Release Day: A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris

A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris
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Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.

One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating—and infuriatingly handsome—surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in…and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.

With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?



A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES EXCERPT:

Without stopping or even slowing his stride, he grabs a map from a vendor and flips it open. “So Lethal Xperience is at the back of the park. We’ll hit that first and then make our way up to the front.”

He seems unaware that the length of his legs far exceeds my own. As I frantically attempt to match his stride, I must pant or wheeze because he finally looks down at me, no doubt pink-faced and wide-eyed both from the sensory overload surrounding us and my huffing at a near jog to stay beside him. He grins. “Try to keep up, Short Stuff.”

I grit my teeth with determination and somehow keep myself from muttering, Yes, Master. But the thought still makes me smile. Cat must be rubbing off.

We pass a circular ride filled with fake horses going up and down. Giggling and drooling children clap their adorable hands from their belted saddles while a spirited tune blares overhead. Just past that is a miniature roller coaster made to look like a giant, happy centipede. The child in the front seat waves to his mother as the cart dips, and his squeal of joy tails behind him. It’s too bad that not all roller coasters can be five feet tall.

Then I get a wicked idea.

Austin believes I am a child, naive and boring, and, it would seem, without any humor. This second challenge is supposed to be about fun, and nothing—not even the lead role in a prestigious play with a crowd of a thousand—will give me more joy than turning the tables on him, even if only for a moment.

Looking back at the children’s ride, I grab Austin’s elbow and say innocently, “Is this not the roller coaster you are looking for?”

He stops rather abruptly and peers at me through squinted eyes. “You know, it’s like you look normal…” He trails off and shakes his head. He points a long tan finger at the centipede ride and in a tone dripping with condescension explains, “Less, Arthropod Picnic is a kiddie ride. It’s made for pint-size ankle-biters ages three and under.”

I try my best to look disappointed. I do everything I can to contain my mounting delight. But after no more than a few brief moments, I let forth a victorious giggle.

Realization dawns on his face. “You think you’re funny, huh?”

When I nod, he chuckles. He leans back on his heels and lets his gaze travel over my body. Humor dissipates as my skin prickles to life. On Austin’s slow ascent back up, he pauses to look me in the eye and an emotion crosses his face. It’s so fleeting—gone and there in an instant—that I cannot catch it.

“So, you think you’re ready to play at the big girl table now.” The left side of his mouth kicks up in a grin. “We’ll just have to see about that.”

The apparent taunt and Austin’s added wink spur me on.

This is my chance to prove to him that I’m not the timid girl I once was. To prove to myself that I’m no longer the child of my youth but a woman ready for the future.

I sashay toward a person dressed as a shiny nugget of gold posing for pictures with children, feeling Austin watching me, his gaze on my every step like a physical touch. My legs feel wobbly under my skirt, but an energizing spark ignites in my blood. I glance over my shoulder, confirming I have his complete attention, and then with an outward shrug (and an inner dance), I reply with every ounce of confidence I can muster, “Yes. We will.”

Austin’s smile widens. The sounds and patrons of the park fade away, and it is as if we are the only two around. I don’t know what is happening…I scarcely even recognize myself in this moment. Being with Austin does that. It turns me into someone else.

And I like who I become.

I watch his slow saunter, my body poised with tension. I don’t know what is going to happen next, but I wouldn’t trade the delicious expectation for anything. Austin doesn’t stop until he is right in front of me, close enough that I have to look up to meet his demanding blue gaze, and so close that warmth fans across my face as he says in a low voice, “Careful, girl. You’re playing with fire.”

“I’ve been careful my whole life,” I tell him, surprising myself with the resentment ringing in my tone. But it’s the truth. “And you know, I think it’s about time for me to be a little…” I bite the corner of my bottom lip, searching for exactly the right word to describe the emotions and thoughts that have surfaced the last few days. When I find it, I smile and wiggle my eyebrows suggestively “Wild.”

Austin sucks in a breath. He searches my eyes and I boldly stare back, praying that he cannot see my knees shaking. Then, obviously concluding that I meant every word, he flashes his devilish grin. “I can work with that.”


Being part of the Flirt Squad I have an extra surprise for you!! A Swoony Deleted Scene!!

“Anything with you is exciting, Princess.” He moves his hand beneath my thick hair and plays with the wisps at the nape of my neck. Brushing his lips against mine, just a tease, he then lifts his head and grins. “And, it just so happens I like pizza”—another light brush—“and movies.” His mouth presses more firmly this time for a prolonged, lingering touch, and then he shrugs. “And I guess the company is decent enough.”
“Oh, is that right?” I ask, trying to feign insult, but mostly succeeding in sounding breathless. “Only decent?”
He glides the tip of his nose against mine. “Mmm hmm.”
I pinch the taut skin at his waist and he chuckles. The sound does glorious things to my insides. Then, finally, Austin strengthens his hold around me, crushing me to his chest, and tilts his head, capturing my lips in a long, searing kiss that has me clinging to his shoulders.
“Oh yuck,” a disgusted voice says a little later. “No offense, Alessandra, but I really don’t want to see my brother doing that.”
With an abrupt laugh of embarrassment, I pull away and bury my head in the crook between Austin’s neck and shoulder.
He sighs. “Jamie, your timing is excellent as always.”
“Hey, it’s a gift.” At the spirited tone in her voice, I look up. Jamie scrunches her nose. “But seriously, it should be illegal for big brothers to make out in public. It’s traumatizing.”
A ghost of a smile plays on Austin’s slightly kiss-swollen lips. “Well, you know, next time you could just walk away and not interrupt.”
“But where’s the fun in that?” she asks with a mock-frown. Then she grabs my hand and tugs me away from Austin’s arms and into her own—the enthusiasm of her hug nearly knocking me over. “And dude, why didn’t you tell me the two of you were hooking up? You do realize we’re practically sisters now. Sisters spill the deets.”
“Uh,” I say intelligently, more than a little confused on how to proceed. I lean back and look at Austin. “Well—”
“Because maybe some people have class?” Austin softens his words by rubbing the top of his sister’s head. Jamie rolls her eyes and slaps his hand away, but the apparent affection between them makes me smile despite my previous mortification.
“Whatever,” she says. “For real, I’m just glad you finally wised up. You’re lucky my girl put up with you until you did. Are you done with rehearsal?” This last part she directs at me, swinging her eyes back to me as swiftly as the topic change.
“Just finished,” I confirm. Though my head still spins from her chaotic way of speaking, I can’t help feeling proud of my ability to keep up. If I can navigate the muddy waters of Jamie’s conversation with ease, there’s no doubt I’ve become fully acclimated to this world. “And my driver is waiting outside, or else I’d stay for yours. I am sure you’ll be wonderful.”
She licks her finger and makes a sizzling noise as she touches her shoulder. “You know it.” She laughs again and gently shoves my shoulder toward Austin. “I’m gonna let you two say your mushy good-byes in private, ’cause seeing that once in a lifetime is more than enough.” Wiggling her fingers in a wave she says, “Laters, bro.”
I watch Jamie walk away and turn to find Austin doing the same with a tender smile on his face. Something in my chest squeezes and I fall for him all the more.
When the stage door closes shut behind her, he turns and locks his hands around my waist. “My sister’s nuts, but she was right about one thing.”
“And what is that?”
His forehead dips down to mine. “I am lucky you hung around until I wised up.”
“Well, it certainly took you long enough.”
I loop my arms around his neck with a grin, and Austin laughs. “What can I say? Guys aren’t exactly known for being quick on the uptake.” On the stage behind us, the shuffling sounds of the crew laying out another scene hints at the busyness to come and I exhale a frustrated breath, knowing it’s time to go. Austin rubs his hands up and down my arms, almost as if he’s hesitant to let me. “I have to stay and bring Jamie home after her scene, but I’ll come by your house after.” His eyes grow serious. “And you better save me some pizza, woman.”
I shrug. “I shall try. But I am feeling awfully hungry. Rehearsals take a lot out of a girl.”
He gives me one of his devilish grins and kisses me again, and a minute later I walk away with my own wide smile, backside tingling from the playful swat he gave it for daring to tease him about something as important as food. As my driver closes the door behind me and takes off for home, I watch the theatre grow smaller through my back window and decide that Jamie was wrong. I am the one who is lucky. Thanks to Signore and a little gypsy magic, I’m experiencing an opportunity of a lifetime. I have a cousin who is more like a sister to share it with, a handful of caring friends, and a boy who makes me feel more special and loved than I ever have before.
Regardless of what the future holds for me, Fate has been unbelievably kind.





Rachel Harris Bio:

Rachel Harris grew up in New Orleans, where she watched soap operas with her grandmother and stayed up late sneak reading her mama’s favorite romance novels. Now a Cajun cowgirl living in Houston, she still stays up way too late reading her favorite romances, only now, she can do so openly. She firmly believes life’s problems can be solved with a hot, powdered-sugar-coated beignet or a thick slice of king cake, and that screaming at strangers for cheap, plastic beads is acceptable behavior in certain situations.

When not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, she homeschools her two beautiful girls and watches reality television with her amazing husband. Taste The Heat is her adult romance debut. She’s the author of MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY and A TALE OF TWO CENTURIES. She loves hearing from readers! Find her at www.RachelHarrisWrites.com.

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About Jen S

I love books, tea/coffee(by the gallon) and sour candy. I wear my nerd badge with pride and have two children ages 5 and 3 that keep me on my toes.
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1 comments:

  1. I would love to travel to regency London. Hopefully I would be titled and not a maid!

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