Since I've more space to share here than on Twitter, *eg* here's the longer version. This is from chapter three of Frigga's Lost Army. So here we are, Benjamin (Ben) was fighting in Africa during the war (World War 2) and he's taken prisoner. He has been in a POW camp in Naples, Italy (at this point in the story) for several months. Since his capture, he's received a hint that someone's coming to save him...but he hasn't seen her/him/it yet. Poor dear, he's not quite well versed in reading the mystical signs.
Tonight, he's working, in charge of the feast, at the home of one of the Fascist camp official's friends when he meets with the Lady of the House. Let's see if this meeting changes anything, shall we? Read on:
“You haven’t been well.” She turned back to him. “Have you, Benjamin?”
How did she know his name? None of the guards or occupants here bothered to ask for their names. Benjamin’s heart hammered in his chest as he hesitated, unsure how to answer. Was her curiosity sympathetic, or dangerous? Studying her, Benjamin found it hard to believe her anything but the former. “No, ma’am. Well, this winter I was ill, but I’m well enough now. Without Mom’s remedies—”
She laughed and Benjamin clamped his mouth shut. “I understand,” she said, nodding in a sympathetic way. “You hoped it wouldn’t show. No, there’s no need to protest; I understand. You’d rather die on your own than to have one of them notice any weakness and end your suffering.”
“Yep, and not in a way I’d want them to.”
A sense of relief set in and he leaned against a wine rack as he considered what she’d said.
“It’s much easier to say, than to accomplish, ma’am. Doctor Keenan’s swell, but my flu hasn’t been as easy to hide as you might think. I don’t know how I’ve survived this long. Weakness is suicide here; stupidity is suicide, and I’ve been both.”
She shook her head sadly. “I wouldn’t say so.”
Benjamin’s dark eyebrow arched. “Oh? Take this afternoon: I thought the Fascists would shoot me for talking to you. I’m still not sure we won’t be murdered—or at least me.” He shook his head. “And worrying’s not like me. Before Tunis, I wasn’t so skittish—not like this. Now, it’s worse.” He paused, pondering her, eyes narrowed. “And now I know why you got away with speaking to me this afternoon, Signora.”
“Do you?” She gave him an inquisitive look. “Do you know me now?” She smiled, clasping her hands before her in a satisfied, almost congratulatory gesture. “I’m pleased, Benjamin. I thought it would take you much longer than this to recognize me.”
Benjamin frowned, confused. What’s her game? “I’m not sure what you mean.”
“Are you not?” She frowned; even her frown was lovely. Benjamin mentally scolded himself for the thought. He was not here, after all, for . . . any kind of love.
Her question refocused his concentration. “Should I recognize you, ma’am?”
“Yes.” When he said nothing she added, “You still don’t know me?” He shook his head, and she sighed. “Well, don’t worry; you will.” She descended the steps, crossed the cellar. Soft clinking sounds rang through the cellar as she selected a bottle from the racks. Benjamin peered over her shoulder, reading the label, and suggested a different vintage. She thanked him and, retrieving the correct bottle, removed the keys from her belt. His eyes were on them more than her.
Keys again. What did it mean?
Herm.... What do her keys mean?? Maybe he is getting an inkling... Maybe things are about to change.
Are they? You can find out in...
FRIGGA'S LOST ARMY
I hope you will enjoy the story, and tell your friends! :)
Juli D. Revezzo is the author of the historical fantasy FRIGGA'S LOST ARMY, the Gothic fantasy romance LADY OF THE TAROT, now available in Audiobook from Audible and in ebook and paperback, MOURNING DOVE LOCKET, the latest in the Antique Magic paranormal series, also the Celtic Stewards Chronicles fantasy romance series, as well as the Victorian Romance HOUSE OF DARK ENVY, among others. Her books are available at Amazon and elsewhere.