- Author: Ann Mayburn
- Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
- Editor: Maria Rogers
- Cover Artist: Christine M. Griffin
- Year Published: May 2, 2011
- Setting: Modern day, alternate reality Washington DC
- Amazon Listing: TBA
Eliana Shay is an ordinary college girl with an extraordinary birthright. Handsome professor, Aiden Klemenson, singles her out as a potential Chosen of the benevolent gods of Creation. He tries to convince Eliana that she is born to do the work of the gods, but her upbringing hasn’t given her much trust in religion or having a magical destiny. The daughter of atheists, she has been raised to believe that faith in gods is for the foolish and weak.
Aiden must employ all of his considerable charm to break through her defenses, while trying to keep their relationship strictly platonic. A difficult task when the lush and curvy co-ed's obvious desire and seductive aura shreds his self-control. Despite his best efforts, desire burns between them with an enchantment all its own.
The gods of Destruction will stop at nothing to keep Eliana from becoming a powerful force against evil. Cunning and deceitful, they send demons and magical serial killers to exterminate her before she can become a Creation god's Chosen hand on earth. In order to survive, Eliana will have to learn to have faith in her own strength and Aiden's love.
- Dance of the Gods- Coming Soon
Space Muskrats and Modern Mythology
Eliana Shay balanced on the tips of her knock-off Prada sandals, and prepared to play chicken with the downtown Washington DC traffic. She joined a group of student's scanning the speeding cars and trucks for an opening. The closest traffic light was a ten-minute walk from her dorm, but crossing the busy street here would get her to class with time to spare. There was no way she was going to do the knock of shame on the locked classroom door on the first day of school. Especially when her Professor's used magical wards to make sure no one snuck in with an illusion spell.
A girl with purple streaks in her black hair next to her said, "I'm going to throw a slow charm. Cover me."
Eliana did her best to hide the girl's actions. She was only five-foot-three so any cover she could add was minimal at best. The rest of the student's crowded around the girl as she dug through her bag. If she was caught using a charm to disrupt traffic, she could be expelled and face charges from the police.
"It's got a fifteen second timer, everyone get ready!"
They all watched the purple haired girl invoke the wooden charm and toss it over the traffic with a casual flick of her hand. Eliana's long honey-brown hair blew across her face and a horn blared as she took an impressive leap off the sidewalk. Cars passing through the bubble of the charm slowed down enough so she could easily avoid them. Dodge the taxi, slide off the bumper of the Buick, and dash in front of the delivery truck. Do a little touchdown dance in front of Victoria's Secret and resist the urge to shop.
Life was good. It was the first week back to school and she excited to be back in the city and out of her parent's house. She would make it to class with time to spare without having to run in her super cute and impractical sandals.
Fall was almost here, and the breeze held a hint of burning leaves beneath the stink of exhaust. The air moved along her skin with a caress, and the sun seemed to shine a little bit brighter past the tall buildings. The sparkles reflecting off her rhinestone-covered backpack sparkled in the bright sunlight like a deranged disco ball against the windows of Victoria's Secret. Her glue-gun happy witch roommate, Chrissy, got drunk one night and decorated the backpack with protective runes in pink and yellow rhinestones. It was horribly tacky, but she didn't want to hurt Chrissy's feelings and scrape the jewels off.
Looking through the window of the lingerie store, she snorted at the giant photos of size 0 models with DDD boobs pouting their way through life. She had a Marilyn Monroe body in a culture obsessed with starving teenage models. It made her want to eat some chocolate.
She checked her lip-gloss in the reflective glass of the window and turned to head down the street to the main campus.
"Excuse me miss," said an older man in a zip up sweater with patches on the elbows. He placed a hand on her arm to stop her on the busy sidewalk.
"Can I help you?" she asked, casually shifting her backpack again in an excuse to remove his hand. It felt cold and slightly moist on the bare skin of her arm. Poor guy must have bad circulation in addition to a case of dandruff.
"Are you Mary Sharp?"
"No, my name is Eliana." He seemed like a harmless old man, but something about him made her uneasy and she backed away. She was in the middle of downtown DC with a crowd around her. It's not like a guy who looks like Mr. Rogers is going to assault her with a hundred people watching.
Still, she moved back another step, not taking her eyes off him. He stunk, a mixture of urine and body odor wafted from his sweater.
"Oh, my apologies. You look like the daughter of a friend of mine." His smile was wide and friendly, but it didn't reach his eyes. They remained calculating and as cold as his hands.
"Um, nope, sorry that's not me. I have to go. Can't be late for class."
"Yes, we wouldn't want anything horrific to happen to someone as special as you." The wide smile continued to stretch his wrinkled face, and it was definitely mocking now. He tapped a yellow nailed finger against his temple with a knowing wink.
Sharp and biting, pain suddenly filled her head. It ached like the beginning of a migraine, but with more pressure. The man's voice cut through her thoughts. "You don't look well, young lady. Why don't you come with me and we'll go get you some aspirin."
That seemed like a wonderful idea, this kind man would take her to get some aspirin and everything would be all right. Aspirin? No, no aspirin, it makes me throw up, her mind managed to blurt out past the pain.
"I have to go." The pressure in her head increased and she trembled on the edge of passing out. In Victoria's Secret, a black magic alarm blared from the front door and the pain in her head rapidly diminished. The alarm was probably just some stupid kids trying to shop lift with a curse they found on the Internet.
The blinding pain faded to a memory and Eliana glimpsed the man glaring at her. His face slipped back into the friendly smile so quickly she didn't know if she had imagined the fierce look.
"Have a nice day." The automatic response that had been drilled into her head since she was old enough to talk slipped out. She hurried past the man and gave him wide berth. A quick glance over her shoulder showed her the man still standing in the center of the sidewalk, talking into a cell phone.
She felt slightly guilty. He offered her some aspirin and she acted as if he tried to sell her crack.Just an old man going for a walk, not a killer muskrat from outer space. Taking a deep breath through her nose, she tried to clear the weird turn of the morning out of her mind. There were bigger things to worry about, like maintaining a grade point average that would keep her scholarships flowing.
The sound of traffic faded as she entered the main campus of the University. Mature oak trees surrounded a large green space bordered by the brick Student Union and glass Religious Studies Hall. She waved to a girl who lived on the same floor of her dorm as she crossed a small bridge leading to a modern glass paneled building.
Shouldering the heavy doors of the Religious Studies Hall open against the wind, she shoved her giant backpack inside. It was her junior year, but this was the first time she had been inside the building.
The impressive entrance made her slow down and stare. In the center of the foyer sat a massive green marble fountain devoted to the Hindu Goddess of Knowledge, Saraswati. Students lounged around the wide base of the fountain talking and listening to their iPods before their next class started.
The Religious Studies Hall was one of the largest and newest buildings on campus and they were still finishing the underground spell-testing labs located four stories below ground. A wealthy Indian software developer gave most of the money for erecting this building as thanks to her patron Goddess of Knowledge.
The vast mural of unfamiliar Gods and Goddesses dominated one wall in shimmering glass tiles. She pulled a copy of her schedule out of her backpack and chose a seat on the edge of the fountain.
10:20 Introduction to Modern Mythology PRF A. Klemenson PRF J. Ventan.
"Professor Klem-en-son, K L E M E N S O N," Eliana said softly.
"I heard talking to yourself is the first sign of insanity," a laughing voice said from over her shoulder.
She turned and saw Tracy smiling at her while she flipped her auburn ponytail over her shoulder. "I'm making sure I get the Professor's names right."
"Oh yeah. I remember the little incident in Professor Braf's class last year." Tracy set her backpack on the edge of the fountain. "I don't think I've ever seen anyone as embarrassed as you were-other than Professor Braf."
With a groan, Eliana covered her face with the schedule. "My dyslexia picks the worst moments to switch letters on me. I swear I thought his name was Professor Barf."
Tracy giggled and watched a cute blond guy walk past before turning back and giving Eliana the once over. "You're looking good girl, where did you get that amazing tan? Did you go somewhere this summer?" Tracy fanned herself with a southern belle sigh. "Someplace with guys that have abs so cut you can wash your panties on them?"
She swatted at Tracy with her schedule. "No. My Mom is half-Greek and half-African American so I get tan pretty quick. The only abs I saw were on my sixty year old neighbor, and he has a set of man-boobs that put my chest to shame."
The sound of Tracy's laughter mixed with the fountain. Looking at her watch, Tracy said, "Well I have to run to class soon, I'm taking Advanced Runes and Charms. What do you have?"
"Introduction Modern Mythology."
"That's a freshman class. Why aren't you taking the advanced magic classes?"
"Yeah, well, my parents are atheists, so I'm totally behind on the whole Gods thing." She avoided looking at Tracy and studied the smiling face of a dark skinned Goddess in the mural.
Tracy stared at her in shock."Seriously? How did your parents manage to miss the Religious Revolution? How do you guys function without magic?"
She fiddled with her schedule. "Oh, we manage. I guess it's similar the Amish living without electricity, if you never had it you don't miss it."
She didn't want to mention that she grew up in a dry town, a place where Gods and magic were taboo. She already felt like a massive freak because her parents were atheists. While the rest of America embraced ancient Gods and Goddesses during the Religious Revolution of the 1960's, her parents had gone the total opposite direction and refused to believe in any religion at all.
Tracy shifted from one foot to another as the uncomfortable silence stretched between them. "I heard Professor Klemenson is super hot. He got his doctorate last year and he's the youngest High Priest of Odin in the country. Young, handsome, famous and employed. What more could a girl want?"
Thankful for the change in subject, she shared a grin with Tracy. "It's been a long time since I've found anyone super hot."
"Ain't that the truth? No offense, but you seem to date some of the biggest losers."
"I know, I know. They appear so normal. Then I find out they run an Internet sex website devoted to balloons." She sighed dramatically. "Hopefully, I'll meet someone cute at the party on floor five. I'm tired of being an old maid at twenty." The foyer was starting to clear out and a crowd stood waiting for the elevators. She didn't need to be sexually frustrated and late for class.
"Gotta go, Tracy. I'll see you at the party?"
"Yep. I'll see you then."
As she slid on her backpack, she had to blink against the blinding dazzle of the rhinestones. She gave Tracy a wave and stood in line for the elevator.
The bing of the elevator arriving broke her out of examining her reflection, and she shuffled into the packed interior. She mused how when you're short you begin to identify people by their backpacks and jackets, because that was all you saw jammed in a crowd. The backpack of the guy in front of her had an Eye of Horus patch on it to ward off evil. He was probably a protection magic major.
The doors to the elevator opened and everyone filed out into the hall. Dry erasers and cleaning supplies scented the building with a smell she had come to associate with school. The marble floors were polished and shiny, and the walls held wooden panels of Mayan writing and battle scenes. Undergraduate students wandered back and forth, trying to get their bearings and make it to class on time.
Butterflies flopped around in her stomach as she saw the size of the lecture hall. It was as extensive as the auditorium of her small private high school, and she felt lost while she looked for a place to sit.
Student's wandered into the raised seating of the lecture hall and spread out in random patterns. She noticed her friend Rachel, from her European History class last year, waving a hand at her.
"Hey Ellie, I'm so glad you're here!" Rachel bubbled. "How is your schedule so far? This is only my second class. My first one is Spanish at 8am. What in the hell was I thinking signing up for an 8am class?"
"You were thinking the 1pm Spanish class would cut into your soap opera time, and the 5pm class would cut into your potential dinner date time."
Rachel snickered and said, "Speaking of dating potential, have you seen the new Professor? He's super hot."
"So I heard," Eliana replied in a dry voice.
The door at the back of the room opened and two men entered, as different as night and day. One was an older gentleman with a ring of silver hair in shades of green and a vaguely yellow tie. The other man was tall and young with the body of a swimmer, lean hips with broad shoulders and chest. Thick reddish brown hair curled over his forehead and his teeth were toothpaste-commercial white. Black pants clung to a perfect butt that made her mouth dry.
There was a noticeable sigh among the female students and a rumbling mutter from the males.
As the two men put their briefcases onto the table, they smiled and talked to each other in hushed voices. The younger Professor paused as if he heard something and turned to look at the students. He scanned the class while the older Professor continued to unpack his laptop and set up the projector. Unaware his partner was no longer paying attention to him.
Her breath caught in her throat as Rachel leaned over and whispered, "Oh my god, is he for real? No way he's the Professor. He must be a model who got lost on his way to a photo shoot. Maybe I can get after-school special tutoring with him. Oh, teach me Professor, teach me!"
"Shut up, he's going to hear you," she hissed, trying to hide her laugh. Turning to get a better look at him, she found Professor Klemenson staring at her. A burst of heat radiate through her body. Green eyes, the green of pine trees, locked with her silver gaze and held her for what seemed like an eternity. She had a brief impression of firm lips and arched brows, but it was the eyes that captured her. Amazing, he was beyond anyone she had ever imagined existed outside of a book.
Deep and heated, his eyes traced her lips and she could feel his touch, like a phantom press of flesh stroking over her mouth. His gaze dropped lower and the ethereal touch traveled on, moving down her neck like the stroke of a finger, pausing at her junction of her neck and shoulder to place a gentle bite. Her breath came out in a soft hiss when his gaze returned to hers. Hunger, heat and need all swirled in those green depths.
Abruptly, Professor Klemenson looked away and she could hear and function again.
"Wow, he was totally staring at you!" Rachel said in awe.
Eliana ducked her head in the pretense of getting something out of her backpack. A deep ache radiated from her pussy and her pulse pounded in her throat. She could have happily thrown herself on Professor Klemenson's desk and yanked down his pants right now. "No, he wasn't."
"Yeah, he was."
"Maybe he heard you being a pervert," Eliana offered.
They hushed their giggles as Professor Ventan began his lecture.
Her heart still thumped as she replayed the eternity that Professor Klemenson held her in his gaze. Of its own accord, her hand stole up and traced the path of those imagined fingers, her body tightening in need. Rachel grumbled and read the syllabus and test schedule. She jerked her mind back to the present with a hot blush heating her cheeks.
The rest of the class was spent fighting a losing battle to keep her mind on the lecture, and off the man who could devastate her with a glance.
An elegant woman knelt next to a pile of dirty blankets and wet cardboard. Glancing up, she scanned the shadows of the alley. She was alone with the homeless man in the predawn light. With a swift jerk, she jabbed him with a potion-filled syringe. He tried to move and fight the influence of the drugs, but all he could do was breathe as his eyes rolled in panic. The woman watched him as a soft rain began to fall, tapping her foot on the pavement. From within her black vinyl trench coat she pulled out a fillet knife, and kissed the blade.
Working swiftly, she jerked open the shirt and jacket of the man, revealing his pale and sunken belly. He lost control of his bladder. With a muttered curse, she moved to avoid the urine splashing her black Jimmy Choo boots. Closing her eyes, she opened her mind and soul to her Goddess of War and Destruction, Eris. Pink manicured nails pushed back the sleeves of her coat and a soft chant fell from her cosmetically enhanced lips.
After peeling his skin back, she plunged her hand inside and began to pull out his intestines, slowly running over each rubbery inch while continuing the chant. This careful evisceration continued for a long time. Silent tears of agony ran through the stubble on the man's cheeks. Gasping, the woman stumbled back and almost lost her balance. She washed her hands in a puddle alongside the edge of the building and wiped them off on the man's jacket. Distracted eyes scanned the alley while she jerked a pink crystal-studded cell phone from her pocket.
The clicking of heels echoed on wet concrete as she tapped out a number from memory. "Identification, please," a soothing computerized voice intoned on the other end of the line.
"I am an instrument of Eris, a silent carrier of her destruction, a poisoned blade in the dark," the woman said in a soft, sweet voice as she watched rainwater collect in the blank eyes of the corpse.
After a short pause the machine answered, "Identification accepted. Please continue Dark Oracle Tina."
There was a click and Tina began to speak into the phone. "My Brothers and Sisters, I have foreseen a woman of remarkable power coming into her time of Choice. If she full fills her destiny, she's going to be a tremendous pain in the ass. We must concentrate on her and find out who she is. Focus your scrying on places within a 200-mile radius of New York City."
She paused and twisted her lips into a small pout as she noticed a chip in her glossy pink nail polish. "Oh, and one more thing- her weakness is love. Find her and my Goddess will reward you."
Tina checked her boots for blood and removed a travel pack of baby wipes from her pocket. She made fussy little sounds as she cleaned the viscera from around her nails. Tossing the raincoat and used wipes into a nearby trash bin, she fluffed her blond hair, and strolled out of the alley into her waiting limo. Word of her prediction began to spread through the servants of Destruction.