Authors: Nara Malone
Part of the Passion’s Portal series.
Seven tears cast upon the water summon the selkie, summon
seal across the ocean, summon man from beast—liquid keys to break the curse.
Freed one night every seven years, Ronin is doomed to repeat that cycle into
eternity. Unless he can find a woman powerful enough to resist a selkie’s
irresistible pheromones and sex magick.
Maille believes she lost reality between Maine and New
Mexico. Between where she is now and where she should be. She believes in facts,
not magick. But facts can’t explain how she wound up naked on a beach with the
sexiest man she’s ever laid eyes on. Or how she knows in her bones that losing
herself in the passion Ronin offers is a path to disaster.
It’s going to be a long, hot, wet night. Caught between sex
magick and a sexy selkie, disaster is inevitable for Maille. To break the
enchantment she has to rely on the oldest magick of all—the power of
paranormal erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave
Thanks to the open-source 3D content provided by creators
like Linda Kellie Henson and Arcadia Asylum, I had the tools to bring this
story to life in my imagination and then create a replica world in the virtual
dimension for my readers to visit. Special thanks to Fred Beckhusen, who created
shape-shifting selkie avatars that will allow readers to visit the underwater
realm of the Goddess Mere and her selkies.
The Goddess Mere in my story is patterned after the Goddess
Mare, goddess of moon and water. Since the story includes horses and a mare as
a major player, I adjusted the spelling for clarity. Readers can interact with
characters from the Passion’s Portal series, including the Goddess Mere and her
selkies. Find more information at
The Goddess of Alchemy took her place at the top of the
pentagram. The four other Elemental Goddesses had already taken their
positions, waiting, feeling, anticipating the ritual ahead. A warm breeze
filtered through the temple and ruffled the silken robes the women wore. Green,
yellow, red, blue and white, a color for each of the elements. Earth, air,
fire, water, and the binding element, alchemy.
She began the ritual by stating the purpose of the
gathering. “A lost daughter needs our guidance to find her destiny. We must
open the portals of Shadowling and draw her there.”
Five members of the Brotherhood approached and stood behind
the Goddesses. Brown muslin wrapped the men in secrecy. With practiced
precision, each removed the robe of the woman before him.
At the first sensuous touch, the Goddess of Alchemy’s
eyelids closed. Light as feathers, her consort’s fingertips trailed down her
body, over her hips, her buttocks, her thighs, her mons. As her partner pushed
his body closer to hers, a familiar pulsing need bubbled to life in her lower
abdomen. His hand slid between her thighs and skilled fingers pressed deep into
her pussy. Like the others, she couldn’t hold back the moan that escaped her
lips. With every stroke, her companion forced her closer and closer to the
brink of release, just as his brethren did with the other Goddesses. Their
passions rose in perfect unison, blending and coiling like sentient smoke,
burning hotter and hotter, reaching out until their passions coalesced.
Only then did the she speak again. “Goddess of Earth, bring
life to flower and field and tree. Goddess of Air, breathe life into all you
see. Goddess of Fire, cleanse the soul and set our daughters free. Goddess of
Water, call up a shield of raging emerald seas. Our connection is sealed. So
mote it be.”
“So mote it be,” the other Goddesses repeated as they
continued feeding off each others’ sexual energy. Finally, the raw, volatile
power consumed them and they erupted in simultaneous orgasm.
The surge encircled them, crackling through the temple,
suspending them in pleasure. The energy from their climaxes harmonized and the
portal connecting them to Shadowling Manor sizzled open, like lightning across
a dark sky. The sacred manor now resonated with the powers of the Goddesses,
calling to the lost one, drawing her to the place where she’d find her heart’s
path, where she’d be healed, be cured, be shown life’s perfect, irrefutable
Sex creates power. Sex gives life. Sex is life.
This is the legacy of Shadowling Manor.
Ronin was so tuned to the presence of a woman’s tears that
he could swear he heard them fall. While hearing a tear hit the surf on the
other side of the ocean was a stretch, there could be no mistaking the scent or
the taste. Each woman’s tears were unique. These tasted of secrets and sorrow.
Ronin held each on his tongue, decoding subtle clues and catching one after
Seven tears cast upon the water summon the selkie. Liquid
key that broke the curse for one night. Sunset to dawn.
Ronin had twelve hours exactly on this night of Mabon, the
Obsidian black with foaming mane and tail, his liquid steed
bucked and galloped across the Atlantic in the time it took a cloud to glide
across the face of the rising moon. At the edge of Wolf Harbor, his ride
dissolved into thrashing breakers along the jetty.
Seven tears summoned the beast across the ocean, carried
the selkie to his intended on enchanted waters. Seven tears summoned man from
The scent and taste of her—cool and crisp as new snow—washed
through him, renewing his withered spirit. A vision of her tear-streaked face,
framed in a wild mane of dark locks, was like a sun rising in his heart. Her
need gave him power. Her hunger drove him up on the rocky barrier.
Metamorphosis clamped him in its jaws. Transforming Ronin
form seal to man. He writhed and moaned like some great sea slug, belly down in
a kelp pile. Bones shattered and reformed. Skin spilt at the seams until at
last he crawled from the prison of his pelt. All indignities and agonies made
bearable by the promise of holding her.
Growing taller with each breath, Ronin scrambled to his
feet. Nothing equaled the sheer exhilaration and power of standing erect.
Ronin reached to the sky, and turning to face each of the
four sacred directions, he named the elements. “Earth, wind, fire, water, I bow
to your power. I am nothing on my own. Embrace the frailties and powers of this
human form. Lend me your strength as I do the Goddess’s will.”
The wind carried a wolf song from shore. Tipping his head
back, Ronin turned toward the moon, his voice rising to unite in song with his
shape-shifting cousins. None but a being who walked the earth as both human and
beast would recognize the subtle tonal differences and encrypted messages that
signified the human souls beneath those canid hides. The pack leader’s solo
answer welcomed Ronin ashore and promised no interference with his mission.
Satisfied, Ronin shook out his long hair and turned to face
the wind. Heavy locks whipped back from his face and fanned out across his shoulders.
A wave broke, colliding with the boulder he perched on. The resonant boom
vibrated in his bones, cold spray making him shiver.
Maybe it was the remnants of the storm spinning up
turbulence. Maybe it was the moodiness of autumn setting in, or maybe because
it had been longer than usual since he’d last tumbled in clean sheets with a
willing female, but tonight felt different.
Heat emanated from the water. Power dissipated by the
goings-on at Shadowling, the magickal manor perched on the cliffs. The priestesses
and their servants would be celebrating the Mabon, but the woman on the beach
was not of them. Her tears didn’t carry the telltale electric zap of power. If
she had power, it was dormant yet. Her summons had been born of innocent
As such she was tonight’s innocent recipient of his eternal
Shrugging off the mood, Ronin stashed his pelt under a cairn
of loose rocks and dove back into the water. He had eleven hours and fifty
minutes left. He wasn’t going to waste one second more than he had to. Still,
he had to proceed cautiously.
She’d summoned him without knowing he existed, or the
workings of his enchantment. Most women didn’t embrace strange men who walked
naked from the surf.
* * * * *
She wasn’t crazy.She was asleep. Sitting on that
moonlit beach, the one she used to count on to bring her happy dreams, Maille
could think of no other explanation. When she opened her eyes again, pushed to
her feet, the nightmare refused to stay a dream. It got up with her and followed
Turning in a slow circle, she expected to see adobe walls.
Or to hear the desert sounds that might wake her—a coyote or screech owl. She
She mentally retraced her path back to reality, but like the
breadcrumb trail from a fairytale, there were too many bits missing to make
sense of it.
Above her a million stars winked. She could name all the
constellations, knew how to navigate by them. She knew this beach down to the
placement of every sand dune and patch of wild grass. Yet she had never been so
lost, lost beyond the ability of maps or stars or teachings from the ancients
to guide her.
She could interpret the wants and needs of animals so
accurately some swore she spoke to animals in a secret language. She was versed
in the healing properties of thousands of herbs. She could find the hidden
dwellings of all the creatures along this stretch of beach, which to the
untrained eye would seem deserted. Yet, no one had ever taught her how to find
reality once she’d lost it.
Reality was somewhere between Wolf Harbor, Maine, and
Albuquerque, New Mexico. Between where she was now and where she should be.
That was all she knew.
A shore-breaking wave slapped her knees, igniting a fire in
one that sent her hustling backward.
The bite of salt in a bloody wound intensified the burn of
unshed tears and a tightness in her throat.
She sucked in her breath and plopped down
bare-bottomed—cold, gritty sand feeling too real to be a dream. She could add
two more items to the list of things she knew, she’d lost her clothes and
injured her knee.
“What the fuck happened to me?” she shouted at the sky. “Why
am I naked?”
The slap of water against sand, the rattling of wind through
wild grass the only response. What did she expect? It wasn’t as if she believed
in any divine beings. And while it might be handy if a little prayer would set
the world straight again, everything had a price. Magick had cost her too much
The foamy edge of a breaker swirled around her toes and slid
back down the sand into the heaving sea. She hugged herself and looked up and
then down the beach. There had to be an explanation that made sense.
Naked in a public place screams dream. A dream you can’t
wake from screams…what?
She shoved the thought away, choosing to treat the situation
as real. For now. Breath in. Breath out. Slow and steady, doing mental
multiplication to steer her mind from the pain. Dread settled like a weight in
her belly. But she was done crying. Time to solve problems.
More important than her lack of clothes was how she’d
injured her knee and how badly.
A puffiness around her kneecap, something felt more than
seen, suggested damage more than skin deep. If she could feel pain this
intense, this must be real. But it was impossible for this to be real and for
her to be where she was.
The last step she’d taken had been to shut a balcony door.
Had something happened at that point? Could she have died—fallen from the
balcony or been crushed by a falling tree?
What those doors and that balcony had been attached to?
Panic made her stomach heave and toss like the ocean. Her
chest felt too small for her lungs. She hugged her knees to her chest and put
her head between them, concentrated on taking slow, deep breaths.
She couldn’t feel nauseated if she were dead.
She was fairly certain on that point.
For the last half of her life, she’d been sure death was the
end of everything. So, what did that leave?
The cottage nestled on a shelf between sheer cliffs and
boiling ocean looked just like the one where she had lived with her grandmother
as a child. Just on the other side of the jetty, to her south, the cliffs
curved back again and sheltered the tiny village of Wolf Harbor. Around the
north point, cliffs rose straight from the sea.
Those were facts as true now as they had been when she’d
left Maine fourteen years ago. Facts were good. If she concentrated on facts,
she might be able to make sense of where she was. When life tipped out of
balance, facts could be counted on to tip it back.
A long, mournful howl drifted from the cliffs above. It
sounded like a wolf. A chorus of canine voices joined in.
Maille shivered and listed the facts she was sure of aloud.
Made it an incantation to banish vulnerability.
“Fact—there are no wild wolves in Maine.”
When a doctor wanted to determine if you were in your right
mind what was the first thing he asked?
What day is this?
That answer tumbled out automatically. “The first day of
“Fact—on the first day of fall, on any day in Maine, the
ocean is not warm as bath water.”
“Fact—my knee is burning like a son-of-a-bitch and I can
barely think past that.”
But she had to think. Had to remember. For now, the only way
forward was to step back through the past.
The image of another door took shape. A door she’d opened
just before the balcony doors. A wave-shaped crest, gold embedded in ebony,
mounted in the center. And the knob was old-fashioned faceted crystal that
caught the light and sent a rainbow arcing across the floor.
And before the rainbow door, a pair of double doors so heavy
she’d had to lean her full weight into them when she lifted the wrought iron
All she had were doors. The spaces between those portals,
the rooms on either side wouldn’t materialize. Her hand had been closing around
a brass handle…then, as if a tornado had dropped from the sky, roiling darkness
enveloped her. Sucked her into a spinning vortex and spit her out.
Not much to go on, but more details than she’d had just a
few moments ago. If she kept at it—
A piercing cry rose above the thunder of surf. Human? A seal
could sound so human it was hard to tell the difference. Whichever, Maille
recognized it as a wail of mortal distress. She couldn’t say how she understood
that, no more than she could say how she wound up on the beach. One fact she was
certain of—she couldn’t ignore it.
Without thought for consequences she plunged into the surf,
diving under swells, power-stroking through roiling water.
Once past the breakers Maille paused, treading water as she
turned in circles, searching in the inky swells for the curve of a human head.
Impossible with the waves breaking moonlight into sequined facets and the rise
and fall of swells tall as houses. She’d never find him. She needed him to cry
out once more.
“Come on. Give me a hint.”
An irregular shape, not seal-like or wavelike, caught her
attention. As she paddled closer, she made out a man waving, heard his hoarse
cry before his head disappeared below a wave. He resurfaced choking.
She dove under the water, swimming straight for where she’d
seen him last. She resurfaced as he went under again, but she was close enough
now to reach his long hair, swirling like dark kelp in the water. She grabbed a
It was surprisingly easy to pull him along, as if he had
managed to overcome his instinctive terror and submit to her rescue. He might
not have been so submissive had he realized, as she did now, that they weren’t
Maille fought down a sudden kick of panic in her chest,
struggling to swim parallel to the shore, caught by swells that tossed them
dangerously close to jagged rocks. She had to concentrate her energy on
swimming north until they were beyond the rip where she was free to swim
When her feet finally found ground, a wave slammed her,
flinging them both onto the sand. Depositing them in a tangle of limbs. Maille
A small wave washed over them, and the sensation was that of
a liquid blanket settling around her shoulders and then melting away. Panting,
draped over his body, Maille was too spent to lift her head from a pillow of
Another wave swept up, warm liquid fingers caressing her
She needed to move him higher up the beach, away from the
rising tide, see to his needs. With a groan she pushed up to hands and knees,
still straddling his body.
She’d hauled in one hell of a wet dream.
Jet-black hair fanned out on the sand. His body lean, long and lusciously
muscled. She started to lick her lips, caught herself, and forced her tongue
back in her mouth. She was supposed to be saving his life, not jumping his
Something was wrong. That realization drowned attraction in
a wave of adrenaline.
His chest didn’t seem to be moving. Her breath caught and
her heartbeat kicked up to double time. Maille thought there’d been a slight
rise and fall of his chest beneath her breasts when they’d first washed ashore.
His lips looked blue. But when she put her ear to his chest, the beat of his
heart was strong and quick.
She scraped her mind for facts.
Fact—a heart could beat for several minutes after breathing
Would his lips still be blue?
Fact—in the moonlight everything looked blue.
Fact—his eyelids were at half-mast, and there was a barely
perceptible gleam aimed at her. He probably didn’t need to be resuscitated.
Fact—she could discover the state of his respiration in
other ways than this slow descent of her head and the pressing of lips to his.
He tasted like sin and secrets.
His lips were warm and firm under hers, and they parted in a
humid mingling of breath. Goddess, he smelled wonderful. She inhaled the scent
of male and mystery laced with magick. Worries over what was real, what wasn’t,
where she was, trickled away like so many grains of sand.