by Pauline Baird Jones
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Melanie “Mel” Morton thought she was done with crazy stunts since she’d finished with the Make Mel Cry Uncle show. And she thought she was through with time travel when she made it out of World War II—and Occupied France—alive.
It sucked to be wrong.
She looked down at the whirling vortex. It looked worse than the last time she’d jumped into it—and into the past. And different, it looked different. More vortexy somehow.
At least this time she wasn’t wearing a dress. Not that B-17 bomber gear was that much more comfortable than the 40’ dress she’d donned for her last trip into the past. It did have the benefit of being warmer, particularly with Jack wrapped around her like another bomber jacket.
Jack Hamilton loves me. That knowledge hugged her, too, and this time, she got to travel with Jack. That almost made it worth doing again.
“It’s almost time.”
Jack had said that the last time—an older but still sexy Jack. She liked them both, but no question young-bomber-pilot Jack was to die for—which explained why she was about to jump into a vortex again, she supposed. It wasn’t the first time she’d observed the falling in love/reduced IQ factor, though this was her first time living it. Thankfully the IQ drop meant she didn’t care that much about the IQ drop. Despite the IQ drop, she still wasn’t sure how she’d let him talk her into time travel part dieu, actually, now that she considered it, there’d been very little talking and a lot of kissing, which pretty much explained how it happened. He was as good at kissing as everything else he did.
She almost sighed, but she was so close to Jack, he’d feel it and he already carried a lot of guilt for messing with time in the first place. So she hugged him tighter and was glad for the choice when storm turbulence rocked the plane and almost tumbled them into the vortex. She didn’t understand the science, but Jack said when they jumped mattered in how they got to where.
Jack wasn’t happy about the storm, but something about time and tide not waiting mattered, too, so here they were, getting buffeted by the weather while they waited to get buffeted by time—
Mel wasn’t sure if it was turbulence, the lightning, or both, and what didn’t matter as much as the result. Their plane dropped like a stone, slamming them into the top, then jerked up, leaving them at the mercy of the vortex. If they hadn’t been secured together, well, it was the only good part about being buffeted by a time vortex being buffeted by a big ass storm.
Mel didn’t know she’d lost consciousness until she regained consciousness. Her face was pressed up against fabric, with Jack’s heart beating reassuringly on the other side of it. It was so comforting, it took her a few moments to realize she heard music off in the distance somewhere, but it seemed to fit the moment and the hug. It reminded her of the credits of Pride and Prejudice, the end ones where Elizabeth and Darcy are wrapped in each other’s arms on the terrace. That also went with the moment, since she was still wrapped in Jack, so she snuggled closer and released a small, happy sigh.
Of course, getting hugged could be improved by getting kissed. As if he heard her thought, Jack stirred, his arms tightening around her with satisfactory enthusiasm. His head was already tucked in against her neck, so he started the kissing there. The warmth of him and his mouth contrasted nicely with the chill of the air around them.
Somewhere in her brain, she knew she should wonder about the music, and the hard wood floor under them, and why it was so cold inside where ever it was they were, but IQ points were dropping like flies with each press of his mouth against her skin.
“Jack.” She sighed the name, half happy with his kissing choices, half eager for him to get to her mouth and kick it into high. Her lashes drifted down as he stopped to devote attention to the area behind her ear. If there’d been light, she might see storm clouds forming over them, caused by the collision of hot them and cold room, but there wasn’t light—
As if her thought had summoned that, a glow built on the other side of her closed lids and a surge of cooler air, mixed into their personal weather system. She started to murmur a protest, but then the wooden floor rumbled from approaching footsteps. With extreme reluctance she opened her eyes.
The view was odd and upside down, but Mel still got the general impression of someone right out of a Jane Austen movie. The breeches. The ruffle of lace at his wrists. The neat fall of a cravat at his neck. The upheld candle.
“Mr…Darcy?” She felt the lack of those kissed away IQ points quite keenly as soon as the words left her mouth. Of course it wasn’t Mr. Darcy. He was a fictional character. Jack stopped the kissing, though the straps that held them together prevented him from joining the conversation, or even looking at the problem.
Through the open doorway, Mel heard a light, female and very British voice say, “I just adore Pemberley at Christmas, Elizabeth. Though you should have had doves for a Christmas ball. I suppose you don’t know how to do a truly dashing party yet.”
The possibly Mr. Darcy’s brows arched in a very supercilious—one might even call it proud—way. “Why are you rolling around on the floor of my wife’s bedroom in that extraordinary garb?”
Mel opened her mouth. Closed it. Tried blinking again. It didn’t change anything.
“Either I’m dreaming or its past time to push that get home button, Jack.”
“You aren’t and I did—”
The words cut off as the vortex formed again and sucked them up like a huge, silver vacuum cleaner. For just a second, Mel thought she saw Mr. Darcy spin past, but that couldn’t be. Everyone knew he was just a character in a book. Didn’t they?
Darcy post created for Pemberley Ball by Pauline Baird Jones
© 2010. All rights reserved.
Pauline Baird Jones is the award-winning author of nine novels of science fiction romance, action-adventure, suspense, romantic suspense and comedy-mystery. Her latest release is Girl Gone Nova and she is in the process of re-issuing her back list. She's also written a steampunk novella called Tangled in Time that will release in 2010. She's written two non-fiction books, Adapting Your Novel for Film and Made-up Mayhem, and she co-wrote Managing Your Book Writing Business with Jamie Engle. Her seventh novel, Out of Time, an action-adventure romance set in World War II, is an EPPIE 2007 winner. Her eighth novel, The Key won an Independent Book Award Bronze Medal (IPPY) for 2008 and is a 2007 Dream Realm Awards Winner. She also has short stories in several anthologies. Originally from Wyoming, she and her family moved from New Orleans to Texas before Katrina.
by Pauline Baird Jones
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by Pauline Baird Jones
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