Sarah Beauchamp has made a life for herself in the past having given up on returning to the present. She only has one question – What had happened?
Captain Matthew Barrington is determined to find the longest missing agent – Sarah. She was lost when the Time Displacement Unit exploded.
The Time Displacement Corps greatest fear is causing a Paradox. But when an agent has been missing for ten years, can they avoid it?
Captain Barrington escorted me the two and a half blocks down Royal Street and within minutes we entered the Battle House Hotel. He led me across the entrance and to the dining room. It interested me to visit this historic hotel, I hadn't ever been inside the Battle house in my time and avoided coming here ever since it opened six years ago. It presented a link to my own era. The old lady still stood proudly in 2008, now owned by the Marriot Corporation. Since I hadn't been retrieved, I didn't want to visit. I tried to fight the inclination to look around the building trying to memorize every detail. The historical researcher warred with the façade of respectable period lady.
The maître d', dark and tall and possibly a free Creole from his level of confidence and his accent, led us to a table covered with a crisp white linen tablecloth, holding out my chair. The silver service shone bright, while the plates held the hotel crest in the center and a thin ring of silver around the edge. Fresh cut flowers adorned each table in crystal vases. Hardwood floors gleamed in golden sunlight filtering through the windows. All beautiful, opulent, and strangely sad.
"You've never been here, madam?"
I'd obviously failed miserably at trying to fight any interest in the place based on the chuckle from the man across the table. That chuckle, warm and oh so masculine, sent a tingle down my spine.
"Nope. I mean, I've never had the pleasure." Jeez Sarah, keep it together. No one says nope in this century. I met those blue eyes and saw puzzlement and hope? Why would he be hopeful by my stupid slip? "Did I say something amusing, Captain?"
I blinked a couple times and resisted the impulse to clean out my ears. No way I'd heard him correctly! But that little smirk he wore devastated the aloof, slightly interested demeanor I tried so desperately to project. In a few years either side could put him in the other's uniform and get any information out of a wife or daughter of an enemy with that smirk alone. I knew I'd give him anything he wanted, including a trip up the stairs of this grand lady.
"Would you care for a drink?"
I didn't take long to think about that. If I was going to deal with this man I needed some liquid courage fast. "Thank you, yes."
He signaled to one of the waiters at the bar. The man hurried over, weaving through the tables with practiced efficiency, and waited silently. What a change from restaurants of my era where the first thing the wait staff did was introduce themselves and give the daily specials.
The Captain looked at me arching one dark brow in question.
"I'll have whatever you are having."
He seemed to be waiting for me to change my order, his head cocked to the left at my statement but ordered two whiskeys, as if daring me to insist on something more ladylike.
No way buddy, if I'm going to deal with you I need something a lot stiffer than wine. Much as I wanted to tell him that, I just smiled. Naturally, the waiter had to be a buttinski.
"Madam, the Captain has ordered whiskey. Might I procure you some tea or perhaps a glass of water?" His smile, a tight pink line against his cream-and-coffee complexion, grated with politeness while his eyes conveyed his displeasure at my order.
"I requested to have the same as the Captain. Was that in any way difficult to understand?" I used my haughtiest voice, looking at the man as if he were a bug. I hate using that voice and look. My mother had perfected it and I knew personally the devastation it could cause. I also knew that a lady never drank anything stronger than wine and that only with dinner and my behavior would be the fodder of gossip for months. But, damn it, I needed a stiff drink.
Captain Barrington bit his lip and ducked his head as if trying not to laugh. Good to know he found me amusing.
He looked at the waiter. "The lady placed her order."
The waiter snorted but walked to the bar, his back stiff with continued disapproval. I couldn't think about that, I had to have my A game on.
"So Captain, what was so important you needed to speak to me privately?" I wanted this interrogation over and to return to my home. Lizbet would no doubt have a hot tub bath and delicious meal waiting. I needed it after dealing with the too-handsome captain.