tagChain StoriesA Paperback Romance Ch. 09

A Paperback Romance Ch. 09


A Paperback Romance: Bravewolf

Lisa Travers walked to the front of the small used book store that she owned with her best-friend and former assistant. It was almost seven and she could see the sun sinking lower towards the blue waters of the Pacific. The old three story house along the famous Pacific Coast Highway just south of Ventura was an idyllic location. In addition to the occasional tourist that stopped for vacation reading material, they had a sold customer base of locals, especially the wives from the nearby naval base. Since Afghanistan and Iraq, the lonely wives had been even more regular visitors to A Paperback Romance.

The first floor of the historic house was devoted completely to the store. It walls were painted in pastel murals of romantic scenes. There was the desert scenery replete with its Native American hero and his Wild West heroine. On another wall was the Southern belle in her hoop skirts and her Rhett Butler-isk hero. But Lisa's favourite was the blonde Viking and his captured maiden prize.

Of course, there were also rows upon rows of book shelves lined with new and used romance novels. There were no other genres; just romance. It was the one thing sadly missing from Lisa's live. At thirty-nine, she had never been married. She had never even been in love; at least not the kind of love that was captured in the millions of paperback pages that surrounded her daily.

She had spent her time instead building a career as an attorney. Until a year and a half ago, she had been one of California's best corporate lawyers. Her clients had included several Fortune 500 companies as well as studios and dotcoms. She was a partner in a prestigious firm. She owned a fashionable condo in a high-rise on the beach. She had a large circle of acquaintances including several males, who could be pressed into service as an escort to a premier or awards should she need one. She had felt that her life was going exactly as planned.

All of that had changed though when she and her assistant had been attacked as they worked late one night. The attacker was her assistant and friend's ex-husband. They had been engaged in a bitter custody battle over their five year old daughter since Lisa had encouraged Katrina to leave the abusive relationship. When the judge granted custody to Katrina, her ex-husband had lost it. He had stalked and attacked them when he knew they were virtually alone in the office. If the building security guard had not gotten curious about why the delivery man was taking so long, they would have both died. Instead it was their saviour that paid with his life, but not before alerting the police to the situation.

Katrina had almost died from the collapsed lung and ruptured spleen from the multiple stab wounds. Lisa had mostly defensive wounds on her hands and arms, except for the single stab wound to her abdomen that had come inches from her womb. Until those long hours and days she lay in the hospital recovering, she had never spent much time thinking about her womb. She had just assumed that children were not part of her plan, but having come so close to death and almost losing the ability to bear a baby, she had begun to re-evaluate that decision...and most of the other ones in her life as well.

She had also discovered a new passion: paperback romance novels. Katrina had always been addicted to the stupid things. She always had a couple in the huge purse that she brought with her to work each day. She would read them on the bus to and from work as well as during her lunch hour each day. So Lisa had taken to reading them to her friend as she lingered in the drug induced coma that the doctors had placed her in to allow her battered body to heal. That was all it took: Lisa became as addicted to the tawdry love scenes and happy endings.

By the time that the doctors cleared her to return to work six weeks later, she had formed a plan. It had not taken that much of her legendary persuasive ability to convince Katrina, whom she had come to recognise as her one true friend, to join her in her folly. She had sold her condo and resigned her partnership. She had also liquidated enough of her resources to invest in their new dream: A Paperback Romance.

The moment they had seen this house; it had been instant love...although perhaps not the same type as in the books. It had required more than a little tender loving care to restore it to its previous grandeur. They had discovered that it had been the weekend love retreat of two of silent films most famous actors; the Brangelina of their day. The ground floor offered a huge front room as well as a small kitchen that they used to offer home-made goods to their customers; one of Katrina's many talents. There was also a smaller room that they used for weekly readings. It was decorated as authentically as possible including a large purple valour settee and several period chairs, tables and lamps.

The most unusual feature of the house was a huge basement that they used for storage. The top two floors had been divided up and became the personal residence of Lisa and Katrina. Katrina had the large second floor with two bedrooms, a living area and bathroom. It had become a peaceful retreat for Katrina and her young daughter to heal physically and mentally from their ordeal. Lisa had taken the top attic floor. Although it was smaller, it offered her all that she needed: a single bedroom, a small study and bathroom.

Clicking the lock into place and turning the sign in the window to 'Closed' before closing the lacy curtains in the windows. She smiled as she placed her hand protectively over her stomach; close to the large jagged red scar that streaked like lightening across her skin. Of course, if this particular private part of her plan worked like she hoped, she might well outgrow her small abode.

It was a secret; her secret. Not even Katrina knew about this portion of the plan that Lisa had hatched in those lonely walls of her condo. She was having a baby. Perhaps not in the same way that most women became mothers, but it was the most logical choice for her. She had undergone her first insemination that morning. It filled her with awe and more than a touch of fear to realise that even now a new baby might well be growing inside her.

But she had promised herself she would not dwell upon that; not until she knew one way or the other. She did not want to jinx it somehow. To get her mind off the temptation, she grabbed one of the new releases from the rack close to the computer checkout. She smiled as she looked at the flowing straight bleu-black hair of the Native American hero on the jacket. She wondered if she had subconsciously selected this particular book for that reason.

Of course, she had gone with an anonymous donor. Although she could have probably asked one of her male acquaintances, her experience with Katrina's ex-husband had taught her how brutal custody issues could become. She wanted none of that for this baby; it would be her baby alone. But even anonymous donors were not completely anonymous. She knew a few things about the man would be the 'father' of her child. He was thirty-one, six foot four and half Apache. She knew too that he was highly intelligent; as was often the case with sperm donors he had been a struggling medical student that had resorted to this unusual type of deposits in order to make the cash deposits required to fund his education.

She chuckled softly at the irony of her choice of books as she turned on the soft glow of a lamp and curled up on the lush purple settee. She knew that Katrina and her daughter, Keeleigh, would not be back for a couple of hours. There was a carnival at the elementary school; a Halloween carnival. Opening the paperback romance to the first chapter, she began:

Bravewolf stared through the deep greenery at the woman. She was pale; almost too pale. But it was the red flames that rose from her head and flowed down her back, stopping just above the alabaster full bottom that held his dark eyes captive. He had seen whites before; what of his people had not seen the cursed invaders these past few years. He had never seen such a colour though. Not that it could be called a single colour for like real flames it was more a blend of various shades and hues of red, orange and gold.

His body tightened though as she turned to stare at the outcropping of trees and bushes in which he hid. It was almost s if she could feel his presence, but he doubted that any white man would be so sensitive to the spirits. But still she crossed her arms protectively across the large, full bosoms that resembled ripe gourds. Her breasts were much too large for such a small frame. He guessed that the top of those regal flames would fit safely beneath his proud chin. His hands too could likely span her tiny waist. In many ways, she looked more child like than woman, except of course for those full bosoms and round-bottom, which were definitely all woman.

Lisa smiled. One thing to say for this new author, she did not waste any time getting to the good stuff. If the first two paragraphs were any indicator, this book would be one of the most popular among the naval wives with their forced celibacy. Lisa curled her legs up beneath her and returned to reading the brightly worded tome.

But the day had been long. She had gotten up before six to make the almost two hour trip into Los Angeles to the fertility clinic. That was not much earlier than her normal rising time, but Lisa had barely gotten any sleep the past few nights. In part of course it was the side-effects of the fertility drugs they had given her to optimize her chances of conceiving. Although mild, they still resulted in hot-flashes and cold sweats as well as more a bit of moodiness. Even Katrina had mentioned her behaviour was odd since it was not 'that' time of the month.

But it was also just the magnitude of her decision. She was not without some conflict about the whole thing. Having grown up in a traditional family with two loving parents and a younger brother, she wondered about even her abilities as a single parent, even as much as she wanted this baby and without any concern about finances. But at her age without so much as a single long-term relationship to her credit, she knew that she was running out of time. If she wanted a child...and she definitely did...then this was the most logical decision.

Yawning, she laid the book across her chest; thinking to grab a quick nap before Katrina and Keeleigh came home. She was soon drifting into a light slumber as the final rays of the setting sun filtered through the curtains as if to paint the rooms in a faint glow. But she tossed restlessly upon the narrow settee.

Her dreams were filled with the foggy image of a tall, bronze god dressed in nothing but buckskin. His hair was not the dark black of Bravewolf. It was a soft, warm brown and was not the stick straight of most Native Americans. Instead it flowed in gentle waves down his broad back and whipped about his face in the breeze. But it was his eyes that held her gaze. They were blue; a deep dark almost purple blue. And they held the weight of the world in his gaze.

His voice was low and smooth when he spoke, 'Where am I? Who are you?'

Lisa thought the questions odd for a dream, but responded simply. 'I am Lisa. Your woman. Does it matter where we are?' Some whimsical side of her mind recognized it as a dream and wanted to capture the opportunity fully.

His tanned brows furrowed as if he were trying to figure something out. But in the end, he simply nodded as he stepped from the fog. He stood directly before her. So close that she swore she could feel the heat of him warm her. Her nipples budded inside the soft white cotton of her bra. She felt a tingle between her legs as well.

The breath exploded from her lungs when he wrapped his arm about her waist. His dark face descended slowly towards hers. She noticed the nasty dark bruise and gash on his forehead then. But she did not have time to comment before his lips fastened over hers. The kiss, if you could call it that, was demanding. His lips were firm on hers, but when his tongue swept inside her mouth, she thought she would collapse with the power of his possession.

Lisa was not inexperienced. As a grown woman, she had her needs; she had never been one to deny herself either. She just kept things casual. But there was nothing casual about this man's kiss or touch. He seemed to brand her with each caress of his tongue and his strong hands upon her bottom. When his hand moved slowly up her torso to weight and knead her right breasts, she moaned into his open mouth.

But he drew back then. His hand clutching dramatically at his head as he almost doubled over. She could tell that he was in terrible pain but before she could go to him, the fog began to build once more. She could barely see him, when she heard that smooth voice pronounce, 'My woman...yes.'

Lisa sat straight up, clutching her own head with one hand and unconsciously the other wrapped about her abdomen protectively. She heard the key in the back lock and tried to compose herself before faced with the mother and daughter dynamo of Katrina and Keeleigh. But she could not lie to herself; she was shaken to the core by the dream.

* ^*

Thomas Bravewolf fought with all his remaining strength against the hands that restrained him. He fought blindly against the pain that threatened to consume him. In the end the familiar voice of his friend and colleague, Dr Shaun Ryan, broke through the fog of pain.

'Be still, buddy. There was an attack. The chopper went down. You have lost some blood and there are some serious head injuries. I need you to be quiet while I examine you.'

Looking into the dark face of one of the few men that he admired and counted as a true friend, Thomas saw the gravity of the situation reflected in the black pools of his eyes. With excruciating pain, he nodded his assent as he collapsed back against the gurney in the blazing desert heat.

Despite the pain he tried to remember what had happened. He remembered loading medical supplies into the helicopter for the almost hour long trip to one of the remote villages along the border, where he served as not only the only medical advisor to the hundreds of US troops stationed there, but also the five thousand locals. But that was the last thing he remembered...until the dream.

But dream did not seem quite the right word for it either. It was more like one of the ghost walker visions that he had as a young man when his grandfather taught him the ways of his mother's people. Was it possible that his mind had used that knowledge to escape the pain and trauma?

Despite the years of formal medical training he had that entitled him to call himself a doctor; he knew the value too of other paths. He doubted that all the medicine he had learned in medical school and since would ever come close to the ancient knowledge and was that his people lost when his grandfather passed several years ago. He was a true medicine man...perhaps the last of his kind. Although he trusted Shaun, he sure wished his grandfather were here now.

He felt the prick in his arm as he realized that someone had begun an IV. He was soon drifting in and out of consciousness. He caught the occasional snippet of the conversation in the triage. It was the hurried tone of Shaun's voice that worried him most. Shaun was always calm and cool no matter how dire the situation; so the angry commanding tone he used with his nurses told Thomas more than words could have. As he closed his eyes once more drifting into unconsciousness, he wanted to tell his friend that it would all be alright...that it did not matter if he existed in this life or the next. But he could not find his voice. So instead he simply breathed deeply and allowed himself once more to drift away.

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