31 May 2009

Guest Author: Georgia Evans

Sundays on Unusual Historicals mean new books! Guest authors! Free books!

This week we're featuring Georgia Evans as she celebrates the release of BLOODY GOOD, the first of three WWII-era paranormals set in the fictional English town of Brytewood.

At the height of the Battle of Britain, a lady doctor has more than enough trouble to keep her busy even in a sleepy hamlet outside London. But the threat is nearer home than Alice knows. German agents have infiltrated her beloved countryside--Nazis who can fly, read minds, and live forever. They're not just fascists. They're vampires.

Alice has no time for fantasy, but when the corpses start appearing sucked dry, she'll have to accept help from a lowly Conscientious Objector, an able-bodied young man who says he's no coward though he refuses to fight. And, of course, from her grandmother, a sane, sensible woman who insists that she's a Devonshire Pixie. Indeed, whatever it takes to defend home and country from an evil both ancient and terrifyingly modern.
***

Peter hadn't meant to accept a lift home, but by the time he'd settled the drowsy child on a nest of blankets on the back seat, Black had swung both bicycles up in the back of the shooting brake.

Seemed downright churlish to yank them out again so Peter hopped into the passenger seat, reminding himself he was quite possibly going to be working with this woman for the duration of the war and lust was out of the question.

Even if it had taken possession of his brain.

Sitting this close in the dark was nothing short of painful. At least it was dark. It was only five minutes back to Sergeant Pendragon's cottage. And there was a child on the back seat. Who was right now snoring. No doubt needed her adenoids out.

"It never ceases to amaze me," Alice--Dr. Doyle he reminded himself--said, "how a child can sleep like that after a night of trauma. But she's been taken care of, rescued, stitched up and tucked up. The grown ups are looking after her." She sighed and Peter was about to comment that things weren't that secure for many children when Alice went on. "She'll not worry until she wakes up, and wonders where she'll end up living now, if she'll be with her friends, and if she'll be late for school tomorrow."

"Or if you're going to get bombed again tomorrow night."

"Or the Germans march up the gap in the Downs. They haven't put up all those pill boxes and dragons' teeth barriers all over the place just to complicate the harvest."

"They've got to get here first." He hadn't expected to be talking about the war and invasion with her, but it was safer than say what really was on his mind. Nothing like a bit of worry to take care of his urges. "Although I suppose nights like tonight are meant to soften us up so we just roll over when they tramp up from the beaches and head for London."

"Judging by the mood in London, they're more likely to be met with carving knives and knitting needles."

"And pitchforks and scythes in these parts."

She glanced at him in the night, then set her gaze back on the road. One blinkered headlight was not enough to see well in the twisting lane. "You'd take up a pitchfork or a scythe, Mr. Watson? How does that reconcile with your CO stance? Sorry!" She glanced his way again and shook her head. "I had no right to ask that."

"You put it a lot more tactfully than most people do. 'You'd sit by and watch your sister get raped by a German, would you?' is one of the favorite lines." Why was he telling her this? Had to be a combination of tiredness and the odd isolation of the dark.

"Do you even have a sister?"

"Actually, no. I've two little half-brothers, and if anyone laid a hand on them I'd plant him a facer and then attack below the waist." He sensed her smile in the dark. "It's a long story, but I can not, will not pick up a gun. The board accepted that." And he hoped to hell she did.

She'd stopped the car.

They were back at his cottage.

Just as well. Another half mile he'd no doubt have spilled his whole hideous past. "Er...thanks."

He hopped out of the car and went around the back to retrieve the bicycles.

She was there too, turned the handle and opened the back for him. "Try to get a few hours sleep, Mr. Watson. And this is a doctor talking. We still need to start at nine in the morning. Gloria will need help with the home visits and we need to find out what to do all the children, to say nothing of the with the Arckle boys."

The Arckle boys? "You mean Dave and Sid."

"Yes. The billeting committee are going to have their hands full. I can't keep them all in my place indefinitely."

"No." Not that he remembered much about her house or how anyone would find places for all those children.

He reached for the Sergeant's bicycle, at precisely the same moment she did and their hands closed on the handlebars together. And just about undid all his brilliant efforts at self control. Her hands were warm, smooth and darn strong as she grasped the handle bars, and his hand, for a split second before drawing back.

"Sorry. You want to get that one?"He did and the other actually, but she swung his down with little effort, and wheeled it beside him up the path.

Ignore the blackout, their exhaustion and the injured child sleeping in the car, and they might have been returning after an afternoon spin across the Surrey Hills, stopping off for a picnic by some river and now he'd be getting ready to ask her in for coffee.

He almost laughed out loud.

Seemed stress and fatigue made his imagination run riot.

"...Er...excuse me..."

She'd been talking to him, or trying to, while he was verging on impure thoughts. "Sorry."

"That's alright. I'm the one needs to apologize." She leaned the bicycle against the side of the house and looked up at him. Her face was a pale shape in the darkness. "I'm not good at apologizing. Never have been. But I own you one. That first afternoon, I made some very rude, unjustified comments. I'm sorry," she paused as if to catch her breath. "You're not a coward. Tonight proved it and I had no business to make such a sweeping judgment without knowing a thing about you."

He shrugged, unsure how to reply. "Tonight, I just did my job." With a lot of help.

"Without you, those two brothers would have been buried alive and no doubt dead buy the time they dug them out. "You saved their lives."

"I didn't do it alone. Sergeant Pendragon..."

"Is an old man. You went down into the cellar, he told me that. You went looking for them not knowing if you'd be able to get out again, That, Mr. Watson, is courage in my book." He ought to tell the truth, that Sergeant Pendragon held up a wall and the stairs on his shoulders but she'd think he was out of his mind. Perhaps he was. "Thank you," she went on, "and I look forward to working with you."

She offered her hand.

He took it.

His earlier impression had been dead on. Her skin was warm, even in the chilly night, her grasp strong and he might sense rather than see her smile, but he just knew it crinkled the corners of her blue eyes. Which must sparkle with life and beauty and...

Oh, dash it all!

Holding hands was nowhere near enough. Why waste the night and the moment?

He put his arm on her shoulders, drawing her closer. To his utter amazement and delight, she stepped into him, looking up at him. This close he could almost see the soft curve of her lips. He felt the warmth of her breath as he lowered his mouth and brushed her lips with his.

That was all he intended, a reckless, stolen kiss that they could both forget in daylight.

If they had any sense. Which they obviously didn't.

Instead of stepping back, she leaned into him, warm and soft against him , and tilting her neck, opened her mouth and wrapped her arms around him.

***

In lieu of our regular Q&A this week, we're doing something a little different. Georgia will answer the first ten questions you post in the comments. You direct the interview! Leave a comment or questions for your chance to win one of two signed copies, which will be chosen at random next Sunday. Good luck!

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