Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, the series where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and gently twist the arms of author buddies to do the same.
I’m thrilled to say that we’re hosting another guest this week. Rah! And this one is very special.
Regular readers will know that I’m a huge fan of Christine Wells’s books, including The Wife’s Tale and The Traitor’s Girl. HUGE! These stories are loaded with intrigue, mystery and romance, and feature fabulous female leads.
I also love the atmosphere of Christine’s stories. She takes you right into the era so you feel you’re breathing the same air of the characters, feeling the brush of their dresses, the scents of their worlds. It’s a wonderful reading experience, and her latest release The Juliet Code is no exception.
I finished The Juliet Code last Friday and can honestly say it’s fantastic and will keep you hooked until the very last page. The Juliet Code is also beautifully covered, making it a great Mother’s Day gift or a gift to yourself. We all know you deserve it.
Now, please give a hearty Teaser Tuesday welcome to Christine. Then read on for some background to The Juliet Code along with a delicious excerpt. Make sure you read to the very end because there could be a signed paperback giveaway.
Hi Cathryn! Thank you very much for having me on your blog today. Hello everyone. I’m so thrilled to be with you today to share a little taste of my new release, THE JULIET CODE.
A little bit of background: SAS Captain Steve McIntyre (Mac) has asked Juliet Barnard’s help to track down his sister, Denise, who went missing in France during World War II. Juliet and Denise trained as British agents together and were dropped by parachute into occupied France to join in resistance activities, but they were caught by the Gestapo. To trace what happened to Denise, Juliet and Mac must first find the Nazi who held the women captive. Juliet reluctantly agrees to help Mac but she has a dreadful secret, one she is terrified will come out if they achieve their goal. This scene takes place in Paris the evening before they visit the house where Juliet and Denise were kept prisoner.
When he’d gone, Juliet stood with her back flat to the door, her throat choked with sobs. For the first time in years, her body craved a man’s touch. But Felix wanted so much more from her than she could give. She would be cruel to encourage him to hope.
Juliet looked around at the luxurious room and spotted the drinks tray. It would have to be liquid comfort tonight.
She had managed to comfort herself to a pleasant state of muzziness when there was a soft knock on the door.
For a few moments she wasn’t sure she’d heard correctly, but then the knock came again and she mumbled, ‘Coming,’ and rose unsteadily to her feet. ‘Gosh!’ Holding her fingers to one temple and a glass of brandy in the other hand, she tottered and weaved to the door.
‘Oh,’ she said, and opened the door. ‘Are you still up?’
‘Mind if I come in?’ Mac seemed particularly humourless tonight. Which was saying something if you were at all acquainted with the captain.
‘Barnard?’ When she didn’t move aside but rather propped herself up against the wall, Mac seemed to comprehend her condition and muttered, ‘For God’s sake.’ He moved her bodily out of the way, stepped into the room and closed the door behind him.
‘Come on. We have to talk.’
‘But you look so serious,’ she said pouting. ‘Why are you always so serious, Mac?’
He eyed her without answering, then rang down for coffee.
‘Would you like a drink?’ she asked.
He shook his head. ‘Sit down. I want to ask you something and it can’t wait until morning.’
‘Well, I’m all ears,’ she said, flicking her earring as if to demonstrate. ‘Go ahead.’
‘I think I’ll wait for the coffee.’
‘Then tell me what you’ve been doing tonight,’ she said, sinking onto the couch, which was suddenly far lower than it had been before. ‘Did you find a nice girl to pass the time with? French women are so . . .’ She waved an expressive hand.
There was no need to say what French women were. Mac, being a man, must surely have noticed. And why she should even mention it, she had no idea. The thought of him with another woman made her a little envious and a little sad, if she were being honest with herself. Not jealous. Just envious and sad. If only she hadn’t been so damned noble, she could have been in bed with Felix that very movement. Instead she was drunkenly conversing with this stone wall of a man and he was making her feel utterly stupid.
Silence fell between them and she had no interest in breaking it. She swivelled her feet onto the couch and twirled a strand of hair around her finger, a habit she’d had since she was a child. Stubbornly, she decided not to say one more word until he did.
She suspected that sleeping with Mac would be a largely silent affair. Uncomplicated and animal. Simple, in the best sense. But she was sober enough to realise that she was more than a little tipsy and the captain was the kind of man who would not take advantage. She wasn’t sure whether to be glad or sorry.
She was slowly reaching mental clarity all on her own when the coffee arrived. Mac played mother and replaced her brandy glass with a steaming demitasse of the purest, darkest coffee.
The very first sip knocked her to full alertness. She wouldn’t sleep a wink but it was worth it. ‘Ohhh, this is good.’
The captain had poured some for himself, and the delicate cup looked like a child’s toy in his big hand. Even he couldn’t help but give a sigh of satisfaction. ‘Real coffee. There’s nothing like it in all of the British Isles.’
They sat savouring it for a few minutes in mutual enjoyment and Juliet’s resentment toward him mellowed. ‘What did you want to speak to me about?’ She managed that entire sentence without a slurred word.
From his pocket, Mac fished out a photograph and handed it to her. ‘Do you recognise this man?’
A jolt of revulsion shook her. She recognised him instantly, though the picture must have been taken at least ten years earlier. The brandy roiled unpleasantly in her stomach.
She nodded, pressing a hand to her lips, willing herself not to be sick. When she’d pushed down the nausea, she managed to say, ‘He was French but he worked with the Nazis. He was at that other place. Is he still alive? Have they caught him?’
‘He’s alive as far as I can discover,’ said Mac. ‘And no, they haven’t caught him. Yet. But as you can imagine, he’s wanted in several quarters. Name of Pierre Garrond.’
The flashes began behind her eyes. The filthy jeering face. The whip. The spattered walls. She forced down the panic. She was safe now. She’d sleep with the lights on tonight.
Oooh, I remember this scene. Wonderful stuff! As is the rest of the book. If you love a twisty tale, a gutsy heroine, brave heroes, a wonderful atmosphere, spies, love and betrayal, you should buy The Juliet Code right now.
Try these print and ebook stores:
Amazon | Amazon.com.au | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play
And now, because Christine is lovely and generous, we have a…
For your chance to win a signed paperback copy of The Juliet Code, answer this simple question: If you were a spy, what would you choose for your code name?
Okay, I’ll go for The Golden Fox, although, technically, I suppose it should be vixen, but perhaps more spylike to keep my gender ambiguous. Hmm… The Golden Fox. Sounds a bit like a rural British pub, doesn’t it?
Be as funny or as serious as you like, we don’t mind. Just make sure to share your choice in the comment section of this blog and we’ll pop you into the giveaway for a signed copy of The Juliet Code.
Please note: Giveaway closes midnight Friday, Australian Eastern Time, 4th May 2018. Australian postal addresses only.