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Book Series Spotlight | Three Sisters Island Mysteries by Casi McLean #timetravel #cozymystery #ku



Title Timeless Secrets

Author Casi McLean

Genre Time Travel Cozy Mysteries

Publisher Casi McLean, Inc


Book Blurb


Searching for antiques in the North Georgia foothills, the Holloway sisters never expected to discover a bony hand protruding through the ground––or an antique watch that would spiral them through time. From USA Today and Amazon Best Selling Author, Casi McLean, comes another gripping time travel mystery to keep you hugging the edge of your seat.

To Raine Holloway, the idea of time travel existed only in fiction––until her antique shop search leads her to Abingdon Manor, an abandoned property in the North Georgia foothills. When the old barn loft collapses beneath her feet, the fall reveals an antique watch that changes Raine’s life forever. Determined to discover the owner of a skeletal hand, Raine and her sisters refuse to accept the police chief’s lack of interest in the cold case. They continue to investigate, unaware the watch will assist them by spinning them through time to 1960. Can Raine and her two sisters unravel the secret of an antique watch’s power, solve the murder, and find their way home –– before Raine becomes the victim buried at Abingdon Manor?


Excerpt


Raine inspected the rotting wood. The hinges looked original, and the tack would bring in some collectors. Stirrups, bridles, and some old leather halters hung on the wallboards.


She edged inside, scrutinizing every section for any items that might prove valuable. Observing what appeared to be an old saddle in the hayloft above, Raine stepped on the built-in ladder, gripping tightly to the side rails in case the wood faltered. When she reached the top rung, she stretched to grasp hold of what appeared to be a CS McClellan Confederate Officer’s saddle, a piece that could sell for at least fifteen hundred dollars in good condition.


She tugged the stirrup, but the saddle held fast to the floorboards. Perhaps a buckle caught on something. If she yanked any harder, she’d damage the treasure. Instead, she climbed into the loft. Wedging a hand underneath the seat, she ran her fingers along the leather until she felt splintered wood. She’d have to wiggle the piece free. Grasping a stud, she pulled upward until she could stand on a weight-bearing beam, then she stepped across the saddle and straddled the seat. The floorboard crumbled beneath her feet, toppling her, the saddle, and most of the loft to the hard dirt floor below.


Raine wasn’t even aware she screamed.


Summer burst into the stable. “What happened?” She dashed forward, then kneeled beside Raine. “Are you okay?”


Drawing herself to a sit, Raine wiped the dust and straw from her arms and shook her head, allowing the debris to fall from her hair. “Aside from several bruises I’m sure I’ll have tomorrow, I’m good.” She grabbed the saddle and drew it to her chest. “But this was totally worth the tumble.” When she realized Summer’s attention focused entirely behind her, she frowned. “What are you gaping at?” She twisted to see what could be more important than her own injuries.


Summer lifted a hand and pointed. “That.”


Narrowing her gaze, Raine followed her sister’s line of sight. A strange, bluish light glowed as it pulsated beneath the hay. Shoving aside the saddle, Raine crawled toward the glimmering light, then swept away the dust and straw.


“Don’t touch it,” Summer warned.


“Why not? I’m pretty sure it’s not alive, and I doubt the stone will explode.” She reached for the glittering gem and inspected the item. A brilliant blue stone fluttered in the middle with three buttons, triangularly positioned around the gemstone, and a leather band met each side. She stood. “It appears to be some kind of wristwatch. See the band?”


Raine wrapped the leather strip around her wrist and fastened the clip. “The clasp is loose, but I’m sure Meadow can repair it.” To keep her discovery safe, she slipped the piece into her jacket pocket, then closed the zipper.


Summer nodded. “It looks like a watch, but I’ve never seen one like that before.”


“Neither have I, but I’m sure the glow began after I fell. I inspected every inch of the lower area before I climbed into the loft.” Again, she scrutinized the device. “It must have fallen from the loft when the floor collapsed.”


“Or a piece of splintered wood struck the mechanism and activated the device.” Summer’s brow wrinkled. “So, you think the watch is an antique? It looks more like a high-tech instrument from the future.”


“I agree. The face tells more than the time of day, like a chronometer of sorts.” Raine patted her pocket, fascinated by the mysterious device they discovered. “You nailed the description, though. Obviously old…but clearly some kind of advanced technology. Strange.”


“Meadow can examine the piece under her jeweler’s loupe when she repairs the band. I’m sure she’ll solve the mystery behind the watch.”


“Right. We should check on her.” Raine grabbed the saddle. “When I fell through the loft floor, this was what I had my eye on. It looks like an officer’s saddle from the Civil War era.”


“Oh, my gosh. That’s a significant find.” Summer ran a hand over the dusty leather. “It’s a bit worn…but I bet the leather will clean up well.”


“Yeah. Me, too.” She scanned the room for her other treasures. “Can you please grab those stirrups and halters and hand me my knapsack?”


“Sure.” She inspected the tack.


“Thanks.” Brushing off the dust, Raine examined the saddle closer before slipping it into her canvas tote. “Did you find anything near the house foundation?”


“Nothing of value.” Still holding the tack, Summer stepped outside.


“We have enough for the day. Let’s get back to Meadow.” Hoisting the bag over a shoulder, she headed toward the creek alongside of Summer.


They’d only walked a few yards when they heard Meadow’s whistle.


Raine dropped her bag and darted toward the shrill blast. She called Meadow’s name over and over.


The tack dropping from her grip, Summer shot toward the creek. “We’re coming, Meadow. Where are you?”


The whistle abruptly ended.


“I’m here, about a football field downstream from the horses.”


“What’s happened? Are you hurt?”


“I’m fine.” Meadow waved her hands in the air. “Over here.”


Observing her sister, Raine picked up speed. “I’ve never heard that whistle blown so loudly before. What happened? Are you sure you’re not hurt?”


“I’m sure.” Meadow paused, staring at her sisters with trepidation etched into her face. “I’m fine, but––” she pointed toward some bony fingers poking through the dirt. “I’m guessing the person attached to that hand isn’t.”


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Author Biography


USA Today & Amazon Best Selling Author, Casi McLean, pens novels to stir the soul, crossing genres from ethereal captivating shorts with eerie twist endings to believable time slips, ghostly encounters, mystical plots, heart-pounding thrillers, and sensual romantic suspense--all dusted with a sprinkle of magic. Subscribe to Casi’s newsletter on the top bar of her website at CasiMcLean.com


Known for enchanting stories with magical description, Casi McLean entices readers with fascinating hooks to hold them captive in storylines they can't put down. Her romance entwines strong, believable heroines with delicious, hot heroes to tempt the deepest desires. She fans the flames, sweeping readers into their innermost romantic fantasies. With suspenseful settings and lovable characters, you'll devour, you'll see, hear and feel the magical eeriness of one fateful night. You'll swear time travel could happen, be mystified by a touch of supernatural, feel the heat of romantic suspense, and drawn into gripping thrillers––but most of all you'll want more.


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Title Timeless Treasures

Author Casi McLean

Genre Time Travel Cozy Mysteries

Publisher Casi McLean, Inc


Book Blurb


Thrust into 1692 Salem, Summer Holloway must discover why the time portal spiraled her into her haunting dreams before a hysterical town hangs her for witchcraft!


From USA Today and Amazon Best Selling Author, Casi McLean, comes another gripping time-travel mystery to keep you hugging onto the edge of your seat.


A hologram on Three Sisters Island whisks Summer into the past where she meets Sydney Monaco, a twenty-first century private investigator who experienced a similar anomaly. To discover where they are––and when––she convinces Sydney to hike through the dense forest...until they witness the gruesome lynching of a young woman.

When the mob leaves, they rescue the victim, but the girl confirms Summer’s greatest fear. How can she convince Sydney the ancient Celtic amulet not only transported her to another location, but it also swept her back in time to 1692 Salem––in the middle of the most histrionic witch hunt in American history.


Summer must discover why the portal thrust her through time into her haunting dreams before a hysterical town hangs them for witchcraft. With no chronometer, she is forced to rely on Sydney’s untested amulet to pluck them from their own lynching and take them home––but the artifact plots its own destination…


Can Summer find a way back to the twenty-first century before time runs out?


Excerpt


A stab of panic squirmed over the young woman's bare skin, and tiny hairs prickled on the back of her neck. Heart pounding, she clung to the rough surface of a fat tree trunk and peered at the scene unfolding in the forest glen beyond. Through the mist, she saw a dark figure dangling from a tree branch, head tilted to one side as if the body hung by the neck. At least a dozen girls, swathed in scant, gauzy, drapes swirled. Their long hair whirling…covering their faces as they danced around a campfire. A fog of smoke hanging low over the ground choked into her throat, but she didn’t dare cough. Instead, she swallowed hard, ingesting the pungent scent of burnt embers.


Laughter echoed through the night sky. Where was she? Her gaze shot in every direction, but she recognized nothing. Despite the evening chill shivering through her core, an icy-hot sweat beaded at her hairline. Her thoughts, wiped clean of all logical information, betrayed her. Only questions arose in the void and raced through her mind. She stood, a nameless, empty soul, unsure of the past, the future…or the present. Every instinct she possessed begged her to run, but her limbs froze in place. The beat of her heart kept time, racing to the rhythm of ghoulish screams as the ritual reached a crescendo.


Through the mist, she saw a man approach the dancers from the left…one of the girls must have seen him, because a deafening scream pierced the enchantment, and the circle immediately broke…the girls fled in the opposite direction and faded into the dense woods.


“You, there,” the man called out.


Did he see her? She was the only one left. He must have seen her.


He rushed forward.


Sheer terror took over. Steadying her stance, she willed her legs to move and took off running into the dark forest. Dodging underbrush through the starless night, she had no idea which way to flee, but her gut told her to stay on course. With no warning, her foot caught on a tree root. She tripped and tumbled downward, grabbing at bushes and brushwood to break the fall.


“Summer. Wake up.”


The familiar voice brought her to the present. She pushed away sweat-soaked sheets and opened her eyes. “Raine?”


“You’re okay. Just breathe.” With a hand towel, Raine wiped the perspiration from her sister’s forehead. “These dreams are getting worse, Summer. Maybe you should go see a sleep specialist.” She dabbed Summer’s cheeks. “Look at you. You’re soaked to the bone. Did anything else surface this time?”


The touch of the cool cloth soothed Summer’s anxiety, but missing details wouldn’t surface. “Not one clue about where I was. Only the girls dancing in some kind of ritual…crazy screams…and when a man discovers them, they disappear into the woods. But this time, I ran into the darkness. I tripped and rolled down a hill.”


“Are you sure your Outlander binge-watching isn’t creeping into your dreams?” Raine took her hand, then frowned. “But that wouldn’t explain how you got all these scrapes on your arm.” She tilted her head and inspected Summer’s neck and shoulders. “You’ve never had physical marks from your previous dreams, have you?”


Summer glared at the cuts, scratches, and swollen lumps. “No. As if the dreams weren’t scary enough.” She examined every inch of skin not covered by her pink, ribbed tank top.


“Some of those injuries look serious, Summer.”


“Technically speaking, any dream that breaks through REM sleep and manifests physical injury jumps past serious into flat-out dangerous.” Meadow pushed off the door jamb and strolled into Summer’s bedroom to join her sisters. “You can’t just brush off the dreams anymore, Summer. We have to get to the bottom of this.”


Summer lowered her gaze. “I know. I can’t help but feel the woman staring at the ritual needs us, and her fear overwhelms me.”


Meadow sat on the edge of the bed. “If someone needed us, don’t you think the chronometer would give us a heads-up?” She held up her wrist to show the watch. “Not even a blink of light. Maybe your dreams have nothing to do with our time jumps. You’re sure you don’t recognize the place or any of the faces?”


“Positive. The circle ritual is somewhere deep in the woods. The fog is so thick, I can’t make out the faces. I only know they sound like young girls.”


“And the man?” Raine raised her brow. “Can you remember anything about him?”


“He never faced me…until––”


Meadow grabbed Summer’s foot. “Until when…tonight? Did you see his face?”


She shook her head. “No. When he called out, I panicked. I turned and ran as fast as I could. I might have gotten out of the woods, too, if I hadn’t tripped. My foot caught on a root or vine in the brushwood. I stumbled, grabbing at whatever I could to keep from plummeting down the mountainside.”


“Wait. What? You didn’t mention someone chased you or that you fell down a mountain.” Raine frowned. “Are you sure you didn’t see his face?”


“I just turned and ran. All I saw was a man in a long, dark overcoat. He didn’t try to hurt the girls. He only watched…until their chanting got crazy. Then he walked toward them, and they ran screaming into the forest.”


Raine scoffed. “Meadow’s right. What you’re experiencing goes way beyond a simple dream.” She peered at her watch. “Dang, three-fifteen a.m. I don’t know how you can bake and prepare for the breakfast shift at Summer Thyme with no sleep night after night. Your alarm will ring in forty-five minutes.”


Feeling a niggle of guilt, Summer gazed at Meadow. “I’m keeping you two from sleep, too.”


Meadow yawned. “If these dreams have something to do with a case, why do they only affect Summer?”


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Title Timeless Mysteries

Author Casi McLean

Genre Time Travel Cozy Mysteries

Publisher Casi McLean, Inc


Book Blurb


A mysterious time slip to Niagara Falls thrusts Meadow Holloway and her sisters down a curious rabbit hole of mystery, miracles, and murder. From USA Today and Amazon Best Selling Author, Casi McLean, comes another heart-pounding time-travel mystery to keep you gripping the edge of your seat. A routine slide to Three Sisters Island spins Meadow to Niagara Falls where she encounters two men planning to murder a historical icon. To thwart the killers, she opens pandora's box and initiates a stream of time slides swirling the Holloway sisters through history in pursuit of a mysterious time-traveler. Meadow must identify the ominous stalker and discover and why he--or she--wants to erase from history such an iconic historical visionary. But the clock is ticking. If they fail to unravel the mystery in time, time-travel will cease to exist, leaving the trio stranded in the past forever.


Excerpt


A surge of energy buzzed through the blue mist––so electrically charged, the hairs on Meadow’s arms and neck prickled. Never before had she felt a current like this. A sizzling vibration streamed through her, quivering as if her body conducted an electrical circuit through the icy-blue mist surrounding her.


When the haze faded, the sensation diminished, but the buzzing intensified. Gazing around for the source, she realized nothing looked familiar. Wherever she landed was not Three Sisters Island. A frigid breeze whipped around her, and a chill slithered down her back. She trembled and inspected her attire. Lounging pants and a baggy, short-sleeve T-shirt wouldn’t protect her from the wintery gusts stinging her bare skin. What happened? Where was she? More importantly, when was she?


Her gaze shot to the chronometer still glowing on her wrist. Tapping the crowns, she cursed at how reckless she’d been, accepting Raine’s readout without verification when she said their destination pointed to Three Sisters Island. The watch did, indeed, chart Three Sisters Island as their assignment target…but not their small key in Lake Lanier, Georgia. Had Raine tapped the crown to show a hologram displaying the entire alert, they both would have prepared appropriately to slide to Three Sisters Island, New York…the date––November 15, 1896.


A shot of adrenaline pulsed through her veins, kicking up her heartbeat. Where was Raine? She spun, searching for her sister, but she saw no one. Panic littered her thoughts. Calm down, Meadow. She drew in a long breath and tensed her muscles, then released both, slightly easing her anxiety. If Raine and Summer slid here, Meadow would find them. But a real possibility existed Raine dismissed the alert, changed clothes, and then programed the chronometer to jump to their island. If Summer did the same thing, both sisters would have no idea where Meadow landed.


Meadow’s innate scientific nature kicked in, and she pulled together the facts she knew. Her location and the date: New York, November 15. This weather was a far cry from the stormy September morning she left behind in Mossy Creek, Georgia. She rubbed her hands briskly over her bare arms and tapped her chronometer. Thirty-six degrees. No wonder she was freezing. The time read: Five-thirty AM. That explained the darkness and why she saw no one around––which actually played to her advantage, since her attire would certainly stand out in a crowd. By all indications, she transported to the middle of the woods. New York was a huge state. She could be anywhere.


Meadow had never heard of Three Sisters Island, New York, but by definition, the isle would have to be surrounded by water…still, New York likely had thousands of lakes and rivers. If she could find the shoreline, she might have a better idea of where she was.


Something at this location had triggered the chronometer, which meant a time anomaly near these coordinates was either in progress or had recently occurred. Discovering the abnormality should take precedence, but for Meadow, Raine and Summer always came first. She had to find them.


A freezing gust swept past, chilling her to the bone. If she didn’t come up with a way to stay warm, she’d succumb to the cold and would be of no use to anyone. First and foremost, she needed to generate heat. Keep moving. Finding suitable clothes for warmth––and to blend into local society––was at the top of her mental list, and she’d search for her sisters along the way.


Meadow gazed around. In the distance, she heard a loud whooshing sound, but the odd, electrical buzz hadn’t dissipated. What was that? Her curiosity had her turn toward the source, and she paced forward. Trekking through the forest with little to no path, she followed the noise until she reached a bank of a river with rushing rapids. Gaping across the river, she saw a magnificent waterfall unlike any she’d seen before. Niagara Falls? So mesmerizing was the cascade, she scarcely heard the voices approaching behind her.


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Title In Time for Christmas

Author Casi McLean

Genre Time Travel Romantic Suspense

Publisher Casi McLean, Inc


Book Blurb:


From USA Today and Amazon Best Selling Author, Casi McLean, comes a new time travel romantic suspense––a mystical Christmas story you'll never forget. When Dr. Carson Marlow washed ashore on a sandy beach, she had no memory of the last twenty-four hours. Lost, battered, and confused, she trekked a path along the shore into the woods, hoping to find help.


Despite the cool November morning, Piers Bradley stood beneath Madison Falls washing off dust from days of horseback riding. He never expected to see a beautiful woman wandering alone through the dense forest summit.


Neither believed in destiny…or time travel, but nothing short of kismet could describe their encounter. Can Carson and Piers discover who tried to murder her, save a young slave girl’s life, and unravel their mysterious connection in time ~ for Christmas?


Excerpt


Gasping for air in a snow globe of sand and water, Carson Marlow dug her fingers into the coarse, rugged beach and clung to the shoreline. She collapsed face down, submitting to the tide splashing over her battered body. Drained of energy, she forced her eyes open a slit and stared through grit-sodden hair at the ebb and flow of the surf. Like greedy fingers, the waves stole tiny treasures from the shoreline and returned them to the bowels of the lagoon.


Her head pounded in unison with her heartbeat. Struggling for another breath, she willed a hand to wipe away a clump of sandy hair shrouding her face. Her fingers brushed over her forehead and scraped across a massive lump. What had happened in the hours––or days––leading to this moment, she couldn’t recall. Her awareness only awakened as she pummeled through the current and washed onto the beach.


She summoned her muscles to give her the strength to roll onto her back then sucked in a long breath, filling her lungs. The peppery-sweet scent of Carolina allspice wafted through the air and mingled with the dank, earthy smell of the shoreline. The sun beat down on her face but did little to soothe the effects of the piercing cold water and the added chill of a crisp breeze. Another breath, and the ache in her chest deepened.


Head still spinning, Carson squeezed her eyes tightly. Fuzzy snippets flashed. Shivering from a deep sense of fear, as much as her physical condition, she pulled herself into a sitting position.


She gazed around but saw no familiar landmarks, only forest behind and the water beyond. Unaware of her exact location or the circumstances behind her arrival on this beach, she had enough presence of mind to realize she’d survived some tragic event or trauma. A stab of fear swirled through her core. Was she still in peril? Had she fled from someone or something? Yes. Why else would she wash ashore with no boat or Jet Skis in sight? Lying on an open beach might put her in the crosshairs of, who? Her instincts screamed danger and warned her not to sit here and invite a threat to surface.


She stood on shaky legs, and a wave of dizziness caught her off guard. Again, she shut her eyes tightly then opened them and focused on a downed tree branch until her stance steadied. She gazed at her soaking-wet jeans and cross-trainer shoes. Though drenched, they appeared intact. Patting her rear pocket, she hoped to find her cell phone.


A quick search of the nearby ground told her no personal items washed ashore with her. An eerie sense of pins and needles crept over her body like a squadron of scurrying ants, and she willed the sensation to dissipate––this time to no avail.


Her medical training snapped into gear. Fearing the unknown would drain her energy and hinder her ability to handle this bizarre situation. Calm…she needed to stay calm. She lowered her gaze. The ripped neckline and blood splatter on her light-blue shirt confirmed an accident or confrontation. Was the blood hers? She inspected her arms and torso, finding abrasions, contusions, bruises on her ribs, and scratches on her bare skin, which accompanied her aching body. The throbbing pain in her chest felt like a broken rib…maybe two. The inspection was thorough, but everything she discovered only led to more questions.


Examining the coastline, she pinched her brows. She couldn’t pinpoint this area of the lake, which, for Carson, seemed very odd. Having lived on the lake in Reynolds Plantation most of her life, she’d memorized the entire northern shore of Lanier. Not recognizing this inlet shot a stab of prickles down her neck and into her shoulders. She twisted her long hair until most of the water released, then searched the shoreline in both directions. If she stayed close to the water, she’d likely get her bearings soon enough.


The hematoma on her head would explain her short-term memory loss and disorientation. Both symptoms matched those of a concussion, and acknowledging the diagnosis calmed her frazzled nerves. Mind spinning, Carson attempted to retrace her last memories, but again, only disconnected moments flashed briefly, then faded.


Recalling her emergency training, she directed her thoughts to what she knew for sure…basic information, like name, occupation, address, and date. She could answer those questions. Her name––Dr. Carson Marlow. A stab of panic shot down her arms and her fingers went numb. The hospital…they must be frantic…had she missed any scheduled surgeries? She trembled…a normal reaction she knew would strain her energy, too. Refocus Carson. She couldn’t worry about surgery now. Survival took precedence.


She took a deep breath and forced her thoughts to focus on vital information she could verify. Occupation––pediatric surgeon at Northside Hospital–Forsyth––check. Address––she knew that one, 2021 Hidden Cove Lane, Lake Lanier, Georgia––check. Date…November…right? She wasn’t sure. Not a good sign, but almost drowning might have that effect on anyone. Marital status––divorced…a brief event in her life she wished she could forget. Children, none…not even a pet. She scoffed. Her basic information sounded like a love-starved workaholic…which was exactly what she was.


At least she wasn’t helpless. She brushed the sand and debris from her clothes. A cool breeze skidded across the water, and she shivered. Her sopping hair and wet clothes stuck to her skin, deepening the chill. The friction from rubbing her hands over her upper arms did little to warm her. She needed dry clothes sooner than later. She glanced in both directions…which way should she go?


Gut instinct steered her south. A quick gaze at the afternoon sun aimed her internal compass, and she turned toward the flow of the current. Her whole body ached. She plodded forward, constantly searching for some sign of human life…a boat, wave-runner, or a campground. Something wasn’t right. She couldn’t pinpoint exactly what yet, but her instincts rarely misled her.


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Title Time Swept

Author Casi McLean

Genre Time Travel Romantic Suspense

Publisher Casi McLean, Inc


Book Blurb:


Danica Lane thought escaping the sick web of a Los Angles predator was the hardest thing she’d ever do, until she swept through time to 1883 into the arms of an accused killer.


Nathan Hayes learned at an early age to live his life honor-bound, but when he was arrested for a murder he didn’t commit, avoiding a noose took precedence. He never dreamed taking refuge in an abandoned, stone cellar would thrust him one hundred-forty years into the future.


A profound connection sizzled between them the moment they met. Perhaps the Lake Lanier legend uniting star-crossed love had merit, but could they endure the jagged journey?


Swept through time into a web of danger, deceit, and death, Nathan and Danica must unravel a mystery, find a killer, and save a young woman’s life before time runs out, or Nathan will hang for a double murder––with Danica's blood on his hands.


Excerpt


Stunned by the inexplicable vision before her, Dani froze. The deck and lake faded into a soft blur. Blinking to refocus her gaze, she inspected the small stone structure where she now stood. Was she dreaming? Squeezing her eyes shut, she attempted to regain her stability. A stale, musty odor mingled with burning candle wax tickled her nostrils, followed by a light scent of sweat. She opened her eyes to see a shirtless man lying on a bed of ivy in the corner. Fitfully sleeping, he moaned and murmured unintelligibly. His wrists bruised from what looked like rope burns.


Having helped Cuyler’s victims for the last few years, Dani was no stranger to abuse. She lunged forward and dropped to her knees beside him.


Perspiration clung to his brow, and his muscular chest glistened in the flickering candlelight.


She slid a hand beneath his damp hair to feel his forehead. His skin, hot to the touch, confirmed he had a fever. Scanning the small room, she saw nothing useful to reduce his temperature…except––she glanced downward and stared at the wine glass, the stem still gripped in her fisted hand. Without considering consequences, she poured the Malbec over his face, then patted his forehead with the crumpled, white shirt lying beside him on the makeshift bed.


He jerked his head and opened his sapphire blue eyes.


Lost in his gaze, Dani stared, a breath caught in her throat.


“Is it you?” he whispered.


His soft voice broke her trance. With her fingers, she raked the hair from his face, then wiped the shirt over his neck and chest to absorb the sweat. Her hand brushed his hot skin, sending a stream of heat swirling throughout her body. She shivered at the sensation.


Angling his head, he gripped her wrist. “All…this…blood…what happened?”


She followed his line of vision to the wine-soaked shirt and chuckled. “No worries. That’s not blood, it’s wine. I used it to cool your temperature.”


“A waste of good wine?” He scoffed.


She raised a brow. “It was the only cooling liquid available, and it’s not working. We need to get you to a hospital.” She stood, scanning the dark room, and stepped toward the window. A quick glimpse outside revealed nothing but a wall of ivy. “Where are we, anyway?” When he didn’t answer, she shot a glance his way just as his body went limp. “What’s going on?” Heart pounding, she rushed to his side and felt for a pulse. “I’ve got to get you out of here.”


A silver-blue sparkle misted around them. Again, Dani’s stomach churned in a wave of nausea, but this time, she didn’t pass out. Adrenalin pumping, she hovered over the mysterious man, clinging to him as the swirl burst into an electric blue tempest. The small stone structure faded into the mist. The dirt floor crumbled into thin air. In a heartbeat, the wooden deck materialized beneath her knees, and the sparkling whirlpool dissolved into the glittering lake.


When the mist cleared, Dani peered at the full moon now high in the sky, then shifted her gaze to the candles still burning on the deck table. The wax had burned down considerably since sundown, which told her several hours had passed. She snapped a glance at her watch: 11:03 PM. She stiffened and tried to swallow the lump caught in her throat.


Lowering her chin, she stared at the strange man’s lifeless body lying in front of her, then gasped. “Oh, my gosh.” Without further questioning what had just happened or how the area surrounding them morphed from one reality to another, she went into autopilot. Again, she felt for a pulse. Sensing a weak throb, she lunged toward the lake house, snatched the Styrofoam ice chest and a kitchen towel, then rushed back to his side. A flip of her finger removed the cooler’s top. She yanked a bottle from the loose ice and poured water onto the towel, then dabbed the cold cloth over his sweaty face, pausing only to gauge his spiking temperature before continuing to wipe down his neck and chest.


Unresponsive to her touch, the man lashed back and forth, mumbling incoherent garble.


Thoughts spinning, Dani reeled what she knew about medical treatment. Years ago, when Papa fell sick with the flu, Grana’s distress deepened exponentially with his increasing fever. The image of Dani’s grandmother wringing her hands, her forehead etched with worry, seared into Dani’s memory. “You’re worried about Papa, Grana. What’s wrong?”


“A child’s spiking fever warrants concern, but a high temperature in an adult poses a real danger.”


Again, Dani patted the towel over the man’s flushed face. She didn’t know at what point his fever would become dangerous, but she could search the web for an answer. She remembered Grana kept a thermometer in the upstairs medicine cabinet. “I’ll be right back.” She squeezed his shoulder, then darted inside and up the stairs.


The old-fashioned thermometer had been replaced by a digital. Dani snatched the device and prayed the battery hadn’t died. She clicked the front button and spotted a zero in the display window. “Yes.” She tore down the staircase taking two steps at a time and flew toward the deck. Kneeling next to the man, she gaged his temperature––104º––definitely a reason for alarm.


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2 Comments


Casi McLean
Casi McLean
Nov 07, 2023

What a beautiful post. Thanks so much for pulling together such a wonderful promotion.


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N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Nov 07, 2023

Thank you, Casi, for sharing your book series with us!

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