Time Eternal

Lily Morgan
Time Eternal


Hartwood Publishing
Release Date
October 2014
Book 1 of Time Series
Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Time Travel

Time Eternal is the story of Skyla Gray, a TSCAA agent in the present day, and Rei Dusan, the crown prince of the sixteenth-century Serbian Empire, who has traded his soul to the gods so he can travel through time to find his one true love, Elizabeth Magini.

The story opens with Agent Gray time-ported to an underground bank vault. Her mission is to retrieve a device, but someone else has gotten there first. More maddening is that she recognizes this man's voice even though she cannot remember ever having met him before. Sent back to the present day by this stranger, she finds the life she knew slowly beginning to unravel…and learns that the stranger is not the only one who has been looking for her these past five centuries.

At the Last Battle, Rei Dusan lay dying alongside his father, his brothers, and his countrymen, when a handmaiden from the gods offered him a bargain: his soul and his eternal pledge to do the gods' bidding in exchange for immortality. With his life, he will avenge his family, his country, and his beloved Elizabeth, who sacrificed her life to save his. He accepted the bargain with the gods only to later discover Elizabeth did not perish in the fire.

Will Skyla remember who she really is? What Rei meant to her—to Elizabeth? Will she accept Rei in her present life, where she is no longer a helpless young girl needing rescue from an evil Medici lord, but an ass-kicking agent fighting terrorists for a living? And how will Rei answer to the gods when they find out he has defied their orders? Will there be a happily ever after for Rei and Skyla?

Time Eternal is the first book of the Time series, which tells the story of the men and women who are part of a secret government agency, fighting not garden-variety terrorists but the gods and their enemies, who are facing off in a final showdown. Should their wars not be contained, the world will go up in flames—literally.

BOOK INTERVIEW on March 2015
Interview by Laura

Lily, welcome to The Romance Reviews. We're excited to hear your first book in the Time series!

Q: What inspired the Time Series? What is it about?

My inspirations come from different places--my work, my friends, things I've read, things that I've loved since I was a little girl, especially things that are very different from my day job.

After being an avid romance novel reader for many years, I've started having an itch, needing to create something similar for myself - a world where good and evil are not that clear cut, where good people have to make sacrifices and evil people had their own stories to tell. When the 2007 financial tsunami was happening in US and around the world, I had a front row seat, watching my "work" world literally toppling. I was lucky though. The company I worked for back then was completely insulated from the devastation so I had the leisure to observe the world as it turned, like a bystander and my mind just wouldn't stop thinking ... what ifs ... What if President Roosevelt didn't push for the Banking Act of 1933? How much worse the public panic would have been without the FDIC insurance which was designed to stop this exact type of pandemonium.

Then a bunch of what-ifs went through my head as I was watching the world financial markets going up in flames, figuratively speaking. Day after day, I was watching multinational, household name financial companies crumbling down. I was dumbstruck by how fast the stock markets around the world got wiped out in a matter of days and weeks. I was saddened by the knowledge of good hard-working people losing most of their retirement nest eggs. All because our world and our economy have become so intertwined.

So these are the first set of building blocks of the Time Series - what-ifs and how much worse off we could have been if just one small fact in history was altered. After getting these building blocks down, I needed a pair of heroine and hero for an epic journey. And what could be more epic than eternal love, right? As I was talking to a few friends about my idea, the Romeo and Juliette theme kept coming up - two younger lovers, their undying love for each that would transcend over hatred, death, and time. But I didn't want the hero to be all white knight. Instead I wanted him to be darker than black coffee (and I love black coffee). I wanted him to hate the world because of his constant struggles against it, against fate. I wanted him to feel all alone so that the heroine could bring him back to the light.

And that's where Rei Dusan, a Serbian prince, a hardened warrior who has watched his family and homeland annihilated, and Elizabeth Magini, a gentle, brainiac Renaissance young lady, come in. Elizabeth later became Skyla, an ass-kicking agent of a secret counter-terrorism agency who held the technology to travel through time.

Elizabeth was Rei's light, his soul, his salvation and he knew it. He was going to give up everything, even his family and his empire, for her. Then their lives were threatened and she chose to sacrifice her life for his. This made Rei even colder, darker. He then traded his soul with the gods for the power to find her again. He followed the gods' orders without questioning. Sometimes he killed and maimed. Sometime he helped the losing team to bump against evil. He did this over and over again through centuries, on the hope of finding Elizabeth again. When he'd finally found her, she didn't remember him, who he was to her, who they were to each other. Even worse, now Elizabeth was someone else entirely, at least on the surface.

Each chapter of the book reveals a piece of their past, moves them forward together a little bit and with setbacks. The major questions remains ...

Will Skyla remember who she really is? What Rei meant to her—to Elizabeth? Will she accept Rei in her present life, where she is no longer a helpless young girl needing rescue from an evil Medici lord, but an ass-kicking agent fighting terrorists for a living? And how will Rei answer to the gods when they find out he has defied their orders? Will there be a happily ever after for Rei and Skyla?

Q: What is it about paranormal romance, specifically time travel, that draws you?

I'd say it is the infinite possibilities that draw me in. There is no rule in the paranormal world - time travel, the gods, the mystic way of life in faraway time. Anything goes. Besides, a part of me is actually quite similar to Elizabeth/Skyla - a geek at heart. Ever since I've received my first set of astronomy books when I was a child, space is always my first love. And my first major in college actually was astronomy. Surprise, surprise. I have recently taken a tour to the Discovery Telescope and the Perkins Telescope, and rubbed elbows with some of the most brilliant astrophysicists and astronomers in the world. This is definitely a highlight of my 2014.

Q: How does your paranormal series stand out from the rest?

My series is definitely more romance-focused than paranormal. To me the geeky stuffs are the backdrop of the story - fun facts which I've twisted a little bit here and there and see where it would land. The constant tug and pull between the good and evil, the light and darkness, are the keys in my series. I believe that our universe must be in balance at all times, at all cost. And if the balance is upset, things would go really wrong. Also, it is the depth of the story, a story within a story, that really sets my series apart from other romantic paranormal series.

Q: Please tell us more about your heroine, Skyla Gray. How does her profession of being a TSCAA agent shape her to be the person we meet in the book? What is the importance of her profession to her character? What will make us root for her?

Skyla is a dichotomy herself. She is not from this world yet she is part of this world. Her profession has made her tougher, more independent. It frees her from her past even when her past wouldn't let her go.

Her transformation from a mild-mannered young lady in an ancient time where women had little choice about their lives to a kickass, fashion-loving agent in the modern time is fun to write and read. You'd want to root for her because she has loved with all she had, she has been forced to give up so much, and now she is finally able to control her own destiny, and fate once again wants to take it away from her.

I think a lot of us have struggled similarly as Skyla had, in one way, shape or form. And this echo of the heart and soul makes Skyla a character you'd love and hold dearly because most of us are Skyla Gray--we were once young and tender, innocent and hopeful. Then life happens. It makes us stronger, perhaps a tad more jaded, but deep inside we are still who we once have been. Life will always challenge us, throwing us curve balls, even when we didn't think we have any more to give. But at the end, love is all that matters. I know it is cliché but this is Skyla's truth.

Q: How about your hero, Rei Dusan? Please tell us more about him. What makes him a swoon-worthy hero?

Oh Rei is definitely swoon-worthy. Most of us love a bad boy. Me particularly! Rei is definitely dark, not just his tall, dark and extremely handsome physique. Think Highlander type of physique and savage features. Like I've written in the book, the masculine physical form of modern men is no comparison to warriors in the past who have trained their bodies in battlefields, instead of in gyms. Rei's powerful body and mind come from exactly that, the non-stop battles against his country. He is a prince, a crown prince no less, yet he has known no comfort, he has known no love until Elizabeth/Skyla came into his life.

His best characteristic is that he'd kill without quarrel to protect those he loves. His fierce love and devotion to Elizabeth/Skyla is epic. It crosses time and space. He's chosen not to die alongside his father, his brother and his countries, and traded his soul with the gods just so that he could find his Elizabeth, his one true love, again.

Q: What's the most heartbreaking scene between Rei and Skyla?


Skyla was stunned. One moment she was about to say yes to his proposal, the next moment he pushed her behind him before his body staggered against hers, just like her cousin's had not long ago. She fell on the ground, and when she looked up from Rei's falling body, Mr. X was standing there, holding an odd-looking sword. It glowed an eerie blue and was dripping with blood. Rei's blood. He smiled at her enigmatically.

"No…" Her agent instinct was kicking in, demanding she apprehend Mr. X. It was the Agency's directive, but her soul was screaming for Rei. The pool of blood around Rei was getting larger by the second. She watched in horror. Agency directive be damned. Dropping down next to him, she pressed both her hands on his chest, trying to stop his blood gushing through her fingers. "No, no, no…"

"Rei, stay with me! You promised you wouldn't leave me again. Dammit, fight!" She hissed at him, applying more pressure on his chest. "Fight!" His eyes slowly opened, but they were unfocused.

"Elizabeth…" Blood was choking past his already-blue lips. "I love you, my sweet." He raised his cold hand on her tear-stained cheeks.

"Shh…" Skyla didn't dare to let up her hands from his wound. "It's okay…" Her voice was trembling. She knew the inevitable. "I love you too. We will get you back to the headquarters. Knox will work on you like he did the other night. You'll be fine."

His eyes were shut again, but a faint smile was on his lips. He looked almost peaceful, as if he had accepted the ending, their ending. "I'm sorry I didn't find you sooner, Elizabeth." His hand moved over hers, whispering now. "I wish we could've had more time together. I…" His hand slipped away from hers and dropped next to his lifeless body.

Skyla was stunned. Her brain took a long while to process what was happening. Then she howled. "Rei!"

Heavy sword blows and grunts sounded not far from her. If she was in her collected agent's mind, she would have picked up Rei's sword and defended her team, but she didn't care. She stood up, raised her head toward the sky, and yelled out, "Whatever gods you are, you get your asses down here and save him!" Her fists clenched at her sides. "Or I swear I'll find your hole and make you all pay!"

Silence, except the fighting noises behind her. She whirled around in a full circle, looking for any sign of the gods that Rei had served. Nothing. No sign of those cowardly gods. Then her eyes caught a shimmering apparition to her left.

"You!" Her hand shot out and shackled the handmaiden's wrist like a band of steel manacle. Fiery freezing cold burned through her hand. But she refused to let go. This was the first time she had seen the handmaiden. Her beauty was magnificent, befitting for a divine being, but her expression was cold. So cold that it reminded her of the Antarctic icescape she had visited years ago —desolate and eternally frozen, yet so peaceful and beautiful.

"Save him," she demanded. Her voice sounded raw and feral.

The handmaiden remained expressionless. "I cannot."

Q: Which character is the most difficult to write? Why?

Mr. X, the unknown warlord and the villain. It is not so much that he is hard to write but who he really is. I wasn't sure where his character was heading, except he is the bad guy who wants to destroy the world. Then he came to life vividly near the end of the book, as if he was demanding to be heard because he too has a story to tell. His story will be the backdrop of Books 3 and 4. In a way his story will just be as heart wrenching as Rei and Elizabeth/Skyla's , and as other heroes and heroines' in each of the book in the Time Series.

Q: What's up next in the series? Please give us a sneak peek!

The next book, Time Untamed, is the story of Agent Benjamin "Butch" Stone. He lost his wife, the love of his life, and their young son in a house fire while he was on a black ops mission. Then years later, his wife showed up as the agency's prisoner, and he found out she was not whom he thought she was. She actually came from an ancient assassin order. She was sent to seduce him for military secrets for her family's client. But she fell in love with him. Her betrayal to Butch was just as devastating as Butch's grief of her and their son, who by the way didn't die.

Then their son got kidnapped by his wife's ruthless father. They somehow had to find a way to forgive each other so that they could save their son. While learning to trust each other again, they also had to stop a hit on the lead passenger of UA Flight 93 when the lead passenger was still a boy. If they fail, not only their son will die but September 11 would never be the same. Worse, much much worse.

Q: What's up next for you?

Well definitely getting Time Untamed published (almost ready for my wonderful publisher, Hartwood Publishing, to have a look). I will also be beginning Book 3, Time Seduced, a story about Agent Vivienne Sittler, the sassy twin sister of Knox. They have come out of the deity closet, so to speak, in Time Eternal. So their stories in Book 3 and 4 will be very interesting.

Besides writing, I am looking forward to visit Paris, the City of Love, with my husband for our wedding anniversary and then a tropical vacation for the next winter. This winter has been cold and no play for either one of us, which is too depressing. Got to live life!

Wow! You do know how to live. I bet I would look forward to Paris, too. In the meantime, can't wait for the next books in the series!


Lily has spent her entire adult life working for several Fortune 500 companies, but has always dreamed about being a writer. Her first encounter with "Anna Karenina" in college was love at first read. Throughout her corporate career, Lily never truly let go of that first love and eventually garnered enough courage to try her hand at writing. And it was the most amazing and fun experience she's had in a long, long while. As any happily-ever-after story should go, the rest is history.

Website: http://amazon.com/author/lilyworthington
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WorthingtonLily


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TIME ETERNAL by Lily Worthington
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