Elsa Mostek Friedman has built a good life for herself and her daughter, Catherine. A life of privilege and wealth. It's a life that’s a far cry from her humble beginnings in a Polish village. It’s a life built on lies, because while she adores her husband, David, it’s another man who haunts her dreams. It’s another man her body yearns for: Catherine's father, the German Resistance spy Friedrich Weiss, who infiltrated the Nazi regime. Their love was forged in the horrors of Auschwitz and when Friedrich helped Elsa escape, it was to build the very life she has now.
Now Friedrich has returned and Elsa is torn between her love for her husband and all the security he provides, and the love she has for Friedrich, who is still a hunted man. Elsa and Friedrich have no future, but passion explodes between them, hotter than ever. And for all their noble intentions, for all their fears of discovery, neither can stay away from the other.
Elsa walks a knife-edge line between both men as she also tries to protect the secrets she’s kept for over six years.
But there are others who know Elsa's secrets and they too have returned to make sure the carefully constructed world she’s built explodes in a rain of violence and vengeance that will only be appeased when everything Elsa holds dear is destroyed.
How about an excerpt?
“Are you all right?” Elsa asked, following the limb behind a large crate.
The curtain rod fell from her hand and her legs turned to jelly when she came around the crate and met an unmistakably familiar face. His dark hair was longer, bringing his bangs into his eyes and a dark beard covered the bottom half of his face.
“Dear God,” she whispered, reaching for something to brace herself, finding nothing, Elsa fell to her knees, her bare skin brushing his pant leg.
He looked at her, awestruck, his brown eyes wide in his pale face.
The name come from deep inside of her in a rush of shocking joy so strong it burst from her in quick exhale. She didn’t think and didn’t speak again for the longest time, just threw her arms around him and inhaled the scent of his skin. The sounds coming from her were almost like whimpers as she nuzzled his sweat dampened neck, the bristles on his face and salt of what she recognized as tears. Hers? His? She felt a hand on her back as he clutched her tight, drawing her practically on top of him.
Her only thought was getting closer and to keep touching him to assure herself he was truly there. It was as if madness gripped her and she dug her nails into his shoulders. Her mouth met his and his groans and exhalations of her name pushed into her like a brand.
“You’re here,” she moaned, kissing him again and again. She kissed his face, his nose, the dampness from his eyes, the love pulsing through her like a caged animal, clawing to get free. Love? Oh God yes…yes! The admission throbbed and pulsed through her as he cupped the back of her head and slid his fingers into her long hair, holding her still as he thrust his tongue into her mouth. My love…the words stabbed through her, deep and hard and she pressed down on his lap, feeling the unmistakable bulge there.
“Am I dreaming?” Elsa moaned, keeping her eyes closed, afraid if she opened them he’d be gone.
“No,” his voice caressed her, his fingers massaging her scalp. “I’m here, Elsa. I’m here.”
“Oh…” she whimpered, kissing him, moving to straddle his lap. “Oh God,” she cried, rocking her hips against him. “Don’t stop touching me…Please….please…keep your hands on me, my love, my love…”
His hand went to her bottom, tilting her forward, more sharply against him and Elsa came with a scream and in the aftershocks came the cold horrific realization of what she was doing.
He let her go gently and Elsa leaned back, untangling her legs from his. She had only one grey shoe on. The other was next to Friedrich’s thigh on the opposite side.
“Can you…my shoe?” She motioned towards it and he handed it to her. Silently, she slipped it back on her foot. “How…Where…?” She shook her head. “I have so many questions I don’t know where to start.”
“Me, too,” he admitted, panting.
She studied him and realized he was clutching his arm. “What’s wrong? Are you hurt?” She climbed back on her knees and pulled his hand away, seeing no blood she tugged on the collar of his shirt, seeing a bump in his shoulder that shouldn’t be there.
“I fell…trying to hide when I heard noise downstairs.”
She cringed. “Sorry about that.”
Friedrich shook his head. “I’m not.” He looped his finger around a long lock of her blonde hair. “My God, you’re even more beautiful than I remember.”
She met his gaze and her face heated. She quickly looked away. “Did you land on your shoulder? I think it might be dislocated.” Catherine had suffered a similar injury last year when she decided she would try and prove she could fly if she wanted to by taking a dive off the fence at her grandpa Max’s estate.
Catherine. Oh God. Elsa shuddered at the enormity of having to tell Friedrich they had a child, a daughter. But did he know already?
“Sure feels that way,” he hissed through clenched teeth. “I would have popped it back into place, but then I heard you approaching.”
“Here. Let me.” She took his hand in hers and shivered. His skin was warm.
He turned her hand over and Elsa saw him study her wedding ring.
Elsa closed her eyes, feeling a little nauseous now with the weight of her guilt but she couldn’t figure out who she was guilty about, being married to David or being here with Friedrich?
“What’s his name?” Friedrich asked softly.
Elsa couldn’t look at him. Instead she propped her foot against his underarm and pulled with all her might, popping the shoulder back into place.
Friedrich let out growl, and swore as he dug the back of his head against the wall before exhaling and sagging against the wall.
Elsa took her blazer off and used it to make a sling for him. “Try not to move it too much and you should be okay.”
“Elsa,” Friedrich’s tone told her he knew she was avoiding his question.
She supposed it was a good thing. If he didn’t know about David, he didn’t know about Catherine. She knew she would have to tell him about their daughter eventually but she told herself it was just too much to deal with right now. First she had to know more about what he was doing here and if he was staying.
“David,” she replied. “His name is David and he loves me very much.” She wasn’t sure why she felt she had to add that. It felt like protection from him or maybe a reminder for herself. She certainly hadn’t given her husband a second thought a moment ago.
“How could he not?” Friedrich said, looking at her.
Elsa lowered her head.
Friedrich reached over and touched her necklace. “I see you got my message.”
Her fingers went to the chain, just missing his as he dropped his hand. “Yes, thank you. How…long have you been here?”
“Only a few weeks. My food is running out though so I’m going to have to move on soon. I just wanted to see if I could find you and see you once before I left. I should have known you would find me first,” he said with a snort.
“I could bring you food,” she injected quickly without thinking. It would be disaster if he stayed! What on earth was she thinking? The truth was now that he was here the thought of him leaving again was unbearable.
He cocked his head and looked at her carefully. “You want me to stay?”
Elsa picked at the pale blue fabric of her skirt. Say no. Tell him he has to leave. He was too dangerous to have in her life.
She nodded, squeezing her eyes shut tight.
“Was it the shock of seeing me or did you mean what you said?” Friedrich asked her, his voice low as if he understood the weight of such a confession. “Did you mean what you called me?”
My love…My love…
That man loves you.
She took his hand again and pressed it to her face, leaning against it. “Yes,” she moaned, her eyes filling with tears. “Oh yes. I love you. I kept telling myself it was something else all these years because I had to, to move on but it wasn’t. But it doesn’t matter.”
Friedrich lowered his head to hers, their foreheads pressed together. “It’s all right. I don’t want to ruin your life. Dear God, no. I’ve never wanted that. It was why I stayed away, for your sake as much as mine, but I wanted to see you at least once. I would allow myself just to set eyes on you once more before I put an ocean between us.”
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