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Winter Duet

Echoes Rising - Book 2

by Anne Barwell

Winter Duet - Anne Barwell
Part of the Echoes Rising series:
Editions:ePub - Second Edition: $ 6.99 USD
ISBN: 978-1-63477-192-4
Pages: 224
Paperback - Second Edition: $ 14.99 USD
ISBN: 978-1-63477-191-7
Pages: 224

Germany 1944

Hunted for treason and the information Kristopher carries, he and Michel leave the security of their safe house to journey across Germany toward Switzerland. Caught in a series of Allied bombings, they stop to help civilians and narrowly escape capture by German forces.

While investigating a downed aircraft in the Black Forest, the two men discover an injured RAF pilot. After they are separated, Kristopher and the pilot are discovered by a German officer who claims he is not who he appears to be. Determined to find Michel again, Kristopher has to trust the stranger and hope he is not connected to those searching for him and the information he carries. Meanwhile Michel is intercepted by one of the Allied soldiers he met in Berlin. His help is needed to save one of their own.

Time quickly runs out. Loyalties are tested and betrayed as the Gestapo closes in. Michel can only hope they can reach safety before information is revealed that could compromise not only his and Kristopher’s lives, but those of the remaining members of their team—if it is not already too late.


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Kristopher jerked awake with a start. Michel was leaning over him. His expression was grim. “What’s wrong? What’s happened?” Kristopher asked. They’d been in Feuerbach less than twenty-four hours. Surely Reiniger hadn’t found them already?

Before Michel could answer, a loud explosion sounded nearby. Kristopher was on his feet immediately, reaching for his gun, his eyes adjusting to the dim light of the flashlight Michel held. The wooden beams groaned. The building shook. Dust fell from the ceiling. He grabbed his satchel, not wanting to leave it behind.

“Bombing raid,” Michel said, already on the stairs of the apartment building, heading outside. Kristopher was only a couple of steps behind him. The wailing of sirens echoed around them. “We need to get out of here.”

Outside, people were running. A woman screamed. A baby’s wail filled the air. The top story of the building next door was gone, rubble lying in the street in big chunks.


Engines roared. Something swooped low above them. Kristopher ducked. Michel grabbed him and dived, both of them hitting the ground and landing in the snow.

Kristopher coughed. He wiped wet snow from his face and shivered. Luckily he’d slept in his coat and boots. Smoke filled the air. “The river,” he gasped. “We need to get to the river.” There was a tower shelter by the Feuerbach River. He was sure he remembered someone talking about it the previous evening.

The ground moved, or seemed to, as another explosion lit up the sky, this time in the distance, from the center of Stuttgart itself. “Can you walk?” Michel helped Kristopher as he struggled to his feet.

“I’m fine,” Kristopher reassured him. “You?”

“Yes.” Michel retrieved the flashlight from the ground. It lit up for a moment, and then they were plunged into blackness. “Damn it!” Michel shook it and switched it off, then on, but nothing happened. He shoved it into the pocket of his coat and glanced around. The streetlights were off—they would have been extinguished at the first sign of attack. All they had for light was the waning crescent moon above them and the fires burning as the aircraft dropped their bombs.

“What about the ambulance?” Kristopher suggested. They’d left it parked out of sight but nearby.

“I’m more worried about us surviving this than the ambulance,” Michel said. He gazed up at the sky. “I think the river is this way. We can’t stay here.”

“I don’t remember where on the river the shelter is,” Kristopher said.

A boy pushed past them. He couldn’t have been more than seven or eight years old. “The shelter’s this way,” he yelled. “Follow me.”

Kristopher hesitated. What if the boy was wrong? And even if he wasn’t, there was no way of knowing if he might lead them into more of this.

“We don’t have a choice,” Michel said. “Keep close to me. I don’t want to lose you in this.” He began to run, Kristopher close behind, his eyes adjusting to the little light there was.

The boy tripped and went sprawling. Michel stopped just in time before he too lost his footing.

“Oomph,” Kristopher grunted when he ran into Michel. “What happened?”

The boy groaned loudly. Michel pulled out his flashlight and tried it again. A dim light shone from it, barely enough to see by, but it would have to do. Remains of a shattered chimney from a nearby house were spread across the ground just ahead of them. The boy lay next to one of the larger pieces, half on top of it. In his haste and with the lack of light he wouldn’t have seen it until it was too late.

Reviews:Maryann on The Novel Approach Reviews wrote:

Still hiding out from the Nazis most dangerous officers, Holmes, Reiniger and Mueller, resistance fighters Dr. Kristopher “Kit” Leher and Mjchel (Gabriel), decide to leave the safety of the convent to flee Germany. After barely escaping their arch enemy, Reiniger, they’ve made their way to a safe house where they see a plane crash in the forest. They make it a point to find the crash site to see if there are any survivors.

Little do they know the allies, Sgt. Ken Lowe, Capt. Matt Bryant and Dr. Zhou Liang, are in the area and Matt had seen the plane crash also. They head to the site to try and find survivors. Ken, Matt and Liang split up when they go to investigate the site, and it becomes a dangerous situation as the Gestapo are also swarming the area.

Kit and Michel find the RAF pilot, Leonard “Leo” Dawson, who has been badly injured in the crash. When Michel hears suspicious noises, he leaves Kit and Leo to investigate. He doesn’t want to take the chance of running into the enemy, and he becomes separated from Kit and Leo.

Matt is now on his own and finds Kit and Leo. Michel runs across Ken. and when they return to where Michel left Kit, they are no longer there. Lovers are lost to each other, never knowing if they will see each other again. Both teams are on the run and have the same goals: get to the safe house, keep each other safe, and reunite with the ones they love. But every move they make is dangerous and could bring them face to face with the gestapo.

Winter Duet is the sequel to Shadowboxing. The Echoes Rising series is a WW II drama loaded with suspense and action. The tension is overwhelming as characters are caught by the Gestapo and suffer grave torture. Ms. Barwell also covers the danger of being gay in the 1940s. These characters have had to keep their relationships hidden, even from those they trust. This series also explores alliance, that no matter your ethnicity, who or what you are, there are people who stand together to fight evil. When I started Winter Duet, I thought this would be the last book, but there’s so much more to this story to be revealed—an in-depth plot, in-depth characterizations, and just a riveting story that’s not over yet. I’m certainly looking forward to the next book in the series.

About the Author

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing "discussion," and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as "too many." These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of "spare time" is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.



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