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Time to Heal (Brides of the Kindred #24.2)
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
A Single Mother, Desperately trying to get back her baby
Emmeline is a young, single mother all alone in the world. After being attacked, she was cast out by her family and is having a hard time making her way in the world, Desperate to assure her son’s future, she gave him up to her mother to raise–only to have him stolen away from her completely. Now he is sick and she must find a way to heal him–but how?
Enter Skahr, a Kindred warrior from another world who needs some healing of his own. A prophesy has foretold that Emmeline is the one he seeks but he must promise to help her find and heal her baby first. As the two go on a quest together, Emmeline finds herself drawn to the big, scarred warrior with his surprising strength and quiet ways. But will the two of them get back her baby before it’s too late?
Author’s Warning: Though I have tried to handle it delicately, readers should know that my heroine, Emmeline, is the victim of sexual assault. If you have also been a victim, please read with care. I hope, as I always do when I write this kind of book, to provide a narrative which will bring hope and healing to the reader, not a re-occurrence of trauma.
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“So how’s it going? See anything interesting lately?”
Caroline Vii looked up from her work, startled by the voice in her ear. It was Sophie, one of her new friends aboard the Kindred Mother Ship. The other girl gave her an apologetic smile.
“Oh sorry—didn’t mean to startle you. I was just curious about what other universes you’d been watching lately.”
It might have seemed a strange question to anyone else, but Caroline was a scientist who had pioneered the study of the other layers of reality in what was known as the Multiverse. The idea that there might be more than one universe—that there might, in fact, be hundreds or thousands or even millions of universes and realities layered on top of each other like the rings of an onion—had long been bandied around the scientific community.
But only Caroline had found a way to actually observe them.
Using a machine she had invented called PORTAL—short for Positronic Orbital Rotating Time/Space Allocating Locator—Caroline was actually able to peel back the layers of reality and observe other universes. Some people were also able to travel between them, using the window that PORTAL created. Caroline had found that out the hard way, when she was sucked into another universe and forced to live the life of her own double in what was essentially Victorian England.
That had been a wild adventure and Caroline had barely escaped with her life several times over. She’d been drugged, shot at, attacked, and made to wear hoop-skirts and a corset laced so tightly she could barely breathe. But since she had also gotten her mate and husband, Richard, out of the deal, she considered the whole thing a success—not that she ever wanted to repeat it.
Now there was a clearly marked black line on the floor of her lab, exactly three feet from the large brass frame of PORTAL’s window generation unit. This was considered the minimum safe distance and whenever a different universe was showing in the large, rectangular frame, Caroline made certain that she and anyone else who came into her lab observed it carefully from behind the safety line.
She didn’t want anyone else getting sucked into another world and forced to live the life of their Multiverse doppelganger as she had. It was too damn dangerous and crazy, trying to pass yourself off as a whole other person who might look exactly like you, but had a completely different personality and life. Having lived through that herself, Caroline wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Nor did she want to drag anyone from another universe through the PORTAL’s window into her own world…well, with one exception.
She wished desperately that she could bring Richard’s cousin, Emmeline, through. In fact, that was who she was watching in PORTAL’s window right now.
“Not really seeing anything new at the moment,” she told Sophie. “Mostly I’ve just been trying to keep an eye on Emmeline—though I don’t know what we could do if I saw something bad happening. Richard can’t go back to his old universe and I don’t think I can either.”
“Poor thing!” Sophie looked at the large brass frame, which showed a gray, overcast day in the other universe. The sky was an ominous shade of purple-blue and storm clouds were massing, clearly threatening to spit more snow to match the grayish mush that lined the cobbled streets of the Victorian-looking city.
It had been summertime when Caroline made her trip through the PORTAL but time had passed and it was winter now—a dull and dreary time in the other world. Not that it seemed to bother the girl they were watching.
Walking along the street, her chin lifted high, was Emmeline. She was a lovely girl with long, golden-brown hair, caught up in a fashionable chignon and held in place by a jaunty little emerald green hat pinned at the crown of her head. The hat set off her large, luminous eyes and the long, bustled green gown she wore accentuated her plus-sized curves, which were apparently all the rage in her universe.
Caroline had to admit that was one thing she had liked about the strange world called Terra, which corresponded to Earth, though it appeared to be about two hundred to three hundred years behind Earth’s timeline. Plus-sized women were considered beautiful there, though they were still forced into corsets to accentuate their curves.
“What’s she doing? Where is she going?” Sophie asked, breaking her train of thought.
“I don’t know,” Caroline said. “But if I had to guess, I’d say she’s on her way to Hastings Hall to try and see her baby again.”
“Oh, how is baby Jamie?” Sophie asked with interest. She and her sister, Liv and their friend, Kat, had been following Emmeline’s life with avid interest.
Richard’s cousin had had a tumultuous existence ever since she’d been attacked by the only son of an Earl and had refused to marry him. Richard had called the man out and shot him dead in a duel, but Emmeline was still a ruined woman, according to her world’s standards. And when it became clear the rape had left her pregnant, her own mother, Lady Agatha Hastings, had turned her out of the house.