Uploading a book to Amazon, or any publishing site, is a nerve racking experience. It doesn't matter if you have a wonderful, clean, well-edited document to upload. Just waiting for the process to finish, and agonizing over the possibilities of something going wrong, is enough to cause you to bite your fingernails down to the quick, grind your teeth down to the gum line, and sprout gray hair in a matter of moments.
But maybe it's just me.
The book I was reuploading is Timeless. I've added a Table of Contents and an epilogue. So if you bought the ebook be sure to go download the latest volume.
And I'm posting the epilogue here on my blog for those of you who can't wait and want to read it now.
If you haven't read the book, this epilogue holds spoilers so be forwarned.
Teresa J. Reasor
Regan glanced at her watch and pushed the dentist pick and brush she’d been using into the painter’s apron tied about her waist. Her hands flew to untie the laces and she snatched off the canvas and stuffed it in a bucket.
“Are you quitting then?” Hannah asked, pushing her glasses up her nose, leaving a layer of dust across the bridge.
“Quinn’s coming and I’d like to shower off the dust and dirt before he gets here.” Her heart raced at the thought. It had been two long weeks since they’d been together.
“I know you’ll not miss the raising of the lid.”
“No, but I’d like him with me when it happens.”
“Well, I can understand that. He has as much invested in uncovering the stones as the rest of us.”
“I’ll be back with him in tow, I promise.”
Bucket in hand, Regan trotted across the scaffold toward the dock, though the urge to run was strong. The two weeks she and Quinn had been apart had seemed an eternity, despite how busy she’d been.
Once she reached the gravel path to the dock she turned to study the site. Several of the monoliths stood proud and tall but more than half had broken off at the base. Their lintels lay scattered about like Lincoln logs. The two large stones that had projected through the chamber roof and sunk deep into the floor had shattered and lay in crumbling pieces behind the altar. The Ogham carved into each stone remained, though some of the markings had eroded to the point of being unreadable.
Would their messages remain undeciphered? She hoped so. If nothing else, she had learned that some secrets were better left undiscovered.
Regan hopped from the dock into the small aluminum john boat. She gave the pull line a sharp tug and the engine fired. She grabbed the tiller and turned the vessel down the loch. A damp breeze gusted across the bow bringing with it the smell of the water and a crisp chill.
The row of cabins appeared from just around the bend. They remained much the same as before, as did her roommates, Helen, Sheary, and Hannah.
Without the dire mysteries of the henge hanging over them all, it had been easier to develop a normal relationship with her coworkers and Quinn’s brothers.
The shared memories of all she and Quinn had experience had bound Quinn and her together. Without danger hanging over them they’d been free to enjoy each other and the passion they shared.
She guided the john boat against the dock and tied it off. With no one there to comment she gave in to her excitement, jogged down the planking and up the path to the cabin. She’d just thrust her key in the lock when the door swung open.
Her gasp of surprise was compounded by Quinn’s quick tug as he pulled her across the threshold and into his arms. His mouth was hot and hungry as he kissed her.
“I have news,” he murmured against her lips, as the kissed changed into a more sensual heat.
Regan’s arms tightened around his neck and she wrapped her legs around his waist. “Later,” she breathed. “I’ve missed you.”
Quinn’s laughter morphed into a groan as she thrust her tongue forward to tangle with his. His large hands cupped her bottom holding her in place as his long legs made short work of the hallway. He kicked her bedroom door closed behind him and tumbled onto the bed with her.
They undressed one another, their frenetic movements driven by the need to be skin-to-skin, heart to heart. Once they were both naked he thrust into her. Regan cupped his buttocks and twisted her hips.
“I love you, Regan,” the words came unbidden. He said them often now and each time it stole her breath.
“Always,” she breathed, her voice stolen by a wave of emotion.
She gave herself up to his passion, and to the physical pleasure he inspired with his movements, his murmured words of love. The knowledge of how close they had come to losing one another fed their need.
In the aftermath of their lovemaking she raked her fingers through the coarse curls at the back of his head and held him close while they caught their breath.
“I’m so glad you’re back.”
He raised his head to look down at her. “Aye, I could tell.” His grin held just a touch of male satisfaction.
Her cheeks heated.
He settled next to her and drew her against his side.
Regan rested her head in the hollow of his shoulder and ran a hand over his chest. “What was the news you mentioned?”
“Well first I’ve put Rob in charge of the cleanup now that our cargo ship salvage is done so I can stay a few days.”
“Excellent.” She nestled closer.
“He seemed satisfied with taking on the added responsibility.”
“Good.” She ran a fingertip through the hair on his chest. “While we’re sharing, I’ve done some research and discovered there’s no record of Henry or Marissa ever having lived.” She tried to ignore the quick pang of grief. Despite what he had become, Henry’s loss still hurt. And it was sad that the people the two had impacted before they’d taken such wrong turns, like their parents and friends, would never know of his or Marissa’s disappearance. They’d never existed for anyone but her and Quinn.
“Is it not strange that even without Henry the same group of scuba divers discovered the henge?” Quinn asked.
“There’s something to be said for fate.”
“Do you think that’s what brought us together?” Quinn grasped her hand and raised her fingertips to his lips.
“I think Coira had something to do with our meeting. But I don’t know for certain, and I don’t care.” She rubbed her cheek against his chest. “I’m just relieved that we’re together.”
“If you don’t stop that, we’ll never get to the last thing I’ve waited to tell you.”
Regan raised her head to shoot him a smile.
“I made a wee stop at the National Archives before coming here,” he announced.
Her smile faltered and her brows went up. She searched his expression as wariness dimmed her happiness.
“I’ve brought copies of records I found.”
“What kind of records?”
She dragged in a breath. “Bryce?”
Regan wiggled up into a seated position a squeal of excitement escaping her.
“Let me get them,” Quinn said and threw aside the covers.
The long lean slope of his back, the muscular tightness of his buttocks lay bare to her as he scooped up his jeans from the floor. He stuck his feet into them and stood to drag them up.
“Careful there.” Regan said as he tugged at the zipper.
Quinn laughed. “I’ll leave them unzipped so your roommates can admire what they’re missing if you like.” He sauntered out of the room.
“Not if you want to live,” she said beneath her breath.
“I heard that.” His laughter floated back to her.
He returned with an envelope and set it in her lap. “I’ve highlighted the lines I thought you’d want to see first. I had time on the plane.”
Regan’s heartbeat rose in her throat as she drew the paperwork free of the envelope. She turned the pages one at a time. They were church records of births and deaths. She recognized Nathrach’s handwriting from the records she’d studied before. Bryce’s birth was recorded on August 12,1318. She braced herself for some record of his death and breathed a sigh when it never came. Three pages further she caught her breath, and tears stung her eyes. “A daughter as well.”
“Aye, named Regan, after you.” He sat down on the edge of the bed, and his hip brushed her thigh. “I searched for records of Braden and Coira’s death, but didn’t find them. I don’t want to Regan. I’d rather think of them living.”
Regan nodded, as tears flowed down her face. She set the documents atop the envelope and used the sheet to wipe her face. “Just knowing they survived and had children is enough.” The glow of the clock caught her attention. “Oh my God.” She struggled to escape the bedclothes. “Oh my God, I’m going to miss it. We’re going to miss it.”
“Miss what?” Quinn asked.
“They’re taking the lid off the altar. They think there may be something inside.”
Quinn rose, allowing her to scoot to the edge of the bed. “Like what?” he asked, his tone less than enthusiastic.
Guessing his train of thought, she shook her head. “Nothing human. They’ve done x-rays and think there may be some kind of stone tablet inside.”
Quinn’s green gaze settled on her face dark with wariness. “The last time you read anything on a stone, we damn near lost our lives and each other, Regan.”
She placed a hand on his arm. “The stones are destroyed, Quinn. They aren’t a threat anymore.”
When he continued to study her, she moved to encircle his waist with her arms and press close. “We don’t have to go. We can stay here together instead.” He was more important to her than anything else.
His arms tightened around her, and his fingers cupped the back of her head. After several moments, his lips brushed the top of her head. “Get your clothes on, lass. You’ve said there was something in the damn thing from the first. You deserve to see what it is.”
Regan leaned back and searched his expression.
Quinn smiled. “Get dressed, love.” He pulled away, and gathering his clothing from the floor, disappeared down the hall.
Uncertainty dogged her movements as she put her clothes on and made a quick stop in the bathroom to wash up. If he was uncomfortable being there, she could live without it.
Quinn stood at the window waiting when she came down the hall. “What time was it they planned to raise the lid?” he asked.
“Twenty minutes ago.”
“Come along then.” He grasped her hand.
They left the house. Now that they were on their way he seemed eager to get there and she had to trot to keep up with him. He kept a grip on her hand as she stepped into the boat. Once in the vessel he gave the pull rope a quick jerk, started the engine, and guided the aluminum boat out into the loch.
The cofferdam towered over the water, dark blue, hulking, its curved shape bowing out into the loch. They circled it and Quinn ran the boat up against the dock.
The sound of an engine running bounced across the site. Regan grabbed the bucket with her tools in it as they exited the boat. She and Quinn ran up the dock and followed the path to the scaffold. An enormous vehicle had been backed onto the site and the winch fastened to its frame hung above a pulley system suspended over steel beams. Metal cables were fastened to the twenty-ton stone slab that sealed the altar. The lines were already taut with pressure as the machine pulled against the weight. A group of three men held a guide rope attached to the stone.
Dr. Fraser and his wife stood with Dr. Malone in the center of the group. Her three roommates were clustered together with Stephen and Rick on one side. Andrew Argus, MacBean, and Lamont stood on the other.
Regan scanned the group for Nicodemus but didn’t see him. Finding him once again ill and in pain had been a shock, as was her fist glimpse of MacBean and Lamont after having watched them die in the chamber.
She and Quinn joined the archaeology students. Hannah leaned close to her ear to speak over the sound of the wench. “Nicodemus passed away this morning.”
The man’s second death had been less dramatic than his first. His life had been less gripped by his manic need to find a cure and more about leaving behind a legacy. She studied MacBean’s features and recognized the grief that drew the skin tight across his cheekbones and fastened his hard mouth into a tight line.
The winch turned and the slab began to rise. The group seemed to draw a collective breath as it rose and hung suspended five feet above the altar. The men holding the guide rope pulled against the weight and the winch reversed, lowering the stone slowly to the ground.
The massive slab kicked up dust as it hit the ground with a whomp. Dr. Fraser leaped from the scaffold, his lanky frame dressed casually in jeans and a t-shirt. The stuffed suit had transformed into an archaeologist eager to learn the secret entombed in the altar. He leaned over the edge of the box-like stone structure and peered inside.
“It’s a stone slab just as we thought.” He motioned for Stephen and Rick forward with the cameras they held. The boys went to work documenting the interior of the altar and the slab.
Dr. Fraser approached them. “Regan, you’re the smallest of us. Would you bring your tools and get inside the altar to brush away the debris from the face of the slab? You can see a faint impression of words beneath the dried dirt.”
Regan’s breathing quickened and she nodded. “Certainly Dr. Fraser.”
Quinn’s fingers tightened around hers holding her to his side. She glanced up to find his features pinched with concern.
He’d described his vision of Coira trapped and dying inside the bunk with him and he’d insisted the altar was where she had been trapped.
“The lid is off. There’s no water inside,” she said giving his arm a squeeze.
He nodded, but his gaze held hers for several moments before he released his grip on her hand.
Dr. Fraser took her bucket and offered her his other hand. She jumped down off the scaffold next to him. Memories of falling into the opening where the steps had been plagued her. The open pit in the center of the henge testified to its location since the ceiling had caved in exposing the chamber to the loch and filling it with debris. They hadn’t begun to excavate it.
Rick lifted her over the lip of the altar. She perched there for a moment to study the bottom of the container and then placing her feet carefully, she slid off onto the surface below. Dr. Fraser offered her the bucket and she quickly extracted the brush and dental pick from her apron and stuffed the rest back in. She kneeled and brushed at the sandy debris that covered the slab and immediately indentions appeared. Working in small areas she whisked aside enough of the dried residue to uncover the inscription and was surprised to see it was Latin instead of the Ogham that covered the stones. She studied the words, deciphering their meaning and a smile leapt to her lips.
“What does it say, Regan?” Rick asked.
She rose so her words could reach the crowd on the scaffold, but her eyes went to Quinn, and she held his gaze. “It’s Latin, and the inscription says, Love Is Timeless.”