August’s offer of marriage sent a tremor through her. Could that ever be possible? Did they have a future? Or would the war destroy them?
So many problems to consider. Norah traced a finger over the slight cleft in his chin and his lower lip. The lips that had given her so much delight. The gaze she once thought arrogant now adored her, assuring her as best he could.
She smiled at his confidence. The memory of their union sent warmth throughout her body. She brimmed with love, though the danger lurked beneath the surface.
He sat up and smoothed down his hair. “Let’s dress and get off this floor.”
Sitting, she pulled her clothes on. August finished dressing, stood, and offered his hand.
Once on her feet, she picked up a cushion and so did he. They fitted them back in the chairs.
She ran her fingers through her hair, then retied the bow on her blouse. Another concern surged up. “When can you contemplate retirement from the army?”
“The earliest would be next year. I want my son graduated from school, then sent off to college.” He brushed off his trousers. His gaze met hers. “A college in Switzerland being preferable.”
“You want him safe.” Had August been making plans all along to keep his son out of Hitler’s claws? Norah wanted August out of the madman’s clutches, too.
“Yes, safe. But I have important business to take care of here before any thoughts of retirement.” He tucked in his shirt. “Something I’ve recently realized needs to be done.”
“What is it?” She rubbed low on her back.
“I’ll tell you when the reason for it is closer.” He tugged on his tunic, fastening his high collar where the Iron Cross hung.
She glanced away from the reminder of what he represented. “You can’t tell me anything? I want you to confide in me.”
He pulled her close and kissed her, thoroughly. “I’ll confide when I can. Don’t worry, you will approve.”
“Is it dangerous for you?” She gasped after the kiss and now grew apprehensive about this new information. The idea of the guarded port stuck in her mind for some reason.
He opened the door and peered out. “I’ll give you the details later, I promise.”
“Not too much later, please.” She cocked her head and clasped his arm. “I hope it’s something to slow this war. We must all make that effort.”
He pressed on her fingers, his smile sweet, then gestured for her to exit. “Goodbye for now, meine liebe. We’ll meet again as soon as it can be arranged. I’ll discreetly leave notes for you in the terracotta pot of geraniums in front of your cottage.”
“Yes, very soon. But that reminds me.” She pulled a paper from her pocket and handed it to him. “The words for my telegram.”
“I will take care of this tomorrow morning.” August slipped the paper into his tunic pocket. His smile now looked sad. “Don’t forget, I have limited power out here. There are constraints.”
“I understand. I’ll check the pot daily. Be careful in whatever you plan.” Stepping out into the warm air, her mind swirled with fear for him, herself, and the need for more of what they’d just shared.
“I love you,” they both whispered, gazes intense.
Norah’s step quickened away from the summerhouse. She’d turned into the worst of wanton women, a fraternizer. The English called it a Jerry-bag. But her love for him gripped her, staggering her as she hurried around bushes and under trees. The green scents washed away the sweat of lovemaking.
She chewed the inside of her cheek. How much time would they have if Hitler clamped down harder here, in Brittany—and across the channel? She could lose August, lose her country.
Friday, August 18, 2023
Outcast Artist in Bretagne by Diane Scott Lewis Virtual Book Tour
WWII Heartbreak and Forbidden Love
Diane Scott Lewis
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: BWL publishing, inc.
Date of Publication: May 1, 2023
Number of pages: 370
Word Count: 98,000
Cover Artist: Michelle Lee
Tagline: Can a damaged Englishwoman find love with her worst enemy, or will the brutality of war rip them apart? Is she a spy? Will he retaliate against Hitler? A dangerous love affair.
Unwed and pregnant, Norah Cooper flees England to hide with her cousin in Brittany just before Germany’s 1940 invasion of France. After her baby is stillborn, she's trapped under the Occupation as war expands across Europe. Norah grieves and consoles herself by sketching wildlife. When she’s caught too near the coast, she comes under scrutiny of the German commandant, Major August von Gottlieb.
August loathes what Hitler is doing to his country and France but is duty-bound to control the people in his jurisdiction. The lively young Englishwoman piques his interest. Is she a spy? He questions her and asks her to sketch his portrait so he might uncover the truth.
Soon, their relationship evolves into a passion neither of them can deny. She endures taunts from the villagers. His superiors warn him of not being harsh enough—he could be transferred or worse. He plans to sabotage a major war machine of the Reich, while she secretly helps the Resistance. Both acts are fraught with danger while kept secret from one another. Will their love ruin her and end in heartbreak? Or will they overcome the odds and survive the surging threats on all sides?
Diane Parkinson (Diane Scott Lewis) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, joined the Navy at nineteen, married in Greece and raised two sons all over the world, including Puerto Rico and Guam.
A member of the Historical Novel Society, she wrote book reviews for the Historical Novels Review. Diane worked from 2007 to 2010 as an on-line historical editor. Writing since the age of five, she had her debut novel published in 2010, a story that takes place during the French Revolution. She’s had several historical and historical-romance novels published between 2010 and 2021.
Her newest novel, a WWII romantic suspense, released in May. A fan of graphic arts, she’s designed brochures and book covers. She also enjoys traveling and camping. Her extensive traveling inspired her love of history.
Diane lives with her husband and dachshund in western Pennsylvania.
For more on her books visit her blog: https://dianescottlewisauthor.blogspot.com/
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