The last thing Thea Maloney expects the day after her first love, Gerard Wyatt, is executed for a crime he didn't commit, is a chance to travel to the 22nd Century to a place called the Haunted Hollow. There, time has splintered into hundreds of timelines and a savage ghost war has ravaged the planet. One man stands between what remains of the human race and extinction, a man known only as The General. A man who also happens to be another version of Gerard. Thea’s mission in this haunted place is to solve the riddle of the broken timelines and show the General the power of love before he makes a choice that will doom them all. But how do you convince a man who already thinks you’re the enemy and who’s known only horror his entire life that you’re his soulmate?
Raised in the trenches of the Great Ghost War, the General lives and breathes only one thing. Death. His enclave of ghost hunters and refugees is all that’s left of the human race and he will do anything to reverse humanity’s fate, even if it means rewriting history in a bold gambit to turn back time. What he doesn’t count on is the arrival of Thea Maloney, a woman who makes him feel things he’s never experienced before. He knows he should keep his distance from her, but it gets more difficult with each increasingly sensual encounter. Was she sent to seduce and spy on him, or worse, sabotage the enclave from the inside? Or could she be the one person who can save them all?
Thea jumped out of her skin and Tempe hissed like a cat. The General stood on the other side of the web of books, leaning against a bookcase, arms crossed over his chest. The red eye had its bead on her like a sniper behind a rifle. A half-smile curled his lips, and just like Gerard’s half smirk/half smile, it melted her inside. He was still the sexiest man she’d ever known and even if the General didn’t use his looks like Gerard had to manipulate, he had the exact same wily glint in his human eye, and it manipulated her all the same. She wanted to be closer to him, to feel his heat surround her, to know him in his soul.
The General’s smile disappeared almost as if he’d read her mind. His jaw tightened and the glint was replaced by a hard, cold stare.
“Nice way to walk into a private conversation, sir,” Tempe said.
He shifted his stare to Tempe. “Is there a reason the two of you are in Cole’s archives?”
“I’m showing Thea around, which you already know because you’ve been following us all afternoon.”
“I didn’t ask what you’ve been doing today, I asked what you’re doing up here in Cole’s archives.”
“The Archives are a disaster, clearly, and someone’s going to have to take the time to put them back together,” Tempe said. “I figured Thea could do it, since she’s so good with historical research.”
“I see,” said the General.
“I’ve been studying the history of Radley’s Hollow for years,” Thea said. “I know all the major and minor historical events and people.”
“How lucky for us you happened to find us right when a historian is what is needed most. Did you know Cole?”
Thea nodded. No point in denying it. “My friend and I practically grew up in his bar.”
“Your friend? The one named Jerry? Or is it Gerard?”
Thea gulped. Tempe drew in a sharp breath.
“You knew another version of me, didn’t you?” he pressed.
No point in denying that either. He’d obviously figured it out. “I did.”
“And he’s the one who died saving your life?” the General pressed.
“Yes.” Her tower of lies was crumbling fast. She glanced at Tempe, but Tempe’s attention was fixed on the General, studying him and listening.
“Why did you lie to me?” he asked.
Thea prickled at the accusation even as she noticed how he’d made it personal. “Gerry was his nickname from his mom, before she went missing. Spelled it with a G, not a J.”
“So, a lie of omission, then,” the General said, teeth snapping on the words. “It’s still a lie and makes you untrustworthy.”
“For the love of the goddess, G-man, let it go,” Tempe said, getting to her feet. “My niece is traumatized by what happened. You need to let her have some time to heal before—”
The General bared his teeth, biting out, “What part of us being at war is impossible for you to comprehend, Temperance? I realize you want to trust her because she’s your niece, but I don’t have that luxury.”
About Tess Rider:
Tess Rider lives with her wonderfully eccentric husband of almost fifteen years in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s an accountant by day, a novelist by night, and an artist at heart 24/7. Tess holds a B.A. in Art History and did her thesis on Remedios Varo, one of the lesser known female Surrealists, whose deeply personal work brings an exciting dreamworld to vivid life. Tess has long been interested in the impact of dreams, myths and the transcendental on the creative process. Later in life, while spending a year living in New Orleans, Tess had the opportunity to explore the religions of the Caribbean and found in their pantheons and histories inspiration for her writing and art. Today, Tess is an active member of the San Francisco Area chapter of the RWA and is working hard on the next books in the Haunted Hollow series.
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