Copyright 2015 Camille Leone

This story is a work of fiction. All names, characters, places and incidents are invented by
the author or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any similarity to
actual persons or events is purely coincidental.
All rights are reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in form or by any means
without the prior written consent of the author.

PAST LIVES . . .

He was already untying his breeches. “Are you sure about this?”
“No, I’m not. But when I tried to leave, I couldn’t. So the other Mariah must not have a
problem with it.”
Instead of lowering his pants, Joran dropped his head. “Uh, I need to tell you something.
I’m not . . . my penis, it’s not what you’re used to. I’m not- I mean I haven’t been-”
“Circumcised.” Mariah said the word as she stared at him in wonder. “Oh God. I just
thought of something. If you’re not circumcised, then what if I’m-”
Instead of saying it out loud, Joran was pretty sure Mariah was a virgin. With her station in
life and the puritanical values of her family, the Mariah Harthorne’s body she now possessed was
more than likely untouched by man. He groaned. They were both fucked. Here he was several
inches shorter than his regular height with no definable still set that would work in this century ─
well, that part wasn’t really true. His fighting skills were still intact. He could make money as a
brawler just like his ancestor did, though it would mean losing more teeth than his namesake
already had. “We really don’t have to do this.”
“Pass that bottle of spirits over,” she told him. “It’s not every day a girl can actually regain
her virginity.” She grimaced at the thought. “Plus it’ll be fun. It’ll be our first time together. But
not really.”
“Shit, I’ll take that bottle when you’re done with it.” After Mariah handed it back he just
about downed the whole thing. The room began to spin, so he flopped on the hay next to her. It
wasn’t that he didn’t want to make love. He wanted her like crazy. But if anyone found out she’d
be considered “spoiled.” A fallen woman. And he’d be the cause of it. “I never thought I’d be
saying this, but you need to sneak back into your room. I won’t be the scoundrel who ruins your
reputation.”
When she didn’t answer, he rolled over to face her. “Did you hear me?”

She nodded, her eyes tightly closed. “I think I’ve gone blind. That liquor was like
swallowing fire.” After a gag and a ragged cough, she ended with, “It was h-horrible.”
He chuckled. “Oh yeah, this is one hundred proof, gut rotting stuff. Nothing like those
lovely little glasses filled with sherry that the ladies drink on the sly.” Brushing the hair away
from her face, Joran remembered watching her sleeping beside him in bed well before they’d
been whisked away to another time and place. “I’ve been invited to a few opium dens. This
might be a good night to take my new friends up on their offer.”
Mariah gave him a scathing look. “Don’t you dare. We’re in this thing together. I don’t know
what I’d do if I was alone here.”
“You won’t be alone. Harrison will make certain you’re taken care of.” Puckering his lips,
he added loud kissing sounds so that she got his point.
“Stop it. He’s my cousin.”
“Who wants to marry you.”
Ewwww. Forgetting all about her aunt’s stern advice about a lady never frowning, Mariah
gave Joran a good ole twenty-first century eye roll. “Are you serious?”
“That’s what he told said after asking if I had designs on you.”
“Why the hell couldn’t you be someone with stature and wealth?”
“It’s the same thing, my love.”
“No, it’s not,” she insisted. “You can have a title but still be penniless. That’s why you kept
getting questioned about your family and their connections. I’m not knocking it. Lots of people
married for money or for a title in the nineteenth century.”
“But not for love?”
“I haven’t met anyone yet who says they were in love. Doesn’t mean there aren’t any starcrossed lovers out there.”
“You mean, like us?”
Mariah gave him a smile. After all they’d been through, somehow they’d grown closer. “Is
that why you’ve stayed with me?”
“I could never live without you, Mariah. Maybe that’s why I did what I did. I’ve always
known I’d follow you anywhere.”
“Even to hell?” she asked ruefully.

“This isn’t hell. We’re alive. And somehow, someway, I promise you we’ll make it back to
our own time period.”
She wanted to believe him. Wanted to have faith that this nightmare would be over soon. But
she couldn’t shake the feeling that they were being watched. There was something very powerful
and very dark trying to pull them to God knows where. Joran’s lashes fluttered, and she realized
he’d nodded off to sleep. His fly was still undone though. And she couldn’t help but be curious.
Just one little peek couldn’t hurt, especially since that little flap of cloth was also open.
He grabbed her wrist. “Like what you see?”
“I thought you were asleep!” She pulled back mightily, and he wound up leaning over her.
“I gave you a chance to escape, Miss Hawthorne. Now you must pay the rent. Mooh who
hahahaha.”
“Oh no, please sir. I beg of you! You’ll cause me to faint or swoon, or whatever they say
these days.”
Joran nuzzled her neck. One thing he enjoyed was how women had no fear of showing their
bosoms. With no bra to restrain her breasts, all he had to do was tug on the top of her gown and
her nipples were there for the tasting. And for the taking.

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