Title: Highland Miracle
Author: Christine Young
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2
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HURTLED THROUGH TIME, Sean Michael Sterling, landed in the midst of a May Day celebration he didn’t understand, assuming the role of Laird Sterling.
ILLIGITAMATE CHILD OF NOBILITY, Reagan Douglas searches for a way out of her half brother’s house.
New York City 1895
"I dinnae ken what this contraption could be. I must be aff my heid," he said reverting back to the old language his great grandfather had spoken from time to time. Sean Michael Sterling walked around the tall red object he'd just come across in Central Park. His heart thundered with the realization this was an anomaly and for some reason...
"Is this a fire hydrant?" he murmured totally intrigued. Cautiously stepping closer, he rested a hand on the object of his fascination. The hackles on the back of his neck stood on end. The thing was smooth and touching it sent shivers up his spine. If this was a hydrant, it sure could hold a ton of water.
For some reason... his mind shifted and he thought time machine—Jules Verne—his favorite book.
He leaned in and smelled, nothing, just the scent of metal. He didn't recognize the odor. When he stepped back, he caught a hint of Daphne floating on the air. A slight breeze sifted through the meadow, filling his senses with new cut grass, wet dog, and something he couldn't quite identify.
Thoughts of pixie dust came to mind.
I am off my head.
A small dog ran around his heels, yipping and barking. "Crazy dog." Sean leaned down and rubbed the dog's ears. “You look like a bandit. Wonder where you came from? Go on, now. Where's your owner?"
The dog sat down, wagging his tale and stared at him. It seemed the animal was telling him he wasn't going anywhere. "Now, Bandit, you need to go find your owner. I'm not one to be taking you home with me. Don't think my landlord would appreciate a dog in the building."
Strangely he was the only one in the park, or at least this corner of it. The sound of carriages could be heard in the distance. He suddenly felt isolated and completely alone. The damn thing compelled him to know more, seeming to reach out to him and beckon. An eerie keening started in the back of his mind and grew. The impulse to explore overwhelmed him. Even as he looked at the machine, his mind cautioned him to stay away, but his curiosity sprouted to an uncanny level.
A little voice in the back of his head urged him forward. Damn, but he needed to go home. His stomach growled complaining of hours without food. His eyes burned from the fire he'd just been on and his body cried out for sleep. Rubbing his sooty hair, he muttered to himself.
But thoughts of what was inside this monster contraption intrigued him more than the demands of his body.
Walking around the monstrosity, he kept his hand on the metal all the while looking for an opening. What shocked him and what was more surprising was the fact that little Bandit found the opening for him.
Bandit sat down in front of what appeared to be a door and stared at him again. It seemed to Sean that Bandit dared him to see what was inside. Well, he'd never been a man who could resist a straight on challenge.
He inhaled a long and very deep breath. Closing his eyes he counted to ten. Even though the day was cool, sweat beaded on his forehead. He walked into fires, lifted burning timber, and he'd never really been afraid a day in his life.
This contrivance terrified him.
Nerves snapping, Sean pushed on the door. It slid sideways, revealing a dark abyss. He stepped back. Fear raced through him, caution cried out to him but he ignored all warnings.
Curiosity propelled him forward.
Bandit ran inside. "No," Sean cried out. "Dinnae....
Silence chilled him to the bone and a cold sweat broke out on his body. Birds chirped in nearby trees.
All seemed right with the world—except for this machine.
"Come here." He crouched down and called to Bandit. Bandit didn't budge. Instead the dog cocked his head to one side and seemed to be saying. You come here.
Sean wavered then stood his ground. Bandit seemed to like it in the machine.
An extraordinary golden dust swirled around him, warming him like a golden rain.