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Authors: Susan Sizemore

After the Storm

BOOK: After the Storm
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Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

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Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

After the Storm

By

Susan Sizemore

Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

NO RIGHT, NO WRONG

He didn't have to open his eyes to know she was crying, he could feel the tears on his face. "Bastien," Libby said, her voice full of uncertainty. This was madness, he could tell that she knew it as well. She sat up. When she was no longer touching him the world went cold.

Bastien moved to kneel beside her. There was nowhere for her to retreat to in the tiny hut. She looked trapped, not by him but by her own demons. The look she gave him was one of entreaty. It told him how tired she was of always being in control of herself, of the situation. It begged him to make the choice for them both. He moved closer, so that the heat of their bodies met and mingled though they didn't quite touch.

"There is no right or wrong here," he told her. "There is just us." He knew what she needed, so he held her face between his hands as they looked deeply into each other's eyes. "It is time," he said, "to let the madness rule."

Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

"Simply wonderful… a delight for lovers of time travel, or anyone who appreciates a terrific book. Susan Sizemore is one of the most inventive and talented romance writers."

—Anne Stuart, author of
Nightfall

"I had to finish
After the Storm
in a single sitting. The book is fun, fast-paced, and witty."

—Jody Lynn Nye, co-author of
The Ship Who Won
Books by Susan Sizemore

Wings of the Storm

My First Duchess

My Own True Love

In My Dreams

Nothing Else Matters

After the Storm

The Autumn Lord*

Published by HarperPaperbacks *coming soon

Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogues are products of the author's imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

HarperPaperbacks
A Division of HarperCollinsPublishers
10 East 53rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10022

Copyright © 1996 by Susan Sizemore

Cover illustration by John Ennis

First printing: February 1996

Printed in the United States of America

HarperPaperbacks, HarperMonogram, and colophon are trademarks of HarperCollins
Publishers
Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

For Mom, and Mary, and Elisa Isabelle —Love, Susan G.

Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

Prologue

"
Ladies and gentlemen
, the Middle Ages."

"Yep, that's what it looks like, all right," Libby Wolfe answered Joe Lario's comment. A moment before they'd been standing in the blue transport chamber, now she and Joe and Ed were in a different time and place, dressed for the period and ready to begin their assignment. She walked across the creaking wooden floor to look out the small arrowslit window. A breeze ruffled her veil as she breathed the clean air of this distant era. "We've arrived on the second floor of the tower. I hope they don't send the horses and baggage through the same coordinates they sent us." She glanced at the arched doorway that led to a very narrow spiral staircase. Downs Tower itself was the only working timegate in this part of Britain, the transmission equipment built into its very walls. The worn stone stairs, however, were probably as hazardous as they looked. "Can you imagine trying to get a packhorse down those?"

Joe chuckled, then unsheathed his dagger and spoke into the hilt. "TS1, team Lilydrake is clear. Adjust coordinates for supply shipment."

"Copy, team Lilydrake," a voice replied from the dagger. "Stand by for one more gate-crasher." Communication would not be possible once they were away from the transmitter in the tower, but for now they were linked to their own time.

When she heard the news, Libby wished they weren't.

"What?" Libby asked. She turned from a view of spring green forest and distant Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

fields. Before she could say another word she caught a blue shimmering in the air out of the corner of her eye. Then a woman of medium height stood in the center of the circular stone room. The newcomer wore a yellow and brown gown which showed off lush curves. She had auburn hair beneath a sheer veil, blue eyes, a few freckles and the most sardonic expression Libby had ever encountered.

It took Libby a moment to recognize the woman, then she grinned. "Well, well, if it isn't Indiana Jones. I haven't seen you in about five years. Where's the bull-whip?"

"That's Marj Jones," the historian reminded her. "We named the dog Indiana, and the whip's in my other kirtle." Marj crossed her arms. "I've been told I'm supposed to baby-sit you three for the duration of the assignment. I'm supposed to make sure you don't make any anachronistic mistakes while dealing with the locals."

Libby felt like protesting, but she couldn't deny the wisdom of the Time Search History Department, which happened to be headed by her mother, in sending someone with them. Though she had spent some time among the local population as a child she really couldn't pass as a native for long without help.

Medieval England wasn't her specialty. At least Marj was a friend, someone who shared her interest in old movies.

"Did Mom pull you from your research in Carmarthen for this? You are still researching Merlin, aren't you?"

"Yep. Despite Elliot Hemmons's efforts to curtail personal research I've been able to spend the last five years collecting folktales in a quiet medieval village."

Libby frowned at the mention of the man's name. "Hemmons is a major jerk.

So's everyone on his Oversight Committee."

Sizemore, Susan - After the Storm

"Nobody in Time Search will argue that." Marj got back to business. "Never mind Carmarthen and Hemmons. My briefing was more than a little bit brief.

What's going on?"

Libby, Joe and Ed looked at each other. None of them wanted to go over this ground again. "I think I'll go wait for the supplies," foe said. "Ed?"

"Me too."

The men disappeared down the stairs before Libby could protest. That left her to explain the situation to their baby-sitter. There was one piece of furniture in the tower, a crudely carved wooden bench. She waved Marj over to it and sat down beside her.

"How old am I?"

Marj considered for a moment. "About twenty-seven, I think. I've sort of lost track of people the last few years."

"Twenty-eight," Libby told her. "My birth certificate tells me I'm twenty-eight, but
I
think I'm twenty-four."

She tucked her hands into the wide sleeves of her dark blue kirtle to keep from fidgeting nervously. "I can't tell you the exact details of the accident," she went on, "because I don't remember them. Not only don't Joe and Ed and I remember what happened to us at Lilydrake, the medical and psychiatric personnel who've been treating us won't tell us much about what happened." Libby tried very hard not to feel bitter about the walls of silence she'd been bumping up against for the last several months. She could fight off being bitter, but she still felt bruised.

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