By Christiane France
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When the dark clouds of war began to roll across Europe in 1939, Pamela Bradley-Browning expected to be conscripted into the British army. Instead, thanks to her wealthy father and his connections, and what he believed to be Pamela’s total inability to do anything except file her nails and party ’til dawn, she’s given safe but essential war work as an assistant intelligence analyst at MI5. That is until a flurry of sabotage activity and a shortage of agents has Pamela posing as a member of the Women’s Land Army with instructions to root out the bad guys.
Although determined to show her father she’s not the brainless idiot he thinks, Pamela makes the mistake of falling in love with Corporal Bruno Sabatini, one of the Italian prisoners of war working on the same farm. She knows fraternizing with the enemy is a crime. But she’s not too worried until she discovers Bruno’s father owns an arms factory in Italy, appears to be pro-German, and Bruno is MI5’s number one suspect as the saboteur. If Bruno is found guilty, she can add conspiring with the enemy to the charges against her.
While the Italian pow’s are the enemy and the obvious suspects, Pamela knows a saboteur needs motive as well as means, and she doesn’t believe the pow’s have either. It’s someone else, but who? Desperate to clear the name of the man she loves before the police decide to wring a confession out of him, she doesn’t know where to start looking--until the farmer’s wife, Maggie, decides to help, and Pamela learns about certain pre-war friendships and dangerous secrets that were successfully used as blackmail in the past.
Although this is something that happened five years ago and the blackmailer is now dead, Pamela has a feeling the potential for blackmail still exists. In fact, there’s an excellent chance someone else has discovered the secret and is using the knowledge for his or her own ends. To solve the mystery and save Bruno from false arrest, she’s in a race against time to find the latest pieces of the puzzle and unmask the real villain.
The first time she saw Bruno, he’d been tending to one of the farm cats who’d injured its paw on a piece of barbed wire. The animal was upset and he’d been so patient and so gentle, stroking its trembling body and crooning softly to it as if it were a child. As he finished cleansing the wound and allowed the cat to scamper away on it’s three good legs, he’d looked up and their eyes had met.
One look into the depths of his beautiful, liquid brown eyes, she’d gone weak at the knees, she’d grabbed the doorframe for support, and she known from that moment on, her fate was forever sealed. He was everything she’d ever dreamed of and more--kind, caring and good-looking, too. He’d also turned out to be a superlative, sensitive, and fantastic lover who knew exactly how to satisfy a woman. A man who cared about his partner’s pleasure even more than he cared about his own.
“Do you think you’ll be able to stay late again tomorrow night?” she wondered aloud.
“Perhaps. I’ll certainly try.” He chuckled softly. “But once it starts getting dark, I must admit I’m a little nervous walking back to camp with all those old men in uniform with guns and poor eyesight hanging about.”
“You’re worried one of them will shoot you?”
Bruno stroked Pamela’s hair and wound a strand around his finger. “Of course, I’m worried. I know it’s the job of the Home Guard to search every field and every farmyard for any German airmen who may have managed to survive after their planes are shot down, but I’d feel much better if they could see what they’re aiming at.”
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