Publication Date: February 24th 2014
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal Romance
Syrinx pulled a fast one on Pan to escape his raging lust. The God of Chastity wasn't about to break her vows and succumb to his temptations. Transported to the twenty-first century, she runs a florist shop—fulfilling her fake, mortal life. Until the breathtaking Parker Thomas hires her to decorate his grand estate for a gala. Five hundred roses? Easy enough. Except Parker makes her feel things she can't ignore...
As the God of Fertility, Pan is used to maidens flocking in droves to his pastures. So when Syrinx denies him, he's determined to win the one that got away. He poses as a mortal to get close to her, but he doesn't count on falling hard for his conquest—hard enough to make a life and stay.
But Syrinx is falling in love with a man that doesn't exist. Can Pan hide his identity forever, or will the truth tear them apart?
Syrinx sprinted alongside the river, breathless. Her bare feet fell silent in the mossy undergrowth, yet the burning sense of Pan’s pursuit followed her every move. He’d tracked her for days, all the way to the edge of the mythical forests surrounding Mount Olympus. If she could reach the waterfall and disappear in the caves before her scent caught the wind, she could lose him.
And lose him she must.
Jumping to a rock outcropping leading down the falls, she swore she would never let his invitations compromise her godly vows. She ducked behind cattails, catching her breath. The river mist sprayed her bare legs, soothing her and cooling the unwanted passion arising within her as she remembered the burning lust in his eyes. Anger burned through her. She’d chosen to embody the goddess of chastity, and no male god—especially not a wild philanderer—could change that. Why she found his godly merging of man and beast irresistible, she couldn’t guess.
She turned, ready to descend into the misty caverns under the falls, when laughter caught her attention.
A young mortal stood alongside the water, berry juice smeared over her mouth and cheeks. The girl leaned forward over the rushing waters, her simple blue cotton dress dangling too close to the edge. Something—or someone—lured her toward the depths.
Syrinx took one look down into the caves where her freedom lay, then changed her mind and dove into the rushing stream. A raven-haired nymph floated in the undulating river grass, holding a turtle just below the surface. Coral. Damn it. She’d lure the girl into the water, then tangle her in the reeds and watch her struggle.
Syrinx swam toward the nymph and knocked the turtle from her hands. The turtle swam into the reeds as Coral pushed her back. “I knew it. Only a Goody Two-Shoes would stop another nymph from their pleasure.”
“Mortals are not to be toyed with.” Syrinx grabbed Coral’s feet and dragged her down into the depths toward the falls. She’d take Coral with her if she had to. One tumble off a cliff would not kill a god.
Coral growled, “What else are they for?”
A splash behind Syrinx caught her attention. Syrinx turned around in horror as the girl sank into the murky reeds, her blond curls floating around her heart-shaped face. Coral lunged forward, and Syrinx held her back. Using her powers, she called to the river reeds, winding them around Coral’s ankles. Coral’s parents were both river nymphs, but Syrinx descended from Artemis, legendary mother of the wildland and the hunt. Her powers ran deep from the mountain’s core.
Coral struggled against her bindings, but could not break free. Syrinx swam to the place where the girl had fallen in and clawed at the tangled reeds. Nothing.
She checked the tide barreling toward the waterfall.
Her chest tightened. Had the girl already tumbled over? Syrinx broke through the surface, scanning the area hysterically. The girl stood on the riverbank, dripping water and laughing. Pan stood beside her, playing a melancholy melody on his reed flute. Green eyes, wild as the forest in the moonlight and intense as the raging river, settled on Syrinx. His bare chest shone tan in the midday sun. Hard abs rippled down to his waist, where the fusion of man and beast began.
Syrinx stood mesmerized as the girl turned toward her. She scowled as if Syrinx had tried to drown her. Before Syrinx could say otherwise, the girl ran into the woods, leaving her alone with the one god she wanted to avoid at all costs.
Pan’s lips curled into a grin. “Enjoying your dip, my dear?”
Syrinx stepped forward, rising from the water. Pan’s eyes followed the curve of her breasts as her wet dress clung to her body. She wanted to hate him, yet she reveled in the pleasure spread across his face. His admiration made her feel like the goddess she was. Just a few more steps and she’d be his.
“You saved the girl.” She sounded more accusatory then thankful.
“Of course I saved her. Not all of us have Coral’s thirst for tragedy.”
“Then why must you pursue me?”
“Come now.” He winked, and her heart skipped a beat. “I’d hardly call my pursuit of your chastity tragic.”
“Not tragic for you.” Syrinx scrounged up her willpower and inched toward the falls. She glanced at his muscular legs, then wished she hadn’t. A blush burned her cheeks. “Breaking my vow destroys everything I stand for.”
He gave her a suggestive smile and stepped forward. “I’ll make it worthwhile.”
She bet he would. Her mind wandered, wondering what those sinister lips tasted like and how it would feel to be claimed by him. He’d saved the girl, so he wasn’t as evil as she made him out to be. Yet he could have done it just to gain her confidence. Underneath his sly flirtatiousness, who was he? A child of the forest—wild and untamed, fickle and cold as the wind. She’d have him for a day, then he’d be on to his next conquest, and she’d have nothing. Not even her pride.
She didn’t trust him, and she couldn’t trust herself.
Syrinx backed toward the falls. The surge of water roared at her back.
“Please.” Pan held out his hand, and the pain in his eyes tugged on her heart. “Give me a chance.”
“And sacrifice my eternal honor for one night?” She laughed bitterly. “You can never make it worth it.”
Without another word, she spread her arms and fell back, sailing down the falls like an angel falling from the heavens. Adrenaline rushed through her, along with a bubbling sense of freedom and a strong pride in herself. She would not give in to her temptations. She was the goddess of chastity and she reigned supreme.
Syrinx hit the water and allowed the current to take her down the river. Floating on her back with her face to the sky, she watched the gods ride their golden chariots on clouds. Zeus cast lightning across the sky while Apollo sang poetry into the wind. Somewhere up there, Artemis smiled down on her with pride.
She reached the far banks of the forest and waded to shore. As she wrung out her dress, a voice followed her. “You truly want to be rid of him?”
Syrinx whirled around. Coral stood, dripping on the rocks, her black hair flicked across her face so only one crazy, black eye showed. Her legs were red with welts where the river reeds had grabbed hold.
“I don’t need your help.” Syrinx pointed to the falls several miles behind them. “I can take care of myself.” Besides, she wouldn’t trust that river nymph with a rock she wanted to throw away.
“He won’t stop following you.” Coral’s eyes grew desperate, as if she wished he would.
Murderer that she was, Coral piqued her curiosity. Syrinx shook her head, trying to make sense of this sudden show of friendship. “Why do you care? All I do is foil your…enjoyment.”
The black-haired nymph sniffed and turned away. “Some of us desire his affections.”
Syrinx scoffed. “You mean you want him?” She hid a rising streak of jealousy. What was getting into her? Pan was no more hers than the sun and the moon. He belonged to nature and no one else.
Coral gave Syrinx a jealous sneer. “All he can think of right now is pursuing you. Take you out of the equation, and he’s ripe for the picking.”
Syrinx studied Coral’s dark eyes. The cruel nymph may not be as powerful as she was, but she was more clever and sly than Syrinx ever wanted to be. Maybe she had a decent plan. “If I agree, will you vow never to drown another soul?”
Coral put her hands on her hips. “That’s asking a lot.”
Syrinx pursed her lips. “Maybe I want to tease him. Maybe I enjoy this sick, little game of catch and chase. I could drag this out for centuries.”
Coral pulled her hands through her knotted hair. “All right. I can’t promise you every mortal on this earth, but how about staying away from the innocent ones?”
Syrinx considered her answer. Coral would help her get away and stop drowning children. This was quite a deal. But could she trust her? The last thing Coral wanted was for her to have Pan, so what was the worst that could happen? Syrinx raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean to do?”
Aubrie grew up watching the original Star Wars movies over and over again until she could recite and reenact every single scene in her backyard. She also loved The Goonies, Star Trek the Next Generation-favorite character was Data by far-, and Indiana Jones. But, her all time favorite movie was The Last Unicorn. She still wonders why the unicorn decided to change back to a unicorn in the end.
Aubrie wrote in her junior high yearbook that she wanted to be "A concert flutist" when she grew up. When she made that happen, she decided one career was not enough and embarked as a fantasy, sci fi author. Two careers seems to keep her busy. For now.
Now for the professional bio:
Aubrie Dionne is an author and flutist in New England. Her writings have appeared in Mindflights, Niteblade, Silver Blade, Emerald Tales, Hazard Cat, Moon Drenched Fables, A Fly in Amber, and Aurora Wolf. Her books are published by Entangled Publishing, Lyrical Press, and Gypsy Shadow Publishing. She recently signed her YA sci fi novel with Inkspell Publishing titled: Colonization: Paradise Reclaimed, which will release in October 2012. When she's not writing, Aubrie teaches flute and plays in orchestras. She's a big Star Trek TNG fan, as well as Star Wars and Serenity.