Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Spring 2019 YASH

  YA Scavenger Hunt


Welcome to YA Scavenger Hunt! This bi-annual event was first organized by author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors...and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize--one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! But play fast: this contest (and all the exclusive bonus material) will only be online for 72 hours!

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt. There are SIX contests going on simultaneously, and you can enter one or all! I am a part of the PURPLE TEAM-but there is also a red team, a gold team, an orange team, a red team, and an indie team for a chance to win a whole different set of books!


If you'd like to find out more about the hunt, see links to all the authors participating, and see the full list of prizes up for grabs, go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE

Directions: Below, you'll notice that I've listed my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the purple team and then add them up (don't worry, you can use a calculator!). 

Entry Form: Once you've added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian's permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 7th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.



SCAVENGER HUNT POST


Today, I am hosting May Freighter  on my website for the YA Scavenger Hunt!
 May Freighter is an internationally bestselling author from Dublin, Ireland. She writes Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Sci-Fi mysteries that will keep you entertained, mystified, and hopefully craving more. Her only pets are cacti. They’re the only things that survived. It may be too dangerous to entrust her with an animal while she’s engrossed in writing.
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Find out more information by checking out the author website or find more about the author's book here:







-->Nineteen-year-old Helena’s life changes when her spirit enters the Angel Realm in search of her father. But, things don’t go as planned. Against her guardian angel’s warnings, she binds her soul to a vampire—a creature she thought only existed in horror movies.

Lucious has spent his immortality looking for the monsters who killed his sire. The last thing he needs is to be vulnerable because of a bond with a reckless girl. Yet, he sees how he can turn this to his advantage. Believing that Helena possesses great power, he plans to use her against the Council as a bargaining chip.

When Helena meets the gorgeous and also terrifying vampire with whom she’s now stuck sharing an emotional bond, she realises that her life will never be the same. Despite fighting against Lucious’s manipulative ways, she can’t deny their attraction.

As their desire for each other intensifies, she needs to know if she can trust him. After all, her life and soul are on the line.
                            
Buy here:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01JJGL306/




  Exclusive content






Read a chapter from May's book, Blood Witch!

1
HOLIDAY SPIRIT


HELENA
The chill of the grave visited Helena. She shivered as she looked at the burning city of London from a rooftop. Ashes and tiny embers floated up into the sky, propelled by plumes of smoke. Screams for help echoed in every direction. Sirens blared. Immobile, she could do nothing but watch the scene unravel.
A skeletal hand grasped her shoulder. The chains that held her in place snapped, and she whipped around.
Lucious—her soulmate—was withering away. His body caved in on itself as his age caught up to him. The red in his eyes never wavered nor did the hatred embedded in them.
She screamed.
Helena awoke with a sudden start. Her body was drenched in sweat. For the past week, she had been seeing the same dream. Lucious and Hans were away almost every day. With it being the end of December, Perri was busy with Christmas decorations around the castle. That girl never stopped for a second. She somehow managed to rope in the hounds, who were free, into doing her bidding, too.
It had been a month since Malachi promised to get in contact with her. There had been no word from him or the man who was to become her mentor. Helena was beginning to lose hope. She wanted to learn to control her cravings for blood magic. Even to this day, she kept a grimoire hidden in a chest of drawers, hidden beneath her underwear.
She shuffled into the ensuite. Splashing her face with cold water, she lifted her head to glance at the mirror. No matter how long and how often she looked at her reflection, the girl looking back at her had fear in her eyes. Today, she planned to continue studying the restored archives. Hans was kind enough to let her use his office when he wasn’t around, which was pretty often.
After a brief shower and a change of clothes, Helena ventured out of her room. The curtains were drawn along the halls, reminding her, once more, that she was surrounded by the undead. Stopping, she peeled back the curtain to take in the view. Unlike in her night terror, the garden was peaceful. Snow had fallen, blanketing the shrubbery and the barren trees. She took a picture with her phone and forwarded it to her step-father. He would appreciate an update on her daily life, even though her mother still held a grudge.
Staggering out of storage room with a huge box in her hands, Perri nearly walked into Helena. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there.”
“Are you really planning to make vampires celebrate Christmas?” Helena inquired, helping Perri lower the box to the floor.
“Of course! Everyone deserves to get a present for their hard work and feel the holiday spirit.” Perri grinned. “Aren’t you going to help me? It would be a good change of pace for you.”
Helena lowered her gaze. “I have things to do and—”
“Are we no longer friends?” Perri’s wounded tone drew Helena’s attention. “After you came back from Italy, you don’t talk to anyone. You’re holed up in that study day and night. Did I do something wrong?” Her eyes glistened with unshed tears that she pushed back with the back of her hand.
Helena grasped Perri’s shoulders. “Look, Perri, you did nothing wrong. I—I can’t trust myself the way I am right now.” The truth hurt more than anything. She hated admitting her weaknesses. The control and power she wanted to possess were out of her reach. “If it makes you feel better, I’ll help you for a bit.”
A smile that could light up the room returned to Perri’s face. Her blonde hair had grown longer since she joined Hans at the Council. Waves of liquid gold cascaded to her shoulder blades. Aside from becoming more beautiful each day, Perri had an uncanny ability to weave her way into the hearts of the people around her, something Helena was a little jealous of. “Great. Please help me carry these decorations to the main ballroom. Andrea and Grim were meant to finish setting up a tree there last night.”
“Andrea agreed to help you?” Beyond the hounds, suddenly, adopting a ‘Mistress’ into their vocabulary when referring to Helena or Perri, and being a tad nicer, nothing had changed. She could sense when the vampires were forcing themselves to act a certain way around her. Not that she could complain. Getting hassled less often for being human wasn’t a bad thing.
“Andrea even offered to teach me some self-defence after dinner. I’m looking forward to it.”
Helena arched a brow. “Miracles never cease around you.”
“Don’t be silly. She’s a good person underneath her badass exterior.”
“Alright, whatever you say.” Helena lifted the box from the floor. Her arms and back felt the strain immediately. “God, what’s in here?”
“Just some ornaments I found in the storage.”
“By found you mean they were left here before we moved in?” Helena started heading in the direction of the ballroom. She calculated that she would need to make a stop or two on the way. The box was too heavy, and her skinny arms had next to no muscles in them after she stopped her training with Maya.
Perri massaging her shoulders. With a blissful expression, she replied, “Yes. The previous owners seemed to like antiques. If you have time, you should take a look in storage. I found some gorgeous dolls in there.”
“You know, almost every horror film begins with a possessed doll.”
Perri covered her gasp with her hand and grinned. “In our reality, there might actually be one. Once we drop these off, want to check?”
“Sure.” Helena smiled for the first time in a month. These tiny pockets of happiness were harder to come by with the nightmares that plagued her. Her mood soured almost as fast as it improved. Does my dream mean anything? She hoped it was nothing, but the uncomfortable feeling kept rising in her chest.
Short of Helena’s arms falling off from the strain, she managed to get the box to its destination with a thud.
In the ballroom, two of the hounds were studying the semi-decorated Christmas tree that touched the high ceiling. Helena had seen trees this big in shopping centres or on the city streets. Her mother also followed the Orthodox calendar when it came to major holidays, which was why they celebrated Christmas in January instead of December.
Perri glided to their side. “Are you guys here to help today?”
A Council hound known as Daniel looked to be in his early thirties with medium-length dark brown hair that reminded Helena of tree bark. His pale, handsome face was mostly hidden behind his beard and moustache. With his almond-shaped hazel eyes, he skimmed over the box next to Helena’s feet and returned Perri’s smile. “Mistress Perri, Nusa and I were told by Andrea to help out as we have some time off today.”
“Good.” Perri took Nusa’s hand. “I’m glad we will get to work together on this.”
Many of the hounds, Helena avoided on a daily basis. She felt their silent scrutiny burning the back of her head every time she was in the room with them. Today was no different. Daniel’s subtle dislike of Helena emanated from him like a beacon in the night.
Nusa pulled away and brushed her straight black hair over her shoulder. Her small oval face and long, black eyelashes that framed eyes the colour of ash would have had any woman jealous. “Tell us what to do.”
Perri gave the hounds instructions on how to spread out the decorations, her cheerfulness never phased by the tension in the room. After a few minutes, she joined Helena who was already hanging some crystal globes.
“Hmm, maybe we should get some music playing in here,” Perri commented.
“There is no need,” Helena replied, keeping her attention on the task at hand. “I’m sure with vampires here, we’ll be done in no time.”
Perri tilted her head to one side, peering at the duo who were rummaging through the decorations box. “They’re moving at human speed, though.”
“We don’t want to accidentally smash something. Doing this at mortal pace is the best choice for us,” Daniel explained to Perri.
A chill crawled along Helena’s spine as if she was being watched. She stole a peek at the vampires. They were busy deciding on what to hang next. Her unease didn’t go away. “I think I should return to my studies.”
Perri’s expression soured. “Are you sure you can’t stay here with us?”
“Yeah, I’m sorry. I’ll see you at dinner time.” Helena slid her hands into the pockets of her jeans and hurried out of the ballroom. The more distance she created, the better she felt.
Arriving at Hans’ study, she unlocked the door and peered inside. The room was large and empty. Dozens of books were stacked on the floor, next to the second desk that Hans had installed for her. She closed the door behind her and blew out a breath as her heart calmed. For the rest of the morning and afternoon, she had foregone eating and dove into the information vampires had on witches. The witch they met in Italy was able to shapeshift half of her body into a giant spider. Helena had never come into contact with something like that in literature until she had found a similar case in an old record written by Vincent.
She squinted at the faded writing. Most of it was illegible. What she made out and transcribed onto her laptop was that Vincent encountered such a creature in 1477 in the Kingdom of Bohemia. Rumours of vampires going missing in the area spread to the Council, and a Councilman was deployed to investigate along with three hounds—Jordan Webb, Robin Carter, and Rhoslyn Bennett. The blood witch they found there took the life energy of the vampires and consumed it through a blood ritual. The fight against her was swift. She couldn’t move when Vincent used his ability on her, but that wasn’t before she managed to devour two of the hounds. The remaining hound—Robin Carter—went missing upon their return.
Helena reached the end of the book. Some of the pages had been ripped out by someone. She frowned as her finger traced the harsh edges sticking out of the binding. The volume she was reading was fragile. The parchment smelled of staleness and dust. Ever since Lilia awakened, Helena was able to understand more languages over time. This time, she was reading in Old English without a problem. Ancient Egyptian, too, became easy to understand the longer she stared at the hieroglyphs. Somehow, her brain converted those characters into words. She didn’t know it did it and didn’t care as long as that skill could be used to help Lucious.
The sensation of being watched resurfaced. Helena peered at the empty office. From where she sat, she noticed that the sun was setting and the garden lights switched on. The lamp on her desk kept a small circle around her lit whereas the remainder of the room had shadows the claiming corners and crevices.
“Who’s there?” Helena demanded, rising from her desk.
A deep chuckle came from the darkness. “So, you can sense me? Took you long enough…”
Helena’s attention darted to the door. Will I make it if I run? Is it a vampire? Can’t be. They’d need to be in the room to talk this loudly… A warlock? Straightening her posture, she slapped her hands to her hips. “Show yourself.”
The darkest shadow by the bookcase behind Hans’ desk shifted and merged into a person by the window. A minute later, a tall man with Asian facial features and dressed in a fur coat stood there. “You must be Helena.” He tutted with displeasure. “Had I been sent to kill you, you’d be dead.”
“I presume you’re not here to kill me then. Good to know.”
The man brushed his hand along the windowsill, gathering the dust on his slender, gloved fingers. He blew the dust away, making the particles sparkle with crimson on their descent to the floor. “Malachi sent word that I must take on a student named Helena Hawthorn. I came here to deny your request in person, little girl. You are too weak to handle blood magic.”
Helena’s breath caught. Malachi came through. Though, the man standing before her was not that she expected. “Then, you must be Nobu.”
His long, soot-coloured hair glided to one side with the movement of his head. The sharpness of his black eyes penetrated the deepest vaults of her heart like a spear. “We are not well-enough acquainted for you to call me by my first name. To someone like you, I am Tsuchiya.”
“I’m sorry. I used the name given to me by Malachi…”
Nobu took a seat at Hans’ desk, propping his booted feet up on the table. He leaned back to grab one of the books from the large bookcase behind him. Flicking through the pages, he continued to ignore her as if she was air.
Helena didn’t know what he was plotting. If he came to say he didn’t want her as a student, he should have left once that was out of the way. Why is he sticking around? Does he want me to beg? It can’t be…
Her arms fell to her sides, and she lowered her head a little in respect. “Would you please teach me how to use and control blood magic?”
“No.”
“Why not?”
“Because you are not mentally strong enough to survive my training,” he countered.
Helena squared her shoulders. At least, she was getting some answers out of him. “It doesn’t matter. I want to try anyway.”
He lifted his gaze from the page he pretended to read. “What would you give up to learn blood magic?”
Helena opened her mouth, but the words were stuck in her throat. She had never thought about that. She didn’t want to sacrifice people or animals. Yet, dangerous times were at her door. Lucious needed help and couldn’t keep splitting his attention between her and his people.
“You don’t want to give up anything, that’s why you’re unsuitable.” He lowered his legs to the floor and crossed his arms over Hans’ desk. “What do you think I gave up?”
“Your sense of humour?”
Nobu’s lips curved at one corner. “Jokes are a means of deflection, little girl.”
“Why do you keep calling me that? You don’t look that much older than me.”
“That is where you are wrong. I’ve been around since the feudal era in Japan. To live this long…it wasn’t easy.”
Helena was taken aback. “No witch or warlock can outlive a human lifespan. How did you do it?”
“By taking the lives of others, of course.” He smirked. “Magic works on the premise of equivalent exchange. The same concept applies to alchemy. If you want to live longer, you take life from someone. If you want more power…well, you get the idea.”
“You’ve killed people to live this long?” she asked in distaste. Malachi wanted someone like that to teach her? Had he lost his mind?
“See?” He narrowed his eyes. “This is why you’re not suitable for blood magic and why I call you what I do. Give up the idea of becoming a blood witch and focus on white magic instead. White witches can heal others and ward off demons quite well. What more do you need?”
Helena slammed her hands down, nearly hitting her laptop. “I need to be able to fight! I can’t keep relying on Lucious and the Council’s hounds to keep me safe. They will never respect me if this continues.”
“Why not leave this place? Why stick around vampires who don’t care about you?”
“I want to stay with Lucious and not be a burden. I know he is always pushing himself to get stronger. It’s my fault he’s changed so much…”
Nobu was silent for a long minute. He slowly rose from the office chair and sauntered to her. Crowding her with his six-foot-three height, the blackness in his eyes, somehow, managed to get even darker. “I will take you on as my student if you give up your feelings for that vampire.”
“That’s insane! I am doing this to be with him.”
“You won’t survive the trials I have planned otherwise.” He shrugged and started to walk towards the door.
“Wait!” Helena called after him. “Let me think about it.”
Nobu’s body started melting into the shadows. His words echoed around Helena. “I will return in a week. Make up your mind by then.”
Helena’s legs gave way. She sank into her chair, all energy drained from her. Not loving Lucious was impossible. She chose to give up everything she had to be with him. Sacrificing the only thing she had left would kill her. Tears pooled in her eyes. She spotted her phone on the edge of the desk and dialled Malachi’s number.
He answered after the third ring, and she launched into a tirade. “How could you send someone like that to teach me? Don’t you know anyone more suitable? I can’t… I can’t do what Tsuchiya’s asked me to do. I can’t give up my feelings for Lucious just to learn some blood magic! That’s insane.”
“Hold up, Helena. Breathe and tell me exactly what Nobu said.” She heard him taking a puff of his cigarette on the other end.
“He asked me what I was willing to sacrifice to learn and later told me that he would teach me if I gave up on my feelings for Lucious.”
Malachi sighed. “He hasn’t changed, always making people misunderstand him and his actions. Look, he is the best warlock I know who has never succumbed to magical addiction. If he says you should give up on Lucious, do it.”
“Why are you siding with him? To me, Lucious is the same as Diya is to you.”
“That’s exactly my point. I had to let Diya go because that was what she wanted. For thousands of years, I waited for her rebirth. I gave up my happiness and love for another chance to see her again.”
She squeezed the phone in her hand. “I could try learning it on my own.”
“And you will fail.” Malachi blew out a breath, his irritation coming through with his next words. “Life isn’t some game, Helena. If you want blood magic in your life, give up on the idea that you can have everything else. Magic takes a little piece of you at a time. One day, you may not recognise the person you become. Trust me, I’ve seen many blood witches in my lifetime. They never get a happy ending.”
“So, you’re saying I need to choose between magic and everything I have?”
“For now, yes. Should you withstand the trials Nobu has planned for you, you can then pave your own path.”
Helena wiped at the dampness around her eyes. As if to join the argument, her stomach rumbled to voice its emptiness. “I will think about it.”
“Good. Give it time and consider your options. Remember, you are not alone. There are many people who are behind you, no matter what path you choose.”
She thanked him and ended the call. Malachi was right. She knew from the start that blood magic was a completely different beast. The power she felt in her veins when she used it with Ilario still made her fingertips tingle with excitement and her heart race. That unambiguous strength and power would be enough to allow her to protect herself in the future from vampires who were against her and Lucious.
What am I willing to sacrifice?
*****
Blood Witch (Helena Hawthorn Series Book 6) is currently available for Pre-Order on Amazon.





And don't forget to enter the contest for a chance to win a ton of books by me, Christy Sloat To enter, you need to know 7 is my daughters soccer jersey number! Add up all the favorite numbers of the authors on the Purple Team and you'll have all the secret code to enter for the grand prize!



CONTINUE THE HUNT

To keep going on your quest for the hunt, you need to check out the next author!
SL Beaumont! https://www.slbeaumont.com/competitions-giveaways
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Friday, September 21, 2018

The Illusionist is LIVE

👻 🎃 New Release! An exciting short story from Christy Sloat! The Illusionist is here, just in time for fall and Halloween! 🎃 👻

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HH95SMF
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07HH95SMF
Come inside. Come see my show. I am the igniter of flames and deliverer of souls. I will play your mind and win its bet and show you how the illusions are met. Are you an illusion? One will find out, the other will stay and live in their doubt. I am Holden Dexter, The Illusionist.
It was meant to be a fun night at the circus for Keelie and her friends. They were graduating soon and this was part of their yearly tradition. Never in her wildest mind did Keelie think that the Illusionist tent at the edge of the woods was anything to fear. After all, the circus was supposed to be fun, right?

Exclusive Excerpt 

By the end of the circus show, the girls were exhausted from laughter and the boys were ready to move on. Carver’s mood had gotten a little brighter, but not enough to improve the night’s now ruined plans. Keelie wanted to see the illusionist badly but the others wanted to check out the new Fat Lady show.
“Fine,” she said finally. “I’ll go check his show out and you go see the fat lady.” She left them all and walked off. She wasn’t mad at them, but she was a little disappointed. Especially with Graham, he knew how much she loved that sort of stuff. Sitting and making fun of an overweight lady wasn’t fun to her.
“Hey Keelie, wait up,” Carver called to her. “I want to go see the magician with you.”
“Really?” She was happy he was coming and all, but he didn’t seem like the type to like a show like this. Especially after what he was going through.
“Yeah, why not.” He smiled.
They walked across the grounds and looked for the tent. They finally spotted it in the far corner and made their way to it. Once they got close enough they noticed it was surrounded by an odd fog, that only lurked around the tent. Keelie got goose bumps across her arms and Carver pulled his coat tighter. It wasn’t that cold outside but for some reason they both felt a chill. No one stood outside to accept tickets nor was there anyone waiting for the show. They were the only two people there.
“Maybe we missed it,” Keelie suggested.
“It says the show starts in ten minutes. Maybe we are just early, that’s all.”
Keelie shrugged and got closer to the entrance hoping to sneak a peek inside. But as she got closer she noticed a sign in front: “What is the real illusion? Come inside to find the answer.”
It was alluring that was sure, but by the looks of the tent it screamed darkness. Sure, she had seen the people on T.V. who did daring acts that would scare her. But this wasn’t a freak show, it was a family circus in the suburbs. This only made Keelie want a look inside even more. She got closer and closer to the opening. Her breath catching in her throat as she touched the velvet rope holding the curtains closed. 
“Stop!” Carver shouted.
She turned to a frightened Carver, and retorted “I only want to peek inside Carver, calm down.”
When she turned back around a woman stood in front of her holding a burning cigarette in her hands ever so delicately. She looked like she had come from another time and place. Her hair was glossy black and pulled up on the sides by clips with black roses on them.
“Oh, sorry, nice costume,” Keelie said nervously.
“It is not a costume. Boy, aren’t you pretty! What are you doing here?” the woman asked as she took a drag of the cigarette.
“I came for the show,” Keelie answered with a laugh. What else would she be doing here?
“And you, boy, you came for the show too?” she asked Carver. He nodded and his mouth fell open when the woman smiled and winked at him. She was beautiful, in a gothic sort of way. Keelie eyed her suspiciously. There was something strange about her for sure. And maybe a little familiar, too.
“Once you enter, there is no going back the way you once came. I need to make that clear,” the woman said as smoke came out of her mouth.
Keelie laughed nervously. Was this was a trick to scare them? She wasn’t some little kid entering a haunted hayride. She knew there was an exit, just like there are ways out everywhere. It was dark and eerie outside. She hoped this was just part of the act. It wasn’t what she was expecting, that was for sure.
“Do you understand?” the woman asked again.
They both nodded and the velvet rope fell to the ground while the curtain opened. Keelie strolled in with Carver right behind her. Once she saw the stage in front of her, she was shocked. The inside was almost as big as the circus show tent. The stage in front of her was lit dimly by a small light in the center.
The gothic woman circled them a few times, looking them over. Carver stood tall while Keelie shrunk in her nervousness. There was something about this whole place that didn’t feel right. The air was thick and heavy, and the feeling wasn’t welcoming at all. But still, she remained here. She didn’t want to leave, her curiosity winning.
“You know, maybe we can come back for another show. I think we need to find our friends,” Carver suggested as he grabbed Keelie’s arm.
“I believe I just told you that you must stay." 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Excerpt from The Librarian

By now you should know that my next book, The Librarian, releases June 17th. I'm excited and eager to release this book to you all. I've been working on the idea for this book for going on three years now. The idea of this book came to me when I was at a book signing in northern New Jersey. There was something about the small book store that screamed, "Write a book about me!"  On the drive home I concocted The Librarian. I knew exactly who the characters were and what their purpose would be, but what was hard was the timeline. I had to do a lot of research on Jack Ridgewell's era. That meant learning about Victorian era and how they did everything from eating, dating and dressing. Ultimately I am more than please with how the book turned out. I think you'll all fall in love with Jack and Emmeline; at least I hope so. 
For now here is a small snippet from the book that I hope get's you wanting to read more.
xoxo,
Christy






The Librarian excerpt
© Christy Sloat

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I spent the rest of the day filing paperwork for the funding process and preparing to open the library doors on Monday morning. I told Rose and Becca to spread the word. Tarryn had decided to move her smaller items in already, and she was asleep by nine the same night. It didn’t seem strange to me that I had a roommate; instead it made me feel comfortable. I never lived alone before, and I would feel lonely otherwise. Tarryn was quiet, but I knew in time she’d get used to me and I’d get used to her. We just needed to get to know each other first.
Once I was done with the paperwork, I filed the books that were left on the shelf from when Gram was still here. As I placed the classic books on the correct shelves, I felt a longing to finish reading my mysterious book in my nook.
So, instead of going to bed at a decent hour, I climbed into my cozy space and picked the book back up. I didn’t open it right away. Instead I inspected the outside for any sort of title. I found nothing of the sort. I flipped to the title page once more, trying to find my place, and that’s when I saw the word on the page. It was just a simple “The” typed out on the once blank title page. I ran my finger across it and realized it was printed in ink as if the press had done it. I was sure the night before it was blank, but then again, I was sure my dream about being with a man was real. So I wasn’t really a reliable source at the moment.
I found the spot where I ended with a dog-eared page. I absolutely hated doing this to the book and didn’t remember it at all. I usually had a nice bookmark, but this seemed to be the only thing to mark the page before I had fallen asleep. Running my fingers across the crease at the corner of the page, I settled back and started reading.

I woke up once again face down, this time I was in grass. I blinked my eyes and felt the blades of grass tickling my nose and lips. I pulled myself up and took a deep breath. I looked around and saw the fields upon which I had dreamt of the night before. I was back in England. I was dreaming the same dream. How odd.
 There were times when I had thought I had the same dream over and over again, to only find out that it was my mind playing tricks on me. This was no mistake. I was, once again, in the same place.
“Emmeline, are you all right?” I looked up and blocked the sun from my eyes. The man from before was standing in front of me. “You … you disappeared. It happened so fast that I fear I cannot explain to you how it happened. Now you’re here once again.” He sounded really confused and, to put it lightly, so was I.
This dream felt way too real. It was exactly like before. So real and tangible that I couldn’t explain it even if I tried.
“I … I don’t know how I’m here again,” I mumbled.
He reached out to steady me as I swayed to the side. “You’ve been gone for days. I worried I was going mad, that your presence was one of my imaginings. I dared not to speak a word to anyone about it. I have to admit, Emmeline, I’ve been going slightly crazed since I saw you last.”
His hair was disheveled and he had grown a slight beard that only enhanced the sexiness of his strong jawline. His deep set blue-green eyes looked weary, and for that I felt awful.
My sudden disappearance had made him fall apart, that was apparent.
“I’ll tell you, I feel like I’m going crazy too. Trust me,” I admitted. “Can we sit somewhere? Out of the sun?”
“Of course.”
He held my arm and led me to a tree in the center of the field. Once underneath the large tree, I felt instantly better. I looked down at my clothes and saw that I was, once again, in my own clothes. This time a little better than before. I was wearing yoga pants and an old T-shirt.
“I can’t explain how or why I’m here. Hell, I don’t even know your name, but I’m here again and I’m beginning to think that this isn’t a dream. That I’m really here, with you,” I said as I touched his arm. “I’m not from … here.”
I didn’t know how to explain it to him, but I did the best any girl who was somehow traveling through time could. I didn’t have answers or explanations, but I had a gut feeling.
“I’m from a different time as you. As you can tell by my lovely clothing, I’m not from 1893.”
 He placed his fingers on my lips, stopping me, while shaking his head.
“This isn’t right, Emmeline. Trickery at a time like this isn’t fair,” he said as he stood up fast. “I am leaving soon. I shall not have you doing this to me.”
My mouth fell open in shock and I stood. “Do something to you? Listen here, buddy, I didn’t ask for this. I sat down to read a book and then boom, I’m stuck in England with a stranger.”
I pointed at myself. “Look at me. Do I really look like I belong here?”
He looked at my clothing and up to my hair, and I could see his cheeks redden.
“You are dressed very indecent, I suppose. No woman I’ve ever met wears trousers. Nor do they wear clothing that fitting.”
I laughed. He thought this was indecent, he should see some of the dresses I had worn to parties. They were nothing like the dresses he was used to seeing on a woman. We absolutely didn’t dress ladylike anymore. My sexy little black dress that currently hung in my closet would definitely shock some of the people of this era for sure.
“I don’t know why I’m here. I’m absolutely not trying to, I don’t know, hurt you or anything. I don’t know how to go home.” I slumped back against the tree. “I wish that I could prove to you that I’m not lying to you, but I cannot. You’ll have to just believe me, I guess.” It was as simple as that. He could either believe this bat-shit crazy explanation or not. One way or another, I didn’t care. I just wanted to go home.
“I don’t know why, Emmeline, but I feel as if I should say that I do believe you.” He ran a hand through his thick hair, mussing it up. “I just don’t know how else to explain your abrupt presence. One minute you are here and the next you’re disappearing into thin air. I read many books on fiction, so I suppose it could be true.”
“Well, I may know someone who knows something. She works for the lucky bastard that owns that house,” I told him pointing to the house where Nancy was the last time I saw her. She was probably cooking something again for her master.
He smiled. “That house?”
“Yes. Her name is Nancy.”
“Ah. Nancy. And who is this Nancy woman you speak of?” He continued to smile as if this was a joke, but I ignored it.
“She’s a cook. I met her on my last visit here,” I explained. “She’s not the nicest person I’ve ever met, but I think she has some answers.”
“I must argue that Miss Nancy is more than a cook. She’s also the lady upon with which I trust my household while I’m gone. She’s more of an aunt than a housekeeper,” he said as he took my hand in his. “It’s very nice to finally introduce myself to you, Emmeline Bailey. I’m Jack Ridgewell or you may just call me the lucky bastard.”