Excerpt from Seducing the Sceptic

   
     Janet opened the walk-in closet which was filled on one side with clothes and the other side with Marty's Container Store obsession. The tool belt was in one of these boxes. She was just grabbing it when a blast of cold air chilled her to the bones. She looked up. How could she feel a breeze in a closet?
     "Hello?" she called.
     "Praise Goddess garble!"
     She frowned. Okay, that sounded like it came from deeper inside the closet.
     Intrigued, Janet pushed forward.
     "Whoa." The coolest hologram ever. Brilliant sky, rocky cliff, and a creepy looking tree with a huge ass nest braced between three branches thicker than her thighs.
     So this was her roommate's secret project. But why the hell would she build it behind her costumes in the back of the closet? For secrecy, obviously, and because she was an uber Narnia geek, but damn... talk about a narrow workspace.
     Another blast of cold air hit her, and she squinted against the bitter wind. She stepped closer and half-tripped over Marty's thigh-high sex boots. Which is when he showed up. Or rather rose up from the middle of the nest.
     A blonde god of a man reminiscent of Thor. His broad chest was all golden bronze, stretched over well-defined muscles. She thought the scars were overdone, as were the streaks of blood on his cuts, not to mention a couple weird white splashes, but whatever. She could appreciate her roommate's taste even if it was more beach blonde sun-god than Tom Hiddleston evil chaos-god.
     "Prithee angel, forsooth I am stuck fast."
     Prithee? Seriously? Marty needed some better writing, but beyond that, this was way cool. She stepped to the very back of the closet and really felt like she was teetering on the edge of a giant abyss. She glanced down long enough to feel a wave of vertigo and had to grab onto a tabard to keep from falling.
     "Angel, please. Can you unbind me?"
     She looked up and focused on the man. The wind was carrying away half his words, but she understood him well enough which was very odd. First of all, she couldn't exactly hear over the howling wind and yet had a pretty good idea of what he was saying. Plus, she'd been looking straight at his mouth when he spoke. The words she heard didn't match the shape of his lips at all. Which meant there was probably some sort of sync problem between the video and audio. Unless she was just distracted by how pretty he was with that rippling chest and all.
     "How is she doing this?" She looked around the edges of the closet, trying to see how this was being projected. Another blast of air hit her and she recoiled backwards, accidently tripping—again—over Marty's boots. "Ow!" she cursed, then kicked the nearest leather torture device aside. Those stilettos were sharp.
     Then she watched in fascination as the boot did not bounce off of the back of the closet wall. No, it flew into the air—straight into the hologram—where the sun-god tried to catch it. He missed. Her kick was wide, and he apparently was stuck in the nest by that white stuff.
     But how could Marty have programmed it to time with her kick? How did it sense when—and what—would be thrown?
     She shook her head, trying to process just how this illusion was being generated. And then the guy spoke again. She seemed to hear him better when she didn't look so closely at his lips. He said something about "stuck" and "dissolve." Dissolve the white goo, she assumed, but she hadn't a clue how. And then "hammer."
     "Hammer!" she cried. She held up Marty's tool belt and grinned. She ought to feel embarrassed that she was responding to a hologram as if it were real life, but whatever. This was a game, and she was having fun. Something that hadn't happened for her in months. It would take no time at all for her to play out the first level.
     Far to the edge of the closet, there was an easy step to a branch. Clearly it was what the player was meant to use. It looked solid enough, but with the wind it seemed to bounce and sway. Well, what was a game without a challenge? So she took a moment to tie the tool belt about her waist, securing the hammer in its normal slot. Then she stepped to the edge while sun-god guy looked around in anxiety and made hurry up gestures.
     "Now or never," she muttered then she took the first step.
 
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