Mid Week Tease: Behind the Iron Cross #MidWeekTease #MWTease
Happy Hump Day! Let’s celebrate it with another wonderful Mid Week Tease, courtesy of the lovely and talented Sandra Bunino. This week, I’ll be sharing a teaser from Behind the Iron Cross, my historical MMF romance set in 1923 Berlin. No sex in this one, sorry, but yonder lies character development!
Enjoy, and make sure to hit the list after the teaser to see other great Mid Week Teases!
In the aftermath of World War I, Berlin has become a hotspot of decadent pleasures, and American millionairess Kat Tracy is determined to enjoy each and every one of them with Sam Hellman, her late brother’s lover and her convenient “fiancé.” But when the two of them meet Friedrich von Bader, a former German Army officer turned reluctant prostitute, their wicked games take on a new meaning.
Sam stumped along the pavement, deftly avoiding the bustling sections of the downtown crowds. Part of him felt sorry for Kat, trapped in yet another business meeting. He’d come to the first few days of them out of a sense of loyalty and to fly the flag, and wound up bored out of his mind.
Then again, he reasoned, it was hardly a surprise. His father had been trying for the best part of thirty years to instill a love of business in him, and nothing worked. A few days in a Berlin conference room certainly wasn’t going to spark some latent interest in the fine art of manufacturing electrical equipment.
He sighed. It would have been so much easier if Bart were still alive. He could have run Tracy Electrics with Kat, satisfying the stodgy board of directors, and Sam could continue to be their mutual best friend and Bart’s secret lover. Instead, he was engaged to Kat and had to let himself be groomed as the heir apparent to Tracy Electrics. It was a joke, and everyone knew it except for those ten old men who gathered around an oak conference table and fancied themselves the arbiters of who should be worthy enough to run Tracy Electrics once William decided to retire. Personally, Sam dreaded the day.
Trying not to think about his unappealing future, he continued down the street, keeping a weather eye out for a decent restaurant or cafe. Ahead of him, a tall man came out of an office building. Sam surreptitiously studied his ass.
And recognized it. He looked up and saw Friedrich von Bader, desultorily studying a sheet of paper that appeared to be a list of some sort. His traitorous heart skipped a beat, then raced ahead. He’d never seen the colonel outside of Kat’s company. It felt like a secret treat, running into him this way.
He wondered if he should go up and say hello or just turn around and continue looking for a restaurant when Friedrich glanced up and saw him. To his dismay, the colonel went white.
Trying to ignore the surge of hurt at the German’s obvious fear of being seen with him, Sam decided to be perverse and walked over anyway. “Hello, colonel,” he said in a brisk tone. “Fancy meeting you here.”
Friedrich furtively glanced around the street, then took Sam by the arm and half-dragged, half-guided him into a shuttered store entryway. “What do you want?” he demanded.
Sam’s eyebrows went up, and he carefully shook his sleeve out of the German’s grip. “Nothing. I just wanted to say hello.”
The other man looked like he didn’t believe him. “I’m serious,” Sam insisted. “I saw you coming out of that building, and I thought I would say hello. That’s all.”
“Oh.” Friedrich still looked incredibly uncomfortable, but some of his tension eased. “I’m sorry. I — never mind. Hello.”
That was more like it. Sam’s good mood returned. “Say, I was going to grab some lunch,” he said. “I don’t suppose you could recommend a restaurant in this area?”
The German turned, quickly studying the street. “Landau’s is a block down that way, on the right. Their Königsberger Klopse was very good, the last time I was there.”
“Meatballs made from veal and anchovies. It’s served in a white sauce with capers and eaten with potatoes.”
“Oh. Yes, that does sound good.” And then, inspiration struck. “Look, would you like to have lunch with me?”
To his dismay, the colonel went pale again. “Eat? With you?”
“Well, yes,” Sam said, puzzled by the reaction. Good Lord, man, it’s not as if I’m asking you to suck me off between courses. “I don’t like to eat alone, and Kat’s busy at the office. So if you didn’t have anything to do…”
Friedrich looked away. “I … I have things to do.”
“Of course, I’m sure you do,” Sam said quickly, not wanting to trample on the man’s pride. “But you could take a break and have lunch, right? It’s on me,” he added. “I’ll pay for it, I mean.”
Friedrich hesitated, glancing around. Then he seemed to sag. “What do you want for it?”
That stung. “Nothing,” Sam said. “I just wanted some company, that’s all. But if it makes you uncomfortable, I understand.” He shrugged, turning to go. “Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll see you later, I guess.”
He limped off, hating the mild churning in his gut. If he doesn’t want a free meal, to hell with him. I was just trying to be nice, which was obviously stupid of me. Damn Germans, all of them so stiff-necked and pains in the ass—
He stumbled, and a strong hand wrapped around his arm, steadying him. He turned in time to see Friedrich give a small, hesitant smile. “I apologize for my rudeness. It has been … a difficult day. But I will have lunch with you, if you still want me.”
Sam swallowed hard. Oh, I want you. That’s the problem, isn’t it?
But they were in public, and even in Berlin he couldn’t pull Friedrich into his arms. He forced a blandly pleasant expression and nodded. “Where’s this Landau’s, then?”
Powered by Linky Tools
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…