When I was asked to be part of Karen Cox’s “Undeceived” blog tour, I didn’t hesitate for a moment to join the fun.
Sharing this top secret post, along with a giveaway for my readers on Valentine’s Day only made it sweeter!
Karen’s new book focuses on the relationship between two Cold War spies, William Darcy, and Elizabeth Bennet, who find themselves caught in their own cat-and-mouse game. Please welcome Karen Cox, author of several books, including “At the Edge of the Sea,” to Just Jane 1813 today and feel free to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the bottom of this post.
Thank you so much for the invitation to post an excerpt from Undeceived: Pride & Prejudice in the Spy Game here at JustJane1813!
I believe this passage was one of the first ones I wrote for Undeceived. After editing and re-editing several times, dividing the scene and moving parts of it to other places in the book, this section ultimately became the prologue. Enjoy!
East Berlin, GDR
His vision began to darken. He heard shouts again, a man’s, no…there was a female voice in the mix, but he lacked the brainpower to muster a care for who it was. Was it English he heard? Or was his mind, so inured to translating, automatically interpreting the German? He was tired, so tired, but if he could only rest a while, he could recruit some strength and get…where? Ah yes, West Berlin.
The voices grew, even as his consciousness faded. His mouth tried to form words like “over here” or “help me.” But nothing came out except more blood—from his side, from his shoulder, from his hand. There were pinpricks behind his eyelids again, moving faster, like a giant kaleidoscope, and the world continued to melt away. He felt movement when he slumped out of the pantry door and cursed when someone pushed him back up to a sitting position.
“Come on. Wake up, old chap! We’re getting you out of here. Stay with me. My car is right outside.”
“USBER. Hurry.” His speech slurred as if he’d been on a three-day drunk.
“Yes, straight across the border.”
His lips twitched. “Fitz?”
“I’m here. You’re going to be fine. Hang on.”
William Darcy forced his eyes open, but it wasn’t the colonel he saw in front of him.
“You arrogant bastard,” she said in a clipped tone. “What don’t you understand about ‘stay put’? We’ve been looking for you for flipping ever! You’re damn lucky the colonel remembered the location of this safe house.”
“Hi, little cutie. What are you doing here?” His head lolled about on his shoulders.
“I’m saving your overconfident, egotistical hide.”
“Aww, honey, don’t nag. Hey, how you gonna get us out of this one? How good is your German?” He grinned, inwardly laughing at the asinine situation in which he’d found himself.
“You know it’s damn good, danke. And I’m going to get us out of here, ’cause, unlike you, I’ve got my ducks in a row,” she quipped, then gasped as she drew back her hand, covered in his blood. “Holy shit!” She stared at her blood-soaked fingers. Apparently, he’d bled through his last attempt at a bandage. She heaved him toward her and ran her hands over his torso, assessing the damage as he groaned again.
“Fitz—” she spoke with a forced calm “—find something to check this. We’ve got to get him out of here. And there had better be a medical team waiting as soon as we get across the border.”
Fitz disappeared and returned with a couple of musty towels, one of which she slipped under Darcy’s armpit and tied it firmly.
“Good God, woman!” he said through gritted teeth.
“I have to stop the bleeding.”
“If you put a tourniquet on there, I’m liable to lose my damn arm!”
“Stop being such a baby. It’s not that tight.”
“Is…too.” He was losing the burst of alertness fostered by the hope of rescue and the pain in his shoulder.
She tried to pull his shirt up to see, but it was stuck to the side wound. Looking at it, she sat back, horrified.
“Bad?” he whispered.
“Not so bad.”
“Liar,” he murmured.
Over her shoulder, she spoke in a low voice. “We have to go—now.”
“Chief said they’re sending an ambulance from a hospital near Zehlendorf. No sirens. Should be there when we arrive.”
“But first we have to get him into West Berlin.”
Darcy clutched at her arm. “Set up…” He gasped.
“Sniper at the drop. Shooter at my flat—” Darcy indicated his side wound. “—traitor…they’re gone now. Took them out. Both of ’em. Natalia…she played me. Damn it, she played me!”
“Traitor? Who is Natalia?”
“Wilhelm,” he said, becoming agitated.
“That’s your name, Darcy.”
“Okay, okay, shh now. We’re loading you into the car. Try not to draw attention to yourself.”
They hustled him to the curb as if carting him home from a night full of booze and debauchery. He felt weightless, like a baby might, being carried in its mama’s arms.
Once in the car, there was only silence, as she worked to stave off disaster. There was the occasional unintelligible mumble from Fitz behind the wheel, and a low response from the woman tending Darcy’s wounds with quiet, efficient desperation. He clung to the sounds; hearing was the only sense left to him, the only thing that told him he was still in the land of the living. He no longer felt anything, no longer could see.
“It’s the end,” he whispered, still incredulous that this could happen to him, of all people.
“You’re too full of yourself to die,” she said in his ear, grasping his uninjured hand, now cold and clammy.
The car rumbled quietly through the calm Sunday morning traffic of East Berlin.
She looked away. “Can’t you go any faster?”
“Going as fast as I can.” Fitz met her gaze in the rear view mirror. “They have good medical facilities on the other side, probably better than any place he’s been assigned in the last five years. Don’t worry about our friend.”
“I’m not worried,” she snapped. “And he’s my colleague, not my friend.”
Fitz gave her a kind smile. “Of course he is, love.”
Darcy’s last thought before he lost consciousness wasn’t fear, but an overwhelming sorrow. His life really was over, a done deal; he was going to punch his ticket at last. He was down for the count, slipping under for the third time. All the euphemisms in the world couldn’t soften the cold, hard fact.
William Darcy, aka Liam Reynolds, aka Darby Kent, aka The London Fog, veteran of the CIA, recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Cross, was dying.
Darcy is dying? Surely not! And who is the woman trying to stave off this disaster? Will they make it to West Berlin in time?
From the back cover…
…if I endeavor to undeceive people as to the rest of his conduct, who will believe me?
-Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 40
During the last gasp of the Cold War, Elizabeth Bennet, a young, forthright counterintelligence officer, embarks on an exciting assignment that would make her late father, a fallen CIA operative, proud. She transfers to Europe to investigate the legendary and elusive William Darcy, an officer in line for the coveted Soviet station chief position who’s suspected of being a double agent.
William Darcy appears to lead a charmed existence, but now he finds himself fighting for his career and against his growing feelings for the young woman he doesn’t know is watching his every move.
Elizabeth wants to throw the book at him, but the facts don’t match her preconceptions. Is Darcy being set up? Are there darker forces at work? Or is William Darcy a skilled double agent after all? Nothing is as it seems, however, and the closer Elizabeth gets to the truth about Darcy, the more she spirals into danger.
To add “Undeceived” to your bookshelf, visit Amazon.
“Undeceived” is also available through kindleunlimited.
To see what your friends are saying about the book, visit Goodreads.
Karen M Cox writes novels accented with romance and history. All three of her published novels: 1932, Find Wonder in All Things, and At the Edge of the Sea, have garnered awards from the independent publishing industry, taking top honors three out of the five times they were recognized. Last year, she also participated in Meryton Press’s inaugural anthology, Sun-Kissed: Effusions of Summer, with her short story, “Northanger Revisited 2015.” Her fourth full-length novel, Undeceived: Pride and Prejudice in the Spy Game, was released in early 2016.
Karen was born in Everett WA, which was the result of coming into the world as the daughter of a United States Air Force Officer. She had a slightly nomadic childhood, with stints in North Dakota, Tennessee, and New York State before moving to her family’s home state of Kentucky when she was almost twelve. She lives in a small, quiet Kentucky town with her husband and children, and works as a pediatric speech pathologist. She spends her off hours reading, writing, and being a wife and mom—and spoiling her new granddaughter.
To connect with Karen, click the links below:
Karen’s Blog: http://karenmcox.merytonpress.com
Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/author/karenmcox
Karen’s blog tour has been a tremendous event. To get the full “spy treatment” I encourage you to check out the posts tailored for this book, as they’re such fun to read!
She also put together for the book this dynamic Spotify playlist, which I’ve been listening to all week long!
2/1: Guest Post & Giveaway at My Jane Austen Book Club
2/2: Excerpt & Giveaway at So Little Time…
2/3: Excerpt & Giveaway at Romance Novel Giveaways
2/4: Author Interview & Giveaway at More Agreeably Engaged
2/5: Review at Tomorrow is Another Day
2/6: Guest Post at My Love for Jane Austen
2/7: Review at My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice
2/8: Character Interview & Giveaway at From Pemberley to Milton
2/9: Review at Margie’s Must Reads
2/10: Guest Post & Giveaway at Austenesque Reviews
2/11: Excerpt & Giveaway at Best Sellers and Best Stellars
2/12: Review at Half Agony, Half Hope
2/13: Review at Babblings of a Bookworm
2/14: Excerpt & Giveaway at Just Jane 1813
2/15: Review at Diary of an Eccentric