Enchanted - The Dressing Room Affair [Time Travel Historical Romance Novella] (Entwined Together Forever)

Copyright © 2012 Sierra Hunter

All Rights Reserved.

The people and events described and depicted in this book are for educational and entertainment purposes only. All characters are fiction based and represent no one person or individual outside of the imagination of the author. While every attempt has been made to verify information provided in this book, the author assumes no responsibility for any errors, inaccuracies, or omissions.

This work is fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons [living or dead], events
, or locations is entirely coincidental.

First Edition 2013 | Copyright 2013 by Sierra Hunter
, Author

All Rights R
eserved.

~*~

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by an electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording means or otherwise without prior written permission of the publisher, Sierra Hunter.

~*~

Entwined Together Forever – A Time Travelling Romance Trilogy

Book #1:
Enchanted – Dressing Room Affair

Book #2:
Entranced – The Looking Glass Lord

Book #3:
Entangled – The Reignited Flame

Author:
Sierra Hunter

https://www.facebook.com/SierraHunterAuthor

~*~

Main Character Index for
Entwined Together Forever

Book #1: Enchanted – Dressing Room Affair

Lord James Walsh
– mid 19th Century Irish Lord of Bella Rose Manor

Lord Reid Walsh
– Brother of James Walsh & Author of
The Timeless Love Affair

Isabelle Wyatt [Mackenzie]
– 20th Century Irish wife of Heath Mackenzie

Heath Mackenzie
– 20th Century Scottish husband to Isabelle Wyatt

Katie Mackenzie
– 20th Century Daughter of Isabelle and Heath Mackenzie

Chloe Murphy
– 20th Century Best friend of Katie Mackenzie

Abbey Walsh
– McMullen – Westport Librarian

~*~

This story is set in Westport, Ireland – a small town in the county of Mayo. Westport was designed in the 19th Century by Lord James Walsh, where he and generations before him have lived and served the county that borders the Enchanted Forest. Westport is located at the south-east corner of Clew Bay, an inlet from the Atlantic Ocean with beautiful stone bridges over the Carrowbeg river.

With her passion and love of Ireland, its history and its people, #1 Best Selling Author, Sierra Hunter
, will transport readers into the historical romance of the past while transcending that magic through time into the 20th century as she unravels the story of two people who are
entwined together forever
.

This short story of passion, desire, mystery, heartac
he and enchantment will have readers gripped to the pages.

In this first
book, readers will learn the mystical magic of Bella Walsh’s enchanted heirlooms and their ability for those who own them to traverse through time. Readers will also discover the truth behind the mysterious dressing room and the ruggedly handsome 19th Century author, Lord Reid Walsh, whose book holds the key to Katie finding her missing mother alive.

Let the
journey through time, love, passion and mystery begin….

~*~

Prologue

~*~

Westport Ireland - a friendly Irish community where Isabelle Mackenzie has lived for many years. Its beauty is evident in the rolling green hills, rocky shores, glassy rivers, spacious marshlands, old castles, crisp weather, and placid shores. It’s the place where she grew up, fell in love, married, and gave birth to her only child, Katie. She owns an apartment on the outskirts of town, overlooking the breathtaking Carrowbeg River. Directly below the apartment is her late husband’s
Antique Theatre Fancy-Dress Shop named ‘Enchanted Forest Fancy Dress’
.

After ten happy years of marriage, Isabelle lost the love of her life, Scotsman Heath M
ackenzie, to pneumonia. He passed away a year after Katie was born. Isabelle, widowed and struggling to bring up their beautiful child alone, now manages the costume store.

These days, Katie spends most of her time playing dress-up with the merchandise while Isabelle does her best to keep a roof over their heads and food on their table. Isabelle wants to give Katie a good life – the life both her and her husband wanted for her before he got sick. She is still determined to make that happen.

The store, fashioned with tiny glass windows in the brick walls, is not a very big shop, but it is rich with character. There is a straw welcome mat outside and a modest collection of wind chimes hanging from the awning out front. A silver bell is tacked to the door to announce the arrival of customers. The floor boards, cleaned weekly with lemon oil, groan under their feet. The clusters of garments are arranged by country and century, painting the shop with their vibrant colors.

It’s a bit cramped, but cozy all the same.

Little Katie and her best friend Chloe spend hours playing dress-up in the shop, pretending they are visiting faraway countries, mystical fairylands, and exotic places. They spend their weekends hunting for new costumes to wear in the dusty trunks and stock rooms. They spend their school days passing notes in class packed with harebrained ideas. Together, they create stories about where each costume originated.

There a
re kimonos from Japan, ball gowns from England, luscious fur coats from Russia, and handmade ponchos from South America. Sometimes, they even pretend to be the characters in their stories, visiting magical places and trying to find their true loves.

Isabelle never remarried after Heath’s death. Whenever Katie broaches the subject, Isabelle simply says, “Don’t you worry. I’m not lonely, Katie. I have everything I need right here in the shop.” Then she kisses her forehead, smiles, and resumes her tasks.

There is only one strange
something
about the quaint little costume shop. There is a dressing room at the back of the store that Katie can’t open. It has been locked for as long as she can recall.

“Don’t worry about it, Katie sweetie,” Isabelle says when Katie inquires. “That’s just an old storage room filled with junk. Besides, I’ve lost the key. Just leave it be.” Thus, the room becomes a prime subject for the girl’s imaginings.

Chloe and Katie love to make up fairy tales about a handsome prince that lives in the forbidden dressing room. They fantasize that he will come to save them from their monotonous lives at Westport Elementary School one day. They would dress up as princesses and prance in front of the shop’s fitting mirror, waiting for the prince to burst through the door and sweep them off their feet. Isabelle would laugh at their foolery, but always make sure they did not venture too close to the dressing room. Katie thinks this is strange, but assumes that her mother probably has mementoes of her father stowed away inside. Understandably, she would not want them disturbed.

Katie decides to leave the mystery alone for her mother’s sake.

The girls stop dreaming of princes locked away in the mysterious room and dress for other fantasies.

~*~

Chapter 1: Katie’s Worst Nightmare

~*~

Katie, sixteen, was helping her mother in the shop one afternoon. She hung up the phone.

“Kate, can you run these to the stock room?” Isabelle asked.

“Sure,” Katie called back without looking, penciling a fitting in for later that afternoon.

All of a sudden, Katie heard a thud at the back of the store. Katie wheeled around and raced past the counter to find her mother slumped over on the floor. She immediately tried to revive her
, but her mother was not responding. With her vision swimming with tears, Katie quickly grabbed the phone and called an ambulance while her mother lay motionless on the floor.

The ambulance pulled up within moments, but it felt like an eternity of waiting. Panicked and trembling, Katie watched the paramedics wheel her mother into the car. Katie locked up the store and rushed to the hospital to be by her mother’s side. When she arrived, the doctors had already put her into emergency surgery. A soft spoken nurse told Katie to wait outside while they ran more tests. Katie phoned Chloe to tell her what had happened, trying to keep her voice intelligible.

Chloe hurried to the hospital to be by her best friend’s side.

It seemed like they were there for hours, but about thirty minutes later the doctor called Katie into his office. The girls, who had been clutching each other’s hands in the waiting room chairs, exchanged worried glances
. Katie found her feet dazedly and joined the doctor.

“What’s wrong
with her?” she asked hoarsely. “Is my mum going to be okay?”

The doctor had a grave look on his fleshy face. He took Katie by the hand and sat down with her. 

“Katie, your mother is very sick,” he informed, his voice like a glass of cool water. But Katie’s mouth still tasted like ashes and sand. The world around the doctor’s face fogged up. “She has a tumor growing in her brain.”

A what?
Katie started stammering. “Just take it out then. You can take it out,” she whispered.

The doctor shook his head. “We can’t remove it.” Katie was pitched headlong into a dark, tight place where she couldn’t think and she couldn’t breathe.
What was he saying? What did he—?
“I’m so sorry. She’s dying, Katie. Your mother has twelve months to live. Eighteen, at the most.”

Katie began to shake her head, numbness ascending from her toes. She could not believe what she was hearing. First, she lost her dad as a child and now she was about to lose the only family member she had left. Katie started weeping unreservedly. The doctor left her and asked Chloe to come in and comfort her friend. Chloe sat with Katie and held her close. The doctor continued to explain Isabelle’s deteriorating condition.

“She won’t be in any pain, Katie,” the doctor assured.

“But she’s dying. She’s dying and you can’t stop it,” Katie choked out raggedly.

The doctor’s thick jaw tightened behind his lips. “Yes. I’m sorry. She can go home with you as long as she takes her medication and does not overexert herself. As it gets closer to her time, she will need twenty-four hour care. Until then, we encourage you to enjoy life with her and make the most of the time you have left together.” The doctor finished explaining what they needed to do to look after Isabelle at home as he guided them into another room to see her. Katie could barely hear him over the clamor of her grief, but she did her best.

Katie did not want her mother to see her upset, so she put on her brightest, bravest smile while she and Chloe packed up her things and took her home.

That night, Katie sat at her mother’s bedside in the old rocking chair, watching her sleep. She reflected over their years together.

Katie had loved helping her mother run the store. They used to spend their evenings laughing and telli
ng stories over dinner. They talked about all the unusual people who ventured into the shop each day and the costumes they had chosen. Some came searching for Halloween costumes, others for school plays and pantomimes, funny clowns, or fathers dressing up for their children’s birthday parties. Even local students came, wanting to wear classic dresses on their prom nights.

There had never been a dull moment working in the store. Isabelle had told her that was what her father loved the most. He loved feeding the passions of people living their dreams through the arts and through drama, the theatre, and their vivid, colorful imaginations.

Katie’s eyes drifted over the room, taking inventory of the antique finery her mother had amassed over the years. Katie and her mother had spent hours reminiscing about her father’s love for the theatre and history. It was his passion for the Lords and Ladies of the 18-19th Century that introduced Katie’s mother to her fascination with antiques, a fascination that Katie now shared.

Katie had listened for hours as her mother explained the history behind each piece. Isabelle could have been a history teacher, a fact Katie had pointed out on more
than one occasion. Isabelle seemed to know things about the past that Katie had never been able to find in history books. She had been in awe of the woman’s intricate explanations, rich with detail and feeling. She still was.

Come to think of it, as Katie grew older, she had started to notice subtle cha
nges in her mother. They would go to bed around 9.00PM most nights, but Katie was constantly woken between 1:00AM and 2:00AM to the sounds of laughter and voices wafting up from the costume shop below. Katie remembered asking Isabelle what she was doing in the shop in the middle of the night. Her mother’s answer came back surprisingly clear. Katie could even remember the way the lamplight made her face glow when she said it.

“Nothing dear. Just reading to myself out loud – something I like to do when I can’t sleep.”

It made sense then. Anything that made Isabelle happy made sense to Katie. But now… Katie had to wonder if that was some sort of side effect from her tumor. Did it make her do strange things? Talk to people who were not present? How long had it been growing within her, waiting to strike like a snake in the grass?

 

Meanwhile, tucked up in bed, Isabelle was dreaming.

Unbeknowns
t to Katie, Isabelle was in the midst of a passionate love affair with another man in Katie’s late teenage years. Katie had been at a delicate stage in her life then. Bringing a new man into it had seemed like a terrible idea. At the time, she felt she should keep it a secret. What Katie did not know could never hurt her.

He would come to visit Isabelle late at night after Katie had gone to sleep. He would stay until dawn and slip out before Katie woke up.

Isabelle took a very long time to get over the loss of her husband, Heath. In fact, she swore to herself that no other man would ever capture her heart like that again. No other man could hold a candle to him, let alone compare. That was, until the day a man walked into her life out of nowhere and changed it forever.

Isabelle remembered the first time she laid eyes on her lover. Katie was staying over at Chloe’s house that evening. Isabelle was unpacking boxes at the back of the store when she heard the shuffle of footsteps behind her. When she turned to see who it was, shock stopped her short. Standing near the door of the dressing room was the most exquisitely handsome man she had ever laid eyes on.

Strange that she did not hear the front bell chime… She must have been so deep into her work that she tuned it out.

He had easily tousled blond hair, a strong jawline with chiseled cheekbones, massively wide shoulders, a chest as broad as a bull, and the most vivid green eyes. They looked straight into the soul, plunging clean through any barriers like a diver through water. But it was his smile that took her breath away and sent a shiver of excitement down her spine. It was an expression so sincere, so radiant, so completely devoid of anything evil. It was mesmerizing.

They stared at one another. It felt as though time stopped for both of them.

Isabelle stood up. “Hello,” she started, hating the girlish lilt in her voice. She cleared her throat, dusting off her overalls. “I’m sorry. You startled me. We’re nearly closed.” Not to mention the fact that she had never seen the man around Westport before. “My name is Isabelle. May I help you with something?”

He extended his hand towards her, his palm turned up in warm welcome. “Hello, Isabelle. My name is James Walsh.” He paused; beholding her like one would a precious gem. “You do not know me, but you have been a part of my dreams for many months now. I thought it was time that we meet in person.”

Isabelle blinked, feeling her guard melting like candle wax.

For reasons inexplicable, Isabelle felt that she had known this man all her life. He went on to ask her if they could sit and chat. Isabelle felt intensely drawn to this stranger. She nodded. As she reached over and took his hand, her heart fluttered in a way that she had not felt in a very long time. The rusty organ, which had been dead to the male persuasion, was suddenly alive again. She sat down next to him as he shared his story. He told her who he was and how he came to know of her. He explained the history behind his family and the heirlooms that held the secret of their meeting. And she believed every word.

Isabelle remembered that day as clearly as if it was written in the pages of her favorite romance novel. They sat together for hours and hours, gazing into each other’s eyes as he spoke about his life, his family, his dreams, and how he had been searching for Isabelle for a very long time. Outside, the sun sank down behind the horizon. It seemed too good to be true, too hard to believe. Still, his charm was undeniable. His allure was absolute. She was putty in his hands; enraptured by his words.

This visit from James was the first of many more. In a very short period of time, Isabelle fell madly in love with him.

Isabelle still remembered the first time they made love. It was the day she closed the door on her past forever. It was the day she surrendered her heart and her body to the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with. It had been a magical, magnificent evening. Katie was away to source costumes for the store and Isabelle had the place all to herself. James had arrived early and she had prepared a romantic dinner by the open fireplace upstairs.

Isabelle said she had only made love to one man in her life before him. James was aware of Isabelle’s lingering affections for her late husband, whom had tragically passed away due to sickness. He spent many a night holding Isabelle tightly in his arms as she wept tears of grief for the man she lost so suddenly.

James understood that if he was to make Isabelle’s heart his own, that he must be patient in allowing her to heal. James had arrived, eagerly anticipating spending that evening with her. With Katie away, there was no need for them to hide their rendezvous in the costume shop. Tonight, he was free to profess his love to the woman who owned every fiber of his being and every beat of his heart.

As James entered the candlelit room and greeted Isabelle, he noticed a change in the eyes of the woman from his dreams. He felt a magic energy swelling between them, magnetic in its pull. For the first time, James knew that she was finally ready to be with him. He had been yearning for this moment since they met. He drew her to him and brushed his lips against her soft, glistening mouth.

A shiver of excitement and heat surged through his veins as his lips met hers. He could practically feel Isabelle spinning with ecstasy in his arms as she returned his passion, releasing sparks of electrifying emotions from every cell. James gazed down into the serene pools of her jewel-like black opals, searching for her full consent.

Isabelle slowly lifted her lips towards him, everything woman in her rousing everything male in him. Every movement enticed him.

“James, take me tonight,” she whispered ever so softly. “I want to be entwined with you forever.”

James gazed at her with a hungry desire and a burning passion. He scooped her into his arms and laid her gently by the fireside. Isabelle looked as though her heart was bursting through the bodice of her dress as she slowly undid the buttons of James’ shirt. Every slow, sensuous moment against her was delicious agony to him. James’ breathing was ragged as Isabelle reawakened new heights of desire that he could barely contain.

Sensations of lust blazed through Isabelle as she felt his burning desire through her thin cotton blouse. Her heart began to pound as his eyes seductively moved down her body devouring every inch of her luscious, succulent beauty. With strength that belied her delicate frame, Isabelle ripped the shirt from his body, gasping at the sheer beauty of the tanned rippling muscles glistening in the firelight. She slowly started to caress his boiling flesh, wanting to stir a yearning in his groin and an inten
se pleasure that James could never hide.

Isabelle could feel his white hot need as she drew him to her and pressed her body fully against him.

Sensations swept over her as James cupped her breast and the wet heat of his tongue started to explore her naked body, sending glorious explosions down her spine. Isabelle hungered to feel his lips on her burning skin as she dug her nails into his back with rapturous pleasure. Isabelle could wait no longer as the longing seized her.

“Make love to me, my darling,”
Isabelle pleaded, her voice heavy with adoration. She ached to feel the man she loved deep inside of her.

Other books

Girls at War by Chinua Achebe
The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello
A Whisper to the Living by Ruth Hamilton
If These Walls Could Talk by Bettye Griffin
Start by Odette C. Bell
Unexpected by Nevea Lane
Top Down by Jim Lehrer