Night Flight to Paris

Night Flight to Paris

by Cara Black
Night Flight to Paris

Night Flight to Paris

by Cara Black


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Notes From Your Bookseller

Cara Black’s formidable Kate Rees is back for another seat-of-the-pants adventure that’s a cat & mouse story set against an historical backdrop. With the same velocity of a contemporary thriller we assure you Night Flight to Paris and last year’s Monthly Pick title Three Hours in Paris will have you wanting to learn how to parachute behind enemy lines.

It is once again up to American markswoman Kate Rees to take the shot that just might win—or lose—World War II, in the followup to national bestseller Three Hours in Paris.

Three missions. Two cities. One shot to win the war.

October 1942: it’s been two years since Kate Rees was sent to Paris on a British Secret Service mission to assassinate Hitler. Since then, she has left spycraft behind to take a training job as a sharpshooting instructor in the Scottish Highlands. But her quiet life is violently disrupted when Colonel Stepney, her former handler, drags her back into the fray for a risky three-pronged mission in Paris.

Each task is more dangerous than the next: Deliver a package of forbidden biological material. Assassinate a high-ranking German operative whose knowledge of invasion plans could turn the tide of the war against the Allies. Rescue a British agent who once saved Kate’s life—and get out.

Kate will encounter sheiks and spies, poets and partisans, as she races to keep up with the constantly shifting nature of her assignment, showing every ounce of her Oregonian grit in the process.

New York Times bestselling author Cara Black has crafted another heart-stopping thrill ride that reveals a portrait of Paris at the height of the Nazi occupation.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781641293556
Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/07/2023
Series: A Kate Rees WWII Novel , #2
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 505,300
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

About The Author
Cara Black is the author of twenty books in the New York Times bestselling Aimée Leduc series and the national bestseller Three Hours in Paris. She has received multiple nominations for the Anthony and Macavity Awards, and her books have been translated into German, Norwegian, Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, and Hebrew. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and visits Paris frequently.

Read an Excerpt

October 1942
Scottish Highlands
Kate Rees slid into the Georgian mansion’s salon and found herself staring into the shining eyes of a dead duck on a platter. An enormous oil painting.
     Goosebumps crawled up her neck.
     Kate’s fingers roamed behind the painting’s rococo gilt frame to find the rifle pieces taped to it. She slit the tape with the penknife she’d strapped to her ankle. Seconds later she’d assembled the rifle’s shank and bolt head and attached the telescopic sight.
     Adrenaline coursed through her. Her pulse thudded in her ears.
     Outside the window, a curl of mist drifted in the dimness, blanketing the mansion’s back garden. Night birds peeped and dewed grass gleamed in shafts of diffuse moonlight. She undid the window’s latch and pushed. It wouldn’t budge.
     The sash was jammed. Painted shut.
     Of all times.
     Kate tried the second window, the third. All the same story. Her breath quickened. A sinking feeling bottomed out her chest.
     Could this get any worse?
     She had to get a window open. Somehow.
     Bit by bit, the fourth window yielded to her knife. Paint flaked the sill. Grunting, she shoved aside the sash, lifting it the three inches she needed for a viable shot.
     She poked the rifle tip out of the window and hoped the window’s bubbled, distorted glass wouldn’t throw off her aim. Aimed. Ticking off the variables—second nature to her—she factored in the evening breeze from the west and the clouded orb of the moon casting gray shafts of light.
     Her eyes scanned the garden.
     What if she got this wrong? Miscalculated?
     Then her gaze caught and fastened on her target. She adjusted. Aligned the scope to reflect a half centimeter left. Prepared to double tap the target’s temple.
     Focused. Took a breath. Then another. Let everything in the world become this moment. Only this dark night, this dense black-green shrubbery, this hazy figure at the far end of the garden, barely visible against the copse of yews.
     She inhaled. Squeezed the trigger on the exhale.
     Thupt. A sharp crack.
     She realigned and squeezed the trigger again. Double tap to be sure, Pa always said. And so she always did.
     Now to escape.
     By the time she’d skittered over the mansion’s slippery roof tiles, torn her sleeve monkeying down the rust-flaked water pipe and legged it over the wet grass, her lungs were heaving.
     She bent down. Turned the figure over. A dozen flashlight beams blinded her.
     Wilkes clicked a stopwatch. “You’re fifty seconds late, Madame X.”
     Absurd code name.
     “Better luck next time,” he added.
     Better luck next time? She kicked the dummy, lifelike in a Gestapo uniform. Two head shots to the temple. It was perfection.
     “Try not painting over the window sashes and I’d be here in a minute,” Kate said.
     “Field conditions vary; factors change,” Wilkes said. “It can go pear shaped in seconds. Snipers need to adapt. Remember: any mission’s a gamble.”
     He had that right.
     Wilkes, a broad-chested former police sergeant from Shanghai and a specialist in bare-hand killing, held a clipboard and turned toward the huddled students. “You always face the unknown, as this exercise with Madame X illustrates. Learn to handle a worst-case scenario. The unexpected.”
     Three of them clustered around the dummy, with its painted leer and childish outlines of a Hitler mustache. The bullet holes in the temple leaked wood chips instead of blood. Kate heard a snigger.
      “This lesson wasn’t designed for Madame X to show off,” Wilkes said. “You’re seeing what can happen in the field, learning how to cope, manage, and think on your feet. Now, return to the classroom, dissect this operation and discover what else she could have done. Find the mistake she made.”
     Kate, the sniper instructor, hadn’t made a mistake. But that was the point of the “lesson.”
     “Whoever gets it right goes next,” Wilkes said.
     The students had been up all night, as had she. An odd mix, these: a young woman with the peach and cream complexion typical of Brits, mournful and with bad English teeth; a wiry beanpole of a man with a deadened gaze and four fingers on his left hand; and the last, a freckled Irish potato farmer with a quick grin and an even quicker tongue. Raw, untrained, all of them. None would last a ]minute on a clandestine mission in occupied Europe.
     But she’d been the same two years ago, hadn’t she? Worse, even.
     Tired, she headed to her lean-to cottage adjoining the caretaker’s lodge. It was perfect for her with its lime-washed walls and gnarled beams supporting a part-sod roof. It reminded her of the house in Little House on the Prairie, her favorite book. Chopping wood for her fireplace made her feel at home. It was like the forest cabins on the trail her pa camped in.
     The caretakers, a young Scottish couple, lived at the lodge and took care of the manor house: supplies, transportation, camouflage duty. You name it. Robert was a gamekeeper and general fixer at the manor. Alana, his wife, was a nurse who treated the injured and ill.
     Kate came to the facility following a disastrous mission, the fiasco in Copenhagen. She’d broken two bones in her arm. After she’d been stuck in the hospital for several months, her twisted arm still hadn’t healed and she couldn’t teach. Was useless.
     It took the surgeon’s re-breaking her arm and convalescence in the cottage under Alana’s expert care—aided by her wild herb poultices—for Kate to heal like new. Alana, a highland farmer’s daughter, bubbled with a wicked sense of humor and could mimic Wilkes to a T. Kate found she and Alana had much in common. After Alana’s third miscarriage, she and Robert had given up on having children. Kate felt it a shame that this decent, hardworking couple couldn’t have a child when they seemed so well-suited to parenthood—although Kate knew better than most that “suited” didn’t always equal “able.”
Before she could enter her door, Wilkes had appeared. “A word, please?”
     Not now. She didn’t feel like a lecture or an analysis of the training exercise. “Can it wait?” she said.
     “They said now.” He handed her an envelope and a Webley pistol. Not her favorite piece—too clunky.
     “What’s this for?” she asked, taking it from his outstretched hand.
     “You should never be unarmed. The car’s waiting in front.”
She got in the back of a military vehicle painted in brown and green camo. On the seat sat a man’s wool overcoat and her worn, faded khaki regulation carryall. Surprised, she unbuckled the bag to find that all of her belongings had been packed. There wasn’t much.
     Inside was a baby photo of Lisbeth, Kate’s gorgeous daughter, taken Christmas 1938.
     Less than a year later, Lisbeth and Dafydd, Kate’s husband, had gone up in smoke in the German attack on Orkney. All she had of them was this photo and a severed heart.
     Not now, she told herself, biting back her tears.
     The driver—a man dressed in fatigues—started the engine. The car swept down the gravel driveway and the highland mansion receded behind the trees. This training center for clandestine operatives—this spy school—faded in the heather and mist.
     Kate felt a bittersweet pang. In between training and missions, she’d grown fond of the manor house—the frescoed ceiling, faded floral wallpaper, and the view of the foggy mountains, which never ceased to remind her of childhood in Oregon. Her rustic cottage and her friendship with Alana were the closest she’d come to planting roots since losing Lisbeth and Dafydd.
     In a side pocket of her bag was her diary, which she’d hidden behind the carved woodwork of her room. The Brits had gone through all her personal things. No privacy at all. A red-hot feeling of violation bubbled within her.
     They’d kept a bead on her since the Denmark assignment, she knew. It seemed to be getting worse; her movements were relentlessly assessed.
     She was a rifle/sniper instructor, goddammit. First and foremost. The rest wasn’t their business.
     “Where are you taking me?” Kate asked.
     The driver turned around. “All I know’s the address they told me. Nothing else.”
     Off to another training camp? Somewhere to be useful, to contribute? That’s what counted. It was about getting back at the Germans who killed her husband and daughter. Her job was to take out the enemy.
     Wasn’t it?
     She crossed her fingers.
     “By the way, miss, these came for you at the last minute.”
     “It’s missus,” Kate said.
     The driver ignored her. He handed her an envelope, turned back, and closed the smudged glass window between the driver and rear. Conversation over.
     The first letter—censored—was dated three months earlier. Kate’s heart jumped upon seeing the US stamp and Oregon postmark. Finally. A letter from home.
     From Jed, her middle brother—she had five of them. Jed was the sassy one who swam like a fish and teased her day and night. She tore open the envelope.
Dear Kate,
I joined up—the air force. All of us did. I don’t know where they’re sending me. None of us do. Ranch got sold after Pa passed in July. We buried him next to Ma in Medford. I’m sorry for the bad news. Before the fever took him, he asked me to write and say he never stopped ]missing you.
Your brother,
     An aching opened deep inside of Kate. Like a punch in the gut. Pa had been their rock. He’d fed and clothed them as best as he could. They went hungry sometimes, sure, but he kept them together throughout the Depression, and they’d loved one another fiercely. Pa was the one who had believed in her. Who’d taught her how to shoot, to survive, to rely on herself. Katie, when you fall down, the only one who gets you up is yourself.
     Her eyes welled. The trees and hedges blurred.
     An overwhelming sense of aloneness knocked the breath out of Kate. Home was gone. Her brothers were dispersed. She was, ultimately, an orphan. She’d never had the chance to say a proper goodbye to Pa. Or to Lisbeth, or to the man she fell in love with one balmy Paris afternoon in ’37. The war had taken them all away from her.
     Her tears spilled on the letter, smearing the ink. Only then did she see Jed’s scrawled PS in the corner:
     I’m sorry I called you chicken when you were little. Should have said chick.
     She grinned despite her grief. Wiped her nose. Good old Jed.
     Where were her brothers now?
     The car downshifted. She’d better open the other envelope Wilkes had given her.
     Only one line:
    Destination and mission upon arrival at London office.
     Typical. It revealed nothing.

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