Hello and welcome! I’m absolutely delighted to kick off this fabulous blog tour today with an extract from The Cover Wife by Dan Fesperman! But before we dive right in, here is a little more about the book and its fabulous author
About the Book
Paris, October 1999. CIA agent Claire Saylor’s career has stalled, thanks to unorthodox behaviour in her past. So when she’s told she’ll be going undercover in Hamburg to pose as the wife of an academic who has published a controversial interpretation of the Quran’s promise to martyrs, she assumes the job is a punishment. But when she discovers her team leader is Paul Bridger, another Agency maverick, she realizes there may be more to this mission than meets the eye – and not just for professional reasons.
Meanwhile, Mahmoud, a recent Moroccan émigré in Hamburg, has become involved with a group of radicals at his local mosque. The deeper he’s drawn into the group, the more he is torn between his obligations to them and his feelings toward a beautiful westernized Muslim woman.
As Claire learns the truth about her mission, and Mahmoud grows closer to the radicals, their paths are on a collision course that could have disastrous repercussions far beyond the CIA.
About the Author
Dan Fesperman, a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun, is now an award-winning author, whose thriller novels have won the John Creasey and the Ian Fleming Steel Daggers as well as the Hammett Prize. His plots were inspired by his own international assignments in Germany, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and lives in Baltimore, Maryland with his wife and their two children.
The Cover Wife
By Dan Fesperman
The rain clouds parted an hour before sunset, and the hiker’s shadow finally rejoined him on the mountain trail, his only companion all day. Or so he hoped.
Ascending to a granite outcrop with a sweeping view, he paused to look back at the way he’d come: lacy spring foliage and a meadow in bloom, with the trail stitched through it like a dirty suture. Not a soul on it.
The air was golden with pollen, and he considered digging into his pack for an allergy pill before remembering he’d already taken one. He cleared his throat, spit, and immediately regretted it. He rubbed the spot with the toe of his boot, only to make a bigger mess. Sighing, he checked his watch and set off.
Still lurking to his rear was the unseen presence that had haunted him since dawn. All in his head, perhaps, but the reports from the brief- ing had been sobering enough: two men, well trained and unaccounted for, meaning they might be anywhere. He imagined them back there now, moving briskly just beyond the nearest ridge. He picked up the pace.
A mile later, reaching the level grade of a narrow ridge, he eased into a long and limber stride. Better. His scuffed old boots were a comfort, a reminder of past hikes among friends. Their voices returned to him in the murmur of the leaves, the creak of swaying limbs—distant echoes of dewy mornings and twilight encampments, those long-ago week-ends when they would cook up a hearty reside meal and scrub their mess kits in the gravel of a stream. A tin cup of whiskey to pass around the camp, everyone carried off to slumber on a tide of laughter and familiar old tales.
Caught up in his memories, he imagined himself later that night, rubbing his hands for warmth as he brewed coffee on a tidy blaze. Or, no, because that would be like lighting a beacon in the night. So instead he would boil water on his tiny stove, eat one of those dehydrated meals from a pouch. He would turn in early, listening carefully from his tent to the noises of the night. Sleep as well as he could, and then rise before dawn.
An old song came to mind, so he whistled a bar just to hear the sound of something human, his footsteps keeping rhythm as the trail steepened. The last notes drifted up into the trees and he fell silent, conserving his breath for the climb. He recalled a boyhood tale of a cavalry scout trying to outrun the Comanches, in which days had turned to weeks. He had packed enough food for five nights, but what if he needed to resupply?
From above came the grumble of a single-engine plane, which stopped him in his tracks. He remained still for a full minute, watching as it passed low enough for him to read the tail number. No one had mentioned this possibility, although he supposed it was within their capabilities. Various weapons had been discussed, of course. But this? Yet here he was, cowering beneath the leaves. Sunlight glinted on the fuselage as the plane moved toward the horizon. He exhaled and reached for his water bottle. Yet again he gazed back at the way he’d come.
The Cover Wife publishes 6th July (tomorrow!!)
Pre-order your copy via the links below:
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With thanks to Sofia, Sophie, Midas and HoZ for my blog tour invite!