A run-in with the Gestapo was the last thing Ethan Jones expected.
The battle still haunted him, a series of horrific images flashing in his mind. Someone had betrayed them,
which brought a violent end to their covert rendezvous in Chalons-sur-Marne. Two years in the Resistance and
he had never experienced such a narrow escape. Now, as far north in occupied France as he had ever been,
limping through an endless forest, Ethan was lost.
Wary of the slightest noise, he had been on the run all night. The damp ground was soft and smelled of last
year’s rotting foliage. Fallen limbs grabbed at his cuffs and twigs snapped beneath his worn boots. All around
him, shadows lingered in the gloom and dawn was still two hours away. Had he run in circles? Gone west
instead of north? He wouldn’t know until the warmth of the morning sun took the chill out of the air and offered
An unseen limb scratched the side of his face. He reached up and touched the sting, then stopped for a
moment’s rest. Disoriented and hungry, he stood and listened, not unlike a small boy in want of warm clothes
and food. The feeling in his leg troubled him. The bullet that struck his calf, at first a sharp pain, had turned into
a dull ache. Dried blood stiffened his lower pants leg. There had not been time to fret over first-aid.
He stared into the dark, grateful the Germans weren’t using dogs to track him. Just like that, he had become a
fugitive. Why everything went wrong was yet to be determined. It wasn’t fear of being killed by the Germans, so
much as the fear of being captured that lurked in his mind. He was well informed of the notorious techniques
used by the Nazis to extract information, and that he could never permit. The cyanide pill in the tongue of his
boot was no more than a split second from his mouth. Two years in the Resistance and this was the first time
he had to worry about traveling in France, about being seen. They knew what he looked like. They had
discovered a black man working for the underground.
He stood for a long while, not sure whether to get a little sleep or go on. The silence, likely due to fatigue,
taunted him and fired his imagination. His mouth felt dry and cottony as he slumped against a tree thinking
about how close he had come. Two years and countless risks—he had never before so narrowly escaped, and
the night wasn’t over yet.
It bedeviled him, not that he regretted his decision to fight for France, but that he might die this way, left in a
dank forest for the night creatures to feed upon, his fate forever unknown. But there were no regrets, not after
the wonderful life France had given him, the way her people had so readily accepted his black skin. Even now,
he could not regret joining the Resistance. Thinking about it as the loneliness of the night took hold, his life in
Paris already seemed like a closed chapter.
He remembered how France had found its way into his heart several years earlier, a country he considered to
be the world’s finest jewel. Not even the Nazis had the audacity to destroy Paris. Now those days were
beginning to fade into the past, like the war had swept him up and set his life on a course he would never have
chosen. He thought about his years in the army, when he was stationed at the U.S. embassy in Paris; and the
day his final tour of duty ended, when he decided to stay in France. A black man in Mississippi could manage
a relatively comfortable existence—in Paris he could live.
He had taken a job with the embassy, a liaison for the ambassador. Most of the work involved clerical tasks
and errands, a workday that led to evenings filled with long hours of wine and good food at the cafes, and
walking the romantic streets of Paris. He found easy friendships with the artists and writers and whores, their
conversations often long and diverse. Captivated by the rich color of his skin, it was the whores that found
Ethan most intriguing, his muscular stature alluring, his American accent quaint. From time to time one would
give up a productive evening for the hopeless challenge of convincing him he was not gay.
Nothing would ever be the same.
Among those not surprised Hitler had invaded France, Ethan had visited Berlin in early 1938. He had seen the
mesmerizing dynamic of a political rally and the massive displays of military might. No wonder his adopted
country had fallen so easily. Awed, he wondered what hapless country could resist such a killing machine.
Even then, he had a feeling it was just a matter of time before war darkened Western Europe.
Yet life went on as usual in Paris back then, the commerce, the lively banter at the cafes, the whores in their
outrageous garb. How fragile those lovely days truly were.
Now this ... lost in the woods of northern France.
He sat down in the leaves and rested his back against the tree. The night air was cool and damp. A film of
sweat lay across his face. The bullet that ripped through his calf had not caused that much damage, but now
threaten infection. Too dark to inspect the wound, he stared at his leg in the moonlight.
There had been four partisans assigned to this objective. They had rendezvoused at a café in Chalons-sur-
Marne. All Forces Francaises de L’ Interier. Of the four, Ethan knew only his group leader, Francois, who had
previously contacted him with the time and place to meet and the proper code words. Said the logistics of an
extremely important objective were to be planned. They were all French: Francois, another man and a woman.
They had had only enough time to discuss the mission and a place to meet in the event they were separated.
Someone had betrayed them.
A rather innocuous looking gentleman approached the table. He spoke of the fine choice in wine they had
made; a collaborator, of the ilk the more radical French partisans enjoyed hanging for blood-sport. When the
man pulled his gun, uniformed Gestapo burst through a door at the back of the dining room. The café exploded
in chaos. Gunfire erupted at once. The French partisan from Reims was killed instantly. The others fought
their way out to the street, Ethan one of them. In the chaos, Francois fell dead on the pavement. The woman,
Adrienne Follet was her name, shot her way to the north side of the plaza and disappeared down a narrow side
street. The bullet impacted Ethan’s calf just before he rounded a building on the south side of the plaza.
He fell, dropped his gun. Only by the grace of God and the confusion did he manage to duck into an ally and
finally make his way into the woods. It must have been a trail of blood that kept the Gestapo on his trail as long
as they were. Now he was safe, at least for the time being. Now he had a reason to stay alive beyond his
natural will to survive. Francois had clearly stated the importance of their assignment. There was no question—
he had no choice but to proceed.
Just now the task seemed formidable. It involved a single engine aircraft that was shot down by the Germans.
The plane crashed in rugged terrain north of Reims, which is why the Frenchman from there had been recruited
for this assignment. A brown leather satchel had been on board. It was imperative the satchel be found and
returned to the Allies before it fell into German hands. Francois had speculated that it must have something to
do with the much-rumored Allied invasion of France, but then admitted he had no idea of what might actually be
among the documents inside.
“Don’t open the satchel,” Francois had said. “Protect it with your life. Blow it up along with yourself if you have
to. We can’t allow the Germans to get their hands on it.”
Francois gave them all a grenade for that purpose. Ethan flung his at the Germans in making his way out of the
“Get the satchel to the bakery on Rue de Cloture in Reims. The owner is our contact. He’s a radioman. He’ll
let the English know we have the satchel. They will land a plane in a field south of Reims to meet you and take
possession of it, at which time your involvement is finished.”
Staring into the dank night, Ethan could picture it clearly. Francois had stared at him a long while before he
added: “Ethan, the English know who you are. They trust you. You should know this is the most important work
you’ve ever been asked to do.”
Ethan sighed, beset with questions and doubt.
How long will it take to get reoriented and find a way out of this forest? The girl, Adrienne Follet, did she
survive? Will she make it to the backup rendezvous? If so, will they be able to find the plane using the small
map Francois had given them? Do the Germans know where the plane went down? Are they, too, searching
So many “what ifs”. It could be too late by the time they got there. Ethan felt anxious.
How did the Gestapo know they were meeting at the café? Who besides Francois knew? Who would betray
the brothers and sisters of the Resistance?
It was maddening to think they had been betrayed. But right now that wasn’t the most pressing problem. He
felt he needed to be moving, making his way to the backup rendezvous to meet up with Adrienne Follet. For
the first time since he set foot in France, Ethan wished he were home, immersed in the mundane cycles of daily
life in rural Mississippi. He scanned the shadows and then wiped his brow on his sleeve.
No doubt every German check point, every SS unit, every Gestapo agent in northern France would be on the
lookout for a man in transit, a man wearing the clothes of a farmer, a black man no less. He would stand out in
this part of France like a leopard among lions. Not only did he have to find his way out of the forest, he had to
calculate his bearings and travel across occupied territory like a human beacon screaming to be caught. He
swallowed hard, thinking of Francois’ words. The most important work you’ve ever been asked to do. And if
Francois was right, if the satchel actually did contain information about the invasion, the weight of the world
rested on his shoulders.
The backup rendezvous was a little farming village southwest of Reims. If Adrienne Follet survived, she would
automatically go there. Ethan had determined right away her hatred for the Germans. She seemed eager to
reek havoc on their cause. Maybe a little too eager. She looked to be in her mid thirties, tall, perhaps five foot
ten, olive complexion, shoulder length black hair, and dark, dark, beguiling eyes. Passionately French, she was
quite attractive without a trace of makeup. He remembered admiring her intellect and her casual
sophistication. Their conversation had just gotten interesting when all hell broke loose. He knew with her help
they could accomplish this mission, if it wasn’t already too late.
Ethan’s hands turned into fists. Beyond suffering exhaustion, he was angry. Angry that someone had betrayed
them, that he had gotten shot, that the mission had been jeopardized, that he was hungry and lost. He steeled
himself to find the village, to meet up again with Adrienne and to do whatever necessary to complete the
assignment. Then he would go home. Then, now that he was a wanted man in France, now that he could no
longer work discreetly for the Resistance, he would once again be an American. As he stared into the
shadows and slipped closer to unconsciousness, he thought about the separate restrooms and drinking
fountains in the South, reminded he would go home a black American with mixed emotions for his own
homeland. He wondered how hard it would be to adjust. It wasn’t likely that much, if anything in Mississippi had
changed. He could hardly remember what it was like to be unwelcome in a restaurant or grocery store, or to be
relegated to life among people of his own color in a disenfranchised segment of society. Yet Ethan loved
America. There were brothers and sisters and cousins to get to know all over again. And this time he would
not hide his sexual identity.
His eyes fluttered. He allowed himself to fall asleep. It was the only way to stave off his hunger.
The morning sun came quickly. His eyes opened and he listened to the silence for a long while. He did not
want to look at his leg. Glancing up through the limbs, he saw leaves interspersed with blue sky, birds fluttering
from limb to limb. Beyond the open spaces in the canopy, he saw the soft edges of wispy clouds. Then his
eyes shifted to the blood soaked pants leg. Reaching down as if he were lifting a log off of a sleeping snake,
he raised the stiff denim up his calf, repulsed by the mangle of violated flesh that was trying desperately to heal.
His leg felt stiff as he struggled to his feet. Resolve coursed through his veins as he braced himself on the tree.
It might mean the end to a wonderful chapter, but there was one more task at hand. Nothing on earth could
prevent his best effort in finding that satchel and getting it delivered to the bakery. It was the only way Ethan
could leave France—one last accomplishment. He knew he could not face the rest of his life in Mississippi
fretting over what he should have done. He would do it or die trying.
It took a full day and a half to make his way to the village and locate the café in which his partner would show if
she had survived. What should have been a simple challenge had been an ordeal; now that he was likely the
only black fugitive in all of northern France. With all the witnesses to the shoot-out in Chalons-sur-Marne, his
description would already be widely circulated. Any collaborator would turn him in, any Nazi would arrest him;
so he had to pick his way from tree to tree, from bush to abandoned barn, until he reached the outskirts of the
village. He kept his long sleeves rolled down, his collar high and his cap pulled low to shadow his face,
anything to camouflage his black skin.
The festering wound had flared in pain. It caused a pronounced limp. He had had to stop and rest many times
along the way, never once looking at the wound. He couldn’t afford to lower his morale any further.
He watched the café from across the street, hidden behind refuse piled in the ally. He longed to go in and relax
at a table with a sandwich and cold ale. Instead, he ate what he could from garbage cans, and waited. On the
afternoon of his second day he spotted Adrienne. She approached the café cautiously, paused by the door,
looked around, and then went inside. Ethan looked up and down the street. When it appeared no one would
notice, he hurried across and on into an alley that would come up behind the small eatery.
Stopping at the back of the stone building to catch his breath and let his heart pound down, he leaned against
the wall and turned his head to look down the long side of the building. There was one window. With any luck,
he could look through it into the dinning room. He knew Adrienne would be sitting with her back against a wall
so that no one could come up behind her, that she would be close to the door or that window in case she
needed a quick escape. If she was near the window, she might spot him when he peeked in.
And she did.
She showed no emotion, no sign of surprise—only a barely perceptible nod. Then she casually lifted her hand
to summon the waiter. Ethan breathed with relief. He crouched against the wall like a nondescript vagrant, and
waited. She appeared on the sidewalk at the end of the ally moments later, a paper bag in hand, pausing
briefly to make sure he had seen her. He got to his feet and went back into the ally and then followed her on a
parallel course, catching glimpses of her as they passed between buildings, all the while wary of being seen.
Adrienne knew Ethan had been shot. She saw him fall. Not knowing if he had survived, she had decided to
make a series of appearances at their rendezvous before striking out after the satchel alone. One or two days,
she figured, should be enough time for a wounded man to get there. A two-man team would be better than
going it alone; and despite the sense of urgency, she felt an obligation to her surviving partner. Francois had
mentioned the Germans could not have known what was aboard the plane. The English told him the plane
traveled a good distance before it crashed, that the pilot could not have been captured because he went down
in rugged terrain. With their problems in Russia, it was unlikely the Germans had the manpower to launch an
extensive search. There was time, time to meet-up with Ethan, to reconfigure their plan, to help him if he had
been badly wounded.
She strode casually, intending to lead him to a stand of trees just east of the village, staying alert to his trailing
presence. Just past the last storefront, she walked through some thirty meters of knee-high grass and stopped
just inside the tree line. There she watched his approach, smiling inwardly when he was safely into the trees.
He dropped to the ground, exhausted and hungry. He took off his cap and tilted his head back against a tree,
relieved he found her. The sense of hopelessness he suffered during his last two days of scavenging began to
Adrienne glanced over him. She had not known many Africans and was quite surprised to come across one in
the Resistance. As he rested against the tree with his eyes closed, breathing hard, she studied his features:
his short cropped hair and small ears, his full lips and boyishly long eyelashes, and the obvious power of his
large hands. There was a hint of European ancestry in the lines of his face, perhaps French, she mused as she
sat down near him and folded her arms around her knees. She saw a broad chest heaving against a sweat
stained shirt and thick legs straining the fibers of denim britches. His arms were large enough to swallow a
“You look terrible,” she said.
He opened his eyes. “What’s in the sack?”
Her inward smile appeared on her lips. She knew why he had not joined her inside the café, his black skin a
sure ticket to the closest Gestapo torture chamber.
“Nice to know you’re happy to see me.” She lifted the sack, aware he must be starving. “In here you mean?
Toothbrush, personal items, you know, toiletries.”
“You didn’t have it when you went inside the café. There wasn’t anything in your hands.”
“Observant for an American. You must be hungry.”
“You kidding! Try living off what the stray dogs leave behind.”
She scooted a bit closer in the decaying leaves and reached inside the sack. He quickly snatched the small
loaf of bread she took out. She watched him devour it, which took less than one minute. He was one of the few
Americans she ever met that didn’t immediately put her off. In fact, she was intrigued by him, first by his
physical beauty, then by the rich authority in his voice. The fact that Francois obviously respected him didn’t
hurt matters either.
“What else do you have in there?”
He grabbed the sack. “I’ll take that, too.”
She watched him swallow partially chewed bites of cheese, finishing it off almost as quickly as he had the
“When did you get to the village?” she asked.
Ethan wiped his mouth. “About this time yesterday.”
“Oh ... you must have missed me. I got here yesterday morning. Walked past the café every six hours.”
Ethan’s gaze drifted out over the grass. He thought of the times he had drifted to sleep watching for her, the
time he spent rummaging in garbage cans for something to eat. Do to bad timing they had lost a whole day.
He looked at her. “Why are you staring at me?”
“You’re the first American I’ve come across in the Resistance.”
“Got something against Americans?”
“They’re obnoxious and loud. De Gaulle is frustrated with both the English and the Americans.”
“We’re saving your ass.”
“Took you long enough.”
He studied her for a moment. “Aren’t you supposed to direct all that hostility toward the Germans?”
“I do. They get the worst of it.”
He remembered the comments she made in Chalons-sur-Marne. He got the impression she’d try to win the
war single-handedly if they’d just take her up to Germany and turn her loose with a gun. He tilted his head. “You
hate the Germans, don’t you?”
“I mean really hate them.”
Her expression took on an edge of contempt. “I regret I can’t kill every one of them myself.”
Ethan nodded. Something was eating at her; something that affected her personally. Though curious, he didn’t
press further. He glanced from her angry eyes to the empty sack. “Hope you weren’t planning to eat that food.”
“I can get more.”
Adrienne was beginning to feel comfortable with her new American colleague. He was disarming. She liked
his innocent but intelligent eyes. She noticed them during their brief rendezvous in Chalons-sur-Marne, and
now wanted to know more about him.
“Your French is good.”
“Thanks. I’ve been here a long time.”
“Been a partisan long?” she asked.
Impressed, Adrienne’s image of Americans wasn’t quite so selfless. “Before that?”
“Nothing important, really. Worked at the American Embassy.”
“Nothing important?” She was surprised. She would have assumed a man with Ethan’s obvious intellect would
have had important work. Perhaps he was humble.
“It’s the American system,” he explained. “A black man doesn’t easily get important work. We’re genetically
incapable.” His eyes moved from her full lips to the mystery within her dark eyes. “Thanks for the food. I feel a
“Hope it was enough. Should have realized your appetite would be as big as you are.” She looked at him for a
moment. “You know we have a problem. We’re fugitives. I can blend in, but your black skin. You’ll be easy to
He shrugged. “Won’t be the first time my black skin caused a few obstacles.”
He had made the statement casually, she noticed, not at all in the form of a complaint, more like his color was a
twist of fate that made life interesting. She was more intrigued with him by the minute. As beautiful as he was,
it was beyond Adrienne that his color or anything else about him could be an obstacle. She glanced at the dry
blood on his pants leg.
“Mind if I have a look at that,” she said, nodding toward his leg.
“Go ahead. I’ve avoided looking at it.”
She came forward on her hands and knees. The baggy canvas britches and loose denim shirt made her look
boyish, though on her knees the feminine contour of her hips revealed her gender. She gingerly lifted his pants
leg and brushed her fingers lightly over the swollen wound. Their eyes met when she lifted her head.
“You’ve not been able to care for this, have you?”
“The swelling’s not so bad. Looks like the round passed through just under your skin. Not a lot of muscular
“It hurt like hell.”
“Of course it did.” Her eyes lifted. “There’s a river not far from here. We can clean this up there.”
He watched her examine his leg. “Aren’t you worried?” he asked.
“Yeah. That plane’s been down three days. What if the Germans are looking for it?”
“No, I’m not worried. Besides, what can we do? You’re not ready to travel that far.”
“Think we should contact Paris?”
She looked at him. “How? Who would we contact? Francois was dealing directly with the English and he’s
dead. Our only contact is that baker in Reims.”
“Just seems we should do something.”
“We will. After you rest a day or two, we’ll find that damn plane and then find the baker. Don’t worry about the
Germans. They’re getting what they deserve in Russia. They don’t have the manpower to waste on a stray
airplane they know nothing about.”
Ethan was beginning to like her. He liked French women in general, especially the independent types like
Adrienne. With a partner like her, he felt good about getting this job done. He remembered Francois had
complimented her on how much she had accomplished for the Resistance.
“We’ll get there as soon as we can without taking unnecessary chances,” she said. “We can’t do better than
Ethan wondered how she had been chosen for this mission. “Was Francois your group leader?”
“No. He borrowed me from another unit operating out of Paris. We were lying low for a while. I was available.”
“Who do you think informed the Nazis about our meeting in Chalons-sur-Marne?”
“Wish I knew. They’d hang. I never said a word to anyone I was going to work for Francois.”
“It must have been someone Francois confided in. Maybe the Gestapo got their hands on the guy.”
“I hope that’s what happened. It drives me fucking crazy to think there’s a collaborator among us.” She pulled
his pants leg back down. “I’m anxious to get that cleaned up and bandaged.”
“How far is that river you’re talking about?”
“Crossed it just west of the village.”
Ethan sighed. More terrain to cross. Traveling anywhere at the moment had absolutely no appeal. Not only
did it risk being seen, putting his weight on his leg was painful.
“I can’t just walk down the road with you.”
”We can circle the village on the north side through this forest. We’ll eventually come to it.”
“Okay,” he said, resigned to moving on.
“Your limp is bad. How much trouble are you having with it?”
“Not that much.”
Adrienne looked back toward the village. “Before we leave, I’ll go back in for supplies. We need food and
something I can use for bandages.”
He nodded, then watched her get to her feet and start back through the high grass.
He was sound asleep, still leaning against the tree when she returned.
Adrienne leaned over him. “Ethan,” she whispered, touching his shoulder. She wasn’t surprised when he
awoke with a start, as most partisans do when someone approaches. Living in constant peril filled one’s sleep
with nightmares of being killed or captured.
They picked through the woods for three hours before reaching the river. Adrienne quickly realized why it had
taken Ethan so long to get to the village. Though he limped bravely through the rugged terrain, he could only
move so fast, stopping often to rest. She had to wait for him several times to catch up, then decided to trail
behind so he wouldn’t feel he was holding her back.
Following the river upstream, they eventually came to a small clearing secluded by trees and brush. Adrienne
had purchased a canvas tote to carry the supplies, much like that used by peasant women to carry items to and
from market. Ethan took off his boots and socks and sat down on the riverbank and ventured his feet into the
frigid water. He gazed across the glinting surface, thinking it would be considered a good trout stream back
Adrienne took out a bottle of alcohol and an inexpensive white blouse that she intended to use for a bandage.
She stared at the back of Ethan’s head for a moment, feeling more at ease now that they had a secluded place
to rest. Her curiosity had gotten the better of her. Her new partner, an American, his hair so short he’d have to
shave his head to get it shorter, seemed to have an easy-going manner, though she sensed strength beneath
his pleasant facade.
She sat down and watched him get up to join her, looking him over as he approached. The loose fitting clothes
hardly obscured his muscular form, especially across the shoulders. She realized that she found him
Her eyes shifted to the river, crystal clear water rushing and gurgling over rocks. It seemed as good a time as
any to wash up.
“Your limp is getting worse,” she said. “I’m worried about it.”
“You need a couple of day’s rest. You can’t travel. The strain would keep it from healing properly.”
“That occurred to me, too.”
“We’ll stay here a while and relax.”
Ethan looked around at the secluded surroundings. He remembered the sense of urgency in Francois’ voice.
Two more days lost. Nevertheless, Adrienne was right; it would be too difficult to go on. Resigned to the delay,
he figured some rest in the warm sun might help him recover.
He wrapped his arms around his knees. “Fine with me,” he said. “Just hope you’re right about the Germans. I’
m ready to get it over with.” He glanced at the things she had taken from the tote. “They didn’t have
“Didn’t buy any,” she said. “Thought it might raise suspicion; a stranger in town buying medical supplies. I’ll
use this blouse.”
“That’ll work just fine.”
“I want you to take a bath before I dress the wound,” she said rather casually.
His head jerked up. He looked at her. “You’re kidding, right?”
She feigned incredulity. “You haven’t learned when a French woman is kidding or not? How long did you say
you lived in Paris?”
“A bath!” he said with near alarm.
“You can’t put up with that for a few days?”
“Hardly.” She reached into the tote for a bar of soap. “I bought a nice bar of soap.”
“And where will you be while I’m taking this bath?”
“Oh, thought I’d go on up and find that crash site. Get the satchel. You know, get that out of our way.”
“Yeah, sure, that’s real funny.”
“I intend to wash your clothes while you’re bathing. It’s not like I haven’t seen a nude man before.”
“You haven’t seen me nude!”
She shook her head. “American men,” she said, now feigning exasperation. “You make an issue out of taking
a bath just because a woman is present.”
“We don’t even know each other!”
“Look, I’ll wash your clothes on the other side of those reeds.” She pointed at the opposite side of the reeds.
“You bathe there, where I can’t see you. Will that make you happy?”
Ethan studied the reeds, deciding they offered scant privacy. He looked at her with a frown.
“Good God, Ethan.” She tossed the bar of soap onto the bank near the water. “The debate is over. You need
a bath.” She turned her back so he could undress, muttering: “You’d think I asked him to parade naked through
Eyeing her, Ethan came to his feet. As he stepped barefoot across the grass, his fingers tentatively found the
buttons of his fly. After tossing his shirt and britches on the other side of the reeds, his thumbs pushed into the
waistband of his shorts. Eyes fixed on the back of her head, he slipped them down his legs and turned quickly
toward the river. Three or four steps into the rapids, icy water was swirling above his knees.
“Damn! It’s too cold for a bath!” He turned to look at her, taken aback by her uninhibited gaze.
Adrienne had not seen anything like him before, his skin rich in color, every muscle distinct, a body sculpted
with its unique African heritage. So unlike the paunchy Frenchmen she had known, his body defined
masculinity, this man standing before her in the glint of afternoon sun. The rift down the middle of his back
vanished just above the pronounced rise of his buttocks, which divided provocatively into two well-defined
mounds. Waist narrow over flaring hips, shoulders thick and broad, legs long and athletic—his entire form
seemed perfectly proportioned. When he turned she saw a powerful chest, a landscape of black flesh and
thick curling hairs. Her eyes shifted to the male organs dangling vulnerably between two muscular thighs.
He dropped quickly into the water. It roiled about his chest. The soap slipped from his hand and he scrambled
after it, humiliated further by another awkward turn of events. He found the soap before the current carried it
away and then tried to regain his composure, sitting discomfited on the smooth stones on the river bottom. “I
thought partisans were supposed to be trustworthy!”
Verging on laughter, she grinned and said: “You can always trust a French woman to look at a naked man.”
“Your teeth are chattering.”
“Enjoy this while you can, Mademoiselle. I’ll run the Germans out of France with body odor before I take
another bath around you.”
She lowered her head with delight and then looked back up. “I’m surprised you haven’t already.”