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Daring Time

Daring Time, May 2009
by Beth Kery

Berkley Sensation
Featuring: Hope Stillwater; Ryan Daire
352 pages
ISBN: 0425227960
EAN: 9780425227961
Trade Size
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"A sensual, unique tale of romance and time-travel."

Fresh Fiction Review

Daring Time
Beth Kery

Reviewed by Mandy Burns
Posted April 15, 2009

Romance Erotica Sensual | Romance Time Travel

Ryan Daire is a rough and tough vise squad detective in the Chicago Police Department. And he has no idea what he's going to do with the beautiful, classic mansion his college professor left Ryan in his will other than maybe move in. As Ryan walks through the empty rooms and quiet halls of his new home, he envisions what it might have looked like at the end of the 19th century. What he sees shocks him into thinking he's crazy and needs to take some time off; the stunning image of the woman he conjures up in his mind is so real that he continues to see her, even in his new antique mirror.

In the year 1906, white slavery is a growing crisis in Chicago. Hope Stillwater's father is using his money and position in society to attempt to abolish this issue. What he doesn't know is that Hope is doing her own investigative work tracking down those responsible for kidnapping women off the streets and selling them to the highest bidder. She thinks she is alone in her quest, until the man she keeps seeing in her mirror becomes real and assists in her fight against the slavery. Unfortunately, she is unable to stay out of trouble, which could very easily lead to her death.

Beth Kery spins a unique and sensual tale of time- travel and love. Definitely a must-read.

Learn more about Daring Time

SUMMARY

He sees her, wants her, needs her…

Chicago Detective Ryan Daire has many secrets: a love for Shakespeare, an appreciation for the all the finer things in life, and an absolute lack of restraint in the bedroom. Now he has an even bigger secret. In every shifting shadow of the sprawling mansion he’s recently inherited he can see her—tempting, ethereal, and untouchable. Hope Stillwater inhabited that mansion in 1906. Raw desire has formed a conduit between these two passionate souls who are separated by the barrier of time.

Now he has to have her.

Intoxicated by each other’s presence, Ryan and Hope are closer than ever to crossing that inviting boundary between two worlds. But there is one grave danger: Ryan’s job has put him on the trail of a depraved criminal in an investigation that’s risking Hope’s eternal fate and happiness. Now he must do whatever it takes to change history, protect Hope from harm, and set his own desires free.

Excerpt

“This professor guy must have liked you a hell of a lot to leave you a mansion,” Ramiro muttered, a hint of envy flavoring his tone.

“I was knocked flat on my ass when Alistair told me what he planned, but there was nothing I could say to change his mind. He insisted I was doing him a favor by taking it. The value of the house is appreciating hugely because of the real estate development in this area. Alistair’s lawyers advised him to reduce his taxable estate with a gift.”

“Some gift. Better he’d left you some cash, though.”

Ryan stepped into a room and flipped on a light. He studied the large spacious bedroom suite, the plaster ceilings and intricately carved mantel. Alistair knew Ryan loved Chicago history. He must have guessed how much Ryan would appreciate the mansion.

“Cash’s got nothing on this place.”

Ramiro snorted. “They broke the mold when it comes to you, Daire. Six foot and four inches of pure pushover. At least to little kids and stray animals. Can’t say the same about you when it comes to assholes like Jim Donovan.”

“You wouldn’t want me any other way.”

“Who wants you? I’m shackled to you,” Ramiro grumbled.

They stepped into the bedroom. Ryan ran his hand admiringly over the carved mahogany mantel. Unlike the majority of the house, this room retained some furniture—stuff that looked to be the same vintage as the house, Ryan realized with a sense of amazement. The green and white floral wallpaper beneath the wainscoting had faded but still retained a fresh, feminine charm. Obviously the bedroom had once belonged to a woman.

The foot and headboard of a brass bedstead leaned against the wall between two antique mahogany tables. Ryan fingered the cool metal thoughtfully. The brass needed to be cleaned but the bed was perfectly intact. An image of himself polishing the brass and putting together the bed for his own mattress flashed vividly into his mind’s eye.

He’d be nuts to even consider moving into this place.

“Look at this. Looks like something you’d have your nose buried in.” Ramiro held up an old leather bound book that he’d found in one of the table drawers. The color of the once crimson leather had faded to a dull dark red.

“Shakespeare’s sonnets,” Ryan murmured. He owned a copy of his own, nearly as well read as this old tome. Ryan had cultivated a love of Shakespeare from his father that had been nourished by Alistair. The book parted to a well-worn gold-leafed page when he opened it. He immediately recognized the one hundred and sixteenth sonnet.

He raised the book toward his face and inhaled. His brow furrowed at the scent of gardenias mixing with the odor of leather and mildew.

“I’ll bet you can get a couple grand for this old chest, Daire. People pay out their asses for antiques. Holy shit, check it out.”

Ramiro moved aside from the opened door of the massive mahogany wardrobe so that Ryan could see the full-length mirror attached on the inner side of the door. The frame had been carved into a meticulous iris design beneath the gilt. Time had taken its toll on the mirror itself. Six or so inches all along the exterior had gone foggy with age. Only the center portion reflected true. Still, the mirror was so huge that Ryan didn’t have to stoop his tall frame to see his face in the reflection. Only it wasn’t his face that he saw. He started in surprise.

“Jesus.”

He whipped around so fast that Ramiro jerked back in alarm.

“What?” Ramiro asked. The whites of his brown eyes showed as his gaze shifted warily around the room and then back to Ryan. “What’s wrong, man?”

Ryan turned back to the mirror, this time seeing his own bloodless face and greenish-blue eyes staring back at him.

“You didn’t see her?”

“See who?”

“That woman. She was just right here, standing in front of me. I saw her in the mirror.” He quickly inspected the empty wardrobe, scanned the bedroom and rushed to the door. The hallway stood empty and silent, the dozens of closed doors along both walls reminding him of watchful eyes.

“There’s no one here but us, Daire,” Ramiro said from just behind him.

Ryan shook his head. He knew what he’d seen with his own two eyes: a stunning, lithesome-limbed beauty with pale, flawless skin and a long mane of soft, curling dark hair hanging loose down her shoulders and back.

The same woman he’d imagined briefly in the ballroom, he realized. But this had been different. In the ballroom it had just been like a super-vivid flash of his imagination. This had been real.

Realer than real.

Laughter had curved her lush, dark pink lips. She’d worn a sheer negligee, the bottom of which barely covered the dark nest of hair between her slender thighs. She might as well have been standing there naked for as much good as the nightgown did. The only other thing that adorned her flawless skin was a locket hanging around her neck. Ryan could still see perfectly with his mind’s eye the detail of the filigree carved into the silver and the throb of the woman’s pulse at her throat.

“No. I definitely saw her,” Ryan insisted firmly, but even as he said it, he began to question himself.

He’d seen the front of her in the mirror…as though she’d stood directly before him with her back to him.

His breath froze on an inhale.

There hadn’t been anyone standing in front of him. She’d just been in the mirror, staring out at him as if the space between the gilded frame had been a doorway not a pane of glass. He crossed the room and touched the surface of the mirror. Despite the bizarreness of what had just happened, he didn’t really believe he’d feel anything but the cool, smooth surface of the glass.

Shock jolted through him for the second time that evening when the molecules of his fingers seemed to meld with those of the mirror. He wondered if it hadn’t been his imagination when a second later he pressed his fingertips against a solid pane of glass.

“You really didn’t see anyone?” he asked Ramiro as he turned around.

Ramiro shook his head.

There was no way in hell Ryan wouldn’t have noticed the back of that woman if she stood in front of him. That flimsy excuse for a nightgown wouldn’t have completely covered her bare ass. Uh uh—not a possibility. As a healthy, red-blooded male, Ryan knew for a fact he would have noticed that.

“Dios, Daire. I think you saw a ghost.”

Ryan shot Ramiro an annoyed look. “I didn’t see a ghost. She was perfectly solid.”

Perfectly gorgeous.

He recalled the startled expression in her velvety black eyes. “She looked as surprised to see me as I did her,” Ryan said.

“What’d she look like?”

A pair of full, shapely breasts and succulent, fat nipples pressing against transparent cloth that did nothing to hide their rosy hue flashed into Ryan’s mind’s eye. The potent eroticism of the recalled image made his cock jerk in his boxer briefs.

What’d she look like? Edible. Delicious. Like an angel on a mission of sin.

“Dark hair. Dark eyes,” he muttered. For some reason he felt hesitant about sharing even a basic description of the woman with Ramiro.

“You saw a ghost all right. This house is haunted,” Ramiro declared as he glanced around, his feet shifting nervously.

Ryan couldn’t help but grin. “I thought you were a big, bad vice detective. Since when are you scared of a little tiny female?”

Ramiro gave him an insulted look. “Ever since the ‘little tiny female’ is dead.”

“She’s not dead.”

Ramiro looked a little taken aback by Ryan’s hard tone. “Whatever, man.” Ramiro shivered and started toward the door. The image of his brawny partner shuddering reflexively struck Ryan as markedly odd, not to mention alarming for some reason.

“The only time I saw you get so pale was when you got shot,” Ramiro said. “Take my advice and sell this place quick as you can. I’ll take the likes of a slimy rat like Anton Chirnovsky any day versus a haunted house. Come on. Crenshaw will be waiting for us at Bureau Headquarters. We’re making sure Chirnovsky has his story straight and is in good voice before we strap the wires on him for Donahue’s downfall this weekend.”

Ryan closed the heavy wardrobe door with a brisk bang, perhaps hoping to shatter the fey spell wrought by the vision of the stunning woman. He didn’t believe in ghosts and he was every bit as eager to nail Jim Donahue for human trafficking as Ramiro was.

Still, he lingered in the doorway, casting his gaze around the empty bedroom warily before he shut out the light.


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