Communicating with Laurel through his diary, Gil persuades her to recite a spell to restore him to the material plane. Lust ignites between them and they satisfy the desire they’d once denied. But their time together is limited, for the spell’s effects won’t last. A magical talisman entraps Gil, and he can’t destroy it himself.
Laurel fears Gil has seduced her only to get free of the curse. She’ll face the risks of magic to save him—and hope their passion can survive the ordeal and grow into love.
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An Excerpt From: WIZARD’S TRAP
Copyright © MARGARET L. CARTER, 2012
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Before Laurel’s dumbfounded stare, the silhouette coalesced into a tall man who appeared to be in his mid-thirties. Within seconds, color filled in the monochrome figure. She had no trouble recognizing the tautly muscled body, brown eyes, close-cropped, wavy black hair and olive skin. He wore tight black jeans and a dark T-shirt, both of which showed off the contours of those muscles. She couldn’t deny she was looking at Gil Vincenzo.
Her vision blurred and her breath caught in her throat. She dropped the book and pressed both hands to her chest, where her heart hammered. She closed her eyes. When she opened them again, he still stood in front of her.
He glanced down at his body, then at his outstretched hands. Raising his head, he met her eyes. “Laurel?” His astonished stare gave way to a smile of fierce joy. In two long strides he reached the bed and grasped her hands. “It worked. You released me.”
Stunned, she couldn’t collect herself enough to speak. He was no phantom. She felt the firm grip of his fingers. She smelled warm flesh and a hint of lime aftershave. He felt real.
He tugged on her hands and she automatically stood. With the top of her head on a level with his chin, she had to look up to see his face. “What’s with the deer in the headlights expression?” he asked with a teasing quirk of his mouth. “I hope I’m not that scary.”
She managed to answer without a tremor in her voice. “I’m not scared, just boggled.”
“Didn’t think it would work, did you?”
“Hardly. This is not a normal part of my life.” The kinds of “magic” performed by the customers of the Rising Moon, a word they usually spelled with a K on the end, ran more along the lines of lighting candles to generate peace, love, prosperity and miscellaneous positive vibes.
“I confess I wasn’t sure you could activate the spell either,” he said. “I believe you have a trace of the magical gift.”
“Yes, definitely. A person who didn’t have it couldn’t have even read the invocation I wrote in the journal. They’d have seen an illegible scrawl.” He clasped her shoulders and gazed into her eyes. “Only someone like you could have freed me. I owe this chance at life to you.”
Placing her hands lightly on his chest, not sure whether to push him away or draw him closer, she became aware of her near nudity. Only a flimsy summer nightgown that clung to her breasts and hips covered her from V-neck to mid-calf. She swallowed. “Glad to help. Are you free for good now?” She tried to remember exactly what he’d written right before the spell.
He sighed. “Unfortunately, the effect is temporary. But I’m not about to be ungrateful. One night or only a few hours, it’s a precious gift.” He inhaled deeply. “I’m solid again. I can feel the cool air blowing on my skin. I can savor your fragrance. I can feel my own body…and yours.” He kneaded her shoulders. “So warm.”
Without warning, he enfolded her in a rib-crushing hug. After a second’s hesitation, she wrapped her arms around his waist. He ran his fingers through the tangle of her hair. “Just the way I imagined,” he murmured. His lips skimmed the top of her head and lingered behind one ear, his breath sending shivers down her spine.
She let her head rest on his shoulder. “So you have no idea how long you’ll stay here?”
“I could only take a random guess.” His embrace loosened and he ran one hand up and down her back. “However long it turns out to be, I plan to make the most of it.”
“How?” A blush suffused her face as the obvious answer popped into her mind.
“I told you in writing what I wanted to do.” He cupped her ass cheeks. “This, for one thing.” He squeezed.
A surge of heat rushed over her. Feeling the slowly hardening ridge of flesh that pressed against her, she could barely restrain herself from rubbing like a cat. “At that point you were a phantom trapped in another dimension. This is a little different.”
“Okay, we can renegotiate.” He nuzzled her again. “You do smell like honeysuckle.” His tongue flicked behind her ear. “You taste sweet too, just as I expected. May I taste your lips?”
“Sure.” After all this time floating in the void, he must be starved for physical contact. What could one kiss hurt?