Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Thoughts On Time: In Love's Own Time

Time is an inescapable part of our lives. Most of us rise to an alarm and our day is structured by time. We’re slaves to the clock, our hours, minutes, and moments divided into blocks of time, often belonging to someone else for their purposes, not our own. Long before the Industrial Revolution changed human life forever, people lived by the sun. They rose with it and when it slipped below the western horizon each evening, they headed to bed after an evening meal. But when industrialization forced people away from the farms, the cottages, the villages, and a slower existence we learned to obey the clock.

Time divides our days.  Most of us wear a watch or check the time on our cell phone or other device.  We’re committed to arriving to work or class on time, to catching a favorite program at a specific time, to picking up our kids or making an appointment.  Time is carved up into parcels with purpose.

Time becomes flexible or it seems it does.  When we’re waiting for something – a holiday, a loved one’s homecoming, a vacation, time crawls.  But when the event arrives, time shifts into high speed.  After months of longing, the much awaited vacation flies past and is over too soon.  We delve into our memories and the past seems close enough to touch.  When we visit a hometown, a place we once lived, or any place from the past, sometimes things appear not to have changed.  Oh, sometimes places appear smaller or shabbier but often they seem just the same as if time stood still.

With our modern preoccupation with time, it’s no wonder the concept of time travel captures and holds our imaginations.  Albert Einstein believed time flows like a river and to return to the past, we must travel upstream.  He died before he figured out quite how it could be accomplished but since many of his theories proved true, there may come a time when time travel is recognized as possible.  If we could, many of us – myself included – would enjoy the chance to go back in time either to visit a historical period we’ve always admired or to visit our ancestors, to meet them up close and personal, or even to spy on our own lives.  There’s a certain lure to the idea we could watch historic events unfold and a greater temptation if we could change fate.

In my new release from Rebel Ink Press, In Love’s Own Time, time travel proves not only to be possible but my heroine believes she can change fate.   Here’s an excerpt from the novel:


            “Lillian.” Howard sounded hoarse, his voice cracking with emotion although she wasn’t sure which one, fear, elation, or sorrow.  “This is 1904.”

            “How could it be?” Even as she protested, she knew it was true.  The old house was new.  The smell of fresh paint mingled with the Dutch cake aroma and as she’d noticed earlier, the book covers were bright.  Howard’s sheet music pages never yellowed but sparkled unblemished white.  It was true and if it was 1904, then Howard was alive.  He wasn’t a ghost.  

            Lillian reached for him, stretched out her hand to touch him, and closed her fingers over his arm.  Through the wool of his sleeve, his skin was warm, so alive, and tears formed in her eyes.  Her right hand stroked the curve of his cheek and she clasped his hand with the other.   He twined his fingers through hers, tight as if he might never let go, and pulled her right hand to his lips, brushing her skin with a faint, soft kiss.

            “Oh, Howard.”  Her voice broke.  “Howard, you’re real.”

            She could touch him now and she could smell him, a rich masculine aroma of soap and leather, and the outdoors.  Before, he’d been a ghost, not tangible, not touchable but for now, he was both and she reveled in him with every sense.  She touched his hair with trembling fingers and rubbed her cheek against his suit jacket.  When she lifted her face, his eyes blazed with emotion and she knew before he bent down they’d kiss.

            In her dream, the kiss’d been sweet but in reality, it was sweeter.  His lips heated hers, melted, and moved against her mouth until she couldn’t breathe.  She put her arms around his neck and he held her, one hand flat against her back.   Until now, he’d been unattainable, almost fantasy, but now he was a man, a man who held her in his arms, and she wanted him.  Desire burned like a wavering candle flame but without warning, Howard released her.

            “Lillian, I forgot myself.  You must forgive me.”

            Her lips, bruised from his mouth, stretched into a smile. “I’ll never forgive you if you don’t kiss me again, Howard.”

            “I shouldn’t.” His voice sounded muffled. “But I’ll, sweet Lillian, though I shouldn’t.  However, for the moment I’m alive. Carpe diem!”

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Rebel Writer: Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

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