All over the intergooglewebs we're celebrating the release of my WW2 erotic historical romance We'll Meet Again there are a whole bunch of places you can win a copy! If you just can't wait, head on over and pick up your copy right now! I'm having contests on Facebook and Twitter and as a guest on some fantastic authors blogs. So of course I'm going to have one on my own blog too for all my lovely followers!
First how about an excerpt? After surviving being tortured in a prison camp James has been suffering from nightmares about the men he couldn't save. Tonight, he takes solace in the bottle, much to the panic of his new wife.
Later that night, Cassie turned towards James, coming awake when she suddenly noticed the usual weight of his arm around her waist wasn’t there.
She sighed and ran her hand along the mattress, opening her eyes when she didn’t feel his body next to her.
He wasn’t in the bed.
Cassie felt her stomach plummet as she scrambled off the bed. She pulled on her violet cotton robe and wrapped it tight around her middle. She bit her thumb as she rushed out of the bedroom and turned in to the living room, stopping when she saw James on the couch, his head bowed.
He lifted his head abruptly, making Cassie jump. She noticed her had a bottle of something clutched to his stomach and a shot glass on the coffee table. The smell of liquor hit her strongly, and the shine on the wood surface proved to be liquor he had spilled.
"What are you doing?" she asked softly.
"Getting fucking drunk, wife dear. Care to join me?" he asked dryly.
"No," she said sitting down next to him. "Why?"
"Why indeed," he said. "I don’t rightly know, love. I have everything I never even really knew I wanted. Beautiful wife, beautiful son, a military career if I want it, a home, a position as head of the family business. What could possibly be wrong?" He gave a bitter laugh.
"I don’t know." Cassie watched him uneasily. "Why don’t you give me the bottle?"
"No," he insisted, clutching it closer. "No." He reached his hand to her and patted her shoulder. "Why don’t you go back to bed, sweetheart?"
"James, I’m not going to leave you here to get blind drunk."
"Would you just give me some fucking space, damn it!" He threw the bottle against the wall, shattering it.
Cassie jumped, panicked at his anger. She cringed when she heard Phillip begin to cry.
"Go," he ordered. "Go tend to him."
She gritted her teeth but stood up and went to pick up Phillip out of the bassinet, assuring a worried Virgie that she could go back to her room. Cassie brought him into the living room.
"You’re a mean drunk," she accused.
He laughed bitterly at that but stopped when he saw that she carried Phillip with her. "I thought you were going to put him back to sleep."
"You thought wrong," she said, stiffening her spine. "We are not leaving you to wallow alone. Tell me what happened to cause you to get yourself drunk."
He stood up and went to get another bottle out of the small fridge. He came back and started to pour the liquor into the shot glass.
Cassie moved the shot glass out of his reach, causing the liquor to spill.
He glared at her and pulled it back and resumed pouring.
Cassie again leaned over and pushed the glass away.
He slammed the bottle down on the table in frustration, and a frisson of fear went through her. Before she could chicken out, she reached for the bottle and held it to her.
"You want it back? Start talking," Cassie ordered though she certainly had no intention of giving him the bottle again. "Did you have a nightmare?"
Phillip reached his small hand towards the neck of the bottle, grunting in annoyance when she lowered the bottle to carpet, next to her legs.
"I didn’t do enough," he said, his voice thick with sadness. "I couldn’t stop what happened to Phillip. I couldn’t stop what happened to any of them. There was this one man, Dai ordered him beheaded, and I couldn’t do a fucking thing! Everything they mentioned in court . . . everything, Cassandra."
She held her breath, wondering if he had lied about Phillip to protect her. To not have her memory of him tainted by knowing Phillip had been raped.
He shook his head and stood up, unsteady on his feet. "No. No point in talking about it again and again." He paced, shaking his head at her. He pointed to the door. "You should go. Really. You should just take the baby and go home. Go home to Boston, to your mum. Don’t think about me. Don’t love me. Just go away, Cassandra. Please just go away."
"Stop it!" she demanded, softly. Her eyes filled with frustrated tears. "Stop trying to push me away. You promised. You promised you wouldn’t do this."
"Ah yes, well, I promised many things, didn’t I?" he sneered, leaning against the wall. "I promised to back away and let you marry Phillip. I promised to marry Nicole. I promised to never hurt you. I promised to protect the men in my company. Bang up job, eh?"
She shook her head, at a loss over how to help him, how to change his thinking and make him see how wonderful he was, how strong and brave and how much she loved him.
"There was nothing you could have done in that prison, James. Your men were captives, and so were you. Dai had all the control in there."
"Oh I did plenty, my sweet wife. I did. Shh! I don’t want to discuss this. Go to bed. Go. I don’t want to look at your beautiful, heartbroken face and your tears. Go."
She stared at him, shaking, not sure if she should dare press him to explain. She pulled Phillip closer to her. He slept now. She took him back to his bassinet and forced herself to go back into the living room.
James had picked up the bottle she had left on the carpet and now didn’t bother with the glass but drank the scotch straight from the bottle.
He looked at her and rolled his eyes and began to laugh. "You are a terrible wife, my dear."
She jolted as if he’d slapped her.
"You never do what I tell you. From the moment I met you, you kept pushing your way into my heart. I tell you to go away and you don’t. I told you to marry Phillip and you didn’t. I told you not to come with me to this trial and here you are."
"So, I’m a terrible wife because I don’t leave you," Cassie shot back, fighting the urge to slap him silly.
"So all that for better or worse stuff was a bunch of bunk, huh?" Cassie asked.
"A good wife does what her husband tells her. She sits docilely at home while her husband goes out and takes care of what needs to be done. She has habits like needlepoint and goes shopping and to luncheons. She does not expose herself to terrible things like war stories about monsters but keeps herself away from unpleasantness so that her husband can be with her and feel at ease and relaxed."
"Ohhhh! My mistake, I didn’t know you wanted to be married to a brainless porcelain doll!"
He cocked his head. "Oh no. Not Nicole. I don’t love her . . . I . . . " He squeezed his eyes shut, and banged the back of his head against the wall.
"You what?" she pressed, wiping her damp cheeks.
"I . . . Fucking hell . . . I love you." He grabbed her, and pulled her to him. "I’m selfish and I love you and I wish I could forget and just love you." He cupped her face and shook his head. "But I can hear their voices in my head and they tell me I don’t deserve you. I don’t deserve to live and have babies and a wife and a home because they’re dead."
"Who?" she pressed.
He pushed her away again. "No!"
She darted back when he slumped to the floor and drew his knees up, rubbing his legs through his blue pyjama pants.
"I saw his face. It was all purple and swollen from the rope around his neck. I saw it again tonight, in my dream . . . only he was talking to me."
"He who?" She crouched down next to him.
"He was new. A young private. Maxwell. So innocent. Fuck, I’m cold," he said as his shaking became more violent.
She wrapped her arms around him and rubbed his bare arms. "I love you and I want to share your troubles and ease your burdens."
He sniffled and leaned his head against hers. "You’re such a good wife."
Cassie shook her head at his contradiction. She kissed his cheek, encouraged that he was warming to her again.
"One of the guards took a liking to him. He was a good looking kid. Almost pretty, you know? We all knew it would only be a matter of time. When it happened he was catatonic for days. But the guard wanted him again."
Cassie swallowed down her nausea and wrapped her arms tighter around him.
"There was nowhere to hide. No way to avoid it. He knew it. He asked me to kill him. We didn’t have guns but . . ." He looked at her, shame in his eyes. "We know how to kill without weapons."
Cassie felt cold now as well, but she nodded for him to continue.
"I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bring myself to do it so he was . . . taken. Later, after work, I came back, and there was Max, hanging over his cot, his eyes staring at me." He groaned then and suddenly jerked away from her and ran to the bathroom to throw up.
She rushed to him and stroked the back of his head as he panted over the toilet. She gave him some water to wash out his mouth.
He brushed his teeth and then washed his face and went to sit on the edge of the tub. "I couldn’t do it. Why couldn’t I do it? I’m a killer. I’ve killed so many men. The enemy. Why couldn’t I do this to save an innocent man from such a horrible fate?"
"Because it’s different to kill a friend than it is an enemy."
"I should have done it for him!" James insisted. "How can you even look at me after what I let happen to them all! It should have been me who died in there. It should have been me!"
"Don’t say that!" Cassie pleaded.
He grabbed her, pressing his fingers into her arms. "Why! Why the hell do you love me? Why do you keep trying to make it all right?"
"Because I’m such an awful wife," she said dryly.
"God damn it," he swore and grabbed the back of her head, closing his mouth over hers.
Now for your chance to win just leave a comment here with your e-mail addy and I'll pick the winner this Friday!
Monday, November 21, 2011
Posted by E. Jamie at 2:06 PM