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The C1PHER Series

The Wild Rose Press

Heat Rating: SWEET
Word Count: 23,045
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Revolutionary War re-enactor Mary Banvard must travel to West Point during a thunder storm to authenticate papers concerning Benedict Arnold’s betrayal of West Point. Poor visibility causes a terrible car accident​, and she blacks out. When a masculine voice awakens her, she discovers everyone around her is wearing Colonial clothes. Odd. Who is this guy with the queue and the glasses who looks so worried?

Robert Townsend looks like a Quaker shopkeeper, but he is Culper, Jr., General George Washington’s most important spy. When Lady Mary Banvard, his fiancée, awakens following a carriage accident, she begins ranting about missing papers and traveling through Time.

Together Mary and Robert stumble upon a threat to their lives, their happiness, and the security of American generations to come.

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The man pulled out an old-fashioned pocket watch and checked the time. “I am uncertain of what you mean, but you have been unconscious for almost an hour, my dear. It is but one o’ the clock. It will not be evening for several hours. If not for the accident, you and I would have made excellent time on our trip from Oyster Bay. It should have taken us three days, not two. We would not have made it as far past the British lines as we did, if not for the safe passage secured for us by James Rivington. It is fortunate he is such an outspoken Loyalist, or the papers would never have appeared as quickly as they did. It certainly is a benefit to have a newspaper publisher as a friend.”

What’s happening here? Mary’s panic rose in her chest as the man approached. She backed away, limping, along the length of the wall, trying to escape, but fell in a hollow, hurting her ankle again. “Ow!” Staying on her back, with her dress around her knees, she stared up at him from the dirt, reached for a dead branch from the ground, and waved it at him. “Keep away from me, mister.”

“Mary, it is I, Robert. You know me. The accident must have addled your wits.”

“My wits are fine, thank you very much. Are you trying to gaslight me? How do you know my name? Have you been in my purse?” She looked around. “Where is my purse? And where is my car?” She glanced up and down the path paralleling the wall. “And where the hell is the road?”

The man stepped toward her, but Mary poked him with her stick. Robert jumped out of range.

Mary stood, cursed herself for hurting her ankle—twice—and perched on the wall. Keep sharp, old girl. “Stay back. I need answers, and I need them now.”

“Of course. If you put the stick down, I will be happy to answer what questions you have. I give you my word of honor as a gentleman.”

“OK, but try anything funny, and I’ll skewer you like a marshmallow at a Fourth of July barbeque.” She set the branch aside but kept it at the ready on top of the wall.

“That’s better.” He looked only marginally more secure without her waving the weapon at him.

She rubbed the back of her neck to relieve some of the tension but kept her eyes trained on the man. “First, where am I?”

“Can you recall nothing? That bump on your head is more serious than I suspected.”

“That does not answer my question. I warn you; I’ve had a bad day. This headache is making me testy, so don’t push me.”

The man sighed, but responded with great patience. “Mary, we passed through the British lines in New York City at dawn today on the way to see my cousin, Peter Townsend. We will be staying at his home near West Point for a week. Don’t you recall? Tonight’s supper is planned in honor of our betrothal.”

Mary’s head spun. Yeah, right. Betrothed? As in engaged? Not in this lifetime. “Look, Robert. Something weird has happened—is happening—and I intend to find out what it is. Last evening, I traveled from Oyster Bay to West Point. Alone. My car hit something, and I blacked out. So, let’s quit playing games.” She took a deep breath to calm herself. “Just who the heck are you?”