Welcome to the fun that is Teaser Tuesday, the blog series where I share snippets from upcoming and past releases, and works-in-progress and occasionally pass the reins on to writer buddies.
Today I’m delighted to welcome back best-selling rural romance and life lit author, and ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year winner Rachael Johns to the blog. Rachael’s rural romances are much loved and this month sees the release of her latest, Talk of the Town. The cover of this book is a story in itself. If you’d like to find out how it came to be made, check out all the behind the scenes videos and more here. It’s a hoot!
Anyway, here’s Rach to tell you more.
HI Cathryn – thanks so much for having me on your fab blog. I love reading your Tuesday Teasers, but it’s much harder to choose an excerpt than I thought. Despite this difficulty I’m excited to share some of TALK OF THE TOWN with you and your readers!
This book is the story of Lawson, a widow with a young son who is still in love with his dead wife and Meg, the intriguing young woman he meets who has moved into a local ghost town. Although both characters are grieving and trying to recover from terrible losses, I like to think there are a lot of fun and light moments in the book. Some of these involve a puppy that Lawson buys for Meg – but he keeps it a secret from his sister and friends. The below scene is when he’s discovered and they all start wondering if there’s more to the situation than him simply wanting to help a stranger!!
‘You bought a puppy?’ Ned asked, his mouth full of ice-cream.
Lawson didn’t have the chance to reprimand him before Tab perched her hand on her hip and demanded, ‘Well, if this is true, what on earth have you done with it?’
This felt like the bloody Spanish Inquisition. Adeline, Ned and Tabitha were all glaring at him as they waited for an answer. Ethan licked his ice-cream and looked on in obvious amusement.
‘It’s true.’ Lawson looked to Tab and then to Ned. ‘I did buy a puppy, but not for us.’ He swallowed, drew his suddenly sweaty hands out of his pockets and wiped them against his shorts. ‘I bought him for Meg, the woman Ned and I met in Rose Hill.’
Tab’s lips transformed from a thin line into a wide grin. ‘Oh, really?’
‘You dark horse!’ Ethan slapped him on the back in obvious approval. ‘I thought you said she wasn’t very keen on socialising. Hang on a minute, is she the girl who baked those cakes?’
Lawson had shared the cakes Meg had given him with Ethan for smoko over the last couple of days, knowing that if he’d brought them into the house, Tab would have wanted to know where they’d come from. He’d led Ethan to believe one of the old dears in town had gifted them.
He nodded in confirmation at Ethan.
Ethan grinned. ‘That orange cake could give the CWA a run for their money.’
‘Sounds like you have a bit of talking to do, big brother,’ Tab said, not sounding cranky in the slightest.
The same could not be said for Adeline. ‘You never said you were taking a puppy for a … a woman.’ Hurt and surprise flashed in her eyes. Lawson felt a tiny pinprick of remorse—he didn’t want to hurt Adeline—but perhaps if she thought there was something going on with him and Meg, she’d finally get the message that the two of them were never going to be more than friends.
‘I didn’t say I wasn’t,’ he countered. ‘Is there a problem?’
‘That girl sure can cook,’ Ethan said, still stuck, as usual, on the food thing.
Adeline glared at him and then looked back to Lawson, her eyebrows raised expectantly. ‘Of course there’s a problem. I take great care finding good homes for my dogs and I don’t feel comfortable with one going to a stranger.’
‘Dad?’ Ned tugged at his shirt. ‘Can we go visit Meg and the puppy?’
Lawson ignored him. ‘She’s not a stranger. I’ve met her twice now and she fell in love with the puppy the moment she laid eyes on him. Relax, Adeline: she’s a young woman living on her own in Rose Hill. You know how isolated that makes her. Your dog will have all her attention. He’ll be fine, more than fine.’
‘Having met someone twice, you can hardly give her a character reference.’ Adeline sniffed and clutched the raffle tickets and tin close against her chest. ‘What else do you know about her? Why is she living all on her lonesome in such a place?’
Lawson bristled, feeling defensive on Meg’s part. ‘I don’t know. Not all of us waste so much time prying into other people’s business.’
‘Are you going to see her again? Are you going to check she’s taking proper care of my dog?’
‘I paid you for that dog, Adeline. It isn’t yours anymore. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got to go buy some—’ he glanced up and across the car park ‘—candles. See you later.’
Lawson strode off before she could say another word and didn’t return to the ice-cream stall until she’d moved on.
‘Dad,’ Ned said the moment he arrived back, ‘can we please go visit Meg?’
‘No,’ Lawson snapped. Ned was just as persistent as Adeline when he wanted something, but at least he had the excuse of childhood. ‘Will you just stop asking?’ There were enough voices in his head telling him to take another drive to Rose Hill, and he didn’t like the way he felt not quite himself around Meg.
Doesn’t that sound fab? A copy of Talk of the Town can be yours in an instant by simply visiting Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Booktopia, Angus and Robertson Bookworld, Fishpond or your favourite retailer.