C1PHER by Monica E. Spence by Monica E. Spence - Read Online

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C1PHER - Monica E. Spence

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Inc.

"Mary, it is I, Robert. You know me.

The accident must have addled your wits."

My wits are fine, thank you very much. Are you trying to gaslight me? How do you know my name? Have you been in my purse? She looked around. "Where is my purse? And where is my car? She glanced up and down the path paralleling the wall. And where the hell is the road?"

The man stepped toward her, but Mary poked him with her stick. Robert jumped out of range.

Mary stood, cursed herself for hurting her ankle—twice—and perched on the wall. Keep sharp, old girl. Stay back. I need answers, and I need them now.

Of course. If you put the stick down, I will be happy to answer what questions you have. I give you my word of honor as a gentleman.

OK, but try anything funny, and I’ll skewer you like a marshmallow at a Fourth of July barbeque. She set the branch aside but kept it at the ready on top of the wall.

That’s better. He looked only marginally more secure without her waving the weapon at him.

She rubbed the back of her neck to relieve some of the tension but kept her eyes trained on the man. First, where am I?

Can you recall nothing? That bump on your head is more serious than I suspected.

That does not answer my question. I warn you; I’ve had a bad day. This headache is making me testy, so don’t push me.

Praise for Monica E. Spence

"C1PHER is a fun adventure, full of rich historical detail, with a thrilling love story that spans centuries."

~Beth Anne Miller, author of Into the Scottish Mist

~*~

"For lovers of romance, history and time travel, Monica E. Spence’s novella C1PHER delivers a timeless story of true love that time cannot deny."

~Robin Ruinsky, author

C1PHER

by

Monica E. Spence

The C1PHER Series

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

C1PHER

COPYRIGHT © 2017 by Monica Elaine Spence

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: info@thewildrosepress.com

Cover Art by RJ Morris

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First American Rose Edition, 2017

Digital ISBN 978-1-5092-1163-0

The C1PHER Series

Published in the United States of America

Dedication

To Paul, my Husband,

I would travel through Time for you.

With Love Always.

Chapter One

September 20, Present Day

In the failing light, Mary Banvard fought to keep her car from skidding on the wet leaves blanketing the exit ramp of the New York State Thruway. Through the rain-slicked glaze of the windshield, her view of the cement barriers lining the ramp looked way too close to the passenger’s side door. Just what she needed—a nasty scrape on her nice, new-to-her, car. She slowed and guided the car toward the center of her lane. From the opposite side of the road, the bright lights of an oncoming panel truck blinded her for a moment. Blinking to clear her vision, she inched into the toll plaza and moved out when the green E-ZPass light clicked GO. Her hands gripped the steering wheel so hard she could feel her heartbeat in her perspiration-coated hands. Reaching the intersecting county road, she pulled onto the shoulder and sat for a minute as the gloom extended its clutch on the daylight.

Recalculating. The mechanical British voice of Jenny, her GPS, sounded annoyed, as it did whenever it had to assist with anything beyond the original directions.

Due to the downpour, Mary almost missed the marker nailed to a telephone pole: West Point 8 miles. Against the stormy, opalescent gray sky, the gold, rust and red leaves glowed and danced in the gusty wind. The wind bared a rough, hand-lettered second sign wired to an ancient oak. Rev War: 5 miles. A yellow arrow pointed the way toward West Point. Thank goodness she didn’t miss the signs in the rainy twilight; she could have gotten totally lost.

Her heart thumped in time to the CD playing fife and drum music. Anything to get her into a more positive mood. For months she had awaited this event, a weeklong historical re-enactment of the capture of Major John Andre and the betrayal of West Point by General Benedict Arnold.

In her excitement to get to the site, she bantered with her teasing co-workers at the Raynham Hall Museum about Betsy Ross and Martha Washington, then escaped into the tiny ladies’ room with her clothes and carry-all. She peeled off her sweater, bra, and jeans and folded them into her carryall, then layered on her Colonial-era chemise, stays, pockets, small side panniers, and a navy blue wool jacket-style Robe a la Anglais. Twisting her hair into a braid, she stuck in a few hairpins and tucked it into a lace-edged mob cap. She checked the mirror one last time. Not bad. She grabbed her cell from the narrow shelf above the sink, slid it into a pocket beneath her skirt, zipped up her makeup case, and with her tote over her shoulder, yelled farewells to her friends as she scurried down the stairs and headed out of the building into the pouring rain.

Driving with her garb pulled up around her knees was something she usually avoided, since she hated the looks she got from people when she stopped along the way to wherever she was headed. Today’s trip from Oyster Bay was slow as the proverbial molasses, because of the killer rainy Friday afternoon traffic through New York City and into Orange County. If she wasn’t already dressed, she would be too late to join her friends at supper at the site.

Up until last week, she had no real need to be at the event, other than her passion for the period and her desire to visit with her re-enactor friends. Besides, anyone who was anyone in the field of Revolutionary War studies would be there, and she always looked forward to learning something new from them. As the interim curator of the Raynham Hall Museum, part of her job was to keep her eyes and ears open for interesting tidbits about grant money, private donations, and scraps of heretofore unknown historical trivia.

Then, on Tuesday, while checking a split frame around a painting of Robert Townsend, she discovered three old coded documents, actually letters, wedged behind the ripped paper backing of the frame. Her gut told her they