Promo: The Promise by Kathleen Harryman & Lucy Marshall
Today, I'm sharing an enticing excerpt from The Promise, a WWII historical romance by Kathleen Harryman and Lucy Marshall. Have a read!
Thank you to Mary Anne Yarde of The Coffee Pot Book Club.
The Promise - A World War II Historical Romance
by Kathleen Harryman and Lucy Marshall
“Where are you taking me in such an all fired hurry?” I gasped.
I followed Will down some steps, not that I had much of a choice in the matter. We made our way down into the cellar. The lights had been left on, and there were several beer barrels littering the room. I looked around the dusty, dirty place and wrinkled my nose in distaste. I didn’t want to get my dress filthy.
I could just make out the beat of the music as it vibrated through the floorboards, to the ceiling of the cellar. I wanted to be back up there dancing. My green dress swishing around my ankles. My feet moving to the beat of the music. I hadn’t had a chance to dance with Jimmy yet. I wanted to make sure I had at least one dance with him before the night came to an end.
“Why on earth have you brought me down here?”
Will pulled me into his arms and kissed me, lifting me off my feet and cutting off my words.
I leaned into the kiss, opening my mouth to him, and wrapping my arms around his neck. I pulled him closer to me until I felt as though our bodies were melt- ing into each other. Passion flared between us. I didn’t want it to end.
“I’ve been dying to do that ever since you walked in with Betty.”
We were both breathing heavily. My arms were still entwined round his neck. I looked up into his blue eyes, as I tried to recover from our kiss.
Without warning, I pulled out of Will’s embrace. His arms automatically let go of my waist. With the flat of my hand against his chest, I pushed him hard. He stepped back, losing some of his footing. He hadn’t expected me to push him away. I stepped forward, tap- ping a hand on his rising chest.
“I should slap you, William Aarons, for taking advantage of me like that.” I walked over and sat on one of the barrels, briefly pausing to brush away some of the dust so that my dress wouldn’t get too dirty.
Will folded his arms across his chest. “Then I suggest you stop looking so gorgeous, and then I wouldn’t feel the need to kiss you like I do.”
I rolled my eyes at him to let him know what I thought of his comment.
“Come on, Rosie. I leave tomorrow for Glasgow.”
I couldn’t stop the tears that came to my eyes. I tried to quickly blink them away before they tumbled down my cheeks and spoiled my makeup.
“What do you want me to say, Will? I’ll miss you? I will... you know I will. But, if you want me to wait for you, I can’t do that. I won’t do it. You know how I feel, Will.”
“Yeah, I know, but we’ve still got tonight. Who knows? Maybe we’ll have forever, too.”
I shrugged my shoulders, unable to speak.
Will stepped forward, placing a finger under my chin. “Come on, Rosie. Let’s not pretend. Not tonight. I love you, and I know that you love me.”
“Well, William Aarons, I’m beginning to think that this love thing is daft. I can’t say that loving you has got me very far. Look at me. All dressed up so that I can give my man something to remember me by, and hope- fully stop him making silly decisions that could get him killed, so that he’ll come back to me. Aren’t I the stupid one, huh?”
“You’re so contrary. You know that, don’t you? One minute you’re not waiting for me, and the next, you’re wanting me to come home to you.”
“Well, I never said that this love thing made any sense, did I?”
Will shook his head, smiling at me. “No, you didn’t, but I think it’s just the best thing ever.” He reached for me. Gently this time, our lips met, and we tenderly kissed each other.
Will broke the kiss and drew me back, resting his hands on my shoulders. I watched him as he fumbled at the inside of his jacket pocket. Each movement made my heart beat faster, curious as to what he was going to pull out of his pocket. I was also damn right scared. Half of me wanted Will to give me a ring, but the other part felt mad at the thought.
“I want you to have this.” Will opened his hand.
I felt my nerves jump under my skin. Please don’t let it be a ring, I silently prayed. Will’s fingers seemed to take an eternity to uncurl. Oh, but when they did! There in the palm of his hand was a silver chain, on which sat an oval, elaborate silver locket. In the centre of the locket was a hand-carved rose made out of Whitby jet. With shaking fingers, he opened the locket. On the left, there was a photo of me, and on the right was Will’s. My breath caught in my throat. I loved it.
“I know how you feel, Rosie. I do. I get it. Really, I do. I’m not about to ask something I know you won’t be able to give me right now. That’s why I bought you the locket instead of a ring. I hope that you’ll wear this while I’m gone. That you’ll think about me, and how much I love you. I can’t make you any promises, Rosie Girl, my Rosie Girl. But, if God is willing, I will come back to you. Maybe then we can be together always, and the next time I reach into my pocket, it’ll be to give you a ring.”
Tears fell down my cheeks. “Look what you’ve gone and made me do to my make-up, Will.” I stared at the locket. The more I looked at it, the more my heart squeezed tight in my chest.
“I think you look gorgeous.” He ran a thumb under my eyes, wiping away the tears.
Taking the locket, he fastened it around my neck. I felt the weight of it as it sat against my collar bone. My fingers traced round the Whitby jet, over each petal that made up the rose.
“I love it. Thank you, Will.” My voice was barely above a whisper.
I wiped at the tears that ran down my cheeks, so that I wouldn’t end up with panda eyes.
Will placed his hands on top of mine. “I’ll tell you what you are, Rosie... you’re the most beautiful girl in the world.”
I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him. Above us, the music played, people talked and danced and laughed, and drank together. All the while, down here in the cellar, Will and I fell deeper in love. Both of us too scared to think about how uncertain our world was becoming, and the future we had once taken for granted. Instead, we took this moment to love each other as only two people could. Our clothes slipped away, our bodies becoming one. I cared only for now, for the man I loved. The man that would never come home to me the same as he was now.
The war was changing us, even now. I could feel its reach as Will’s hands ran along my naked body. We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the war.
A lot of folks here in Whitby were traditional Catholics. Will and I were no exception. It didn’t stop us, de- spite our upbringing, our religion. Our actions were a sin that we gladly committed. Nothing could have stopped us. Our need to show each other that we be- longed together. Even as our world changed, uncontrollable, no matter our wishes. We had this one moment to carry with us through it all. I felt no shame, just the love that Will wrapped around me with each gentle touch of his hand. I relished his lips that kissed and tasted my skin. I returned each caress, each kiss, glad for this moment, to love him, and to be loved by him.
Old Widow Gilbert’s words came floating back into my head. “You’ll get yourself into trouble one of these days, Rose Elliot.” Maybe she was going to be right sooner rather than later. I didn’t care. I’d meant what I’d said. I’d rather be happy and have someone pointing a finger at me saying incredibly nasty things behind my back, than to turn my back on Will now.
I wanted to love Will in every way. If that was wrong of me, so be it. Should I end up pregnant, it didn’t matter. Not to me. For once, the only thing that mattered was right now. Not the future, but only this moment.
Sometimes, you have to place your faith in some- thing more than you can see or touch. Sometimes, you have to trust in your feelings. Trust that love will survive.
If I became pregnant and something happened to Will, then I would always have some part of Will with me. It probably wouldn’t happen. I wouldn’t find my- self pregnant next month and neither would Will die.
There was nothing to do now but to trust that the love we shared today would be there when this war ended. That we would survive this.
“Come home to me, Will.” I whispered.
As Britain is gripped by the fear and uncertainty of war, Tom Armitage stands to gain the one thing that he never thought possible - his freedom.
Rosie Elliot sees her future crumbling to dust as Will Aarons leaves Whitby with Jimmy Chappell to fight in the war. As she begins work at The Turnstone Convalescent Home, Rosie finds something she thought she had lost. Friendship. But friendship soon turns to love.
Can this new love replace Will?
This is not an ordinary love story.
It's a story of love, loss, courage, and honour.
Of promises that must be kept or risk losing everything you've ever held dear.
YouTube Book Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLO2AcnQvWU
Buy Link: Amazon
Kathleen Harryman is a storyteller and poet in the historically rich city of York, North Yorkshire, England, with her husband, children and pet dog and cat.
Kathleen was first published in 2015, a romantic suspense entitled The Other Side of the Looking Glass. Since then, Kathleen has developed a unique writing style which readers have enjoyed, and she became a multi-genre author of suspense, psychological thrillers, poetry and historical romance.