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Time Raiders: The Seduction

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Time Raiders: The Seduction
Cindy Dees

Dr. Athena Carswell is on the brink of making time travel possible–until the Department of Defense sends Colonel Peter Grafton to oversee her work. The hot young officer is a serious distraction, especially when his psychic abilities reveal their mutual attraction!However, there are others interested in Athena's work, too–people who will use any force necessary to get their hands on her research. But when it comes to protecting Athena, nothing will stand in Peter's way. . . not even time itself. An eBook-exclusive prequel to the TIME RAIDERS series from Silhouette Nocturne!

Time Raiders: The Seduction

Cindy Dees

www.millsandboon.co.uk (http://www.millsandboon.co.uk)

The Beginning

Fifty thousand years ago, after discovering that human females carried a nascent genetic potential that might one day develop into the ability to star navigate, the Galactic Council planted a dozen pieces of a bronze disc, known as the Karanovo stamp across the Earth, hidden in darkness until mankind advances enough to travel through time and find them.

And then, out of the ashes of the mystery-shrouded Roswell Alien crash in 1947 arose a secret research project called Anasazi. Its improbable goal: learn to use the recovered alien technology for the purposes of time travel.

However, the discovery of an ancient journal, known as the Ad Astra, has given Professor Athena Carswell the information she needs to begin sending modern time travelers back through human history in search of the twelve pieces of the Karanovo Stamp. This stamp, when fully reassembled, will send a signal across the galaxy to the Council, indicating that mankind is ready to be introduced to the rest of the galactic community.

Threats loom on the horizon, both from humans who would see the project ended—or worse, steal its work and use it for nefarious ends—and from the Centauri Federation, which will do anything to stop humans from learning how to navigate the stars…

Chapter 1

Not long ago, in the early days of Project Anasazi

Red Rock University

Flagstaff, Arizona

Athena Carswell jolted upright in her leather recliner as a jovial male voice shattered the lab’s deep silence. “Sheesh! You guys look like you’re putting on a funeral! Who died around here?”

“You’re about to,” she snapped. “You just ruined two hours’ worth of data collection and a week’s worth of setup.” She carefully removed an elaborate headband with trailing wires from her head, then whirled in irritation to throw the intruder out.

Wow. She stopped abruptly. The intruder was a serious hunk. Her gaze swept down, then up again. He was tall, athletic and ruggedly gorgeous, with neat brown hair and a sportsman’s tan. But it was his piercing blue eyes that stopped her cold. He was going to make a beautiful corpse when she finished strangling him.

He had the gall to sweep his own gaze assessingly down her body. Abruptly, she was aware of her silk blouse and the way it clung to her curves, the constriction of her bra beneath it, the way her wool skirt hugged her hips rather more closely than she’d like at the moment.

His eyes lit with heat. And that was a definite smirk playing at the corners of his mouth. She didn’t know whether to fan herself or be mortally offended.

Pretty Boy snorted skeptically. “Didn’t seem much like data collection going on. Looked to me like you were sleeping on the job.”

She scowled, insulted at the insinuation that she’d been goofing off. She retorted, “I was trying to control my brain wave output and sync it up to the computer. Being relaxed and comfortable helps.”

He strolled over to the console that housed the powerful mainframe computer they were trying to program to duplicate and amplify human brain waves by several orders of magnitude. She watched him warily. He glanced up at her suddenly, catching her staring at him like a drooling idiot.

Collecting herself, she said sharply, “Uh, excuse me. But didn’t you see the big red Keep Out sign posted on the door? You’re not supposed to be in here.”

He spun to face her, flashing a thousand-watt smile straight off a daytime soap opera. “Ah, but I am. Supposed to be here, that is. I just inherited this outfit.” He made eye contact and purred at her, “Which is to say I’m your new boss.”

Athena stared. “Some colonel is being sent out from Washington to oversee our project.” This guy was altogether too young and…hot…to be a stuffy army colonel specializing in advanced sine wave resonance research.

“Colonel Peter Grafton, U.S. Army, Advanced Research Center, at your service.” He executed an exaggeratedly gallant bow that looked as if it belonged in a Cinderella movie. “You can call me Pete if you like.” His eyes twinkled devilishly as he added, “Or you can just call me sir.”

Hah! She retorted, “I’m a civilian. I’m not required to ‘sir’ anybody, thank you very much.”

He shrugged. “I’ve always thought being called sir is a sign of respect that should be earned, anyway.”

Athena bit back a snarky comment about the likelihood of his ever earning the title from her. But now this cocky jerk happened to control the purse strings to her continued research, and she couldn’t afford to antagonize him. She mumbled a curse under her breath. She’d hated the idea of going to the military for funding, but her team had had no choice. It was that or shut down. Their previous grant from the government was about to expire, and their work was too classified to take to the public sector to fund.

Project Anasazi was so close to success. Just a few more months, maybe even a matter of weeks, and she’d find the last remaining piece of the puzzle. And then…

…and then mankind would have mastered time travel.

With a little help from a piece of alien technology recovered from the 1947 Roswell crash, of course. It hadn’t taken sixty years plus to crack the technology…it had taken almost all of those years to figure out what the crown-like apparatus found on the alien pilot’s head actually did. But after that, it had been a simple matter of learning to interface with the crown. Well, not simple. The math behind brain wave amplification was horrendous. But today’s computers made the calculations possible, and at speeds rapid enough to make using the crown a possibility.

Her studies showed that if the user was a psychic of sufficient power, it should be possible to project an object, or even a person, back and forth through time.

“So. Is that the famous crown I’ve read about?” Grafton commented from shockingly close by. A faint whiff of his aftershave tickled her nose. The subtle scent was green and woodsy. And manly. And wholly addictive.

She tucked the crown carefully in its protective nest beside her chair, making sure not to catch the wires on anything. “Yup, that’s it.”

“Have you figured out how to duplicate it yet?” he asked.

She retorted, “First we have to figure out how the crown works. Then maybe I can build you another one.”

Grafton frowned. “So, there’s no backup if something happens to this one?”

She sighed. That worried her, too. “No. We’d be dead in the water as far as time travel goes. For a while, at any rate. However, we’ve learned the general principles of time travel from the crown, and given what we’re learning now about brain wave amplification, I’d think in another fifty years or so we could figure it out for ourselves.”

“But your report said you don’t think we have that long until something bad happens—”

She cut him off sharply. “My office. Now.”

His eyebrows shot up and he studied her far too intently for comfort. It felt as if he was all but stripping her naked with his burning blue eyes. And at the thought, her body suddenly felt entirely too hot.

She tried to cover up her gaff by adding hastily, “Cup of coffee, Colonel? I can give you an overview of the program and then walk you through where we are now.”

Thankfully, the good colonel was not slow on the uptake. “Coffee. Great. I had to get up at the crack of dawn to fly here this morning.”

Athena caught the curious gazes of a couple of the computer techs. She really hoped they hadn’t heard that ‘not long until something bad happens’ comment from Grafton. She’d deliberately kept that part of the project from her team. They were already under enough pressure what with all the funding problems they’d had. They didn’t need to know that the fate of the world rested on their heads, too.

The moment her office door closed, Grafton whirled to face her. “What’s up?” he asked shortly. Impatient energy poured off of him, and her breathing accelerated to match it. He was such a man’s man. Definite alpha male.

She replied, “The staff hasn’t seen the classified document you have. They’re not aware of the deadline looming over this project.”

“Why the hell not? They’ll work faster if they know what they’re up against.”

Facing him felt like trying to stand against the force of a hurricane. Lord, he was overwhelming. She was a scholar and an academic, and lived in a quiet world of study and thought. She wasn’t up to dealing with this tornado of a man. But she didn’t have much choice in the matter. Funding and Grafton…or no Project Anasazi.

She tried to explain her decision. “They already give me a hundred percent. And what we do takes tremendous attention to detail. Absolute precision. I can’t afford to have anyone racing through their work and making a mistake. Lives depend on us getting this right.”
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