I'm using the ajax_links_api module to "ajaxify" a certain menu. When a menu button is clicked, the corresponding node loads into a specified div via ajax. This works well.
The problem is that the nodes I want to load in this way should not be accessible as pages. I often create Drupal content that is only designed to appear in views, or as related content on other pages and is not supposed to be displayed by itself. My method is to use .htaccess to block these pages. But when I do that, the ajax can't access them either.
Is there a way to block access to pages in a browser but to allow requests coming from Drupal itself? Localhost access is not really an option since the site may well end up spread across different servers and virtual machines.
If not, then can someone recommend an alternative to the ajax links module - perhaps I need to write some custom ajax that triggers Drupal to serve up a node "directly" rather than via a page - but I am confused about this and could use some pointers in the right direction. I must admit I find the "example" modules confusing!
EDIT: I've tried making a custom module as David Thomas suggests below and using hook_node_access. However this stops the ajax call from returning the content.