Mom touched my underdress—a gown made six hundred years before—and her eyes widened as she rubbed the raw silk between thumb and forefinger. She turned and touched Lia’s gown. “Where did you get these clothes?”
In Cascade, the second book in the River of Time Series, Gabi knows she’s left her heart in the fourteenth century and she persuades Lia to help her to return, even though they know doing so will risk their very lives. When they arrive, weeks have passed and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence—while the Florentines will go to great lengths to see them dead.
But Marcello patiently awaits, and Gabi must decide if she’s willing to leave her family behind for good in order to give her heart to him forever.
About the Author
Lisa T. Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of more than thirty books that have sold 1.5+ million copies. A former publishing executive, she is currently a freelance editor and writer. She lives in Colorado with her family.
Read an Excerpt
The River of Time Series
By Lisa T. Bergren
David C. CookCopyright © 2011 Lisa T. Bergen
All rights reserved.
Mom freaked out when she saw us, of course.
I couldn't blame her, with Lia in her medieval gown. And me looking like I'd been mauled by a bear. Especially when two meaty guards were hauling us into Dr. Manero's tent. "It's all right, Mom," I said, hands out, as she rushed toward us. Her face was white.
"Lasciateli," she shouted in irritation—let them go—brushing the guards' hands off our arms, staring at the blood on me. "Girls, what in the—"
"She's all right, Mom," Lia began. "It's not as bad as it looks."
"It's okay," I said, pushing her hands away as she touched my underdress—a gown made hundreds of years before—and tried to figure out what kind of wound had made me look like I'd been doused in ketchup. "I'm fine, Mom. Really."
But her fingers remained on the raw weave of the silk fabric. Her beautiful blue eyes widened, then her narrow brows lowered as she rubbed it between thumb and forefinger and bent to study the weave. She turned and touched Lia's gown. "Where did you get these clothes?"
"Mom," I whispered, "can we talk about it alone?" Manero—Dr. Manero, my parents' long-time adversary, a bigwig with the Societa Archeologico dell' Italia—was staring at us with a smug look on his face, as if he had us all exactly where he wanted us.
"They were found in Tomb Two, Dr. Betarrini," he said, crossing his arms. I pictured him stuffing a cigar into his mouth, leaning back in a chair, and putting his feet up on the desk, hands behind his head. "You know what giving unauthorized persons access can do to one's site approvals."
Mom frowned now and shook her head a little. "Impossible. They'd never ..." Her words faded as she saw the sheepish looks in our eyes. "No. Girls, tell me you weren't inside. No. Why?"
"Mom, we need to talk to you alone," I said again.
She stared at me, eye to eye—we're exactly the same height—and then at Lia, and finally at Manero. "Ci serve un' attimo." We need a minute.
"What's to say? Yes, your papers are in order, but you clearly need my help here to secure the site. If your own daughters feel free to run roughshod over—"
"We were not 'running roughshod' over the site," I bit back at him. "We were just peeking in."
He raised one dark brow. "Climbing inside hardly constitutes peeking."
Mom looked at us in horror.
"We need a minute, Mom," I said for the third time. "We can explain."
She was getting that There's-No-Explanation-for-Trespassing kind of wild fury look in her eyes. The sort that usually left her sputtering before she found her steam and really let us have it.
Lia saw it too. "Mom," she said, "can we go outside?"
"No need," Manero said, chin in the air. "I shall leave you three to discuss your business. I'll return in fifteen minutes to discuss our business."
"Thanks for the warning," I muttered. He paused but did not turn, then left the tent.
Mom crossed her arms and took a seat on a folding stool. "Start talking."
Lia and I shared a look. My head and heart were swirling. It was better that Lia told her. I sat down on a stool by the desk, face in my hands, looking at my mother and sister but thinking how lucky I was to be alive, and of Marcello Forelli, the most amazing man on the planet—of all time even. The guy I'd left in the past.
I'm not talking about breaking up yesterday. I'm talking about the past-past—as in the 1300s past. Lia was telling Mom about it, whispering as fast and as clearly as she could ... how we'd put our hands on the prints in the Etruscan tomb—prints that seemed to be our own, they matched so closely—and how it had taken us back in time, to medieval Italy.
Mom's eyes got bigger and bigger, her expression telling us that she thought we'd gone crazy. "Did you hit your head?" she asked, reaching for Lia's blond hair, scanning her scalp for blood.
"No, Mom," Lia said, lurching away in irritation. "Listen to me. I know it sounds crazy, but you have to believe us! Look at my gown. At Gabi's!" Scientific fact, that's what she was bringing it around to. That was something Mom could get her head around.
I turned to Manero's computer, staring at the clock and the date, trying to get my head around the facts too. About a half hour had gone by since we'd first put our hands on the prints. We were probably only gone about twenty to twenty- five minutes. But we'd experienced about twenty days in ancient Tuscany.
My heart skipped a beat. I was no math genius, but if my calculations were right, our ten minutes here meant we'd already been gone from Marcello's time for ten days. Ten days. No wonder I was in agony. I missed him like I was experiencing ten days of pain in ten minutes. I'd left a piece of myself back with him. It was physical, leaving me all empty and achy inside.
I logged on to Manero's laptop and typed "Siena history" into Google's search window.
"Gabi—" Mom began, brows lowered.
"I'll be fast, Mom. I just need to know something." A quick stop at Wikipedia, and I knew two things: Siena would face the plague in five years. But Florence wouldn't conquer her for another couple hundred years. Not that there weren't serious battles before then ...
To her credit, Mom seemed to be giving Lia's story half a chance. But her eyes told me she thought it was like a fable that had to have some sort of real basis, a foundation that would make it all make sense. Like grainy Sasquatch film clips that really starred an escaped pet gorilla. Or a UFO sighting that boiled down to a NASA rocket test. She was getting all Science Maven-y on us, trying to put two and two together.
"Mom, there are two castles within two miles of this site. The one we pass every day, on our way in here, and the one over the hill, past the tombs." I reached out and took her hands. "We've been in both. But they were whole—full-on homes for people. Lots of people. Lia could sketch them both for you. One was inhabited by a man who fought for Firenze; the other by a family who was loyal to Siena."
I glanced to the tent doorway, its flap still and hanging, and rose. I lifted the edge of my gown and showed her my wound, now nothing but a white scar on my skin. "Look, Mom. Check out the length of it. How it looks old? Like I got it five years ago, right?"
She blinked rapidly, as if she was seeing things. Trying to make sense of it all.
I dropped my gown and gestured to the bloodstain, directly over my scar. "It's bloody because I was bleeding like crazy, just a half hour ago. I got the wound in that castle," I said, gesturing in the direction of the Paratore ruins, "when Lia and I were fighting for our lives. There's something about the tomb, coming through time, that heals. It healed me."
She bit her lip, still looking at the blood.
I shook my head, irritated at how long it was taking to convince her. "How else could I get that scar? Without you knowing about it?"
Her eyes met mine. "It makes no sense."
"No," I said. "It doesn't. But look at the facts, Mom. Haven't you and Dad always taught students to catalog the facts and then move to theory?" I had her there. I'd heard her say the exact same thing a hundred times.
Her eyes flitted between us and then down at her hands, back and forth, still trying to puzzle it through.
If only Dad were here ... He'd always been the more impulsive of the two. He followed his heart. Mom liked to consult her brain first, and there was no way that our story was going to be figured out logically. No way. Hadn't scientists been trying to figure out the whole time/space continuum thing for centuries?
Mom looked up at us then, unblinking. "Show me," she said lowly. "Let's go to the tomb now."
"In front of Manero?" I frowned.
"No," Lia said, shaking her head. "We just got back."
But I was nodding. "I need to go back."
"For what ... forever?" Lia spit at me. "There's so much we don't know, Gabi. What if you get sick again, going back?"
"I won't get sick again. I was healed. Time has passed, both here and there."
"You don't know that."
"I do. We 'left' about twenty-five minutes ago. But what'd we experience back in 1342? About twenty days, right? If we go—"
Mom held her hands up, silencing us both. "No one's going anywhere," she said. "I simply want you to show me exactly what happened. On site."
"She thinks she's in love with a dude named Marcello," Lia said accusingly, her distrusting blue eyes on me. "She'll do whatever she has to to get back."
Mom looked at me. "Is that true? You think you're in love with this Marcus person?"
"Marcello Forelli," I corrected, each lilting syllable twisting my gut. "And, uh, yeah. I fell pretty hard for him."
Mom's eyes moved from my face to my clothes again, as if she was trying to remember that there was scientific evidence to support our story. Otherwise, she probably would have dismissed it as some wild dream ... like we'd both hit our heads or something.
"That's how she got hurt," Lia said, pressing now, sensing she had the upper hand. "I mean, she got hurt in a battle and I had to stitch her up, but she's in love with a guy who already has a girl. And then that chick poisoned Gabi!" She walked over to me, hands on her hips. "You really want to go back? Back to where I almost lost you?" She shook her head. "I can't do it, Gabs. Not after Dad. I can't deal with it. I'll lose it, seriously lose it, if something happens to you."
"Nothing is going to happen to anyone," Mom said, stepping up beside us.
"Mom, just give me a chance. Let me show you the tomb. How it happened." I eyed the computer screen. Another ten minutes. Another ten days, for Marcello, thirty now that I'd been gone. Was he giving up? Giving in to Lady Rossi and the pressure to follow through on their marriage agreement? Had he guessed that she might have been poisoning me?
Mom was still staring at me, at Lia, assessing. "Come on," she said finally, lifting the back of the tent and bending.
She was going to sneak out. My mother never sneaked anywhere. She boldly went where she wished.
I stood up and went to her, looking back to Lia. She hesitated, frowning, and then with an exaggerated roll of her big blue eyes—so like Mom's—followed us. We ducked under the edge and looked around. We could hear voices on the other side and up the hill by the tombs. Just as it looked like we could make a clean escape, a guy in a Societa Archeologico hat came around the corner.
Mom froze for a second and then took my arm. "Come on, Gabi," she said, "we'll take care of you."
The man's eyes moved to my bloodstained gown, and he hurried over to us. "Ti posso aiutare?" he asked. Can I help?
"Si, I just need to get her to our car," Mom responded in Italian.
Smart of her, I thought. The parking lot would get us halfway to the tomb.
The man took my arm as if he thought I'd faint at any point, and I accepted his help as if I just might. A couple of other guys were walking up at the far end of the tumuli, but they ignored us. "I can take care of her from here," Mom said to the man.
"You're sure?" He opened the door and settled me onto the seat.
"I can call for an ambulance."
"No. It looks worse than it is."
Still, he hesitated.
"Lei ha le sue cose," I said, turning wise, pained eyes on him, meaning that time of the month, or as they said it here, she has her things. Whatever. We didn't have time to waste. How long had I been away from Marcello now? A month?
He frowned and immediately began to back away. The blood's location made no sense with the explanation, but I knew it'd send him running.
Mom gave me a little smile and grabbed the medical kit. "In case anybody else starts asking questions," she said, lifting it in my direction. She tucked it under her arm as the man disappeared back among the three tents—Mom's white one, flanked by two khaki peaks from the Societa Archeologico team. "Let's go," she said.
Hidden by dense scrub oak, we climbed up the hill. At the clearing, where the twelve tombs rose from the soil in grass- covered domes, we paused and caught our breath, waiting for those two dudes we'd spotted earlier to turn their backs. Any minute now, Manero would go back into the tent and realize we had escaped.
"Now," Lia whispered when we all saw them turn the corner of the tomb.
We hurried over to Tomb Two and scrambled through the narrow igloo-like entrance, Lia and me slower than Mom, since we were in the long gowns. At the end, we stood up, and Mom flicked on the small flashlight she kept in her belt. I pointed to the two handprints.
"I've wondered about those," Mom said. "So unlike any other fresco motif we've ever run across ..."
Lia backed up a couple of steps, as if she didn't want us cascading back in time by accident.
"Go on, Mom," I said. "Pull out a glove and touch the prints. See if they're warm." She had a thing about letting the oils of our skin touch ancient frescoes, given that it was her job and all to preserve them.
Mom frowned, then pulled on a pair of cloth gloves from her belt. After a second's hesitation, she touched one, and then the other. "No. Nothing. Cold stone. Why did you expect heat?"
I could tell from her expression that I was losing her. I lifted my hand for a glove. "Let me try."
"Gabi," Lia growled.
"Calm down. I'm just checking. You know that nothing will happen without you," I said. "I tried, remember? We both tried."
I put on the glove and touched her print first, then mine. Even through the fabric I could tell that hers was cold. Mine was hot. Just like last time.
"I know it feels like plain old stone to you," I said to my mother, "but for me and Lia, our prints are hot." Mom stepped forward and touched it again, then turned and then felt my forehead. I laughed under my breath. "I'm not running a fever, Mom. It's real." I put both palms on her face, so she could feel the residual warmth from my right. "Feel that?"
I knew from her expression that she did. She was beginning to believe. Being there, so close to the portal, made my heart pound. I knew I wanted to go back. But I couldn't. Not without Lia. And she was nowhere close to jumping back in.
"What if we don't pull off the wall in the same time period, Gabi?" she asked, reading my look. "What if we end up in Etruscan times?"
"That'd be all right by me," Mom said drily. As an archaeologist specializing in the Etruscan era and populace, she dreamed of seeing everything firsthand.
I frowned. I hadn't thought of that. There was no dial, no program, no way to set the year you wanted to hop into. Last time, I'd pulled my hand away when I finally figured out what was happening. I just happened to end up in 1342.
I looked around the tomb, trying to figure out an answer. "The urn! When it's broken, we'll know we're there."
Mom frowned and bent by the remains of the urn, picking up a piece and staring at its edges under the beam of her flashlight. She looked up at me and I bit my lip, but then seized on the situation, as a means to an end. "Look at that, Mom. The shards, the layer of dust atop them, like it's been there for centuries, right?"
She nodded slowly. "Grave robbers, most likely."
"That would make sense. But I broke it the last time we came through. When I went back to 1342, this place was sealed up tight. There was no hole in the ceiling. It was totally pitch black inside. I couldn't see where I was going, and knocked it over. Sorry," I added quickly, with a grimace. After all, I was an archaeologist's kid, and I'd just admitted to destroying a priceless artifact. I knelt next to her. "But think, Mom. Think hard. When we first got to this site, was the urn broken or whole?"
She paused for several seconds and blinked rapidly. Two memories clearly collided, as I hoped they might. Conflicting memories. One of the urn, whole. One of it broken. "I ... I don't think it was broken."
Excerpted from CASCADE by Lisa T. Bergren. Copyright © 2011 Lisa T. Bergen. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook.
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.
Table of Contents
A CHAT WITH LISA BERGREN,
HISTORICAL AND FACTUAL NOTES,
Facebook Fan Site,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
EPIC. That was the first word that came to mind when I finished Cascade. I didn't think it was possible to love a book more than I loved Waterfall, but Ms. Bergren proved me wrong. This book was even better than Waterfall. The stakes were raised even higher in this installment. Gabi and Marcello are forced to really think about the direction of their relationship. For Gabi to stay in the past, she would have to force her family to stay with her. She would also have to start thinking about marriage-people got married at a much younger age back then (they also died earlier). When the three Betarrini women travel back in time, they find themselves in the middle of a war. No one is safe; especially the "She-wolves of Siena." Gabi and Lia are confronted with numerous obstacles in this sequel. The enemies of Siena are constantly hunting them. As a source of hope for the people of Siena, Marcello and Luca, the girls must survive. I'm going to stop talking about the plot here, because there is just too much that happens and I really don't want to spoil it for anyone. Just know that there are three things the girls are up against: 1) The plague, 2) the war, and 3) the choice to either go back to the present or stay in the past. Okay, now for my gushing! I. Love. Marcello. I might have said that in my Waterfall review, but I don't care. It's true! Ms. Bergren created a hero that is charming, swoon-worthy, and...Italian! All my favorite scenes involved Marcello. Ahhh, I'm smiling just thinking about him. Ms. Bergren did add a new potential swoon-worthy guy, Lord Greco. His status in the book is a bit complicated, so I'll just say this: YUM! Yep, he has the whole Ash (from the Iron Fey series) attitude. He's goal-oriented, sly, and is more than meets the eye. He is charged with capturing the Betarrini women. After accepting the task, he finds out that this is much harder than it seems. Cascade was exhilarating! The story never stalled. I was constantly turning the page wondering what happened next. Whenever Gabi overcame one obstacle, there were two more waiting for her on the next page. Just when I thought "Thank God they made it!" the suspense comes creeping back. Usually authors have an action scene then a relationship scene. Ms. Bergren effortlessly blends the two together. The reader feels the urgency the characters are feeling, throughout the book. This made me feel like I was a part of the story; like I was right there in the battlefield/forest. This sequel was much more emotional than Waterfall. Ms. Bergren was not afraid to kill off characters. Gabi, as well as Lia and their mother, had to deal with death at a much closer and bloody level. They begin to realize how tragic and dangerous this war is. They have a responsibility towards the people of Siena whether they like it or not. Whatever Gabi felt, I felt. I could feel her pain and sadness over each death. War is so tragic; it was heartbreaking to read it through Gabi's POV. I couldn't put the book down! The only problem was that it ended. Ms. Bergren took me on an exciting adventure that I will never forget!
I loved being back in this world and in Gabi's head. She is so fierce, open, and so easy to pull for. I wanted the best for her, and of course, I desired to see her and Marcello reunited. On this trip back in time, Gabi, Lia, and their mother show up, and it doesn't take long for the action to get going. There are still skirmishes, the threat of the plague coming, Rossi, danger, love, and adventure that fill the pages, and I was sucked into the story. So many things were moving this plot forward as well as letting me get to know not only Gabi and Marcello better but also Lia and Luka, their mom, and through Gabi's memories, their father. You really see what people are made of when those around them are hurt or sick, when your land, home and those you love are threatened. We see Gabi in some really tough spots, with huge decisions on her shoulders, and I couldn't help admire how she faces it all with bravery, common sense, loyalty and love. The ending was a pleasant surprise, and I can't wait to see how things go in the next book especially with the new plot developments towards the end. I have never been more eager to go back in time! Bottom Line: Great second book.
I read all the books in this series and will forever be in love with all the characters The guys especially<3
I aboslutely LOVED this series! This is another amazing book in an awesome trilogy! The romance is great the story is... THRILLING and it's a good clean book! Time- travel mixed with romance, battle, medeval chilvary, family and GOD! There is a reason there isn't anything below 3 stars given on this book! And thats because it's AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!
What I loved most about this book, is that it had me on the edge of my seat from the first chapter. It was a whirlwind of a book, as Gabi and Lia find themselves running from one adventure and into another. Gabi also went through a tremendous growth in her personality, and comes out on the other end for the better. In the mean time her mom has a few surprises for the girls, she's not all scientific but have stronger metal lying underneath. Marcello and Luka risk all to save the Gabi and Lia from an aweful fate, if I say anymore I'd give it all away. Let's say that with great sacrifice comes great love. The ending left me wanting for more, simply having to know what was going to happen. Definitely a great read, and I'd recommend it to anyone. It is clean and romantic, but nothing that tweens can't also enjoy, so family friendliness is a 5 in my book. You can feel comfortable reading this with your tween.
Thoroughly enjoyed the 2nd book in the series. The characters are delightful; adventures are not predictable. Excellent!
This series is amazing!!! The author outdid herself!! I can't put the book down I ginished reading it in two days. I recommend it to anyone that likes romance and science fiction.
This book pulled me right into the story just as much as the first one. I love how much Gabi and Lia have grown as characters, and I love there sibling bond. They are each other's voice of reason. It makes me want a sibling. This time around they bring their mom along for the ride. So, you can imagine her reaction. My one issue so far has to do with the time travel, and this may very well get resolved in the next book. We'll have to see.
I may not be far in this book, but it is a really awethome (awesome) book. Try to read it abd you will understand why I am in love with book. Al try reading the MazeRunner seiries, it pretty much can match this book try & you'll like it, and as the old saying goes....don't judge a book by its cover.