December 1942. England is in the throes of World War II. The country’s motto, “Loose Lips Sink Ships,” is not to be questioned. Anyone working in the Special Operations Executive office has additional reasons not to speak about their work on sabotage: it is seen as ungentlemanly and therefore not British.
Elizabeth oversees the Special Operations training program, welcoming recruits for their final grooming before they parachute behind enemy lines to join the resistance or are deployed in sabotage operations. Yet loose lips, sink ships. She doesn’t know the details about any of the other Special Ops missions. It’s best that way and keeps her heart under tight wrappings. She focuses on the current day and the work that is needed; there’s no room for thoughts of tomorrow.
She is dancing one evening at a club with Squadron Leader Collins when her sister Jane appears. The two are pleased to be introduced to his colleague, Flight Lieutenant Charles Bingley. But Charles Bingley’s friend isn’t so pleasant, likening Elizabeth to the type of girl who poses for pin-up pictures.
When Major Darcy shows up at the Baker Street office the next working day, Elizabeth is flustered to know he will be working there for the foreseeable future. The two clash constantly, even as her sister and his friend show signs of falling quickly in love. Elizabeth is thrown as to her thoughts about William when he helps gets her underage sister home from a club after Lydia snuck out.
William Darcy is a man caught between worlds. His father is English, but his mother is Greek. Since the outbreak of war, he has fought the Nazi scum in Greece on the Aegean peninsula during the retreat in 1940 before spending time with the Greek exiles in Egypt. Then he traveled to America to work on training programs as a liaison. But now he’s back in England.
Around them, the war rages while the Baker Street team carries on living like there is no tomorrow. Missions are planned. People are trained. Men and women are deployed, often never to be seen again.
But an incident from her past leads her and William on a mission together. Though her role is small compared to the dangers he faces, it’s a change to her routine of tea and typing. Past hurts have made her live in the moment, self-contained and focused, an efficient secretary. But Elizabeth realizes that she needs to live like a lifetime of tomorrows await them despite the war.
© 2021 Anne Morris
Excerpt from No Tomorrow.