You see, Kelly has traveled backward through time to an era of gentle southern manners and a calm pace of life she had only dreamed of in her modern, hectic world. Adding to Kelly’s confusion is the uncanny resemblance of her charming gentleman host, Daniel Gilmore, to her late husband Michael.
Is this all a dream? Are Daniel and his precocious daughter Lizzie real? As Kelly begins to adjust to life in the past, she faces an even greater challenge--opening her heart to a man who himself has known great loss and sadness. Can Kelly and Daniel find love not in the past nor in the future, but in this jumbled present?
In TIME AFTER TIME, Constance O’Day-Flannery, the original “Queen of Time Travel Romance,” proves that true love can never be lost. It simply waits to be found in another time, at the perfect time.
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Time After Time
By Constance O'Day-Flannery
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 2001 Constance O'Day-Flannery
All rights reserved.
Kelly pushed herself into a sitting position and stared at the child, who was still peeking around the tree trunk and eyeing her with such wonder that Kelly almost laughed. "No, I most certainly am not ... a fairy," she mumbled, while brushing dirt from her face and pushing back the long strands of hair from her eyes.
"Oh yes you is," the child insisted in an excited voice. "And I caught ya! Now you have to grant me three wishes." Pointing a small finger at Kelly, the youngster added, "I knows the rules!"
This time Kelly couldn't hold back the laugh as she sat and looked across the few feet separating them. She didn't know if it was a boy or a girl since the child, around ten years old, was dressed like a character from Huckleberry Finn, even down to the broken overall strap hanging down his or her chest. "Look, I'm not a fairy, and I can't grant you any wishes," she said in a gentle voice as she got to her feet and dusted the leaves and dirt from the wide skirt of her gown. "Now, I really have to get back to the party."
"What party?" the child asked, cautiously sliding around to the front of the tree. "A fairy party? Where is it? Can I come, too?"
Kelly shook her head and snickered at the absurdity. Was this child backward? She looked around the woods, wondering how she could have gotten herself turned around, and where was the house? "It's ... it's a wedding reception," Kelly muttered, turning around and around, searching for her way back. "It's at a house, an old house. The ..." she tried to remember the name. "The Tyler Mansion."
"Ain't no Tylers 'round here," the child stated firmly. "Just me and Mammy Clara ... and my daddy."
Kelly stared at the child. "What's your name?"
"You first!" A small chin stuck out with determination.
"Okay," she relented. The kid was probably taught not to give it out to strangers. "I'm Kelly Brennan. Now, it's your turn."
"Lizzie Gilmore." The child let go of the tree and stepped forward. "Now ya gots to grant me three wishes. I know your name!"
So this blond-haired wild child was a girl. Kelly fought for patience and released her breath slowly and deliberately. "Nice to meet you, but look, Lizzie, I'm not a fairy, and I can't grant you anything." She paused, inhaling as she looked around the woods again, then added, "Especially since I'm the one who's lost here." Kelly looked down at the child, who was bravely moving closer. "Besides, I think it's leprechauns that grant wishes. Anyway, I have to find my way back to the wedding party."
The girl looked at Kelly's gown, and asked, "You gettin' hitched?"
She couldn't hide the grin. "No. I was in a wedding party." Kelly placed her hands on her knees and leaned down to the child. "Now, if you just point me in the right direction to the Tyler house, I'll—"
"I told ya, there ain't no Tylers 'round these parts," the impish child interrupted. Grabbing a tiny handful of Kelly's skirt, she added, "I reckon you is lost, but you's mine now. I'll take ya home and keep ya ... then yer gonna have ta pay up."
Pay up? Oh, the wishes ... Kelly began nodding in mock agreement. "Okay, but first, do you think you could help me? If you'd take me to a phone, that would be a start."
"A what?" The young girl looked puzzled.
"You know, a telephone ... so I can call for help." She started to walk away in what she figured was the right direction and felt the child tugging behind her.
"Oh no, you ain't disappearin' on me, now that I gots ya!"
"Lizzie ..." She stopped and turned around.
"No!" The child again stuck out her chin, then folded her arms over her chest to emphasize her point further. "You ain't playin' fair!"
Kelly realized this youngster didn't have a problem saying no, and a part of her had to admire the girl's spirit. "Look, I can't play. I have to get back. I'm going to be missed."
After a momentary pout of silence, the child reached into an overall pocket. "Ya hungry?" she asked, pulling out some purple berries and holding them up. "Picked fresh this mornin'," she added with a grin, and looked imploringly at Kelly. "I'll share 'em with ya ..."
Kelly recognized a calculated bribe when she heard one, yet the look on this child's face softened her heart, and she had to smile again. "No, Lizzie, but thanks. I'm not really hungry. I just need to find someone who can help me."
"Well, I can help y'all."
Kelly lowered one eyebrow in apprehensive faith and looked down to the little girl. "You can?"
"Yep, I sure could," the child stated confidently. "But ya gotta do somethin' first."
"Oh, not the wishes again ... I told you—"
"No, no ... I tell ya my wishes later." She began to whisper and gestured for Kelly to come closer.
Kelly leaned forward. "Okay, Lizzie, tell me what I have to do first before you can help me."
Looking around suspiciously, as though to ensure no one would overhear the secret, the child continued to whisper. "Yer kinda big like this, but see, I was figgurin' if y'all just git real tiny-like, I could put ya in my pocket and take ya home."
Unable to answer, Kelly blinked repeatedly. What was wrong with this kid? Too many stories? Bad blood? What was she thinking when she hoped this child might be able to help her? Abruptly, Kelly took a deep breath, straightened and surveyed her choices. She then asked the most ludicrous question. "Lizzie, how far is your home?"
The girl held out her left arm and pointed. "Down this way a piece. But ya gots to git smaller, 'cause my daddy don't believe in no fairies, and he ain't gonna let me keep ya."
"I can't get smaller," Kelly found herself whispering, trying desperately to reason with the imaginative child. "Look, if I just spoke to your father, maybe he could help me and—"
"Oh no," Lizzie interrupted, making her point by shaking her blond curls vigorously. "Ya can't talk to Daddy. He won't hear nothin' about no fairies."
Kelly felt her controlled patience weakening as quickly as the clouds were darkening the early-afternoon sky. "For the last time, Lizzie—"
"But I'll bet my Mammy Clara would talk to ya. She believes in y'all."
"Okay, now we're getting somewhere." This child was truly confusing. "So your mother might help?"
"Well, she might help ya, but she's an angel now. She only comes to visit me when I'm scared ... and she ain't here right now, 'cause I ain't scared of no fairies, ya hear?"
Kelly blinked several times before whispering, "I'm sorry. I thought you said—"
"I said Mammy Clara would talk to ya." Lizzie popped a few berries into her mouth. "But she ain't my momma."
"Oh." What else could she say? "Well, do you think you could take me to her? I really have to find a telephone."
"Mammy Clara ain't gonna find no such thing, 'cause there ain't no such thing that I ever heard of ... and if I ain't never heard of it, sure as rain, Mammy Clara ain't heard of no telly-fone neither."
What was it that made this child so confounding? "Yes, speaking of rain, I think it's going to start soon, and I don't want to get wet in this dress. Just take me to your Mammy Clara. Please, Lizzie?"
"Oh, yeah," the child agreed knowingly, and began wiping her berry-stained fingers on her overall pant legs. "I guess yer wings don't work when they gets wet, huh?"
"Oh, geez ..." Kelly blew out her breath and closed her eyes. Please, give me strength, she silently pleaded to anything. She wished she could fly away! After her moment of silent reflection, she admitted it wasn't an option, so probably the best way to deal with the situation was to play along with Lizzie's little-girl fantasy. Kelly figured reverse psychology had some advantages.
"You ain't gettin' ready to fly away now, is ya?"
"My kingdom for a pair of wings, Lizzie... alas, as much as I wish I could, I left my spare set back at the fairy castle. We'll have to walk from here, all right?"
Kelly watched as the child's expression slowly transformed from a suspicious squint into a mischievous grin and delighted giggles. Feeling a bit triumphant at her own progress with the exasperating child, she couldn't help but grin.
"Okay, now ... promise to grant me my wishes. Fair's fair. I found ya, and ya gots to keep up yer end of it. I told ya, I know the rules."
Sheesh ... this kid didn't miss a beat. Kelly was beginning to wonder who was leading whom. "Okay, I'll try to grant your wishes, Lizzie, as long as they're within reason. Just take me to your Mammy Clara or any other adult now, okay?" Mammy Clara? What the heck was that about? Sounded like something from Gone With the Wind!
"First ya gots to promise."
Sighing, Kelly muttered, "Yes, I promise." Though what she was promising she had no idea, nor how she would fulfill this kid's wishes. She would do something really nice for her when she got back to the hotel. Send her flowers and some toys, or something. Small price to pay for getting out of the woods, avoiding the impending rain, and finding her way back to civilization.
Lizzie came closer with a huge smile plastered over her dirty face. "All righty. Now here's my first wish. You ready?"
Shrugging her shoulders, Kelly nodded. "Go for it."
"I been thinkin' on this, ever since Will Hoskins told me a story 'bout how if ya capture a fairy, they gotta grant yer wishes and so I knows my first one already."
"What is it?" Anything to get them started out of the woods.
"I want ... three more wishes. That would give me ..." Lizzie held up a hand that was stained purple from the berries. "Five more wishes!"
Lizzie appeared so thrilled she had gotten something over on her that Kelly couldn't help laughing. It was the oldest one in the book. So she'd have to buy five presents now. Big deal. "You got it, Lizzie. Now, let's go."
"You ain't mad, 'cause I tricked ya?"
Shaking her head, Kelly murmured, "My madness is yet to be determined."
"What's that mean?" Lizzie demanded as she stood in front of her.
"Pretty much, it means I must have been crazy to fly," Kelly muttered as she waved her hands out to the woods, "almost fifteen hundred miles, just to be a part of a wedding for someone I hardly know anymore—"
"I knew you could fly!"
"I meant in an airplane." Grabbing her skirt with both hands, she continued, "I must have been even crazier to put on this dress...." Kelly sighed with resignation, "and now I know I've surely lost it, because I've agreed to be a little girl's fantasy fairy." Looking back down at the child, she added, "All I need now is an official diagnosis."
Lizzie laughed again, with her short, charming giggle that seemed to dissolve the angst right out of her. "You ain't crazy," the child confirmed as she held out her stained hand.
She placed hers inside the child's and felt the girl's tight grip.
"You's the queen of fairies, and I'm gonna keep ya!" Kelly's smile broadened. And a child shall lead them, she mused to herself, as they walked on through the woods. What was the point of arguing with her? Obviously, Lizzie was poor, not well educated, and living in some kind of fantasy world. Just keep playing along, Kelly told herself, until you find some help.
Above them, the sky was becoming ominously gray and the warning scent of rain was getting stronger. Kelly felt her chest tighten once more as the melee began pounding in her head.
None of it made any sense. How does a huge tree just disappear? Why did the woods look the same, yet younger? Where was the Tyler Mansion? The music? She hadn't wandered that far from the reception! Where had this child come from, and where was she allowing herself to be led? Had she truly lost it? Did she pass out from heat exhaustion? Was she still lying on the ground under an ancient tree and just dreaming all this? It was too much for Kelly's tired brain, so she decided to focus on the child's incessant chatter as they continued walking.
"Mammy Clara ain't gonna believe me until she sees ya, but ... ya gotta grant me one of my wishes first. I still gots five more comin', an' fair's fair."
"What do you want, Lizzie?" Kelly asked, wondering why the child was holding on to her hand so tightly. Was she afraid she'd run away?
"All righty, what I want may be a hard one, but you's a fairy and y'all can do magic."
"Lizzie ..." Kelly really wanted to stop her from thinking anything so ridiculous, yet the child kept right on talking.
".... for my first wish I want my daddy to say I can keep ya. You can make some magic for that, can'tcha?"
Kelly chuckled at the way the child's mind was working. "You're really masterminding this, aren't you?"
Lizzie lifted her head and stared up, a quizzical expression on her face. "What's that mean? How come ya talk so funny?"
"I don't talk funny. I'm from the North, that's all. I have a different accent, and what I meant was—"
"You's a Yankee fairy?"
Kelly couldn't help laughing. "I guess I am."
Lizzie suddenly dropped her hand as though she had been scalded. "Will Hoskins says the goddamned Yankees killed his uncle in the war and there wouldn't have been no yellow fever to kill my momma if Yankees didn't bring it with 'em." The child had stopped walking and was now glaring at her.
Kelly took a deep breath. Something truly was wrong with this kid. "What are you talking about? What war? What yellow fever?"
"The war everybody is always so mad about and the yellow fever Mammy Clara says killed my momma. If yer a Yankee, you done that!" the child accused with a scowl, while waving her finger.
"Lizzie, I didn't do anything to anyone. I just live up North and came down here for a friend's wedding. That's all. Sounds to me as though this Will Hoskins fellow is filling your head with quite a few stories. There is no war and yellow fever comes from mosquitoes, or something like that, not people. And finally, nice little girls don't go around saying goddamned Yankee, either."
"I'm not nice," Lizzie said with defiance. "Who wants to be nice?"
Now, there's a question, Kelly thought. Nice hadn't gotten her very far either. "Well, never mind. Let's just get to your house and then I promise I'll give you a gift in return, though it may take a few days for it to arrive."
"You can't do magic, like right now?"
Kelly shook her head. "Nope. It takes time."
"What kind of fairy are you?"
"I'm not a fairy. I'm a woman."
"You just said you flew, and I saw you fall out of the air. You wasn't there and then ya was. It was magic. I saw it happen right before my very eyes, and ain't nobody can tell me what I saw, but me!"
"Okay, okay," Kelly soothed, trying not to upset the child any more. "I don't know what happened either. That's why I'd like to speak with an adult." Feeling a couple droplets land on her shoulders, she looked up at the sky, and added, "Can you walk a little faster, Lizzie?"
Lizzie grabbed her wrist again and began a faster pace. "I knows what happened. I captured a Yankee fairy, and now you's gonna pay up."
Holding up the hem of her gown with her free hand, Kelly marched quickly behind the child. Why couldn't she break through to her? Perhaps when she got to Lizzie's house, she would find some sanity ... and a chance to get out of the rain that was beginning to come down more heavily. Kelly could now see the woods' edge and a dirt road ahead of them.
"Is it much farther, Lizzie?"
"Naw," the child answered. "Just down the road a piece this ways, hey ..." She stopped and put her hands on her hips. "You sure ya can't git tiny 'fore we get there?"
"Nope, I can't get tiny, but I'll tell you this ... if I get any more wet, I may just be growing out of a shrinking dress." Rain began pelting them harder without the cover of tree limbs, and Kelly shaded her eyes with her hands. "C'mon, Lizzie ... I'll race you!"
"Oh no, yer tryin' to trick me and get—"
"No, Lizzie, really ... I can't fly away," Kelly interrupted, thinking quickly. "You caught me, and it's just like you say, fair's fair. I have to stay with you now ... to grant your wishes."
Before Kelly could even take her first step, Lizzie chimed, "Okay, one-two-three-go!" And bolted down the dirt road laughing uproariously.
"Why you ..." Kelly gulped, and began running. "Hey, what happened to fair's fair?" she called out as she saw the child make a sharp right dash behind a picket fence overgrown with honeysuckle.
Excerpted from Time After Time by Constance O'Day-Flannery. Copyright © 2001 Constance O'Day-Flannery. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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
Best book ive read in forever! What an ideal combo of romance, time travel and history. This was such a keeper! You wont regret taking time to read this one and read it over and over again! Wonderful!
Sad to have it end. Liked the characters. The setting was good.
Not a bad read, although the romance happened a little too quickly for my taste. The ending was a nice twist.
THIS THE SECOND TIME TRAVEL NOVEL I HAVE READ AND BOTH BY C. O'DAY FLANNERY. KEEPS YOUR ATTENTION. WILL READ MORE.
It was a delightful reading, but somehow it did not have a proper closure and iam sure some readers were left with wanting. But it was particularly touching that Flannery had written an introduction where she herself had experienced something supernatural when she came across a tree much like the one depicted in the book. She had felt tears and volumes of sadness. That added a nice feeling to the book, knowing that that poignant moment had inspired her to write this lovely piece
While reading every new book on my Nook, I like to highlight passages of particular meaning to me. If, when I've finished the book, I find that I've highlighted a number of things, I will keep the book on my Nook for future reference. For me, this book was a keeper. This was a good story, and quite well written. I loved the characters, which had substance and individuality, and I did not want the book to end. What truly added the most to my enjoyment, however, was the author's ability to seamlessly interject her personal thoughts on life, death, love, and the human condition into the story. This provded texture & depth as well as great food for thought, and helped me to identify with the narrative on a personal level. That to me is the essence of good writing. Nice job!
I usually love all time travel romances, this one drug on in parts with too much inner dialogue and then conversations went for pages and pages. I did like the ending though, because it was unusual and very sweet.
I would recommend this to those who enjoy the time travel genre. I have read O'day-Flannery's books for decades and enjoy them all.
I really enjoyed this book. I could not put it down...I love time-travel and this one rated.....For another Wonderful time-travel try 'The Mirror'....Anyone know of any good one's for me to read!!! E-mail at Chareve18@aol.com
Kelly Brennan believes no one is for her ever since her beloved Michael died. Unable to really cope with his death, Kelly became fanatical about her small travel agency throwing all her emotions and time into making it a success. At a wedding party, Kelly suddenly finds herself plunged back one century. Initially Kelly thinks that somehow she just became lost when she strolled into the nearby woods. However, she soon realizes this is not her New Orleans any longer. Widower Daniel Gilmore looks just like Kelly¿s Michael. He thinks she is a bit daft, but also worries that his daughter believes she is a fairy because of Kelly¿s green bridesmaid dress. To her surprise, Kelly feels comfortable in her new century though she misses some modern conveniences. She must now persuade Daniel that they belong together but to reach him Kelly must help him heal his emotional scars. As expected by one of the leading authors of time travel romance, Constance O¿Day-Flannery has written a powerful tale that provides fans with much pleasure. The story line is fast-paced once Kelly goes back in time. Daniel is a hunk of a leading man who will garner audience empathy. His daughter steals the show at times with her naive pronouncements. Though the mechanism for trip back is not really explained, TIME AFTER TIME Ms O¿Day-Flannery successfully entertains the sub-genre reader. Harriet Klausner