Tara's Enchantment: Regency Time Travel Romance, Book 1 by Penelope Redmont by Penelope Redmont - Read Online
Tara's Enchantment
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Summary

What if you could escape across time, and find your soulmate?

At 26, gorgeous Tara Ballantine has a near-perfect life. Not only is she lovely, but she also has a trust fund from her billionaire father, and two loving sisters. Her boyfriend's proposed too.

Tara doesn't realize that her stepmother's hatred will send her across the world and across time. 

From Sydney, Australia in 2015, she lands in Regency England in 1809... Right on top of Adam Jervoise, Earl of Hillingworth, when he rides through a bluebell wood. 

Discover Adam and Tara's story, and the story of Pudding, the time traveling toy poodle.

Although "Tara's Enchantment" is the first novel in a trilogy, it can be read as a standalone time travel romance.

Discover how Tara finds her soulmate today.

Published: Penelope Redmont on
ISBN: 9781533731029
List price: $3.99
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Tara's Enchantment

Regency Time Travel Romance, Book 1

Penelope Redmont

Contents

Title

Excerpt: chance, or destiny?

Prologue

Chapter 1

The painting…

English countryside, April, 1809

I'm Tara Ballantine.

The Blue Boar

England, in 1809.

Chapter 2

The earl…

Lady Persiana…

Chapter 3

Adam and Margaret…

The kiss…

Chapter 4

Jake Flint…

Fig Tree Hill…

Pudding in the Little House…

Chapter 5

Lord Gunther…

The picnic…

Chance, or destiny?

Chapter 6

Adam and Tara…

I need to leave…

The bluebell wood

Chapter 7

Demis

Back to the bluebell wood…

Lady Percy’s scandal…

Chapter 8

Pudding: How did you get here?

The perfect gift…

Adam...

Chapter 9

Pudding vanishes…

Chapter 10

The bluebell

I have a question to ask you.

You must marry me.

Chapter 11

Ghosts?

The Send…

Chapter 12

If you want the girl, marry her.

The man in Hugo Boss…

Chapter 13

Soul-mate…

Molly…

The deal…

Chapter 14

The ball…

I'm Edmund. Who might you be?

Molly's Magic: Regency Time Travel Romance, Book 2

Chapter 1, Molly

About the Author

Visit Penelope Redmont’s website for more

Title

Tara's Enchantment: Regency Time Travel Romance, Book 1


By Penelope Redmont


Copyright © 2016 Penelope Redmont.

2nd edition, minor revision, 2017.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be stored in any system, reproduced, or transmitted in any form, anywhere, in any language, without prior written permission from the author, who is the copyright holder.

The work is fiction: all names, characters, places, brands, and events are derived from the author's imagination and/or are used fictitiously.


Description…

What if you could escape across time, and find your soulmate?

At 26, gorgeous Tara Ballantine has a near-perfect life. Not only is she lovely, but she also has a trust fund from her billionaire father, and two loving sisters. Her boyfriend's proposed too.

Tara doesn't realize that her stepmother's hatred will send her across the world and across time.

From Sydney, Australia in 2015, she lands in Regency England in 1809... Right on top of Adam Jervoise, Earl of Hillingworth, when he rides through a bluebell wood.

Discover Adam and Tara's story, and the story of Pudding, the time traveling toy poodle.

Although Tara's Enchantment is the first novel in a trilogy, it can be read as a standalone time travel romance.

Excerpt: chance, or destiny?

He pulled her against his chest. His arms closed around her, and he held her tightly. He cleared his throat, and said gruffly: I've been dreading the moment that your family arrives, and takes you away from me. I don't know that I will allow that. You've become necessary to me.

What? She didn't know how to respond. Adam sounded as if he might truly care for her. As she realized, she had come to care for him. It's a tangle, she said softly.

That it is, he said. A real tangle.

I want you — and you want me.

He chuckled at that. How could you doubt it? I want you so badly, that when I think about making love to you, I shake.

I am not promised, or married. And again — I don't know how I know that, but I do know it. There is no other man, Adam. Gary might never have existed. She'd never felt like this with any other man.

And I want you to make love to me. She inhaled a steadying breath. Please come to my bedchamber tonight. She looked up at him then.

His azure eyes burned into her.

She flushed at the intense desire in his gaze. She reached up, and smoothed her hand down his face. I want you, she repeated. I don't know what's happening… I don't know how I got here, to you. But I want nothing more than to lie in your arms tonight.

Prologue

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Devon Ballantine wanted her three stepdaughters gone, and she finally had the perfect way to do that. She'd considered many different methods. She was the wife of a billionaire, so money was no object. She was endlessly resourceful — and ruthless.

Murder. Kidnapping…

She had no objection to them, and was prepared to pay, but there was always the chance of leaving evidence.

Ideally, Devon wanted Tara, Molly and Priscilla to vanish, as if they'd never existed. And she might just have found the perfect way, if everything she'd heard was true.

This way was perfect. If it worked. She'd brought her elegant self to a Fitzrovia art gallery, which was almost as elegant as she was, to make sure that it worked.

She caught her reflection in a glass door, and smiled. As little Tillie Smith, she'd seen the value of her beauty at 16. She'd monetized her height and good looks as an international model. She became Devon, a style icon. Not quite a supermodel, but close. In her modeling years, as a side hustle, she cashed in on all the men who were prepared to pay well for her company. There were a lot of men.

Those years were in the past. Time moved swiftly, and no one remembered Tillie Smith, but she did. She was 36. When she looked in the mirror, she knew that her beauty was fading. It was time to put the past away, and walk into her future. A future of money and power, and that future did not include three stepdaughters.

Mrs Ballantine?

She turned towards the door. Mr Cantor? Her eyebrows lifted. What a strange little man. He had white hair, and pinkish skin. Although he was dressed in Saint Laurent, the suit hung on him oddly, as though it was about to fall off. When he moved closer, she saw that he was an albino. He was quite elderly; he might have been any age between 60 and 80.

He stared at her intensely. You're ready to transmit the money?

Five million now — if we come to an agreement. And five million in six months, if there's no… reappearance.

Per woman. His deep voice was scratchy.

Devon felt chilled. She stood straighter, amused at herself. This man could do things that no one else could do, and she expected him to be normal?

Per woman, she agreed. Fifteen million US dollars, transferred to a bank account of your choosing, today. And when the other two… are gone, another fifteen million. All you need to do is convince me that you can do what you say you can do.

He smiled. Ten disappearances are not enough?

She sighed, and shook her head. I'm not naive. People vanish every day, Mr Cantor. Who knows where those ten are. She recalled the portfolio she'd received. Men, woman, and a couple of children. All had disappeared. They were missing, and they stayed missing. All of them, for at least a year. People searched for them, and not a trace was found. One moment they were there… and then they just were not.

Cantor disturbed her. She didn't like looking at him, so she turned to look at one of the paintings on the wall. An 18th century woman, dressed in a pink gown, clutching a small dog.

Those ten are gone, Mrs Ballantine. Into the past. They will never return.

He moved until he was standing beside her.

She swallowed. He smelled musty. She forced herself not to move. She'd met many dangerous men in her life. This man was the most dangerous of all. Or the best trickster. This painting. She indicated it with her chin.

Yes?

You would put them into this painting?

That's not what happens.

Then tell me how you do it.

He sighed. If I told you, you would not understand it. I don't understand it myself. So what would be the point?

The point, Mr Cantor, is 30 million dollars. That's a lot of money. You say you can — transmit — people into the past. Unharmed. But they never come back to the present day. They live their lives… then they die. In the past.

Your stepdaughters. Why do you want them gone?

What concern is that of yours?

This is irrevocable. When they go, they're gone. Forever — you will never see them again. You can't change your mind.

Devon thought for a moment. She pursed her lips, and looked down at the large diamond solitaire on her left hand. She felt like rolling her eyes. Why did she have to deal with fools?

Finally, she said: "Mr Cantor, I assure you that I will not change my mind. There's never been a chance of that. Now, prove to me that I will get my money's worth. My money. Not my husband's. It's money that I earned, doing things that were distasteful, but necessary. I'm prepared to invest that money — I look on this as an investment — if you can prove to me that your process works."

Very well. Follow me.

Cantor turned back the way he had come, and held a door open for her.

Devon walked though the door, and found herself in a long hallway. Cantor moved past her, and she followed him. He held a door open, and she found herself in a storage room. Shelves filled the center of the huge room. Each shelf was stacked with items wrapped in brown paper and bubble wrap.

Wait here. He indicated a chair. You may sit.

She'd followed Cantor to a large table, with four chairs, in the corner of the storage room. She glanced at a dusty chair, and shuddered. She'd stand, and try not to touch anything.

Her phone shrilled in her purse. She took it out. A message from her husband, Thomas. She shut down the phone.

Thomas loved her. So he told her, and she had no reason to doubt him. He gave her everything she wanted. She had only to indicate a preference.

She wanted everything.

Most of all, she wanted the three women gone. They were lovely, each in her own way, and each one was in her twenties. They didn't like her, that was to be expected. Why should they? She was their father's third wife. Their mother had died, many years previously.

Cantor returned. He carried a small metal box. He set the box on the table. I can give you a personal demonstration of the process if you wish.

You can send me into the past?

Yes.

Devon shivered. Did she dare? What's in the box?

He put his hand in his pocket and drew out a small key. He inserted it into the box's lock, and turned it.

She stood, and bent over the box. Inside, a crystal box rested inside a nest of white satin. Cantor removed the box, and flipped it open. He took out a small purple stone. The Send, he said.

That's it? It was half the size of a hen's egg.

Sit down, Mrs Ballantine.

She glanced at the dusty chair, and sat. Cantor sat opposite.

I'll tell you a story. You can then decide whether you'd like to make a journey into the past. He closed his fingers over the stone. It's rumored that the Send was used by the Borgias, over 500 years ago. That may or may not be so, but it's the first record we have of the Send.

Devon folded her arms.

So. The Borgias. The Send changed hands many times. I first heard of it almost 90 years ago. I made it my mission to find it… if it indeed existed. I knew that it would make me immensely rich. I won't bore you with the details, but finally I had the Send in my possession.

He placed the stone into the glass box, and sat back in his chair.

How does it work?

It's just a stone. No one quite knows how it works, but it does. He smiled. Just a stone. His voice dropped. Rumor has it that an artist first discovered the properties when he tried to use the Send in a painting. It’s very soft, and he scraped it, to get some pigment. He added water, and used it in a painting. How shall I explain this…

He paused, and closed his eyes for a moment. No one really knows how the process works. You don’t need to scrape, or add water, for the Send to be activated. Not everyone is susceptible — the Send focuses on one individual. I focus it — or I —. He hesitated. I won’t lie to you. It’s hard to control the process.

Devon stared at the stone, then at Cantor. You mean it might not work?

Cantor waved his hand. It will work — I've worked with the process many times. I've even experienced it myself.

You've gone into the past?

Of course. I returned, only because I had the Send in my pocket when I — left. He shuddered. How old do you think I am?

Devon had no idea. She looked closely at him. Sixty?

I'm 140 years old.

She laughed. Prove it.

I could prove it. But we're wasting time. The money, Mrs Ballantine. Pay it or not, your choice. You have 24 hours. I can send you into the past now — today, so that you can experience it for yourself.

It was a lot of money. However, she wanted the girls gone. And she'd become aware that the stone in the glass box emanated power. She could feel it. It was a presence in the room; the air carried a weight of something.

She decided that she didn't want to experience it. What if it really worked? She'd end up somewhere in time. All the hard work she'd done, and only to become a snack for a saber-toothed tiger.

Cantor glanced at her, and at the stone. Then he closed it inside the metal box again, and locked the box.

Tell me about your experience of the stone — how did you go into the past? Devon wanted to know as much as possible.

An hour later, she'd left the gallery. She couldn't wait to get back to her hotel room. She'd transfer the money, and the girls would be gone. She smiled.

1

New South Wales, Australia, 2015

Tara drove across the cattle grid which led to Ballantine Hill. Her family home, and the family estate. Several thousand acres of prime agricultural land in New South Wales, Australia. The land was worth millions, but the family had more land, in homes and estates in Australia, the UK, and in South America.

She was home again, for a family wedding. She'd already decided that she would stay out of her father's way — and her stepmother's way — during this trip. Her father asked probing questions about her future.

She knew that he wanted all of his daughters to work for him. Molly was a lawyer, but she worked for her father's marketing organization. Tara and her youngest sister, Priscilla, had managed to escape their father's net, so far.

Someone has to take over, he'd glare at them.

You should have had sons, Molly would respond.

Now 26, Tara had received access to her trust fund when she was 25. Her father encouraged her to do something with the money. She was still deciding what to do. In the meantime, she loved her life as a lifestyle and travel blogger. She'd trained as a teacher, but once she'd started her first blog, she'd seen that she could make a living at it.

That pleased her — she didn't have to access her trust fund at all. Blogging gave her a measure of independence.

Tara wanted to see her sisters. She needed advice. She'd received a marriage proposal from her long-time boyfriend. Gary was a surgeon, a kind man, and she knew that she would be happy with him. She hadn't told Gary that she'd accept his proposal, but she'd almost decided that she would.

Her sports car was low-slung, and bumped along the graded dirt road which led to the main house of the estate.

Fields on either side of the road contained sheep. She barely glanced at them. She knew more than she wanted to know about sheep. Her father, Thomas, had insisted that she and her sisters worked on the property in their summer holidays in their teenage years.

She couldn't wait to see Molly and Priscilla again. Although they spoke via Skype at least once a week, they hadn't been together for several months.

Devon, their stepmother, had offered to host a wedding for one of their cousins.

Tara couldn't believe it. The witch was finally doing something kind.

Tara liked everyone. She always believed that people were basically good. Everyone had good in them. However, when it came to Devon, sometimes it was hard to find the good. It was there however, she was sure of it.

A deep pothole jolted the small car. Devon reached out her hand to steady Pudding, her toy poodle, in the passenger seat. Pudding licked her hand, yapped, and quivered with excitement.

Yes Pud, we're almost home — lots of other dogs to play with, and dams to swim in. Tara glanced at Pudding, who licked her hand again.

Pudding loved visiting Ballantine Hill. When it was time to return to the city, little dog always hid when she realized that Tara was packing. That made Tara feel a little guilty, but she couldn't leave Pudding at Ballantine Hill. Devon didn't like dogs. She called Pudding: that oversized fuzzy piece of vermin.

Although Devon had the sense not to complain about her husband's cattle dogs and border collies, she felt free to complain about Pudding, although never in Thomas's hearing.

The black toy poodle had been a gift to Tara from her father on her 21st birthday.

It was a replacement — if any dog could ever be a replacement — for her mother's black toy poodle, Tigger, which had lived to 16 years of age. Tigger was part of the girls' childhood.

Tara and her sisters never mentioned the first toy poodle. Their father didn't either. Devon didn't like it when the girls talked about their mother.

Devon's eyes would narrow, even as she smiled. Then things would happen. Tara's favorite mare foundered. Molly lost her favorite pen. Priscilla's portfolio of drawings went missing.

Three bumpy miles later, Tara entered the long avenue of ghost gums which led up to the house. The trees had been planted by her mother, so Devon had started a campaign to have them removed. So far, Thomas Ballantine had refused to have it done.

Ballantine Hill was a typical English manor house, dropped into the Australian landscape. It was over 100 years old.

Tara drove around the house, to the garages at the back.

She parked, and climbed out. Pudding leapt for freedom, and squatted immediately.

Tara had barely had time to reach into the car for her bag, when Molly yelled: You're here!

Her sister grabbed her in a tight embrace.

Tara chuckled. Her younger sibling was eight inches taller than she was. She felt as if she'd been hugged by an octopus. Finally she managed to wriggle free, and stared up at her sister. You cut your hair.

Molly's locks had been shorn, into a chin-length frizz of red-gold curls. Tara stepped back, and looked at her critically. It suits you — but I liked your hair when it was long.

This is easier to manage. Long hair takes too much time. Come on, Molly grabbed Tara's hand. Dad and Devon are out. I want to talk to you before they get back. Priscilla's arriving tomorrow.

Tara allowed herself to be dragged into the kitchen. She greeted Mrs Smiles, the cook and housekeeper, who pulled her