Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Blooms Of War, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. Today I have an extract for you.
Firstly, lets see what the book is about…
Vera Betts shouldn’t be falling in love with the enigmatic doctor she suspects of espionage. Reeling from her family’s betrayal, she’s faked her nursing credentials, invented a new name, and run away to the frontlines of the French battlefield. Four years into the Great War and she knows who she is and what she’s meant for—to save the living and sit vigil by the dying. When the cagey-yet-earnest Dr. Nicholas Wallace arrives, so do mysterious explosions destroying hospitals. Even as Nick raises her suspicions, he lowers her defenses. He wants the war to end. Are his acts of sabotage politically motivated or a desperate attempt at peace?
In peace, she fell apart.
A year later, Vera is back with her oppressive family, living under her real name, and Nick is on trial for murder. Trapped in grief and guilt, she cannot speak about the past and does not believe in the future. With Nick refusing to defend himself, she ventures to London to understand why he is so willing to embrace the hangman’s noose. Who is he trying to protect? What secrets does he plan to carry to his grave? And why does Nick insist upon hiding her true identity? To save the man she loves, Vera must tear open the past and confront the tragic price for peace.
Wimereux, August 1918
[Though Vera has fallen deeply in-love with Nick, the two try to hide their connection while chatting with their patients on the verandah of the chateau-hospital where they work, side by side].
One of the older patients, General Brunswick says, “I cannot imagine Nurse as a child. She is always so serious.” He sucks in his cheeks and tenses his jaw to demonstrate.
Nick tosses me a furtive, oh how you’ve fooled them grin. “Come now, General. Who better than Nurse Betts to force castor oil down the throats of the razzle dazzle? Churchill himself would have invited her out of the nursery.”
Brunswick chortles, but shakes his head.
Coming to my own defense, I say, “I made a terrific martini.” I trill my rrrrs with the same self-important, spinsterly righteousness as my Halladay aunts, my imitation so accurate, I sneeze at the memory of their fusty scent—red wine, face powder, and cloying perfume.
General Brunswick spins his wheelchair around and stares at me, bewildered, as if he’s just now realized the woman who shaves him each morning is an albino giraffe with two heads. “Did you . . . Did you?” He shakes his head in disbelief and turns to his comrades. “Did Nurse make a joke?”
Nick, he of the golden halo, doesn’t have the common decency to disguise his amusement. I send him my best ipecac-and-enema scowl.
“No, I don’t think so,” says one of the patients.
“Isn’t the sort to make merry,” adds another.
“Once I saw her not frown,” offers Langdon.
All of which makes Nick laugh harder.
I smack my hands reprovingly to hide my embarrassment. How must these men see me? I used to be funny, mimicking my snobbish aunts until tears streamed down my mother’s face and my brother complained his tummy hurt. My old self, that lost girl, may have been elbows and knees and emotions run amok, but she was also fun.
With a repressive tone, I reply, “Of course I am not joking. How else does one dispense castor oil at a society crush?”
General Brunswick blinks rapidly. “By God! N-n-nurse is . . .” His shoulders shake and he doubles over. His fellow patients join him. “I’m sorry, old girl, I did not th-th-think”—the General cannot stop guffawing—“I never realized you could—”
“Is that a cough I hear coming on, General?” I flash him a mercenary grin and rifle through my mental list of medicines so bitter, seasoned soldiers have wept for their mam. “Hold a moment while I run and fetch Dr. Aubergier’s wild lettuce syrup.”
“Joke!” He shouts, pumping his first in triumph.
The patients join him, chanting “joke, joke, joke,” with such fondness, I am rendered shy. I duck my head to hide my pleasure.
Amidst the shout of cheers, comes a quiet, “Worse.” Nick’s voice is a touch throaty, as if he’s savoring something he never wants to let go. “A smile.”
3 Winners each win a Donation of $15 to designated winner’s choice of frontline healthcare worker organization in the name of the designated winner – for example it could be the American Red Cross; etc. (Open INT)
Please enter using the Rafflecopter link
I can also offer a Blooms of War Package – this is a mail package that would include:
Printout of the Blooms of War Newspaper
Handmade felt poppy
WWI Red Cross sticker
Blooms of War bookmark