Excerpt from Trinity Magic...
Ryder glanced toward the main house. A cluster of women stood on the porch, their laughter drifting through the night air like a reprimand. They hadn't heard anything, but something was wrong. He whirled around on the path, not sure what he searched for, but what he saw shocked the hell out of him. An eerie, blood red mist swirled a short distance away, rising from the ground between the cottage and the house.
The cloud shaped itself into a rough circle and Ryder took a hesitant step forward. Another sound swelled now, rising and falling, caught in the evening air, a baying sound. The soulful keening wail echoed heartache, pain, and shattering grief. What the hell made a sound like that?
Ryder kept moving, following a tendril of mist that beckoned him across the yard. The baying increased, winding through his body and stabbing at something very near his heart. It was the saddest sound he'd ever heard, and for some reason, it made him want to cry, but that would never happen. He'd closed those feelings off months ago, killing them with countless bottles of Jack.
He stared into the circle of fog, and something shimmered there that looked disturbingly like the figure of a woman. The closer he got, the more vivid she became, until he stared at the most beautiful woman he'd seen in his life.
His breath whooshed out of his lungs, and he raked his hands through his hair. "Oh, man, what the hell is this?"
Dressed in a long pale yellow skirt and a shirt that might have been white in another century, she gazed into the rosy lavender of the darkening sky. The loose linen fell off her creamy shoulders and dipped low across her chest, displaying an enticing amount of cleavage, generous mounds of aching temptation pushed up by a seductive leather corset that hugged her small body tightly. A riot of burnished curls surrounded her face and fell down her back, rich lustrous strands, and exactly the shade of red that had turned him on for the last fifteen years. He'd always been a sucker for a redhead.
Wow. Natalie had nothing to offer next to this little wench. For the first time in months, his dick stirred in his pants.
You're an idiot, Kendall, and you're drinking way too much. She's some kind of hallucination you conjured from a bottle, and a figment of your imagination should not give you a hard-on. There's a perfectly good woman, a real woman, standing on the porch. Close your eyes and keep moving.
He couldn't do it. Real or not, he took a step closer and studied her face.
Lush lips, a soft natural pink that did not come from a tube, the kind of lips a man could suck on till the end of time. That firm jaw could mean a stubborn streak. This little beauty might want her own way and, with a few concessions on her part, he wouldn't mind giving it to her. He knew her pale, luminous skin would flush in anger and passion, and by the way she moved, he thought there would be lots of passion locked in that tight little bundle. His dick twitched again, growing so hard he had to shift it in his pants. Things were looking up.
The entire package was hot, but her eyes held him spellbound, dark green, filled with an anxiety that made him want to wrap his arms around her, cradle her against him, and run his hands through her hair. Something had frightened the hell out of her. She cocked her head, and a visible shiver ran down her spine. When her voice drifted into the air around him, he heard the trace of an Irish accent. He was having one freaking, real hallucination.
"Oh, no, please," she whispered. "By all that's holy, not a banshee."
A banshee? What the hell?
A spasm of pain flickered across her face, and the woman clutched her stomach, doubling over. Her hair swung forward, sweeping the long, irregular blades of grass that surrounded her. Ryder wondered what had happened to his perfectly manicured lawn, but when she began to heave and gag, he rushed toward her. He tried to pull the hair away from her face, but his hand trailed through her body and caused her image to shimmer and waver. He panicked when she dissolved into nothing.
He snatched his hand out of the fog, and she reappeared, coalescing from an indistinct fog into a shape once again. For one second, the warmth of her body shocked him.
You're in serious trouble here. There's nothing real about this, but you're starting to feel it. You've lost your freaking mind.
When she stood, Ryder took a step backward. He feared she'd disappear but, more than that, he felt uncomfortable because things seemed to be shifting. The woman wiped her apron across her mouth then turned slowly in a circle. Reluctant to take his eyes off the girl, he followed her gaze into the distance, and he couldn't reconcile his surroundings. He found himself in a foreign landscape.
The main house simply vanished. The road that circled past his property and led to the tidy little village beyond disappeared, replaced with vast fields filled with wildflowers and towering forests long since harvested. The rush of the river water sounded louder, bursting with force and power. He glanced toward his cottage, which stood sturdy and welcoming, but his fence had melted away, and the lights blazing through the windows earlier had been replaced by the glow of a flickering candle. His gaze snapped back to the girl.
Come on, baby, clue me in here. What the hell is happening? Who are you? Where are you?