Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Water Is Wide by Laura Vosika

Author: Laura Vosika
Publisher: Gabriel’s Horn Press
Pages: 451
Genre: Time Travel/Historical Fiction



After his failure to escape back to his own time, Shawn is sent with Niall on the Bruce’s business. They criss-cross Scotland and northern England, working for the Bruce and James Douglas, as they seek ways to get Shawn home to Amy and his own time.
Returning from the Bruce’s business, to Glenmirril, Shawn finally meets the mysterious Christina. Despite his vow to finally be faithful to Amy, his feelings for Christina grow.
In modern Scotland, having already told Angus she’s pregnant, Amy must now tell him Shawn is alive and well—in medieval Scotland. Together, they seek a way to bring him back across time.
They are pursued by Simon Beaumont, esteemed knight in the service of King Edward, has also passed between times. Having learned that Amy’s son will kill him—he seeks to kill the infant James first.
The book concludes with MacDougall’s attack on Glenmirril, Amy and Angus’s race to be there and Shawn’s attempt to reach the mysterious tower through the battling armies.
Bannockburn, Present
Angus warmed the car while Amy used the restroom. He tapped gloved fingers on the steering wheel, a tight frown creasing his forehead. After a minute, he pulled out his phone and dialed his partner on Inverness’s police force. “Clive,” he said, moments later. “Here’s a riddle. What’s the link between Shawn Kleiner, twenty-first century missing person, and Niall Campbell, fourteenth century laird?” His mind flitted around Rose, Amy’s mentor, teacher, and friend. Think outside the box, she had told him.
But Kleiner was not living in two centuries, regardless of his cracks at his last concert.
“Two of a kind,” Clive said promptly. “If Kleiner’d lived in Niall’s time, he’d’a’ mooned MacDougall, too.” He laughed. “Seriously, MacLean, Kleiner called himself Niall Campbell—the day she found him, and again at his last concert. You know that.”
“Seriously,” Angus said. “When she told me she was pregnant, I thought that’s what she’d been hiding. But she just found out her student has an identical twin, and it’s got her agitated over Niall Campbell.”
There was a brief silence before Clive’s voice dropped. “What’s he to do with her student’s twin?”
“Aye,” replied Angus. “It’s like when we talked to her at the hotel. She’s not saying something. She knows a great deal about Campbell but evades when I ask for her sources.” He cleared his throat. “Being pregnant doesn’t explain her saying Kleiner’s never coming back. Why do these twins get her upset about a medieval knight?”
“I’ll think on it,” Clive said. “Though how I’d even begin to research such a thing, I’d not know. Ancestor? Family curse? Buried treasure?”
“I’d say don’t be ridiculous,” Angus said, “but I can think of no rational connection.” Watching the door, he lowered his voice. “There’s something else. I didn’t want to say it before. I feel disloyal.”
“If she’s lying, you’ve no reason to,” Clive said
“You’ve met her,” Angus shot back. “Do you believe for a minute she’s a bad sort?”
“No,” Clive said. “But clearly she’s hiding something.”
“Why does a good person hide things?” Angus asked. “Because the timing of her break up with him has been bothering me for a time now.”
“I’ve been thinking on it, too,” Clive said. “And it can’t be as she told you.”
“You see the problem, too.” Angus drummed his fingers on the steering wheel, watching the door. “She said they broke up the night before he disappeared.”
“Witnesses say he spent that evening playing harp at the re-enactment in Bannockburn. His phone was with her, over two hundred kilometers away at the hotel in Inverness.”
“Could he have called her from someone else’s phone?”
“Possible,” Clive said. “But unlikely. Hold on.”
“I’ll have to hang up if she comes out.” Angus listened to the soft shuffle of paper over the line, and muffled tones of Clive speaking to someone. The door of the pub swung open. He took a quick breath, but Sinead’s family emerged. He relaxed against the seat, listening to the girls chatter as they passed. He watched them, identical in their black, bouncing curls, dark eyes, and sprinkle of freckles, and smiled.
“Here,” Clive said. “That Rob fella said she broke up with him in the tower.”
Angus frowned. “I don’t remember that.”
“Pat down the hall overheard him and mentioned it to me but last week.”
“But that can’t be,” Angus objected. “That was two weeks before the re-enactment.”
“He was quite put out that they were back on such good terms. Very good. Kissing-backstage-after-the-concert good.”
Angus frowned, less than pleased with the image himself. For a fleeting moment, he sympathized with Rob. “So ’tis odd she’d break up with him again. Apart from the lack of a phone or any witness to him using one.” He watched the twins argue beside their car, wondering which was Sinead. One girl grinned at him, waved, and hopped into the vehicle.
“What?” Angus snapped his attention back to Clive.
“I asked, are you sure you want to be involved in this?”
“Don’t think badly of her,” Angus said. “I’ve always had a good sense for character, and I don’t believe she’s done anything wrong.” He watched the second girl stomp around her family’s car.
“She seems a good sort,” Clive agreed. “But you’re on shaky ground already, seeing someone you were assigned to on a case.”
“Aye,” Angus admitted.
“Have you found out why she believes he’s not coming back?”
“I’ve not asked,” Angus said. “I’m not here as an inspector.”
“Come now, Angus, you ought to know what you’re dealing with.”
“She’ll tell me when she’s ready.”
“She’s suggesting he’s dead! You’re losing your professional sense for personal reasons!”
“I am,” Angus sighed. “But I like being with her.”
“You mightn’t have a choice, in the end,” Clive warned.
The pub door swung open again. “Text me if you think of anything.” Feeling guilty, Angus stowed the phone as Amy appeared, her white hat snug over thick, black hair spilling the length of her back. She smiled. He jumped from the car, rounding it to open her door. He desperately wanted her in his life, the Glenmirril Lady who’d brought his feelings gloriously alive after eight dormant years.

Stirling, Present

“Alec, what are these?”
Alec looked up to see his intern holding a medieval helmet, sword, and heavy puddle of iron. “Chain mail?” Alec’s forehead wrinkled. “Where’d you find that, now?”
“The old lockers down at the end,” the boy answered.
“Those haven’t been used in months,” Alec replied. “Did you find paperwork on them?”
The boy shook his head. Alec swiveled his chair to a cabinet and dug through. He pulled a file, read it, frowning, and reached for the helmet atop the pile in the lad’s arms. It tumbled from his hands, its weight surprising him. Dirt fell from it, dusting his desk. He brushed at it, smearing his report, before lifting the helmet and irritably shaking filth to the floor. The boy waited, silent but for the clink of chain as he shifted under the weight of mail and sword.
Alec ran his finger along the swirls of artwork adorning the helmet’s edges. He scratched at a dark fleck, before realization hit him. “It’s blood!” He yanked his hand back. The helmet rattled to his desk. “Whose are these?” He snatched the papers from under the crusty helmet. “The re-enactment,” he murmured. He looked up to the boy. “I’m no expert, but they look real.”
“My Uncle Brian works in the Creagsmalan archives,” the boy volunteered. “Will I call him?”
Alec pondered only a moment, before nodding. “And find out what happened to whoever owns these.

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