Melinda is ready to shed her inhibitions. Crafting her ideal lover for an ancient ceremony seems ideal. She doesn't expect it to actually work. When a gorgeous man appears in the flesh to fulfill her darkest desires, she savors the temptress he unleashes within her.
Djar has defied laws, time and space to experience Melinda's passion. After centuries of servitude to ungrateful gods, he's willing to risk anything to quench his hunger and lust. Sating his needs and awakening her fantasies is only part of the battle. He can't escape the grim reality that he must leave her.
Locked in a passion neither is willing to ignore, Melinda and Djar soon discover only the time spinner can decide their fate.
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November 13, 2009
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Excerpt from A Mate's Risk by Cara Carnes
"Who would want a ghost for a husband? I mean there are certain things only a corporeal being or battery-operated boyfriend can provide."
Melinda Morgan smiled at the humorous comment of her friend Stacy. Long tendrils danced around Stacy as she dodged a carrot flung across the room. Guilt consumed her as she realized she didn't really want Stacy, Nancy and Lisa here.
A clean kitchen, a tall glass of her favorite Riesling and a steamy book were all she wanted right now, not the scattered grocery bags littering the granite counters of her Hollywood Hills condo.
The last thing Melinda wanted was to hold a dinner party in the dark for the sake of research. But friends did things for one another and tonight was all about helping Nancy pass her seventeenth-century History class.
"The image you see in the mirror isn't really him. Weren't you paying attention earlier when Nancy went through the history?" Lisa asked. She cinched an apron in the back, freeing her brunette hair from the confines of the new garment.
"Yeah, whatever. Eat while sitting in the dark with our backs to each other and wait until midnight. Got it," Melinda interjected. "Did this really work for all those maidens back then? Did they see the image of their intended love? Seems a bit far-fetched."
"You too, Melinda? Wow, the negativity flowing from you two," Lisa said. "It's really going to mess with your auras and chakras you know."
Melinda mulled over the statement. Her friend of five years had spent her life studying metaphysics and was always the first to believe anything New Age.
"Whatever. Let's get this fiasco over with before the men with the straightjackets come and pick you three up. And for heaven's sakes, Stacy, please stop dripping pasta sauce on my new hardwood floors," Melinda said.
"You know anything's possible. There are other dimensions of existence and parallel universes. Why shouldn't we believe there's a way to tap into our future?" Lisa asked.
"So I could win the lottery then?" Melinda asked. An exasperated warning crossed Lisa's face.
"Hey I know it's a pile of crap, but at least I get a free meal out of it. We agreed to do it, so suck it up and turn off the light already. I'm ready to drool over the future Mr. Clark," Stacy commented as she grabbed a package of spaghetti and walked over to the stove, her steps almost airy enough to classify as bouncing.
"Uh Stacy, honey, he wouldn't have your last name." Nancy's amused statement mirrored Lisa's laughter as she opened the second jar of pasta sauce.
"I'm sorry, Lisa, but I will never look at that five-star restaurant of yours the same after seeing you open a jar of sauce. Don't tell me my thirty-dollar plate of chicken alfredo isn't authentic," Melinda teased.
"Thirty? Who gave you the discount without permission?" Lisa quipped.
Her friends laughed as Stacy turned from the stove to respond to the barb directed at her. "Excuse me, but he would. I am the rich, powerful one in whatever relationship I get into. He can stay at home and take care of the kidlets and be the token boy toy. It's about time we women take the reins of power back you know."
"Okay, Nancy, is this organized enough for your planning mind? My stomach is killing me it's so hungry."
Melinda glanced over at her friend Lisa and saw her clutch her stomach. "If you'd eat regular meals maybe you wouldn't be so hungry right now."
"And Mother Melinda strikes her whip."
The words stung, adding fuel to the self-doubt boiling within her. She heard the teasing tone in Stacy's voice, but the statement still hurt. She was tired of being the reasonable one, the one everyone went to when they needed something. She needed a thrill.
"Come on, you guys, let's start taking this seriously. You know I need to do this for my research paper on seventeenth-century myths and customs. I want to experience it for myself and I really need to do well in this class since it's all I really have going right now," Nancy said.
Melinda couldn't imagine the heartbreak Nancy had experienced losing her fianc? a year ago. But her friend had immersed herself in history classes and found an inner strength Melinda admired.
"Let's do this. All right, we have everything in its proper place to prevent burns or major fiascos in the darkness. All unnecessary furniture was moved aside. I still think eating spaghetti in the dark is a really bad idea."
But they all knew it had been Nancy and Scott's favorite meal. The two of them had been inseparable. One ignorant act by a robber wielding a gun had turned Nancy's world upside down. If one stupid dinner made moving on easier for her friend, Melinda was willing to eat whatever was necessary.
"It'll be fun, Stacy. I'm ready," Lisa said, squeezing Nancy's hand and offering a reassuring smile.
Melinda turned off the light and the room was plunged into darkness. Nancy had meticulously planned every detail of the dinner and assigned everyone a task, robotically ticking off another project on her moving-forward-with-life list.
Melinda was relieved the lights were out when they began eating their meal. The attempt to perch a plate on her lap as she sat with her back to the table had to look ridiculous. At least the darkness cloaked the foolishness.
The silence that ensued provided comfort. Two hours of absolute stillness was to follow. Nancy had meticulously analyzed each room in all four of their homes and chosen this one because of its size. Melinda knew each girl was sitting in the same darkness she was, a mirror in front of her in case the ghostly image of her future love appeared.
Melinda didn't understand how the ceremony would work. Sitting in the dark thinking of your perfect love? No chants, no spells, potions or concoctions. Pure unadulterated lust and yearning. Hell, she should have a houseful of men already with all the dreams she had.
But when she asked, Nancy had spouted off some medieval belief and then a long scientific diatribe about mirrors affecting the polarity of dimensions. Some nonsense that had made her head ache.
She could use a lover--one who would bring out her untapped passions, a man who would desire her for whom she was and crave her touch as much as she yearned to touch him. It would feel so good to have a man touch her right now.
It had been too long since a man had run his hands across her sensitized skin. She wanted her toes to curl and her eyes to roll into the back of her head.
Golden-colored eyes appeared in front of her. Melinda's pulse raced, her startled gasp filled the room as she jumped. She blinked a few times to make sure she hadn't fallen asleep and looked around in the darkness. The nervous tap of a heel on the floor filled the room.
She was losing her mind. This couldn't be happening.
The eyes in the mirror became more defined as a soft blue light appeared around the outer edge. The image of a man's face appeared briefly before her, the mouth curved in a wide grin. Those lips would feel good against her skin. Her heart leaped in her chest. She wanted him. The room spun. A thick fog-like substance flowed outward from the mirror, pervading the room. Melinda coughed, stifled by the unexpected presence in her dining room. He was gone. Only her reflection was in the mirror now, the pale blue light gradually diminishing. A brief sense of loss enveloped her before she accepted she was going crazy--there was no other explanation. Settling back in her chair, she rested her hands on the soft material of her knee-length skirt.
She turned slightly in her chair to get Nancy's attention. She wasn't there. None of them were. The room was empty.
A breeze blew through the room and swept the soft material of her skirt up to rest on her wrists. She shivered as the cool air caressed her exposed thighs. The buttons of her blouse slipped from their holes, making her gasp. She couldn't move. Her voice seized in her throat, she was unable to utter a single sound.
It was him.
Fingers squeezed into the soft skin of her inner thigh, kneading and caressing their way to the moisture pooling between her legs. Her erratic breathing became hypnotic, deafening the unsure voice in her mind. None of it made sense, but she didn't care. Melinda was a big believer in things happening for a reason and she fully intended to embrace the opportunity to no longer be the "good girl" of their group. She was sick of watching life, rather than living it. Tonight she'd explore and experience.
The front clasp of her bra snapped open. Oh god not the bra too. Something massaged her breasts. No. Not something. Someone. Her pulse raced and she moaned when a finger slowly slid around her panties and against her damp slit. At least she thought it was a finger.
She gasped when her panties slid down her legs. Her heartbeat accelerated with her sex fully exposed. Her quivering mound responded to the fingers that ran across it again.
Fingers flicked across her nipples, hardening them into buds. Teeth scraped against the sensitized flesh and nibbled playfully, forcing a groan from her. He feasted on her breasts as fingers plunged inside her pussy.
What the hell was happening?
Did she care what the answer was? Even though she knew she should be skeptical and afraid, she had wanted a thrill and a man to touch her, and somehow, someone or something had. As crazy as it seemed, she couldn't help but see this experience as her fantasy being fulfilled.
"You're almost ready for me, Melinda." The deep, masculine voice whispered in her ear, warm breath tickling her earlobe. Anticipation flared through her.
The grandfather clock's chime echoed through the room, followed by the startled gasps of her friends.
It was midnight. Relief and dread washed through her. Confusion flooded her when she realized he was gone. It had to have been real, but where was he?
Melinda took a deep breath and slowed her racing thoughts. How the hell had her friends vanished into an abyss and then reappeared as if they had never been gone. Had she really almost gotten fucked by a bodiless entity?
No, wait. He had a body. Didn't he? She had felt his mouth and his hands. His fingers had felt so good inside her. Her body thrummed with renewed desire for the stranger as footsteps echoed through the small room.
"Warn a girl when you're flipping on that floodlight, Stacy," Nancy said, standing and flexing her body upward. "I've been wanting to stretch for the past hour. So did anyone see anything?"
Melinda looked around the room at her friends, choosing to say nothing. Had her ardent desire for a sexy thrill coupled with the emotional impact of the evening conjured up the mysterious man in the mirror? Had the fingers touching her body so intimately, the finger slipping like a tease inside her, been a figment of her imagination? She looked down at her blouse, the buttons securely fastened. She gave her head a shake. Stress. It had to be.
"No, I just took a little cat nap and ruined a perfectly good silk blouse with that spaghetti. Tell me again why we had to eat that of all meals?" Stacy asked, dabbing at a stain on the front of her pink top.
"Why is your hair down, Stacy?"
"Yeah, you hate it that way." Melinda said, remembering all the rants she had sat through the past three years about how it was too long to deal with. The waist length curly blonde hair attracted a lot of attention and Stacy didn't seem to want more than she already had.
"I needed to attract my handsome boy toy, remember? So, Melinda, did you see anything interesting? Any visions of a handsome fellow in the mirror for you?"
Her heart pounded as she recalled the stranger's sensuous grin that had made her insides heat and her skin still tingle. "Nothing worth mentioning."
* * * * *
Nothing worth mentioning? Djar Malaks stared through the reflecting pool at the quiet curly-haired brunette who had awakened his lust from across the dimensions. He had defied the laws of the gods for one touch of her luscious body because her hunger had demanded his attention. Yet it was nothing worth mentioning?
Djar looked around the room and allowed his mind to savor the assortment of hues he had seen in the forbidden zone. How many centuries had it been since he had even enjoyed darkness? Anything but white surroundings was welcomed after so long.
He could still smell her arousal on his fingers and feel her breath against his neck. He would show her what something was and she would feel him between her legs long after he had departed.
"You jumped dimensions and I had to sit here and pay the price. Have you ever seen Terel's eyes bulge because he's so angry? It isn't pretty," Rhys Mosten said, his long stride taking him to the other reflecting surface. "But she's very beautiful. Who is she?"
"The golden-haired one with the breasts of a goddess." Djar didn't bother to look over at his friend, knowing he would stay until the object of his perusal was unavailable. "How did they come to our vision?"
"Her name is Stacy and they called upon the power of an ancient ceremony of some type. It somehow made the women appear in our reflecting pools."
"And you took it upon yourself to answer that call? You didn't see the stupidity in going to...where the hell are they anyway?" Rhys questioned.
The compulsion to satisfy Melinda had been too intense to ignore. His cock had hardened the moment she spoke and her enchanting voice had compounded his need to satisfy her with each sentence. He couldn't explain it if he had to. He had been reared to believe true love would be known immediately.
His chest ached and his soul mourned her absence already. There were so many things he had longed to ask her about. So many things to learn about her. So many ways to pleasure her.
"Earth, Los Angeles, California, 2008." Djar braced himself for the barrage of curses he knew would follow his admission.
"You fucking idiot! You not only went backward in time, but you traveled into the forbidden zone?"
"Don't lecture me. I knew I couldn't stay any longer without creating a ripple unless I came back and retrieved the time spinner," he said, picking up the heavy hourglass. It amazed Djar that the most lethal weapon in existence looked like a child's toy.
"You intend to go back? And you're taking that with you? I swear on the powers of my ancients you have lost your mind and I refuse to let you do it." Rhys stood in front of the portal, blocking the path.
Anger boiled inside Djar's stomach, racing through his veins like fire. Interference from his long-time friend served no purpose except putting him in harm's way as well. Djar was at a loss to explain the emotions running through him. Melinda brought out a need within him he thought dead centuries ago.
"I must return to her."
Rhys sneered at the image on the surface beside him. "You are blind. That mousy brunette is far too homely for you. A rut between her legs would hardly be worth an eternity in the torture chamber. You know that is exactly what will become of you if the gods hear of this."
Festering anger shook his hands, making it harder to tamp down the urge to throttle Rhys. Djar seized his friend.
"Don't speak of her when you have not felt her passion. I have spent far too many centuries locked away in these barren halls for those ungrateful gods. They snatched us from our homes in every dimension possible." Djar shoved Rhys away and paced, his angered stride harried with each step. "They had no right to hold their safety above the families we were forced to leave behind and I refuse to spend another moment awaiting the end of my term."
He pointed to the white clock which hung in midair at the far end of the reflection sector. "If you haven't noticed, we've been here three centuries and that service clock has barely moved an hour. Are you ready to spend another thirty-nine centuries here with me and the other warriors as your sole company?"
Rhys looked at the clock, his arms crossed in front of him. Letting out a deep breath he said, "Don't be too long in your quest, my friend. Perhaps if this ruse of yours works I shall venture there and visit her sexy friend Stacy."
"If this works, I owe you more than her," Djar said.
"After seeing your ugly mug for three-hundred years, she's exactly what I need," Rhys said. Djar patted him on the back and laughed at the retort, understanding the irony in it.
Only those found to be of godly handsomeness had been seized. They were supposed to be guardians and the gods thought they could procreate with the goddesses should the need arise. They had both refused the task and had suffered the wrath of the goddesses ever since.
"Be safe, my friend. Don't cover my tracks for too long if it brings harm to you." Djar knew the statement was a waste of time since neither of them would ever turn their back on a fellow warrior in need. The creed engrained within them as children comprised the fiber of their souls.
"Are you familiar with how they speak down there?" Rhys asked.
Djar nodded. It had been centuries since he had heard his own language, but at least the Earthen language known as English resembled that of the gods he had been forced to use. For that matter, even his own native language paralleled Old English. "I have learned enough watching the humans interact over the years."
"You'll only have until the time runs out in the glass, which should be two Earth days if I remember correctly."
"You've been to the forbidden zone?" Djar asked, taking a step toward the portal.
Rhys grew quiet. "You know I don't speak of the assignments I'm given, but there may be help there should you need it. Sometimes home is just around the corner."
His cryptic friend had been around Bilbar too long. Djar grinned thinking about the only god he respected. He wouldn't need anything. Djar's cock stirred, his entire body responding to the woman in the reflection pool. He'd give Melinda something worth mentioning, even if it killed him.