Excerpt from Loving Kane
Elizabeth held on to Kane as cityscapes flashed by them, the portal’s grip forcing her to take shallow breaths. She could feel herself starting to panic—it had been too long. Every other trip through had been fast and painful, but this one seemed to go on and on. Like they were trapped.
It’s because we went so far back—2nd Century Britain is one hell of a lot further than 1940s London—
The next cityscape wrapped around them instead of disappearing, which meant they were here—wherever here turned out to be. What circled them was not the lab. Unless it now had an ocean view—
Before she had time to do more than tighten her grip on Kane the portal shoved them out.
They hit the damp sand. Hard.
Elizabeth waited for the nausea to double her over. The only side effect this time was a low grade headache. Maybe because they were in the portal longer. Or maybe Kane and Mac hadn’t been lying to make her feel better, and she was getting used to it. Getting used to time travel—there’s a sentence I never expected to utter in my lifetime.
Kane let out a low groan. Worried that he might have landed on his injured arm, Elizabeth pushed herself up and crawled over to him.
“All right, love.” He rolled over, and she saw the reason for his groan. His shirt had been torn open, and his chest looked raw from scraping over the sand at high speed. “It was more shock than pain.”
“Where are we?” She really wanted to ask when, but part of her needed to hold on to hope, just a little longer.
Kane raised his left arm, brushed sand off the transport screen. “Bamburgh. That is—”
“The North East coast.” She scanned the beach—and let out a breath when she spotted it behind them. Bamburgh Castle, perched on its cliff, the sunrise bathing it in golden light. It was even more imposing, more beautiful than all the photos she’d collected. “We’re near the village—it’s right behind the castle.”
“Been here?” She smiled. “No, but it was on my list, so I have photos. A lot of photos.”
“Do you want to know when we are?”
He laughed, then leaned up to kiss her. “I am going to tell you anyway. It is the morning of 5 September, 2007.”
“Wait—when?” She expected 14th Century, or maybe a little later. But so close to her own time—
“We can’t stay, Beth.” While she had been in shock, Kane sat, and he reached over to finger damp, sandy hair off her cheek. “This is within your lifetime, and that creates complications—”
“I get it.” She let out a sigh. “Can we stay a few days? Just to—recover?”
“And see the sights?” He flashed his heart melting smile, the one that sucked her in the first time he used it on her. It made promises, and shot heat through her, every time. “I suppose it will do no more harm than we have already. My souvenirs from the fight with Servius are shouting at me.” He cradled his bandaged left arm. Elizabeth knew he had more than one nasty scrape from Servius’ sword under his shirt. “You’re certain you’ve never been here?”
“Cross my heart.”
“All right.” He stood, and pulled her up like she weighed nothing.
Months of sword training with Roman soldiers gave him a strength and athletic grace he didn’t have before. His torn shirt revealed the hard earned muscle, his skin tanned from hours in the sun. She wanted to touch him—oh, who was she kidding? She wanted him, and if she touched him now, they would give anyone who wandered down the beach quite a show.
“We should head to the village,” she said. She crouched down and grabbed her backpack. As long as she kept her hands off him, she’d be fine. She hoped. “That way, I think.”
He strode across the beach, and she followed, stepping around the water filled dips in the sand. The tide must have just gone out. Once they hit dry sand their feet sank in, and she had to slog to get to the dunes that lined either side of the castle, her weaker leg slowing her down. A path led up the steep hill, through the tall, waving grass and around the castle.
Kane halted with no warning, and she nearly tripped trying to avoid him.
“Kane—what is… oh.” Even at this early hour, people swarmed over the large green that stretched between the back of the castle and the village. Her come and go eyesight was still on the clear side, and she was able to read the banner strung between two poles. “It’s a celebration. At least, the preparations for one.”
She pointed, and he read the fluttering banner. “Grace Darling and her heroic rescue.” He glanced down at her. “Tell me you know who this Grace Darling is.”
“Not so loud. She’s a heroine to the people who live here.” Elizabeth grabbed his wrist and pulled him away from the crowd, letting go as soon as she could. “Grace Darling and her father saved the survivors of a shipwreck, at great risk. There’s even a memorial to her behind St. Aidan’s.” Heat flushed her cheeks when she met his eyes. “Stop looking at me like that.”
“I find your ability to spout historical details at a moment’s notice to be—stimulating.”
She swallowed, clutching the straps of her backpack. Of all the men across time, she found the one who actually appreciated her obsession, instead of yawning and changing the subject. History was a passion, second only to her need to draw everything she saw. The fact that he appreciated it only made him more attractive—
She stepped back, before her hands started wandering.
Kane seemed to sense her struggle. With a smile, he adjusted his torn shirt and tucked it in, then gestured across the green. “Shall we find a place to stay?”
“What are we going to use for money?”
“Ah.” He dug in his backpack, and pulled out a small leather pouch. A familiar leather pouch. “A farewell gift, from Marius.” He opened the drawstring, and Elizabeth caught a glimpse of the coins inside. Coins Marius used to bribe her would-be kidnapper. “He figured we might need a stake if we landed in a place other than my home.”
“We can’t use them as currency here, but there may be a place to sell one or two.”
He frowned down at her. “Only one or two?”
“You have no idea how much these are worth, do you?”
His shoulders stiffened. “We no longer use currency in my time, so I am not acquainted with the value of old coins.”
Elizabeth bit back her smile. “Roman coins are on the rare side.” The next words pained her to say. “We are going to have to do a little damage to these before we can show them to anyone.”
“Exactly. We should be able to get a room with no problem—the places I’ve been to outside London have you pay when you leave. It will give us time to gather the cash, one way or another.”
He raised one eyebrow. “And what would be the other way?”
Elizabeth couldn’t control her smile this time. “You working, Mr. British Citizen.”
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