21st-Century Performance appraisal
Position Title -- Muse of Good Fortune
Evaluated by --
Mighty Zeus, President, CEO, Top God
Kyra's performance has, quite frankly, been a disappointment over these past one hundred years. Our Muse of Good Fortune, despite her exceptional charm and unearthly beauty, has been slacking off, getting by on her looks, wiles, and considerable sex appeal -- not to mention her privileged position as the daughter of Mighty Zeus Himself!
The best place on Earth for the Muse of Good Fortune to make a difference is . . . Las Vegas. Therefore Kyra is to spend one year at the famous Acropolis Casino, where she will inspire good fortune. During her sentence, she is forbidden from getting romantically involved with a mortal, and most especially not with Jake Lennox. This professional gambler-turned-investigator is too seductive and attractive for his own good. Besides, Jake has an agenda that may prove too dangerous for Kyra's soft heart. So, if she falls in love, all bets are off.
About the Author
Judi McCoy was the published author of 22 mystery and romance novels. Her first, I DREAM OF YOU, won Waldenbooks 2002 award for bestselling new author. In addition to writing novels, Judi led many writing workshops for aspiring writers at national conferences and mentored numerous new authors. Judi passed away in 2012.
Read an Excerpt
Almost a Goddess
By Judi McCoy
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Judi McCoy
All right reserved.
Mount Olympus, present day
"Am I late?" gasped Chloe as she burst into the great hall.
Kyra offered a hesitant smile and shook her head. After tucking a wayward curl of red behind her ear, she resumed her pacing. This was her second performance review in as many centuries and she was a mass of jangled nerves, as were, she imagined, Chloe, Zoe, and the rest of the muses. The thought of Zeus judging their successes and failures always left them flustered.
She'd be the first to admit she'd become a bit lazy over the past millennium, but it wasn't her fault mortals had grown suspicious of good fortune. Nobody on earth believed in luck or serendipity anymore. No matter how wonderful the incidents that occurred in their lives, they focused on their woes, most of which were mere trifles compared to the plagues and pestilences that had once befallen mankind.
"Have you heard from Zoe?" Chloe hopped into step beside Kyra. "Why do you think Zeus wants to see the three of us at the same time?"
"You know how single-minded Zoe gets when she's worried. She probably couldn't resist rearranging the flowers in the dining hall. As to why he summoned us here together -- "
The demi-goddesses stilled at the sound of frantically tapping sandals. Sabletresses askew, Zoe skittered to a halt next to them.
"Had to stop and straighten the sash on one of the graces' gowns," she wheezed. "Aphrodite gets so bent out of shape when her handmaidens are in disarray." She cocked her head in the direction of Zeus's office. "Has he called for us?"
"He's with Polyhymnia. Poor thing looked frightened to death when she arrived for her appointment," said Kyra.
Chloe folded her arms. "Well, why wouldn't she? Fat lot of use there is for sacred poetry -- sacred anything -- these days. It's a wonder he doesn't put us in a soup pot along with the chickens who refuse to lay."
"I hear he's reassigned most of our sister muses, so maybe he plans to do the same with us," suggested Zoe. "You know, have us inspire something that fits better in today's world. I wouldn't mind being the muse of high adventure. Maybe rock climbing or spelunking or -- "
"You're terrified of heights," Chloe reminded her, fluffing her golden curls. "Personally, I've been thinking I might have more success at inspiring good judgment. Someone with a brain needs to influence the movers and shakers of the mortal world."
"If Zeus complains about the way we've carried out our tasks, we can simply tell him we'll try harder," said Kyra. "It will give us another hundred years to come up with a decent defense."
"I blame these ridiculous 'performance reviews' on the twentieth century. First there was the telephone, followed by the radio, then that miserable box with sound and moving pictures -- "
"It's called a television, Zoe, and it's a form of entertainment. You need to loosen up a little," lectured Chloe.
Zoe rolled her eyes. "Maybe so, but have you seen his latest gadget? He signed onto the Internet so he can be in touch with the real world. Even conjured a dozen computers." She bent and whispered, "We're all expected to use one." "Use a computer?" echoed Kyra.
Chloe gave an exaggerated shudder. "What does he intend to do with a computer?" "Probably send out a virus that will cripple mankind's ability to communicate," answered Zoe. "Calliope said Zeus came down hard on every muse he's reviewed so far. Claimed mortals needed a calamity of global proportions as a reason to write the poetry she's known to inspire. He's ready to instigate a cyberspace war just to get the ball rolling." She hissed a frustrated sigh. "The last thing Earth needs is more war."
Thunder rumbled. A bolt of lightning split the cerulean sky. The massive doors opened and Polyhymnia raced out in tears. "I've been reassigned," she sobbed. "No more sacred poetry. I'm supposed to be the muse of blogs." Continuing to sob, she wobbled from the landing. "How can I inspire something when I don't even know what it is?"
Kyra sighed at the news. At least Zeus was willing to explore the possibility of different tasks. In truth, their father was nothing but a bag of bluster and howling wind. After complaining he had lost the respect a deity of his magnitude deserved, he'd become testy and sour trying to adjust to the latest breed of humans. Since the arrival of the twenty-first century, he treated Mount Olympus as if it were a corporation and he its CEO.
She didn't mind the new order. But she did mind being lumped with two other muses, as if she weren't good enough to merit an appointment of her own. She loved her sisters, but Chloe had always been a self-centered diva, spreading happiness willy-nilly to whatever mortal struck her fancy. And Zoe was more a fusspot than a muse. Though Zeus would never admit it, deciding that mortals had to be inspired to properly plan a meal or brighten their personal space was a dumb move.
Righting the skirt of her flowing white chiton, Kyra peered around the doorway. What was once a beautifully appointed dais with magnificent marble thrones now resembled an office straight from the pages of one of Earth's many design magazines. Zeus sat in a cushy chair that seemed to be massaging him mechanically, drumming the fingers of one hand while he guided a mouse with the other. The fax machine was spewing pages, while CNN blared from an overhead television.
Squinting at the screen, Kyra gasped. The diabolical deity was playing solitaire! She ducked when he raised his head of flowing white hair.
"Don't stand there gawking, daughter. Enter. And bring those two good-for-nothings with you."
As one, the trio threw back their shoulders, pasted smiles on their faces, and walked into the royal suite. Zeus spun his chair around and shuffled papers on the blotter, then gazed at them with a raised brow.
Excerpted from Almost a Goddess by Judi McCoy Copyright © 2006 by Judi McCoy. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
All three of the goddess books are light and fun. The stories are fluff but for a rainy afternoon, I have certainly read worse. Give Almost a Goddess a try. If you do, I am confident you will want to read the next two.
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