August’s offer of marriage sent a tremor through her. Could that ever be possible? Did they have a future? Or would the war destroy them?
So many problems to consider. Norah traced a finger over the slight cleft in his chin and his lower lip. The lips that had given her so much delight. The gaze she once thought arrogant now adored her, assuring her as best he could.
She smiled at his confidence. The memory of their union sent warmth throughout her body. She brimmed with love, though the danger lurked beneath the surface.
He sat up and smoothed down his hair. “Let’s dress and get off this floor.”
Sitting, she pulled her clothes on. August finished dressing, stood, and offered his hand.
Once on her feet, she picked up a cushion and so did he. They fitted them back in the chairs.
She ran her fingers through her hair, then retied the bow on her blouse. Another concern surged up. “When can you contemplate retirement from the army?”
“The earliest would be next year. I want my son graduated from school, then sent off to college.” He brushed off his trousers. His gaze met hers. “A college in Switzerland being preferable.”
“You want him safe.” Had August been making plans all along to keep his son out of Hitler’s claws? Norah wanted August out of the madman’s clutches, too.
“Yes, safe. But I have important business to take care of here before any thoughts of retirement.” He tucked in his shirt. “Something I’ve recently realized needs to be done.”
“What is it?” She rubbed low on her back.
“I’ll tell you when the reason for it is closer.” He tugged on his tunic, fastening his high collar where the Iron Cross hung.
She glanced away from the reminder of what he represented. “You can’t tell me anything? I want you to confide in me.”
He pulled her close and kissed her, thoroughly. “I’ll confide when I can. Don’t worry, you will approve.”
“Is it dangerous for you?” She gasped after the kiss and now grew apprehensive about this new information. The idea of the guarded port stuck in her mind for some reason.
He opened the door and peered out. “I’ll give you the details later, I promise.”
“Not too much later, please.” She cocked her head and clasped his arm. “I hope it’s something to slow this war. We must all make that effort.”
He pressed on her fingers, his smile sweet, then gestured for her to exit. “Goodbye for now, meine liebe. We’ll meet again as soon as it can be arranged. I’ll discreetly leave notes for you in the terracotta pot of geraniums in front of your cottage.”
“Yes, very soon. But that reminds me.” She pulled a paper from her pocket and handed it to him. “The words for my telegram.”
“I will take care of this tomorrow morning.” August slipped the paper into his tunic pocket. His smile now looked sad. “Don’t forget, I have limited power out here. There are constraints.”
“I understand. I’ll check the pot daily. Be careful in whatever you plan.” Stepping out into the warm air, her mind swirled with fear for him, herself, and the need for more of what they’d just shared.
“I love you,” they both whispered, gazes intense.
Norah’s step quickened away from the summerhouse. She’d turned into the worst of wanton women, a fraternizer. The English called it a Jerry-bag. But her love for him gripped her, staggering her as she hurried around bushes and under trees. The green scents washed away the sweat of lovemaking.
She chewed the inside of her cheek. How much time would they have if Hitler clamped down harder here, in Brittany—and across the channel? She could lose August, lose her country.