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August risks both their reputations by taking Norah to draw a castle, then lunch at an outdoor café. Their relationship exposed for all to see. A forbidden love that could end in heartbreak.The waiter served steaming bowls of Cotriade, the local fish stew, made with bass, eel, mackerel, other fish, potatoes and onions. A rich smell with a hint of fishiness.
Norah dipped in her spoon and tasted. “Delicious. So much bounty. And the perfect spices.”
They each spoke of their childhoods and later years, trying to find common ground. He left out the growing chaos in Germany, the march toward totalitarian authority that corroded his youth. He almost told her of the day he was shot and nearly died, but didn’t want to ruin the pleasurable interlude.
“I’m surprised the Germans haven’t taken over this city with the expansive harbor.” She glanced down across the coastline. There were a few sentries.
“I couldn’t say if we have.” Many bunkers were being built here. He poured them another glass of wine. The wine relaxed him, and he wished they didn’t have to leave. He had the urge to trace his finger along her collarbone and lower.
She looked at him with a wry smile. “We each have secrets, though you know most of mine now.”
“That might be so. I still need to find out who murdered my landser.” August said it casually, certain she wouldn’t admit if she knew. He finished his stew. “I’m sorry, the commandant returns in me.”
“Are you trying to scare me off?” She ate more stew, her tongue licking juice from her lips, eyes sparkling. “I haven’t heard anything; that’s the truth.”
He laid his hand over hers. “I believe you. And again, forgive me for asking.” He curled his fingers around hers. “This is a perfect day with an exceptional woman.”
Norah drank her wine. “Please continue. I’m listening in earnest to your flagrant flattery.”