YAPC would like to welcome Mary D. Brooks to the blog today. She is here to share an excerpt and some info about her book In the Blood of the Greeks. If this looks like something you would enjoy, please go pick up a copy or two! This book is reduced to $2.99 for a limited time!
It’s 1942 in German Occupied Greece during World War II, Eva and Zoe — one a German officer’s daughter, the other a young Greek woman filled with fury — should be enemies but they come together in an unlikely union to save the lives of Jews targeted by the Nazis. They know that one wrong move will put an end to their lives.
Fourteen year old Zoe Lambros’ faith in God is shattered after her mother’s death at the hands of the German Commander. She determines to defy the enemy in every way she can–including a festering urge to kill the German Commander’s daughter, Eva Muller.
Eva Muller has a tortured past, and a secret, if revealed, will lead to certain death at the hands of her father. Despite knowing the risk, Eva is working with the village priest to help the Jews escape. With her activities closely observed, Eva needs help to continue the clandestine operation. Zoe is not who Eva has in mind but they have to find a way to work as a team to accomplish their life saving mission.
– Finalist: Fiction – Historical – Event/Era – 2015 Readers’ Favorite
– Finalist Gay/Lesbian Fiction – International Book Awards 2015
– Finalist First Novel – IAN (Independent Author Network) Book Of The Year Awards 2015
– Finalist Outstanding Historical Fiction – IAN (Independent Author Network) Book Of The Year Awards 2015
Content Warning: Mild Language and Low Level Violence
Buy In the Blook of the Greeks:
Zoe sat outside the house on an upturned wooden crate and watched the soldiers coming and going from the house across the street. She had a white fabric in her hand, and as she embroidered a pattern, she would occasionally glance up at the soldiers and then back down to her handiwork. She had a great memory—she wasn’t sure how it worked, but she could recall everything she saw. She casually glanced down at the watch Stavros had given her.
Zoe’s attention was drawn to several soldiers nearly falling over themselves at the entrance to the house. Moments later a tall figure emerged dressed in a black cloak with a hood to cover their head. Zoe scowled and looked up into the heavens. It was a warm, sunny day and there were no clouds in the sky to forecast a weather change, and it wasn’t cold either.
“What an idiot,” Zoe muttered. The tall figure talked with the guards for a few moments. It was when the cane was produced that Zoe stood up straighter. She had seen that cane before. Very slowly as to not arouse suspicions, she tapped the door behind her, where her cousin was sitting.
“Stav, come out here.”
“Now. I want you to see something.”
The door to the house opened and Stavros came out feeling his way with a cane. Zoe stood up and offered him her seat while she leaned against the wall. Stavros’ “war injury” provided cover for his activities in the Resistance.
“Who is that?” Zoe asked. She decided to sit down on the wooden floor and watch the hooded person.
“Clean your ears out. I said Muller’s daughter,” Stavros replied. “Her name is Eva Muller; she’s 22 and a cripple.”
“What’s her dress size?” Zoe teased Stavros.
“I’m not partial to German whores so I don’t know,” Stavros joked under his breath, making Zoe giggle. “Kiria Despina told me.”
“Despina’s nice although she is always trying to marry me off. Too bad she is forced to work there for those pigs. Why would you bring a woman into a war zone?”
“You’re a woman,” Stavros reminded Zoe as he glanced down and smiled at her.
“I live here.”
“I don’t know why the Nazi brought her here. Maybe Despina is wrong and she’s his wife.”
“She doesn’t look like a cripple,” Zoe muttered, but moments later rethought her assessment. One of the soldiers held out a cane which Eva took. “Well, look at that, she is a cripple,” Zoe said a little louder than normal. She was more than a little surprised when her comment caused Eva to momentarily stop at the top step. The guards didn’t pay any attention to Zoe but Muller’s daughter did react. Zoe saw it and smiled.
“Zoe! Lower your voice.”
“They’re Germans, Stav, they can’t speak Greek,” she whispered.
“If they can’t speak Greek, why are you whispering?”
Zoe grinned and watched Eva laboriously coming down the four steps. “Her shadows can’t, but the cripple can speak Greek,” she said quietly.
Stavros glanced at Eva in confusion and then back at Zoe. “Zo, the sun’s getting to you.”
“No. My head is fine.” Zoe absentmindedly tapped her head with her hand. “She understood what I said.”
“Are you sure?”
“Oh, yes, I’m sure.” Zoe nodded and watched as Eva finally got down the steps. She spoke to the guards for a moment before they backed away from her and stood behind her. Zoe was intrigued by this new arrival. The new commander had only been in the village for a few days and Zoe had not seen his daughter at all in that time.
“No, I want to watch the show,” Zoe mumbled as she helped Stavros get up and go inside. She resumed her seat on the overturned crate and saw that Eva had only taken a few steps. She sat up straighter when she saw a gust of wind rip the hood off Eva’s head.
“So now you have a face,” Zoe muttered.
Eva’s long hair disappeared into her cloak. Zoe was mesmerized by the color. She was expecting Eva to be blonde, but she wasn’t. Her hair was midnight black with the barest hint of blue as the sun hit it. The artist in Zoe was amazed; the Resistance fighter was intrigued. Eva stopped as the guard put her hood back on and they resumed their slow journey.
Zoe followed Eva’s tortuous slow walk to where the house ended and the intersection began. “I wonder what color your eyes are,” Zoe mused. “Not bad for a cripple.”
Eva stopped and took a breath. She said something to her guard and for a moment Zoe thought it was about her. It wasn’t. A few minutes later they resumed their journey. Just as Zoe got up to go into Stavros’ house, Major Hans Muller appeared at the entrance. Zoe stopped and sat back down.
Muller was a tall, stocky man in his late forties. Zoe looked into his face as he stood on the landing, waiting for his daughter to come to him. She sure doesn’t look like her papa, Zoe mused. There was a coldness to him, even for a Nazi. He didn’t try to help Eva up the stairs but stood there watching her.
“What an ass,” Zoe muttered.
Eva stopped and looked up at Muller. They exchanged a few words which Zoe couldn’t quite decipher. Muller did an about face and went back inside the house leaving Eva to walk up the stairs and follow him.
Zoe sneered as Eva’s journey up the stairs was taking an extraordinary amount of time. “I’m going to turn fourteen by the time that woman reaches the top step,” she muttered and got up and went inside the house.
“So did you enjoy the show?” Stavros said from the window while he continued to watch.
“I thought you said you weren’t interested in German whores?”
“Why are you watching her? Has she reached the top step yet?”
“We should go outside and give her a gold medal. That’s an Olympic event.”
“What is?” Stavros turned away from the window.
“Slow walking.” Zoe giggled. “My god, that took forever.”
“Do you care?”
“What did Muller say to her?”
“I don’t know.” Zoe shrugged and sat down at the table. “I couldn’t hear.”
“Why don’t you go home and pretty yourself up a little bit?”
“Huh?” Zoe stared at Stavros. “What did you just say?”
“I said go and wear a nice dress and do that thing you do with your hair. Apostolos is coming tonight.”
Zoe continued to stare. “What do I do with my hair?”
“You know, that girl thing you do and it looks all nice and pretty.”
Zoe smiled. “You are such a boy. Now why do I have to pretty myself up and do that thing I do with my hair?”
Stavros sat down heavily on the chair and rested his head on the table. “Zoe, can we not play this game all the time?”
“You’re the one who wants me to pretty myself up.”
“Can you please go home and get ready?”
Zoe chuckled. “Mama’s going to find this funny.”
“Your mama has the patience of a saint.”
“I’ll let her know you said that.” Zoe came round to where Stavros was seated and ruffled his curly black hair. She smiled at her cousin, who looked up at her. “You have to stop trying to match make.”
“Apostolos is sweet on you.”
“I’m not sweet on him. He’s too old.”
Stavros let his head drop to the table. “Yes, yes, yes, I know. You don’t like how old he is, nor his height, you don’t like his dark hair, and you don’t like his blue eyes.”
“He’s not right.”
“He can’t help being eight years older than you.”
“Not that, silly.”
“If it’s not his age, nor his height, his hair color or his eyes, what is it this time?”
“He has an accent.”
“What?” Stavros asked incredulously and started to laugh. He slapped his thigh as the giggles overtook him. “He doesn’t have an accent!”
“He’s from Athens.”
“They have a different accent.”
Stavros shook his head slowly, causing his curly hair to swing. “How do you know Athenians have a different accent? You’ve only met one.”
“Zoe, go home and wear that beautiful dress your mama made for you. We have business to discuss tonight.”
“Are we going out?”
“Not tonight, but maybe tomorrow night. There’s a new batch arriving tomorrow. That’s why Apostolos is coming over.”
“Can’t he send a messenger with the information?”
Stavros smiled. “He is the messenger. He’s making a special effort to come and see you.”
“Oh, joy,” Zoe muttered as she raised herself up and kissed Stavros on the cheek before picking up her bag and leaving the house.
About the Author: A geek with too many imaginary friends who speak different languages (knew those language classes would come in handy). Historical romance and urban fantasy storyteller and addicted to stories and song about strength and courage. I play well with others (for an introvert) but then retreat to talk and write about my imaginary friends. Passionate about lots of things that inspire the mind (art/design, psychology, science and tech) that sets my muse on fire (she’s a busy lady!).
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