My WWII romance is now released in ebook!
Audrey Pearson’s life changed dramatically when WWII broke out and her large home, Twelve Pines on the East Yorkshire coast, became a convalescence home for wounded soldiers. Her life is no longer lavish with entertainment, beautiful clothes and surrounded by a loving family. Soldiers, physically and mentally wounded now fill her home. The smell of disinfectant replaces her mother’s perfume and gone are the friends and acquaintances - instead nurses roam the hallways.
Captain Jake Harding, a doctor training in psychiatry arrives at Twelve Pines. Audrey immediately finds herself attracted to the Captain, but he is remote towards her. Puzzled by his cold behaviour, Audrey tries to learn more about the handsome Captain. He reveals that he’s lost a wife and baby in childbirth and refuses to ever remarry. However, despite this, Audrey believes she can change his mind and make him aware he doesn’t have to spend his life alone.
The ice around Jake’s heart begins to melt. For years he has rejected the possibility of finding love again because of the pain it caused him before, but the beautiful Audrey shows him her love and she needs someone to love her in return.
Could he honestly walk away from her, from the love that could be his?
“Can we go for a walk down to the beach?” Lucy asked, flipping the bed sheet up and then pulling it down tight.
Audrey pushed a pillow into a clean pillowcase and sighed. “I don’t know if I can today. Val is having problems with one of the nurses, and—”
“They aren’t your responsibility. You do enough, we all do enough! Blasted army, blasted war.” Lucy gave the sheet a vicious tug. “I’m so tired of it. I want some fun.”
“Oh, I just remembered. I forgot to tell you yesterday that there’s a dance on in Brid this Saturday. You’ll come with me, won’t you? Please?”
“We don’t have enough petrol rations to get to Fraisthorpe, never mind Bridlington.”
Lucy grinned. “All sorted. Owen said he’ll drive us in the old cart.”
“The farm cart?” Audrey laughed. “You’ll not be fit to be seen after traveling in a cart.”
“We’ll sweep it out and put blankets in.” Shrugging, Lucy placed the thin green blanket on the end of the bed. “Do say yes, Aud. I’m desperate for a dance. You adore jitterbugging and you’re so good at it. I do hope there’ll be a few Americans in town, they dance so much better than English men.”
“Any man is preferable rather than dancing with other women, as we’ve had to do before.”
“Yes, but that was over a year ago. Now we have so many soldiers based in this area. I heard the Scottish lancers are in town or coming or something.” Lucy spun around. “Men everywhere. I can’t wait.”
“Well, I’ll see. If Valerie doesn’t need me, perhaps.”
Lucy squealed and jumped over the bed to hug and kiss her. A discreet cough separated them and they turned to find Captain Harding lounging in the doorway, smiling at them in his quiet manner. Audrey’s heart did a spin, as it always did whenever she heard or saw him. In the last week, she’d made sure never to be alone with the doctor, not wanting to give him the slightest reason to even think she saw him as anything other than an army doctor here to do a job.
She forced herself to act normal, sophisticated. “Captain Harding, can we be of help?”
His blue eyes held hers for a fraction longer before he straightened. “Yes, Miss Pearson. Sister Lewis was looking for you, as we believe we need another room for Lieutenant Nielson. Unfortunately his nightmares are keeping the rest of the men in his room awake. Is it possible to prepare another room?”
Audrey frowned, she too had heard the poor solider screaming at night, his cries for them to take cover echoed around the house. “Certainly, Captain Harding. Regrettably, my Father believes the rear parlor has some dampness, perhaps there’s a leak in the roof, and we need to fix that before the room is used again.”
“I see.” He rubbed his chin, frowning. “I’d prefer to keep Nielson in his room, as he’s familiar with it, and move the other two men out.”
“We could use Sister Lewis’ office and move everything in there into the drawing room. The office isn’t large but it’ll fit two beds in it.”
“But the officers use the drawing room, Audrey.” Lucy said.
“The officers will simply have to use the dining room and conservatory for their recreational pursuits.” Audrey stepped towards the door.
“Yes, I agree. Sounds like an excellent plan.” Captain Harding didn’t move to let her pass and she stopped to stare at him. “I was wondering Miss Pearson…”
Her mouth dried. “Yes?”
“I overheard you and your sister,” he shot a look at Lucy, “about your forthcoming dance and I was wondering—”
“Do you wish to go with us, Captain?” Lucy asked, her eyes bright. “And dance the jitterbug with Audrey? She’s ever so good.”
Audrey swallowed, knowing her cheeks flamed. A night of dancing with the handsome Captain? She felt light-headed at the thought.
He laughed softly. “I’m afraid not, Miss Pearson, but I do think it would be beneficial for some of the patients, if they could accompany you? A few of them are in desperate need of some semblance of normality. It helps their healing to remember and experience activities that are good fun and have no connection to war and death…”
“Oh yes!” Lucy clapped. “We never get enough men at these dances. Most of the time we have to dance with other women. What a brilliant idea, Captain.”
“Are-are they well enough to attend?” Audrey murmured, continually saddened by the fine men who were staying at Twelve Pines. They suffered such misery. A couple of officers, Johnson and Price, had changed dramatically since arriving and would happily chat and help around the house. There were others though that still kept apart and were quiet, refusing to discuss what they’d experienced.
“I would say three or four of them, yes. Not the men who arrived with me, obviously, but the others are ready for a little light entertainment. It’ll do them good before they return to the front.”
“They leave soon?” For some reason she couldn’t look at him, frightened, she supposed. Frightened he would see something in her face, the emotion she felt being near him. What a shame the good-looking doctor wasn’t coming with them. She could smell the subtle shaving cologne he wore, a mixture of sandalwood and something else she couldn’t name.
“Yes. Jamieson, Winthrop, Fielding and Battersby all leave a week on Friday. They’ve passed their assessments.”
She nodded and took a step, wanting to be gone from the room, from him and from the emotions warring in her. “I’ll go find Sister Lewis.”
Side-by-side in the doorway they faced each other. Audrey’s head only reached his shoulder. She stared at the shining buttons on his uniform, not trusting herself to look up at him. “Yes, Captain?”
“On second thought, I think I might accompany the men to the dance.”
She glanced at him, her eyes wide and the difficulty to swallow occurred again. “Very well…”
“Just in case the men need me, of course,” he whispered.
Audrey’s skin tingled as though he had caressed her. “Of course…”
Buy the ebook of Broken Hero here-
Paperback available in April.
Broken Hero, Her Shadowed Heart and Woodland Daughter, all released soon!