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book righting time prologue by kat jaske

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A terrible mistake by time travelers has messed up their history. Can they convince the musketeers of seventeenth-century France to travel forward in time and help them capture the displaced villain?
Historical fiction and science fiction.

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National award winning author of the book
For Honor: An Adventure of What Might Have Been



  • "Some of best stories and best written books I have read in several years."
    Mark Myers - storyteller - Ohio

  • Selected by Las Vegas Green Valley High School for 2006 Reading Incentive Program

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For Honor ->>>
Gambit ->>>
Righting Time ->>>
Out of Phase ->>>

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Kat Jaske fencing with Frank Van Dyke of the Red Rock Fencing center in Las Vegas


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Read Righting Time by Kat Jaske

Pages 1-7 of the book

France, May 1641

Her majesty, the queen of France—a woman with a mission—hands thrust on her hips, bored down upon the younger woman. “Touch the pins at your own peril, Laurel.”

Laurel d’Anlass, marquise de Langeac, and a woman of nearly two and twenty, promptly dropped her hands from her waistline and stood stock still in the wedding dress the modiste had left her standing in for the past two hours.

Fittings. Shopping. More fittings. Laurel honestly did not know how she would survive it. A wedding was more hassle than it was worth, or so she was beginning to think. She had work to tend to, a spy network to run.

What ever had possessed her when she had agreed to marry the duc de Rouen? And this dress. Why it was patently ridiculous to be fitting her for a wedding dress right now. Everyone was rushing her to marry. Pressure to get her to the altar immediately, when she and Aramis had not even set a wedding date yet.

“Anne,” Laurel began with a note of real pleading in her tone, “I’m tired. Enough fittings for one day. Besides, as you know, I have other obligations that I must attend to.” All of them more desirable than this one––at least all that came to mind.

“Laurel d’Anlass,” Anne started in tones that would have caused most men and women to quake, including her own petulant husband. Then she sighed. “Help her out of the dress,” the dark-haired queen, roughly two years older than Laurel, instructed the modiste. “We’ll continue the fitting this Friday.” Even if she had to drag Laurel there herself.

Immediately the seamstress complied with the queen’s orders. As the gown was stripped from Laurel’s form, Anne broached the subject lesser mortals would have quaked at bringing up. “You will have to set a date, you know?” Already nearly five months had passed since the betrothal announcement without the couple having set a date for their wedding.

“I know,” Laurel admitted in an oddly deflated tone. “Aramis and I were going to talk about that very issue tomorrow. Please, Anne . . . no more. Give us time. We’re still getting used to the notion of marriage, particularly marriage to one another. Please.”

Anne shook her head. Laurel d’Anlass did beat all. Now she was more than met the eye—possibly more than Laurel herself knew. And knowing the marquise as she did, Anne would not be surprised were the woman to lead other women to question and oppose established patriarchal order. Give Laurel enough time and she might well be able to do anything, especially with the circle of friends she had drawn to her.

Lâche.” Anne accused the woman of cowardice. “You are avoiding Aramis,” she concluded, placing extra emphasis on the “are.” “Merci, that will be all,” Anne dismissed the modiste as she finished her task of freeing Laurel and helping her back into the afternoon dress. The modiste disappeared from the room.

A baby wailed in the background and Anne closed her eyes. Not again. But she had asked for it when she had insisted that she have more time with her son. Without further ado she retrieved her son, tucking his head against her bosom. The six and ten month old boy dropped silent as if on cue.

As the queen looked up from her baby and rested her eyes on the marquise, Laurel said nothing. “You are a coward, Laurel d’Anlass. Sometimes, you know, it takes more courage to risk loving than it does to follow a solitary path. Take the chance, Laurel. Not many of us ever get the chance you’ve been given.”

Laurel did not meet her friend’s eyes. She could not. Rather she diverted herself by adjusting the afternoon dress she wore so that less of her breasts were revealed. The blond-haired woman opened her mouth as if to speak, and then finding she could say nothing, closed her mouth once again.

Anne came closer, within touch of Laurel. Concern radiated from her eyes. “Laurel, what’s wrong? Laurel. Look at me. I can help if you will allow it. Tell me what’s wrong. Come on; do not lock everything inside.”

“Anne, what if.” Laurel stumbled over her words and then met Anne’s eyes again. The queen had never seen her friend more vulnerable. “Anne what if I don’t really love him or he doesn’t love me? . . . Oh Anne I just don’t think I can do it. What if I can’t satisfy him?”

“Satisfy him?”

“Well, you know.” Laurel blushed crimson and cleared her throat. “There are so many other women who want him. And—and I get so afraid, Anne, so afraid when he touches me. I just don’t know if I can—” Anne waited, silently encouraging. “If I can do what men and women do in the marriage bed.” The marquise shivered. Apprehensive, nervous, embarrassed––all at once. She could not pinpoint what.

So that was it. Laurel felt sexually inadequate and was terrified by the idea of having sex. Particularly the idea of having sex and being found cold or wanting. “Mon amie. Oh, Laurel. Aramis wants you and only you.” Laurel, if anything, appeared more forlorn, and the monarch was at a loss. Different approach, then. With more confidence than she felt, Anne started anew. “Now this is what you do, chérie. You go to Aramis’ residence dressed in your sexiest dress. Then you bolt the door, sit him down, and—”

“Anne . . .” Laurel interrupted, profoundly scandalized despite the fact that Laurel had seen and heard much worse during her years spying with her father and on missions with the musketeers, such as the one when they had captured one of France’s worst traitors. The one where she had first met Aramis, and he had learned to accept (more or less) her nonconventional behavior, independent way of thinking, love of swordplay, and other “inappropriate” behaviors for a young woman of her station. “I can’t just go seducing him.”

“Well, diantre Laurel!” Anne lost her not inconsiderable patience. “You won’t talk with him about sexual matters; you won’t try to get him to your bed so that he can teach you and put your fears to rest. You won’t take another man. What will you do then? All right. Look. I’m sorry and I know some of the suggestions are objectionable and completely inappropriate. Just think on it, Laurel. But don’t spend too much time thinking. You do have to act.”

Laurel nodded slowly and leaned down and pressed a swift kiss to Anne’s cheek. “I promise.” She tried to assure the other woman as well as her own self. The marquise de Langeac offered her queen a farewell and escaped toward the door.

Before she could step through, the queen’s voice captured her attention. “Just remember,” she said, “no matter what happens, I will always be here for you. Always. And I am not the only one, either.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

A mysterious hum undercut the chirping of the spring crickets, only for an instant, and then was gone, to be replaced with an even briefer flash of gold and blue light. As the haze disappeared, a figure took several steps and glanced around. Several locks of sandyblond hair were whipped into his face by the wind.

The bearded man paid it no mind. Nothing here mattered anymore—except . . . well, except the goal of his mission. He fingered the minuscule, pen-shaped unit by his side. Executioner was still there. A second later he remembered to place the handheld linkup inside his pouch. He took a deep breath and smelled the air. Yes! He was on French soil and, more importantly, he was back! Back in 1641.

One more time he fingered the executioner; then, all other thoughts pushed aside, he started purposefully toward Paris. He had a long overdue appointment to keep. His vengeance had been deferred much too long.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

After bidding Porthos good night, Aramis mounted the last of the stairs to his room. For several moments he stood poised on the threshold of the room assigned to him while he stayed in Paris. One more time his thoughts drifted back to his large, boisterous comrade. Porthos was unhappy; Aramis was sure of it. The man had been trying too hard to be jovial and carry on like nothing had happened. Aramis, duc de Rouen, knew better than to be fooled. The mighty Porthos had been felled by that thing called love, and an impossible love at that, if Aramis was guessing aright.

“God bless you.” Aramis sent the blessing on the retreating form of his fellow musketeer. May God watch over him too—Porthos needed it right now.
Once again the duc turned his attention to his door and opened it. In a few lithe strides he was inside and closing the door behind him. With a deft flick of his wrist he locked the door and then leaned back against it, head staring up at the shadowed recesses of the ceiling and the odd way the moon and the stars illuminated the texture.

Suddenly every muscle in his body tensed. He was not alone. Instinctively he reached to his left and drew his sword, whirling around to meet his opponent.

Just as he whirled he hesitated, and his sword fell from its ready position. “Laurel.” Foolish woman. She should know better than to sneak into his room like this. He might have killed her. Belatedly he sheathed his sword and focused his attention on the woman in front of him.

Non, please, don’t say it. I should not have surprised you like this,” the marquise admitted, her voice soft and earnest. She took a quick breath to fortify herself and then looked her fiancé straight in the eye without so much as flinching. “I, I just wanted to see you.”

“Oh, I see,” he replied, though he was more baffled than he had been moments earlier. Laurel was being too polite, or at least more polite than she usually was to him. He took a step closer to her and took a quick gasp of breath. It was almost inaudible, but it sounded louder to Aramis as he gazed upon the blond-haired woman.

Never before had he seen Laurel wearing a dress like that, scandalously low cut and one that most married women wouldn’t dare sport, let alone a respectable single woman. He found that he could not raise his eyes from the expanse of exposed shoulder and bosom. He took himself to task. “What did you want to see me about?” He thought his voice sounded at least somewhat normal.

Laurel smiled. The smile was more confident than she actually felt. “I see you noticed the dress.” As if she couldn’t think of anything more inane to say!

“Well diantre, Laurel! What did you expect? Of course I noticed the dress!” He plunged a hand through his raven-black hair, and in that action Laurel could tell Aramis was truly discomfited. “I hardly think I need tell you that it is wholly inappropriate for a lady of your station.”

“Shut up,” Laurel snapped, exasperated and overwrought. “You’re the only one who’s seen me in it, so don’t worry your overdeveloped sense of propriety.” Though, truth be told, she found the dress far too revealing for her sense of modesty too. Oddly enough, Laurel was coming to think that she was more modest than most women, and she was definitely beginning to seriously rethink the wisdom of this course of action. Yet, the scandalous things she had seen and heard from supposedly chaste unmarried women alone . . . She did not complete the thought as Aramis’ voice interrupted her musings.“Laurel, I.” She saw him swallow. “I think you had better go.”

“Why?” was her simple response, and she heard him start to explain something about propriety. Laurel sighed, scared and disappointed, maybe even resigned, at the same time. “So you have no interest in kissing me then?” Now, where had those words come from? And was it possible to take them back without really appearing the fool?

Aramis froze. “I did not say that.” The collar of his tunic felt too tight.

Fingertips brushed his cheek, and he felt a warm breath. For a moment he thought he felt those fingertips tremble. “Then kiss me, Aramis.” Please don’t make me beg, she added silently, wondering from where this alternate her had suddenly emerged.

Reluctantly, and with all the discipline he could muster, he pushed her hand down and started to tell her she should go, but she didn’t let him finish. “I’m sorry. If you don’t want . . . I shouldn’t . . . I don’t know what I was thinking. I’d better go,” she finally stuttered to a finish.

Chérie. That’s precisely it. I do want,” he whispered in her ear, and her eyes suddenly locked on his. He could sense her nervousness; however, she did not run. Her eyes, they dared him. Beckoning. He didn’t put it off any longer; he twined his hand in her long hair, pulling it from its pins, and covered her mouth with his. She shivered and sighed, falling against him. Close, but not close enough. His free hand traced the contour of her body up to the bodice of her dress and then paused there.

“So, you are no better than a whore. Well, you’ll never have her again, Aramis,” another voice intruded, and Aramis and Laurel did not even have time to break apart as a shot of blazing light streamed from the window. The marquise screamed in tortured agony as the beam impacted with her spinal cord, eating away and fusing neurons, warping molecular structure. The impulse traveled further up her spine, and she writhed in agony.

Aramis dropped to his knees, struggling to support the woman’s convulsing body. Desperately, his hands shaking, he searched for some sign of the wound the assailant had inflicted. Nothing. Laurel’s cries and throes were going weaker. Still nothing.

Once again he tried, his hands searching everywhere. Then suddenly she was still. He shook her, but she did not move. Aramis’ hands frantically tried for a pulse. There was none. No breathing either.

Non.” He shook his head in denial and looked up to see the figure perched in his window, unmoved emotionally or physically by the scene he had just instigated. A slow, malicious smile spread across the other man’s face. “My debt is now paid in full,” he said in a voice that Aramis recognized.

The musketeer jumped to his feet and dashed for the window, drawing his sword. “Konrad. You devil’s spawn. You’re going to wish you were dead when I’m finished with you.”

Konrad shrugged his shoulders and shifted his position. “Give my condolences to the others,” he told the duc flippantly, and Aramis, his face set grimly and sword at ready, stalked forward.

“You will pay.” Aramis’ voice was frigid.

“Only if you can find me, Aramis,” Konrad replied and jumped from his purchase on the window. By the time Aramis was able to dash from his place and jump out the window, the Prussian had vanished.

NON!” the duc screamed in anguish and then screamed again. Finally he fell silent. Not Laurel. But there was no further denial that Laurel had been murdered. “I will catch you, Konrad. My promise to God.”

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