What do you do when your job isn't quite what you'd like it to be? In fact, when you are on the verge of losing that very job due to no fault of your own?
What happens when your home needs a few repairs but before you can get to them new pieces of furniture sort of just show up?
How do you cope when your best friend has just time traveled 150 years into the past to be with the man she loves?
You find yourself a drop dead gorgeous guy with a winsome smile -- who happens to think he's from the distant past.
An Awe-Struck Release
From earliest childhood Regan was an avid reader and upon discovering Alexander Dumas and Charles Dickens she was hooked on books that carried the reader away to a different time and place. Preferring the quiet of her room and a good book to spending time with people she traveled far beyond those four walls.
Her first foray into writing, aside from tedious English assignments in high school and college, were two non-fictions intended to be of assistance to people with disabilities. Both books were completed, they made their way to the population that would benefit the most from them and she moved on or back to her reading roots.
It was while working as a police dispatcher, first for the California Highway Patrol and then her local police department, she began to write fiction, primarily time travels and romantic suspense. In the spring of 2009 she returned to the day job she always liked best, working as a legal secretary. Although, curled up in her bunny slippers with her furfaced children, Mel, Missy and Bogie, while writing is one of her most favorite things to do.
Head spinning, Molly Tanner sat down on the bed unable to breathe let alone move. Something that just couldn’t happen, happened.
It just wasn’t possible. No how. No way
“This has to be a joke, a really bad joke,” she muttered, a photograph gripped tightly in her hand.
She looked around the room and weakly called, “You can come out now. The both of you. Really. Actually make that all three of you. Come on Taister, no playing silly cat games this morning.”
Shaking ever so slightly, Molly scooched off her roommate, Carrie Taylor’s, bed and on to the floor. Not that she was worried about Carrie finding her in her room. After all, the twosome had been friends since they were kids. Growing up with her dark-haired friend had been an adventure with Carrie always finding something new and different for them to get in to. Then one day, not so long ago, Carrie brought home a photograph.
A very old photograph.
And damn if Carrie and her cat Taister weren’t sitting in that very photograph this very minute looking like they’d both caught the canary.
Molly flipped it over and studied the paper. “Nope, this isn’t the photo-shopped version of you and Black Eagle. Nope, nope, not at all. This is the real deal. Carrie, you really did it this time. Or not.”
Lifting her hips off the floor Molly turned and peered under the white-eyelet comforter that covered Carrie’s bed and spied nothing but a few of Taister’s silky black cat hairs.
She sniffed. Nothing, except the sulfur-like smell that greeted her when she first walked into Carrie’s room minutes ago, permeated the air. She brought the photograph up to eye level and shook her head, “At least you could have left a note.”
She snickered to herself. “A note? That said what? Hi! I’m back in time with the man I love?”
She shook her head and then snapped her fingers. “Mr. Merle! I’ll talk to Mr. Merle and he’ll know what happened. Right? I mean, he’s the one who gave you this darn photograph in the first place. He’ll know where you’ve gone and if you’re coming back.”
She stood and walked over to Carrie’s closet. Peering inside, she saw it was as neat and orderly as ever. It didn’t appear that even a scarf was missing. Clearly Carrie hadn’t packed before taking off to wherever she went.
“Not that anyone has time to pack before time traveling.” Molly laughed, just short of hysterical. “Right. Like I have so much experience with time travel. Let’s see what or who I know who’s done it? There’s Black Eagle coming here. And then there’s Black Eagle going back to his home and yup, that’s a lot of experience you have there, Molly. You’re a virtual expert. Yup, and going a little bonkers here talking to yourself.”
Molly turned to study her reflection in Carrie’s mirror. “I suppose that’s true though. I mean, how many people time travel or know people who do? Me, and maybe Mr. Merle if he’d admit to it. It’s not the kind of thing you can bring up in every day conversation; ‘say, Janice, did you happen to travel to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation? Liz the first I mean. What did you think?’ Nope. Can’t exactly do that. If people didn’t think you were crazy before they’d know it after a crack like that.”
She padded back to Carrie’s bed as if she carried the weight of the world in her hands rather than the yellowed photograph, and sat. There they were, Carrie, Black Eagle and Taister, in the photograph...together, in time, forever. Carrie had made it back to her man.
“So now, what do I do? Do I try to bring you home? Or let you live the rest of your life in the past sans latte’s, microwaves and Jacuzzis? Should I be happy for you or sad that I’ll never see you again? And why am I asking a photograph?”
With a sigh she rose and wearily plodded out of the room. Arthur Merle better have the answers she sought. There was the one definite option on the horizon. At least I’m working swings these days...
If nothing else, Molly Tanner was practical. She saw life in black and white with each event in its own box. If something didn’t fit in a box, you shelved it till it did. This deserved a shelf of its own. Shelf? Hell, an entire closet. A massive walk-in one at that.
In a daze she hit the shower and waited for her head to clear. “Oh shit! Work! Holy crap. There’s no way Carrie called her office to say she’d be traveling back in time today.” Molly scrambled out of the shower and dripping wet, headed for the phone and quickly dialed Carrie’s office.
Fingers drumming on the table she contemplated the various stories she could and should tell her roommate’s boss. After all, in the event Carrie came back to the present she’d probably want her job back. Then again, she might not. Telling the truth was out of the question. They’d not only not believe the story about Carrie and Black Eagle and the photograph, but they’d think Molly was certifiable.
All too soon one of Carrie’s co-workers answered. After sputtering for a few seconds Molly managed to clear her throat and explain that she worked nights and with all the hubbub from the night before she forgot to set an alarm to call the office to let them know about Carrie. When asked what happened, the words that Carrie had a family emergency and had to leave town late the night before and they weren’t sure when she’d be back, just flowed.
Relieved that that chore had been taken care of she finished her shower before setting about making a pot of coffee, all the while watching the clock and thinking she should have had the coffee before calling her friend’s work. At least the message had been conveyed to them.
Coffee set to brewing, she popped some bread in the toaster before getting dressed. A bit later, dressed and munching the toast, she couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the sheer stillness of the house. Even though Carrie left for work a couple of hours after Molly got in from her shift, her cat Taister was always ambling about making his needs and desires known. The women would joke about how the long-haired black cat was putting in orders for shrimp, steak and a serving of filet of mouse, rare. Generally he was content with a can of his fishy-smelling cat food. Now, even he was gone and the silence made her unbelievably lonely.
Her dishes in the sink, she brushed her teeth, put on a little make-up, combed her hair and took off for Treasuresand its elderly owner, muttering, “I knew Carrie always going in there was going to be trouble. Who’d a thunk it would be this kind of trouble?”
She grabbed a few apples to snack on during breaks at work and headed off for her shift. On the way out, just in case she missed something earlier, Molly poked her head in Carrie’s room one more time. Of course her roommate hadn’t returned. If Carrie’d returned she would have called out to Molly and Taister would have hit the kitchen looking for food.
Fortunately no one was inside Treasureswhen she entered. She spied Mr. Merle dusting off the glass enclosed box that held what seemed to be an ancient sword. “Mr. Merle?”
The elderly white-haired gentleman turned and looked down from the step-stool he stood on. “Why hello, Molly. What brings you here today? Is Carrie all right?”
“I think you might know the answer to that.”
“Me?” He dropped the dust cloth on a counter and rubbed his hands along his hips. “Has something happened?”
“I don’t know.” She thrust the photograph at him and he studied it a minute.
“Is this the photo-shopped picture you two put together when Black Eagle disappeared and you tried to get him back?”
“No, Mr. Merle, it’s the one you gave to Carrie. The magical one.”
“What else would you call it? It brought Black Eagle to our time and when he got rid of Dickless Dean, it sent Black Eagle back in time.”
“What else indeed?” The jet-haired woman Molly remembered Mr. Merle introduced as his sister or friend or whatever, Vivienne, stepped out of the kitchen. Vivienne’s appearance made her wonder if her son or nephew, Gareth, might be with her. Neither Mr. Merle nor Vivienne ever quite explained who he was, not that it mattered. It was their family and nothing to do with Molly. Gareth, however, was a major piece of eye candy and then some. Well except for him parading around in a suit of armor, he seemed like someone she’d like to get to know. Mr. Merle said it was for some kind of re-enactment or play or something and there was some sort of relationship between the three but now was not the time to be thinking about that.
“Oh no. I’m sorry, I thought you were alone.” Molly groaned.
“Pay me no mind. Merl...Arthur and I are as close as any brother and sister can be. There is little he does, or meddles in I am not eventually made privy to.”
Molly cocked her head. The woman spoke with what sounded like a slight British accent. Thing was, it sounded almost as if she were still learning the language. Although the word “meddle” sure sounded about right for Mr. Merle. Carrie adored the man, thought he could do no wrong. Unfortunately, right now because of the elderly gent’s stupid photograph, her roommate was stuck back in time. “Yeah, but this is crazy making talk. This is the kind of stuff that lands you in the psych ward. Trust me, I’ve taken enough calls on 5150’s to know what I’m thinking is crazy.”
“5150?” Vivienne asked.
Mr. Merle peered down at her. “It is their word for demon-possessed.”
“Uh, not really. Everyone knows you can’t be possessed by demons. That’s just an old superstition and the stuff of fiction. Insanity is a break from reality either because of drugs or chemical imbalance or a medical condition.”
“So your people have eliminated demons? Beware wizard, your race might be next.” Vivienne practically purred.
If they were brother and sister, why did she call him “wizard”?
And speak of the devil, there was Gareth, once again dressed in some sort of odd outfit. Talk about someone who needed to go 5150. This time instead of a costume of shiny armor he was wearing a red velvet looking tunic top on top of black knicker-style pants. A silver buckle with a massive belt, along with a sword that didn’t appear to be optional, completed the ensemble. She knew it probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do. The police psychologist who offered training at the police department where Molly worked in the records department had told the staff you shouldn’t challenge a suspect’s belief system. Let them think what they want, don’t address it and cut to the chase about what you need to know. Besides, Gareth was so cute.
Still, she couldn’t help herself, “So, lose your armor or was it too heavy to keep walking around in?”
“Lady Molly, ‘tis good to see you again.” The blond Adonis grinned broadly at her. And dang he smelled good, like clean salt air. “Truly the armor is of no matter. I couldst easily defend you unarmed if need be.”
The bow he gave her was nothing less than Hollywood courtly, even if he was a bit wacky. And aside from the fact he remembered her name, his smile just did things to her girl parts. Nice things. Carrie would have told her it was right out of one of her romance novels.
Molly looked from Mr. Merle to each of his guests. If she thought her day started out crazy, they weren’t making it any better. “I’m dreaming this, aren’t I? I’m going to wake up and find out the Carrie didn’t end up in a photograph. Even better, I’m going to wake up and find out that she never bought it in the first place and an Indian named Black Eagle didn’t end up in the future here with us for a couple of months. If it’s not a dream, I’m having a killer hallucination and I need to find the antidote real quick.”
She spun on her heel and made for the door. Between Gareth and his flowing red-blond hair calling Mr. Merle, Merlin, and the woman talking about Mr. Merle meddling and Mr. Merle talking about demon-possession Molly knew she had to make her escape and make it now with or without her answers.
“Gareth, dear boy, kindly stop Miss Molly, would you?” Mr. Merle spoke softly yet with authority from behind her.
For a guy as big as the blond was, he was surprisingly light on his feet and in a second had her by the arm, leading her back into the shop. “...and pray, sit and speak with us. Mayhap Merlin can set your world aright again.”
“Merlin? Like in King Arthur’s Merlin? I don’t think so. Look, I can totally understand being part of the whole re-enactment and role playing thing. Really. But you’re carrying it a bit far now. I’ve got a problem and it started with Mr. Merle.” She whispered looking over Gareth’s shoulder toward the back of the shop.
“Gareth, come.” Vivienne beckoned him to the kitchen. “Let my brother speak with the young woman.”
Gareth looked from Molly to Vivienne and finally, with a shrug, followed the older woman into the kitchen.
“Please, Molly, accept my apologizes for not only my sister and nephew, but for all the mix up since you arrived. I can understand why you may be upset and they may have added to it. Will you have a seat and talk?”
“Um, not in here, okay. Your sister and nephew? I don’t feel comfortable saying this in front of them. Could we maybe go out for a coffee and talk there? “
“Of course. Let me ask Vivienne to watch the shop and you and I will have a nice chat.”
Molly nodded and waited by the door. “Man, I sure hope I wake up soon.”