Weaving historical fact with romantic fiction, this action-packed beach read takes Grayton Beach back to World War II, and tells of Northwest Florida’s role in the war.
Author James Harvey, engineer and book author, spent the summers of his youth in Fort Walton Beach, and heard stories of World War II German submarine activity in the waters offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Inspired by the fascinating history, and by the romance of the Emerald Coast, he began work on his first novel, “Grayton Beach Affair,” in his spare time. In 2009, he made the decision to write full time and is currently working on his second novel.
About the book:
Returning to Berlin after being educated but disenchanted with America, Christian Wolfe finds that he and Germany are on a collision course with destiny. Because of his skills in English and knowledge of America, he is coerced by the German military to board a U-boat bound for the Gulf of Mexico to locate and extract a high level German officer imprisoned in a POW camp near the coast. Christian’s mission runs smoothly until he witnesses an unusual and violent act by Maggie Neal, a young woman living in Grayton Beach, against a man who had taken advantage of her and her servant. Suddenly their lives collide, resulting in a death and involvement with the local police. He and Maggie discover they need each other to survive. Sparks fly and they have a brief and passionate affair, leaving each with deep unsettled feelings for the other. Upon returning to France, Christian relies on his instincts when an opportunity arises to reconsider his future. He joins the French Resistance. And when he saves an American flyer who offers him a new start in America after the war is over, he seizes it. Arriving in Atlanta, he is determined to find Maggie, but with their relationship founded on death and deception, could they possibly build a future together?
Excerpt from Chapter 15
It was a hot, sunny day, so Christian decided to walk along the beach to where he had buried the raft to make sure there was sufficient cover in the sand dunes for him and Braun to hide before signaling the U-boat. He took off his shoes and socks, rolled up his pants legs, and strolled through the squeaky white sand to the water’s edge. The ocean was a brilliant emerald green that reminded him of his time in the Caribbean waters.
He walked for a while and calculated he was about halfway between Grayton Beach and a small settlement ahead when he recognized the crude driftwood X he had left over the buried raft. He could see no one, and no footprints were in the area to indicate that people walked along this stretch of beach. Satisfied the raft was secure and the location to signal the U-boat was sufficiently remote, Christian turned around and headed back to where he had parked his car.
His clothes clung to him with perspiration from walking in the hot sun, so he took off his shirt. The warmth felt wonderful on his face and back. Too bad I can’t stay here for a while, the people of Berlin don’t know what they are missing, he thought. Suddenly, a loud voice broke his solitude. Christian was surprised by the closeness of the female voice.
“Ouch! Damn it all! That hurts! What did I step on? A piece of broken glass! Now I am bleeding like a stuck pig.”
Christian stooped low, peering over the sand dunes to see who was causing such a racket. He could make out a figure sitting on the sandy bank of a large lake, holding her foot. The voice was familiar. This was the same woman whom he had heard expressing her anger the previous morning.
Harvey will be signing his book at Sundog Books Wednesday, July 17, from 4 to 7 p.m. and again on Friday, July 19, from 2 to 5 p.m.
Visit Sundog Books online.