Time Raiders: The Protector (Silhouette Nocturne #75) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Danger. Max Brody's body tingles with it when he meets Cassandra Jones, the mission specialist with whom he'll jump back to seventh-century China. Petite and guarded, Cassie may look like someone who needs Max's protection, but her essence whispers to him of untamed talents that could destroy as easily as seduce. Yet Cassie's powers and passion, if properly awakened, might be their only safeguard. For amid the splendor and intrigue of the Imperial Court of Empress Wu Jao, they will confront a formidable enemy—and...

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Time Raiders: The Protector (Silhouette Nocturne #75)

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Overview

Danger. Max Brody's body tingles with it when he meets Cassandra Jones, the mission specialist with whom he'll jump back to seventh-century China. Petite and guarded, Cassie may look like someone who needs Max's protection, but her essence whispers to him of untamed talents that could destroy as easily as seduce. Yet Cassie's powers and passion, if properly awakened, might be their only safeguard. For amid the splendor and intrigue of the Imperial Court of Empress Wu Jao, they will confront a formidable enemy—and an unstoppable force of nature that's beyond their control….

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426843105
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Series: Time Raiders Series , #75
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 430,553
  • File size: 139 KB

Meet the Author

A retired Air Force Colonel, Merline Lovelace served at bases all over the world. When she hung up her uniform for the last time, she decided to combine her love of adventure with a flare for storytelling. Since then, she’s produced more than 75 action-packed novels. Over ten million copies of her works are in print in 30 countries. Named Oklahoma’s Writer of the Year and Female Veteran of the Year, Merline is also a recipient of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Rita Award.

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Read an Excerpt

Disorder is not sent down by heaven, it is produced by women.

-From the writings of Confucius

Frowning, USAF Major Max Brody wheeled his rental car through the nearly empty streets of Flagstaff, Arizona. The cold March dawn painted the snow-capped peaks surrounding the city in shimmering gold. Frost glittered on the buildings of Red Rock

University, dead ahead. His destination was a fenced-in compound set some distance apart from the main campus.

Max had been yanked out of his second tour of duty in Iraq and arrived here in Flagstaff only three days ago. He should have relished the snow and biting cold. Both went unnoticed, however, as he struggled to wrap his mind around the incredible mission he was about to undertake.

Starship navigators.

Pieces of a bronze medallion hidden in time.

Intergalactic power plays.

Earth's fate hanging in the balance.

The phrases ricocheted inside his head like shrapnel from an IED. If one of his troops had spouted those words, or any officer in his chain of command, Max would have pressed for an immediate psych eval.

But the mind-blowing phrases had come from retired USMC Brigadier General Beverly Ashton. She'd been Max's boss during a joint assignment years ago. He'd always considered her the best officer he'd ever served with. General Ashton had pulled every string in the book to get him released from his active duty unit for this special mission.

Only after Max had arrived in Flagstaff, bleary eyed from his long flight, did the general reveal she'd requested him because of his familiarity with the terrain targeted for a time jump.

Time jump. Jesus!

Max's gut twisted into a tight knot. After three days andnights of almost around-the-clock briefings, he still couldn't believe General Ashton's partner in this crazy enterprise, Professor Athena Carswell, had actually managed to harness the warps in time known as sine waves. Or that she did so using a crown-shaped headband retrieved from the crash of a UFO in New Mexico!

A world-renowned quantum physicist, Professor Carswell had worked with the military in her initial efforts to conqueror time and space. After repeated failures, however, the powers that be withdrew support for her Operation Anasazi.

But General Ashton had refused to give up. With the bulldog determination that was second nature to her, she'd kept the project alive with private funds and volunteers, most of whom were former military. And most of whom, Max had learned, possessed some form of psychic "gift" that made them open to the pulsing energy of the sine waves.

As unbelievable as it sounded, Professor Carswell's experiments had finally succeeded. Max had seen the proof. He'd also spoken to several mission specialists who'd traveled through time. Even more unbelievable, they'd returned with irregular-shaped sections of a medallion known variously as the Karanovo Stamp, the Pleiadian Disk and the Bronze Medallion. Each piece depicted various constellations. When all twelve sections were found and fitted together, the medallion could send a signal to an interga-lactic council debating Earth's fate!

Given the enormous stakes, Max would have agreed to join their ranks even before he learned that his partner for the proposed "jump" was Cassandra Jones, a former air force weather officer—and the woman involved in the death of a friend of Max's from their Air Force Academy days.

Max's fists tightened on the steering wheel as he slowed for a turn. The board of inquiry had cleared Lieutenant Jones. Declared her innocent of all charges. So why had she abruptly resigned her commission and dropped out of sight?

Max intended to find out. His first priority on this mission was to locate the fourth piece of the medallion. That overrode all else. But his second and very private goal was to find out what really happened the day Captain Jerry Holland died.

His partner on this mission had no idea that Max even knew Jerry. He'd tell her when the time was right. And before this mission was over, Max would wring the truth from Cassandra Jones.

"Where is he?"

Quivering with nervous anticipation, Cas-sie slicked clammy palms down her thighs. She'd dressed casually for this mission in jeans and a maize-colored sweater, knowing she would soon jolt awake in another century wearing clothes appropriate to the time.

"Brody should have been here by now," she grumbled.

Unable to control her nervous energy, she paced the conference room some yards down the hall from the transport area.

"He'll be here shortly," General Ashton replied with her customary composure. Tall and blonde, with only a trace of silver at her temples, the retired USMC general still looked every inch the commander. "We don't launch for another hour," she added calmly.

As if Cassie needed the reminder!

She'd trained for this mission for months while assisting with other jumps. Now it was her turn. And the mission was right up her alley.

She would jump back fourteen centuries and infiltrate the court of the most powerful woman of the seventh century. Empress Wu Jao, like all peoples of the ancient world, turned to shamans and sorcerers to predict weather conditions for ceremonies and major events. With one of the most significant events of Jao's reign fast approaching, Cassie would use her extraordinary sensitivity to atmospheric changes to gain the woman's confidence.

The remarkable ability to sense imminent weather changes was Cassie's gift… and her curse. Growing up in Oklahoma, she'd figured out at the tender age of three or four that when her naturally curly hair went limp and stretched in length there was a thunderstorm in the making. Or worse, a deadly tornado.

As she grew older she'd learned to interpret other natural occurrences. Like the faint ripples on the surface of a pond that indicated movement of the earth's underground plates. And birds going to roost low to the ground and fluffing their feathers to protect themselves from hail.

Cassie had tried, really tried, to channel her sensitivity to nature's nuances into productive uses. First by majoring in meteorology in college. Then by joining the air force as a weather officer. Unfortunately, the military was extremely skeptical of forecasts based on anything except data retrieved from high-tech instrumentation. So skeptical that Lieutenant Cassandra Jones had soon gained a reputation within the weather circles as a maverick.

That was the polite word for her intuitive predictions. Others had labeled them the product of a nutcase. Including the one man she'd thought she could love.

No! She wouldn't let herself think about Jerry Holland. Not now. Not with so much riding on this mission.

The arrival of her jump partner provided the impetus Cassie needed to shove aside the searing memories.

"'Bout time you got here, Major," she said, more brusquely than she'd intended.

Max Brody glanced at her from gray eyes as cool and hard as tempered steel. The rest of him wasn't much softer. Square jaw, square shoulders, square attitude. A combat engineer with more than twelve years of military experience, he sported buzz-cut blond hair and a don't-mess-with-me air.

He'd dressed down for the mission, too, but his jeans hugged muscled thighs and his faded Air Force Academy sweatshirt stretched across shoulders that would have done credit to an All-Pro guard. The man was six feet two inches of tough, uncompromising male.

"I'm ready if you are, Jones," he replied coolly.

"Excellent," General Ashton said briskly. "We'll do one final mission brief before you launch."

Cassie didn't need another brief. Every aspect of this mission was seared into her brain. It should be, after her weeks of prep.

Brody, on the other hand, had been a part of the Time Raiders team for all of three days. Knifing him with a look that said pay attention, she took a seat at the conference table. The major sat across from her.

With a flick of a switch, General Ashton illuminated the conference room's wall-size screen. Another flick brought up the digitized image of several leather journals with Latin inscriptions.

"These, as you know, are the Ad Astra journals Delia Sebastian brought back on one of her early jumps."

Ad Astra. To the stars. Appropriate, Cassie thought, for journals that had yielded the first clues to a major intergalactic power struggle.

Her heart bumped as the general glided a finger over a touch pad and aimed the on-screen pointer at a drawing in the middle of a page. There it was, the bronze medallion inscribed with various constellations.

Cassie's pulse kicked up another notch as General Ashton superimposed a digitized image over the original sketch. It showed three irregularly shaped pieces. Two of the pieces notched together. The third remained separate—waiting for the other pieces that would all fit together to form a smooth, round disk.

The general's blue eyes lingered on the three pieces for long moments before shifting to Cassie and Max. "If Professor Carswell has interpreted the message embedded in the third piece correctly, the fourth piece, the one you two will be looking for, was hidden in seventh-century China, at the court of the Tang emperors. I don't need to tell you how important it is that you find it."

"No, ma'am."

"Good. Professor Carswell's waiting for us in the transport area. If you don't have any questions about the target…"

"I'm good," Cassie said quickly.

Her jump partner gave a quick jerk of his chin. "Me, too."

Cassie's already humming nerves torqued even tighter as they left the conference room.

She'd assisted with other jumps. She'd helped debrief previous Time Raiders. She knew what to expect. Still, the sight of the capsule that would whisk her and Max Brody through fourteen centuries made her throat go dry.

The booth occupied center stage in the brightly lit area. A tall cylinder of glass, it contained two chairs, one for her, one for the major. That was it. No control console. No digital displays. No diodes to send electricity arcing through the air. The energy that would propel Cassie and Max through time would come from the brain of Professor Athena Carswell.

Gulping, Cassie dragged her gaze from the glass tube to the professor. A petite woman with soft brown curls and a heart-shaped face, she didn't look like your average genius of the Einstein variety.

Then again, Cassie didn't exactly fit the mold of your average seventh-century Chinese maiden. At five-seven, with intense green eyes, a fair complexion and hair that shaded more toward red than brown, she would stand out like a maypole at the Tang Dynasty court.

Which was why Professor Carswell had decided to send her back as an outlander— an emerald-eyed Irish sorceress captured by Vikings, sold into slavery and brought to the Imperial Court as a gift to the superstitious empress.

Cassie had to admit she wasn't too thrilled with that slave bit. Especially since uptight, stiff-spined Max Brody was going back as her "protector." His cover, too, had been carefully crafted. He was Bro-dai the Bold, a Viking warrior chosen by his chieftain to deliver Cassie to the court of the most powerful monarch on four continents.

She slanted him a quick glance, trying to decide what it was about Brody that rubbed her the wrong way. Maybe it was how he'd watched her during the past three days of mission prep, as if gauging her skills and readiness. Or how he seemed to weigh everything she said. She'd finally decided neither of those were bad traits in a partner whose life depended on his—and her—ability to survive in a time and a culture foreign to them both.

Brody had an edge over her in that regard. With degrees in both civil and mechanical engineering, he commanded one of the air force's premier combat construction squadrons. His hands-on expertise in Iraq repairing bomb damage had led the chief to put him in charge of coordinating United States military disaster relief efforts following China's devastating earthquake last year.

Brody had spent four months assisting with damage assessment and reconstruction in Sichuan Province. More important, he'd made several visits to Xi'an, once known as Chang'An. The city had served as China's capital for almost a thousand years before the seat of power was moved to Beijing. Brody's firsthand knowledge of the target area, General Ashton believed, would greatly facilitate this mission.

Cassie sure as hell hoped so! She stifled her doubts as Professor Carswell walked over to talk with them.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 1, 2010

    The Protector by Merline Lovelace.

    I really enjoyed reading the series. Each book in the series can be read seperately or together. Very quick to read for anyone short on time. I am looking forward to the other books coming out in this series. Enjoy.

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  • Posted October 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The latest Time Raiders romantic suspense science fiction thriller is a fast-paced tal

    Time Raiders: The Protector
    Merline Lovelace
    Silhouette Nocturne, Nov 2009, $5.25
    ISBN: 9780373618224

    As part of Project Anasazi Air Force Lieutenant Cassandra Jones and Major Max Brody are sent back in time to the seventh century Chinese Tang dynasty in order to retrieve another piece of the twelve pieces scattered in time and place alien bronze medallion also known as the Karanovo Stamp. Once all the pieces are gathered and assembled, the stamp will enable Earth to join other worlds of the Pleiadian Council.

    Max is uncomfortable with time travel and ET but trusts his former CO General (R) Ashton who recruited him from duty in Iraq. He does not trust his traveling companion Cassie as he holds her responsible for the accidental death of his friend Captain Jerry Holland at the academy where she was working as a weather officer. Using the device found in the Roswell crash, they go back to the reign of the Empress Wu Jao. However, he has no time for his suspicions and disdain when the alien Centaurian race tries to abort their mission as they want the Stamp. Cassie's uncanny weather changing sixth sense proves critical to them staying alive long enough to have a chance to accomplish the mission.

    The latest Time Raiders romantic suspense science fiction thriller is a fast-paced tale that flows on twointerrelated subplots. First there is the retrieval mission and second there is the major's personal investigative mission. Although the Centaurians seem like wusses in the seventh century and in Arizona, fans of the sage will enjoy the action-placed fourth entry (see (see The Avenger by P.C. Cast, The Seeker by Lindsay McKenna and The Slayer by Cindy Dees).

    Harriet Klausner

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