Welcome to Teaser Tuesday, where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress and sometimes cajole author buddies into doing the same.
Ooh, you’re lucky devils, because this week we have another guest. Yay!
First, news from the Hein house.
And there is big news, oh yes there is. Brace yourselves…
Are you braced there? Sure?
Here we go then.
SERENITY’S SONG HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!
Too much excitement. Yes, after some serious slog, I finally finished Serenity’s Song and it is now in the capable hands of Tule Publishing. Those of you who enjoyed Elsa’s Stand will love this return to Wirralong and its characters, especially Serenity Strachan and Jesse Hargreaves. Those two might be destined to be together in the end, but they have a LOT of drama to get through first.
Last week, to celebrate finishing the manuscript, I shared on my Facebook page one of the songs that Serenity teases Jesse with. It’s from a band called REO Speedwagon. The seasoned (eh hem) among you might remember their big hits “Keep on Loving You” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” from their 1980 smash album Hi Fidelity, but also on the album was “She Doesn’t Like the Tough Guys” and it’s that which Serenity uses on Jesse. Click/tap here for a listen. It’s cool!
She teases him with other songs too, but you’ll have to wait to find out what they are!
Speaking of teasing…
It’s time for today’s Teaser Tuesday guest. Now this adored Aussie author barely needs an introduction. She’s not only famous for her rural romances but for her massively successful ‘life lit’ stories. She’s here today to tell you about her new release, Something to Talk About.
Please give a very warm welcome to Rachael Johns!
Thanks Cathryn for having me and my new book on your lovely blog!! I’m super excited to share my first rural romance in THREE years with readers. This was a fun one to write because they hero and heroine get off on the wrong foot and that created lots of fun banter. But the bit I want to share today is the first time the heroine (Tabitha) hears about the hero (Fergus) who is the new teacher in town. This extract gives you a little bit of an idea about how the locals feel about having a new guy in town. Happy reading! Xx Rach!
‘Kathy’s been telling us about the new teacher in town.’
‘Ah, I see.’ Tabitha began to knit—wedging one needle under her armpit and the other in her hand. No wonder the women were so animated—there was nothing these old dears liked better than matchmaking; no new teacher or nurse was safe! Those reality TV dating shows had nothing on these country matriarchs. The number of newcomers they’d tried to set Lawson up with before he met Meg had been mind-boggling.
‘Is he married?’ asked Eileen Bennett. She had three unmarried daughters in their early twenties. All still lived in Walsh—two of them working with their father on the farm and one the local hairdresser—and the fact they were all single caused their mother much distress. Every time Tab heard her speak, a vision of the other Mrs Bennett from Pride and Prejudice landed in her head.
Hang on? Her thoughts caught up with the conversation and she looked up from her knitting. The new teacher was male? This really was a turn-up for the books.
‘Except for a cat,’ interrupted Eileen; she’d obviously done her research.
‘And,’ Kathy continued, ‘Joanne said he wasn’t wearing a ring.’
Tab was about to say that didn’t necessarily mean he didn’t have a partner—he could be in a long-term relationship, hell, maybe he was gay—but it was impossible to get a word in over the excitement. No wonder the news had trumped the scandal of her getting pregnant to a turkey baster; she couldn’t remember the last time there’d been a man teaching at Walsh Primary School.
‘I saw him yesterday morning when I drove past the school on the way to my doctor’s appointment,’ said Beth in her very posh voice. She’d come out from England seventy years ago to marry a farmer she’d met through a pen-pal scheme and had never lost her accent. At almost ninety, she was the oldest member of knitting circle and also one of Tab’s favourites. ‘He was carrying a box from his car.’
‘Ooh, what does he look like?’ Adeline asked.
Tab was surprised she hadn’t already engineered a meeting herself.
‘Well, if my eyes weren’t deceiving me, he’s very tall and has muscles in all the right places. His sleeves were pushed up and I couldn’t help notice he had very tanned skin too. He was wearing a cap but I think I saw dark hair curling at his neckline.’
Tab was impressed—if anyone ever needed a witness to a crime, Beth would be perfect.
The elderly woman visibly blushed. ‘Let’s just say if I was sixty years younger …’
‘If you were sixty years younger,’ interrupted Doris Weatherby, ‘I’d be sixty years younger too and you’d have competition.’
Everyone laughed, but Tab saw Adeline’s eyes sparkle like a tiger who’d just spotted a gazelle grazing not too far away. There was new blood in town; of course she’d be on the scent.
‘I wonder why he was able to come at such short notice,’ mused Chloe Wellington. ‘I know when Carline was diagnosed she was very anxious they wouldn’t be able to find a replacement and there’d be too much pressure on Joanne.’
‘Could be some kind of scandal,’ said Suzie McDonald, a mischievous glint in her eyes. ‘Maybe he had an affair with one of the mums and was encouraged to leave. My sister works at a school in Albany and that’s what happened with their principal.’
‘Or maybe he had a thing with one of the students.’ Doris looked horrified at her own suggestion. ‘I’m always reading in the paper about male teachers taking advantage of teenage girls.’
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ Chloe snapped. ‘The man’s a primary school teacher—and anyway, the police would be after him if that were the case. Wouldn’t they?’
The circle went quiet for a moment as the mums and grandmothers in the hall pondered this possibility. Tab felt compelled to stand up for the poor man and stop this line of thought before it got out of hand. Lord knew how easily rumours started in small towns, but this one was particularly nasty and she could just imagine what would happen if it took hold. A vision of all the locals charging the school with pitchforks came into her head.
‘Of course he wouldn’t still be teaching if he was involved in anything like that,’ she reassured everyone. ‘We should be grateful that whatever his reasons, he’s been able to take up the position at such short notice. And it’ll be great for the kids to have a guy at school for a change.’
‘Yes, indeed.’ For once Adeline agreed with her, but the wolfish smile on her face reminded Tab that it wasn’t only vicious rumours the new guy needed to be wary of.
‘What’s his name?’ she asked the circle.
‘Fergus McWilliams,’ Adeline announced, a swooning.
Fergus sounded like someone her dad’s age, but Tab assumed he had to be a lot younger to be making all these women so hot under the collar.
‘I wonder if he’d like a puppy? I have a litter due any day and, if he is alone, it’d be good company for him.’
Adeline thought her fluffy white dogs were the answer to everything. She’d tried to use them to get into Lawson’s pants too, but that had backfired and now it irritated her something chronic that Meg owned one of her Maremmas.
‘The cat might have something to say about that,’ Meg said.
‘And what would the poor puppy do all day while he’s at school?’ Eileen asked with a roll of her eyes. She was obviously back in matchmaking mode and didn’t want Adeline getting an in with Fergus before she could introduce him to her daughters.
Tab stifled a giggle as Adeline and Eileen eyed each other off. Whatever Fergus McWilliams’ story, she hoped he knew how to handle a pack of piranhas. Adeline and the Bennett girls weren’t the only single women in Walsh and they wouldn’t take any prisoners in their mission to score a man.
He he. It looks like poor Fergus McWilliams is in for a torrid time. What fun!
Something to Talk About is out now and available in ebook and print from your favourite retailer, including these stores:
Get your copy today!