Guest Post {Fortunes Told} Dodging Eros by Cardyn Brooks

Thursday, January 21, 2016

 Title: Dodging Eros
Author: Cardyn Brooks
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: Erotica
Publisher: Private Moments Publishing
Release Date: Jan 21 2016
Edition: eBook & Print
Blurb/Synopsis:
When is love a safe haven, a shield or a launch pad? When is it a mine field or a trap? 

Dodging Eros, Through Past, Present and Pleasure
 is something different about love.
Cupid is not simply a cherubic prankster.
Cupid is a tireless hunter. He’s dangerous.
While men and women bait and lure each other into the tricky gauntlet of attraction, Cupid circles, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
Siblings Danya, Monica, and Warwick Fullerton come from a family tradition of love that endures. They understand the risks and rewards of loving and being loved, but the intersection of the politics of pleasure with the evolution of 21st-century society versus entrenched ideas about who is expected to love whom challenges them to fight for their beliefs, which differ from their parents’ ideas.
Dodging Eros uses the early 20th-century past as prologue about the present day to frame the generational shifts in the risks of loving and being loved as the Fullertons confront their personal demons and battle The Fellowship, a secret society of power brokers conceived during the era of U.S. Prohibition now expanded into a modern international network of corruption.


Fortunes Told 

Shuffling the Deck
By
Cardyn Brooks
Copyright ©2016 by C. B.
This contemplation of Warwick’s future occurs before the events in III. Night Vision in Dodging Eros.


Warwick Fullerton stood in the center of his cramped office. Only the nearly floor-to-ceiling window with a view of the campus quad on one wall and his transparent door to the hallway on the opposite side kept the tight space from feeling like a coffin. He always kept the door open unless he was counseling a student. As tenured faculty he could have requested a larger office, but he preferred the coziness of having his metal drafting table flanked by collapsible wooden bookshelves leaving just enough room for his adjustable desk chair, one narrow visitor’s chair, and a square patch of industrial floor tiles worn smooth by generations of foot traffic.
The soft whine of a motorized scooter slowing to a stop preceded, “Professor War?”
He turned with a smile to greet one of his smartest, most conscientious students who had aced more than one of his graduate courses in the evolution of Western Civilization.
“Karen,” he said, kicking back with his foot to shove the visitor’s chair before he dropped into it. “Come in.”
His move gave her more room to maneuver her scooter into his office while putting them closer to eye level. Scents of fresh air, sunshine and something fruity accompanied her arrival.
She smiled at him once she’d set her brake. “I’m so glad you’re still here. This is for you.”
Warwick’s gaze lowered from the excitement beaming from her expressive face to the rectangular package overflowing the palm of her hand.
During his years of teaching, first as an assistant, then an adjunct, a full-time instructor and finally as tenured faculty, he had learned various diplomatic ways to dodge, redirect and discourage his students from becoming infatuated with him as their teacher, mentor or as a sometime local celebrity whenever details about his hostage negotiations incidents leaked to the public--despite his best efforts to remain anonymous in those dealings.
Accepting gifts from his students was something he rarely did.
“It isn’t a love token, Professor War, so you can stop trying to figure out how to reject the crippled girl’s romantic overture without breaking my heart and sending me into a sad decline that makes me drive my scooter into the duck pond.”
The accuracy of her droll words regarding his thoughts made a laugh burst forth from his chest on a belch of sound. Her impish grin kept him chuckling and shaking his head at her as he reached for the package. The plain brown paper offered no clues.
Seconds later he was holding a tin box with a sun, a moon, an infinity symbol and an open book etched into a swirled pattern across the top of the hinged lid. He traced the rise and fall of the delicate lines with two of his fingertips before he looked up to meet Karen’s pensive gaze.
Her smile blossomed again as she laughed and clapped her hands. “Oh, good, you like the box, but that’s not the best part, Professor. Look inside.”
He did. The exquisite details of the contents kept him speechless as he examined each hand-drawn Tarot card, carefully flipping them from the top of the deck into the cradle of the open lid. Sharp black lines and curves of assorted thickness framed a soft pastel color palette for the Major Arcana; vibrant primary colors for the Minor Arcana. Each one of the seventy-eight cards was a masterful work of art.
“Karen, you made these and the box for me?”
She nodded. “Yes. I know you study the mystical and the religious only from an academic perspective, which is really interesting to me, Professor, because you’re the most instinctively compassionate and intuitive teacher I’ve ever known. Add in your being a handsome brainiac with a mesmerizing voice and a wicked sense of humor--” She did not share her private thoughts about his enticing scent. “--and it’s no mystery why there’s always a wait list for your classes and most of your students fall a little bit in love with you every semester.
“Not me!” she added with a laugh before she got serious again.
“Thank you for being my advisor, Professor. Thank you for challenging me. Thank you for always treating me like a regular human being and not like the poor little crippled girl.”
Warwick coughed to clear his throat. He glanced away from Karen’s earnest face down to the priceless gift in his hands, then back up to her eyes.
“You must have worked on these cards and the box for weeks, probably months, Karen. Are you sure you don’t want to keep this set? It belongs on permanent exhibit in a museum.”
Her smile radiated her pleasure. “Thank you for saying that, Professor War.”
“It’s true,” he said very quietly.
“You have the only set, but I’ve scanned each card and the box lid just in case I have gift-giver’s remorse later on. Okay?”
Warwick slowly nodded once. “Under one condition: If you ever change your mind and want it back or need it for an exhibit of your work, Karen, contact me. Agreed?”
Her slight frown shrank her smile. “Yes, but it’s unnecessary because my art is just for me; sometimes gifts for family and friends--never for public display.”
“Well, that’s a big loss for art lovers, Karen. Yes, I know,” he said when she opened her mouth to speak again. “History is your passion. You’re going to publish, go on an international lecture tour, then become a professor at an Ivy League university. This--”  Warwick pointed down at the Tarot set in his other hand. “This shows me that art is your passion as well. Do both.”
They talked for several more minutes before Warwick leaned forward to shake Karen’s hand in farewell. 
“Whenever I look at this exquisite Tarot set I’ll remember what a gift having you as my student has been to me, Karen.”
He stood and paced her to the door as she backed her scooter into the hall.
“Enjoy your sabbatical, Professor War,” she said, then spun her scooter and zipped down the hall toward the elevator.

~~~~~

Karen had lied to Professor War to save face and to spare him from discomfort in her presence. She’d been crushing on her academic advisor since her freshman year when she’d tested into one of his rigorous senior courses in Western Civ.
Over the years of her undergraduate study she had secretly contemplated his cards from different decks and assorted layouts. Whether the Visconti-Sforza, Marseille or Rider-Waite deck were laid out in horseshoe, Celtic Cross or Tree of Life configurations, The Chariot and The Hierophant always presented themselves no matter how she shuffled the deck. Was she projecting her admiration for his compassion, intelligence and authority into each reading? Her psychologist dad would say yes. So would her Wicca mom. Both would counsel Karen to search for those qualities in a peer instead of her unattainable professor--if they’d known about her crush. But her parents hadn’t guessed because Karen dated regularly in a methodical search for a young man whose recognition of her worth would make her feel as strong and fearless as being in Professor War’s presence did.
The Tarot set was a token of her appreciation and her unrequited love for him. In her farewell contemplation of his cards last night, for the first time ever, Karen had uncovered The Wheel of Fortune for her professor’s hopes and aspirations combined with The Lovers for his future experiences when her past readings almost always used to reveal The Hermit for his future. It didn’t really surprise her that the universe (and her subconscious) expected dynamic changes for him during his sabbatical.
Karen hoped that Professor War was destined to meet a woman who would recognize and appreciate him, and love him the way he deserved to be loved. 


Cardyn Brooks writes erotica as social commentary. Her C. X Brooks persona writes edgier variations on similar themes.
Cardyn Brooks writes erotica as social commentary. Her C. X Brooks persona writes edgier variations on similar themes.
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