Title: In Love's Own Time
Author: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy
Publisher: Rebel Ink Press
Length: 71,000 Words
Sub-Genres: Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Time-Travel
There may be no place like home and nothing like love…..when history teacher Lillian Dorsey inherits a three story Edwardian brick mansion from the grandfather who banished her pregnant mother decades before, it’s a no brainer. She’ll visit the place, see it and sell it. Instead Lillian’s captivated by the beautiful home and intrigued by the ghost of the original owner, Howard Speakman. Soon she’s flirting with the charming, witty gentleman who’s been dead for more than a century and before long, they admit it’s a mutual attraction. Still, when she’s alive and he’s dead, any shot at being together seems impossible.
But where there’s a will, there’s a way….one afternoon while pretending to visit the past the impossible becomes a brief reality. If they visited 1904 before, Lillian knows they can do it again and if so, she can prevent Howard’s untimely death. With a combination of love, powerful hope, and stubborn will, Lillian bends time to her will and returns to the summer of 1904. But Howard’s death looms ahead and if she’s to find a happy ending, she must save him from his original death.
Here’s a little taste from the day they inadvertently return to 1904 and realize just what may be possible:
“Lillian.” Howard sounded hoarse, his voice cracking with emotion although she wasn’t sure which one, fear, elation, or sorrow. “This is 1904.”
“How could it be?” Even as she protested, she knew it was true. The old house was new. The smell of fresh paint mingled with the Dutch cake aroma and as she’d noticed earlier, the book covers were bright. Howard’s sheet music pages never yellowed but sparkled unblemished white. It was true and if it was 1904, then Howard was alive. He wasn’t a ghost.
Lillian reached for him, stretched out her hand to touch him, and closed her fingers over his arm. Through the wool of his sleeve, his skin was warm, so alive, and tears formed in her eyes. Her right hand stroked the curve of his cheek and she clasped his hand with the other. He twined his fingers through hers, tight as if he might never let go, and pulled her right hand to his lips, brushing her skin with a faint, soft kiss.
“Oh, Howard.” Her voice broke. “Howard, you’re real.”
She could touch him now and she could smell him, a rich masculine aroma of soap and leather, and the outdoors. Before, he’d been a ghost, not tangible, not touchable but for now, he was both and she reveled in him with every sense. She touched his hair with trembling fingers and rubbed her cheek against his suit jacket. When she lifted her face, his eyes blazed with emotion and she knew before he bent down they’d kiss.
In her dream, the kiss’d been sweet but in reality, it was sweeter. His lips heated hers, melted, and moved against her mouth until she couldn’t breathe. She put her arms around his neck and he held her, one hand flat against her back. Until now, he’d been unattainable, almost fantasy, but now he was a man, a man who held her in his arms, and she wanted him. Desire burned like a wavering candle flame but without warning, Howard released her.
“Lillian, I forgot myself. You must forgive me.”
Her lips, bruised from his mouth, stretched into a smile. “I’ll never forgive you if you don’t kiss me again, Howard.”
“I shouldn’t.” His voice sounded muffled. “But I’ll, sweet Lillian, though I shouldn’t. However, for the moment I’m alive. Carpe diem!”
“Damn!” The aggravation would kill her if the suspense didn’t. Love relationships were hard enough with a flesh and blood partner but Howard’s disappearing act was beyond difficult. There must be some way, she thought, to cross the boundaries of time so she and Howard could be together and Lillian resolved to figure out how.
Although she would rather bawl with frustration, she took action. The local library was the only place which might have the materials she sought so she Googled Einstein’s theories on one of the public computers. What she read led to her read about Goedal, the other Princeton scientist she mentioned to Howard and to others, everyone from Stephen Hawking to Igor D. Novikov. A search of simply “time travel” linked to Washington Irving’s legend of Rip Van Winkle, King Arthur’s daughter Gwenth, to Carroll’s Alice, and even to Sleeping Beauty. The mish-mash of information was confusing but as she sorted through it, reading and considering it all, a sense of excitement crept over her. Repeatedly from very diverse sources, she read time travel might be possible, not from crackpots or harebrained pseudo scientists but from people at the top of their field.
No one explained how it worked but most acknowledged the possibility. As she surfed the World Wide Web, she jotted down books to read and movies to watch. Dean Koontz wrote a novel about time travel called Lightning and a woman named Diana Gabaldon penned an entire series of novels based on time travel. Movies like Kate and Leopold and Somewhere in Time, the last based on a novel by Richard Matheson, intrigued her.
Lost in research, Lillian didn’t realize how long she’d been there until the librarian tapped her shoulder.
“I’m sorry but we close in fifteen minutes.”
Head aching with fatigue, mind whirling with information, she gathered up her copious notes and walked out to the parking lot. Her car was alone beneath the vapor lights and although she was weary, Lillian was too restless to go home. Instead, she drove across town and up the business highway to where Howard’s farm once existed.
The neat orchards she hoped to find were gone and instead a housing subdivision sprawled over the fertile ground, the foundation of Howard’s fortune. Most of the ranch style homes dated to the late 1950’s or early 1960’s but on the far edges, newer homes ringed the original neighborhood. The railroad track she recalled from her dream and the hills with a few gnarled old apple and peach trees were all remaining of the former fruit farm. The idea brought sadness and Lillian knew Howard’d feel the same. As her headlights swept through the subdivision, she searched for any other signs of Speakman’s Farm but found none so she retreated to Seven Oaks.
In the humid summer night, her fatigue felt like a heavy blanket and Lillian was almost too tired to drag herself up the stairs. As she wandered through the dark downstairs rooms, she called his name but Howard didn’t answer. Missing him was an ache and so weary, emotions drained, she lay down across the bed, too tired to even undress and fell asleep.
Shadows of the tree branches made lacy silhouettes across the ceiling of the bedroom when she woke, moving shadows dancing with the wind. Although she’d no clue what time of day it might be, Lillian felt too somnolent to rise so she lay, tangled in the bedspread and tried to sort her myriad emotions. Joy at Howard’s declaration of love dimmed when she considered the difficulties of their unique relationship and a strange prickling delight came as she remembered visiting 1904. As the wind rushed through the trees like whispers, she struggled to make sense of time travel, to figure out a way to make it possible on a permanent basis.
Details, theories, and thoughts warred until she sat up, limbs protesting the motion after too many hours of deep sleep, with a revelation. They didn’t need the books, she wouldn’t have to know the properties of relativity after all, and there was no set format certain to succeed. It didn’t matter because she’d done it. If they managed once to travel to the past without trying, they could and would by design.
“Elementary, my dear Watson,” Lillian murmured, stretching as she swung her legs to the floor. “It’s simple, really.”
With one ear cocked for any sound to indicate Howard’s return, Lillian bathed and dressed, brushing her teeth to rid her mouth of an unpleasant film coating both teeth and gums. She picked up her watch from the dresser and nodded. It was just now noon; she’d not slept away as much of the day as she’d guessed, a good thing since she needed to handle many details. Singing, she floated with elation downstairs to make coffee and a list. Time travel was possible and she’d do it or die. Either way, she’d end up Howard.
By the time, he appeared, dapper in a blue and white checked Madras shirt worn over dark brown trousers held up with suspenders striped the same colors as the shirt, she’d scribbled half a notebook full of things to do or buy or look up. Intent on the next item, she didn’t realize he was with her until she felt his spirit caress, light as a breath, across the back of her neck.
“What are you plotting, my dear heart?” He asked, sitting down across the kitchen table.
“We can do it, Howard.” She put down her pen to reach out for his hand and then remembered she couldn’t hold it. “Time travel, I mean. All we have to do is believe it and live it. If we could do it when we were just pretending, we can do it. Everything has to be just right and I’ve so many things to get and things to do but we can. Isn’t it wonderful?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a full-time romance author. A native of the old historic city of St. Joseph, Missouri, one time home to both Jesse James and the Pony Express, she now lives and writes in the beautiful Missouri Ozark region. Her romance novels include Wolfe’s Lady (December 2010 Evernight Publishing), Love Tattoo, (March 2011, Evernight), Love Scars (June 2011, Evernight), Love Never Fails (May 2011, Rebel Ink Press), Kinfolk (July 2011, Champagne Books), The Marriage Cure (Astraea Press, July 2011), Love Scars, July 2011 (Evernight Publishing). Love Tattoo, Love Scars, and Love Knots, Love Shadows are the first four books of the six book Love Covenant series. Other novels include Witness Protection Program (Rebel Ink Press, A Time To Love (
Books. Sing We Now of Christmas (Rebel Ink Press, December 2011). 2012 is already kicking off with more novel
releases including A Patient Heart, Miss
Good Samaritan, Guy’s Angel, In Love’s Own Time, Heart of the Ozarks) In The Shadow of War, and a novella, Long
Live The King (Champagne Books). Her
work also appears in more than twenty anthologies and she has multiple short
She is a member of RWA, Missouri Writers Guild, EPIC, and the Ozarks Writers League.
Her work also appears in multiple anthologies. She earned a BA degree in both English and History from Missouri Southern State University as well as an AA Degree in Journalism from Crowder College. She worked in broadcast media for a decade and also has a background in education. Her weekly column “Hindsight” appears each week in the Neosho Daily News.
She is married to Roy W. Murphy and the couple has three children, Emily, Megan, and Patrick Murphy.
If Lee Ann – or Lee as many of her writing friends know her – isn’t writing, she’s reading or spending time outdoors.
, the small town she now calls home,
she serves on the local library board, is active in the annual Relay For Life
fight against cancer, has worked with the local Arts Council, and is active in
her parish. Neosho, Missouri