Legend has it that the lost bowl of Inca ruler Manco Capac has the power to heal. And the one who finds it will gain the answers he seeks- Lucas Rydall is looking for redemption. His search leads him to his ex-wife, Sydney Mitchell-and the son he didn't know he had. Even as he confronts Sydney, however, Lucas believes in his heart that his family is still better off without him. But Lucas isn't the only one searching for the legendary bowl-and his reappearance in Sydney's life puts them all in danger. To save those he cares about, Lucas must put aside his fears and become the man they need.
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August 22, 2010
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Excerpt from Dad For Life by Helen Brenna
THE AFRICAN MASK GLOWED with the mysteries of its ancient past. As Sydney Mitchell tilted it back and forth, its smooth planes and carved surfaces alternately caught and reflected the glaring fluorescent lights. "Legend has it," she whispered, "this mask has the power to summon a god more adept at the art of lovemaking than any woman can imagine." "Really?" Evelyn Dahl leaned farther over the table, appearing to salivate at the thought. "It was made for a fierce warrior princess who, by law, was not allowed to lie with any mortal man while her tribe was at war." Though they were alone in the stark workroom of her Seattle art gallery, Sydney let her voice take on the animated inflections of a storyteller. "Now, I don't want you to think the warrior princess wasn't a passionate woman. She was. But she also realized the need to stay focused for battle." "She obviously needed her priorities adjusted," Evelyn added dryly. "Her priorities were fine." Sydney scowled at her best friend. "The edict grew difficult to bear only after fighting with a neighboring tribe waged on for years." "Years?" Evelyn muttered. "I should say so." "Do you want to hear this story, or not?" Evelyn motioned zipping her lips. "Where was I?" Sydney paused. "Oh, yeah. The tribe's medicine man, understanding the princess's predicament, took pity upon her and made her this mask. He told her if she wore it at night in the privacy of her hut, a god of love would come to pleasure her." "Sounds pretty kinky to me." Evelyn pointed to the covered eye sockets on the mask. "She couldn't even see this love god." "The medicine man said it was for her protection. If she took off the mask and looked upon the face of the god, her eyes would explode, and she would die." "Been there, done that." "Evelyn!" "All right. I'll shut up." "At first," Sydney went on, "it wasn't difficult to leave on the mask. The love god pleasured the warrior princess so well nothing else seemed to matter. But soon their trysts involved more than mere physical delights. They would lie in each other's arms, talk into the morning hours, and the princess found herself falling desperately in love. The mask became a frustration beyond comprehension." Evelyn shook her head. "How do you make this stuff up?" The answer to that question threw Sydney, threatening to ruin the pacing of her story. She didn't want to think about him, the man who'd changed her love of art history into a passion for antiquities. Or the way he'd whispered his own stories, some real, some fabricated, in the deepest, quietest part of night, his arms wrapped around her, his soft lips against her ear. All at once, the ending to the story came to her, a weight in her mind as real as the mask lying heavy in her hand. "One night, after they'd made love with the greatest passion, the warrior princess simply had to gaze upon the face of her lover or die from despair. Die from looking, die from not looking." Sydney held out her hands as if weighing a matter of great importance. "The decision made, the warrior princess tore the mask from her face." She paused for effect. "It was the medicine man," Evelyn said quickly. "That old wrinkly thing?" Sydney chuckled. "Who was it?" Sydney grinned. "The ruling prince of the enemy tribe. he'd seen her in battle and yearned to possess her. So he struck a bargain with the medicine man in return for the promise of power if the enemy tribe eventually triumphed." "What happened after she took off the mask?" "The sight of the enemy prince filled her with rage. She took up her knife…and stabbed him through the heart." "He died?" Sydney nodded, satisfied. "Instantly." "That's it?" "That's it." "No happily ever after?" Evelyn huffed. "No the warrior princess immediately regretted her angry outburst and in her despair thrust the knife into her own heart?"