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Trapped in Time (Brides of the Kindred #24.5)
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*This is a PLUS length novel–over 100,000 words long***
Dr. Caroline Lambert has a PhD in Astro-Temporal Physics but no clue about matters of the heart. Married to her work, she has built a machine called PORTAL, capable of opening a window into other universes. She believes it is only for observation, so imagine her horror when she finds herself sucked through the window and right into a whole other world–a world that seems stuck in the past, around the time of the Victorian era.
Now Caroline must deal with hoop skirts and elaborate etiquette, not to mention all the dangers of the past. It’s a minefield of antiquated social mores and poisons used as medicines and cosmetics. But perhaps the most perplexing problem is the husband she has somehow acquired–a tall, dark Blood Kindred named Richard who claims she is his wife and refuses to let her go. For in this universe, the Kindred arrived 200 years earlier than in her own time and they have made their way into polite society…as Richard seems determined to make his way into Caroline’s heart.
Will Caroline ever find her way back to her own time and universe? Will she succumb to Richard’s charms and give in to the big Blood Kindred who claims her as his own? And what about the scheming mother she has in this world who is determined that she will leave Richard for a Viscount of questionable morals? Caroline doesn’t know what to do, she only knows that if she cannot somehow open another window into her own world she will be forever…Trapped in Time.
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“So you’ve really found a way to open a door into other worlds—other universes?”
Dr. Caroline Lambert, Ph.D smiled—it was a question she got a lot.
“Not really a door,” she said to the wide-eyed Sophie, who was Commander Sylvan’s wife. Since the big Blood Kindred was the head of the High Council and had authorized her research here aboard the Kindred Mother Ship, she was more than willing to talk about it to him and his wife and her friends, who were also touring her new lab facilities.
“It’s more like a window, if I understand your research correctly,” Sylvan said, raising his eyebrows at her for confirmation.
“Exactly.” Caroline nodded, her red-gold curls bobbing with the gesture. She usually wore her long, naturally curly hair pulled back into a tight bun but she had actually tried to dress up a little today, hoping to make a good first impression.
Unfortunately, her hair wasn’t cooperating and had started to frizz but luckily Commander Sylvan and his wife and sister-in-law, a doctor who had introduced herself as Liv, as well as their friend Kat, all seemed nice. They were also very enthusiastic about her research too, unlike some of her colleagues back home on Earth, who had scoffed at the very idea of opening a window onto the Multiverse.
“So you can only look at the other worlds—not touch them?” Liv asked, looking disappointed.
“That’s what all my research has led me to believe,” Caroline said firmly. “I have no reason to doubt it so far. But then, this will be the first time I’m able to test the equipment I invented. It has to be outside the Earth’s magnetic field to operate correctly which is why I’m so grateful the Mother Ship has agreed to host me.”
“What do you expect to see?” Kat asked curiously. She was plus-sized, like Caroline herself, and had explained that she was married to Twin Kindred, who liked that kind of woman. Caroline couldn’t imagine finding even one man to hook her life to—let alone two—but it was nice to know the Kindred didn’t exhibit size-prejudice when it came to choosing their mates.
“Well, if my theory is correct, there are multiple universes layered one on top of each other—like the thin layers of an onion,” Caroline explained. “I don’t want to go into the math, because it’s pretty involved, but what I’m trying to do is just peel back one layer and look into the universe next to ours.”
“Yes, but what do you think you might see in that universe?” Sophie asked. “Sylvan says that it might be an exact mirror image of our own.”
“It might,” Caroline said carefully. “That’s a distinct possibility.” She nodded at the shiny brass frame of her Positronic Orbital Rotating Time/Space Allocating Locator—PORTAL for short. “I might generate the window and see a world that looks exactly like Earth, with only a few minor inconsistencies to our own world.”
“So if there are millions of universes that are almost exact copies of each other, would it be possible to look through the portal and see you from another world walking around?” Liv asked. “Could you watch your twin from the other universe and see what she was doing?”
“Well, it’s possible I suppose,” Caroline said doubtfully. “But the odds against it are astronomical—like a trillion to one. It would be like flipping on the television and just happening to land on a channel that was playing a satellite picture of your very own house.”
“Oh, too bad.” Kat sounded disappointed. “I kind of wanted to spy on my Multiverse-double and see what she was up to.”
“What if you looked and saw that in that particular universe you had never met Deep and Lock?” Liv objected. “Maybe in some of those other universes you went on to become a lawyer and never married or had kids.”
“What if in some of the other universes the Kindred never came to Earth?” Sophie speculated. “What if we were taken over by the Scourge and the AllFather killed and enslaved us all?”
“Ugh!” Kat made a face. “What an awful thought, doll! Don’t even say it!”
“It’s awful but any and all of those scenarios are possibilities,” Caroline said thoughtfully. “I might peel back the first layer and see an Earth decimated by nuclear war, then peel back the second and see another Earth flourishing because the people in that universe decided to ban all nuclear weapons and implemented strict carbon regulations to control climate change.”
“The possibilities are endless—and fascinating,” Sylvan said. “But would you ladies excuse me for a few minutes? I just got a think-me call which seems important.”
“Of course honey—go on.” Sophie patted her husband’s arm. “We’ll keep Dr. Lambert busy answering our questions while you’re gone.”
“Oh please—call me Caroline,” Caroline said, blushing a little as Sylvan left her new lab, all filled with the shiny brass frame of the PORTAL and the computers that ran it. She had worked hard for her Ph.D but she didn’t like to hold it over people’s heads and insist that they acknowledge her status. She was much too shy and retiring to do that.