Friday, March 2, 2018

Red Sarah by Carol Ann Kauffman

Sarah is a beautiful redhead who works for a special agency that fixes broken timelines and rescues historically significant people who are in trouble. She has a special set of skills that allow her to 'tap' someone out of a dangerous situation. Her present assignment is to find and rescue a prince whose future son will one day eliminate hunger and disease on his island nation.

“Save the Prince; save the King; and save the Reds. In doing so, Red Sarah may just save herself, who knows, but what might be the cost? Moving from modern day wisecrackery to a time of romance long ago, Carol Ann Kauffman’s tale is filled with majesty and bravery. This time travel story is a gift for all.” - Amazon Review

“Sarah has one job and that is to rescue Crown Prince Lucas of Mist from captivity in a dungeon. Yet everything is not as it seems and will Sarah be able to stop an upcoming war?
This was an interesting book about time travel and trying not to disrupt the time continuum. I liked Sarah and it was interesting on where her and Lucas ended up.”
-Amazon Review


Chapter One
Look What I Found in the Dungeon

Sarah approached the lifeless figure huddled on the floor. The prisoner was shackled to the wall in the small, dark, damp cell. She reached down toward his throat to make sure he was still alive.
“No,” he growled as he pulled away from her.
“Shh,” whispered Sarah. “I come to help you, not to hurt you. But you must be quiet. I cannot be detected in here.”
“They will kill you… or worse,” he whispered, “for trying to help me. I am not some poor unfortunate soul. Do you have any idea who I am?”
“Yes, I do. You are Crown Prince Lucas of the Mist Kingdom in the highland of LaMere. Let me touch your neck.”
He moved toward her as much as he could.
She gently touched his bearded neck. “You are very warm, Prince Lucas. I fear you have the fever.”
“I am Prince Lucas, yes, but not the Crown Prince. My eldest brother Marcus is the Crown Prince and heir to the throne of the Mist Kingdom. I wield no power, here or in the highland. If you help me, I can do nothing for you in return. Leave this rotten stink hole at once. You only put yourself in extreme danger. There is nothing you can do for me.”
“Oh, really?” Sarah laughed as she put a small flask to his lips. He sipped, then swallowed and sighed.
“Ahh, good. Thank you,” he whispered. “What is that?”
“Herb and honey infused whiskey. It will induce a deep and heavy sleep. If you are chained to the wall in here, you may as well get some rest.” Sarah gave him more of the strong, sweet liquid. “Sleep now, Prince Lucas. I will return tomorrow night, when the guards are fast asleep. I will bring you bread and cheese. Is there something else you crave?”
“Freedom from these bloody chains. A bath. Warmth. Clothing. Sunshine. Strawberries.”
“Strawberries, I can do. And maybe something for the fever.”
“Why? Why do you chance danger to bring me real food and medicine?” Lucas eyed her warily.
“Because you need to regain your strength if I am to help you escape.”
“Escape?” squealed Lucas with a surprisingly hearty laugh for a man in his depleted condition. “Are you daft?”
“Shh,” whispered Sarah. “Be quiet.”
Lucas nodded.
“You have quite the sense of humor, lovely one,” whispered Lucas. “I am chained to the wall in a filthy dungeon in the miserable, hellish depths of Marlow Castle. There is no escape for me. And where would I go? I am too weak to even make it to the drawbridge, let alone up the rugged terrain of the mountainside. I am alone. My people have abandoned me. And, in case you did not notice, this cell is locked.”
“So then… how did I get in here?” Sarah smiled.
The prince looked around in confusion.
“Now, close your eyes.”
Lucas closed his eyes.
Sarah disappeared.

The next night, Sarah appeared in the locked cell once again. “Is there anyone in here who is hungry for real food?” she whispered to the sleepy prince.
“Ahh, there you are!” He smiled at her. “When I awoke refreshed from my deep and restful sleep, I was not sure if you were real or simply a lovely vision of my imagination.”
“I assure you, I am real. Here,” she handed him a small cloth pouch with berries and pieces of bread and cheese and a flask of water.
“I am most grateful,” said Lucas, “although I do not know why you do this.” Lucas lifted the cloth pouch to his nose and inhaled. “Smells wonderful.” He picked a strawberry from the pouch and ate it. “This is the best thing I have tasted since...since…”
“How long have you been a prisoner?”
“I do not know,” he said as he broke off pieces of cheese and bread into a smaller bite size, nibbling in a regal manner. “One sunny day I set out for a ride alone in the wooded countryside outside the castle walls to clear my mind. I needed to get away and think. I had yet another argument with my father, King Theodore of the House of Walker. Have you ever heard of him?”
“Yes. He is a beast.”
“Yes. He is closed-minded and stubborn, as well as vicious and brutal. Anyway, I was knocked off my horse…and I woke up in here.”
“I heard you attacked the Marlowe hunting party while they were out gathering food. Two men were killed in the attack. The penalty here for murder is death.”
“I attacked no one. I murdered no one. In fact, I have never taken a life. At home, my reputation is that of a lover, not a fighter. And a planter. I have a fascination with seed growth, plant care, and ways to grow more food for my people.” He smiled up at Sarah. “I was out riding by myself. I saw no one…until I woke up here.
“Have they tortured you for information about the defenses of the Kingdom of the Mist?”
“Four men descended upon me with clubs and straps, wanting information I did not possess. After a while, they gave up. No one has asked me anything since then. I have been locked in here alone. The conditions are deplorable and the food is not fit for livestock, but no one has struck me since, although they do threaten. The guard who brings me rations pushes them under the bottom bar on the floor and carefully backs away from me, as if he is fearful of me.”
“How then did you get the wounds on your neck and wrists…and ankles?”
“Every now and then, I attempt to break free by pulling away from this cold, damp wall with all my might. Illusions of strength, I guess.”
“Please stop it. You are weakening yourself with these self-injuries.”
Lucas nodded. “They do not seem to be working anyway.”
“I must go now,” said Sarah, collecting the cloth pouch and offering Lucas one last drink from the flask.
“What is your name?”
“Will you return, Sarah?”
There was a noise in the corridor. Lucas looked toward the sound. When he looked back, Sarah was gone.

“Dimitri, I found him. He’s locked in a cell in the dungeon, chained to the wall. He’s is bad shape. Injuries, fever, starving. I recommend immediate extraction if we’re to save his life,” Sarah spoke quietly into her mobile unit.
“No, not yet. Something’s gone wrong. The timelines don’t match anymore.”
“What? How can that be? They matched last year. They matched two days ago.”
“I know. But not today. Maybe it’s just a glitch in the system. Maybe not. Are you sure he’s the Crown prince?”
“Keep an eye on him. Keep him alive at all costs. Contact me tomorrow night.”

Dimitri clicked off. Sarah stared on her phone. She was assigned this mission, to save the life of the Crown Prince of the Mist, a year ago. Soon she would ‘tap’ him out of here. The mission would be over. 
And then what?    

Cover by
Suzi Albracht of
Wickedly Awesome Designs

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