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The Dream Crafter

By:Danielle Monsch

The Dream Crafter

Entwined Realms Book 2

Danielle Monsch

Chapter One

Dreams began in black and white. Color crept in slow strokes, a saturation that went from sepia to the muted hues of a Rembrandt, only to brighten in one flash to the full and glorious spectrum.

Now was black and white. Now was a thick, dark liquid, a multitude of droplets in languid descent down white walls, branching into lurid and twisted design.

Now was sepia, the hilt of the knife lighter than the dark wood of the dresser it rested on. Now was her brother’s broad chest as he held her to him, the skin the same color here as it would be in the real world, a tanned hue that was warmth to the touch.

Now color burst forth. Now planes sharpened and images became crisp, and now she looked at the scenery surrounding her.

As was the way with dreams, disparate elements of her life came together in weird juxtaposition. Sitting atop the low stone wall that guarded the front of her city apartment building, Amana glanced down to see herself clothed in a beautiful blue Hawaiian dress embroidered with white flowers, exactly what she would wear while walking the beach back on the island. Below the hemline her feet were bare, ready to dig toes into sand that was not there. Hair tickled her shoulders and back, and the faint pressure on her forehead told of a circlet of flowers upon her brow.

A man stood before her, his back to her. Nice wide shoulders, and the sleeveless hoodie he wore showed tan, toned arms with evident muscles, covered with thick lines of black tribal tattoos.

He was close enough she wouldn’t have to extend her arm fully to touch him, and in sudden want, Amana’s fingers itched to do just that, stroke along the bold lines across his arms that promised an untold story waited under the skin.

They were in a dream. Here was indulgence without consequence. Here the only limits were the ones she imposed upon herself – and she didn’t want to impose any.

Her palm molded around his bicep, her thumb grazed where the design was thickest, on the long sweep from where shoulder rounded into the upper arm. With no fabric, nothing blunted the firm flex of muscle beneath her fingertips, the heat of him scorching through layers of dermis and epidermis, fire going straight to bone.

Within moments of contact the man turned, body tightening in readiness for battle. Amana loosened her grip but stayed in contact with his skin, exploring the geography of his body with his movement.

Hazel eyes, which held a gamut of color from the rich brown of good earth to a luscious honey locked with hers, and the hard mask of war softened into wary confusion, confusion that underwent a slow morphing into masculine appreciation. He studied her with blatant, lingering looks over her body, her face. “Do I know you?”

Amana’s eyes went half lidded at the sensual shock. Rough in the right places, his voice scraped over nerve endings now exposed, brought to the surface in every sweep of his gaze over her.

He was cowboy-meets-rockstar, total masculinity in prettier-than-normal packaging. Near black hair with deep red streaks fell in long layers around his face. A hawkish nose sat above lips fuller than her own, and the planes of his face were strong without edging into brutal.

“Are you going to let go?” His rough voice turned dry and amused, the one corner of that mouth turned up, showing a dimple that her first inspection had missed, and the look in his eyes said she could keep holding on, as long as he got a chance to do the same.

His eyes held more though. Complete appreciation, yes, but after the first sweep, his gaze caught and held hers. His eyes showed the genuine pleasure of a man enjoying a pretty woman, not the calculated look of a buyer deciding on the choicest cut of meat. That change from her everyday reality brought flitting butterflies in a swarming path from throat to stomach, the heady giddiness infusing her mood and putting a smile on her face which she couldn’t hold back.

Best thing about dreams – no apologies were ever necessary, not that this man seemed to want any.

Amana rose from the wall, angling her body so that she almost skimmed against him as her feet hit pavement. At her full height her mouth was only inches from his. “Do you want me to?” By the audible intake of breath, she would venture to guess that he didn’t.

“If we were going by what I want, you wouldn’t have stopped at just my arm.” The playfulness remained in his voice, a good-natured note that mixed nicely with the banked heat of his gaze.

“Well then, I say we go for a walk.”

The landscape rippled, turning from city concrete to island lushness, the salt-tang of the ocean in the air, along with a crisp wind that battled the sun to see which would win the temperature war.

Amana curled her arm around his, hugging against him as she led the willing man down a stretch of beach. She reveled in the familiarity, this sandy heaven she hadn’t seen in reality for almost a decade, and even in dreams was a place she happened on only in rarest circumstance.