Lost Echoes, A Time Travel Romance by Rob Shelsky
Peter Vincent, a young stockbroker, journeys back in time to Elizabethan England, searching for the beautiful woman of the portrait, the tempestuous Aurea Pentrose. Finding her, he falls hopelessly in love, but is it a star-crossed romance? History says Aurea is soon to disappear, murdered under mysterious circumstances. Can love find the way? Can the two save their love from this fate? Peter and his green-eyed Aurea struggle amidst court intrigues and dark conspiracies. They must discover what is to happen before it is too late! Set against the sweeping backdrop of real events and characters of Elizabethan England, this story is a race against time itself. Will Aurea and Peter change destiny, or are their hopes destined for failure, their love fading away down the centuries into mere Lost Echoes?
When Peter finds a miniature portrait of Aurea Pentrose in an antique store in Boston, he becomes infatuated with her image. The shopkeeper tells him she has an unfortunate life, that she disappears from Hampton Court Palace, shortly after the painting is finished. It is presumed she was murdered.
Transferred to England, Peter is intent on seeing the last place where Aurea lived, so he journeys to Hampton Court. There, through some mysterious agency, he is thrown back in time and meets Aurea for real. He falls in love with her. But whoever or whatever is allowing him to move through time doesn't ever let him stay long. And somehow, despite this, he must make Aurea realize he is not a demon or ghost, and convince her that her life is very much in danger. There are plots at court, conspiracies to topple Queen Eliabeth The First from her throne. And somehow, Aurea is involved in all this. Can Peter save her? Can he cheat fate? Will Aurea love him back? And even if she does,can the two of them find some sort of happiness, torn as they are between two very different worlds?
A miraculous love, but one that must battle merciless foes, survive desperate situations, and even challenge fate itself! Can Peter and Aurea's timeless passion endure the tests of time? Or will their love fade away through the centuries, destined to become mere Lost Echoes?
Devil's eyes; the thought leapt unbidden to Aurea's mind. They had such a look to them as could make young girls surrender up their very souls, as well as other things...
Peter stopped some paces away from her. For long moments, they just stared at each other. The silence seemed to buzz it was so loud.
She could bear the suspense no longer. "What are thee, demon, or ghost?" Although Aurea's voice echoed loud throughout the empty chamber, it carried a tremulous note. "And who sent thee? Are you just earthbound, oh spirit, and denied heaven's blessed entry, or of hellish origin?"
A slow smile creased the man's face. His eyes glittered with a sudden humor. "I could ask the same of you." His voice was low, husky. "But to me you appear as an angel from above and certainly no demon. You're very beautiful. Did you know that?"
This gave Aurea pause. Was one supposed to be able to converse with a ghost, especially so charming a one? Demons most assuredly could talk for they tempted and enticed, but could ghosts speak? They wailed and moaned perhaps, but surely, they didn't carry on such flattering conversations?
"Stop your blandishments and name yourself, as well as your place of origin." Aurea's voice still quavered as she said this, disproving her brave words. "Who and what are you? Spirit, I demand to know."
"I'm Peter, Peter Vincent. And I'm a man who's come far to find you. Look." He fumbled for the jewelry box in the pocket of his coat. He pulled it out and opened the lid. Peter held it out for her to view.
"See this? It's what brought me to you. I've crossed an ocean and I don't know what all else to find you. I just thank God, I did. You're every bit as wonderful as your painting showed you to be."
Just then, a faint waver passed over him, causing his image to shimmer, but then the effect faded. Aurea ignored the phenomenon and concentrated instead on what the spirit held. She gasped. Her right hand flew to her alabaster throat in surprise. There could be no doubt. The little painting was a portrait of her!
"Now see here, Sir Ghost." It came out as more of a croak. "Where did you obtain this? What dark arts did you use to conjure this thing, evil one?"
The young demon who called himself Peter threw his head back and laughed. It was a melodious sound and pleasing to Aurea. Extra pleasing, she felt, when one considered it came from a dead person, or something of similar ilk.
A most charming demon, this one, she thought, but then Aurea had no prior experience of what to expect from such as he. Maybe all demons were this way. Or maybe, he was better at it then most. She'd have to be on her guard.
"Don't you feel something special, Aurea?" he asked. "Don't you feel something marvelous? I do just looking at you."
She flushed. This was getting out of hand. Aurea decided to go on the offensive. "You know my name, Sir Ghost, or whatever creature you are. How is this possible? Is it one bandied about in the pits of Hell? Am I so already fallen?"
He laughed again, revealing the whitest teeth she had ever seen and then said, "I guess you could call the Twenty-First Century hell. Some do and in some ways, the name does fit. But from what I've read of your period, it isn't any better. Probably, it's worse in fact. Aren't your people always chopping off each other's heads? Even your royalty does it to each other a lot, don't they?"
"How dare you? It isn't fit for a lowly spirit to speak ill of our monarch. Even for such a handsome and comely ghost as you!"
"Oh-ho, so you think I'm good looking? You do come right out with it, don't you?" Peter's gaze traveled over her body, as if he was now making his own appraisal.
Aurea bit her lower lip and flushed again, this time a much deeper red. She shouldn't have said that. What had possessed her to say such a thing? Somehow, it had just slipped out. This demon was indeed a devious one to make her speak her mind so plainly and so quickly, too!