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A Stolen Season: Bath (A Stolen Season, Book 2) (Ebook)

A Stolen Season: Bath (A Stolen Season, Book 2) (Ebook)

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Nothing can disrupt the flow of time…not even love…

Archaeologist Richard can’t abide a mystery. But after one of the most frustrating digs of his career, that’s
exactly what he has on his hands. How could an estate simply disappear? What happened to the woman who lived there? Did she flee, or was she murdered? Sadly, there’s only one way to get answers, and that’s to travel back to the place in time he never wanted to revisit—the nineteenth century.

Lady Catriona needs a change. A little rebellion against her unfaithful husband is
long overdue. This season, she will re-enter society and take a lover who can distract her from the pain of her horrible marriage. Perhaps the handsome visitor from abroad who just arrived in Bath would be up to the task…

Decadent, sensual nights melt into the happiest days Richard and Catriona have ever known. But he can’t stay, and she can’t leave—even as enemies threaten her at every turn. Can Richard find a way to save Cait without destroying the timeline? Or is he doomed to lose the only woman he’s ever loved to cruel twist of fate?

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1821 Bath, England

And so it began. How he had ended up back in nineteenth-century England again, Richard could not exactly say, but at least this time he was alone, and his partner had not killed a prominent earl.
His lips quirked at the memory of his good friend and fellow archaeologist Sarah, now the Countess of Earnston who was happily married and settled in Earnston Estate in Kent. However, she was due to arrive here within the next few days to give him credibility in society and make his investigations less conspicuous.
He strode along Brook Street in Bath, smiling and nodding to those who took the time to greet him. He was new to the city, nineteenth-century Bath at least. He knew the town very well in his own time, but that was not why he was here.
He stopped at a street corner, watching the ton—who’d traveled to the Roman baths believing the water held medicinal properties that would cure them of their ills—at play. Little did they know the baths did nothing for their health, but he was not here to teach them a better standard of living. He needed to allow history to do that.
With traffic clear enough to cross the street, he started for the house that Sarah and her husband had rented for the duration of their stay. He was staying with them, and an inordinate amount of excitement thrummed through his veins at seeing Sarah again.
She was like a sister to him, and he cared for her deeply and had missed her the same amount. Three years she had been gone from his time, and yet it seemed like forever. His time here, however, was not his own, not entirely for a friendly catch-up. He had a mystery to solve, and one that puzzled not only himself but his fellow archaeologist in twenty-first-century England.
The line of Georgian mansions that edged the Royal Crescent stretched out before him, grand and imposing, elegant, and all but shouted upper class and wealthy well-to-do society.
Richard started for the address Sarah had left for him at the house TimeArch had purchased in London for their original jaunt back in time. The property now owned by Sarah was there permanently should anyone need to come back to this time. Which, as it would have it, was the case with this trip.
Having traveled by stagecoach from London two days before, he looked forward to a change of clothes and a bath. Not only that, once rested, he intended to get to the bottom of the archaeological dig that was frustrating them to no end in the future. He would not leave until he found out the location of the de Vere estate and the mystery surrounding the lady of the house, the marchioness.
It was odd that not even a stone remained on the site they were investigating, no foundations, walls, anything. It had only left them with one possibility, and that was they were looking in the wrong spot. It had been two hundred years after all. A lot could be lost in translation and record keeping in that amount of time.
The door to the town house opened as if the footman had been following his progress and knew when he was to arrive.
"Lord Stanley?" the young liveried man asked.
Richard nodded. "Hello, yes, you are expecting me?" he queried, hoping that was the case and that he would not have any troubles settling in at this address.
"We have been expecting you, my lord. If you would come this way," the young man suggested, opening the door wider. Another young lad came and collected his trunk before the original footman gestured for him to follow. "This way if you please."
Richard took in the house, the marble staircase that split halfway up to the top floors of the home. There were four rooms off the main foyer and two doors past the main staircase. He supposed that led to the kitchens and servants’ area.
He followed the footman into a parlor and felt his heart soar. "Sarah!" he shouted, striding toward her as she approached him. She was as beautiful and happy as he remembered her.
Richard pulled her into an embrace, his eyes stinging with unshed tears. How he had missed his partner in time. A friend he had to say goodbye to so she could marry the man she loved. Her soul mate.
The Earl of Earnston joined them, clapping him on the back. "It is good to see you, Richard. I know Sarah was beyond thrilled to receive notice that TimeArch was returning to our time, and you were the one coming back."
He kissed the top off Sarah's head, reluctantly letting her go to shake the earl's hand. "I was excited to return and see you both too. How have you been? Tell me all the news," he said as they made their way over to the settee to sit.
A tray of tea and biscuits sat before them, and Sarah poured him a cup, grinning as she handed him his refreshment.
"I cannot tell you how quickly I ordered our trunks to be packed and for us to travel to Bath to see you. I know that we said we would arrive after you, but I simply could not stay in Kent with you in Somerset. Did father send me a letter? Is he well? How is the company and everyone?"
He chuckled, sipping his tea and reveling in the refreshing drink and Sarah and Eric's company again. It was what he needed after the many miles on the jarring road between London and Bath.
"Everyone is well and busy." He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a thick letter, handing it to Sarah. "This is from your father. He told me to say that he loves and misses you and hopes you're well and happy. Which," Richard stated, smiling, "I can see that you both are."
Sarah beamed, taking the letter and clasping it close. "I'm so glad all is well. I have missed you all, too, so much."
"How are you enjoying nineteenth-century living, Sarah? I am curious," Richard asked. He supposed the conversation would be a little weird for Eric, but then he had no doubt Sarah had informed him of everything of her previous life. There would be no secrets between them now.
"Very well, thank you. I've become quite the society lady. I volunteer at the small parish school we have near Earnston estate, and I have been traveling. We're hoping to start a family soon."
Richard smiled, already knowing the earl and countess would have several children, not that he would tell her so or what sexes they would be. That was for him to know and for them to find out. "I'm glad you're putting your intellect to good use and helping to educate others."
"I do love it, almost as much as I love my dear husband," she teased, grinning at Eric, who watched their play of conversation with something akin to wonder. He supposed the earl would not be used to hearing such open discussions between men and women who were not married. Certainly not in this time, at least.
"I hope our frank discussion is not uncomfortable, my lord," Richard stated, not wanting to make the earl feel that way. He was certainly fond of his Lordship and knew him to be a good man and perfect for his friend. "I forget that the times here are different from my own."
"Not at all," the earl said, waving his concerns aside. "I am well-used to how my wife is, and I adore her all the more for being honest to herself."
Richard watched the play between the pair, the love between them was almost palpable.
"So tell me," Sarah said, catching Richard's eye. "Why is it that I'm graced with your delightful presence? There must be a reason?"
"As to that," he said, settling back into the silk settee and basking in its comfort. "We have an issue. We've been trying to locate an estate near Bath, but there is no sign of the property, even after we did radar imaging of the grounds where it was supposed to be located. No hidden foundations of walls, no artifacts, nothing. But we know the estate once stood, and the last report of the property was in the 1820 census. I'm here to find its exact location, note the location as best I can, and return home to continue our dig."
Sarah raised her brow. "That is odd that there is no footprint of the building. How certain are you that it stands in this time and it is not an error in the records?"
"We believe we know who owns the property and land, the Marquess de Vere. He married in 1818 and not long after retired to his ancestral property near Bath, de Vere Hall. The house reportedly burned to the ground sometime in 1821, but that is all we know of it."
"Why are you so interested in the estate?" Eric asked, coming to sit beside his wife and taking her hand in his.
Richard masked his smile at their tactile love. "The house was reportedly one Queen Elizabeth stayed at during her reign, and her grandfather before, Henry the seventh. I'm merely here to survey the exact location, and then I shall leave you be."
Sarah scrunched up her face. "We love having you here. Even if you find the estate's location, you must stay for several weeks. I shall hear of nothing less."
He chuckled, not certain that would be a possibility. Not with how time travel worked. "I shall have to figure out my timeline, but I will try," he said, placating her. "Of course, for every year in the past a week passes in the future, so I’m not too restricted on time.” He paused. “Do you know the marquess, or have you heard of the family?"
The distaste on his Lordship's face piqued Richard's interest. "I'm not certain you would want to know," the earl said, his tone one of repulsion.
Richard leaned forward in his chair. "Whyever not?" he asked, needing to know.
"Because he's a bastard, and you'll have almost no luck in gaining entry to the property without him trying to shoot you off your horse," the earl stated, the shock on Sarah's face telling Richard she did not know this information either.
Expectation ran through his blood, the thought of another nineteenth-century adventure just what he needed. "Tell me more," he said, settling in to hear everything. "And tell me about the marchioness. I'm interested in her too."

Main Tropes

  • Friends to Lovers
  • Revenge
  • Time Travel Regency Romance
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