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My Past, Your Future

My Past, Your Future

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My Past, Your Future

Length:
153 pages
2 hours
Released:
Feb 24, 2020
ISBN:
9781509230624
Format:
Book

Description

Callum MacLaren, a professor from Scotland, visits Willow Springs, Vermont during the Winter Solstice to study and explore the rich history of St. Joseph's Cemetery. His encounter with a sexy soldier in a tattered Civil War uniform is a captivating puzzle, and the more he learns, the deeper his attraction.

A hundred and fifty years ago, Elijah Freeman was killed during the Second Battle of Fort Wagner and woke up in Willow Springs, the only home he'd known. Alone, he roams the town, unable to leave or interact with a single soul until an intriguing Scot addresses him. Even stranger, the man can see him, hear him, and touch him--a sizzling caress that leaves Elijah aching for more.

But will Elijah return to his ghostly form when the magic of the solstice fades, or is Callum's love enough to keep him in the land of the living?
Released:
Feb 24, 2020
ISBN:
9781509230624
Format:
Book

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My Past, Your Future - Gabbi Grey

You

My Past, Your Future

Deerbourne Inn

by

Gabbi Grey

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.

My Past, Your Future

COPYRIGHT © 2020 by Gabbi Grey

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 Diana Carlile

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First Scarlet Rose Edition, 2020

Digital ISBN 978-1-5092-3062-4

Published in the United States of America

Dedication

To those who believed in me.

Prologue

December 21, 1863

Sitting bolt upright, Elijah looked around, searching.

Cornelius?

No, Cornelius was dead.

Hell, Elijah was pretty sure he was dead, and yet here he was.

The moonlight was strong, and he took a moment to orient himself. This wasn’t the battlefield in North Carolina. Squinting, he surveyed his surroundings, and his tense muscles relaxed, a sense of serenity settling. He was back in Willow Springs. Home, in Vermont. And yet he’d no memory of the journey. Had no memory of anything besides the bullet to the chest that’d felled him.

Elijah Freeman glanced at his chest, sticking his finger through the hole the bullet had made in his shirt. Once the shirt had been pristine and white, but months of campaign marches and battles had rendered it gray, brown, and yellow. Stained with blood, sweat, and tears.

His blood.

His sweat.

His tears.

Blood also coated his hands, dried and caked. He scrubbed at them, wanting it gone from sight, wanting his world to return to what it’d been before the great battle. Was he doomed to be Lady Macbeth with hands that’d never be clean again?

And the war… Had it been won yet? Who had been the victors, and who were the vanquished? Yet, there weren’t really winners and losers. Everyone lost in war. Only ideals could be held as lofty. The Union Army had suffered several large defeats, and his infantry had been sent to take and hold the fort. Had they made any difference?

The spire of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church assured him he was home. A glance around the cemetery confirmed he wasn’t in the land of the living anymore. He sat on the ground in the graveyard and felt no discomfort. He was surrounded by snow and graves yet felt no cold. He should have been panicked, but instead, he was resigned. He’d serve his time in Purgatory for his crimes, then move on to Heaven where he’d be reunited with Cornelius.

The only question was, for how long was he doomed to walk among the living and not be alive?

Chapter One

George Hitchcock

1763-1854

He fought for freedom.

This soldier had died almost one hundred and fifty years ago. Callum MacLaren did some quick calculations in his mind. The man had been eighteen during the Battle of Yorktown and had then gone on to live until the ripe old age of ninety-one. Not unheard of. President Samuel Adams had lived to eight-one, and Thomas Jefferson had made it to eighty-three. Apparently, George Hitchcock had defied the odds and lived a good long life as well.

Shining the flashlight on another grave, Callum squinted. Many headstones were undecipherable, age and weather having taken their toll. Others were engraved deeply and the words were still clear. This section was for retired Revolutionary War soldiers. There weren’t many as Vermont hadn’t even been a state back then, but some men had gone to fight the Empire. A few returned to enjoy their retirement in the comfort of the Vermont Republic.

These graves were old, but the age didn’t rival many of the villages in Scotland. The fight for American independence took place not long after Scotland’s bid to cast off oppressive British rule, so he’d seen family clan plots not much older. History was history, and that was what’d drawn him to this desolate corner of the cemetery near St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

A few of the soldiers had been buried in their family’s plots. He’d head in that direction tomorrow.

Who thought wandering through a cemetery after dark was a good idea?

Well, in his defense, it hadn’t been dark when he’d arrived. Still, no excuse. He was an academic who should’ve bloody well done his research. Plus, although Vermont was at a lower latitude than Scotland, it was still mere days away from the Winter Solstice and daylight was at a premium. At least he’d thought to bring a torch.

Flashlight. They were called flashlights in America.

He examined the life-saving object in his hand. He’d borrowed it from the place where he was staying—Deerbourne Inn. What a lovely historic building with a three-hundred-year history. Oh, the stories that building had to tell. And he had come there to hear them all. First, though, he’d come to the graveyard to discover whatever secrets she was willing to give up.

Was a graveyard female or male? The place could be an it, but assigning a gender felt more appropriate. That somehow humanized something most people avoided at all costs but that he loved almost as much as life itself. There was something about walking about the graves, reading dedications and plaques, that always gave him a sense of life. The inhabitants might be dead, but their spirits lived on, and if he was lucky, would offer their stories and share their lives.

Mindful of the flashlight, he clapped his hands, trying to get some circulation back. It was damn cold, and now that night had fallen, the temperature was dropping precipitously. At least he’d worn a parka, thick socks, sturdy boots, and a wool cap.

He’d accomplished enough for the day. Better to make an early start tomorrow morning. Calculating the shortest trajectory, he headed to the exit but only made it a dozen steps before coming up short.

A figure loomed in front of him, not thirty feet away. Since he’d believed himself alone, this was an unexpected turn. He used the flashlight to examine the solitary person, mindful of not shining the light in the person’s eyes. His eyes? Yes, most likely a man. Shorter in stature than himself, and on the average side. The man leaned against a grave and glared indolently. Both Callum’s torch and the light of the moon illuminated him. Weren’t they due for a full moon on the solstice in two days?

Hello. Nothing to be lost by being friendly.

The man didn’t move, just continued to stare.

Kyleigh, his graduate student back at Edinburgh University, always accused Callum of living in his head and not the real world, but that wasn’t fair. Just because he immersed himself in the study of history didn’t mean he wasn’t of this time and place. Well, not of Vermont in particular, but of this year, decade, and century. He even had a smartphone and a Wi-Fi enabled laptop.

Should he try again?

Nothing ventured and all that crap.

I’m Callum. He took several slow and deliberate steps, not wanting to frighten the man. Ridiculous because, despite his height, he wasn’t likely seen as a threat. Yes, he was a pinch over six feet tall, but he was also gangly and wore glasses. He was pretty sure he didn’t appear intimidating.

Right?

The figure remained as still as a statue. He didn’t move. In fact, he didn’t even appear to breathe. The stoniness of his expression came into sharp focus as Callum approached. Now that he was within a few feet, he had a good look at the other man. Oh, the ratty uniform was unnerving enough, but the man’s beauty was striking. Uniform? Who wore a uniform unless they were standing guard? No one had warned him, but maybe this was standard for cemeteries in the States, so no one thought he needed cautioning. Well, they should’ve told him. There certainly weren’t any sentinels standing guard over plots in Scotland.

On closer inspection, the uniform was definitely not of the current military. Not that he would recognize uniforms from all branches of the American military, but this one was…older. Much older. How much? He’d come from the Revolutionary War Veterans section and now stood among the Civil War graves. Was this a Northern uniform? It was navy blue so that precluded the gray Confederate ones. Trying not to be too obvious, he cataloged each element of the dress. He’d be scouring history books when he returned to the inn.

That done, he looked at the man’s eyes. Even in the dim light, they were distinctive. The pupils were so large, the black hid the irises. Dark brown? The man’s black skin shone in the moonlight, the rich color clearly on display. Och, his hands were bare. That wasn’t good in this weather.

Are your hands cold? You shouldn’t be standing guard without proper gloves. The gloves matching the uniform would’ve been scratchy wool, but surely an exception could be made on such a cold and bitter night, right? And just how long was the man expected to remain watching? For that matter, what time was it anyway?

He tried to use one gloved hand to uncover his watch, but it was a lost cause. He yanked both gloves off. Angling his arm toward the moonlight, he read the clockface as almost six o’clock. The sun had set over an hour past, and there he’d still been wandering around.

If you’re off soon… He glanced toward the man. The man who was no longer there. What the hell? He hadn’t been looking down for more than half a minute, so how had the man disappeared? There’d been no crunching of snow, no creaking of the uniform. Just…there one moment and gone the next.

Bizarre. Truly weird and disconcerting. And why had the man not responded? English was the only language spoken in this region, so he should have understood, despite his brogue. Not like in parts of Scotland, where there were still some people who only spoke Gaelic. Fewer and fewer these days, but there were some who clung to the old language, the old traditions.

Yanking his gloves back on, he turned to head back to the inn. The cemetery was a few streets over, so another trek was in order. The snow was deeper here, but once he got to the main road, it’d be a quick trip. Just before stepping away, he used his flashlight to look at the grave the man had been guarding.

Elijah Freeman

February 14, 1840—July 18, 1863

He died in service of his country.

An odd compulsion had Callum sweeping the snow from the top of the grave. With a final long look he turned, heading back to the inn.

****

In one-hundred and fifty-seven years, that had never happened.

Never.

Elijah had no way to process the shock, so he walked. Kept walking as fast as he could, away from the strange man and toward his refuge.

The man—Callum—had seen him. Oh, at first Elijah had assumed there’d been another person in the cemetery. Finding even one person that late in the day was a surprise, but he assumed the man had brought a companion and called out to them. That was why Elijah had remained still and waited for the reunion. As time passed, the stranger advanced

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