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Time Was

Nora Roberts


  Also by Nora Roberts

  Title Page



  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Special Excerpt from Calculated in Death

  About the Author

  Nora Roberts

  Hot Ice

  Sacred Sins

  Brazen Virtue

  Sweet Revenge

  Public Secrets

  Genuine Lies

  Carnal Innocence

  Divine Evil

  Honest Illusions

  Private Scandals

  Hidden Riches

  True Betrayals

  Montana Sky



  The Reef

  River’s End

  Carolina Moon

  The Villa

  Midnight Bayou

  Three Fates


  Northern Lights

  Blue Smoke

  Angels Fall

  High Noon


  Black Hills

  The Search

  Chasing Fire

  The Witness


  Irish Born Trilogy

  Born in Fire

  Born in Ice

  Born in Shame

  Dream Trilogy

  Daring to Dream

  Holding the Dream

  Finding the Dream

  Chesapeake Bay Saga

  Sea Swept

  Rising Tides

  Inner Harbor

  Chesapeake Blue

  Gallaghers of Ardmore Trilogy

  Jewels of the Sun

  Tears of the Moon

  Heart of the Sea

  Three Sisters Island Trilogy

  Dance Upon the Air

  Heaven and Earth

  Face the Fire

  Key Trilogy

  Key of Light

  Key of Knowledge

  Key of Valor

  In the Garden Trilogy

  Blue Dahlia

  Black Rose

  Red Lily

  Circle Trilogy

  Morrigan’s Cross

  Dance of the Gods

  Valley of Silence

  Sign of Seven Trilogy

  Blood Brothers

  The Hollow

  The Pagan Stone

  Bride Quartet

  Vision in White

  Bed of Roses

  Savor the Moment

  Happy Ever After

  The Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy

  The Next Always

  The Last Boyfriend


  The O’Hurleys

  The Last Honest Woman

  Dance to the Piper

  Skin Deep

  Without a Trace

  The Donovan Legacy





  Cordina’s Royal Family

  Affaire Royale

  Command Performance

  The Playboy Prince

  Cordina’s Crown Jewel

  The MacGregors

  Playing the Odds

  Tempting Fate

  All the Possibilities

  One Man’s Art

  For Now, Forever

  The MacGregor Brides

  The Winning Hand

  The MacGregor Grooms

  The Perfect Neighbor

  Rebellion & In from the Cold

  Night Tales

  Night Shift

  Night Shadow


  Night Smoke

  Night Shield

  The Calhouns

  Courting Catherine

  A Man for Amanda

  For the Love of Lilah

  Suzanna’s Surrender

  Megan’s Mate

  Irish Legacy Trilogy

  Irish Thoroughbred

  Irish Rose

  Irish Rebel

  Best Laid Plans

  Loving Jack


  Summer Love

  Boundary Lines

  Dual Image

  First Impressions

  The Law Is a Lady

  Local Hero

  This Magic Moment

  The Name of the Game



  The Welcoming

  Opposites Attract

  Time Was

  Times Change

  Gabriel’s Angel

  Holiday Wishes

  The Heart’s Victory

  The Right Path

  Rules of the Game

  Nora Roberts & J. D. Robb

  Remember When

  J. D. Robb

  Naked in Death

  Glory in Death

  Immortal in Death

  Rapture in Death

  Ceremony in Death

  Vengeance in Death

  Holiday in Death

  Conspiracy in Death

  Loyalty in Death

  Witness in Death

  Judgment in Death

  Betrayal in Death

  Seduction in Death

  Reunion in Death

  Purity in Death

  Portrait in Death

  Imitation in Death

  Divided in Death

  Visions in Death

  Survivor in Death

  Origin in Death

  Memory in Death

  Born in Death

  Innocent in Death

  Creation in Death

  Strangers in Death

  Salvation in Death

  Promises in Death

  Kindred in Death

  Fantasy in Death

  Indulgence in Death

  Treachery in Death

  New York to Dallas

  Celebrity in Death


  From the Heart

  A Little Magic

  A Little Fate

  Moon Shadows

  (with Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Marianne Willman)

  The Once Upon Series

  (with Jill Gregory, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Marianne Willman)

  Once Upon a Castle

  Once Upon a Rose

  Once Upon a Star

  Once Upon a Kiss

  Once Upon a Dream

  Once Upon a Midnight

  Silent Night

  (with Susan Plunkett, Dee Holmes, and Claire Cross)

  Out of This World

  (with Laurell K. Hamilton, Susan Krinard, and Maggie Shayne)

  Bump in the Night

  (with Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas)

  Dead of Night

  (with Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay M

  Three in Death

  Suite 606

  (with Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas)

  In Death

  The Lost

  (with Patricia Gaffney, Mary Blayney, and Ruth Ryan Langan)

  The Other Side

  (with Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas)

  The Unquiet

  (with Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, Ruth Ryan Langan, and Mary Kay McComas)

  Also available . . .

  The Official Nora Roberts Companion

  (edited by Denise Little and Laura Hayden)


  Published by the Penguin Group

  Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA

  Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)

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

  Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd.)

  Penguin Group (Australia), 707 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3008, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty. Ltd.)

  Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd., 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi—110 017, India

  Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, Auckland 0632, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd.)

  Penguin Books Rosebank Office Park, 181 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parktown North 2193, South Africa

  Penguin China, B7 Jaiming Center, 27 East Third Ring Road North, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100020, China

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

  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 control over and does not have any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.


  An InterMix Book / published by arrangement with the author


  Harlequin Books edition / September 2001

  InterMix eBook edition / December 2012

  Copyright © 1989 by Nora Roberts.

  Excerpt from Calculated in Death copyright © 2013 by Nora Roberts.

  Cover clock image © javarman/shutterstock.

  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.

  For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,

  a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

  375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

  ISBN: 978-1-101-56930-6


  InterMix Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,

  a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,

  375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.

  INTERMIX and the “IM” design are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

  For Joan and Tom

  Just for fun

  Chapter 1

  He was going down. The instrument panel was a maze of wildly flashing numbers and lights, and the cockpit was spinning like a merry-go-round gone mad. He didn’t need the scream of warning bells to tell him he was in trouble. He didn’t need the insistent red blip on his computer screen to tell him the trouble was big. He’d known that the moment he’d seen the void.

  Swearing, clamping down on his panic, he struggled with the controls, using one hand to shove the lever forward for full power. The vehicle bucked and shuddered, fighting the gravitational pull. The G’s hit him like a wall. All around him metal screamed against metal.

  “Hold together, baby,” he managed to say as his lips stretched back over his teeth. The floor near his feet ripped open in a jagged line three inches long. “Hold together, you son of a—”

  He jammed hard due east, swearing again when it seemed that no matter how cleverly he maneuvered he and his ship would be sucked into the hole.

  The cockpit lights went out, leaving only the whirl of kaleidoscopic colors from the instrument panel. His ship went into a spiral, tumbling end over end like a stone fired from a slingshot. Now the light was white, hot and brilliant. Instinctively he threw up an arm to shield his eyes. The sudden crushing pressure on his chest left him helpless to do more than gasp for breath.

  Briefly, before he lost consciousness, he remembered that his mother had wanted him to be a lawyer. But he’d just had to fly.

  When he came to he was no longer spiraling—he was in a screaming free-fall. A glance at his instruments showed him only that they were damaged, the numbers racing backward. A new force had him plastered back against his seat, but he could see the curve of the earth.

  Knowing he could pass out again at any moment, he lunged forward to knock the throttle back and turn the ship over to the computer. It would, he knew, scan for an unpopulated area, and if God was in His heaven the crash control in the old bucket would still be functional.

  Maybe, just maybe, he’d live to see another sunrise. And how bad could practicing law be?

  He watched the world rush toward him, blue and green and beautiful. The hell with it, he thought. Flying a desk would never be like this.


  Libby stood on the porch of the cabin and watched the night sky boil. The wicked slices of lightning and the blowing curtain of rain were the best show in town. Even though she was standing under the overhang, her hair and her face were wet. Behind her, the lights in the cabin glowed a warm, cozy yellow. The next boom of thunder made her grateful she’d set out candles and kerosene lamps.

  But the light and warmth didn’t lure her back. Tonight she preferred the chill and the crashing power that was barreling through the mountains.

  If the storm kept up much longer, it would be weeks before the north pass through the mountains was negotiable. It didn’t matter, she thought as another spear of lightning split the sky. She had weeks. In fact, she thought with a grin, hugging herself against the brisk wind, she had all the time in the world.

  The best decision she’d ever made had been to pack up and dig in at her family’s hideaway cabin. She’d always had an affection for mountains. The Klamaths of southwestern Oregon had everything she wanted. A spectacular view, high, rugged peaks, pure air and solitude. If it took six months to write her dissertation on the effects of modernizing influences on the Kolbari Islanders, then so be it. She’d spent five years studying cultural anthropology, three of them in extensive field work. She hadn’t let up on herself since her eighteenth birthday, and she certainly hadn’t given herself any time alone, away from family, studies and other scientists. The dissertation was important to her—too important, she could sometimes admit. Coming here to work alone, giving herself a little time for self-study, was an excellent compromise.

  She’d been born in the squat two-story cabin behind her, and she’d spent the first five years of her life here in these mountains, living as free and unfettered as a deer.

  It made her smile to remember how she and her younger sister had run barefoot, how they had believed the world began and ended with them and their counterculture parents.

  She could still picture her mother weaving mats and rugs and her father digging happily in his garden. At night there had been music and long, fascinating stories. The four of them had been happily s
elf-sufficient, seeing other people only on their monthly trips to Brookings for supplies.

  They might have continued just that way, but the sixties had become the seventies. An art dealer had discovered one of Libby’s mother’s wall hangings. Almost simultaneously her father had found that a certain mixture of his homegrown herbs brewed into a soothing and delicious tea. Before Libby’s eighth birthday her mother had become a respected artist and her father a successful young entrepreneur. The cabin had become a vacation hideaway when the family had moved into the Portland mainstream.

  Perhaps it was Libby’s own culture shock that had steered her toward anthropology. Her fascination with it, with society’s structures and the effects of outside influences, had often dominated her life. Sometimes she nearly forgot the times she was living in with her avid quest for answers. Whenever that happened she came back here or took a few days to visit her family. That was all it took to ground her in the present.

  Starting tomorrow, she decided, if the storm was over, she would turn her computer on and get to work. But only for four hours a day. For the past eighteen months she had too often worked triple that.

  Everything in its time—that was what her mother had always said. Well, this time she was going to get back a little of the freedom she’d experienced during the first five years of her life.

  Peaceful. Libby let the wind rush through her hair and listened to the hammering of rain on rock and earth. Despite the storm and the rocketing thunder, she felt serene. In all her life she had never known a more peaceful spot.

  She saw the light race across the sky, and for a moment she was fooled into thinking it might be ball lightning, or perhaps a meteor. But when the sky lit up she caught a vague outline and a quick flash of metal. She stepped forward, into the rain, instinctively narrowing her eyes. As the object rushed closer, she raised her hand to her throat.

  A plane? Even as she watched, it seemed to skim the tops of the firs just to the west of the cabin. The crash echoed through the woods, leaving her frozen to the spot. Then she was running back into the cabin for her slicker and her first-aid kit.

  Moments later, with the thunder rolling overhead, she clambered into her Land Rover. She’d noted the spot where she’d seen the plane go down, and she could only hope her sense of direction was as keen as it had always been.

  It took her almost thirty minutes of fighting both the blinding storm and the rain-rutted roads and logging trails. She gritted her teeth as the Land Rover plunged through a swollen stream. She knew all too well the dangers of flash floods in the mountains. Still, she kept her speed just above the point of safety, negotiating the twists and turns as much from instinct as from memory. As it happened, she almost ran over him.