Read Christina's Tapestry Online

Authors: N. J. Walters

Tags: #General Fiction

Christina's Tapestry

CHRISTINA’S TAPESTRY

An Ellora’s Cave Publication, July 2005

Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

1056 Home Ave.

Akron, OH 44310

ISBN MS Reader (LIT) ISBN # 1-4199-0287-3

Other available formats (no ISBNs are assigned):

Adobe (PDF), Rocketbook (RB), Mobipocket (PRC) & HTML

CHRISTINA’S TAPESTRY Copyright © 2005 N.J. WALTERS

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.

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

Edited by
Pamela Cohen.

Cover art by
Syneca
.

Warning:

The following material contains graphic sexual content meant for mature readers.
Christina’s Tapestry
has been rated E–rotic by a minimum of three independent reviewers.

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

S-
ensuous
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. In addition, some E-rated titles might contain fantasy material that some readers find objectionable, such as bondage, submission, same sex encounters, forced seductions, and so forth. E-rated titles are the most graphic titles we carry; it is common, for instance, for an author to use words such as

“fucking”, “cock”, “pussy”, and such within their work of literature.

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

CHRISTINA’S TAPESTRY

N.J. Walters

Dedication

For the amazing readers at the Cave. Your unwavering acceptance and support since the very beginning has been nothing short of inspiring. Thank you for embracing my characters and me and changing my life. You know who you are. Also, as always, thank you to my editor, Pamela Cohen, who always makes me a better writer by her hard work and advice.

For my incredible husband. Thank you for your continued love and belief in me. I couldn’t do it without you.

Christina’s Tapestry

Chapter One

“Men suck.”

Christina Beaumont leaned in closer to hear her friend over the din of the Friday evening crowd gathered in the bar. She could see Brenda valiantly fighting back tears as she took a sip of her drink.

“What happened?” She had to yell her question to be heard over the music and loud voices. She was beginning to think that coming here after work hadn’t been such a good idea after all. But when Brenda had called her at the office begging her to meet her, she had caved. She liked Brenda, but her friend was one of those women who were always in crisis with her latest boyfriend.

“Jason and I had a fight.” Brenda dabbed at her eyes.

Christina was always amazed at the way Brenda could cry and not disturb her makeup. Even worse, she actually looked good while she cried. Her eyes would fill with tears and look luminous and vulnerable. When Christina cried, all she got was red eyes and blotchy skin. “What happened?”

But her friend was no longer paying any attention to her. Christina turned and glanced over her shoulder to see what had snagged Brenda’s attention and groaned. Jason was strutting his way across the room, a determined look on his face. As he wove in and around the crowds, his eyes never left Brenda’s face. Christina felt all but invisible by the time he reached their table.

“Come home with me, baby.” Jason slid his arm around Brenda’s shoulders as he leaned down to kiss her.

Christina looked away and sighed. She’d heard it and seen it all before, but she still didn’t understand the strange relationship that her friend had with Jason. They seemed to delight in fighting and making scenes in public places, which were inevitably 5

N.J. Walters

followed with a passionate lovemaking session. She knew this little fact because Brenda always shared every intimate detail of it with her the following day, whether she wanted to hear it or not.

Christina started when she felt a hand touch her shoulder.

“I’ve got to go,” Brenda whispered. “Jason and I need to talk. You understand, don’t you?”

Christina nodded. Really, what else could she do? Brenda gave her a tremulous smile, turned and walked away. Jason wrapped his arm around her waist and they disappeared into the crowd.

The noise was giving her a headache and she wished she’d just said no when Brenda had pleaded with her to meet her for drinks. She’d just known that something like this was going to happen, didn’t it always?

When the waitress plunked her tray down on the table and deposited the second round of drinks, Christina sighed and dug out her wallet to pay. After all, it wasn’t the waitress’s fault she couldn’t say no to Brenda. Leaving the drinks untouched, she gathered her coat and purse and made her way towards the door.

“Excuse me,” she repeated over and over as she was jabbed by elbows fighting her way through the crowd. She’d had her feet stepped on twice by the time she got to the door.

Stumbling out of the bar, she was immediately drenched by the water pouring from the sky. Even though the weather man had promised it would rain today, it hadn’t been raining when she’d gone in a little over an hour ago. Now it was coming down in buckets. Ducking back under the awning, she tugged her raincoat on and zipped it up tight. Her skirt and blouse were already soaked and she shivered as the wet fabric clung to her skin.

Out of the corner of her eye, she caught sight of a cab coming her way. Raising her hand and waving, she managed to flag him down. As she stepped towards the curb, the 6

Christina’s Tapestry

cab swerved in and sent a shower of dirty water over her. Christina coughed and sputtered, swiping at the water that stung her eyes.

The sound of laughter and a car door slamming filled her ears. Before she could even get the muck cleared from her eyes, she knew that someone else had taken her cab.

“Damn it,” she swore under her breath before sucking back the anger that threatened to overflow.

Taking a deep calming breath, she turned and started walking down the center of the sidewalk, her strides long and sure. It was still early in the evening and she was already soaked, so she might as well walk to the subway station and save the cab fare. The cold March air whipped at her coat and she grasped the corner of her hood with her left hand to keep the wind from blowing it down. She sloshed through the slush and the water as she hurried down the almost deserted street. The light from a store window drew her gaze as she passed. She glanced at the display and almost stumbled, she stopped so suddenly.

She no longer felt the cold or the rain that pummeled her body as she stood with her nose pressed to the glass window. Her fingers trembled as she reached out towards the tapestry that was displayed on the other side of the glass. Its vibrant colors and almost lifelike quality was enthralling. It was, quite simply, the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen in her life.

She had to have it. Somehow she knew that it was meant to belong to her. Groping her way to the front door of the shop, she tugged on the handle. It was locked. Desperation seized her as she banged her fist on the door. There had to be someone inside the store.

An elderly lady, her white hair coiled neatly in a bun on her head, appeared on the other side of the door. Christina could see her shaking her head through the glass.

“We’re closed.”

Christina’s stomach clenched as determination filled her. “Please. I just want to see the tapestry in the window.” She pointed to the window as she shouted. 7

N.J. Walters

The woman’s face softened and she smiled gently as she slowly reached out and unlocked the door. Christina almost cried with relief when the woman ushered her inside, closing and bolting the door behind her.

“I’m really sorry about this.” Now that she was inside, Christina began to realize just how crazy her actions must seem to the other woman. “It’s just that I saw the tapestry as I passed by and…” She trailed off, not quite sure how to explain her sudden obsession.

But the older woman just laughed softly. “I understand, my dear. You just wait here and I’ll get it for you.”

Christina watched the woman’s every move. A feeling of anticipation shot through her as the woman carefully removed the item from the window and brought it over to the front counter. Spreading it over the flat surface, she motioned Christina closer. Almost hesitantly, she edged nearer, afraid that the piece would not live up to her expectations when she examined it up close. The tapestry was about two feet wide and three feet long. The rich colors created a picture unlike any she’d ever seen. A large stone castle stood in the background, surrounded by a forest. Various birds and animals were hidden in the depths of the trees. The longer she looked, the more she saw in the intricate design. Her fingers itched to touch it so she shoved her hands in her pockets. A river flowed to the left of the castle, the blue-gray water tumbling over rocks and carving a path into the forest behind it. Silvery fish jumped and glittered in its depths. It was so real, she almost felt as if she could hear the plop of the fish as they breached the surface.

There were flowers of every shape and color, many of which she didn’t recognize. But they were all beautifully framed against the castle and the thick growth of trees. There were pine trees, their needles a green so deep they looked almost black in places and trees covered with leaves of various shapes and sizes, in every shade of green imaginable. She could almost sense them moving in the breeze. 8

Christina’s Tapestry

Whoever had created this tapestry was indeed an artist. The picture was so alive that Christina felt that if she stared at it long enough, she would actually see the river run and the trees sway. It was mesmerizing.

But it was the two warriors standing in front of the castle that captivated her. Both were tall and strong. Their chests and arms rippled and bulged with muscles, even though they were standing with their arms folded across their chests in a seemingly casual stance. Only a leather vest covered their torsos, leaving most of their chests and all of their arms bare. Wide metal bands, the color of bronze, were clasped around their upper arms and wrists.

Leather breeches molded strong thighs and cupped rather impressive bulges in the front. She couldn’t help but think that the maker of the tapestry had definitely taken artistic license. Both wore leather boots that came to just below their knees. They gave off an aura of barely leashed power that could explode at a moment’s notice. Both of them had long, straight hair, although one warrior had brown hair, the other black. Strands of it flew out behind them as if it was being whipped around by an unseen wind. They looked proud and strong, protectors of the castle and its inhabitants. Their features seemed to take on a sharper definition the longer she stared at them. There was a similar look about them, and she felt that they could be related. They both had long faces with high foreheads and cheekbones. Their features were rough-hewn, but not unattractive. They definitely weren’t pretty, but they were compelling. Their slightly hooked noses and golden brown eyes made them look like birds of prey. The taller one had fuller lips, but both faces were filled with carnal knowledge and sensual promise. In spite of her cold, damp clothing, Christina felt a warmth flood her body. She could almost imagine their voices, deep and slightly rough, promising all kinds of sexual delights. The skin on their hands would be rough as they touched her. They would whisper in her ear, telling her in great detail what they wanted to do to her, separately and together.

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N.J. Walters

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