Book 2 > Highlanders Through Time
New Orleans, Louisnanna , Present Day
Greyson and his brothers dropped the silver cross at the same time, the Persian rug capturing it’s fall. Staring at it, and then each other, none of them spoke again. Even Ian was stunned into silence, a rarity for the youngest McCaim brother.
“What the hell just happened?” Reikhart asked.
His brother must be aware none of them had the answer. Greyson continued to stare at the spot his older brother Rhys had been standing the moment before. It simply could not be.
“No,” Greyson recoiled from the circle that had broken up when Rhys simply vanished. “No.”
“Grey, he’s gone.”
The terror in Ian’s voice penetrated as Greyson realized the one person that held them together had just disappeared with the final word of the chant none of them thought would work. Now both his brothers looked at him as if Greyson would know what to say. What do do.
But he had. . . nothing.
Pacing the length of his father’s grand study, he scoured the stacks of ancient books, scattered papers, and scrolls that littered the floor and desk for a clue. Rhys was here, somewhere. He had to be. Pushing open the French doors, Greyson’s ignored his brothers’ calls from behind. Down the marble entranceway to the back doors, he called Rhys’ name, his pulse rising in temp with his steps. He could hear his own screams becoming more and more desperate with each room he searched.
And there were plenty of them.
McCaim Shipping had been good to them. But millions of dollars meant nothing. His father lay in a hospital, all but brain dead. His brother had just disappeared into thin air. Expensive portraits, imported vases. They meant nothing.
Which was just as well since one of those vases was just smashed against the hardwood floor courtesy of his baby brother. Who, at twenty-seven, wasn’t quite a baby any longer. He only had three years over Ian, but it might as well be a lifetime.
Get a grip Greyson, they need you.
“Ian,” he grabbed his brother’s shoulder. “Ian.”
He didn’t hear him. Reikhart joined him, both of them calling Ian’s name as the former football star crumbled to the ground in a heap. Reikart covered his body, holding him like a wee babe as his mother would say. Greyson did the same.
Each sob cut into him, a reminder that there was no one left to give his brother comfort.
“We will figure this out,” he said, regaining the control that should not have left him. But to be fair, his brother did disappear from the study. They could call his name all day but he knew. Greyson knew he was gone.
“How?” Reikhart asked, nodding down to the heap that was their brother. “How will we figure this out? Jesus, Grey. What the hell just happened?”
Damned if he knew. But he could guess.
“He had to have been right.”
Ian pushed them off at that, his large body easily breaking away from his brothers’ grip. “Do you know what you’re saying?”Ian’s chest heaved, his outburst apparently over.
Greyson would give him one thing, his little brother didn’t give a shit if he had just cried like a baby or tossed a $1,500 vase against the wall. Some days he wished he could come back as Ian. Right now, though, none of them needed two temperamental McCaim brothers. What they really needed was his father. Or Rhys. But his father was in a coma in the hospital and Rhys was gone. That left him.
“I know exactly what I’m saying.”
And it was fucking insane.
Standing, he held out a hand, and Ian grabbed hold. Pulling his brother up, Greyson made his way back to the study.
Before they joined him and could notice, he closed his eyes and took a deep steadying breath.
Wait until the reporters got a hold of this one.
Opening his eyes, Greyson knelt down and wound his fingers through the cool silver cross. An ancient cross, as if it were. . .
Hundreds of years old.
Lifting it, he turned toward Reikart and Ian. Just as before, it was cold to the touch. More than cold, a sensation of being outside ran through him, even stronger than it had before.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it worked. There’s no other explanation. You saw what I saw, Rhys disappeared. Which means dad was right.”
“Yeah,” Ian shook his head, still adrenaline-filled.. “That makes total sense. Mom didn’t actually disappear five years ago. She time-traveled from the past and, ‘poof,’ just went back home instead. And now Rhys has gone back too. Poor bastard always wanted to go to Scotland again.”
If Rhys were here, he’d have something to say about his brother’s smart ass tone. Greyson ignored it. He could understand Ian’s anger. And Reikart’s look of disbelief. But they weren’t really left with much of a choice here.
“Grey,” Reikart tried to reason. “You cannot seriously believe that? What Ian said?” Reikart cut a dismissive hand through the air toward Ian.
And yet, “What’s the alternative?” Greyson demanded.
He waited for either one of them to give a better reason why, after scouring his father›s study for clues, finding the chant and gripping that silver cross, Rhys disappeared. It was absolutely crazy. Insane. But just before his dad slipped into a coma earlier that night, he’d asked this of them-to come here and try to go back through time to find their mom. His beloved wife. .
Same thing he’d been asking for the last five years. Imploring his four sons to believe him, to believe their mom didn’t just simply disappear. To believe, in fact, she was from the 13th century and had possibly been pulled back.
They thought their father crazy and had even gone so far as forcing him to step down as CEO of McCaim Shipping, Rhys taking the helm instead. But what other explanation was there for what they had just witnessed with their own eyes?
This wasn’t a position he was accustomed to, and as much as he always relished the idea of being in it, having two expectant set of eyes on him, waiting for him to pull answers out of his ass. . . it put more pressure on him than any deal he’d ever closed in his life.
“We’re going to try it again.”
Both Reikart and Ian erupted at once. He immediately cut them off.
“We’re going to try it again, and this time we all go back.”
“Pfft. Back through time you mean?” Ian clearly still didn’t believe what his eyes showed him were real.
“Didn’t we try to do just that?” Reikart asked. “ But Rhys is gone. And we’re still here.” Reik had not said ‘dumbass’ but his look said it.
Greyson glared, but his brother was right. They needed a contingency plan.
“We try it again, and if anyone stays, they just keep trying and trying until we get to the bottom of this.”
The contingency plan was shit, but it was all they had. Greyson pretended he wasn’t absolutely terrified.
Neither of his Brothers looked convinced.
No one said aloud what he was sure all three of them were thinking. That his mother, and now Rhys, could be dead. Did it kill you, travelling through time? Who the hell knew when it wasn’t supposed to be possible in the first place.
He thought of his father, how he’d been before mom disappeared. Determination had defined him. He’d built a billion-dollar shipping company from one ship he’d spent his life-savings to purchase.
“Mom. Rhys. They could be in trouble.”
And that was all it took. With those five words, his brothers grabbed the Celtic cross again as they glanced at the wall where Rhys had scribbled the chant, one that meant nothing to him but probably did to his his Gaelic-speaking brother, on a piece of paper and tacked it next to dad’s map.
They read the words together, slowly, carefully, Greyson’s sheer will keeping his hands from shaking.
“Talamh, èadhar, teine, usige ga thilleadh dhachaigh.”