In this time-travel novella incorporating sweet romance and science fiction, Anna, a young graduate student, has found her intellectual soul mate. She and Dr. Thomas Wellesley, forty years her senior, have been working on sensitive research on applied time travel. She respects the man: he is married to his work and just as passionate about science as she is. He is her favorite part of the day and she’ll stop at nothing to help their research.
When a rival professor follows the pair into the lab and threatens their research and their safety, Dr. Wellesley does everything in his power to protect Anna from harm. But in his effort to protect her, he inadvertently sends her back in time. Forty years back in time, to be exact—to a time when a young student named Tommy Wellesley is just embarking on his first degree in physics. And it’ll be up to young Tommy to see her safely back to her own time. If he can bear to lose her.
This edition also includes two short time travel stories. “Suicide Watch” explores the more dangerous ramifications of time travel. After an unfortunate fight with the love of his life, Matthew Mitchell discovers a time machine. Tempted to win back his girlfriend, Matt takes the machine for a spin, only to find out that time travel is much more complicated than he expected, and the results are catastrophic. “Toward Every Future’s Past” is flavored with sci-fi and fantasy and examines the cyclical nature of time and man’s difficulty in comprehending it.
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
There in the café, Anna looked beyond the strapping college students—was oblivious them, even Erik. No, Anna had eyes for only one man, a man who represented her love for science.
Her graduate advisor, Dr. Wellesley was one of the college’s most prestigious professors. He’d been teaching for forty-odd years, and her work as his assistant elevated Anna to an enviable status among her peers and colleagues. Dr. Wellesley had called Anna on his way back from class. He wanted to meet for coffee. He’d hit a dead end in his research and needed to get out of the lab.
She saw him there at the round table in the corner. The table had room for eight, but he usually just sat there by himself, his research spread like a picnic. Though he was forty years her senior, he was her intellectual soul mate. He shared her love of theoretical physics and her desire to put their theories into practice. Dr. Wellesley was polite and gentle, his being raised in a different generation having instilled in him a sense of propriety that was all but dead in the modern world.
Anna walked quickly, her steps laced with adrenaline. Dr. Wellesley had sounded upset on the phone, and she was worried. The man was normally calm, his words collected and intentional. This time it had been a frantic and abrupt request for coffee. As she approached the table, she saw two steaming cups and knew he’d ordered the usual. He’d learned of her favorite on a trip to see the particle accelerator at CERN. There was a mix-up with the hotel reservations and they’d had to share a room. Like a gentleman, Dr. Wellesley insisted on sleeping on the couch while she took the bed. He had been raised to do such things.
“Thanks for the coffee, Dr. Wellesley,” she said.
Seemingly oblivious to her presence, he looked out into space and didn’t seem to recognize her.
“Dr. Wellesley?” she asked.
Still no response.
“Thomas?” she said finally, jarring him out of his daze.
“Miss Adams!” he said, startled. “I ordered you a hazelnut. Two sugars, light cream.”
“Thanks,” she said, forcing a smile. But Dr. Wellesley lost focus again and stared not at Anna, but through her. His eyes looked utterly tormented.
“Is everything okay?” Anna asked. “You seem…”
Dr. Wellesley sighed.
“Is it about the project? I was just headed over to log some hours tonight. I was thinking if we adjusted the parameters on—”
“Don’t bother,” he said.
Anna sat down, alarmed. Dr. Wellesley usually stood up to greet her and pushed her chair in for her, and she had grown accustomed to the unnecessary act of chivalry. He usually loved working late at the lab. He had never turned down the opportunity to discuss an experiment. Now, it seemed his enthusiasm disappeared. It was as if someone had flipped a switch, powering him down.
“What happened?” she asked. “I thought we were going to work on stabilizing the dimensional gateway.”
He squinted at her with the slightest admonition. It was a strict rule that they were not to mention terms from their experiment outside the lab. Not only was their research quite secret—it was very dangerous, both physically and theoretically.
“Sorry,” she whispered.
He nodded. “It’s just that I’m fresh out of ideas. For the first time in my life, I’ve got nothing. I’ve exhausted all possible avenues, and nothing has worked.” The muscles in his neck tightened, and he pumped his fist against the table. She had rarely seen him like this. She worried about him, wished he had a wife or a girlfriend to comfort him, to bring him happiness in times of academic failure. But he lived alone. He had married his research, and he had been more than faithful to his scientific mistress. If only she would return the favor.
“Here,” Anna said, pushing his cup of coffee to him. She reached out to put a hand on his arm, but she withdrew at the last instant. “Try to relax. Why don’t you show me what tests you’ve run today?”
The tension in his eyes broke, and he drew a laptop out of his briefcase, opened a page of notes, and scrolled across the screen with his stylus. Next to each hypothesis he’d scrawled frustrated notes describing the nature of the failure.
“Everything works but…” He moved to the chair directly next to Anna and whispered in her ear. “Everything works but the containment,” he said. His breath was soft and warm against her ear, and she shivered. “The process we tried last month has proven stable for keeping the wormhole intact. It’s just now a matter of keeping open the doorway, keeping it visible to our reality.”
Anna nodded. She turned to speak to him, and her pupils dilated at the proximity and the talk of time travel. Despite his age, the youthful sparkle returned to Dr. Wellesley’s eyes. When he smiled, his chiseled cheekbone sometimes sent a thrill through Anna’s gut. Especially when he spoke of science. Anna wondered if she, too, would marry her research. If she, too, would end up like Dr. Wellesley, aged and lonely and focused only on science.
About the Author
Val Muller is the author of the Corgi Capers mystery series for kids, and Faulkner’s Apprentice, a horror novel for grown-ups. A teacher by day, Val is also an editor for Freedom Forge Press. A full list of works can be found at http://www.ValMuller.com with Corgi Fun at http://www.CorgiCapers.com.
Prize is 2 eBook copies (1 each to 2 winners) of “For Whom My Heart Beats Eternal” AND “Faulkner’s Apprentice” from Val Muller.
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