Dee Brice

Virtual Bride Temptress of Time

Available in

Available October 5, 2012 Ellora's Cave

Swept away into past lives she does not remember. Her only comfort derives from two men she first desires then learns to love.

Compassion. Compromise. Control and letting go. These are the lessons erotic romance author Diane de Bourgh must learn before she can find contentment. Two noblemen, Walker Mornay and Adrian de Vesay, are swept into Diane’s sojourns through Medieval, Tudor and Regency eras and their own passionate past lives. Masters of Time, they see themselves as Diane’s tutors and bemoan the fact that she has an agenda of her own.

They, too, must learn lessons of the heart, especially those of relinquishing control to win a woman—body, mind and soul.

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An Excerpt

Copyright © DEE BRICE, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

The Lake District, England-Present Day

“What’s making you so antsy?” Adrian de Vesay asked, propping his feet on a leather ottoman and settling into the deep matching chair. His companion, Walker Mornay, paused long enough to shoot Adrian a Mind-your-on-own-business glare before resuming his pacing across the immense library. Adrian wondered if Walker, or anyone else for that matter, had read even one book from each of the countless shelves. It did seem someone had moved the library ladder a few feet since yesterday, but Adrian wouldn’t risk Walker’s snapping at him for asking about it. Normally close-mouthed, Walker in a full-blown rage was nothing Adrian wanted to confront just now. For all Adrian knew Walker had been researching where and when he’d like to go next. If their Masters deigned to send them out again.

“It wasn’t our fault, you know.” Halting at a wall of French doors, Walker fixed Adrian with a baleful look. “Although you could stop declaring your undying love too soon. That always scares off our potential lover.”

“Of course it wasn’t our fault.” Adrian refused to take umbrage at the implication that whatever wasn’t their fault might be his. “Not the right time or place.”

“Not the right woman.”

Ahh. “Not every woman—even in this day and age—is ready for two lovers all the time.” He thought for a moment while Walker just stared out the French doors. “Perhaps we do need to go back. Settle those issues with Diane that we ignored.” He shivered at the very thought of that opinionated, stubborn harridan.

“Or perhaps we should renegotiate our contracts. Insist the Masters send us out alone.”

Adrian felt as if someone had lobbed off a perfectly healthy arm. “Is that what you want?” It certainly wasn’t what Adrian wanted. He felt connected to Walker, more like a soul brother than a biological one, but each still necessary to the other.

“Of course not!” Walker raked his coal black hair with both hands. “It just seems a bit much—them insisting we find one woman willing to share her life—”

“Her body,” Adrian inserted, humor in his voice, a smile touching the corners of his mouth.

“Every moment of her life,” Walker went on as if Adrian had remained silent. “Everyone needs privacy.”

“Maybe you could open up a little, instead of standing around smoldering with unstated desire.” With Walker desire looked more like lust, which might contribute to their inability to find one woman to share their lives. After all, if one believed even a portion of romance novels, a woman wanted her man—or men—to think of her as more than a vessel for sexual satiation.

“Kronos hinted he’s going to make us start over,” Walker said, sounding disinterested, but his tense posture giving away his inner turmoil.

“Start over? As in start over with Diane de Bourgh and the Days of the Week?”

The room went dark. Outside the French doors it looked as dark as midnight on a cloudy, moonless night.

“It seems…” Walker began.

“That Kronos and the powers that be intend for us to start over right now,” Adrian finished as the vortex swirled around them. Maybe in a few more centuries he’d grow used to the sensation of being swept away. Something to pray for—some other time.

* * * * *

San Francisco, California-Present Day

Diane de Bourgh stared at the cover art for her next medieval romance and felt her heartbeat double. The artist must have invaded Diane’s dreams, drawing out not only two physically perfect warrior-like specimens, but their faces too. The dark haired man had the face of a fallen angel—cynical and weary. The blond one looked like the kid next-door—open to any adventure that might come his way. Devil and angel in the bodies of sculpted gods, hewn not by chisels, but by long hours of training with sword and mace and shields and by even longer hours on the battlefield.

What made her heart race like a horse hitched to an old-fashioned fire engine was the certainty she knew them both. She could have met them at a conference her publisher hosted. Since she made it a point to arrive late and leave early on those occasions, she doubted they’d met there. Besides, the way she reacted to them was so intense, so visceral that, were they to appear in her home office, she wouldn’t know which one to throw herself at first. Given they both looked accustomed to doing the ravishing, she doubted they’d have any problems in the sex department. She was the problem. Choices she had difficulty making and when she did…she usually made the wrong one.

With those two, however, she’d bet her last dollar they’d make the choice for her—just like her medieval hero tried to do with her spirited heroine. While her heroine had to live within the morés and consequences of the time period, Diane always imbued the the young women in her books with spunk or wile or feminine charms that made the hero realize his chosen mate wasn’t a carpet upon which he could tread with muddy boots.

She glanced at the cover art again. Betting the pair was so much like one of her chauvinist heroes, she vowed that if she ever met the two of them in their own milieu, she’d teach them a thing or two about how to treat a woman.

Reaching out to shut off her computer, a wave of dizziness caught her off-guard. Nausea roiled in her belly and bile bubbled in her throat. The room spun like an earthquake had struck, but it didn’t stop. It spun until she blacked out, lost in blessed darkness.