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Aphrodite's Passion

Aphrodite's Passion

4.2 18
by Julie Kenner

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Aphrodite’s Girdle is missing, and the magical artifact will take all of Hale’s superpowers to retrieve. The woman who found the belt—one Tracy Tannin—wasn’t exactly Ms. Popular before donning it. Now everyone wants her, including some very nasty bad guys.

 But the golden girdle can only be recovered through honest means, so


Aphrodite’s Girdle is missing, and the magical artifact will take all of Hale’s superpowers to retrieve. The woman who found the belt—one Tracy Tannin—wasn’t exactly Ms. Popular before donning it. Now everyone wants her, including some very nasty bad guys.

 But the golden girdle can only be recovered through honest means, so becoming invisible and snatching it simply won’t work. Plus, Hale’s job is to protect mortals. No, there’s little chance of evading interaction and every chance of falling in love. Every hero has a different quest, and the more time Hale spends protecting her, the clearer it becomes that Tracy’s a goddess worth devotion, no matter what she’s wearing.

Editorial Reviews

Julie Kenner has come up with a nifty premise that's quirky and full of fun. In the world she introduced in Aphrodite's Kiss and revisits here in Aphrodite's Passion, the old gods are still around today and still meddling in the affairs of mortals. Among their best agents is Hale, descendant of the gods, a tall, dark, and handsome guy with super powers who has sworn never to lose his heart to a mortal. In Aphrodite's Passion, the gods have finally traced a long-missing artifact, Aphrodite's Girdle. This legendary belt, which makes any mortal irresistible and any god all-powerful, is currently in the possession of Tracy Tannin, the granddaughter of a famous actress -- a so-called goddess of the sliver screen. Tracy has no idea that the funky fashion accessory she's inherited is magical. But Hale knows that's why this average young woman is suddenly irresistible to everyone -- including some very dangerous enemies. He needs to act quickly to retrieve the powerful artifact before it ends up around the wrong waist, but there are a couple of complicating factors. First, there are rules that limit Hale's options for retrieval. And second, Hale has unexpectedly lost his once-mortal-proof heart to Tracy...even when she isn't wearing the girdle that commands Aphrodite's Passion.

Product Details

Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Aphrodite Series
Product dimensions:
5.29(w) x 8.01(h) x 1.05(d)

Read an Excerpt

Aphrodite's Passion

By Julie Kenner

Dorchester Publishing

Copyright © 2002

Julie Kenner

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-505-52474-0

Chapter One

Hale propped himself up in the hotel bed and grimaced at the
summons from Zephron, High Elder. The note dissolved in a
flurry of sparks and sputters.

Hale's long-awaited vacation was history. Especially
frustrating considering he'd reserved the room for two full

On the far side of the room, Elmer uncurled himself and
stretched on the sofa cushion, his spiky fur standing on end
as he yawned. What's with the fireworks? he chittered. We got
a new assignment?

Hale shot a scowl in the ferret's direction. "We don't have an
assignment. I have an assignment. Which means I have to go to
work while you lounge about at home watching daytime

Elmer's fur puffed out even more and he emitted a high-pitched
squeak, which for a ferret could be either a laugh or an
indignant groan. Hale assumed that he was going for indignant.

I do not 'lounge about', thank you very much. Elmer raised his
furry little chin. I study the market.

Hale stifled a chortle. Ever since they'd arrived at the Los
Angeles airport, Elmer had been chattering on about becoming
the funny but loveable family pet in some Hollywood sitcom.
"If you say so." He turned away, ostensibly to check the
clock, but mostly to hide his grin.

You just have no appreciation of artistic genius. All you
appreciate are female br-

"Ah-ah-ah." Hale rolled over and held up a finger to silence
his friend, who managed a tiny ferret shrug before snuggling
back down to finish his nap. He and Elmer had been together
for years, and he loved the mouthy little guy, but there were
some things that just didn't need to be spoken aloud.

Not that Elmer was actually speaking. If the maid walked in,
she would hear only Elmer's distinctive ferret squeak. But
Hale was an animalinguist, which meant he could understand
animal speak-everything from the vague desires of most
animals, to the more articulate thoughts of the more developed
of their species. And, of course, he could understand with
perfect clarity those animals, like Elmer, whose bloodline had
been bred for generations to serve as companions to

Some days he really regretted that particular talent.

With a groan, he slid out of bed, then headed to the balcony
that overlooked the secluded Southern California beach. He'd
hoped to make it to Greece for some R & R. No such luck.
Instead, he was stuck in a four-star hotel just north of
Malibu. Not the vacation he'd dreamed of, but it did have a
few advantages over his Manhattan apartment. Like the dozen or
so mortal women who frolicked and bounced on the sand below.
Exactly the kind of amenities he looked for in a vacation
location-plenty of extracurricular activities and a room with
a view.

For more than a year, he'd been trying to get away from the
daily grind. Being a superhero-especially a superhero with as
busy an undercover assignment as a romance cover model-took a
lot out of a guy. He needed some serious downtime, and now
that he'd finally gotten some, Prigg was calling him back.

Life just wasn't fair. Especially considering he was staring
out from a hotel balcony at a smorgasbord of the delicious
women he'd come to taste and sample. Not for the long-term,
mind you. He was a Protector, after all. Certainly, he'd never
get permanently involved with a mortal.

Then again, he didn't intend to get permanently involved with
another Protector, either. Why would he? He was young; he was
virile. And, if he believed his own press releases, he was one
hot property.

So why tie himself down?

Why indeed? Especially when he could find such delightful,
fleeting diversions so easily. And he'd come to the islands
with the hope of being well and truly diverted.

Unfortunately, he'd been there for forty-eight hours already,
and not one single blond, brunette or red-headed diversion had
graced his bed.


Not that they'd turned him down, of course. That was one of
the nice things about being him-women just didn't say no.

No, the problem was much more basic-he simply hadn't yet gone
outside and tried to recruit any of the luscious ladies to his

Sighing, he drummed his fingers on the windowsill. Instead of
playing beach volleyball with bronzed co-eds on Spring Break,
he'd actually elected to stay in his hotel room for the last
two days. Frowning, he felt his forehead with the back of his
hand. No fever. Damn.

You're losing your touch, Elmer said.

Great. The ferret was awake again. "Not hardly. Just pacing

The ferret didn't look convinced.

"I don't need a woman on my arm every minute. If I'd rather
stay in the room and read-" He broke off, looking around the
room to find the tattered paperback he'd found in the chest of
drawers. "-Valley of the Dolls, then that's my prerogative."

Not his usual reading fare, that's for sure. But it didn't
much matter since he hadn't actually read a word. He'd been
too frustrated about being frustrated to concentrate on the

Uh-huh. Elmer shot him a look, then proceeded to scratch
behind his ears.

"Just drop it."

Drop it? Drop what? I'm not saying anything. Not one word. No

"Elmer ..."

I mean, I'm sure as Cerberus not mentioning the fact that you
haven't done the wild thing with one single female since Zoë
and Taylor got hooked up. Nope. I'm not saying that at all.

"For someone who's not talking, your mouth is sure moving a

Har-umph! Elmer turned three circles on the cushion, then
tucked his little head under his paws to sulk. Subtle, Elmer

Hale scowled in his direction, then turned and scowled out the
window. All in all, he was in a scowling kind of mood. Not
that Elmer was right. Hale wasn't avoiding anything. Least of
all women. And certainly not sex. The thought was
preposterous. Ridiculous. Absolutely not true.

So what if he'd been a little off-kilter since his half-sister
Zoë'd hooked up with that mortal guy? It wasn't as if Hale
wanted to tie the knot. He shuddered. Certainly not.

More likely he was just distracted, that's all. Worried. About
Zoë. Right. That had to be it. He was worried about his baby
sister marrying a mortal of all things.

Not that he was terribly worried. Even Hale had to admit that
Taylor was an all right guy-for a mortal, anyway-and he loved
Zoë, so Hale figured they'd be okay. After all, Zoë was a
halfling. Maybe being part mortal made it easier to be in a
mixed marriage.

But Hale was full-blooded, and he knew better than most that
mortal-Protector relationships just didn't last. Mortals
couldn't handle the stress, and of the few Protectors who did
hook up with them, most went soft and abandoned their duties.

That wasn't for him. Not Hale.

Fleeting entanglements, however, were a whole different story.
That was the beauty of mortals, after all. Get in, get out,
have a good time. And then be on his way. No strings. No
commitments. No guilt.

Not at all like Protectors who knew where to find you. No
possibility of a fling, not with the MLO right there to
connect last Friday's date through on the Council-sponsored
cell phone. No, Hale had learned the hard way that dating a
Protector suggested the possibility of a commitment, and that
wasn't a possibility Hale wanted on the table.

He peered down toward the beach again, and spotted a
particularly lovely blond mortal sunbathing on a dark green
towel. Her. That was the one. He'd just march down there, turn
on the charm, and escort her right back up to his room.

Then he'd lock Elmer in the bathroom and have a hot afternoon
with a very hot woman. He'd shake off this funk and be his old
self again before he had to rush back to D.C. and do the
superhero thing.

Yes indeed, that's exactly what he'd do.

Flush with purpose, he threw on some swimming trunks and
headed out. In the breezy lobby, the cool tiles felt nice
against his bare feet, and for a second he considered stopping
in the bar, having an icy drink and chatting with the owner
about nothing in particular.

No. No stalling. Plan. Girl. Go.

His resolve restored, he marched out of the hotel and headed
over the warm sand toward the blond beauty. She looked up when
he approached. A striking face highlighted by vivid green
eyes. Long, sleek legs. Breasts that begged to be touched. In
other words, exactly the type of mortal woman he was used to
sharing a few sensual hours with here and there. She was
perfect, and her smile suggested she was more than willing.

So why did he suddenly have an urge to rush back to his hotel
room and spend time with Jacqueline Susann instead of with
Bikini Babe?

"Hi there." He pitched his voice low, using the tone that
never failed to attract women.

B-babe rolled over and propped herself up on one elbow. Her
smile revealed a universe of white teeth, not to mention
infinite possibilities of the more decadent sort. "Well, hi
yourself. I haven't seen you around here before."

"Maybe you haven't been looking."

"I guess not. Because believe me, I would have noticed you."

"Then it's a good thing I noticed you." Mentally, Hale patted
himself on the back. That was smooth. He hadn't lost his
touch. No worries. No worries at all.

"Lucky me." She sat up, curling her legs under her, her
posture designed for maximum male-appeal. Clearly, the girl
was no stranger to flirtation. "Are you here for business ...
or pleasure?"

"Pleasure," Hale said. "Pure pleasure."

"How nice. I'm Bitsy, by the way."


Above her sunglasses, her brow furrowed as her lips pursed.
"Hale?" The smile was back, this time accompanied by wide,
interested eyes. She pointed a perfectly manicured nail toward
him. "I know you, right? You're on the cover of all those
romance novels."

"Guilty." He tested his grin on her, pleased to see it seemed
to be in working order.

"Are you here on a shoot?" She craned her neck looking around,
presumably for a camera crew. Considering how many celebrities
frequented the hotel, Hale was surprised there wasn't one set
up nearby.

"I'm on vacation. Relaxing. Meeting new people." Trying to get
himself out of a funk.

"Well, the pleasure really is all mine, Hale." She tossed her
hair back, then peeked under the strap of her bikini top,
presumably checking her tan, but also revealing the enticing
curve of her breast.

Hale swallowed, not nearly as enticed by the view as he would
have expected. In fact, he suddenly had an overwhelming urge
to go back to his room and watch a little Nick at Nite. For
some inconceivable reason, this perfect specimen of a mortal
woman just wasn't pushing his buttons.

Frustrating. Damned frustrating, and he didn't intend to
tolerate it much longer.

"Come on," he said, more gruffly than he intended. "I'll buy
you a drink."

If she thought his invitation was abrupt, she didn't say
anything. Instead she gathered up her towel, wrapped a tiny
sarong around her hips, then passed him her tote bag. "Carry
for me?"

He resisted the urge to roll his eyes. "Sure. Let's go."

Twenty yards back to the hotel lobby. Twenty long, frustrating
yards listening to B-Babe ask him if he had a limo parked
nearby and just how large was his expense account anyway?

By the time they reached the lobby bar, the sad,
inconceivable, inescapable truth had caught up with Hale and
tackled him-there was no way on earth he was taking that woman
up to his room.

Maybe Elmer was right; maybe he was losing his touch. But it
wasn't that he couldn't succeed with the ladies; it was that
he didn't want to. At the moment, all he wanted was to get out
of there. But Bitsy's hand seemed permanently glued to his
forearm, and shaking her was going to prove difficult. Damn.

"Drink?" He steered her toward the bar.

"Sure." Bitsy was all smiles as she let go of his arm and
perched on the barstool.

He signaled to the owner, intending to order two of the
bartender's special concoctions.

"Why don't you order us a bottle of Dom?" She leaned close,
her shoulder brushing against his forearm. "We can start our
little celebration here, and then move it to your room."

"Great," he said, sure his voice lacked even an ounce of
enthusiasm. He nodded to the bartender, acknowledging the
drink order, even though he had no intention of having any
himself. A drink like Dom could only be shared with a special
lady, and Bitsy just didn't fit the bill. Hell, maybe no one

The problem now was how to extricate himself from this
unwanted and impromptu date.

"You know," Bitsy said, taking a sip from the flute Tony put
in front of her, "I've always wanted to be a model or an
actress." She aimed a little pout in his direction. "Maybe you
can help me? Do you know any directors?"

"I really don't -"

"My portfolio's in my car." She nodded toward the door. "Maybe
you could buy me dinner and I could show you?"

"I'm not really -"

"I could show you more than that, too," she said, stroking his

He had to get out of there. "Look at that!" Hale pointed
across the empty room.


"Over there. Isn't that cool?"

She squinted, swiveling on her stool to look in the general
direction he was pointing. "I don't see anything," she said,
turning back in his direction.

And Hale knew just how true that was. She really didn't see a
thing, least of all him. He'd completely dematerialized.
Invisibility was a rather handy superpower when you got right
down to it.

"Hale? Where'd you go?" She twisted around, searching the room
for him, until her gaze focused on the mirror that backed the
bottles of bourbon and rum. "Oh! There you are!"

Hale grimaced, realizing she must have seen his latent

In a second, she'd whipped back around so that she was looking
in his direction-but again she couldn't see anything.
Confusion flashed in her perfectly made-up eyes.

"Where are you?" She turned in her chair to look toward the
mirror again, and Hale dropped down below the bar.

That was the one annoying thing about his particular
superpower. He could turn invisible, yes, but reflective
surfaces still picked up his image. Usually that was little
more than an annoyance. Right now, though, it might foil his
entire plan to get away from B-Babe.

Very quietly, he crouched down, making sure his head was below
bar level as he crept toward the guest room. Disgust with
himself-a superhero!-for taking the chicken's way out welled
inside him, but not enough to suffer through an evening with a
woman he just wasn't interested in. No matter how ripe and

Still invisible, he headed for the stairs, avoiding the
polished elevator doors and all other reflective surfaces, and
cursing himself the whole way as the blonde's confused voice
echoed after him. He must be coming down with a cold. No other
explanation made sense. He was Hale, Protector First Class, a
direct descendant of Zeus, and he had a heck of a reputation
with the ladies. The Hale he knew simply did not turn tail and
run from bikini-clad women.

Hopping Hades, what was wrong with him? Flu? Leprosy?
Consumption? What?

Whatever it was, the fact remained that he simply wasn't in
the mood, despite how soft and willing the girl might be. As
he climbed the stairs, her voice drifted up from the lobby,
calling his name as she searched for him. She couldn't see
him, but even so he raced ahead, zipping up the stairwell at
lightning speed until he reached his room on the fifteenth
floor. Only after he'd slammed the door behind him did he

Elmer looked up, his beady little eyes curious. He opened his
mouth but Hale held out a hand, in no mood to be razzed by his
furry friend.

"Don't say a word. Not one word."

The ferret managed a shrug. I wasn't going to say I told you
so. Really I wasn't.

"Just get ready," Hale growled. "We're leaving."


Excerpted from Aphrodite's Passion
by Julie Kenner
Copyright © 2002 by Julie Kenner.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

A USA Today Waldenbooks, Barnes & Noble and Locus Magazine bestselling author, Julie is a two-time RITA Finalist and a Romantic Times' Reviewer's Choice Award winner. Kenner, who has a background in both screenwriting and law, has published novels with Dorchester, Berkley, Ace, Harlequin and Pocket Books. Kenner writes a wide range of genres including superhero romances, straight contemporary romance, young adult, paranormal mysteries, suspense and urban fantasy. Carpe Demon (Berkley 2005) is currently in development as a feature film with Warner Brothers and 1492 pictures.

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Aphrodite's Passion 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
NavyWave62 More than 1 year ago
This was my first book out of the series. This one was part of the bundle deal under The Bodyguards, which has 5 books by different author's. I think I would have like the story on Zoe and how she saved the world, because it was hinted at in this book and had some interesting secondary character's that I am sure were in book 1. Even though I didn't read the other's, I wasn't totally lost in starting with this story. It would have just made this story richer. I won't go into detail about the plot, because that has been done, but this is certainly different, sometimes in a good way. You will laugh a lot in this story, which is very unique. I felt sorry for Tracy but she overcame a lot to fall in love with her superhero. Does have sex descriptions, so be warned, but not in the erotica way. (ljb)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed very much
Jutzie More than 1 year ago
Aphrodite’s Passion by Julie Kenner Protectors/Superheros Series Book 2 (4th story) Hale has some issues with mortals. As a famous romance cover model he enjoys their attentions and he’ll protect them, but that’s as far as it goes. Well, until his sister Zoe went and married one. Now Taylor and his friends are mortals that Hale…..well he likes them…..against his will of course. So when he is assigned to find Aphrodite’s Girdle and has to get close to a mortal he figures he’ll do what he does best. He’ll seduce her, get the belt and be on his way. That was his plan anyways. Tracy Tannin is far from famous like her grandmother was. In fact, she finds herself rather plain. When she finds an unfashionable belt her grandma left her, she starts wearing it for confidence and it seems to work. Suddenly men are giving her attention and asking her out. And mugging her. Her life takes a sudden turn and at least the handsome Hale is there to help her. One of Hale’s superpowers is animalinguist, he can talk to animals. His constant companion is Elmer the ferret. The author does a remarkable job of bringing Elmer to life and he often steals the show with his thoughts and comments. This is actually the fourth story with some of the same characters. If you enjoy series you’ll want to start with The Cat’s Fancy, Aphrodite’s Kiss and Aphrodite’s Embrace. The next book in the series is Aphrodite’s Secret. **Sexual content 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it and after searching for this one I finally founf it but I really enjoyed the sample I got and I am going to read the crap out of this one and far it is really awesome the main characters had an awesome storyline I enjoyed it so far.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like I said boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was awesome. I wanted something different to read because alot of the books out there are the same.... not this one! OMG I loved this soooooooo much!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What more do you need in a book but a guy who is really a superhero? Well, this is one of these books. Julie Kenner is a great author and her first two books, THE CAT'S FANCY and APHRODITE'S KISS, were fun to read! Her newest book is just as good. And Hale is a wonderful hero who melts your heart. I could not put this one down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Protector Hale looks at mortals with disdain except for his half-sister Zoe, who he rationalizes has some real blood flowing in her veins to overcome her tainted side. Hale is assigned to obtain Aphrodite's Girdle, a magical artifact that has been missing for years has suddenly surfaced. If Hieronymous the outcast former Protector gains the belt, he might control the world.

Mortal Tracy Tannin wears the belt though she has no idea what she is wearing. All she knows is that she, a plain Jane, now has males chasing after her. Hale knows he must not use his powers to acquire the belt, so he plans to seduce her into giving it to him. However, to his chagrin he finds himself wanting Tracy and not just for a one-night stand even if he rationalizes that the Girdle is doing this to him.

The sequel to APHRODITE¿S KISS, APHRODITE¿S PASSION, is an engaging metaphysical romantic suspense. Readers will gain immense pleasure from the amusing plot. The lead characters are a delight as both share love and denial. Hale refuses to accept he could ever love a creature so beneath him like his mortal beloved and Tracy cannot believe that she could capture the heart of this God-like hunk without donning the belt. The story line is amusing though the intrigue elements seem more of a diversion. The return of the cast from the previous novel adds to the fun and hopefully leads to a certain cousin starring in Julie Kenner¿s next Aphrodite¿s tale.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
Hale. Hale. Hale. I adored Hale as the hero in this book! A romance cover model who's assignment is to save the world. It's funny, sexy, and best of all -- there's Mordi. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Julie Kenner has brought us another wonderful story in the Aphrodite Series. This one with the delectable Hale as the hero. With her usual flare for comedy and romance, Kenner tells a tale that is warm, funny and incredibly sexy. Can¿t wait for the next installment!