My favorite genre to read is historical romance. Scottish warriors, cowboys, dukes and lords all make my heart flutter but I have a very special affinity for romances set in the World War 2 period. I can't really explain my eagerness to devour anything from this bygone era. Movies, music, documentaries, and set especially within the 30's and 40's, I love them all. As much as I write to movie soundtracks and music in general, I especially love tuning my radio to those lowly AM channels where the oldies live and letting those big band and sultry, sad ballads play as I pen my tales of romance and woe.
If there's something to that whole reincarnation thing, perhaps that explains my fascination with the era.
I love reading about romances set in that time, either strong women fighting both the enemy and fighting for their men and those strong, chivalrous soldiers who had the courage of their convictions and could fight across the battle lines to the death yet fight just as hard to get back to his sweetheart back home where another type of strong woman waited, the ones who stayed behind, longing for their handsome soldiers to return, keeping the home fires burning and surviving the hardships of war at home.
One of my favorite WW2 authors is Anne Bennett who pens fantastic moving tales of these women fighting the good fight at home while their men fight overseas. Another is Paullina Simons who I will go to my grave praising for her Bronze Horseman trilogy. Do yourself a huge favor and read these fantastic authors!
I was frustrated that there aren't MORE of these fantastic stories out there, though thanks to epublishers that is changing and I'm discovering more of them, thank goodness! But one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received was if you want more of a type of story, write it yourself!
And so I did.
We'll Meet Again came about roughly 3 years ago and tells the tale of Cassandra Atherton and Edward James Harrison. An American nurse and wounded British solider who meet in the middle of WW2 while Cassie's fiancee is fighting overseas. A seemingly doomed love develops between them which both try to fight when James and Cassie's fiancee Phillip are trapped together in a Japanese POW camp and an intense bond of friendship forms between the two men.
There is angst. MUCH angst and of course this is me so there is a LOT of passion too.
I'm thrilled now to announce that Noble Romance Publishing has picked WMA for publication and we're now in edits so I hope to have this wonderful story available for you all very soon!
If you follow me on facebook www.facebook.com/nancy777ca or Twitter @nancy777ca I usually share some snippets and #wipfaveline 's from this story but my lovely blog readers deserve a nice long excerpt so that's what you're gonna get!
She was walking across the grounds towards the stables when she felt a hand circle her arm and pull her into the darkness of one of the open stalls. She almost screamed before she saw who had grabbed her.
She choked on a sob and tried to push past him but James wouldn’t let her. "You refuse to let me explain, so now I have to make you listen. You’ve left me no choice."
"If I recall, your choice was quite clear," Cassie snapped, shoving at his chest.
He cupped the side of her face and gave a little start when he must have noticed it was damp. He looked at her more carefully in the darkness. "Have you been crying?"
"If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not have my life’s purpose be to inflate your ego," she hissed.
"Cassandra, please," he sighed, lowering his head to hers. "I hate knowing I’ve made you cry."
She stepped back and crossed her arms over her chest. "You don’t need to explain anything. I know why you’re marrying Nicole. My mother explained what I was too furious to see."
"Your mother?" he asked, panicked.
"Yes, apparently we haven’t been quite as inconspicuous as we liked to believe. Oh she won’t say anything so we’ll remain with our nobility in tact. Congratulations."
He leaned against the wooden wall. "Fuckin’ hell. So now she knows about us? What did she tell you?"
"That you’re marrying Nicole because…of this. Us."
He ran a hand across the back of his neck and sighed wearily.
"Well, that’s all the confirmation I need. Goodnight." Cassie tried to move past him but he blocked her way.
"Just, wait. You don’t-"
"Understand? Oh I do understand. And I…" she forced her emotions back down. "I agree. Really. You and I…I’m marrying Phillip so it’s…Yes," Cassie said trying to speak through the wave of sobs that threatened to rise.
James cut her off with a kiss. Quick and hard before she even realized it was happening and then…she melted, sagged against him and returned the kiss with equal fervor even as the tears slipped from her eyes and slipped between their joined mouths. Then he pulled away. "That’s why. That’s why I have to marry her."
Cassie nodded and wiped her cheeks. "Do you think it will be easier?" She honestly wanted his opinion. She told herself it would but she needed to hear him say it.
He ran a finger along her collar bone. "I do. We’ll be committed to other people, living our own lives. Oh we’ll visit and spend holidays together but…I’ll love her and…"
"You will?" Cassie blinked in confusion. "You mean you don’t now?" The thought filled her with traitorous joy.
He stared at her and then burst out with sad laughter. "Oh sweetheart, you really don’t understand, do you?"
"What?" she asked insulted.
"When you told me you loved me. I was determined not to say it back. When I left for the war again, it eventually ate away at me in ways that the first half of my service didn’t. All of us in the service, in the first half, you’re all full of your own fighting spirit and a soldier’s egoism that you’re going to save the world. Then, after Japan, I was filled with thoughts of revenge, to get back out there and kill them all. This last bit…you really saw the toll of war. Not just on your fellow soldier but on innocent people. Those people in the camps, they weren’t soliders, they weren’t fighters. They were innocent people stolen from their homes and herded like cattle into pens where they were gassed, starved and tortured in any manner of ways. When we liberated those people, the ones that survived, all I thought was that amidst all that grey, how I yearned to see your eyes. Your bright blue eyes. To have just your hand on my face and to look up at you and tell you that I loved you too. In my head, to say those words was like a balm on my soul, Cassandra."
Cassie closed her eyes as the tears streamed down her face.
James turned and sat down on an over turned crate. "I almost did it. I almost went to Boston, determined to just grab you and run away with you somewhere in hiding and just live in peace until we were old and grey."
"But then you remembered Phillip," Cassie said softly.
He nodded. "There’s more to our time in prison than what I told you. I wanted to spare you the ugliness of it as much as I could but…"
"Tell me," she pleaded, cradling his face.
He shuddered. "When we managed to escape, that wasn’t the first time we tried. When we were first captured, the other prisoners had an underground tunnel going. We were let in on it and pitched in to help with the digging. Somehow the guards found out an escape was being plotted and wanted to know how and who was orchestrating it. I was out working when I heard that they had grabbed a few of the soldiers in our hut, determined to make them talk. Phillip was one of them."
"Oh God," Cassie moaned.
"I tried to get to him but they grabbed me and locked me in a four by four foot tin cage out in the hot sun. No room to stand up or lie down. For days. They told me they’d leave me there to die if I didn’t give them the names. Dai took particular pleasure in telling me how they were torturing the other men, Phillip included." He took a deep shaky breath before continuing. "There was one guard there who liked to…violate the men." He looked up to see if Cassie understood his meaning.
Cassie clamped a hand over her mouth, feeling the bile rising in her throat. She almost pleaded with James to stop his story but knew he needed to tell her.
"I don’t know," James admitted, replying to her unspoken question. "If he did, Phillip has locked it somewhere deep inside of him neither you or I will ever get to. But we finally found out who had snitched. A son of a bitch from one of the other huts. Phillip and I got assigned to his work rotation and I saw Phillip take his bare hands and wrap them around the man’s neck and choke the life out of him. Then he grabbed one of the larger rocks and smashed the man’s face in. We all saw it happen and blocked the guard’s view so he wouldn’t see until it was too late. Dai found the tunnel, collapsed it, shot a few of the soldiers to teach us a lesson and moved us to another hut," James concluded, his own voice thick with tears.
"Phillip never gave you up. Whatever they did to him, he never exposed the rest of you," Cassie said, her legs weak. He drew her onto his lap.
"Exactly," James said. "So at the end of the war, no matter how weakened my resolve, no matter how much I just wanted to take you into my arms and love you for the rest of my life…I couldn’t do it. But I was terrified that someday I would break. Someday you would look at me and my heart would take control of my head and I would break."
"So, what? Nicole is supposed to be insurance?" Cassie asked, leaning her head on his shoulder.
"She’s a nice girl," James said. "And I do care for her. If we’re both married the temptation will be gone. Surely you understand that."
"Yes. I do," Cassie admitted, emotionally exhausted. "Billie hates her though."
"Bil- Oh Whilemina?" he asked with a small smile. "She’s young. I love her but she thinks the world revolves around her. We’ve all spoiled her terribly."
"She says Nicole’s a terrible person," Cassie said. "The purpose of this whole nobility thing isn’t to saddle you with a shrew for a wife, James."
James sighed. "Nicole is spoiled, undoubtedly. And I catered to her too much in the past, but things will be different now. As her husband I will have to take a firmer hand with her and she’ll let the goodness in her grow and become more mature."
"I hope you’re right. My mother thinks…we’re making a mistake. She thinks we should be honest and follow our hearts," Cassie said, burying her face in his neck and trembling.
His arms tightened around her. "She would understand if she knew the whole story. This stays between us, Cassandra."
"You don’t need to say that," Cassie assured him. "I’ll never say anything."
"Even to Phillip. If he tells you, fine but he must never know I told you."
"Why did you?"
"I can’t bear to have you furious with me," he admitted, absently running his fingers up and down her arm, raising goose bumps on her skin.
"We should get back. There’ll be wondering where we are," Cassie said even as she burrowed closer in his arms.
"Wait, just…a second more," James said, dropping a kiss on the crown of her head.
Cassie lifted her gaze to him. "Tell me again. Just once more so I can lock the words away."
He gave her a sad smile and slid his fingers into her hair. "Oh I do. I do love you, sweetheart."
James closed his mouth over hers and Cassie gave herself up to the fire that blazed through her blood at the touch of his lips against hers. Hearing him say the words made her want to take his hand and run away. She understood now that’s why he hadn’t said it before. Cassie sighed as his tongue reached to meet hers.
"I knew it! Oh I knew you didn’t really love that stupid cow!" Billie suddenly exclaimed joyfully, making Cassie and James dart apart so quickly Cassie almost fell off his lap.
I'm hoping to make a playlist for this story but for now, I give you Cassie and James's song We'll Meet Again as sung by Vera Lynn.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Posted by E. Jamie at 5:56 PM