When Memory Whispers #56

Christian Fiction Friday

When Memory Whisper v2Marie and Frost sat in silence while the organist played another hymn. When it ended, Frost nudged her, and she followed him through a short maze of hallways and out a side exit. Taking her arm, he guided her to a secluded corner of the building.

Butterflies filled her stomach as she realized this could be the last time she’d ever see him. Taking a deep breath, she forced herself into the role of Allied agent. That’s who she was, or at least who she was supposed to be.

“The jacket. You ripped the lining.”

“You noticed that, did you?”

“I didn’t realize anything was inside. If it was something . . .” She glanced away, hating the way her voice trembled. “Whose side are you on?”

“I fight for my countrymen who hate what the world believes about us. And against those who have no regard for life. I fight for beauty.” The muscle in his cheek twitched. “You needn’t fear, little Sparrow. What I recovered from the jacket will not cause harm to the Allies. That’s all I can tell you, at least for now. Perhaps someday, when all this is past.”

“Do we have a someday?”

“I pray so.”

She blinked back sudden tears and bit her lip. Prayer. She longed to believe God was listening to all the prayers people were sending His way.

“I have to go,” he said.

She searched for something to say, something to keep him with her a little longer. “The flowers were from you, weren’t they? The forget-me-nots. Did you see the play?”

“I couldn’t take my eyes off of you. Especially when you danced.”

“I was thinking of you.”

Frost grinned. “Always, Sparrow. Always remember me when you twirl.” He took her hand, and she twirled beneath his upraised arm. Then he drew her close, his voice a gentle whisper. “When the war is over, where can I find you?”

“I . . . I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead.”

“Here. Someday we will meet again here.” He hugged her tight, whispered, “Auf wiedersehen,” then disappeared around the corner.

She leaned against the building, dabbing her eyes with the handkerchief and staining it with her mascara.

His handkerchief.

She turned it to find a clean spot and found a monogrammed H in the corner.

If only she knew the name that went with the scripted letter.

Read the opening excerpt.

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. Click here for a full list of rules and suggestions.

When Memory Whispers #55

Christian Fiction Friday

When Memory Whisper v2As Marie and Frost entered the cool interior, the church’s holy presence descended upon them. A few worshipers dotted the sanctuary while a hidden organist played familiar hymns.

Sitting in a back pew, Marie bowed her head, but found prayer impossible. Across the Channel, soldiers were killing and being killed at that very moment. At least, Frost wasn’t one of them.

But what about Ian? What about her brothers?

She involuntarily shivered.

What about Hector? Did he know she had deliberately deceived him? Perhaps she should return the pearl necklace and earrings. She imagined herself handing him the two velvet cases. “I took these under false pretenses,” she could say. “Nothing personal—truth is the first casualty of war.”

If that were true, trust must be the second.

She peered sideways at Frost. His elbows were propped on his knees, his face buried in his hands. Closing her eyes, she hid this image of him in her heart.

As the majestic chords of Amazing Grace resonated throughout the cathedral, he stirred beside her.

“The end will come soon now.” He swallowed hard. “We were beaten long ago. Now the Fuhrer will have to accept defeat.”

She inwardly groaned at Frost’s “we,” but couldn’t bring herself to question him about it. “What will you do?”

“I’ve been called back to Hamburg. I leave tonight.”

Called by whom?

She tightened her grip on the wadded handkerchief. “Will the Germans retaliate?”

Staring ahead, he nodded. “You must leave London.”

“I promised Ian I would. I hoped he’d be back before the invasion.”

“Do you love him?”

She gazed at Frost’s strong jawline with its short stubble of growth, the slight ruddiness of his cheek. “We had a mission.”

A pang of guilt seized her as soon as she said the words. But despite not knowing what Frost had taken from the jacket, despite the way he appeared and disappeared, somehow she believed with all her heart that she could trust him never to hurt her, never to betray her.

“It’s part of my cover to love Ian. Or at least pretend to.”

“Then find him. Go to him.” Frost finally looked at her, his eyes pleading. “Can you do that?”

“If you want me to.”

Frost nodded once. “He’s a good man.”

Continue reading When Memory Whispers.

Read the opening excerpt.

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. Click here for a full list of rules and suggestions.

When Memory Whispers #54

Christian Fiction Friday

When Memory Whisper v2As the sun rose above the horizon, the first BBC news accounts of the Allied invasion were broadcast across Britain. Marie anxiously huddled with her neighbors around their landlady’s radio. Someone handed her a cup of tea, but she let it grow cold without taking a single sip. One by one, the others left for work or to take care of errands, prepared to go about their daily business with rigorous emotions held in strict control.

Fear for her three brothers, for Ian and Frost, churned Marie’s heart and stomach. She didn’t know where any of them were, what dangers they might be facing. Unable to sit still any longer and tiring of the repetition of the broadcast, she headed for the city streets.

She meandered from one district to another, expecting to find throngs of worried people crowding the newspaper stands and nearby pubs. Instead, taxi drivers uncharacteristically competed for the few fares needing their services, and even the most popular restaurants entertained few diners. A calm, surreal serenity rested upon the beleaguered city.

Her wanderings took her past the fire-bombed ruins of Christ Church Greyfriars, an early casualty of Germany’s Blitz on London. The smoke-scarred stone tower rose from the rubble of the demolished church, a slain bishop in Hitler’s tyrannical chess game.

Hands clenched at her side, she stared at the centuries-old church.

She gritted her teeth, pushing back the fearful question she had never dared to ask. The early teachings of her childhood forbade it. But it refused to retreat.

Where are you, God?

Following the line of the battered tower upward, she raised her face to the dull, rainless sky. Tears coursed down her cheeks as she searched the underside of heaven for solace.

“It’s a Wren church.”

Startled, Marie stared at the man standing beside her as her breath caught in her throat.

“This time I came prepared.” Frost dabbed her eyes with an oversized cotton handkerchief, then handed it to her. “My little Sparrow. Must you always cry?”

Without saying a word, she nestled into his embrace, finding in his solid warmth a semblance of the strength she craved.

Frost held her tight for a few moments before tilting her face to his. “Your British friend, does he fight in Normandy?”

“No,” she blubbered, swiping her nose with the handkerchief. “At least, I don’t think so. I don’t know where he is.”

Frost faced the ruined church. “Eight of the Wren churches burned that night of the Blitz. And for no more reason than to fulfill a madman’s ambition.”

“What’s a Wren church?”

“Ugh,” he groaned. “What do they teach in the American schools? Sir Christopher Wren was an important architect in the 1600s. He rebuilt many of London’s churches that had been destroyed in the Great Fire, including this one. We can only hope that God sends another to rebuild what has been lost.”

“Do you think God cares?”

“I do.” He clasped her hand. “Let’s walk.”

They strolled through Paternoster Square to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Somehow the grand church with its Renaissance-style towers and Roman-inspired dome had escaped harm. A stone phoenix rising unscathed out of the ashes of destruction.

“Look at it, Marie. Surrounded by ruin and yet it stands. So proud. So defiant.”

“Like England.”

“Yes. Like England.”

Continue reading When Memory Whispers.

Read the opening excerpt.

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. Click here for a full list of rules and suggestions.

When Memory Whispers #53

Christian Fiction Friday

When Memory Whisper v2Chapter Sixteen

Marie’s name prominently appeared in the London newspapers’ favorable reviews of the weekend performances. Flush with her success, she had even enjoyed her post-matinee outing with Colin. They attended a cast reception hosted by one of the theatre’s patrons, a wealthy dowager who, it turned out, moved in the same social circle as Lady Ellington. Colin behaved impeccably.

Since no performances or rehearsals were scheduled for Monday, Marie slept till almost eleven. She devoted the afternoon to a few household chores and shopping for groceries with her ration coupons before curling up in her overstuffed chair with her French textbook.

Her dream of assisting the Resistance may have dimmed in the past weeks, but she still hoped that the Twenty Committee would reconsider. Especially if this mission succeeded. She owed it to Momma to be prepared.

When the clock chimed the ten o’clock hour, Marie stirred from a pleasant drowsiness. She carried her teacup and saucer into the kitchen alcove and rinsed them in the sink. After drying her hands, she crossed off the June 5th square on the kitchen calendar.

In her bedroom, she changed into a long frilly nightgown and sat at her vanity to brush her curls. Ian’s sunny daffodils graced the table. Wherever he was, she hoped he was safe.

Reflected in the vanity mirror, her nightstand held a crystal bowl overflowing with the petals from Frost’s blue and white forget-me-nots.

An ominous shiver crept along her spine, and a sudden impulse drove her to her knees. Bowing her head over clasped hands, she prayed, hardly knowing the words she spoke, pleading for both the men she loved.

#

Continue reading When Memory Whispers.

Read the opening excerpt.

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. Click here for a full list of rules and suggestions.

When Memory Whispers #52

Christian Fiction Friday

When Memory Whisper v2In an especially upbeat mood, Hector treated Marie to a late dinner at the exclusive Regency Club. Theatergoers and late night partiers crowded the dining area, and he strutted, peacock-proud, as he introduced her to his acquaintances. Several other diners vied for her attention, but he allowed none of the eager gentlemen to dance with his lady. Tonight he seemed determined for Marie to understand that she belonged only to him.

After dessert, Hector placed his linen napkin beside his gold-rimmed china plate and ran a finger down her bare arm. “You are so beautiful, mi querida,” he said. “What news has your Brit given you lately in exchange for your charms?”

“Nothing new,” Her voice stayed nonchalant. “He left London last week.”

Hector’s eyes brightened with interest. “Where did he go?”

“Does it matter?”

He leaned across the table. “The captain is a top military officer at General Eisenhower’s HQ. Yes, querida, where he goes matters very much.”

She arched a well-groomed eyebrow and sipped her champagne. “I haven’t thanked you for the earrings.” Tucking her hair behind her ear, she turned slightly so that Hector could see his gift. “They’re lovely.”

“Where did he go?”

She pushed her lips into a pout then opened her purse and handed him the telegram. “See for yourself.” Her tone clearly indicated both annoyance and boredom with the subject of Captain Devlin’s whereabouts.

Hector read the telegram. “Edinburgh,” he said softly. “That can only mean . . .”

“Yes?” Marie feigned sudden interest, certain he wouldn’t be able to resist flaunting his brilliant deduction. He glanced around to ensure no one eavesdropped on their conversation, though she suspected he secretly hoped to be overheard.

“Hitler expects the Allies to invade two places, Pas de Calais in France and Norway. But which is the true invasion, and which the decoy designed to draw forces from the main attack? That is the burning question to which you have supplied the answer.”

He flourished the telegram and displayed his wolfish teeth. “Your lovesick captain travels with Eisenhower, does he not? His regret at missing your play reveals the true target. The Allies will attack Norway.”

“The telegram is worth something to you? Perhaps diamonds this time?”

Sí, querida. I will shower you with diamonds.” He read the message again and chuckled. “The poor captain. Does he know you are spending tonight with me?”

Her features remained impassive except for a slight turning up of one corner of her mouth. “I warned him that if he didn’t come to my opening, I would have dinner with you. He could hardly expect me to go straight home after such an important evening.”

“Of course not.” Hector folded the telegram and placed it in the inner pocket of his dinner jacket.             “Besides, there is no need to continue your little charade. The captain will not return till after the invasion. His usefulness to the Third Reich has ended.”

“But not his usefulness to me.”

Hector raised a questioning eyebrow. “Can he buy you such dinners? Give you jewels?” He lifted his glass. “Be done with him.”

“Soon.”

“What is your interest in him?”

“He’s heir to a country estate. Marrying into aristocracy has always been one of my dreams.”

“I’d marry you myself except . . .”

“You already have a wife?”

Hector smiled broadly then playfully groaned. “How long will you make me wait, querida? You aren’t playing fair.”

“All’s fair in love and war.”

“So I’ve heard.” He wrapped a strand of her hair around his finger and pulled hard enough for her to bend her head. “Wait too long and I may find someone to take your place.”

Marie ignored the subtle threat and softened her eyes. “And regret it the rest of your days?” She stifled a yawn. “We have a matinee tomorrow afternoon, and I need my beauty sleep. Be a gentleman and take me home.”

“Who said I’m a gentleman?” Hector teased, but he rose from the table and summoned his chauffeur.

When they arrived at her building, he escorted her to the front door. She responded to his goodnight kiss with pretend enthusiasm while an ache formed in her stomach. “Get your beauty sleep, mi querida. But know that I won’t follow your rules much longer.”

Continue reading When Memory Whispers.

Read the opening excerpt.

Christian Fiction Friday is a weekly blog hop where authors post snippets from their current works in progress. It is hosted by Alana Terry and Hallee Bridgeman. Click here for a full list of rules and suggestions.