- Author: Madalyn Morgan
Book online «China Blue (The Dudley Sisters Saga Book 3) Madalyn Morgan (books to read in your 30s .TXT) 📖». Author Madalyn Morgan
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CLAIRE, THE THIRD DUDLEY SISTER
China Blue @ 2015 by Madalyn Morgan
Published worldwide 2015 @ Madalyn Morgan
All rights reserved in all media. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical (including but not limited to: the Internet, photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system), without prior permission in writing from the author.
The moral right of Madalyn Morgan as the author of the work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All characters in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real persons,
living or dead, is purely coincidental.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Book Jacket Designed by Cathy Helms
Proofreading by Alison Thompson, The Proof Fairy
Formatting for Kindle by Rebecca Emin
Author Photograph: Dianne Ashton
My thanks as always to my mentor, Dr Roger Wood, for his brilliant critique.
My family and friends for their love and support.
My author friends, Theresa Le Flem, Jill McDonald-Constable, Pauline Barclay at Chill With A Book, JB Johnson at Brook Cottage Books, Sarah Houldcroft at Authors Uncovered, and Gary Walker at Look 4 Books. Thank you for your friendship and encouragement – and for the help you have given me in promoting Foxden Acres and Applause, while I was writing China Blue.
China Blue is dedicated to the memory of my mum and dad,
Ena and Jack Smith.
And to my beautiful friend, Debbie Seepersad.
I also dedicate China Blue to the brave men and women of The Special Operations Executive, The French Resistance, the WAAF, RAF, RCAF.
To all the servicemen and women of the British, Commonwealth and American armed forces. The home guard, air-raid wardens, nurses, doctors, hospital auxiliaries, volunteers, ambulance drivers, men and women of the fire brigade, factory workers, farmers, land army girls and wartime correspondents.
Last, but by not least, the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives who kept the home fires burning, so our heroes had a home to come back to.
‘Damn fog.’ Claire rubbed her eyes and strained to see the road. ‘Morecambe station would have to be closed in a pea-souper like this. What time is it, Ed?’
Eddie lifted her arm and squinted at her wristwatch. ‘Too dark to see, darling, but your train came in to Lancaster at half past seven, so it must be quarter to eight.’ Eddie leaned back in the passenger seat and put her feet up on the dashboard. ‘How do you say, “Hello, good looking” in French?’
Claire laughed. ‘You’re incorrigible, Edwina Mountjoy. Can’t you think of anything else?’
Eddie put her forefinger to her chin. ‘Now let me think... No! Be a pal, Dudley and parler Français.’
‘Bonjour, mon beau! But you won’t need phrases like that when we get to France.’
‘Maybe not with the RAF, but we will when we’re out on the town with the local Monsieurs.’
‘Out on the town? There’s a war on, Eddie. We’ll be going to France to work, not to fraternise with the locals.’
‘Don’t be a bore, darling and tell me how to say, “Would you like to take me to a dance?”’
‘If you don’t shut up and let me concentrate, you can drive back to Morecambe.’
‘Not me!’ Eddie said. ‘I hate driving in fog.’
‘And I love it, I suppose?’
‘No, but you’re better under stress than I am.’ Eddie began to sing, ‘“Frère Jacques, frère Jacques, Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?” Come on Dudley, “Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing! Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.”’ Eddie poked Claire in the ribs. ‘You’re no fun at all, Claire Dudley! “I hear thunder, I hear thunder, Hark don't you? Hark don't you?”’
‘Shush, Ed. I hear something that sounds like thunder, but I don’t think it is. Listen!’ Eddie took her feet from the dash and sat up. She wound down the passenger window and leant out, while Claire peered through the windscreen. She looked up. ‘Is it an aircraft?’
Eddie twisted round to look out of the back window. ‘It can’t be a plane, it’s on the road behind us. Good God, it’s as big as a bloody tank.’
Claire looked in the rear-view mirror and put her hand up to shade her eyes. ‘Whatever it is, its headlights aren’t hooded.’
‘They are, but it’s a ruddy big lorry, and it’s hellishly close. Put your foot down, Dudley, it’s almost on top of us.’
At that moment there was a loud crunch as metal collided with metal, followed by a violent shunt, sending the Wolsey into a skid. ‘Brace yourself, Eddie, we’ve lost the road,’ Claire shouted, as the car hurtled over a ditch, stopping with a jolt against the exposed roots of a huge oak tree.
‘Good God, that was close. Are you all right, Ed?’
‘I think so.’ Eddie rolled her shoulders and flexed her hands. ‘Ouch! I think my left wrist’s had it. You?’
‘Jarred my neck.’ Claire inhaled, and coughed. ‘The steering wheel’s knocked the wind out of me. Still, it stopped me from going through the windscreen.’ She pressed on her ribcage and struggled for breath. ‘Damn! That hurt.’
‘Someone’s coming,’ Eddie said, getting out of the car. ‘Careless bugger will get us bombed as well as ditched the way he’s waving that flashlight about.’
Claire struggled to open the driver’s door and stumbled out. ‘What the hell were you doing pushing us off the road like that?’ she gasped, holding her ribs.
‘I’m sorry, Miss. I didn’t see you till it was too late. Are you all right? I’m a first-aider with St John’s Ambulance. If there’s anything I can do?’
‘I think you’ve done enough!’ Claire said, and