Romancing the Stone [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Nicole Ash
eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
eBook Description: Catapulted into a strange medieval-like world, Lexi discovers the inhabitants are in need of a celestial maiden to awaken the stone warrior to defend the realm. It sounds better than being mistaken for a witch. The catch is that the sacrifice must be willing and Lexi has a real problem with the 'sacrifice' part of that charming legend. Moreover, she is less than thrilled to awaken and find herself bound hand and foot to an enormous stone warrior. Rating: Contains explicit sex, graphic language, and some violence.
eBook Publisher: New Concepts Publishing, Published: 2005
Fictionwise Release Date: December 2005
214 Reader Ratings:
Aunt Dionne's apartment was messy. "A sure sign she didn't get the chance to clean up. She'd have never wanted the police to see it like this," Lexi muttered uneasily as she looked around.
Her coffee cup sat on the coffee table, hardly missing a sip. A book lay on the floor beside the table with its pages splayed and bent, dropped at some point and never touched again. "Something else Aunt Dionne would never have done."
Books mattered too much to both of them for either to purposefully damage one that way. It had taken great effort on Lexi's part not to pick up the book when she had first discovered that her Aunt Dionne was missing. She had come for a visit, as she did almost every day, and found the door unlocked. This of course would not have been suspicious if Dionne were actually home, but she was far too paranoid about being robbed of what little she had to consider leaving her place unlocked if she'd just decided to go out.
Lexi had immediately called the library. The manager had confirmed that Dionne had not come in to work that day.
She had never missed a day of work in her life. She loved her job and everything about it. The moment she had heard that, Lexi knew that something was terribly wrong.
In a panic, she had called the police, insisting they come and start a search for Dionne. They had, in effect, called her crazy.
"They aren't going to look for her. She could be dead and they just don't give a damn!" She wiped away tears that came unbidden to her eyes, with very little success, and sat back on Dionne's small brown love-seat.
Aunt Dionne had always referred to the apartment as cozy, but they both knew it was just plain small. When they'd first moved out together to this side of town, they had rented the apartment together. It had been much roomier at the time, but that was before they'd proceeded to fill it with the books they both loved so much. It had been hard at times living under each other, but they'd lived like that most of their lives, first at her father's house, then here. They had a lot in common, and that made things a little easier for them. They were almost the same age, since Earl, Lexi's father, had started early and her grandfather had never willingly stopped. They were practically sisters.
Lexi surveyed the living room, fighting back the tears. The walls were lined with the black metal bookshelves she had helped Dionne put together, each shelf filled to capacity with books. Since she'd left, Dionne had started stacking books in front of the shelves and all around the seldom used T.V. leaving nothing but a tight winding trail between her furniture and the shelves. Pictures hung high on the walls, pictures of their long dead family, but most were obscured by the books. Other than the dark brown couch she sat upon, the T.V., and Aunt Dionne's recliner, there was no furniture.
"Why did I ever leave?" Lexi's shoulders shook and she sobbed uncontrollably. "Why, oh why, oh why..." She needed me here. She was lonely without me. I was lonely! Oh god, it's my fault she's gone!"
Lexi had decided to move out on her own just over a month ago and had regretted it every single day since. She'd thought it would be great to be able to stretch her legs without bumping into Dionne, to live where she wouldn't have to scoot past her in the kitchen. "I thought we'd both be better off. What on earth made me think that?" They had both ended up miserable without each other to talk to, and because of the one year lease she had signed, she couldn't even afford to move back.
"Dionne wouldn't have left this place willingly. I know she wouldn't."
The police weren't so sure, but they didn't know Dionne like she did. The officer who had come to take her report told her himself, after looking scornfully around himself at the mounds of books, that since there was no sign of a struggle and Dionne's purse was missing, that she'd probably decided to get away from it all. 'It isn't illegal to leave without telling anyone,' he'd said. 'Give us a call if you don't hear from her in a week or two.'
Lexi had visions of poor Aunt Dionne lying dead in a ditch somewhere, which brought on another round of sobs. "Aunt Dionne wouldn't have left without telling me! She wouldn't do that to me! I'm the only family she has." She stumbled into the kitchen and washed her face, forcing herself to calm down. "You're not doing her a bit of good crying and carrying on like this. What would she do if you were missing?" She wouldn't be able to get help from the police, that's for sure. "She'd try to retrace your steps, find out where you were last."
Wait, doesn't that only work when you're trying to find your keys? "It has to work for people too."
She looked around at the kitchen spotting the carton of milk she'd noticed earlier on the floor beside the refrigerator. "If this is on the outside.... "Picking the still cool carton up, she opened the frige. "Ah ha!" There, between an open can of Coke and some leftover Chinese was Aunt Dionne's missing purse. "I knew she didn't mean to leave!"
Suddenly, the small triumph of finding her purse seemed like a bad thing. At least if she'd left on her own.... She sniffled, swung the purse onto her shoulder with her own, dropped the spoilt milk into the sink, and stalked back into the living room, hands on her hips.
"Only one thing in the world can distract someone that completely."
She sat on the couch and looked down at the book on the floor, agonizing for several moments over whether or not she should touch it. "I guess it doesn't really matter what I touch or move now." She lifted it carefully, smoothing out its pages. "I bet she was reading this when she was abducted." She turned the book over in her hands several times. "Where on earth would she find a book like this?" She peeked inside, but didn't see a library card.
The book was really more a leather bound tome than anything else, with an intricate lock. Why would anyone want to lock a book? Unless it's something no one's supposed to read.... She ran her fingers over the worked leather, marveling at its age and craftsmanship. "Water, fire, earth, air." The designs were interwoven, but still plain to see. "The four elements. Looks like heavy reading." She'd always been partial to romance herself, and for the most part Dionne was as well, but she sometimes went off on a tangent, reading strange books few people could understand. It was actually just like her to read a book no one was supposed to read. Curiosity piqued, Lexi opened it to its first page. "Greek? What was Aunt Dionne doing reading Greek?" Aunt Dionne had tried to encourage her own love of languages in Lexi, but she'd only been marginally successful. Lexi simply didn't have the head for it, only actually understanding one in twenty words in French or Spanish, less where Greek was concerned, even if she could read and speak it tolerably. What use is it to anyone to be able to read a word but not know it's meaning? It was Dionne's greatest disappointment.
Lexi stared hard at the alien words, trying harder than ever before to understand, but still failing as utterly as before. "Maybe.... "She read out-loud, hoping that hearing the words might jog some forgotten memory of their meaning. She paused, squeezing the bridge of her nose, trying to ward off the headache she felt forming behind her eyes. There has to be a clue here somewhere. Maybe it doesn't matter what's in the book. Maybe it only matters where she got the book. She looked down at the last two lines and decided to finish them before scouring the book stores in search of the one that had sold the tome to Aunt Dionne.
As she spoke the last word, cold blue fire leapt from the pages of the book, spreading up her arms in moments, climbing higher. Screaming, Lexi slammed the book shut and frantically slapped at the flames with it, but that only seemed to fan them. Dropping the book and throwing herself on the floor, she bumped her head on the table, rolling, knocking piles of books atop herself. Though the books thankfully seemed immune to the flames, the rolling did nothing to extinguish them. Lexi screamed hysterically as her world was consumed by flame and her vision turned to darkness.