I always love a good time travel novel. On today’s First Kiss Friday, I’d like to introduce you to Nhys Glover and an excerpt from The Titan Drowns. Happy reading and enjoy!
Pia didn’t see any crew as she made her way out the companionway onto the Well Deck and then took the short flight of steps to the Poop Deck. It was cold up there at this hour. She shivered, tightened her scarf around her head and neck, scurried into the shelter Marco had told her about, and crouched down to keep hidden.
What would happen to her if she was found on deck after curfew? She didn’t know. But she didn’t want to find out.
After what felt like hours, she heard footsteps approaching. She held her breath and hoped it was not a crew member discovering her hiding place. Luckily, when she looked up she saw it was Marco, his white grin lighting up the night. He dropped down to her side and sandwiched in beside her so that if anyone passed it would look as if he was there alone. He wrapped the blanket he was carrying around their shoulders and snuggled in.
It felt so different to be close to a warm, hard-bodied man. Except for the children, she couldn’t remember a time in the hundreds of years of her life since the LGP that she’d been this close to another human being. She could smell his male scent, subtle but intoxicating. She had to fight the urge to sniff deeper and draw his scent into her lungs.
‘I did not think you would come,’ he said softly. ‘I am late. The last patron left right on eleven and we had to clear the table.’
‘I did not know what the time was. I have no watch.’
‘Why did you come?’ His voice seemed tentative. All his usual charm and confidence were missing.
‘You asked me to. And you helped us. We are grateful.’
‘You did not need to come out of gratitude. I said I would understand.’
‘I… wanted to come.’ She suddenly knew the truth of her words as she said them. She did want to come and spend time with him, even though they had no future, even though he was too handsome by far to be interested in someone like her. He’d asked her to come and she’d wanted to come…
‘Tell me the happiest memory you have,’ Marco said into the silence that had fallen between them.
‘Rolling down a grassy hillside with my brother on a hot summer’s day,’ she answered immediately. ‘It was so hot we had gone swimming in the river, and it was icy because it carried the thaw from the Fiordlands. I think we fell and rolled at first by accident. Then we enjoyed it so much we kept going up to the top of the hill and rolling down it again. I was black and blue afterwards and my mother was furious with us. But it was such fun. If you try to say something when you are rolling like that it comes out all wobbly like this.’ She made her voice vibrate and wobble until Marco laughed.
‘I remember riding on my papa’s shoulders through a marketplace feeling like the king of the world,’ Marco said, after he stopped laughing. ‘My papa was a big man, tall like me, and so he was head and shoulders higher than most people. With me on his shoulders, I could almost touch the sky.’
For a moment, they sat enjoying their memories. ‘I remember the first child I helped. She was lost in the forest and my partner and I were looking for her. We thought we would reach her before she got too deeply into the forest but we were delayed. When we found her, she was so happy she threw herself into my arms and I swung her around and around until we were both dizzy. Then we brought her to… safety. Now she is much loved and very happy.’
‘We work in teams, for safety. Not usually the same person every time. That time it was my first rescue and I was with Ca… Hilda. You know Hilda. She is the pretty blonde with the very tall husband.’
‘Ah yes, as distinct from the very pretty red head with the English husband.’
‘Right. That’s Jane.’
‘You say that like Hilda and Jane are a different species from you. Or they belong to a club that excludes you.’
‘They are very pretty; beautiful, in fact. It is an exclusive club.’
‘You are pretty, too, my sweet mouse. Do not discount yourself so readily.’
‘I am pretty enough, but nothing special. Not very pretty like Jane or Hilda or even Eil… Mary.’
Marco shifted around to the side so he could look her in the eye. His gentle fingers lifted her chin so she could do nothing but meet his incisive gaze. ‘What you look like makes no difference. I should know that better than most. Your beauty shines out through your eyes and it makes you lovelier to me than either Hilda or Jane. ‘
‘I’m nothing special,’ she said softly.
‘You are to me. I can have almost any woman I want. But I want you, sweet mouse. Does that not make you special?’
‘You have tickets on yourself, as Jane would say, Mr Cat,’ she said indignantly, trying to pull away.
‘That saying means I am arrogant? Maybe, but I just speak the truth. It is not a sign of specialness that I can have any woman. I did nothing to get this face or body. I inherited… that is the word, is it not, inherited? I did not earn them. It is nothing to be good looking. It is more important to be sweet and kind and genuine.’
‘Nice,’ she said with a shudder.
‘Sí, nice. There is nothing wrong with nice. I am not nice and I wish I were.’
‘I think you are nice,’ she offered shyly.
‘With you, maybe I am. With you, I want to be nice. Can I kiss you, sweet Petra? Would that make me not nice?’
She drew back a little at the shock of the request. She wasn’t sure if this was part of the game he was playing or something else. But in this moment she didn’t care. More than anything she wanted to be kissed by this handsome Italian.
Something in her face must have given him the answer he was looking for because he moved slowly toward her, lifting her chin up just a little more so he could align his mouth with hers. Then he was kissing her deeply, and the thrill of it thrummed through her system like the vibration of a guitar-string being plucked. Her whole body vibrated and sang out its joy.
She pulled away with a start, terrified by what she was feeling. Terrified by what this man was starting to mean to her.
‘Too much?’ he asked shakily. She was pleased to note that he too was moved by what had happened between them.
‘Yes. Too much, too soon. I can’t… not with you… you cannot know… I… I am sorry; I have to go.’
She tried to climb to her feet, but his hand tightened on her arm and held her in place. ‘I am sorry; I will not do it again. Please stay. Do not leave me yet.’ His voice pleaded with her as her heart pleaded with her. And uneasily she gave in and relaxed back into her place. But now she kept as much space between them as she could.
‘Was that so bad?’ he asked, his obvious concern in every word.
‘Not bad. But I cannot.’
‘Do you belong to another?’
‘No, no of course not. It is not that. You… you and I will go our separate ways in a few days. We will never see each other again. I cannot start something now… when it will end so soon.’
‘But it does not have to end. I will stay in New York. I will court you formally. Then we will marry and I will take you to see the Wild West.’
Her shock was extreme. It tore all thoughts from her mind. All that remained were his intentions. He wanted to court her. He wanted to marry her. How cruel was such an idea when she knew his fate?
‘I cannot! Do not think such things. This is madness; I must go.’ This time he didn’t try to stop her when she climbed to her feet.
Then she was running across the cold deck, away from the first man she had ever wanted, away from the intensity of feeling she had lost the ability to withstand.
Shy and insecure Pia Rogaland wants nothing more than to save the children. For feisty Elish Cork, it’s the promise of adventure that drives her to commit. And Karl Ontario? He’s a lab geek who never dreamed of stepping outside his medical facility, until the mission to save doomed children on the ill-fated Titanic is proposed and Fate compels him to step up.
While each joins the team for a different reason, they all face the same challenges: How do they identify suitable targets for retrieval to their endangered Utopian world? Once identified, how do they avoid being labelled insane when they attempt to convince those targets that the “unsinkable” Titanic is about to sink and their only hope of survival is to time travel to the future? And if that isn’t enough, how do they each then deal with finding and possibly losing the love of a lifetime in a few, fateful days? For sweet Pia, who falls in love with a man she’s not allowed to save, this last challenge might prove her undoing.
As the clock ticks down to disaster, will any of the ill-fated victims of the Ship of Dreams live long enough to be part of the salvation of the human race, or will more lives be forfeited trying to carry out this audacious mission?
After a lifetime of teaching others to appreciate the written word, Aussie author Nhys Glover finally decided to make the most of the Indie Book Revolution to get her own written word out to the world. Now, as an Amazon Best Selling Historical Romance author with over 100,000 of her ebooks downloaded internationally, and as a winner of the 2013 SFR Galaxy Award for ‘The Titan Drowns’, Nhys finds her words, too, are being appreciated. These days she makes her home in beautiful Durham County, England, where she “lives the dream” by spending most of her waking hours (and some of her sleeping one, too) writing the kind of novels she loves to read. The ones that are a little bit steamy, a little bit different, and wholly romantic.