By Joanna Lloyd, author of Beyond Innocence and Shadow Beneath the Sea
A great act of war; a greater act of love.
1915: Britain and Germany are at war and the waters off Great Britain have been declared a war zone. In six days the luxury ocean liner, Lusitania, sails from New York to England with 1,959 passengers on board.
Lillian Marshall’s father is determined she will accompany him to England on board the great luxury liner, Lusitania. Walter Marshall needs an accomplice in crime to execute a shrewd con to make their fortune. Lillian is faced with an impossible decision— stay in America and marry a man she doesn’t love for stability and security, or face her fear of sea travel, her father’s crooked schemes and an unknown future to reunite with a family she’s never known.
When Edward James books passage to England on the Lusitania, he believes his future is at last out of his father’s hands and his career as a musician is within reach. Before the ship sails Edward becomes an unwitting ally in Walter’s plan to force his reluctant daughter onto the ship. Edward finds himself drawn to the intriguing Lillian and seeks her company at every opportunity; finally facing the possibility that it may be Lillian who holds his heart.
Unfortunately, his uncle has more insidious plans to wed Edward to the cold-hearted Lavinia Armitage, daughter of a family business partner.
So begins a love story hindered by class, time and promises—Edward’s to marry Lavinia and Lillian’s to steal from the man she loves.
Against a backdrop of vivid characters, obscene wealth, secrets, lies and deceit, the countdown begins toward one of the greatest war-time shipping tragedies in history.
Although her whole body buzzed with enough adrenaline for her to flee to the furthest reaches of the ship, she sat as if glued to the chair. He hesitated for a moment, but she issued no invitation for him to join her. Unfazed by her lack of manners, he pulled up a chair and sat. Although his continued silence unnerved her, Lillian kept her eyes cast downward, finding her skirt particularly interesting.
Finally he spoke. “What’s going on over there, Lillian?” Her head jerked up, unprepared for such a question. She had expected him to make weak excuses about forgetting to inform her he was engaged to Lavinia Armitage.
“Wha … what do you mean?”
He leaned over and reached for her chin, lifting her head until their eyes met. “I’m sorry to say this, but I don’t trust your father. I’m certain I saw him deal from the bottom of the deck.”
A cold chill crept up her spine, and she licked her lips, her mouth suddenly as dry as an empty coal bin. Before she could answer, there was a collective gasp in the room. The colonel had folded his cards and relaxed back into his chair. Walter and Zeke stared, unblinking at each other.
“Did you hear me, Walt? I am calling you and raising ten thousand dollars.”
Her father pulled out a large handkerchief, patted his throat and put his money on the table. Lillian saw the nervous gesture, but it didn’t match the gleam of excitement in his eyes. “Show your cards, Zeke.”
Edward grabbed her arm. “Tell me, now, Lillian. Quickly, before they end this.”
Tears welled in her eyes at the lies she was about to utter, but her future depended on this money. “There is nothing to tell, Edward. You have allowed your imagination to get the better of you.” His gray eyes searched her face, begging for the truth, and in that moment she knew she had wronged him as much as he had wronged her.
Shadow Beneath the Sea is available now!