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CHINA BLUE

鈭捖封垝路 路路路路 路路 鈭捖 路鈭  鈭捖仿仿 路鈭捖仿 路路鈭 路

CLAIRE, THE THIRD DUDLEY SISTER

by

MADALYN MORGAN

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

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

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 鈥 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.

CHAPTER ONE

鈥楧amn fog.鈥 Claire rubbed her eyes and strained to see the road. 鈥楳orecambe station would have to be closed in a pea-souper like this. What time is it, Ed?鈥

Eddie lifted her arm and squinted at her wristwatch. 鈥楾oo dark to see, darling, but your train came in to Lancaster at half past seven, so it must be quarter to eight.鈥 Eddie leaned back in the passenger seat and put her feet up on the dashboard. 鈥楬ow do you say, 鈥淗ello, good looking鈥 in French?鈥

Claire laughed. 鈥榊ou鈥檙e incorrigible, Edwina Mountjoy. Can鈥檛 you think of anything else?鈥

Eddie put her forefinger to her chin. 鈥楴ow let me think... No! Be a pal, Dudley and parler Fran莽ais.鈥

鈥楤onjour, mon beau! But you won鈥檛 need phrases like that when we get to France.鈥

鈥楳aybe not with the RAF, but we will when we鈥檙e out on the town with the local Monsieurs.鈥

鈥極ut on the town? There鈥檚 a war on, Eddie. We鈥檒l be going to France to work, not to fraternise with the locals.鈥

鈥楧on鈥檛 be a bore, darling and tell me how to say, 鈥淲ould you like to take me to a dance?鈥濃

鈥業f you don鈥檛 shut up and let me concentrate, you can drive back to Morecambe.鈥

鈥楴ot me!鈥 Eddie said. 鈥業 hate driving in fog.鈥

鈥楢nd I love it, I suppose?鈥

鈥楴o, but you鈥檙e better under stress than I am.鈥 Eddie began to sing, 鈥樷淔r猫re Jacques, fr猫re Jacques, Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?鈥 Come on Dudley, 鈥淢orning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing! Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.鈥濃 Eddie poked Claire in the ribs. 鈥榊ou鈥檙e no fun at all, Claire Dudley! 鈥淚 hear thunder, I hear thunder, Hark don't you? Hark don't you?鈥濃

鈥楽hush, Ed. I hear something that sounds like thunder, but I don鈥檛 think it is. Listen!鈥 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. 鈥業s it an aircraft?鈥

Eddie twisted round to look out of the back window. 鈥業t can鈥檛 be a plane, it鈥檚 on the road behind us. Good God, it鈥檚 as big as a bloody tank.鈥

Claire looked in the rear-view mirror and put her hand up to shade her eyes. 鈥榃hatever it is, its headlights aren鈥檛 hooded.鈥

鈥楾hey are, but it鈥檚 a ruddy big lorry, and it鈥檚 hellishly close. Put your foot down, Dudley, it鈥檚 almost on top of us.鈥

At that moment there was a loud crunch as metal collided with metal, followed by a violent shunt, sending the Wolsey into a skid. 鈥楤race yourself, Eddie, we鈥檝e lost the road,鈥 Claire shouted, as the car hurtled over a ditch, stopping with a jolt against the exposed roots of a huge oak tree.

鈥楪ood God, that was close. Are you all right, Ed?鈥

鈥業 think so.鈥 Eddie rolled her shoulders and flexed her hands. 鈥極uch! I think my left wrist鈥檚 had it. You?鈥

鈥楯arred my neck.鈥 Claire inhaled, and coughed. 鈥楾he steering wheel鈥檚 knocked the wind out of me. Still, it stopped me from going through the windscreen.鈥 She pressed on her ribcage and struggled for breath. 鈥楧amn! That hurt.鈥

鈥楽omeone鈥檚 coming,鈥 Eddie said, getting out of the car. 鈥楥areless bugger will get us bombed as well as ditched the way he鈥檚 waving that flashlight about.鈥

Claire struggled to open the driver鈥檚 door and stumbled out. 鈥榃hat the hell were you doing pushing us off the road like that?鈥 she gasped, holding her ribs.

鈥業鈥檓 sorry, Miss. I didn鈥檛 see you till it was too late. Are you all right? I鈥檓 a first-aider with St John鈥檚 Ambulance. If there鈥檚 anything I can do?鈥

鈥業 think you鈥檝e done enough!鈥 Claire said, and

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