Authors: Tara Nina
Portal to Passion
Transported by a magical mirror, Deveney lands in a dimension ruled by passion. Instant attraction draws her to the leader of this world of shapeshifters. An overwhelming desire for sex neither can control brings them together. Whether he desires it or not, she’s determined to win his love.
When a gorgeous woman travels through the Mirror of Azure, Tor’s judgment is tested. On the verge of extinction, the men of his world need mates before they reach one hundred years old or face becoming their inner beasts forever. Women are scarce. It is up to him to save his people.
Deveney is a temptation he can’t resist. Their magic intertwines and gets stronger with each sexual encounter. Stubbornly, Tor refuses to believe she’s his mate. He’s determined Deveney must return home before anyone discovers her arrival, or it will lead to chaos and war.
When word of her existence leaks and another clan kidnaps Deveney, Tor must finally admit she’s his mate and fight to save her, or lose his only chance at survival.
Ellora’s Cave Publishing
Portal to Passion
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Portal to Passion Copyright © 2012 Tara Nina
Edited by Grace Bradley
Cover design by Syneca
Photography: Syneca; Vishstudios/Shutterstock.com
Electronic book Publication January 2012
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Portal to Passion
“You sent him flying how far across the room?”
The humor in Tiara’s voice did nothing to soothe the knot in Deveney’s chest. Last night she lost her third boyfriend in a year and all because some strange sickness lived inside her. Not one of the doctors visited throughout her life could diagnose the problem. Then again, she’d never actually told them the truth either. Only Tiara understood the weirdness and still managed to love her.
If she ever admitted that when she got angry objects near her took flight or burst into pieces for no apparent reason, they’d label her crazy and prescribe medications. Lord help her if they knew what happened each time she even got close to having sex. Deveney bit her lower lip. The insane asylum would definitely become her new home address.
Unluckily for her recent boyfriend, they made it past foreplay, got naked on the bed, then everything blurred. Liquid heat had filtered through her before a bright-blue light enveloped her. When her vision cleared, she knew the moment for intercourse had disintegrated. One minute Chad snuggled between her thighs, poised and leveled for entrance. The next, he was knocked out cold, lying in a heap against the wall across from the foot of her bed.
Damn, what was wrong with her?
“I told you,” Deveney sighed, rolling her eyes at her best friend. “I didn’t send him flying anywhere.”
“Then explain what happened.” Tiara sat on the couch with a smug, know-it-all look on her face that made Deveney want to scream in frustration. Why hadn’t she learned to keep her mouth shut when it came to discussing her sex life with Tiara?
She knew why. Deveney huffed as she flounced onto the couch and sat beside Tiara. Tiara was the closest person to family she had. They’d survived the foster care system together, and now shared an apartment. Working odd jobs kept them from starving, but not much else. If it weren’t for Tiara landing a night job working as a desk clerk for Cedar Crest Retirement facility, they’d be homeless.
Laying her head on the back of the ragged plaid couch, she replied on a heavy breath, “You know I can’t explain it.”
The pair sat in silence for several minutes before Tiara asked, “What did you say to Chad when he came to?”
to say anything. I cried myself to sleep after making sure he was breathing. When I woke up, he’d left.” Deveney turned her head without lifting it from the back of the couch to look at Tiara. “Guess when he realized he was still alive, he ran.”
Another chance at losing her virginity had slipped away. If her disastrous track record with men was any indication, then she knew Chad wouldn’t go out with her again. He counted as her tenth try at actually having sex. And they were so close. The last she clearly remembered, Chad hovered between her thighs, teasing her, relaxing her for penetration.
“Probably going to die a virgin.”
Tiara howled with laughter, making Deveney wish she’d kept that statement to herself. Then again, as she thought about the situation, she couldn’t help but laugh along with her.
“Honey,” Tiara stated as she wiped her eyes and stood. “I think this calls for pizza and a bottle of cheap wine. My treat since come Monday you’ll be out of a job.”
“You think he’ll fire me over this?”
“Think?” Tiara snorted, grabbing her purse off the kitchen counter. “I know he will. What man would want a woman working for him with the powers you have? Hell, you tossed him six feet off the bed and knocked him out cold.”
“I didn’t—” Deveney didn’t get to finish her sentence.
“Look, Dev, whether you want to admit it or not, you possess some sort of magical power. I’ve believed that about you for years.” She turned and stared directly at Deveney. “And if you listened, you’d hear I am right.”
Without giving Deveney a chance to reply, she opened the door and continued. “Now, let’s go eat pizza and drink ’til we’re stuffed and can’t see straight.”
* * * * *
When they returned, Deveney opened the door and lost her balance as she slipped on something. If it weren’t for her grip on the doorknob and Tiara’s quick reaction, she would have landed on her ass. Leaning over, she picked up a folded single sheet of paper.
“That’s just great,” Deveney muttered while reading. She crumpled the dismissal letter and tossed it on the counter. “Can’t keep a boyfriend or a job.”
“Ah, Dev,” Tiara said, laying a comforting arm across her shoulders. “Don’t worry. Something better will come your way tomorrow.” The hug tightened. “You’ll see.”
“I hope you’re right, Ti.”
“I know I’m right.” Tiara stepped away, took a hand-on-hip stance facing her and mimicked the Jamaican nurse she worked with at the nursing home. “’Tings will look better in the morn if’n ya jest look to the magic within ya soul, mon.”
Deveney smiled and shook her head. “You’ve been working with Rayhelle for way too long.”
“Nah, mon.” Ti continued speaking with the accent and whirling around Deveney. “It was she who opened me eyes to what ailed ya. Magic rules ya aura, mon. Flows through ya veins and controls ya destiny.”
Tiara stopped and grabbed Deveney’s elbows as if the wine they drank earlier combined with the whirling action made her dizzy. After clearing her throat, her voice returned to normal and Tiara continued. “I believe it’s true. It’s the only explanation for all the weird things that have happened since I’ve known you.” She leaned close to Deveney’s face. “And that’s a lot of weird over the past fifteen years.”
“You shouldn’t let that self-proclaimed voodoo priestess fill your head with such nonsense.”
Deveney stepped out of Ti’s reach and strolled to the kitchen, which was separated from the small living room by a counter with two stools. The sparse two-bedroom apartment was all they could afford. The L-shaped kitchen came with an old stove, ancient white cabinets with dark-red Formica countertops, and a small refrigerator that looked like it originated in the fifties, but she couldn’t complain. It worked. After taking out two bottles of water, she closed the refrigerator door and tossed a bottle to Tiara.
Tiara opened hers and settled on one of the stools across the counter from Deveney.
“It’s not nonsense, Dev. Everything she’s said proves you have some sort of magical source inside you, if only you’d learn to control it.”
“And for a price, she’ll teach me,” Deveney stated sarcastically as she opened the water and took a swig. The cheap red wine they consumed with dinner dried her mouth. But it hadn’t been enough to drown the self-pity grappling for control of her. A twenty-six-year-old, jobless, career-less virgin—by today’s standards, she rated herself as a failure.
Earlier, while they ate, she’d thought of nothing but the events of last night. She’d come so close to knowing what it felt like to have a man inside her. But failed. Why? Because she was a freak, Deveney decided as they emptied the bottle of wine with dinner. Nothing would ever block the thought of being a virgin forever from her mind. She sighed, returning her focus to what Ti was saying.
“She’s not like that,” Tiara stated as she stood. “And when you’re ready to admit the truth, she’s willing to help you learn to control your magic.”
Deveney struggled to swallow the mouthful of water before she sputtered. “I don’t have magic. There’s no such thing.”
Tiara laughed, reached across the counter and brushed a strand of Deveney’s long, strawberry-blonde hair out of her eyes. “Let me know when you’re ready to acknowledge what’s wrong with you is magic related. Learn to control it and you’ll probably get laid, not to mention, keep a job for more than six months.” Tiara turned and walked toward the bedroom to the left of the bathroom. “And don’t worry if you don’t see me tomorrow and Sunday. I volunteered to work double shifts this weekend so the day shift desk clerk could have time off. Good night.”
With a wave of her hand over her shoulder, Tiara disappeared into her room and closed the door. Deveney took her bottle of water, walked to the only piece of furniture in the living room—the couch—and sat down. Laying her head back, she stared at the cracked ceiling paint.
definitely seems splintered just like that ceiling. What if Ti is right? What if all the strange events that occurred are somehow magic related? Does that make me a witch? Witches aren’t real.
Deveney laughed under her breath. Magic wasn’t real either.
Or is it?
Thinking through her history of odd occurrences, the temptation to accept magic as the cause tugged at her battered spirit. How else could she explain what happened each time she got close to sexual penetration?
Closing her eyes, she ticked off the list of failures.
Attempts to explore her sexuality started in her late teens with a disastrous first try. The young man ended up with singed hands when he touched her breasts. That halted her explorations for a while due to the fact the boy spread an ugly rumor about her throughout the high school, which kept all others away. Deveney bit back the snarl that threatened to escape at the remembered torment caused by that boy’s actions. If it hadn’t been for Ti’s friendship, her high school years would have been a total bust.
Thank god she and Ti were transferred to another foster home, which led to a school change. Ti convinced her no one knew her there so she tried to date again. The second made it as far as sucking her nipples before his tongue was scalded, ending any further pursuit of sex until after graduation. Closing her eyes, she couldn’t erase the sight of that one’s burned tongue from her thoughts for several long seconds.
Deveney remembered meeting her third attempt at the grocery store where she was a cashier. After a few dates, they took a plunge at sex. When he slid his hand into her panties, a bolt of pure electrical energy shot through him. She shivered, remembering how badly that event scared her. Several years passed before she tried again. The fourth was frightened off by a funky blue glow that haloed around her when she stood naked in front of him. The fifth liked the glow, but couldn’t handle the intense heat coming off her body.
She sighed heavily, running through the list of sexual mishaps. Each attempt got closer to penetration, but with no luck. Was she somehow learning to subconsciously control the magic? Not magic, she snapped inwardly. But look at what happened to Chad. How could she explain it? Good ol’ number ten ended up thrown across the room and fired her to boot.
Oh god, the jobs.
It made her sick to think of the jobs she’d lost over the years when something went wrong around her. Whenever she got angry, things broke. Silently, she said another prayer of thanks no one was hurt when the popcorn machine at the movie theater went haywire, spewing fresh, hot popcorn and melted butter into the air. Prior to that, she’d fought with the manager over something stupid and instead of letting it go, she let it fester until anger controlled all thought. Of course, she was accused of intentionally overfilling and damaging the unit, which led to her dismissal.
Deveney sat up and took a deep swig of the water. Was she possessed? Would it hurt for her to talk to Rayhelle?
No. She shook her head. Dumb luck caused these things to happen, nothing else. Deveney stood, took her empty bottle to the kitchen and dropped it into the basket for recyclables. She walked to the bathroom to brush her teeth. The plumbing fixtures were as old as the rest of the place and the pipes creaked when the water ran. The floral shower curtain and bathmat added a smidgen of color to the otherwise gray room. She couldn’t help but smile at their running joke about the bathroom. You could sit on the toilet, wash your hands in the sink, and soak your feet in the tub at the same time. But it suited their purpose. It was enough for them. At least they were out of the women’s shelter and supporting themselves…barely.
Tomorrow she’d look for a new job and a new direction in life.
Maybe dying a virgin isn’t such a bad thing after all.
Deveney walked to her bedroom, changed into an oversized t-shirt and crawled into bed. At least she wouldn’t catch any sexually transmitted diseases.
But you’ll never have a baby either
, whispered the little voice inside her head. Hugging her pillow tight to her chest, she tried to push the ache out of her heart. The thought of never having a baby to love, to hold and cherish sent a sharp pain stabbing in her gut. She hated to admit the slim hope of having a family was the reason she kept trying to have sex. True, Tiara was as close to her as any sister could be. But she wanted more. In her mind, sex led to love, love to marriage, more sex, and then pregnancy and babies.
She had no plans of giving up that dream. The perfect family. Being orphaned at a young age, she remembered little of her parents except the faint images of a man and a woman who appeared occasionally in her dreams. Though uncertain they were her parents, she assumed they were because of the love she sensed radiating from them whenever they visited in her sleep. Somehow, some way, she intended to find the right man and figure out a way to get past the weirdness within her—this unwanted chastity belt. There had to be a cure to overcome this impasse and build a love, a life and a family.
Even if it means meeting with Rayhelle?
the little voice asked.