Everyone claims her name is Annabelle. The year is 1814 and she’s married to Captain Keldon Buchanan, a man who despises her. The more she learns about her life, the more she realizes why she’s chosen to forget it. She’s a liar and an adulteress. She doesn’t understand why she wanted to destroy her marriage when her heart tells her she belongs with Keldon.
Keldon harbors his own secrets. He's the Highland Pirate and secrecy is the difference between life and death. He doesn’t trust his wife, but he finds his heart softening to the woman his wife has become. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear he's married to another woman and he’s fallen in love with her.
|Publisher:||Karen Michelle Nutt|
|File size:||930 KB|
About the Author
My name is Karen Michelle Nutt and I’m an author of paranormal tales, writing for The Wild Rose Press, Highland Press and Twin Star Books. Time Travels have been a passion of mine. I have always been intrigued with the possibility of being able to reach back in time and change the past. Common sense says influencing the past isn’t impossible, but I can’t help but wonder: What if I can? Fallen Angels, vampires and shape shifters embrace my darker side where their worlds intertwine with ours. Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all my stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.
Read an Excerpt
Blue Run Plantation, South Carolina
Songs from Aerosmith blared from the roller coaster ride drowning out the screams as the people in the cars sped around the track. The aroma of the sweet, sugary smell of cotton candy and buttered popcorn filled the night air. Paper wrappers, cups and cheap stuffed animals littered the fairgrounds. Families, couples — young and old laughed and joked as they tried their hands at the carnival games while stuffing their faces with hot dogs, hamburgers, or big turkey legs.
The muggy air promised rain later tonight, but no one seemed anxious to leave the festivities. Arianna plopped down on the bench and smiled. She had helped the historical society plan the event and all proceeds from the carnival's productive night would go toward the restoration of Blue Run Plantation.
Her eyes wandered toward the mansion silhouetted against the darkening sky of blue, orange and gold. In the colonial era, the river served as a highway for the Low Country plantations and the families used the tides to travel. She could only imagine how majestic Blue Run would have stood facing the Ashley River.
She turned and waved as she caught sight of Megan hurrying toward her. Her long brown ponytail swung behind her with purpose, making Arianna suspicious. "What does the spitfire want me to do now?" she whispered under her breath.
Megan pulled Arianna to her feet. "Everyone's been talking about Madam Carlotta."
"The gypsy fortuneteller. People claim she has been freakishly accurate. We have to check this out."
"And why would I care?" Arianna dragged her feet.
"We're going to have our fortunes told. I want to know if Gregory plans on proposing to me on my birthday."
Megan and Gregory had been a couple since their first year of college and the way he's been scraping and saving, Arianna could give the prediction herself. Gregory would propose no doubt about it. "Megan, I don't —"
"And you're going to find out who your one and only is."
Arianna drew in a frustrated sigh. "Not everyone is destined to find his or her soul mate." At twenty-six, Arianna had become a successful music teacher at USC School of Music. With heavy schedules, concerts, and her time with the historical society, dating became a distant memory.
Megan stopped in her tracks and spun her around. "You don't give a guy a chance. Look at you." She swung her hand up from Arianna's head to her toes. "Talented, tall, slender, blonde with cornflower blue eyes — men should be lining up to snatch you up, but you snub your nose."
"Do not." She lifted her chin.
Megan laughed. "Sure you don't. You spend all your free time researching for the Historical Society and with the new items they uncovered you've been busier than ever. And I'll have you know, I've seen you stare at the portrait."
"Oh, don't act all innocent. The portrait of the dark, handsome, brooding man related to the Buchanans of Blue Run. If you ask me, the family buried the portrait for a reason. He was probably an embarrassment to their refined upstanding position in society. I don't need to do research. The man's arrogant stance reeks of danger and my guess is he paid for it with his life."
"It appears I'm not the only one obsessed with the portrait."
"Only because I was curious as to why you've become a hermit. If you want someone dangerous, at least make sure he's alive. Now stop stalling and let's find out if Carlotta knows where your dark and dangerous guy is hiding."
"Very funny." Arianna shook her head. "Where are we going anyway?"
"To the mansion. Don't you find it perfect?"
"No, I don't find it perfect. The mansion isn't safe for people to run in and out of; it's still being restored. How did this gypsy woman obtain permission?"
"Oh lighten up, Arianna. Someone from the Historical Society must have given her the keys. Besides, she's drawing in loads of money. Isn't that the plan?"
"Sure, but —" Thunder rumbled cutting off Arianna's words and she gave up arguing. "We're in for a storm tonight." Arianna looked up at the sky as a flash of light sizzled across the heavens.
"All the more reason to hurry. My hair will frizz worse than it has already."
Torches lined the walk like breadcrumbs, leading them to their destination. Arianna stopped and placed her hands on her hips. She frowned at the big purple sign over the entrance of the mansion that spelled out FORTUNES, in bold black letters. "She's defacing private property."
Megan yanked her arm. "Sue her later, but first our fortunes."
They stepped into the front foyer of darkness. A battery operated globe stood on the floor giving the illusion of the heavens opening up to them. A foldable card table stood in the center of the foyer with a large crystal ball on display. Inside the glass an eerie glowing mist swirled around in milky silence. The fortuneteller wore a colorful scarf like a headband to keep her dark curly hair away from her face. She adorned herself with gold jewelry, hoops in her ears, chains around her neck and bands around her wrists. The whole ensemble gave the appearance that she could be a descendant from gypsies.
Carlotta beckoned her forward, her bracelets tinkling like tiny bells. "One at a time, please." Her voice was rich and flavored with a fake Romanian accent. "Let Carlotta tell you what you want to know."
Megan gave Arianna a slight push. "I'll wait outside.
Arianna rolled her eyes at her friend, but she approached the table and sat down.
"For the cost of my eyesight into the future, there is a small donation of twenty dollars." She held out her hand and waited.
"Twenty ..." she huffed. "Fine." She reminded herself this was for a good cause. She pulled out a crisp bill from her purse and paid the hefty price.
Carlotta stuffed the money into a skull-adorned black box. "Now, we shall see what the cards hold for you. She shuffled the tarot cards before she turned them over revealing first the Death card, then the World card and then the Lovers card. "This cannot be right."
Carlotta chuckled nervously. "Sometimes the cards are not clear." She scooped them up and put them back in a pile. "Let me see your palm."
Arianna leaned forward and held out her hand.
The fortuneteller's brows furrowed as she concentrated, a look of fear passing over her features before she concealed her anxiety.
A primitive warning sounded in Arianna's mind. She suddenly didn't want her fortune read. She tried to pull her hand away, but Carlotta wouldn't release her.
"You have an interesting palm." Carlotta pointed to the line that ran the course of her hand. "This is your life line. You will live a long life."
"What's the shorter one next to it mean?" Carlotta didn't answer. Her eyes rolled back in her head and her whole body jerked as if she was being controlled by another force. She flung to one side then the other before she sat up ramrod straight.
Blood slid through Arianna's veins like cold needles and she tried to break free, but Carlotta's grip was like a vice. As if this wasn't freaky enough, the woman began to hum.
Arianna froze and her eyes widened in surprise as she recognized the melody. It was an old Scottish tune, she'd been haunted by as long as she could remember. The melody lingered in her subconscious surfacing at odd moments like an annoying tick. Her parents swore they never taught her the song and no one knew where she'd picked up the tune.
How did this fake fortuneteller know it? Arianna again yanked her arm and this time pulled free. She rubbed her bruised hand, staring at the woman with suspicion.
Carlotta blinked rapidly before she focused her gaze on Arianna. "I am sorry. Did I hurt you?"
"I'm fine," Arianna answered, surprised that her voice sounded calm. "But I think I'll skip the fortunetelling, if you don't mind?" She didn't wait for Carlotta to say anything, but stood and hurried toward the exit.
"Arianna," Carlotta called.
She halted and whirled around. "How did you know my name?"
"Does it matter?"
She arched her brow. "Yes, I believe it does. Is this some kind of hoax?" "You don't belong here." Carlotta dropped her fake accent.
"There are souls out there ... wandering ... lost, but time always has a way of sorting out the mistakes. You belong to Blue Run. Your destiny intertwines with his."
"What are you talking about?"
Carlotta walked around the table to face Arianna. "You must listen, for you don't have much time. You will think you have met your end, but it won't be over. You'll return to where you belong, and another woman will take your place of doom."
"Is this all a part of your theatrical presentation because if it is, I don't like it?"
"In this other era, you will meet a very strong man with the blackest of hair."
"Did you hear me?"
"His eyes will be green, clear and sharp like a cat," Carlotta continued. "He is called ..." She chewed on her lower lip, but then her eyes lit up. "The Scotsman. He is called the Scotsman. Trust him, for he will protect you. He may feel mistrust for you because of the other woman's black heart, but in time, he will see you for who you really are. He's your soul mate. It will be his child you carry."
Terror had kept Arianna frozen in her spot, enduring Carlotta's eerie premonition, but now the woman had finished and Arianna took a step back. "You're crazy." She pointed her finger at her.
Thunder rolled shaking the rafters. Dust and debris fell around Arianna and she held up her hands to protect her head. Coughing, she turned and ran for the door, but a sharp pain to the back of her skull brought her to her knees.
"Watch out!" Carlotta warned.
Arianna looked over her shoulder. Her eyes widened in horror as she watched the wood beam hurdling toward her.
* * *
Carlotta finished what she set out to do here and packed her belongings. A crowd had gathered in the cramped foyer as the young paramedic frantically worked on Arianna, but in the end, he turned toward her friend, Megan and shook his head.
"Oh my God. I can't believe it. She can't be gone. She can't."
Carlotta heard Megan's heartfelt cry and stepped forward, placing a hand on the young woman's shoulder. "She's not dead," Carlotta told her.
Megan sniffed and wiped away the stream of tears running down her cheek. She turned toward the paramedic as he pulled a sheet over Arianna's face.
"Listen to me," Carlotta insisted and Megan looked back at her again. "Listen to your heart. Arianna didn't die here tonight. She went back to where she belonged, back in time."
"What are you talking about?"
"Don't take my word. The proof is on her finger. Your friend wasn't married, am I correct?"
Megan nodded, her brows furrowing. "I don't understand what her being married or not has to do with it.
"Check the woman's finger for the proof of what I tell you. Trust me, Megan," Carlotta insisted.
"How do you know my name? Who are you?"
"Who I am is not your concern. I only tell you what I know because Arianna would have wished you to know she is safe."
Megan held the fortuneteller's gaze for a moment longer before she knelt down. She reached beneath the sheet for her friend's hand, surprised of how warm her flesh still felt. She stared at the huge sapphire wedding ring set in gold. "This isn't hers." Her voice was thick and unsteady. She whipped back the sheet and stared at the woman who had lost her life. "Oh my God!" She covered her mouth with her hand. The woman's haircut was slightly different without the streaks of pale-blonde. Her lashes were void of mascara, and she didn't have a sprinkle of freckles across her nose. "This isn't Arianna," she said aloud knowing how ridiculous she sounded. How could this be? She looked up wanting answers but Carlotta had already vanished.CHAPTER 2
Blue Run Plantation, South Carolina, 1814
Keldon looked up from his desk as Leighton threw opened the study doors, his gray hair windblown, his face wrinkled with worry. "Ye better come quick, Keldon."
"What seems to be the urgency?"
"It be Annabelle," Leighton answered. "Horse must have thrown her. She's out cold and her mount is grazin' in the garden."
Keldon showed a brief moment of concern, before his features turned cold. "What mischief is she aboot now?"
"Looks like, she may really be hurt. I left Samuel with her."
Keldon was reluctant to leave his long neglected paperwork for one of Annabelle's theatrical ploys. He sighed with indecision as he rubbed his chin. Leighton was probably more skeptical of Annabelle than he was. He'd better check on her. "Come on then." He rose from his seat and grabbed his hat. "Show me where she is."
They led the horses down toward the water's edge where Samuel waited.
"She ain't moved none," Samuel informed Keldon, as he took the reins from him.
In slumber, Annabelle looked like a beautiful angel, but Keldon knew her true demeanor. "Deceitful and selfish witch," he mumbled, reminding himself of her worth. She'd faked a fall before and he'd be damned if he'd let her play the game again.
He knelt down next to her, moving her head from side to side. She didn't respond in any way. She was obviously taking the ruse to the fullest.
He stood and strode over to the small pond and filled his hat with the cool water, before returning. Without hesitation or delicacy, he threw the water in her face. She immediately sat up. Her eyes popped open with her gaze wild and confused as she sputtered like a drowning rat.
Keldon bit back a chuckle, thinking he gave the witch exactly what she deserved.
"What happened?" Arianna gasped. Through the strands of her dripping hair, she stared at the three men who were in turn eyeing her just as intently. She flipped the wet strands back, clearing her vision. She didn't know these men, did she? She wasn't sure. Her head was spinning, making her feel as if she wanted to throw up. She blinked and focused again, trying to discern if she should fear for her life.
The man farthest from her had skin the color of strong dark coffee and his course black hair was pepper-gray at the temples. He wore tan pants and a cream-colored linen shirt. Her eyes lingered on his feet and frowned. He wasn't wearing shoes.
The man standing next to him was attractive in a weathered kind of way. His hair was long, light colored mixed with gray strands. He wore dark pants, which tapered at the knees and were tucked into his boots.
Her gaze slid to the man standing over her like a redwood tree. He had rolled up his white shirtsleeves exposing tanned forearms and he wore dark formfitting pants tucked into knee length boots. Against the glare of the sun, she took in his dark hair, which framed his rugged attributes. A shadow of a beard darkened his defined jaw line and a scowl penetrated his features. Her breath caught in her throat and her heart pounded against her ribcage at the way the man stared at her. Just her luck, gorgeous, but lacking in the personality department. She tried to stand and winced, sitting back down again. "Who are you, and where am I?" Her voice croaked as she fought her way through the cobwebs of a nightmare-filled sleep. She tried to remember what had happened to her, but failed to recall anything before she woke up. "Why am I soaked?"
Like his expression, Mr. Personality's deep voice held no warmth. She managed to meet his gaze and found herself lost in his alarmingly green eyes.
"What is this aboot, Annabelle?"
She detected a slight lilt to his speech; about sounded more like a boot. He seemed irritated with her, but she didn't know why. Did she know him? He spoke to her as if he did. What did he call her? "Annabelle," she said testing it, but it didn't roll off her tongue the way it should. Annabelle simply couldn't be her name, but for the life of her, she couldn't think of what it was. "Wait, wait." She did know. She was Ari ... yes, her name was Arianna. Arianna what? What was her last name? Her head pounded in time with her pulse and panic struck her. "Oh God, I'm having an aneurysm."
"Weel?" Mr. Personality questioned with no compassion for her dilemma. "What game is this Annabelle?"
"Game?" The man was obviously thick in the head. "I'm not playing a game." She closed her eyes and rubbed her temples. "And why are you calling me Annabelle? My name is Arianna."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "A Twist of Fate"
Copyright © 2013 Karen Michelle Nutt.
Excerpted by permission of CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Arianna Ward doesn't remember her life before she wakes up to see a dark haired gorgeous Scotsman staring down at her. She's told she's married to him. She's told how wicked she is and as her transgressions are revealed, she realizes they're right. Surely her forgetting her past is a Godsend. Her slate is cleared and she'll have a chance to redeem herself.
Keldon Buchanan doesn't trust his wife, but this woman she's become has him intrigued. It's like she's someone else and of course Arianna is since she's switched places with his devious wife, Annabelle. Keldon finds himself falling in love with her.
I loved this story. It's not just a time travel romance but of a couple learning to trust and respect each other. Without trust, how could there be love? There's also the excitement of Keldon being the Highland Pirate and Arianna trying to convince him to change his ways. This was a very enjoyable read.