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  • Title:  MARKED WITH THE CROSS OF LORRAINE by Laura Fuster

    The first book in my two-book FIGHTING FATE series, it’s a YA historical action/adventure set in 1940 London and war-torn occupied France. 

    Chapter 1:  Losses

    Enrique’s eyes flew open, dissolving the blaring siren.  He bolted upright, his heart thumping, and listened; but the only sounds were the slow, rhythmic breaths of the four still asleep.  He sighed.   Just another dream. 

    He threw his blanket off and climbed out of bed; it would be a long time before he’d be able to go back to sleep.  He snatched the windup travel clock from the sill of the blacked-out window and tiptoed over to the tiny nightlight—one thirty, maybe tonight, they’d be lucky and the planes wouldn’t come.

    He looked down into the crib where his infant sister lay sound asleep, the sock puppet he had made for her during the voyage clutched in her arms.  As he watched, a little smile creased her lips and her eyelids began to flutter as she enjoyed some pleasant dream.  He bent over and kissed her forehead, careful not to wake her.  

    He turned to walk back to his bed when the sudden screech of the siren jerked his head towards the window and sent his heart rate skyrocketing.  Seconds later, Elena was climbing up the bars of the crib, screaming bloody murder.

    ‘Está bien, Elena’, he shouted as he ran to the clothes he had staged at his footboard. Jumping into an old pair of baggy woollen trousers, he nearly fell over as his foot caught in the gas mask flopping at the belt loop.  Without removing his pyjama top, he threw his secondhand jumper over his head and pushed up the dangling sleeves as he stuffed his sockless feet into the tattered leather shoes lying under his bed.   Then he hurried back for his little sister.

    Her flushed cheeks glistened in the weak glow of the nightlight as he scooped her into his arms.  Bundled in a thick yellow sleeper in anticipation of this now all too frequent emergency, she should be warm enough in the crisp, late September air; but just in case, he grabbed her blanket, along with her red and blue Mickey Mouse gas mask.  

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