Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New Release: The Test of Time

by Nicole Zoltack

All that stands between Katia and finding the love of her life is the test of time.

Katia jumps at the chance to go to England with her best friend after Rose ditches her deadbeat boyfriend. While walking through the market, she spies a large mansion and recognizes the guy out front as her high school friend Tony. Just as they start to reconnect, Katia passes through times and lands in the arms of Lord Landon, who looks like Tony but certainly doesn’t act like him.

Soon, Katia learns that this 1815 is different from the one in history books. Trapped in a parallel world, Katia struggles to not fall for Landon but his charm proves too much for her. Just when she is about to confess her love for him, Katia travels through time yet again.

The course of love never did run smooth and if Katia can’t figure out and master the test of time, she’ll never see or friends again, or worse, never be reunited with Landon.


About the Author:
Nicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranormal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes, or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys. She enjoys riding horses (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. To learn more about Nicole and her writing, visit

Available for purchase at:
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Katia Willgrave stared at the vendor's products. A blue silk scarf drew her attention, but the price the British salesman asked for was more than she could afford. Not if she wanted to be able to buy dinner tonight.
She glanced up. Most of the rest of her travel group had already made their way down the street, but still she dawdled, enjoying the sights and the sounds. She and her best friend had settled on this trip after Rose ditched her jerk wad of a boyfriend. Originally, Rose and Derek had planned it together.
His loss, my gain. She breathed in the fresh air. Some moisture hung in the air, but she did not mind, having spent a good deal of her childhood in Seattle. Then her father's job relocated their family to the East Coast.
But she did not want to think about her father right now, think about her own losses.
Rose was haggling with another vendor, and Katia smiled. If anyone knew how to get their way, it was Rose. She flipped her blond hair over her shoulder, and Katia snickered. The vendor didn't stand a chance. The pink tips of Rose's hair caught the last streaming remnants of sunlight.
After catching Derek hooting around, Rose had dragged Katia to the beauty parlor. In solidarity, Katia had the last inch of her almost black hair dyed a midnight blue. Only when the light caught her hair just right was the blue visible. She had expected to hate the color and figured she'd have it cut off in a week, but it had lasted a month now, and she often thought about dying it all to match.
Wouldn't Bob die if I did? Her boss was a stickler for everything. The editor-in-chief of the biggest newspaper in Philadelphia, he was no-nonsense and expected the same from his employees. I'm just glad he gave me the time off.
Her feet had continued walking as her mind wandered, and she reached the edge of the street. The rest of the group headed to the east, following their guide like lost sheep.
Feeling impulse, Katia moved to the west. The land stretched out here, into soft hills, and she just wanted to see the sights over the ridge. She'd keep the tour group in sight.
She reached the crest. A tall, mansion stood in the distance, majestic and awe-inspiring. Before Katia could grab her camera, a hand touched her arm. Rose, wearing new huge dangling earrings, sported a wide grin. "You wanna get lost?"
"Why not?" Katia smiled back. She had never felt more relaxed since she had come. Between the stress of deadlines and the incompetent nature of her staff—Bob liked to hire those with less qualifications to save a few bucks—Katia needed this as much as Rose did, albeit for different reasons.
"Find a hot English guy first," Rose reasoned, her grin growing wider.
"Like that guy you were chatting up at the café at lunch?"
They fell into step together as they rejoined the tail edge of the group. "Precisely. He's taking me out to dinner tonight. Henry." She all but swooned.
"You and your rebounds." Katia shook her head.
"Hey!" Rose knocked her hip into Katia's. "Okay, well, Derek had been a rebound. Maybe a rebound of a rebound is different. I mean, it's not like I want to marry the guy. Just hear him talk. Gotta love an accent."
Katia couldn't disagree there.
"Besides, you haven't gone out in forever yourself."
"I've gone out," Katia protested.
"I don't mean with me." Rose pursed her full, pink-painted lips. She had no problem getting guys to ask for her number or to buy her drinks. Katia, on the other hand, didn't. Work was all she had time for. Especially after…
Not now.
"Don't worry. I promise I won't eat dinner by myself since you're ditching me."
Rose's eyes took on a faraway look. "Henry… Remind me to ask him if he has a brother."
Katia laughed. Their tour guide shot them a "hurry up" look but they meandered, taking their time. What else was the point of a vacation? Their first time in Europe. They definitely wanted to take it all in.
Maybe after dinner, she could come back and snap a picture of that mansion. Ever since she was a little girl, she had always imagined she'd live in a place like that. Strange how similar the mansion resembled her dream one.


By the time dinner rolled around, and Rose had left for her date, looking like a model in a slick red dress and cute wedge sandals, Katia opted for a stroll by her lonesome. Their tour guide had repeated to them all endlessly not to stray from the group, but it would not be late for hours, and besides, this was England. Everyone spoke English. It wasn't as if she was in Germany or Spain. She'd be fine.
Her own sandals soon dug into her toes, and Katia untied them and carried them over her shoulder. Down into market she went and beyond, back to the same hill as before. The mansion crept into view like a castle floating above a mist. A fog had rolled in, making the mansion seem more dreamlike than before. With turrets and towers on either end, numerous windows, arches and flags, the building seemed too perfect to be real.
Mesmerized by its beauty, almost unaware of what she was doing, Katia moved toward the mansion. Despite the distance between them, she drew nearer far quicker than she would have thought. Rose bushes lined the paved walkway leading up to the front door, the grass trimmed short and impossibly green.
One perfect rose caught her gaze, and she bent down to sniff it. The floral scent filled her nose, and she closed her eyes, drinking it in.
"Can I help you?"
Broken from whatever trace had called her here, Katia jerked up and backward until she bumped into the twin bush on the other side of the walkway. A thorn snagged her skin. Not completely perfect after all.
"I…" She took in the man before her, his bare chest and heaving muscles. A bead of sweat eased down the ripples of his abs, and she forced her gaze up to his face. "Tony, is that you?"
Nearly impossible to recognize the scrawny, nerdy boy from high school as the man standing in front of her. A lot had happened since they graduated in six years.
"In the flesh." He glanced down at his bare chest, and a flush colored his cheeks. "What are you doing here, Katia?"
Knowing she couldn't return his question although she was dying to know why he was here—perhaps he works here—Katia gestured to the mansion. Up close, mansion did not seem to fit how massive the house was. "I wanted a closer look," she explained lamely.
He chuckled and ran a cloth over his face before draping it over one huge shoulder. "Want a tour?"
"I would love one."
Tony Wilson moved toward the front door, but she hesitated. "I had assumed you wanted a tour of the interior." He cocked his head to the side, his eyebrows raising, disappearing within his bushy brown hair.
In high school, he'd always sported a crew cut. This style, wild and crazy, just begging to be fixed, suited him quite well. Ugh, I'm going to turn into Rose at this rate.
She cleared her throat and stared at his mud-coated sneakers.
"What is it?" He crossed his arms, his muscles flexing with the simple movement. "You have that look in your eye."
"What look?"
"The 'I'm dying to ask a question' look." His chuckle was as warm and inviting as it had been in high school, and she joined in, just like old times. She had never had this flutter in her chest back then, though. Each year, she had had a different crush, but she had never fallen for her good old friend Tony.
Unable to hold back any longer, Katia burst out, "What are you doing here? What is this place? What have you been up to? Why didn't you go to our high school reunion last year? You never kept in touch like you said you would."
Tony laughed again. "Poke a hole in the dam and a flood of questions pour forth. Should've known better. I'm here because this…" He held out his arms. "…is mine."
Katia lifted her gaze from him to the mansion to the rose bushes to the lawn and back to Tony. "All of it?"
He nodded. "My grandparents lived here for years. There was some kind of mix up with the deed for a while and then my parents died and somehow, yeah, Philamore Mansion is mine."
"Wait, your parents died?" Curse her and her reporter mind for wanting to know every detail. She crossed the distance between them and placed her hand on his arm. Wow, rock hard biceps. "I am so sorry."
A veiled look crossed his eyes for a moment before disappearing. "So once the deed was changed to be in my name, I moved here. Wasn't making any name for myself with my screenplays anyhow. Too tough a business. Instead, I've been fixing up the place and working here and there, doing what I can." He nodded to the left, where a hole was dug. "Gonna plant a tree there, for shade. Far enough to not block direct view of the mansion. I'll plant another over there." Tony pointed to the right. "I forget what question was next."
Her mouth turned dry. How she wanted to open up to him, to share with him her own misery so that he didn't have to feel so alone, but she couldn't bring herself too. The hurt in his eyes had been so great as it was. She would not risk adding to it. "Our reunion."
But the pain returned to his blue eyes. "Too busy," he said, his voice clipped and curt. "Next."
"Wasn't a question so I'll rephrase. Why didn't you keep in touch after we graduated?"
"It takes two to keep in touch," he pointed out.
True. Oh so true. Katia could have called or texted or emailed. She was just as much to blame as he was. A lump formed in her chest, and she failed to rub it away. "I'm here with my college roommate, Rose. She's into sports medicine. A real fitness nut. Thought about being a fitness model but she likes chocolate a little too much."
Tony nodded politely. "And you? World famous reporter yet?"
"Have you read any of my articles?"
He shook his head. "Can't say I have. Not any that weren't under the heading Mount Holly High."
"Then I'm not world famous yet. I am a reporter though."
"Good for you. Now, about that tour…"
At that moment, Katia's stomach grumbled. Heat rose to her face, and she crossed her arms over her stomach, praying he hadn't heard it. Her mother used to say her stomach could wake the dead.
And of course, Tony heard it. His grin erased her discomfort. "I'm hungry too. First stop, the kitchen."
"No, no, I don't mean to impose."
That laugh again. So relaxing, the antithesis of his anguish. She'd do anything to keep him happy. "You marched on to private property but no, you didn't mean to impose." His gaze traveled over her body, noting her summer dress, her bare feet, and windblown hair. A strand blew into her face, and he caught it. Another gust of wind blew it out of his hand. "Blue," he noted, his voice colored with surprise.
"You like?"
"It suits you. Now, before you stomach demands substance again…"
She scowled.
He held out his arm for her to take. Once she did, he led her toward the house. "Don't act like this is the first time I've heard it. Come."
They passed pillars on their way to the front door, which creaked upon opening. A few boards groaned beneath their feet as they walked inside. Katia gasped. They were standing in a ballroom straight out of the days of old.
"My grandparents kept this floor in great condition. The others, not so much." He removed his sneakers and allowed her a few minutes to walk around, to see the various paintings up close, to take in the ornate crown molding, before moving past a curtain to a concealed hallway.
"I thought your grandparents lived in Manhattan."
"My father's parents did. This belonged to my mother's parents. I never met them. They hated planes, or so I was told."
Planes. Katia shuddered.
"Are you cold?" Tony entered the massive kitchen. The island in the center alone was a large as the kitchen Katia and Rose shared in their apartment back home. No, the island had to be larger. Despite being outfitted with a double oven, as well as one built into the island, and other modern commodities, even the kitchen had an old-time feel to it. "I can get you a coat."
"I'm fine." But she wasn't. Her mouth had grown so dry Niagara Falls could not moisten it. Her breathing grew short, and her vision spotted. She had attempted to sit onto one of the stools near the island, but she missed. Down she fell, and her head connected with the ground.

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