Time Raiders: The Seeker (Silhouette Nocturne #69)

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Overview

Delia Sebastian is a trained historian and psychic. Former army captain Jake Tyler is her swaggering ex-lover, who can read her most intimate thoughts—and desires. Together they will make the risky leap back to 44 BC to infiltrate the court of Julius Caesar by posing as Grecian mercenaries. But with assassins everywhere, will old passions reignite to undermine their cover…leaving them trapped in history forever?

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Time Raiders: The Seeker (Silhouette Nocturne #69)

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Overview

Delia Sebastian is a trained historian and psychic. Former army captain Jake Tyler is her swaggering ex-lover, who can read her most intimate thoughts—and desires. Together they will make the risky leap back to 44 BC to infiltrate the court of Julius Caesar by posing as Grecian mercenaries. But with assassins everywhere, will old passions reignite to undermine their cover…leaving them trapped in history forever?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780373618163
  • Publisher: Silhouette
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Series: Harlequin Nocturne Series , #69
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.60 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Lindsay McKenna wears a few "hats" in her life including that of writer, homeopath and flower essence creator. Because of her unique upbringing, Lindsay is very aware of human spirituality and her deep connection with Mother Earth. At the age of three, Lindsay rode her first horse and has loved horses ever since. At age fourteen she rescued a two-year-old mustang stallion from the chicken feed factory for $45 and brought him home. It's no surprise that later in life she had an Arabian horse farm in Ohio for nine years. When she was sixteen, Lindsay picked night crawlers and sold them to sporting goods stores in order to pay for flying classes. By the time she graduated at age eighteen, she had logged forty hours of flying time.

She joined the U.S. Navy at age eighteen, following her father's footsteps—he was in the navy during World War II. After three brutal days in boot camp, Lindsay was told that she had the highest mechanical score since the Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service, a World War II-era navy division made entirely up of women!

From 1980 to 1983 she was a volunteer firefighter in West Point, Ohio. She was the only woman in a twenty-man volunteer department and did everything they did—very well, she'd like to add! In 1996 she trained at Yavapai College, Arizona, to become a registered emergency medical technician. Her military and emergency situation experiences became the backbone of her writing; she is credited with writing the first military romance novel (Captive of Fate, 1983) and her many experiences in the Navy are backdrops for her series Morgan's Mercenaries.

A writer since the age of thirteen, Lindsaysold herfirst romance novel in 1982, and has since published more than eighty romances, historical and adventure and suspense novels.

But the most important part of Lindsay's identity is her Native American heritage, which has taught her to live in concert with nature and "all her relations." Her paternal great-great-grandmother was a pure-blooded Eastern Cherokee medicine woman from the Wolf Clan. Lindsay's father taught her the healing "medicine" skill that had been passed down his family line. She is very close to nature, and being a homeopath, her second "hat," dovetails into her belief that all things are related and interconnected—nothing is detached from anything else. Homeopathy appealed strongly to her because of her training in the healing arts and herbology taught to her by her mother, Ruth. In 1993 she received her doctorate of homeopathic medicine from the British Institute of Homeopathy in England and practiced homeopathy in the state of Ohio from 1970 to 1990. When she moved to Arizona, she turned to writing books and articles on homeopathy. Her third "hat" is as a pioneer in the field of flower and gem essences. In 1994 she began to create her own essences and has gathered findings on them to uncover what healing qualities each has. Another part of her philosophy is that personal experience is the best kind of education, so she created medicinegarden.com for people to help themselves when sick or maintain wellness. Today she lives outside Sedona, Arizona. Her husband, David, helps Lindsay and her mother run the fruit orchard, greenhouse and the many, many flower planters where Lindsay makes her healing flower essences. She has her horse, Cinnamon, a golden retriever named Rocky and nine cats.

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Read an Excerpt

Delia," Professor Athena Carswell said, her voice low with excitement, "I have fully decoded Argenta's Ad Astra journal!"

Delia Sebastian sat at the oval table in a conference room at Red Rock University in Flagstaff, Arizona. "That's awesome!" she exclaimed.

At her right elbow was retired Marine Corps General Beverly Ashton. The three women were discussing one of the greatest secrets on Earth—a time-travel lab.

The Ad Astra journal had been stolen from a museum in France. Argenta, a historian and Roman woman in the days of Pliny, had recorded information in this journal about star beings creating a disk and placing pieces of it on Earth. With the information from the journal in hand, they could now move forward with their mission.

Delia studied Athena's heart-shaped face and serious green eyes, which right now sparkled with happiness. In the world outside her lab, so secret it was known only by individuals at the highest levels of the U.S. government, Athena would not be recognized as a genius quantum mechanics physicist. Looks were deceiving, Delia knew.

Ashton stirred. "Better than awesome, Captain Sebastian. Professor Carswell has translated those lost pages you retrieved for her on your last time-jump mission."

Delia had left the Marine Corps, as had the general, but they maintained military protocol. They preferred its efficiency.

"Yes, ma'am," Delia murmured deferentially to the short, blond-haired woman. Delia could see touches of silver at Ashton's temples bracketing her square face with its stubborn-looking chin. When the general was tight jawed, she took on the look of a pit bull determined not to lose a fight. That's why General Ashtonhad been drummed out of her beloved Marine Corps. She had defended Professor Carswell's time travel theories when everyone else wanted to let the professor disappear into history. Ashton had not agreed with the status quo, so she'd been forced to retire.

Undeterred, she had drummed up money from the civilian sector to build the Time Raiders lab here in Flagstaff. The general's belief in Athena's theories had been rewarded, and now they could, in fact, time travel.

Clearing her throat, Delia swung her attention back to the professor, who held a report in her hands. Despite her five-foot-three-inch height, Athena was a force to be reckoned with. Delia had nothing but admiration for the brilliant scientist who was so far ahead of her time.

The 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico, had provided a treasure trove of unfamiliar items. The U.S. Army had tried for decades to identify and decode their secrets, but never could. Athena, while working at the Pentagon on the time travel project, had found out about the strange items. Since no one cared about the Roswell crash any longer, the odd collection was released into her care.

Among the items from the Roswell crash was a headband, or what some called a "navigation crown." Athena had cracked the mathematical formula found on a quartz crystal embedded in it, and discovered what the mysterious headband could do: send people back in time.

When she lost twelve volunteers to different periods and cultures, unable to bring them back to the present, the Pentagon quickly dumped her and the project like a hot potato, and more or less booted Ashton out of the Corps.

In the end, it had all worked out. Athena got to keep the alien headband and once the lab was built, was able to discover how to retrieve time jumpers, transporting them back to the present. Now, as a result of the professor's amazing feat, they were ready for some serious missions.

Managing a grim smile, Delia watched lights dance in Athena's narrowed eyes. "I know you've been trying to read Argenta's backward-Latin entries in her journal for some time, Professor. What did you discover?"

Grinning with pleasure, she leaned forward and said, "Where the first of the twelve pieces of the Karanovo stamp seal is located!"

Delia gasped. "You're joking!"

The general snorted. "The professor doesn't joke, Captain. You should know that by now."

"Er…that's correct, ma'am." Turning her gaze back to Athena, who was brushing her light brown curls off her forehead, Delia said, "I'm not going to bother to ask how you did it because I know you'd give me a formula I couldn't comprehend. The better question is where is the first piece? What time in history?"

"As always, Delia, you cut to the chase," Athena said. She tapped the papers beneath her hand. "We know the Pleiades constellation is a group of nine, not seven, star systems. This information comes from Argenta's journal, as well as from present-day astronomy. When we sent you to her villa in Pompeii in 44 B.C., you found the leather-bound journal in her study, and copied the pages that were later 'lost.' That's when I knew we were on to something." The lost pages had been stolen out of Athena's office. No one ever found who had done it or why. In order to find out what was contained on those pages, Delia had been sent back to photograph the originals. Excitement rose in her wispy, feminine voice. "Argenta, like Leonardo da Vinci, wrote backwards. It has taken me until just last week to finish translating the Latin text. In one passage, Argenta, who was considered a famous historian in her time, said she knew who had the first piece of the Karanovo bronze seal—Servilia, mistress to Julius Caesar."

"Are you sending me back to find it?" Delia's pulse began to quicken with that familiar sizzle of excitement. Because of her own Greek heritage, her favorite periods in history were the Roman and Greek empires. She had made three time-travel jumps for the professor after Athena had fine-tuned her use of the alien headband.

Waving her hand, the professor said, "Beverly and I have been working hard to map out this next Time Raider journey. And yes, you are being chosen to go back to 44 B.C."

Delia had been the first volunteer to be sent back in time once Athena thought she'd figured out the retrieval formula. No one had been certain that her tweaks would work. But the jump into the past, plus the return, had been successful.

Athena then sent Delia twice more to the historian's study in Pompeii to locate her mysterious journal. Delia brought the journal back, copied the missing pages and then returned it. Even then, parts of the journal had been missing. So Athena had sent Delia as a Time Raider to Argenta's villa to locate those missing pages.

The professor had been right: those critical passages contained information and a drawing with the twelve pieces of the Karanovo bronze seal, each carved with a different constellation. In the journal Argenta said a fake one would be left on Earth while the real one was cut into twelve pieces. When all were found and fitted together it would create the disk in the journal. The fake had been made, Argenta wrote, to throw off the enemy.

"And you're sure the bronze fragment is there?" Delia asked now.

Frowning, Athena scrubbed her brow and muttered, "Servilia is Julius Caesar's former mistress. She's powerful and savvy. She's been shunted aside for young, beautiful Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, who has, by the way, borne Julius a son. A son he's always wanted but never got—until now. Calpurnia, Caesar's wife, has been pushed aside, as well. But it is Servilia who has a piece of the seal, according to Argenta's journal."

"Where is it?" Delia asked.

"We don't know," Ashton said unhappily. "All we can do is have Athena set the course once she puts on that headband and sends you through time to Servilia's location. From there, you're going to have to put clues together like puzzle pieces. Follow the woman around like a cosmic bloodhound until you locate it."

The professor produced a colored photo of the Bronze Age stamp seal that had been unearthed by archaeologists in Bulgaria, near Nova Zagora. "This disk was discovered in 1991. There are twelve constellations emblazoned on it. The seal is solid bronze, six centimeters in diameter and two centimeters thick. What is of great interest to me is that a drawing of this very disk was found in Argenta's journal, among those missing pages you copied. It is an exact copy of the one found in Bulgaria. The Roman historian said that the twelve constellations represent twelve pieces of another seal that was deliberately cut apart by the Star people. When the pieces are fitted together they make a round disk. The twelve sections were scattered around the world, in different cultures and different time periods, apparently. According to my calculations, the time line could cover thousands of years, from Egypt onward to the nineteenth century."

Fascinated, Delia studied the round bronze stamp, which reminded her of an old, worn copper coin. "So I'm going after one of the twelve pieces." She lifted her head. "You say it's the first piece?"

Athena shrugged. "I don't know. But in her journal, Argenta did identify it as the first. And said that Servilia was using it."

"How?" Delia wondered. "Does it possess properties like that headband you wear to send us back and forth in time?"

Again the professor shrugged. "That's something you'll have to discover once you and your partner find it."

"Partner?" Delia swung her head toward the general. The dark blue business suit Beverly Ashton wore wasn't a uniform, but her squared shoulders and the proud way she wore it shouted of her military background. "General? What partner? I've always time traveled alone."

"Not on this mission," Ashton said. She glanced at Athena briefly and then went on. "The professor has created an ESC, or emergency signaling cuff—a metal armband with a quartz cabochon embedded into it. The crystal has been imprinted with your brain-wave pattern and frequency as well as the professor's. Information on our time and location are contained in it as well. Now that we know she can send and retrieve a time traveler, we needed to create better plans for future missions."

"Take a look," Athena said, pulling something from the pocket of her white lab coat. She held up a silvery armband, then set it on the table in front of Delia. "You can wear this on your wrist or your arm. It's made from titanium, so it's lightweight and won't break. Through it we will remain connected no matter where you are in time. Never take it off. When you're ready to come back, all you have to do is press the crystal with your finger and it will send a signal to me. I'll bring you home."

Delia raised both hands. "Whoa! Wait a minute. What's this about a partner?"

The former Marine Corps officer eyed her soberly. "As we move into Time Raider mission mode, we will try a team for the first time. That way, if one of you gets hurt or killed, the other can continue the mission and complete it."

Delia was aware that Athena had sent other volunteers besides herself back in time. After recalculating the mathematical formula and upgrading the headband's crystals, the professor had managed to ensure she never lost anyone again. "But," Delia sputtered, "you've always sent us alone."

"This mission is different, Captain," Ashton said. "We have an objective, a target, and it's a serious and deadly business. We have no idea what the pieces of the Karanovo seal really represent aside from what we've learned via Argenta's journal." She grimaced wryly. "Two heads are always better than one. Athena will time-jump a team for this trip, not an individual."

Delia shook her head in protest. "I don't want a partner, General. I've done everything you've asked of me on my other missions. And I did so alone."

"Don't go getting bent out of shape on this, Captain." Ashton drilled her with her blue eyes. "You don't have a choice in the matter."

Delia saw the pit-bull look appear on her face and knew there was no use arguing with the former Marine Corps officer. "Yes, ma'am, I hear you."

"You don't have to agree with our change of policy, but you do have to take a partner," Ashton growled. "I'm ordering you to team up with Captain Jake Tyler. He's U.S. Army Special Forces. His mother is a professor of history at Cornell University and his father a professor of medicine."

She pulled out a file and handed it to Delia. "Tyler has psychic abilities as a mind reader. He's got a degree in electrical engineering and a minor in Roman culture, which is why he was chosen. He knows all about the societal framework of that period and will provide excellent backup to your own psychic skills."

Shock bolted through Delia and she barely heard Ashton's words. The only ones that registered seemed to burn into her heart, filling her with rage. Captain Jake Tyler…!

Choking, she rasped, "There's no way in hell you're hooking me up with that Neanderthal bastard, General. No way!" She started to rise out of her chair.

Ashton's arm shot out like a snake striking. She gripped Delia's forearm. "Sit down, Captain. And let's just turn down the volume on this tirade, shall we?"

Delia sank back in her seat and Ashton released her arm, still scowling disapprovingly. Okay, so she wasn't behaving rationally about this, Delia admitted. But Tyler always stirred up that kind of violent reaction in her—from the aching need to be in his arms, to sharing his bed, to blinding anger. Glaring at the general, she growled, "Then tell me why you'd ever team me up with that caveman?"

"He might be a Neanderthal," Ashton retorted, "but he's got the right credentials for this mission. His background is exactly what is needed to find that bronze piece from the Karanovo seal."

After clearing her throat, Athena interjected, "Delia, remember what is at stake here. In the Ad Astra journal I translated, Argenta admitted she was a 'plant' from the Pleiades, not an Earthling."

"She's an alien?" Delia felt her eyes grow round as she snapped her head toward the professor.

"Yes," Athena said emphatically. "From what I can piece together from the recent journal pages you retrieved, she was deliberately planted here by the Galactic Council. As a mole to spy on our civilization. Argenta was from the constellation Pleiades and they were a part of that council."

Stunned, Delia stared at both women, who nodded almost in unison. "But… why? Alien? We knew from her journals that the Pleiadians were enlisted by the Council to embed some sort of message into the twelve pieces of the disk. But this is a new twist."

"Argenta was an alien monitor planted here on Earth," Athena told her. "I wouldn't be surprised if she was the one to give Servilia that section of the seal. I can't prove it. There's nothing in her journal to make my guess a fact, but my gut tells me so.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is the opening act of a new romantic science fiction series

    Time raiders Delia Sebastian and Jake Tyler are assigned to work together in finding the first piece of an alien artifact the Karanovo Bronze Seal in ancient Rome during the time of Julius Caesar. Delia does not want to go with Jake as her partner as she has a past with him that left her hurt. On the other hand, Jake looks forward to spending time with her.

    Their Italian vacation posing as Grecian mercenaries proves dangerous as Caesar's mistress Servilia has an agenda of her own yet the artifact is in her Pompeii villa. Worse, an alien seeks the artifact and is using the body of the scribe to hide inside. As the peril mounts, Delia and Jake must cover each other's back if they are to survive the mission and have any hope of successfully accomplishing it.

    This is the opening act of a new romantic science fiction series in which different authors over the next few months will provide novels. THE SEEKER is a fine tale starring two leads who battle one another and two insidious enemies. The story line starts slow as the key background information is provided, but once the protagonists (some might say antagonists) go back in time to 44 BC, the action turns fast-paced and the lead couple's attraction could ignite Ancient Rome. Fans will enjoy Lindsay McKenna's solid thriller as Ancient Rome comes alive and the table is set for Cindy Dees in September to go after the next segment of the Karanovo Bronze Seal.

    Harriet Klausner

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