A Window In Time
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by Carolyn Lampman
Category: Romance/Historical Fiction Loveromances.com Reviewer's Choice Golden Rose Award Winner, EPIC eBook Award Finalist, RITA Award Finalist, Coeur Du Bois Heart of Romance Award Winner
Description: Brianna Daniels sails along enjoying her first hot air balloon ride, unaware of 15 year-old Scott Martin who tinkers on his computer below. Neither is aware of the time warp he creates until Brianna is sucked in and lands in 1860. Suddenly she finds herself on the way to the Split Rock Pony Express station as a mail-order bride for the station-master, Lucas Daniels, her own great-great-grandfather. But Lucas didn't send for a wife nor is he impressed with her twenty-first century attitudes. The two instantly clash in a battle of wills that threatens to set the prairie ablaze. Conflict isn't all that sparks between them as unexpected passions flare and the 21st century meets the 19th head on.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2005 WHISKEY CREEK PRESS
eBookwise Release Date: July 2005
49 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [455 KB]
Reading time: 311-436 min.
July 16, 2005
"All right, Chuck, let her go."
"Oh, God," Brianna whispered as she closed her eyes and swallowed nervously. How in heavens name had Linda talked her into going up in a hot air balloon?
"Heights bother you?" the balloonist asked with hint of amusement in his voice.
"Then open your eyes, or youll miss the best part."
"Ill wait until were in the air."
"We already are."
"What?" Brianna cautiously lifted one eyelid and peeked over the side of the basket. There had been no feeling of lift-off, but the crowd below on the soccer field already looked more doll-like than human.
"See, it isnt so bad, now is it?"
She gave him a weak smile. "II guess not."
"Are you sure youre not afraid of heights?" the balloonist asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Not usually. In fact, thats why Im here. My friend Linda was supposed to be your passenger, but she got cold feet at the last minute." Brianna glanced uneasily at the ground again. "Actually my toes arent feeling exactly toasty right now either."
He chuckled. "Then dont look down. The view is better in the sky anyway."
Obediently, she lifted her gaze to the other balloons that had risen with them. "Oh!"
Bobbing along like so many magic bubbles, their jewel-like colors were bright against the early morning sky. Briannas fear left as suddenly as it had come. The wind brushed her cheek in a caress as exhilarating as a lovers kiss, and she felt a peculiar rush of euphoria.
"Beautiful isnt it?"
"Its incredible," she said in an awestruck voice. She jumped in alarm a moment later as the propane burner roared to life right next to her, and a huge flame shot upward into the balloon.
"Sorry," he said. "I forgot to warn you. This darn thing can scare the pants off of you if you arent expecting it."
Brianna looked at the burner accusingly. "How often do you have to do that?"
"It depends. Dont worry, youll get use to it."
"I wouldnt count on it."
He grinned and bent to adjust a gauge on one of the tanks on the floor. "Im surprised your friend decided not to come along. She seemed really excited about the whole idea at the rally dinner last night."
"Oh, she was, right up until she thought about actually going up in a balloon. Since its the 25th anniversary of the Riverton Balloon Rally, her boss figured sponsoring a balloon and sending along one of his employees would be a great publicity stunt. When he offered to pay over-time for it, Linda volunteered. The actual logistics of it didnt hit her until she tried to go to sleep last night."
Brianna risked a glance over the edge of the basket. The soccer field was behind them, the crowd reduced to tiny ant-like creatures in the distance. "I never realized balloons moved so fast."
"When youre standing on the ground they dont. Its a matter of perspective, I think."
"I suppose." Brianna looked at the pilot curiously. Though the man was a total stranger he reminded her a little of her favorite cousin, with all that curly red hair. "You know, in all the excitement, Im afraid I didnt catch your name."
"Thomas Shaffer, aeronaut extraordinaire at your service maam," he said, extending his hand. "My friends call me Tom."
She returned his smile as they shook hands. "Brianna Daniels."
The balloon gave a sudden jerk, then shot straight up and veered off to the left. Tom reached up to adjust the rigging, but the balloon continued on its wayward course. "Damn, were caught in an up-draft. I really thought I had a chance of winning today."
Brianna looked at the other balloons huddled together in the distance and suddenly felt very alone. "I thought you could steer this thing. Cant you adjust the flaps or something?"
"I have some control, but were pretty much at the mercy of the wind."
"I guess thats the whole idea isnt it?"
Though his disappointment was obvious, he didnt look angry. "Oh well, might as well try for distance then," he said cheerfully.
"Is it always this warm?" Brianna asked as she took off her windbreaker.
"Thats just the hot air from the balloon. Relax and enjoy the flight. If were lucky, itll be a long one."
"Im not sure I want it to be. What if we get lost?"
"Dont worry. My brother is on the chase crew. Hell follow us through a swamp if he has to. See, there they are."
He pointed to a bright yellow pickup driving along the highway beneath them. "He loves the challenge of the chase. Hey, is that a road block up ahead?"