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Authors: N. J. Walters

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Tapestries 03 - Woven Dreams

BOOK: Tapestries 03 - Woven Dreams
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An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication

www.ellorascave.com

Woven Dreams

ISBN 9781419911286

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Woven Dreams Copyright © 2007 N.J. Walters

Edited by Mary Altman.

Cover art by Syneca.

Electronic book Publication July 2007

This book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.

Content Advisory:

S – ENSUOUS

E – ROTIC

X – TREME

Ellora’s Cave Publishing offers three levels of Romantica™ reading entertainment: S (Sensuous), E (Erotic), and X (X-treme).

The following material contains graphic sexual content meant for mature readers. This story has been rated E–rotic.

Sensuous love scenes are explicit and leave nothing to the imagination.

E-rotic love scenes are explicit, leave nothing to the imagination, and are high in volume per the overall word count. E-rated titles might contain material that some readers find objectionable—in other words, almost anything goes, sexually. E-rated titles are the most graphic titles we carry in terms of both sexual language and descriptiveness in these works of literature.

X-treme titles differ from E-rated titles only in plot premise and storyline execution. Stories designated with the letter X tend to contain difficult or controversial subject matter not for the faint of heart.

TAPESTRIES:

N.J. Walters

Dedication

This one is for all the wonderful readers who have embraced this series and continued to ask for more Tapestries books!

Thank you to my amazing editor, Mary Altman. You always make my work better!

And to my husband, Gerard, who is a constant source of love and inspiration.

Chapter One

Genita traced her finger lovingly over the rich, vibrant threads of the tapestry. She could almost feel the breeze that brushed the leaves of the trees and caused the flowers to sway, releasing their lush scent into the air. There were so many different species of trees and flowers, but she knew them all, was familiar with their properties. She knew which ones were good for healing and which ones were safe for consumption. She knew from experience which flowers, stems, berries and bark she needed to harvest to create dyes for cloth and threads.

The sun glinted off the gray stones of the castle that dominated the center of the two-by-three-foot cloth. Huge doors of oak and metal guarded the entrance to the domain. It was a fortress, yet it was a family home. Tall, slender windows were set high in the building, some of them full of wondrous pictures crafted from colored glass. How beautiful it must be to sit in one of those rooms when the sun shone through, spreading its myriad colors across the floors and walls. There was something about the building that called to her, urging her to find it. Here, it promised, she would find peace. Here she would be safe.

She glanced around her own small, barren room. It was barely large enough for the tiny bed that was pushed against one wall. She had driven hooks into the walls to hold her few meager pieces of clothing. Her one miniscule window was set high into the wall, admitting only a few thin rays of sunshine late in the day. There were no panes of colored glass to add life to her room—only dark wooden shutters that she had to stand on a low stool in order to reach every evening to close out the damp night air. The room was dismal at best. Cold and miserable at worst.

Her soul craved the heat and light of the sun, but rarely was she able to be outside taking pleasure in it. Usually she was hard at work. But there were moments like this one where she was able to escape the drudgery of her life and do what she wanted to do.

Returning her attention to the tapestry, she smiled as she stroked the fabric. It was almost alive beneath her hands. Her smile faded as her fingers touched the first of the two warriors standing guard in front of the castle. Standing tall, their legs were spread apart and their arms were folded across their chests. Strong and hard, the muscles of their torsos and arms seemed to ripple when she moved the fabric. Brown leather pants molded their rock-hard thighs and their leather vests hung open, displaying their wide chests. Bronze armbands encircled their wrists and forearms and swords hung from belts that hugged their trim waists.

They were both blond, their long, straight hair hanging to their waists. Their eyes were a pale blue, the color of a summer sky. They were brothers, but they appeared 5

different. Where one had the face of a god—a handsome visage that included high cheekbones, a broad forehead, a straight nose and full, sensual lips—the other was scarred. The scar ran across his left cheek, giving him an almost sinister appearance. She shivered as she touched it. Looking harder, she realized his hair was slightly different from that of the other warrior. Yes, it was blond, but there were touches of white as well.

Genita frowned. How had that happened? She’d set every stitch of this tapestry with her own two hands, all the while spinning romantic tales in her head about the two strong warriors depicted. But during the long months she’d toiled to complete it, she had no memory of adding the white to his hair.

She wanted to examine it further, but now was not the time. Later tonight, when everyone was abed, she’d light her single candle and study the pattern of the stitches.

A shiver ran down her spine as the eyes of the warriors seemed to watch her, seeing into her thoughts—indeed, into her very soul. She brought her fingers to her lips, tracing the tips over them. What would it be like to feel each of their mouths against hers? Would they be rough or gentle? Genita didn’t know. What experiences she’d had with men hadn’t been good.

But this was her fantasy and she could have anything she wanted. They would be gentle, she decided, but firm. Closing her eyes, she sucked in a deep breath.

Male hands sank into her hair and pulled her closer, holding her captive for his kiss.

Her lips parted and she moaned as his tongue sank into her mouth, stroking hers enticingly, inviting her to play.

Another set of male hands gripped her hips from behind. She could feel the warmth of his flesh as he crowded behind her, bringing her back tight against his chest.

Something hard dug into her bottom and she gasped when she realized that he was aroused.

His hands slid upward, stroking over her belly, hovering just below her breasts.

They felt heavy, her nipples tightening and pressing against the bodice of her dress. She wanted his hands on her breasts, touching them, stroking them. Liquid heat gathered low in her belly, making her squirm. Both men crowded closer until their cocks were pressed tight against her, one against her behind, the other against her stomach.

Her sex throbbed in a deep, clenching rhythm. For the first time in her life she wanted a man. No, men. She wanted both of them. She wanted to feel their hands caressing every inch of her skin and then she wanted to do the same for them. Placing her hands against the chest of the warrior in front of her, she stroked the heavy muscle that rippled beneath her fingers.

The warrior behind her slid his hands higher, cupping her breasts in his palms.

Tipping her head back, she gasped for breath. Her nipples tightened further as he rotated his hands, and she began to undulate her hips, unable to stop their primal 6

rhythm. The warrior in front of her growled as he gripped her hips, grinding his erection against her stomach.

Heat ran through her veins, setting her entire body on fire. She was completely surrounded by their strength and their need. Yet they gave even as they took. Her breasts ached, so she pushed them harder into the warrior’s hands. He laughed as he leaned his head down and stroked his tongue across the nape of her neck. She shivered, her body trembling with desire. He captured the lobe of her ear between his teeth, nipping the sensitive flesh even as his thumb and forefingers gently pinched her swollen nipples through her dress.

Her body was no longer under her control. Rather than being frightened, she reveled in it. The warrior in front of her gripped one of her thighs, lifting it to wrap around his hip. The motion tilted her hips forward, bringing her sex closer to his rock-hard erection.

“Yes,” she sighed as he ground his pelvis against hers. Hot cream slid from her core, dampening her thighs. An ache built inside her.

Gripping the warrior in front of her, she sobbed as she tried to bring him even closer. Her body cried out for his. For both men. Close. She was so close. Her body was going to explode. Every nerve ending was tingling. Breathing was almost impossible.

Almost there. Almost…

“Genita!” The roar shook the floor beneath her very feet, vibrating off the walls around her.

The warriors disappeared, nothing but a figment of her imagination. Gasping for air, she blinked hard, trying to bring herself back to reality. She was standing next to her bed, staring blindly down at the tapestry. Her legs trembled and a thin sheen of sweat dampened her body. Her hand was shaking as she swiped it over her clammy forehead. Her breasts ached and the deep pulsing between her damp thighs reminded her of just how empty her life was.

“Genita!” Closer. Oh gods, he was almost here. She could hear his boots pounding up the stairs.

Grabbing the tapestry, she rolled it quickly into a bundle and stuffed it beneath her thin mattress. Rubbing her moist hands over her coarse, woven dress, she hurried toward the door. From the tone of his voice, she could tell her brother was in one of his moods. That didn’t bode well for her or anybody else who got within striking distance.

These black moods had come more and more frequently the past year, ever since the deaths of two of their brothers. All remnants of arousal were quickly replaced by a growing fear.

She was halfway to the door when it slammed open, striking against the stone wall.

It hit with such force it bounced closed and was immediately hammered back again.

She froze as her oldest brother strode in through the door. He rarely made the climb to her small tower room. She swallowed hard and forced herself to relax. Her brother was 7

a bully and enjoyed other people’s fear of him. She tried not to give him that satisfaction.

“Where have you been, woman?” He stalked across the room to stand directly in front of her.

She had to tilt back her head to meet his gaze. He was a huge man, muscular and fit. At one point in his life, he’d been handsome as well. But years of drinking, hard living and bitterness had left their marks on his face. Deep lines encased his mouth and eyes, and his cheeks and nose were florid with a combination of never-ending rage and drink.

“Did you need me for anything?” She kept her voice low and respectful.

His laughter wasn’t pleasant, but rather cruel. “You’re not of much use, are you, little sister?”

She kept her tongue, knowing that anything she said at this point would only anger him further. He caught her chin between his thumb and forefinger, digging them into her skin. “Useless—that’s what you are. Taking up space and eating food. And for what?” Practically shoving her away, he began to pace.

Genita began to sweat as nausea churned in her gut. Something was wrong and she strongly suspected that whatever it was, it wasn’t going to be good for her.

“You just turned twenty, Genita.” He turned and strode back toward her. “It’s time to make yourself useful.”

She almost snorted with laughter. Useful! She’d been running their home and taking care of her loutish brothers her entire life. She was more slave than sister, having less rights and respect than the scullery lads in the kitchen. She’d toiled from sunup until way past sunset every single day of her life and all she had to show for it was calloused hands, bruises and the scars on her body from years of beatings.

“We need to make a new alliance and you’re going to help us.” She could feel herself paling. For years her brothers had threatened to marry her off, but it had never happened. They enjoyed dangling the prospect in front of potential allies, taking their gold and then laughingly sending them on their way. This time, she sensed, her brother was in deadly earnest.

“Why now?”

His hand shot out, striking her across the face. She stumbled backward but didn’t cry out. “Why?” he roared. “I’ll tell you why.” His face turned such a violent shade of red, she wondered if he might be having some kind of fit. “Ever since our brothers were brutally murdered last year, we have been shorthanded. Beyond that, some of our allies have turned from us because of the vile lies of our enemies.” Genita curled her hands into fists at her sides. Her brother did like to rewrite history to suit his own purposes. Her other two brothers had brought on their own deaths when they ambushed another man. Their so-called allies were distancing themselves because they did not want to be part of any war that might result.

BOOK: Tapestries 03 - Woven Dreams
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