Carly's View welcomes Susan B. James. She is the author of MAYBE THIS TIME, a time-travel romance that is the companion book to TIME AND FOREVER.
Susan writes second chance romances with a touch of magic as Susan B. James and children’s books as Susan J. Berger. She writes older heroines because she is chronologically gifted and enjoys creating characters who remember that change is only on the outside. Inside our older shells is a much younger psyche. In her debut romance, Time and Forever, two women in their sixties inadvertently travel back to London in 1969. Time and Forever was a 2015 Golden Quill finalist for Best First Book and a 2015 RONE finalist for Best Time Travel Book. Maybe This Time, the companion book, came out July 12, 2017.
Susan’s other career is acting. Last year, among other things, she killed Kathy Bates on American Horror Story. This she, among other things, she got stabbed by a pen on Future Man and played the victim on Major Crimes. Karma? Who knows what’s next. The joy is in the journey.
BLURB FOR MAYBE THIS TIME:
Their Happy Ever After is over before it begins unless they can change time. London 2001 Popular stage actress Jennifer Knight just turned forty-nine and she’s fine with her life, thank you very much. Or she was until her beloved niece accidentally time travels them both to 1988 bringing her face to face with her first husband.
Computer guru, Lance Davies is more comfortable with machines than people. He never knew how to handle his beloved, mercurial Jen. But now her future self is here in front of him and he wants another chance. Jen’s traitorous body insists that home is in Lance’s arms, but her heart has trust issues. When Lance follows Jen into the future, time tangles. According to the computer they both died.
Their hope of a future together is over unless her genius brother can help them change time.
EXCERPT FOR MAYBE THIS TIME:
Jen ran to the living room to retrieve the papers Mrs. Flannery was talking about. No way was she going to hang around waiting for He Who Must Not Be Named. The last person she ever wanted to see again was . . .
Jen froze at the sound of that well-loved, well-hated, husky voice. “It’s Jen. And don’t you forget it.” The words sounded far away in her head. “You didn’t knock.”
“I have a key. I’m helping Jeremy with a project he’s working on. He left me some papers. You’re supposed to be swanning it in A Midsummer Night’s Dream in New York. I wouldn’t have stopped by otherwise.”
Jen swayed. Her brain was on overload. Strong hands caught her and turned her around.
“What’s wrong? Are you sick?”
Jen looked into the face of the man she’d adored since she was nine, and actively avoided for the last twenty years. Lance looked almost the same as the day they’d parted. A few more lines framed his hazel eyes, now sea-dark with concern. His brown hair showed no trace of gray. It was still too long, with the same stupid lock falling over his forehead. She automatically reached to brush it back. Stopped herself. Her throat was so dry. Where was a cough drop when you needed one? “You’ve aged well.” Jen’s knees buckled.
Lance kicked out a chair and sat, pulling her into his lap. “It’s okay. Whatever it is, we can fix it.”
His warm, strong hands sent shock waves shivering through her body. She shook her head mutely.
Lance’s voice sharpened. “Is it Jeremy? Kathryn? Has something happened to them?”
“Uncle Lance!” Kathryn stopped in the living room archway, eyes child-solemn. “Why are you hugging Aunty Jen?”
Jen slipped out of Lance’s arms and landed on the floor. Could this get any worse?
“Aunty Jen says you are a stupid head with a big brain and no feelings.”
Jen rose with all the dignity she could muster. “You shouldn’t repeat things grownups say, Kitty-Kat. It’s not polite.” She reached for the packet Mrs. Flannery left behind, willing her hands not to tremble. “Here are the papers, you came for. Nice to see you. Goodbye.”
Lance glanced from Kathryn to Jen. “Where’s Jeremy? I know he and Kitty-Kat went to Sussex. Why is she back without him, and what are you doing here?”
“We couldn’t get home, Uncle Lance. So we came here.” Kathryn scuffed her foot, now shod in a plastic Jelly shoe, against the wood floor. “I thought Jen would like the machine, but I don’t like being young again. My brain is too small. I want to go home.”
Lance’s hand tightened on the papers he held. “Kathryn,” he said carefully. “How old are you?”
“I’m nineteen and I want to go home.”
Lance catapulted out of the chair. “It worked. By all that’s good and beautiful, it worked. I didn’t think he could do it.”
“You knew? You knew what he was working on?”
Lance’s grin changed to the expressionless mask she used to hate so much. “Of course, I knew. I divorced you. Not your brother. I was helping him with the theory. He probably would have told you about it, had you been interested in anyone but yourself and your career.”
Jen resisted the urge to punch him. One of them reverting to childhood was enough. Too bad. Her boxing trainer said she had a fantastic right hook. She kept her tone smooth and even. “I
don’t know when we are, but I turned forty-nine yesterday, Lancelot, and you don’t know half as much about me as you think you do. I am very interested in my niece, and she’s standing there listening to every word we say.”
Lance turned to Kathryn. “I’m sorry, sweetheart. Your aunty and I won’t fight anymore.” He crooked his little finger at Jen the way they used to do when they were children. “Pax?”
Resisting the temptation to break it, Jen hooked her little finger in his. “Pax,”
Kathryn curved her little finger around theirs. “Pax. Now can we get ice cream?”
Lance drove them to Holby’s 1950’s Diner. Kitty-Kat had declared it her favorite place after Jeremy had taken her to see Back to the Future. They ordered Kathryn a hot fudge sundae and sent her off to play Holby’s vast selection of Arcade games.
Lance wrapped his hands around the mug of coffee he’d ordered. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
Jen wished she didn’t know Lance so well. He was obviously torn between despising her and the attraction which sparked between them every time they were together. Until the last time.
“Kat said she had a birthday present for me and she took me to Jeremy’s lab, which, by the way, Jeremy never invited me to even though I asked what he was working on. I was quite prepared to show an intelligent interest.”
Lance’s expression said it all.
“Look, I know I’m not a genius, but I’m not stupid. I would have tried if either of you could have ever gotten past your incredibly superior attitudes.”
Lance ignored her perfectly justifiable complaint. “Tell me what happened.”
Deep breaths. That was the key. No use losing her temper. She reached for her inner Zen and held onto it during her factual recounting, right up to the moment she and Kat stepped through the door.
“The street was full of people dressed as though they were going to a costume party. Big hair. Shoulder pads. Men wearing mullets. Possibly the worst haircut ever invented. I turned to make a joke about it to Kat, and child Kathryn was standing next to me.” Jen fought to keep her voice from shaking. “I don’t know what happened, and I don’t know what year it is right now, and I have absolutely no idea how to fix this.”
“Calm down.” Lance put his hand over hers and for once he didn’t sound superior. “It’s going to be okay.”
“I don’t see how.” Jen sniffled.
He handed her a handkerchief. “Tell me about the cards. What happened to them?”
“Kathryn’s body shrank, but her clothes didn’t. She pulled up her jeans to look through the pockets, and the card blew into the street under a bus. I tried to get it, but it must have stuck to the bus’s tire.”
Lance’s voice sharpened. “You said there were two cards? What happened to the second one?”
“I don’t know. Maybe she left it in the door when we came through.”
“Here you go, love.” The server wearing a soda jerk’s paper cap set Kathryn’s sundae in front of Jen. Jen automatically dipped her spoon into the fudge sauce.
Lance’s lips curved into a wry smile. “Some things are immutable. I see you love chocolate as much as ever, Guinevere.” He turned to the server. “Bring us another sundae, please.”
“Stop calling me that.” Jen could feel her face growing warm. He shouldn’t have smiled at her. It did funny things to her insides. “Did we really travel back to the 1980s?”
“1988. Thursday, the thirty-first of March, to be precise.”
“By all means. Let us be precise.” Stop looking at him. Concentrate on the chocolate. “April Fool’s Day would have been more appropriate. I wish this were a joke.”
“This year April first is also Good Friday. That’s why Jeremy and Kathryn are in Sussex with your parents. You are in New York.”
Jen shuddered. “This is worse than those horror films you used to drag me to. 1988 of all times. Why would she bring me here?”
“I have no idea. The better question is why would you come?”
“I didn’t know what she was doing!”
People at the next table turned to look at them.
Jen modulated her voice. “She took me into a closet. I thought I was humoring her.”
Kathryn rejoined them when the waiter brought the second sundae. “You were yelling. I could hear you.”
“Your aunt was telling me about your adventure. Can you tell me what you remember?”
“No. My brain feels wrong. Fuzzy.” Kathryn spooned up ice cream with one hand, tapped her head rhythmically with the other.
“Sweetheart,” Lance said. “Do you remember programming where you wanted to go?”
“Yes. Dad showed me how it worked. He took me five years into the future. It was wicked fun being older. I met someone. That’s where I wanted to take Jen. To meet Daniel.” Kathryn hiccoughed back a sob. “The time machine never went backward before. I don’t know what I did wrong.”
“Tell me about the cards.”
“You program where you want to go and the machine gives you cards.”
“What did you do with the second card?”
Kathryn sat up straight. “There were two cards. I remember.” Her forehead wrinkled. “Maybe I dropped one in the little room.”
Jen set her spoon down. “Why don’t we call your father? He can fix it.”
Kathryn’s eyes lit up. “Yes. I want to see my dad.”
Lance took out his wallet and handed Kathryn two one-pound coins. “Go back to the game room and see if you can beat my score at Double Dragon.”
“That means you want to talk without me hearing.” Kathryn spooned up the last of her sundae and slid out of the booth. “Don’t fight. Please.”
Lance watched her go. He took a deep breath, exhaled, and turned back to Jen.
Jen recoiled. “You’ve got that ‘I am a calm space in a moment of disaster’ look in your eyes.”
“Jen, Jeremy will invent the machine, but as of today, it hasn’t been invented. I will . . . we will call Jeremy, but I’m not sure what he can do.”
Jen took a deep breath of her own and held it for a count of ten. She really, really wanted to punch something. “You’re one of the big brain computer men. Can’t you fix it?”
She could feel Lance’s tension. He was waiting for the explosion.
“Do you want a drink?” he asked warily.
“Yes. I would also like a pack of cigarettes and possibly, some weed. But I don’t do those anymore.”
Lance stared at her.
She shrugged. “I wouldn’t say no to a Xanax.”
“Have I been sober? Since the twentieth of May, 1980.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Why? He’d divorced her because he’d assumed she’d deliberately aborted their child. She’d never forgiven him for believing that. She didn’t owe him the truth. “The twelve steps say to make amends where possible.” The old familiar wound sliced her open. “I couldn’t bring the baby back, so what was the point?”
She saw the reflection of her pain in his eyes.
“I never ask Jeremy about you. I didn’t know. I see your name in the papers when you’re doing a play.” His smile cracked. “So how is sober life?”
“Hard, at first. But worth it. You, of course, never succumbed to any temptation.”
“Yes. Yes, I did. I married you.”
BUY LINK FOR MAYBE THIS TIME:
Author: Susan B, James
Category: Contemporary Time Travel
ISBN: ISBN 978-1-68291-407-6
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073DJ2RK4
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS FOR SUSAN B. JAMES:
Writing: www.susanbjames.blogspot.com (for adult books and authors and giveaways) www.thepenandinkblog.blogspot.com (children’s books)
Facebook Author page https://www.facebook.com/SusanJames/
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7791397.Susan_B_James https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3027649.Susan_J_Berger