Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Broken Hero by Anne Whitfield
Audrey Pearson's life changed dramatically when WWII broke out and her large home, Twelve Pines on the East Yorkshire coast, became a convalescence home for wounded soldiers. Her life is no longer lavish with entertainment, beautiful clothes and surrounded by a loving family. Soldiers, physically and mentally wounded now fill her home. The smell of disinfectant replaces her mother's perfume and gone are the friends and acquaintances - instead nurses roam the hallways.
Captain Jake Harding, a doctor training in psychiatry arrives at Twelve Pines. Audrey immediately finds herself attracted to the Captain, but he is remote towards her. Puzzled by his cold behaviour, Audrey tries to learn more about the handsome Captain. He reveals that he's lost a wife and baby in childbirth and refuses to ever remarry.
However, despite this, Audrey believes she can change his mind and make him aware he doesn't have to spend his life alone.
The ice around Jake's heart begins to melt. For years he has rejected the possibility of finding love again because of the pain it caused him before, but the beautiful Audrey shows him her love and she needs someone to love her in return.
Could he honestly walk away from her, from the love that could be his?
Some inborn instinct told her that this man was for her—that she’d been waiting for him. She wouldn’t give up. He was worth fighting for. All it took was perseverance. She wouldn’t allow him to wallow in self-pity. He had to be shown that it was safe to love her, she wouldn’t leave him, and if he was too stubborn to acknowledge it then she would draw it out of him with some old-fashioned jealousy. She knew he was attracted to her, so now she had to use that to her advantage. All she had to do was play-act. Surely that wasn’t too hard now, was it?
Audrey reached for her straw hat and put her plan into action. “I think it’s time I showed these men how to play cricket. Who will be my partner?”
There was a roar of approval and then the men gulped their drinks down, ready to start another game.
Colonel Barnes picked up the other bat, his skin reddening. “I may be an old trout, but I’d be honoured to be at the other end, Miss Pearson.”
“Indeed, Colonel, I think that would be very suitable.” Since her father’s funeral she had noticed a change in the old colonel and Val had told her of his long talks with Jake, which had led to the colonel wanting to rejoin his regiment, if only to be used in the office or a similar position.
She picked up the cricket bat, and took her place in front of the stumps, waiting for the bowler to run in.
“You show them, Aud!” Lucy called from where she was fielding on the edge of the water.
Audrey grinned. The sun was hot, turning the sand to fire. She could feel the skin on her legs burning, but at least she tanned well. Today she wore navy shorts and a lemon short sleeved shirt. Her curls were wild about her head and she quickly tucked them under her hat.
From the corner of her eye she spotted Jake and Val chatting on the blanket and, as the bowler ran in, Audrey knew exactly where she’d hit the ball. Years of playing cricket with her father and brother made her good at the sport. She’d always been athletic, much to her mother’s dismay, and now she grinned as she whacked the ball hard, hooking it over to the blanket where it landed just inches from Jake’s feet.
Surprised, Valerie rose up on her knees. “Audrey, are you trying to kill one of us?”
“Sorry, Val!” She laughed and got into position again. For the next eight balls she hit every one in their direction. Valerie had run for cover, but Jake still sat on the blanket, slowly clapping each ball she hit.
“I say, how splendid!” The colonel took out his handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his head and neck. “I don’t have to run at all.”
"Miss Pearson is too good for us.” Nielson chuckled as she hit another ball that sailed over his head.
“She should play for England!” Major Johnson winked at her and she winked back.
“Will you have a bowl, Captain Harding?” Price threw him the ball.
“No, I don’t think so.” Jake glanced at Audrey.
“Frightened I might hit you for six, Captain?” she teased.
He stood and juggled the ball from hand to hand, his gaze not leaving hers. “Not at all, Miss Pearson.”
Audrey swallowed, watching him walk to the bowlers mark. Her stomach twisted into knots at the challenge. After missing his first two balls, she realised he was very good at this game and was determined not to let her win this match between them. He had a steely look in his eyes, his expression grim.
She managed to hit his next delivery back over his head. Jake looked at her in surprise as the men whooped and clapped at the shot. “Run Colonel! Run!” she called.
“Someone get that ball,” Jake yelled, raking his fingers through his hair in frustration. He glared at Audrey as she came to his end of the wicket.
“Don’t take pity on me simply because I’m a woman, Captain.” She grinned at him and turned to stand at the side. “I’m stronger than you know.”
The ball was thrown back to him and he caught it, pausing to examine the stitching. “I don’t doubt that for a moment, Miss Pearson.”
Inside, Audrey smiled. She was getting to him, unsettling his ordered life. She wasn’t someone he could dismiss without another thought. She wouldn’t let him.
Purchase Broken Hero from;
Amazon USA http://www.amazon.co.uk/Broken-Hero-Anne-Whitfield/dp/1601542267/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1279271138&sr=1-4
Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1601542267?tag=httpwwwannewc-21&camp=1406&creative=6394&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1601542267&adid=1T2NC357X5063J2N1CN7&
The Book Depository http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781601542267/Broken-Hero (free delivery world wide)