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Authors: Lily Worthington

Tags: #Poseidon DPG

Time Eternal

 

 

Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000 (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/).

 

Published By: The Hartwood Publishing Group, LLC,

400 Gilead Road, #1617, Huntersville, NC 28070

www.hartwoodpublishing.com

 

Time Eternal

 

Copyright © 2014 by Lily Worthington

Digital Release: October 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62916-084-9

Cover Artist: James Caldwell

 

All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination, or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental.

 

Time ETernal by Lily Worthington

Time Eternal is the story of Skyla Gray, a TSCAA agent in the present day, and Rei Dusan, the crown prince of the sixteenth-century Serbian Empire, who has traded his soul to the gods so he can travel through time to find his one true love, Elizabeth Magini.

 

The story opens with Agent Gray time-ported to an underground bank vault. Her mission is to retrieve a device, but someone else has gotten there first. More maddening is that she recognizes this man’s voice even though she cannot remember ever having met him before. Sent back to the present day by this stranger, she finds the life she knew slowly beginning to unravel…and learns that the stranger is not the only one who has been looking for her these past five centuries.

 

At the Last Battle, Rei Dusan lay dying alongside his father, his brothers, and his countrymen, when a handmaiden from the gods offered him a bargain: his soul and his eternal pledge to do the gods’ bidding in exchange for immortality. With his life, he will avenge his family, his country, and his beloved Elizabeth, who sacrificed her life to save his. He accepted the bargain with the gods only to later discover Elizabeth did not perish in the fire.

 

Will Skyla remember who she really is? What Rei meant to her—to Elizabeth? Will she accept Rei in her present life, where she is no longer a helpless young girl needing rescue from an evil Medici lord, but an ass-kicking agent fighting terrorists for a living? And how will Rei answer to the gods when they find out he has defied their orders? Will there be a happily ever after for Rei and Skyla?

 

Time Eternal is the first book of the Time series, which tells the story of the men and women who are part of a secret government agency, fighting not garden-variety terrorists but the gods and their enemies, who are facing off in a final showdown. Should their wars not be contained, the world will go up in flames—literally.

 

Dedication

To Rory for introducing me to Georgia. To Georgia, my humble thank you for your endless, kind encouragement and advice.

To Beth and Curt, my inspirations for this first book of the Series. Thanks for bringing me smiles and sunshine.

Acknowledgements

A shout out to everyone at Hartwood Publishing. Thank you for being patient with me, a newbie in the publishing business. A special thank you to Lacey Thacker, my editor, and Georgia and Lisa, two of the most hard working and funniest ladies who keep me in line and motivate me throughout this exciting journey.

Last, but not least, thank you my readers. I hope you will love the story of Elizabeth/Skyla and Rei as much as I have. And maybe perhaps shred a few tears along the way.

 

Love,

Lily

 

Chapter One

Skyla Gray rolled away from the explosion just in time. The blast was so powerful that she was thrown at least ten feet away. She instinctively threw her arms over her head and curled into a tight ball when she hit the concrete floor while the chunky pieces of debris rained down like a hail storm. It took a few moments for the explosion’s aftermath to die down. She lifted her arms a little and looked to the direction of the vault. Both the door and the wall were completely ripped open. The file prepared by the intelligence officer on her team said the vault door was made of steel-reinforced concrete, the standard fare for early twentieth-century craftsmanship. Yet the explosive power was ten times more than necessary, almost as if the bomber intended to destroy the entire vault along with its contents.

As she slowly pushed herself up, she muttered, “Kill Gus when you get back to headquarters.” Gus, a former commander of the Spanish ETA—
Euskadi Ta Askatasuna
, a.k.a. Basque Homeland and Freedom—was the intelligence officer for this mission. She and Gus belonged to Team M, short for Team Mu. They worked for TSCAA, or simply the Agency. The TSCAA, Time Space Continuum Anti-terrorism Agency, was an ultra-secret government agency that possessed time-traveling technology. Its mission was to combat terrorism in the past that could alter history and the present day. Three special field teams and scores of scientists and analysts made up the Agency. Her team, Team Mu, was “the middle” in Latin. The other two teams were Team A and Team O, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Together, they signified the time-space continuum; they were the sole defenders of mankind in this new territory where time was no longer just a linear equation.

And as it turned out, her government was not the only one that held the key to time travel. During the decade since the Agency was founded, other time-traveling players had emerged. One in particular proved the most elusive. He had only been sighted a few times before, and each time, the agent who had come in contact with him could never quite recall his exact features; hence, the Agency dubbed him “Mr. X.”

Today, Skyla’s little breaking-and-entering mission was from the Agency’s intel suggesting Mr. X might be behind the acquisition of the steel box in the vault. She had, however, expected to complete her mission within minutes. Gus had already scouted out the floor layout of the underground vault a few days ago and lifted the vault security combination codes from the Agency’s extensive historical database. But now, after this explosion, there was no chance she would finish the mission in record time. And dammit. She had bet with the other two teams about how fast she could get in and out of the vault after they teased her about getting an easy assignment.

With a silent sigh, Skyla carefully pulled herself up on her hands and knees. Even with such deliberate movement, her body felt like a train had just run her over. Pain shot through every limb and joint. She leaned against the wall for leverage and hauled herself up, but found herself on uneven footing. She looked down at the ground. “Great. There go my shoes again.” Growling, she reached down and plucked off her red suede handmade Italian ankle boots. The pair she had just bought at Barney’s New York Co-Op sale a month ago. “Gus is so going to buy me a new pair for this little intel oversight.”

She did a quick check of her body, making sure there was no major injury. A few scrapes and bruises, yes, but those came with her line of work, and she didn’t really mind, at least not while she was still mourning the loss of her pretty new boots. On most days, Skyla loved her job. Her parents had wanted her to go to law school after college so she could take over her dad’s law practice in upstate New York. But nope, she was never the studious, desk-job type even though she double-majored in physics and art history at Columbia University. She supposed if she had listened to her parents, her wardrobe wouldn’t need replacing so often. But that was neither here nor there.

Focusing her attention back to the inside of the vault, she caught a quick movement. A shadowy figure materialized right next to the steel box. Skyla silently ran across the floor and activated her signal code at the same time so that her team back in the twenty-first century knew she was about to engage a potential threat.

Raising her period-appropriate SIG, which was still her weapon of choice from her Secret Service days, she stepped inside the vault cautiously, counting on the shadows and the smoke in the underground space to give her some coverage. No such luck today, apparently.

A deep baritone voice sounded to her left. “Hello, there.”

She immediately whirled around and pointed her gun in the direction of the sound where a masculine figure stood not ten feet away from her. “Don’t move,” Skyla said in an icy tone as she trained the SIG at the man’s head. “Put your arms up and step into the light.” She could only see an outline of him, definitely a male—very male, judging by his size and shape. Her inner alarm was already telling her that whoever this man was, he was very, very bad news. During her time at the Secret Service and now with the Agency, she had come across plenty of ruthless figures, but never once had she felt such a strong survival instinct pulling at her. Flight instead of fight. This man frightened her like she had never experienced before except in her childhood nightmares.
Not going there.

Skyla took a deep breath, steadying her nerves. The man was obviously ignoring both her SIG and her demand; she could sense that he was smirking. She almost rolled her eyes. Men from the past, whether decades or centuries ago, always underestimated women.

Not bothering to repeat her demand, she squeezed off two warning shots to the right of his head. “I will not repeat myself again.”

The shadowy figure did not even flinch. Instead, he replied calmly, “Or what, my lady?” His tone was laced with amusement, and she found it odd that he chose to address her in a way that was old-fashioned even for this era—the early 1930s.

But more striking was his voice. Sudden recognition flashed through her mind, but she could not place where she had heard it before. The voice was deep and rich, like a well-aged scotch—with a hint of something else. In her line of work, something else was always bad news. Something else meant unknown. Unknown meant danger because one could not prepare for the unknown. Readiness and preparation were the cornerstones of an agent’s ability to survive in the field, especially in another place and time.

In a blink of the eyes, the shadowy figure disappeared. Before she even registered what had happened, a pair of corded, muscular arms seized her from behind. She immediately switched to a defensive stance and tried to jab her right elbow into his solar plexus, but he was simply too strong. There was not even a millimeter of room for her body to take advantage of. And all the while, he kept her immobilized with no effort at all.

As if they were long-time lovers, her captor bent his head lower, inhaling her scent before whispering in her ear, “Gotcha.”

Judging from the angle that he bent his head, he was at least a head taller than her five feet six-inch frame. That would put him at about six feet four inches tall. Besides having size as an advantage over her, he was agile and strong too. Skyla was the first in her class at the Secret Service. She excelled in all physical combat training, so the fact that her captor could so easily immobilize her spoke volumes about his skills. And the worst part was not that the mission was now shot to hell but that the Agency’s intel hadn’t identified any potential threat beforehand. The Agency had always been meticulous about gathering intel prior to any mission. The only two logical conclusions were either that Gus got sloppy all of a sudden—highly unlikely—or that her captor had somehow cloaked his presence outside of Gus’s research parameters. That had never happened before in the Agency’s history. Definitely very bad news.

She hissed at him, "What do you want?" The bastard was smiling, face pressed into her hair in an intimate gesture, and for some odd reason it felt almost as if she had done this a million times before—been held by the shadow figure. Now that she was this close to him, his scent aroused unexpected familiarity inside her. It was a blend of clean linen and sandalwood. This threw her off, just as his voice did. Instead of doing what any agent worth her salt should be doing, maintaining a defensive stance while looking for a way to break free, a whimper almost broke free before she swallowed it back. Her traitorous body also began softening against his. Whoa. This was beyond bad news.

"Ah, the age old question. What does one want?" There was complete silence for a few heartbeats. Finally, her captor said, "Don't travel back in time again because the next time we meet, I may not be able to let you go."

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