QSFer Jackie North has a new MM time travel book out: Heroes for Ghosts.
Soulmates across time. A sacrifice that could keep them apart forever.
In present day, near the village of Ornes, France, Devon works on his master’s thesis in history as he fantasizes about meeting a WWI American Doughboy.
In 1916, during the Battle of Ornes, Stanley is a young soldier facing the horrors of the battlefield.
Mourning the death of his friends from enemy fire, Stanley volunteers to bring the message for retreat so he can save everyone else in his battalion. While on his mission, mustard gas surrounds Stanley and though he thinks he is dying, he finds himself in a peaceful green meadow where he literally trips over Devon.
Devon doesn’t believe Stanley is who he says he is, a soldier from WWI. But a powerful attraction grows between them, and if Stanley is truly a visitor from the past, then he is Devon’s dream come true. The problem is, Stanley’s soul wants to finish his mission, and time keeps yanking him back to relive his fateful last morning over and over, even as his heart and body long to stay with Devon.
Will Stanley have to choose between Devon and saving his battalion? Will time betray their love, leaving each alone?
A male/male time travel romance, complete with hurt/comfort, French coffee, warm blankets, fireplace kisses, the angst of separation, and true love across time.
In another minute, Stanley was going to come walking out of the bathroom in a cloud of steam, Devon’s dream come true. He needed to make up his mind about Stanley, only he didn’t know how.
Devon’s mental version of an American doughboy had been more along the lines of someone who was eager to go and had not yet seen the horror of it all. Round faced and bright eyed and full of energy. Which was not what he got when Stanley came out, although yes, it was in a cloud of steam.
Stanley was wearing Devon’s jeans that no longer fit Devon on account of the pastries he’d been eating since day one. The jeans hung low on Stanley’s hips. The long sleeved grey t-shirt that was so big on him that his collarbones showed, and when he moved, was proof of how thin he was.
“Hey,” said Devon in an effort to seem calm, rather than the fact that his heart was beating even faster and he really didn’t know what to say.
Stanley was not the round faced boy going off to war for the first time, no. He was all angles and lines, his dark eyes the color of whiskey, his shorn hair a shade darker, his face pale, the skin pulled to the bone. If Stanley were troubled, then obsessing over him like this might make his delusions worse, so though he was hard to resist, Devon knew he had to try.
“How was the shower?” asked Devon, doing his best to sound normal.
“It was good,” said Stanley, speaking in the way he had, as if all the joy had been drained out of him and he was doing the best he could to be polite. “I like your soap.”
“It’s French,” said Devon. It felt foolish to be talking about such mundane matters when he wanted to be grilling Stanley about the war. As if he believed him, as if it were all true. “France has got a lot of great things, bread, soap, wine—”
Stanley had come to a complete stop near the wooden table that Devon had cleared his papers off of. In the middle was a bowl of fruit that had pears and apples and oranges. It had been Devon’s goal to eat at least a piece of fruit a day, but that had gone the way of toast and butter, crepes in the village, and potatoes au gratin.
Stanley was staring at the oranges as if he’d seen Santa Claus, or a pile of gold, like he’d not seen them in years. Which, if he’d been at the front lines, was a very good possibility. But not proof. Maybe he’d been in a mental hospital, where fresh food was scarce. Or maybe he’d been on the run from the law, and caring for his health had been the last thing on his mind. Regardless, Devon could afford to make the offer.
“Do you want an orange?” asked Devon. “Help yourself while I cook the steaks.”
“Really?” Stanley eyes were wide as he looked at Devon.
Devon wanted to smother him with reassurances, but it was important to stay cool. At least, it seemed like it was important to stay cool, to keep himself safe if Stanley turned out to be a con artist. But it was hard and growing more difficult with each passing moment because the things Stanley needed were so easy to give. Not to mention that those big eyes of Stanley’s were tugging at Devon’s heart.
“Sure,” said Devon, swallowing. “Sit down, help yourself.”
Stanley pulled out the chair and sat at the table, and when he picked up the orange, his hands were shaking. Devon drank his wine and looked away while Stanley peeled away the skin, though his eyes were drawn back so he could watch when Stanley ate the first piece.
His mouth was tender around the slice of orange, as though slowing the moment down to savor it. Except when he looked like he was about to bite into it, he shoved the whole thing in his mouth, cheeks bulging, eyes closed, dark lashes long on his cheeks. He chewed slowly, and Devon was easily able to imagine the burst of sweet flavors, the tang of it.
When Stanley opened his eyes, it was slowly, as though from a dream. It took a little of the shell shocked look away, the look of a man who had seen too much too soon, and shaded him a little softer, to that of a young man, a boy from home who had come to visit Devon while he worked on his paper.
“So you realize why I have a hard time believing this,” said Devon, clearing his throat. “Time travel is just a theory, right, and not something that just happens.” Then he laughed, thinking of his life of study and silence. “Well, not to me anyway.”
“Nor to me,” said Stanley. “As far as I know, I died and I’m a ghost right now.” His voice trembled, and Derek felt bad for doubting him.
“That,” said Stanley, as he took another bite of his orange, seeming to rally himself. “That or this is heaven.”
Jackie creates characters who are a bit flawed and broken, who find themselves on the edge of society, and maybe a few who are a little bit lost, but who all deserve a happily ever after. (And she makes sure they get it!)
She likes long walks on the beach, the smell of lavender and rainstorms, and enjoys sleeping in on snowy mornings. She is especially fond of pizza and beer and, when time allows, long road trips with soda fountain drinks and rock and roll music. In her heart, there is peace to be found everywhere, but since in the real world this isn’t always true, Jackie writes for love.