1803 ~ In the seaside town of Berck, France
Gabrielle De Valmont brushed back Lord Kendall’s blond curls and applied the wet cloth to his burning brow. His long golden curls and eyelashes accentuated his bright red cheekbones. In their days of hard travel from Paris, the Earl’s gunshot wound had festered into a nasty infection.
At this moment, he rested. For days, when the fever spiked, he thrashed about, calling out about sending a code book to a woman named “Henrietta.” Desperate to soothe him, Gabrielle discovered that he would calm with the French songs of her childhood.
She was exhausted from the strain of caring for the Earl and from the constant fear that they might be captured and forced to return to Paris. They couldn’t hide much longer without being discovered by Napoleon’s or Fouche’s henchmen.
When the Earl’s condition had worsened to the point he could no longer travel, Gabrielle had brought them to her former nanny’s tiny village of Berck, south of Calais. They made their arrival into the village under cover of darkness to avoid alerting the citizens. For eight long days and nights, she had cared for the feverish Earl.
Their presence in the tiny town couldn’t be kept secret much longer. They must leave Berck and France soon. But how could they flee with the French soldiers on high alert, inspecting every boat crossing the English Channel? Monsieur Denby, Lord Kendall’s valet, had assured her that he had a plan to divert their attention.
Exhausted and despondent, she beseeched the Blessed Virgin for their safe escape and the Earl’s recovery. She also prayed that the Earl would forgive her and Mother Therese for their deception. She had to have believe that Lord Kendall would never abandon her to her terrible fate.
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A CANTATA OF LOVE
Napoleonic France is no place for an Englishman, especially Michael Harcourt, the Earl of Kendal, who is on a clandestine assignment for the Crown. Already injured and facing imminent discovery by Napoleon and Fouche’s men, Michael finds his escape made even more perilous when he is charged with the safety of a young boy who must be spirited out of Paris.
Desperate to escape the terrible fate that awaits her if she remains in France, Lady Gabrielle De Valmont must disguise herself as a boy and rely on the cunning of a virtual stranger—an Englishman, no less—to smuggle her out of the country. When the Earl’s injury becomes severely infected, rendering him gravely ill, Gabrielle realizes it is now up to her to save them both.
You can enjoy the rest of The Code Breakers series on audio, narrated by Pearl Hewitt. Click the cover to listen to an audio sample. Available at Audible.com, iTunes and Amazon.