BWWM Interracial Romance, Modern Historical Romance
Date Published: Feb 12, 2021
She’s a singer posing as a maid. He’s a surgeon forced to serve the Reich. For both of them, deception is the only way to survive the war.
Cocktail singer Victoire Duplanchier knows Nazi-occupied Paris is not safe for a black woman. But that’s exactly why she’s trying to get her family out. When she’s caught in a roundup, a man with ocean-blue eyes saves her from being sent to an unknown fate. But can she really trust him? He might seem kind and handsome, but he’s also a Nazi.
Surgeon, Emil von Konig, was duped into serving the Reich by his deceitful father. When he encounters Victoire, he knows he needs to keep her safe. He offers refuge at his estate in the Parisian countryside, but in order to stay undetected, she must pose as his maid.
Their new roles as maid and master find them in close confines. As their connection grows their passion is impossible to ignore.
While war rages on around them, Emil and Victoire believe they are safe. But danger is closer than ever. When the true nature of their relationship is discovered, everything will be at risk.
Is their love strong enough to conquer the forces that conspire against them?
I sit up alert in my chair wondering what could be wrong. Herr von Konig seldom summons me, but I am on my feet and in the dining room within seconds. As I enter my heart flutters when his ocean blue eyes take me into their gaze.
“Yes, Herr von Konig,” I furrow my brows, “Is everything alright? Was your breakfast not warm…the coffee?” He smirks, but with soft eyes.
“No Victoire, everything is–was perfect, as usual,” he says to me in a calming tone, trying to reduce the anxiety he can see written on my face. It works. My brow relaxes as I look at him trying to slow my breathing to a normal rate.
“Tonight, I have yet another event to attend in the city,” I swallow trying not to show my disappointment.
“I understand Monsieur,” I nod once.
“I have two surgeries today and will probably not make it back at a decent time to prepare, I would like it if you would assist me and layout my formal dress for me, pressed, and metals shined. I know it is much to ask of you among the other duties you carry out, but I–”
“Non, Monsieur,” I stop him, “It is my pleasure to serve you.” I don’t know why I say those words. They seemed to fly from my lips on wings, and I couldn’t catch them to bring them back and scold them for being so eager to leave me…but I see a light flicker behind his eyes, almost ablaze.
Shirrá Lynn is a native of Washington, DC. A writer of Interracial Romance, she is also a hobbyist poet and floral designer. When she isn’t writing or snipping roses, she loves spending time with her family, especially her nieces and nephew. In college, during a critique session in a creative writing class, her professor described her writing style as ‘too colloquial’. Shirrá took this appraisal and used it as a catalyst to produce stories that are engaging, real and speak to the heart.
An evocative tale of love, fear and duty, set against the backdrop of the nineteen fifties, with the emergence of apartheid in South Africa and the criminal nature of homosexuality in the UK.
South Africa, 1953 – Father Daniel Blakemore is happy on his missionary secondment in a small, rural Providence Hospital on the Eastern Cape. Being away from England makes it easier for him to conceal his homosexuality – a secret that would destroy everything he’s ever worked for. But when Doctor Eddie Raleigh takes up his new position at Providence, the two men are instantly drawn to one another. Their liaison represents both Daniel’s deepest desire and his worst nightmare. If the archdeacon in London learns of his true nature, Daniel’s life in the church will be over. Broken-hearted, Daniel breaks things off with Eddie. And to get away from his sorrows, he leaves his beloved missionary work behind, and returns to Stepney. Will time and distance alleviate Daniel’s pain, or will happiness be forever elusive? Or will love, finally, find a way?
Doctor Eddie Raleigh and I met for the first time on an unusually hot day in January. At the time, my head was inside the end of a VW bus, and my arms and shirt were covered in motor oil. The bus, which doubled as our ambulance, had sat uselessly in the hospital’s courtyard for weeks, and I was determined to do something about it.
“I can’t see what the problem is.” I wiped my brow with an oily sleeve. “That bolt’s tight, but this pipe is still dripping… Anton, hand me the other wrench?”
Without taking my eyes off the engine, I stretched out a hand in the direction of the half a dozen boys who were watching my futile attempt at vehicle repairs with great interest and many unhelpful comments. When the tool wasn’t forthcoming, I glanced up. All I could see of the boys were their narrow backs, clad in an array of cast-off shirts. They were looking at something I couldn’t see.
I straightened, narrowly missing cracking my head on the open engine hatch.
A stranger stood at the front of the bus, holding a small leather suitcase in one hand and a white trilby hat in the other. He was tall and slender, with a shock of reddish hair that brushed the collar of his tailored shirt. He was in shirtsleeves; a summer coat hung in limp folds over the suitcase. He gave an impression of the slightly rumpled elegance seen in the well-to-do traveller.
The boys remained still as salt pillars, so I took charge. “Hello there. Can we help?”
He approached, looking relieved about the friendly break of the stand-off. Close up, a fine spray of freckles dotting his nose and cheeks captured my attention. He had high cheekbones, and laughter lines around the eyes. His jade-green gaze gave me a sudden jolt, like I’d missed a step while hurrying down a flight of stairs. He smiled, his face lighting up with an openness that was rare and refreshing. The way his mouth quirked at one corner made my cheeks burn.
“Do you need assistance?” I attributed the uncharacteristic edge in my voice to the forward way his gaze still held mine fast. Instantly, anxiety washed over me. Did he think me rude? But his smile was unwavering.
“I’m Edward Raleigh.” His voice was low and pleasant. “The new doctor.” He extended his hand. At the last moment I remembered the engine grease on my fingers. I grimaced, holding my arm rigidly by my side.
“You don’t want to get grease all over you.” In lieu of a handshake I put all the warmth I had into the words. “How do you do. I’m Father Daniel Blakemore. Welcome to Providence Hospital, Doctor Raleigh. We’re very glad to have you on board.”
“It’s good to be here at last.” From his tone, it wasn’t difficult to deduce the relief of a journey finally completed. He smiled that bright smile again. “And to be so promptly appreciated.”
“You’ll want to see Mr Hogarth.” That was the hospital’s director and head surgeon. I sized up the boys. “Anton, take Doctor Raleigh to the administrative offices.”
“Thank you, Father.” Raleigh’s smile was just for me this time. Until he turned to Anton, at least. “Ready when you are.”
The boy looked proud to be entrusted with this important task. “This way.” He set off towards the hospital, his back straight, his eyes twinkling with curiosity. I tried to see the white, two-storey building with its gabled red roof through the eyes of the elegant doctor. Hopefully, Raleigh would be too busy digesting his unfamiliar surroundings to notice the cracks in the walls and the peeling paint.
“Clinic’s just finished for the day.” Anton’s voice carried from halfway across the deserted courtyard. He seemed to be responding to a question from Raleigh. “Don’t get used to the quiet. It doesn’t last.”
Something in the doctor’s response made Anton grin. He hurried to hold the door to the Casualty department and let Raleigh precede him. A smile stole onto my face. Despite his elegance, I had an inkling that Raleigh would fit right in.
“The new doctor is very tall.”
I turned my attention to the boys still crowding around the bus. The speaker, a small, wiry lad of about ten, grinned at me.
I chuckled. “So he is.” Turning back to the engine with its intractable tangle of wires and pipes, I gave a sigh. “Gentlemen, back to it. Someone hand me the flat-blade screwdriver, please.”
About the Author
Mel Gough has self-published eight contemporary and historical romance novels and novellas. She was shortlisted for the inaugural Selfies Award with her romantic suspense novel He is Mine. A Leap of Faith was longlisted for the Bridport Award 2019 and shortlisted for the First Novel Award in the same year. Mel lives in London.
A NYT bestselling author kicks off a new Regency series of “irresistible romance and a family of delightful scoundrels” as a woman looking to recover a stolen painting accidentally kidnaps a duke instead. (Eloisa James)
Chloe Wynchester is completely forgettable — a curse that gives her the ability to blend into any crowd. When the only father she’s ever known makes a dying wish for his adopted family of orphans to recover a missing painting, she’s the first one her siblings turn to for stealing it back. No one expects that in doing so, she’ll also abduct a handsome duke.
Lawrence Gosling, the Duke of Faircliffe, is tortured by his father’s mistakes. To repair his estate’s ruined reputation, he must wed a highborn heiress. Yet when he finds himself in a carriage being driven hell-for-leather down the cobblestone streets of London by a beautiful woman who refuses to heed his commands, he fears his heart is hers. But how can he sacrifice his family’s legacy to follow true love?
“Erica Ridley is a delight!” –Julia Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of the Bridgerton series
Miss Wynchester swept into the Duke of Faircliffe’s dining room with her head high.
Faircliffe’s throat went dry and his mind emptied of rational thought.
Gone was the insipid blandness of tan-on-tan. Her curves were now draped in a slip of mauve twill, overlaid with a sweeping frock of white netting. The dark velvet trim on the light rose bodice matched the velvet vandyke points decorating the skirt. The gauzy romantic colors brought out the dark brown of her hair and the deep brown of her long-lashed eyes.
His body tightened. It was all he could do not to reach for her. Pull her against his chest, and claim her in ravenous kisses that weren’t his to take.
A smile flitted at her lips, as if she sensed the maelstrom she’d unleashed within him.
His lungs tangled, making it hard to speak. Each syllable was the rasp of a drowning man. “You look magnificent.”
She stood much too far away for Faircliffe’s taste. That bodice would be displayed at its best pillowed against his chest, the perfect distance for a man to embark on a trail of kisses from her rosy lips, down the column of her throat, and into the swell of her bosom.
Tonight, he would dream of nothing else.
Miss Wynchester took a step toward the table. He watched, rapt. The swing of her hips was sensual and confident. She was a Wynchester. A woman of flesh and blood. Not being a highborn lady erased none of her power. The empty dining room crackled with it.
He leapt to his feet to help her into her chair.
She stopped her forward progress when she was less than an arm’s length from him. Close enough to touch. Close enough to see.
Her eyes were the warmest shade of brown he had ever beheld. They were fathomless, penetrating. He wanted to see those eyes flutter closed in pleasure, and know that it was he who had brought her to that peak.
“That.” Her voice was warm honey. “Whatever you’re thinking at this very moment. That is what you should be doing.”
He’d been thinking of her. Of devouring her kiss by kiss, lick by lick, until she was limp and sated in his arms.
It was highly improper dinner party behavior.
His voice was hoarse. “I don’t think you understand what I…”
“Don’t I?” Her eyes were hot on his, her gaze intense and unwavering.
He tried to calm the rushing in his veins, carnal desires straining to be set free. She meant this. That he should be and do as he pleased.
But what he wanted would lead them both to ruin.
“My father…” His voice was too low, too rough. A rumble of thunder on a spring day. “Father was emotional and impulsive. It made him a laughingstock.” It had made Faircliffe a laughingstock. “I will not compound his mistakes.”
Even if there was nothing he wanted more than to end this conversation by covering her mouth with his. Giving in. Allowing passion to consume him.
Her gaze searched his face. “What if it’s not a mistake? How will you know, if you keep yourself gaoled inside your head?”
Gaol. That was exactly what he should do with the urge to take her, kiss her, taste her. Lock his visceral, libidinous urges behind bars and throw away the key. It was the only way he would be strong enough to resist temptation.
“I…” Had he stepped closer? Had she? Their forbidden kiss was a breath away.
Her eyes sparked with challenge. “What would you do, Your Grace? If you were the sort of craven rogue who indulged his every desire. What impulse are you trying to fight?”
He reached up to touch her cheek. He should not have. Its softness was his undoing.
Faircliffe was done fighting. For the moment, he would allow desire to break free from its chains. With no gaoler to stop him, there was only one thing
Faircliffe wanted… and she was right in front of him.
He grasped her face, his fingers delving into the softness of her hair, and brought her to him. Heaven. Hell. His lips upon hers were less a kiss, and more two souls crashing into each other, shattering and melding at the same time.
She smelled like honeysuckle and tasted like fresh tea. Had he thought he hated the substance? He adored it when it came from her lips. No amount of sugar could compare to the sweetness of her mouth, the fierce rush of her fingers twisting in his hair.
Something fluttered in his chest, an unfurling, a rebirth. He explored the contours of her mouth, mapping each hidden corner to remember later, to revisit in his mind when he could not have her in his hands.
Both palms now cupped her cheeks. Not to keep her in place, but to stop himself from skimming his eager hands down the column of her neck, the hollow of her back, the flare of her hips.
If he touched her body, he’d be tempted to pull her closer. To leave no doubt that kissing her was no fleeting impulse, but a gale-force of temptation he barricaded himself against every time he thought her name or saw her face. This was what he had hungered for. Her. Beneath his fingers. Had he truly believed he could stay away?
Kissing her was as inevitable as the rain falling from swollen clouds, and just as impossible to hold in one’s hands forever.
He forced himself to wrench his mouth from hers, panting. Her face was still in his hands, her lips swollen from his kisses. He touched their foreheads together and tried to regain his breath. It was no use.
“Now you know.” The words were a growl, a plea. “All I can offer you is a moment’s passion. Do not ask me to uncage myself again, unless this is what you want.”
**Get the FREE Prequel The Governess Gambit here!**
Erica Ridley is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of historical romance novels, including the newly released THE DUKE HEIST, featuring the Wild Wynchesters. Why seduce a duke the normal way, when you can accidentally kidnap one in an elaborately planned heist?
In the 12 Dukes of Christmas series, enjoy witty, heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. After all, nothing heats up a winter night quite like finding oneself in the arms of a duke!
Two popular series, the Dukes of War and Rogues to Riches, feature roguish peers and dashing war heroes who find love amongst the splendor and madness of Regency England.
When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.