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Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine

Jo Clifford is a confirmed skeptic. A hard-hitting journalist, she is all set to debunk hypnosis and the nonsense of past-life regression in her next magazine series... until she submits to a simple hypnotic session and finds herself inextricably bound to another time, another life as Matilda de Braose... until she learns that Matilda's loveless marriage, her secret passion for the handsome Earl of Clare, the brutal threats of death at the hands of King John, are very real... until she realizes that the pageantry, the passion, and the cruel facts of her past are still alive, changing and threatening her relationship to the man she thinks she knows and loves, the man who holds her in his arms—today.


JO CLIFFORD—Successful, beautiful, independent, she's a top-notch journalist, firmly rooted in reality—until she agrees to be hypnotized and meets herself as she was long ago, in another time and in a most dangerous place . . .

NICK FRANKLYN—A dynamic advertising executive. He's in love with Jo, even as she infuriates him. He can't help following her on her journey into the past to discover a shocking—and possibly deadly—truth . . .

SAM FRANKLYN—Nick's brother. A psychiatrist with an untarnished reputation, he's the only one who knows the real dangers. He, too, has a role to play and won't stop—no matter who gets hurt . . .

TIM HEACHAM—A brilliant and talented photographer, his weakness is Jo. Unable to save her in the past or in the present, his only refuge is drugs—and the dreams that have haunted him through time.

Published by Dell Publishing a division of

The Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza New York, New York 10017

For Michael

This work was first published in Great Britain by Michael Joseph Ltd.

Copyright © 1986 by Barbara Erskine

Delacorte Press, New York, New York.

Dell ® TM 681510, Dell Publishing, a division of the Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.

ISBN: 0-440-20005-9

Reprinted by arrangement with Delacorte Press Printed in the United States of America May 1988



It was snowing. Idly Sam Franklyn stared out of the dirty window up at the sky wondering if the leaden cloud would provide enough depth to ski by the weekend.

"Tape on now, Dr. Franklyn, if you please. " Professor Cohen's quiet voice interrupted his thoughts. Sam turned, glancing at the young woman lying so calmly on the couch, and switched on the recorder. She was an attractive girl, slender and dark, with vivacious gray-green eyes, closed now beneath long curved lashes. He grinned to himself. When the session was over he intended to offer her a lift back into town.

The psychology labs were cold. As he picked up his notebook and began a new page, he leaned across and touched the grotesquely large cream radiator and grimaced. It was barely warm.

Cohen's office was small and cluttered, furnished with a huge desk buried beneath books and papers, some half-dozen chairs crowded together to accommodate tutorial students, when there were any, and the couch, covered by a bright tartan blanket, where most of his volunteers chose to lie while they were under hypnosis, "as if they are afraid they will fall down" he had commented once to Sam as yet another woman had lain nervously down as if on a sacrificial altar. The walls of the room were painted a light cold blue that did nothing to improve the temperature. Anyone who could relax comfortably in Michael Cohen's office, Sam used to think wryly, was halfway to being mesmerized already. Next to him the radiator let out a subterranean gurgle, but it grew no hotter.

Professor Cohen seated himself next to the couch and took the girl's hand in his. He had not bothered to do that for his last two victims, Sam noticed, and once more he grinned. He picked up his pen and began to write:

Hypnotic Regression: Clinical Therapy Trials Subject 224: Joanna Clifford 2nd year arts (English) Age: 19 Attitude:

He chewed the end of the pen and glanced at her again. Then he put "enthusiastic but open minded" in the column.

Historical aptitude:

Again he paused. She had shrugged when they asked her the routine questions to determine roughly her predisposition to accurate invention.

"Average, I suppose, " she had replied with a smile. "O-level history. Boring old Disraeli and people like that. Not much else. It's the present I'm interested in, not the past. "

He eyed her sweater and figure-hugging jeans and wrote as he had written on so many other record sheets: Probably average.

Professor Cohen had finished his preliminary tests. He turned to Sam. "The girl's a good subject. There's a deep trance established already. I shall begin regressing her now. "

Sam turned back to the window. At the beginning of the series of tests he had waited expectantly at this stage, wondering what would be revealed. Some subjects produced nothing, no memories, no inventions; some emerged as colorful characters who enthralled and amazed him. But for days now they had been working with routine ill-defined personalities who replied in dull monosyllables to all the questions put to them and who did little to further their research. The only different thing about this girl—as far as he knew—were her looks: those put her in a class by herself.

The snow was thickening, whirling sideways, blotting out the buildings on the far side of the street, muffling the sound of the car tires moving north toward the city. He did not bother to listen to the girl's words. Her soft English voice sounded tired and blurred under hypnosis, and he would have to listen again and again to the tape anyway as Cohen transcribed it and tried to fathom where her comments, if there were any, came from.

"And now, Joanna" —the professor's voice rose slightly as he shifted on the high stool to make himself more comfortable. "We'll go back again, if

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