Strands of Love
By: N.J. Walters | Other books by N.J. Walters
Published By: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc.
Published: May 10, 2013
ISBN # 9781419946318
Available in: Epub, HTML, Adobe Acrobat, Mobipocket (.prc)
Samantha Calloway is desperately working to keep her farm from financial ruin. It’s the only thing she has left from her deceased family and she’s determined to make it a success at any cost.
Darian and Jace Hunter live in a world where women are in short supply and brothers must share. The magic tapestry has always brought a potential tapestry bride to Javara, but this time it transports the two brothers to a strange land.
When Samantha finds two strangers on her land she doesn’t believe their stories of magic tapestries and other worlds. But when she suddenly finds herself in Javara, she doesn’t know what to believe. And when the tapestry transports them all back to her farm, Sam has a choice. She must decide if she will be true to her family and their legacy or if she will abandon it all for a chance at love.
A Romantica® time travel erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, please exit this site.
An Excerpt From: STRANDS OF LOVE
Copyright © N.J. WALTERS, 2013
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.
Jace’s eyes snapped open and he sprang to his feet, knife in hand. Where was he? Where was Darian? He looked around and his heart skipped a beat when he saw his brother lying in the dirt at his feet. He fell to his knees. “Darian.” He shook his brother, grateful to see the slow rise and fall of his chest. He was breathing.
He shook him again, keeping one eye on his surroundings. He had no idea where they were, but it didn’t look familiar. Stalks of dry brown wheat stood still, the hot air thick and unmoving. Above him, the sky was clear and blue.
What had happened to the storm? The horses? And why was his clothing dry instead of wet? How long had they been here?
“Darian.” He tapped his brother’s face, maybe a bit harder than was necessary, but he’d feel better about the situation if Darian was awake and on his feet.
His brother’s eyes shot open and he sat up quickly, barely stifling a moan as he grabbed his head. “What happened? Where are we?”
“I don’t know.” Jace slowly stood and had to squint against the brilliant sunlight. As far as he could see there were no people or homes, nothing beyond the sea of grain.
Darian slowly came to his feet and brushed the dust off his leather pants and vest. “The tapestry. What happened to it?”
Jace couldn’t see a single thread of the tapestry and swallowed down his rising anger. Were they stuck here, wherever here was? “I don’t know,” he repeated. He hated not having answers.
“One thing for certain. We’re not home.” Darian turned in a full circle. “Any idea which direction we should head.”
Jace went with his gut and pointed off to his left. “That way.”
They walked in silence, both of them on their guard, knives in hand. He had no idea if the people here were hostile or what kinds of animals they might encounter. It was hard to come to grips with the idea, but the tapestry had not brought a potential bride to them. Instead, it had ripped them from their home and taken them somewhere unknown.
Had they offended the gods in some way? The sorceress who’d created the tapestry?
What would happen to their mother, their people and Hunter Keep when they did not return home? Thankfully, no one would miss them for a day or two. If the tapestry worked as it normally did, it would return within three days and they could go home. Until then, all they had to do was survive. He refused to consider any other outcome. Once again, he wished he had his sword. Unfortunately, it was back in Javara with the horses. They had no food, no water and no idea where they were.
“This happened once before, didn’t it?” Darian broke the silence. Jace could tell his brother had been mulling over the same things he had. “Marc Garen got pulled away to his woman and then brought right back to Javara.”
That was the only time in their history that such a thing had happened. Jace didn’t know what was going on here. Why they’d been taken. But the tapestry was gone and they appeared to be stuck here for the time being.
Jace heard a rustling and then the brittle snap of vegetation being trod on by a boot. He grabbed Darian’s arm and dragged him down until they were both crouched among the stalks of grain. It wasn’t much cover, but the brown of their clothing and their blond hair helped them blend.
“Damn bank.” A disgruntled female voice reached them and Jace glanced toward his brother, who raised his eyebrow in silent question. He shook his head, indicating they should listen a bit longer before revealing themselves.
“And who does George Rawlins think he is, sniffing around my land?”
It was obvious the woman was upset. Her voice was deep and husky and Jace wanted to see her, to put a face to the voice. He eased up just enough to catch a glimpse of a tall woman wearing some kind of pants and extremely short tunic. He frowned. The tunic clung to her breasts like a second skin and it was more than obvious she had an ample chest.
Her hair was obscured by a strange covering of some kind, the brim blocking the top half of her face from view. He needed a better angle.
Suddenly, she froze, her gaze shooting around and landing right on him. Her eyes widened and she took a step back. “Crap,” she muttered.
Jace slid his knife back into his boot and slowly stood, hands open in front of him. The last thing he wanted to do was frighten her. She didn’t appear to be armed and she was a lovely creature.
Her face was lightly tanned, her lips full, her nose straight. Dark-blue eyes narrowed and anger snapped in them. “Who are you and what are you doing on my land?”
Her land? She must be wealthy indeed if she owned land. And where was her man? Her father? It was unheard of for a woman to be alone in their world.
Darian stirred beside him and stood. Fear flashed over her face before it was quickly covered by anger. She straightened her shoulders and he felt pride at her courage. He wished her head covering was gone so he could see her hair more clearly.
Jace took a step toward her and she held out her hand. “Stop right there, mister. Start talking or I’m calling the sheriff.”
Sam’s heart was racing and her palms were sweating. What were these two enormous men doing in her fields? Both of them were tall, well over six feet. Their clothing was identical—leather pants, moccasin-style boots and open vests, which exposed a vast amount of tanned, muscled flesh. There wasn’t an ounce of fat on either of them.
She wanted to swallow but dust and fear had made her mouth too dry. Two sets of pale-blue eyes watched her. She felt like a mouse about to be pounced on by a hawk. Make that two hawks. Even their faces were hard and their jaws looked as though they were hewn from granite.
The one who’d stood first had a skinny braid on either side of his face. Both had hair so blond it was almost white.
“I am called Jace.” At least she had a name for the one with the braids. His nose had a slight bump in it, as though it had been broken at some point in his life. A white scar, about three inches long, bisected his left cheek.
Vikings. That’s what they reminded her of. They were even wearing bronze arm- and wristbands. They looked as though they should be on the cover of a romance novel, much like the ones she kept under her bed. All they needed were swords to completely pull off the look.
“Jace what?” She was pleased with how calm her voice sounded. She slowly pulled her phone out of her back pocket and prayed she could get service from here. It wasn’t always reliable.
“Hunter.” It was the other man who spoke. He was slightly shorter than Jace, but no less intimidating. “My name is Darian. Darian Hunter.”
He smiled and it made him less intimidating. He looked remarkably like Jace, who was obviously his brother, except his hair was longer, falling to halfway down his back. Jace’s hair hung to just below his shoulders. None of the men around here would wear their hair that long, but it certainly didn’t detract from their masculinity. If anything, it added to it.
“Why are you here?” They didn’t look like crazed killers. And they’d made no move to attack her. In fact, they seemed to sense her unease and were keeping their distance. Sam relaxed slightly, but kept her phone at the ready. She had the sheriff’s office on speed dial, considered it only practical since she lived and worked alone.
Jace shook his head. “We’re not sure.”
Okay, what exactly did he mean by that? “I’m Sam Calloway and you’re trespassing. This is my land.” Maybe they worked for one of her neighbors and had gotten lost. It was easy enough to do if you weren’t familiar with the land and these two boys certainly didn’t look local. “Are you lost?”
Darian nodded. “Yes, lost.”
Sam sighed, knowing she just couldn’t leave them here, not in this heat. They didn’t have any supplies with them, no water at all. A body could die of heat stroke if he wasn’t careful.
“Who are you working for? Adams? Cutler?” Those were her two closest neighbors. A bead of sweat rolled down her temple and she took off her hat and rubbed her arm over her forehead before pulling it back on again.
The men exchanged glances. “We are not working for anyone.”
Great, just great. They were drifters. Just what she didn’t need. “Well, you’re out of luck with me. I’m not hiring. And there’s no money to steal back at the house. I’m dirt poor.” Hopefully that piece of news would get them moving along quickly.
“You might try the feed store in town. They always know who’s hiring.” She pointed off to her right. “Road is about two miles that way. Go left when you hit it and it’s about twenty miles.” No way was she going to feel guilty for not offering to drive them. She couldn’t afford to waste the gas.
Both men stiffened, but it was the tough one who spoke. “We are not thieves.” Jace propped his hands on his hips and scowled at her.
She mirrored his stance and scowled right back at him, her patience almost shot. “I’m not accusing you, I’m just laying out the facts.”
“We mean no offense.” Darian offered a smile. Damned if he wasn’t just about the most handsome man she’d ever met. Both of them were, but Jace was a little more rugged, less pretty than his brother.
A tingling sensation low in her belly caught her off guard. Oh hell, not that, anything but that. She was attracted to him, to them. Crap, she was attracted to both of them. Okay, so they were handsome in a rugged way with muscles that looked as though they’d been sculpted by the hand of God, but she didn’t need that in her life right now. She had enough troubles without adding a man to the mix.
“Look, you guys need to go.” Cursing herself, she knew she couldn’t simply boot them off her land without at least giving them some water. “You can follow me back to the house and I’ll get you some water. After that, you can be on your way.”
No way was she offering them anything to eat. It didn’t appear as though either of them had missed a meal. They were both filled out nicely.
Stop it , she admonished herself. No noticing how sexy they both are . Of course, her hormones paid her no attention and both her nipples stood at attention. She fought the urge to hunch her shoulders, hoping they wouldn’t notice.
“Follow me.” Making her decision, she turned her back on them and strode toward the house. It would take at least twenty minutes to get there. She cursed herself for not taking the tractor, for allowing George to upset her.
She’d get rid of these men and then figure out what she was going to do about her situation. Sam glanced over her shoulder and was relieved to note that they were keeping a good distance between her and them.
Then she realized they were talking and wished they were close enough for her to hear what they were saying. She raised her phone and was pleased to see she had service. Should she call Sheriff Pritchard? Her finger rubbed the button but didn’t press down. She didn’t feel threatened but, then again, she didn’t always have the best judgment when it came to men. George was a case in point.
She hurried, lengthening her stride. The quicker they got back to the house, the quicker they’d be gone. She ignored the slight pang in her chest at the thought of being alone again. That was her life now and she’d just have to get used to it.
Darian did his best not to watch Sam’s ass as she walked, but it was impossible. The clothing she was wearing emphasized her small waist and curvy hips. His gaze went up her slender spine, noting the black braid that hung just below her shoulder blades, but then it went back to her swaying behind.
“What do you think?” Jace asked, keeping his voice low.
“I want her.” His cock was semi-erect and he wanted to make a place for himself between her firm thighs and fuck her until she screamed with pleasure.
Jace cursed. “Besides that?”
Darian dragged his gaze away from Sam. Jace was staring at him, his expression a combination of anger and need. There was no doubting Jace wanted her too. Good, that meant he’d fight for her. With both of them trying to convince her, maybe they could sway her mind and have her agree to belong to them.