He’s from 1892 England, she’s in a small library in 2017. And that’s just the start of their troubles.
Emme never meant to stay in Maine. She’d come only to find a librarian for her Gram’s library, a custodian for the collection of mysterious books she’d promised to protect. On a dark, wintery night, alone in the library, she takes her first glance into one of the antique novels and finds herself transported to 1892 England staring into the eyes of handsome and dashing hero Jack Ridgewell. As each chapter passes she learns you can truly fall in love with a character in a book, that book boyfriends are real and Emme must choose between the real world, and his.
When the last page is read he’s gone and Emme feels the cold loneliness of lost love. Will she find Jack again, or will their love be forever lost? The answer lies within the pages…
I spent the rest of the day filing paperwork for the funding process and preparing to open the library doors on Monday morning. I told Rose and Becca to spread the word. Tarryn had decided to move her smaller items in already, and she was asleep by nine the same night. It didn’t seem strange to me that I had a roommate; instead it made me feel comfortable. I never lived alone before, and I would feel lonely otherwise. Tarryn was quiet, but I knew in time she’d get used to me and I’d get used to her. We just needed to get to know each other first.
Once I was done with the paperwork, I filed the books that were left on the shelf from when Gram was still here. As I placed the classic books on the correct shelves, I felt a longing to finish reading my mysterious book in my nook.
So, instead of going to bed at a decent hour, I climbed into my cozy space and picked the book back up. I didn’t open it right away. Instead I inspected the outside for any sort of title. I found nothing of the sort. I flipped to the title page once more, trying to find my place, and that’s when I saw the word on the page. It was just a simple “The” typed out on the once blank title page. I ran my finger across it and realized it was printed in ink as if the press had done it. I was sure the night before it was blank, but then again, I was sure my dream about being with a man was real. So I wasn’t really a reliable source at the moment.
I found the spot where I ended with a dog-eared page. I absolutely hated doing this to the book and didn’t remember it at all. I usually had a nice bookmark, but this seemed to be the only thing to mark the page before I had fallen asleep. Running my fingers across the crease at the corner of the page, I settled back and started reading.
I woke up once again face down, this time I was in grass. I blinked my eyes and felt the blades of grass tickling my nose and lips. I pulled myself up and took a deep breath. I looked around and saw the fields upon which I had dreamt of the night before. I was back in England. I was dreaming the same dream. How odd.
There were times when I had thought I had the same dream over and over again, to only find out that it was my mind playing tricks on me. This was no mistake. I was, once again, in the same place.
“Emmeline, are you all right?” I looked up and blocked the sun from my eyes. The man from before was standing in front of me. “You … you disappeared. It happened so fast that I fear I cannot explain to you how it happened. Now you’re here once again.” He sounded really confused and, to put it lightly, so was I.
This dream felt way too real. It was exactly like before. So real and tangible that I couldn’t explain it even if I tried.
“I … I don’t know how I’m here again,” I mumbled.
He reached out to steady me as I swayed to the side. “You’ve been gone for days. I worried I was going mad, that your presence was one of my imaginings. I dared not to speak a word to anyone about it. I have to admit, Emmeline, I’ve been going slightly crazed since I saw you last.”
His hair was disheveled and he had grown a slight beard that only enhanced the sexiness of his strong jawline. His deep set blue-green eyes looked weary, and for that I felt awful.
My sudden disappearance had made him fall apart, that was apparent.
“I’ll tell you, I feel like I’m going crazy too. Trust me,” I admitted. “Can we sit somewhere? Out of the sun?”
He held my arm and led me to a tree in the center of the field. Once underneath the large tree, I felt instantly better. I looked down at my clothes and saw that I was, once again, in my own clothes. This time a little better than before. I was wearing yoga pants and an old T-shirt.
“I can’t explain how or why I’m here. Hell, I don’t even know your name, but I’m here again and I’m beginning to think that this isn’t a dream. That I’m really here, with you,” I said as I touched his arm. “I’m not from … here.”
I didn’t know how to explain it to him, but I did the best any girl who was somehow traveling through time could. I didn’t have answers or explanations, but I had a gut feeling.
“I’m from a different time as you. As you can tell by my lovely clothing, I’m not from 1893.”
He placed his fingers on my lips, stopping me, while shaking his head.
“This isn’t right, Emmeline. Trickery at a time like this isn’t fair,” he said as he stood up fast. “I am leaving soon. I shall not have you doing this to me.”
My mouth fell open in shock and I stood. “Do something to you? Listen here, buddy, I didn’t ask for this. I sat down to read a book and then boom, I’m stuck in England with a stranger.”
I pointed at myself. “Look at me. Do I really look like I belong here?”
He looked at my clothing and up to my hair, and I could see his cheeks redden.
“You are dressed very indecent, I suppose. No woman I’ve ever met wears trousers. Nor do they wear clothing that fitting.”
I laughed. He thought this was indecent, he should see some of the dresses I had worn to parties. They were nothing like the dresses he was used to seeing on a woman. We absolutely didn’t dress ladylike anymore. My sexy little black dress that currently hung in my closet would definitely shock some of the people of this era for sure.
“I don’t know why I’m here. I’m absolutely not trying to, I don’t know, hurt you or anything. I don’t know how to go home.” I slumped back against the tree. “I wish that I could prove to you that I’m not lying to you, but I cannot. You’ll have to just believe me, I guess.” It was as simple as that. He could either believe this bat-shit crazy explanation or not. One way or another, I didn’t care. I just wanted to go home.
“I don’t know why, Emmeline, but I feel as if I should say that I do believe you.” He ran a hand through his thick hair, mussing it up. “I just don’t know how else to explain your abrupt presence. One minute you are here and the next you’re disappearing into thin air. I read many books on fiction, so I suppose it could be true.”
“Well, I may know someone who knows something. She works for the lucky bastard that owns that house,” I told him pointing to the house where Nancy was the last time I saw her. She was probably cooking something again for her master.
He smiled. “That house?”
“Yes. Her name is Nancy.”
“Ah. Nancy. And who is this Nancy woman you speak of?” He continued to smile as if this was a joke, but I ignored it.
“She’s a cook. I met her on my last visit here,” I explained. “She’s not the nicest person I’ve ever met, but I think she has some answers.”
“I must argue that Miss Nancy is more than a cook. She’s also the lady upon with which I trust my household while I’m gone. She’s more of an aunt than a housekeeper,” he said as he took my hand in his. “It’s very nice to finally introduce myself to you, Emmeline Bailey. I’m Jack Ridgewell or you may just call me the lucky bastard.”