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Time Thief: A Time Thief Novel

Katie MacAlister

  Praise for the Novels

  of Katie MacAlister

  A Tale of Two Vampires

  A Dark Ones Novel

  “The romance is flirtatious and enjoyable, the characters are interesting, and the world in which they live has depth and adventure. Overall, a very pleasing read that will continue to delight fans of this series.”

  —RT Book Reviews

  “Like its predecessors, this novel features that perfect mix of humor and fan-yourself romance…. This author never fails to deliver with her hilarious heroines and her dishy Dark Ones.”

  —Romance Reviews Today

  “A lighthearted and fun read.”

  —The Reading Cafe

  Sparks Fly

  A Novel of the Light Dragons

  “Once again I was drawn into the wondrous world of this author’s dragons and hated leaving once their story was told. I loved this visit and cannot wait for the next book to see just what new adventures lay in wait for these dragons.”

  —Love Romances & More

  “Fast-paced…an entertaining read and a fine addition to MacAlister’s dragon series.”

  —Bookshelf Bombshells

  “Balanced by a well-organized plot and MacAlister’s trademark humor.”

  —Publishers Weekly

  It’s All Greek to Me

  “This author delivers again with yet another steamy, sexy read with humorous situations, dialogue, and characters…. The plot is fast-paced and fun, typical of MacAlister’s novels. The characters are impossible not to like. The hiccups in their relationship only serve to make the reader root harder for them. The events range from amusing to steamy to serious. The reader can’t be bored with MacAlister’s novel.”

  —Fresh Fiction

  “A fun and sexy read.”

  —The Season for Romance

  “A wonderful, lighthearted romantic romp as a kick-butt American Amazon and a hunky Greek find love. Filled with humor, fans will laugh with the zaniness of Harry meets Yacky.”

  —Midwest Book Review

  “Katie MacAlister sizzles with this upbeat and funny summer romance…. MacAlister’s dialogue is fast-paced and entertaining…. Her characters are interesting and her heroes are always attractive/intriguing…a good, fun, fast summer read.”

  —Books with Benefits

  “Fabulous banter between the main characters…. Katie MacAlister’s got a breezy, fun writing style that keeps me reading.”

  —Book Binge

  Much Ado About Vampires

  A Dark Ones Novel

  “A humorous take on the dark and demonic.”

  —USA Today

  “Once again this author has done a wonderful job. I was sucked into the world of Dark Ones right from the start and was taken on a fantastic ride. This book is full of witty dialogue and great romance, making it one that should not be missed.”

  —Fresh Fiction

  “An extremely appealing hero. If you enjoy a fast-paced paranormal romance laced with witty prose and dialogue, you might like to give Much Ado About Vampires a try.”


  “I cannot get enough of the warmth of Ms. MacAlister’s books. They’re the paranormal romance equivalent of soul food, deeply comforting because I can feel her love for her characters and their stories pouring off of the pages. Her sense of humor really can’t be beaten…. Readers who enjoy snarky vampires and feisty vampires will also find plenty to love here, and there are plenty of giggles to be had as well. I’m eagerly awaiting her next book!”

  —Errant Dreams Reviews

  “A lighthearted and humorous paranormal romance…. Sexy vampires, over-the-top bad guys, and other eccentric characters will have you in stitches.”

  —Smexy Books Romance Reviews

  The Unbearable Lightness of Dragons

  A Novel of the Light Dragons

  “Had me laughing out loud…. This book is full of humor and romance, keeping the reader entertained all the way through…a wondrous story full of magic…. I cannot wait to see what happens next in the lives of the dragons.”

  —Fresh Fiction

  “Katie MacAlister has always been a favorite of mine and her latest series again shows me why…. If you are a lover of dragons, MacAlister’s new series will definitely keep you entertained!”

  —The Romance Readers Connection

  “Magic, mystery, and humor abound in this novel, making it a must read…another stellar book.”

  —Night Owl Romance


  —Midwest Book Review


  Paranormal Romances


  SPARKS FLY, A Novel of the Light Dragons



  A Novel of the Light Dragons



  A Dark Ones Novel


  A Novel of the Light Dragons

  STEAMED, A Steampunk Romance


  A Dark Ones Novel


  ME AND MY SHADOW, A Novel of the Silver Dragons

  UP IN SMOKE, A Novel of the Silver Dragons

  PLAYING WITH FIRE, A Novel of the Silver Dragons

  HOLY SMOKES, An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel

  LIGHT MY FIRE, An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel

  FIRE ME UP, An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel

  YOU SLAY ME, An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel



  Contemporary Romances








  Katie MacAlister


  Published by the Penguin Group

  Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,

  New York, New York 10014, USA

  USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

  Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

  For more information about the Penguin Group visit

  First published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library,

  a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  Copyright © Katie MacAlister, 2013

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.


  ISBN: 978-1-101-60390-1


  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.

  This book would never have seen completion without the support of my family, especially that of my mother, Shirley, and sister, Karen. Both were there when I needed their help coping with the unexpected death of my husband, and b
oth unhesitatingly stepped in to deal with all the ramifications of the death so that I could grieve in peace, and ultimately finish writing this book. My love and gratitude to them is unbound.

  I’d also like to thank my editor, Kate Seaver, publisher Kara Welsh, and the production team at NAL for their support in giving me the time I needed to finish the book. They made a very stressful situation much more bearable.

  Table of Contents






















  “You know that saying about lightning never strikes twice in the same place? Well, I’m the living proof that it’s totally false.”

  “The lightning is false, or the saying? Aaaa…aaaa—”

  “—choo,” I finished for the man sitting across from me in the small reception area. I flinched in sympathy when he wiped an already red nose, his eyes just as angry-looking, and swollen to boot. But it was the really magnificent array of hives all over his face and what I could see of his chest through the neck of his shirt that had me adding, “Don’t worry. I’ve heard from my friend Lily that the doctors here are awesome. I’m sure you’ll be de-hived and de-puffied in no time.”

  “I truly hope so,” the man said wearily, closing his eyes and leaning back in the waiting room chair, dabbing at both his streaming eyes and nose. “I’m used to pollen allergies, but the hives are new.”

  “I didn’t know that you could get hives from anything but drug allergies,” I said, absently mimicking his movement when he reached for his neck before he forcibly stopped himself. Just seeing all those angry red welts made me itchy all over.

  “Evidently if you are hypersensitive to some plants, you can. As I found out this morning when I ran into a large sagebrush next to the road.”

  I scratched my arm. “Huh. I see mountain sagebrush all the time. They’ve never bothered me.”

  “Stranger things, Horatio,” he murmured, his hands fisted as they rested on his legs. Poor guy must have been miserable with all those hives. He looked nice enough, too, probably in his late fifties, with brown hair and eyes, and round little 1930s-style wire-rimmed glasses.

  “You got that right.”

  His eyes popped open suddenly. “My apologies, Miss…Miss—”

  “Mortenson. Kiya Mortenson.”


  “Yeah. It’s kind of odd, huh?” I scratched my shoulder. “Mom and Dad were hippies. Smart hippies. They thought it would be fun to name me after some ancient Egyptian who people used to think was King Tut’s mom, but I heard recently that she’s not. So now I’m named after someone who isn’t related to King Tut.”

  “There are worse people to be named after.”

  “True that. I could be Hitlerina.” I smiled when he gave a rusty chuckle, then grimaced at his itchiness, his fingers twitching with the need to scratch. I scratched my wrist for him.

  “I am Dalton.”

  “Just Dalton? Like a movie star one-name Dalton, or you’re afraid to tell me your last name in case I covertly take a picture of you all puffy and hivish and post it on Facebook, where it’ll embarrass you in front of all your friends and family?”

  He opened his red, swollen eyes as wide as they could go. “Are you likely to take covert pictures of me?”

  “No, but mostly because my cell phone is a dinosaur, technologically speaking, and doesn’t take photos.”

  He chuckled again, more carefully this time. “Since my friends and family are safe from my gruesome visage at the moment, I shall risk your suddenly blooming into stalkerhood and will tell you my surname. It’s McKay.”

  “Hi, Dalton McKay.”

  “Hello, Kiya. I’m sorry I interrupted you when you were telling me something about lightning. You said you were struck by it? That sounds like a major life event. I would think you would have gone to the emergency room rather than a walk-in clinic.”

  I shrugged. “I wasn’t really hurt. Just kind of a bit woozy for a few seconds, but then that cleared up and I was fine. Though I figured I’d better check in to make sure that my heart was OK and that the lightning didn’t screw up something in my head. That sort of thing. So here I am.”

  “Indeed, you are.” He blinked owlishly behind his round lenses. “I don’t believe I’ve ever met someone who has been struck by lightning.”

  “Twice. This was my second time. Hence the comment about the saying being false.”

  He blinked a few more times, dabbed at his eyes and nose again, and said with a little frown, “What were you doing when you were struck?”

  “Helping a chipmunk.” I gave a wry little smile. “Well, gasping and heaving and swearing that I was going to get back to jogging regularly is more accurate, but the reason I was doing all that is because I was trying to help a chipmunk that had his head stuck in a plastic milk container. Little bugger could sure run despite that handicap. I had to chase him all over a mountaintop before I caught up with him. I forgot that you’re not supposed to hide under tall cedar trees when there’s a storm. One minute I was fine, and the next, crack, zap, and sizzle.”

  “Sizzle?” Dalton looked appalled. “You actually sizzled?”

  “Well…” My face screwed up as I tried to remember the event of that morning. “‘Sizzle’ may not be the right word. There was kind of a scratchy noise when the lightning flower grew. At least I think that was it. Maybe the scratchy noise came from the chipmunk ripping the milk container off his head.”

  “I don’t think…no, I’m sure I have not ever heard of a lightning flower. Is it a plant native to this part of Oregon?”

  “No, no, it’s not an actual flower.” I moved over and plopped myself down on a saggy sofa next to his chair, pulling off the gauze overshirt I wore over a tank top. “It’s a feathery pattern that sometimes shows up on people who are hit by lightning. See? Supposedly, it’s from all the veins and arteries and stuff being lit up by the lightning, but because it’s so delicate, it’s called a lightning flower.”

  “That is just…amazing.” Dalton leaned forward to examine my upper arm. “How very unique. And it doesn’t hurt?”

  “The lightning flower?” I gave a cursory glance to the feathery pattern of light tan that ran down from my bicep to my wrist. It wasn’t like I hadn’t seen the same pattern before. Well, assuming I was naked and looking over my shoulder at a mirror. “No. Getting hit by lightning is a bit like touching an electric fence, only more so. But this? Doesn’t hurt at all.”

  “It’s almost…feminine in its delicacy.”

  “Yeah, they are kind of pretty in a weird sort of way.”

  “Will it last long?”

  “Well, that’s where it gets a bit strange,” I said, making myself comfy on the sofa. I couldn’t quite say why, but I was content to while away the half an hour or so it would take to be seen by the clinic doctor by chatting with this man. “I looked it up online a few years ago, and they’re not supposed to be permanent, but mine are. It’s kind of like a scar.”

  “It doesn’t look like a scar.” He leaned in closer, touching the pattern with the tip of one forefinger. “It looks like a henna tattoo.”

  “It does, doesn’t it? My foster mom says my other one looks like I drew it on with a tan felt pen, but really, it’s just a case of me being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Again.”

  “You should definitely give trees a miss the next time a storm comes up,” he agreed.

  “I couldn’t really help it. I was…er…kind of working a temp job. An unofficial one. I was helping out Lily, a friend who wanted to take a couple of days to go see her family, but she
had to be up on top of a mountain watching for fires. So I said I’d help her out and take over her shift for her. We figured that this way she’d get to see her family at the same time that I’d make a few bucks, and no one would be the wiser. So, of course, what happens but I chase a chipmunk to kingdom come and back again and get struck by a freak bolt of lightning that I swear came right out of nowhere? And when I called 911 to see if there was someone who could drive me off the top of that mountain to the hospital, everyone had a major hissy fit, and they called the Forest Service, which meant Lily’s boss found out that I was there instead of her, and…well, you can guess how that all turned out.”

  “Mmm,” Dalton said noncommittally, returning his gaze to my arm. “You said this was the second time you were struck?”

  “Yes.” I examined his face for a few seconds. “Are you really so miserable that hearing my boring life story will distract you from all the itchiness?”

  “Yes,” he said frankly, then made a face. “I apologize; that was rude.”

  “Not in the least,” I said, laughing and waving away his apology. “I know what it’s like to try not to do something, so I’m happy to give you something else to think about. I was hit by lightning once before, when, according to my foster mom, I was about three years old. I don’t really remember anything about the storm or the fire that followed it.” I smoothed my hand down one leg of red Capri pants that made me feel very 1950s.

  “And you weren’t hurt? A little girl of three?”

  “Nope. Evidently I was just struck by lightning on my butt. Which is odd enough, let me tell you. Carla—my foster mom—says that the lightning that hit me also started the forest fire that killed my folks and a couple of people who were with them in the campground, and that the firemen couldn’t believe I hadn’t been hurt other than having my clothes blown to shreds.” I thought for a moment, then gave a shrug. “I’ve tried to remember what happened because I have absolutely no memories of my parents, but it’s all just missing. Carla says my id and ego and superego are all blocking the events of that night because they were so horrific. Sounds kind of odd, since they don’t block any other bad events I’ve lived through, but I guess Carla would know; she’s a clinical psychologist.”