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Brianna Daniels sails along enjoying her first hot air balloon ride, unaware of 15 year-old Scott Martin who tinkers on his computer below. Neither is aware of the time warp he creates until Brianna is sucked in and lands in 1860. Suddenly she finds herself on the way to the Split Rock Pony Express station as a mail-order bride for the station-master, Lucas Daniels, her own great-great-grandfather.
But Lucas didn’t send for a wife nor is he impressed with her twenty-first century attitudes. The two instantly clash in a battle of wills that threatens to set the prairie ablaze. Conflict isn’t all that sparks between them as unexpected passions flare and the 21st century meets the 19th head on.
Time is a point caged within a circle
To be released in the end by man,
Striking onward toward the future,
Only to come ’round again.
July 16, 2005
“All right, Chuck, let her go.”
“Oh, God,” Brianna whispered as she closed her eyes and swallowed nervously. How in heaven’s name had Linda talked her into going up in a hot air balloon?
“Heights bother you?” the balloonist asked with hint of amusement in his voice.
“Then open your eyes, or you’ll miss the best part.”
“I’ll wait until we’re in the air.”
“We already are.”
“What?” Brianna cautiously lifted one eyelid and peeked over the side of the basket. There had been no feeling of lift-off, but the crowd below on the soccer field already looked more doll-like than human.
“See, it isn’t so bad, now is it?”
She gave him a weak smile. “I—I guess not.”
“Are you sure you’re not afraid of heights?” the balloonist asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Not usually. In fact, that’s why I’m here. My friend Linda was supposed to be your passenger, but she got cold feet at the last minute.” Brianna glanced uneasily at the ground again. “Actually my toes aren’t feeling exactly toasty right now either.”
He chuckled. “Then don’t look down. The view is better in the sky anyway.”
Obediently, she lifted her gaze to the other balloons that had risen with them. “Oh!”
Bobbing along like so many magic bubbles, their jewel-like colors were bright against the early morning sky. Brianna’s fear left as suddenly as it had come. The wind brushed her cheek in a caress as exhilarating as a lover’s kiss, and she felt a peculiar rush of euphoria.
“Beautiful isn’t it?”
“It’s incredible,” she said in an awestruck voice. She jumped in alarm a moment later as the propane burner roared to life right next to her, and a huge flame shot upward into the balloon.
“Sorry,” he said. “I forgot to warn you. This darn thing can scare the pants off of you if you aren’t expecting it.”
Brianna looked at the burner accusingly. “How often do you have to do that?”
“It depends. Don’t worry, you’ll get use to it.”
“I wouldn’t count on it.”
He grinned and bent to adjust a gauge on one of the tanks on the floor. “I’m surprised your friend decided not to come along. She seemed really excited about the whole idea at the rally dinner last night.”
“Oh, she was, right up until she thought about actually going up in a balloon. Since it’s the 25th anniversary of the Riverton Balloon Rally, her boss figured sponsoring a balloon and sending along one of his employees would be a great publicity stunt. When he offered to pay over-time for it, Linda volunteered. The actual logistics of it didn’t hit her until she tried to go to sleep last night.”
Brianna risked a glance over the edge of the basket. The soccer field was behind them, the crowd reduced to tiny ant-like creatures in the distance. “I never realized balloons moved so fast.”
“When you’re standing on the ground they don’t. It’s a matter of perspective, I think.”
“I suppose.” Brianna looked at the pilot curiously. Though the man was a total stranger he reminded her a little of her favorite cousin, with all that curly red hair. “You know, in all the excitement, I’m afraid I didn’t catch your name.”
“Thomas Shaffer, aeronaut extraordinaire at your service ma’am,” he said, extending his hand. “My friends call me Tom.”
She returned his smile as they shook hands. “Brianna Daniels.”
Carolyn Lampman’s descriptions of life during the pioneer days are so vivid that it is easy to picture the small cabin kitchen, Lucas’s inventions and Brianna’s long hot walks down to the river. The time travel concept is quite brilliantly executed and links the stories of two impossible romances. Unique family traits and ideas glossed over in the opening chapters are clues that will keep readers glued to the pages as they try to anticipate how events will unfold. The skill with which Carolyn Lampman weaves and ties all of these loose ends together proves once again why she is an award-winning author. Although this is a time travel romance, I would also recommend it to readers who follow early American historical romances because of the authentic feel that the author has for this period. I strongly urge readers to try Carolyn Lampman’s romances; she is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors.
Reviewed by: Naomi 5 Angels
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 360
Paper Weight (lb): 15.0
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