Once and Forever

Once and Forever

by Constance O'Day-Flannery

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Something inexplicable has led Maggie Whitaker to the sixteenth century. Always a woman who has tried to do the right thing and live up to expectations, Maggie is beginning to learn the joy of following her own heart-even if it leads her across centuries. And especially since it has her crossing paths with Nicholas Layton, a dashing disinherited noble caught up in the dangerous intrigues of Elizabeth's royal court.

There is something about this enchanting, perplexing Margaret that leaves Nicholas breathless. Her voice is sweet music-though the words she speaks seem foreign to his ear. One kiss and he knows she is his true soulmate. But it is said the lady is betrothed to another-and it is Nicholas who must deliver her to her waiting groom. Yet no political plot or royal decree can forbid a love that is destined. And Maggie and her daring highborn lover are willing to incur the wrath of insidious foes to make certain that passion's flame, newly kindled, burns forevereven if it takes centuries for their hearts to be truly one.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380801701
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 11/01/1999
Pages: 374
Product dimensions: 4.17(w) x 6.87(h) x 1.05(d)

About the Author

Constance O'Day-flannery is the author of seventeen books, all of which have secured positions on national bestseller lists, and thirteen of which are time travel romances for which she is well known and loved.Her successes include the New York Times bestseller.Once in a Lifetime and Second Chances, for which she received the Best Contemporary Fantasy Romance Award from Romantic Times.Constance invites you to visit her website at www.constanceoday-flannery.com, where she may be contacted through email.

Read an Excerpt

Maggie Whitaker always had a plan, a direction.

Until now ...

Okay, so she might just be having one of those mini nervous breakdowns, a mid-life crisis. Who could blame her? Her life had turned into a circus. Looking out the small window of the plane to the sunrise, she saw the dark sky giving way to shades of deep purple and rose, and she sighed in an effort to release the stress. She leaned her head against the backrest and closed her eyes. Everyone else was sleeping on this red-eye flight to London, yet her short nap had only produced a weird dream where she'd been walking in the woods and asking strangers, "Is it you? Is it you?"

Sheesh ... even in her dreams she was unable to find peace. From some distant part of her brain she remembered a time, not so long ago, when her life had been normal. She recalled a feeling of safety in a great-paying job, a comfortable marriage. Her place within society seemed secure. How could it all have changed so quickly, she wondered, as the overhead lights in the cabin were turned on and people began to stir. Maggie smelled the aroma of coffee and stretched as best as she could, anxious to ease her sore muscles. Six hours in a cramped seat was no picnic, yet this adventure across the Atlantic had been her choice. Perhaps some might

see it as irresponsible, though it felt like a lifeline had been thrown to her, and she would have been truly crazy not to grab hold.

Lifting her purse from the floor, she laid it on the empty seat next to hers. The least she could do was make herself presentable. She knew the routine. First breakfast, then they would land at Heathrow. Taking out her compact, she looked at herreflection and sighed again. The overnight flight hadn't helped her appearance, yet she knew the stress of the last year and a half had taken its toll, and there wasn't much she could do to hide it. She smoothed down her hair, trying not notice the fine threads of gray at her temples. In three days she was celebrating the big 4-0 and her life was a mess.

What are you doing, Maggie Whitaker? She looked at her reflection and snapped the compact shut, as if the action might stop the answer. Running away. That was what she was doing. There was a time when her job in television commercial sales had afforded her the luxury of buying designer clothes and eating at the finest restaurants in New York City. Now she was on unernployment; a gift from the state when her boss and mentor was fired and she along with him, when the new management team brought in their own staff. That would have been tough enough, had she not recently gone through a divorce and been paying alimony to her exhusband ...the artist.

She hadn't minded supporting him when they were married since her job provided them with a great lifestyle, and she was liberated enough to realize the man didn't have to be the breadwinner, but she'd never expected Eric to sue her for alimony. Especially since he wanted the divorce. Now the state of New Jersey was coming after her, along with the mortgage company, the utility companies, and every other institution she'd ever dealt with in the last eight years. It was enough to makeher want to disappear, to slip away silently.

So that's what she was doing ... disappearing for ten days.

Before closing her purse, she brought out the thick envelope postmarked Great Britain and again read the Victorian birthday card from her relative.

Deared Maggie,

Happy Anniversary of go day you entered into this world. Wehave all been blessed by you and celebrate your life. How youhave been on my mind this last month. I have heard thoughyour mother that you are without employmant and, ofcourse, itseemed the perfect opportunity to send you this ticket. Please cometo visit me. Maggie. One of my friends did a 'reading'and it became apparent that you are needed here at this time.In fact, I believe it is imperative that you come here to England.Thus, I have enclosed a nonrefundable ticket for your birthday.It's time, Margaret Whitaker, for you to visit the place of your people. If nathing else, humor an old woman who misses her family.

I'll be waiting at the airport to meet you and show you mylittle bit of Paradise.

Love,Aunt Edithe

Maggie remembered being stunned when she'd opened the envelope days ago and saw the British Airways ticket. It had been after another agonizing trip across the Hudson, where she'd been rejected again and told that advertising budgets were being axed. She'd cried her way through rush-hour traffic back into Jersey and realized she had no idea where to turn, what to do. All her contacts seemed useless. She was in trouble, and alone.

And then out of the blue Aunt Edithe, her late father's wacky sister, came to her rescue, inviting her to go joyriding across the Atlantic. Maggie didn't know why her aunt seemed to favor her when they'd only met once, many years ago. Her aunt always remembered to send birthday and holiday cards, and she wrote letters that Maggie answered quickly. They had an unusual pen-pal relationship. Aunt Edithe, who gave up her life in New York almost thirty years ago to relocate to England and indulge in her eccentricities, wrote Maggie about her garden, her peculiar friends, her unconventional views, and always tried to get Maggie to visit.

Running her finger over her aunt's beautiful script, Maggie thought back to the way she had tortured herself over the decision to leave everything behind and just go for the adventure. All those years of being the good, responsible one, of trying to be nice enough, smart enough, understanding enough, talented enough, pretty enough, good enough, seemed like a colossal waste of time. It certainly didn't guarantee happiness, and she finally admitted she was tired of being the responsible one, always doing the right thing. After thirty-nine years of being the good girl, maybe it was time to be spontaneous. There was no safety in goodness, and that had blown her mind, making her question everything she had been taught. All of her belief systems appeared to be failing apart.

She really hated the victim mentality that seemed to permeate society, yet anyone who walked a week in her shoes would pack her bags for her and tell her just to do it. She had tried, truly tried, all her life to do what was considered the right thing. She had taken care of her husband, her widowed mother in California ... everyone who ever came into her life and was in need. When her finances had taken a nosedive, so did her ability to bail everyone out. . . even herself...

Once and Forever. Copyright © by Constance O'Day-Flannery. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Nora Roberts

She proves that love is timeless.

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Once and Forever 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being a person who would 'never' read a romance novel. I found Connie's work to be not only enjoyable, but uplifting...she not only shows love is everlasting, but that we are as well..and she allows her characters their own strengths, foibles, and wonders for us to share in. Made me buy all the rest of her books I could find... and enjoyed them all!!! I even went to find out of print sunsets and seasons!!!!! A most special pleasure...can't wait to read her next one/s!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book by an awesome writer.
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flowersKD More than 1 year ago
the ending was quick...
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a boring unconventional book! this book belongs in the trashcan for how worthless it is!