This week’s snippet comes from a book chosen from my backlist using Random.org‘s trusty random number generator (and if you click on the link you’ll get a comprehensive explanation of randomness and how it is generated, which is a lot more complicated than you might think).
To Love a Traitor is set in the aftermath of the First World War. Here, Roger (who has yet to change his name to George and take up investigating in earnest) is discussing the wartime incident that claimed his brother’s life:
“Well, according to Mabel, some of the reports were contradictory, but there was talk of one man—a Lieutenant Matthew Connaught—who had had a stroke of luck not being caught up in it all. He’d been supposed to be going with them—no one seemed to know why—but the night before, he got a bullet in the leg. It was put down to enemy fire, but, well, I find that a little hard to believe.” Roger shrugged. “Granted I was never in the trenches, but it seems to me the angle’s all wrong. Perhaps if he’d poked his head above the parapet and a sniper had taken an ear off, but a leg?”
“You think it sounds fishy, don’t you?” Sir Arthur’s good eye had the disconcerting quality of seeming to see right through Roger, while giving away in return no more than did his glass one.
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Wounds of the heart are the hardest to heal
Solicitor’s clerk George Johnson has a secret goal when he moves into a London boarding house in the winter of 1920: to find out if his fellow lodger, Matthew Connaught, was the wartime traitor who cost George’s adored older brother Hugh his life.
Yet the more he gets to know his quarry, the more George loses sight of his mission—and his heart. Blessed with boyish good looks and charm in abundance, ad man Matthew is irrepressibly cheerful despite having lost an arm in the Great War—and soon makes plain his attraction to George.
Matthew’s advances become ever harder to resist, and George tries to tell himself his brother’s death was just the luck of the draw, and to forget he’s hiding secrets of his own—including who he really is.
But as George’s feelings for Matthew grow, so does his desperation to know the truth about what happened that day in Ypres. Even if it means he’ll lose the man he’s come to love.