your name.”
 
He blew out his breath in a miserable huff and slumped even further in his chair.  “I told you Ruin was a stupid name.”
 
I rolled my eyes.  Yeah, sure he did (remember?).  “Your real name isn’t much better.”
 
He jerked upright and glared at me.  “What’s wrong with Dwayne?”
 
“Nothing.”  I smiled innocently.  “Your real name is Xbalanque.”

“Bless you,” Gregar called out. 

Ruin flipped him the bird. “What else did they say?”

“That I killed you one too many times.”

He groaned like I was murdering him with my bare hands. “You didn’t give me a happy ending?”

Gregar smirked. “She does enjoy killing us off.”

“Some of you can’t die,” I retorted. “No matter how many times I kill you.”

“A Death Rider never stops, never quits, until his mark is dead.”

“Shut up, bub.”  Ruin growled, flexing his bare chest to draw my attention to the tats marking his arms and throat like the dark spots of a jaguar.  “This isn’t about you.”

Laughing, Gregar bent over and slapped his thighs as though the other man had made a great joke. “It’s always about me.”

Hope may vanish, but can die not;” Conn quoted his favorite poet.  “Truth be veiled, but still it burneth; Love repulsed, – but it returneth.

Ruin leaned forward, gathering himself like a great cat preparing to pounce.  “What the Xibalba does that mean?”

“Win some, lose some,” Conn drawled.

Gregar jerked his hips so the memsha fluttered dangerously high.  “Challenge me, lose them all.”

Shadows thickened about Ruin.  Snarling, he crouched.  His eyes glowed like lamps in the darkest jungle night.  “You do know that I can crack open your chest and remove your heart while it’s still beating, right?”
 
“Bring your blood, bub,” Gregar purred, unsheathing his ivory rahke.
 
Of course, this was all just fun and games for warriors like him and Ruin, but I decided to put an end to the dramatics.  My coffee was getting cold, and Conn couldn’t wait to get back to grading his stack of Freshman essays on dead dudes who write crappy poetry.
 
[Conn glared at me as though he could read my mind.]
 
“Enough, already.  There will be no exploding chests or blood sacrifices, at least not today.  You have your happy ending–I already fixed it–although we may still have to change your name.  Let’s wait and see what the editor says when we get the first round of edits.”
 
The taunts and growls suddenly ceased and three pairs of eyes drilled into me. 
 
Ruin straightened, all thoughts of blood magic forgotten.  “What did you say?”
 
I smiled.  “I got the call from Angela James.  Your paranormal Romance is going to Carina Press!”

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