Welcome to Teaser Tuesday where I share snippets from new and past releases and works-in-progress, and occasionally twist the arms of author buddies to do the same. Like today!
First, news from the Hein house.
Reviews for Serenity’s Song are still coming in and they’re lovely. Look at this one from Helen on Goodreads:
“This is a fabulous fun and moving story there were lots of laughs and smiles in this one that had me turning the pages, I loved it from start to finish, truly this is one that you should not miss, thank you Cathryn Hein for a fantastic story.”
Talk about giving a girl the warm fuzzies!
Which is also what my guest today and I hope to be giving you too, with this week’s Teaser Tuesday.
The last time Nicki Edwards joined us what at Christmas last year, when she shared a snippet of her seasonal romance, Second Chance Christmas. This time she’s back with a story that goes right to my heart. Many of you already know how much I adore Australian Rules Football, in particular the magnificent Sydney Swans (although sadly, not too magnificent this year). So a sports romance featuring a retired Australian Rules Football star? Smack in my zone.
And I have no doubt it’ll be smack in yours too!
Here’s Nicki to tell you more about The Final Siren. Make sure you read to the bottom because there might be a giveaway, and I know how much you love them.
I’m excited to release book #1 in the “Off the Field” series this week. It’s ironic that I ended up writing a book that features AFL when I’m really not much of a football fan. I am surrounded by football lovers including my husband and three sons but it wasn’t until I met AFL ruckman Zac Smith, that I became interested in the game – and in the Cats. The Final Siren is dedicated to Zac and his wife who became part of our family when they moved from the Gold Coast to Geelong so Zac could play for the Cats. Sadly his contract was not renewed and he returned to the Gold Coast last year, then Covid struck and he hasn’t played a game this season. I’d like to say there’s always next year, but right now who knows what that will look like.
I had a lot of fun writing The Final Siren, especially the football scenes – all of which were written on my laptop sitting in front of the telly with a game on in the background and my husband answering all my questions. Zac kindly answered all my “off the field” questions too and helped shape my hero. Even though this book is categorised in sports romance, at its heart it’s still a small town romance which is what I love to read and write. Set in a fictional town somewhere in the alpine region of Victoria, if features a retired AFL ruckman, Jed, and the girl who has loved him since school days, Georgie.
Once I started writing, I realised there were plenty of other secondary characters who needed their own stories too, so book #2 will be out in October (Settle the Score) and book #3 (The Last Quarter) will come out early next year. I’d better go and start writing!
In other news, I turned 50 last Thursday and for many people who have had significant milestones they’d planned to celebrate this year, it didn’t go to my plan. This year was supposed to be the year of the nurse and the year of the big 5-oh party. It was the year we had plans to travel and to celebrate being empty nesters. Instead, I am in Victoria in the midst of tight restrictions that prevent any sort of gathering and I’m slogging away in my job as a nurse wondering when it’s all going to be over.
A couple of months ago as it occurred to me that celebrating turning 50 was going to look a lot different, I had a bit of a mid-life crisis moment. But, instead of getting a red sports car, I got a red horse! Much to Cathryn’s jealousy (sorry about that) I am now the proud horse mum of Monty! (#myhorsemonty if you are interested in photos!). I grew up riding but haven’t ridden properly since I was 18 other than a brief season in my early 30’s for a few months. So, getting back on the horse has been wonderful and is the best therapy for my Covid woes. But oh my bones and joints and muscles. At 50 I’m not as flexible as I was at 15!!! Anyway, all of that to say, if you like horses, stay tuned because after my AFL books, I have plans for books that feature lots of horses.
Thanks again Cathryn for having me… now here’s a little excerpt for you…
A human freight train hit Jed Delaney side on, knocking him to the ground. The hit snapped his head back and pain roared up and down every nerve ending. When he landed, it felt heavy and unforgiving, like someone had crushed every bone in his body. For a split second everything went silent—even the crowd—and in those breath-holding moments, Jed couldn’t remember where he was or why he was there.
He slowly lumbered to his feet. The runner and doctor were jogging towards him in their high vis vests, concern written on their faces. Jed gave them a double thumbs up and tried to act unfazed. He removed his mouthguard and grinned. His teeth were still intact. He was fine.
Except he probably wasn’t. That was one heck of a bump.
Drew, the club doctor, shook his head. ‘No choice in the matter, Delaney.’
He escorted Jed, grumbling, from the ground.
On the sidelines, Jed swigged water from the bottle offered to him, swirled it in his mouth and spat it out, all while keeping his gaze fixed on the game. The game he loved. His job. And the only thing he’d known for the past ten years.
Drew blocked Jed’s view of the ground and clicked his fingers in front of Jed’s face. ‘Delaney.’
Jed smiled and put on his best “don’t worry” expression. He’d had enough knocks and bumps over the years. Today’s hit had been hard, but it hadn’t been as bad as the one at the start of the season. That one had knocked him cold for ten minutes.
Jed had no recollection of what had happened. What he knew about it came from watching the replays and from what his coach and teammates had told him. Mum said she hadn’t watched him play footy since.
‘What year is it?’ Drew asked.
‘The year we’re going to win another premiership.’
Drew gave him a lop-sided grin. ‘Month?’
‘July…the twenty-second,’ Jed added, because that would be Drew’s next question. ‘And it’s Saturday.’
He moved so he could see past Drew. They were down to the final ten minutes and Geelong were only up by six points. At this rate, it was anyone’s game and after last weeks’ loss, they needed the win.
Drew whacked Jed’s bicep with his clipboard. ‘Oi. Focus. You’re not going to miss anything. Answer my questions, then you can sit on the bench for a bit and catch your breath.’
Annoyed, Jed jogged on the spot to keep warm. ‘I told you, mate, I’m okay. Bit rattled, but my head is fine.’ He wanted to get out there and finish the game so he could enjoy a victory lap with the boys when it was over.
Drew’s smile disappeared, and Jed stilled and withheld an exasperated sigh. Answering inane questions and proving he could stand on one leg like a flamingo without falling over was important to show the coach his brain hadn’t turned into an omelette.
‘I’m going to ask you a few questions.’
Jed nodded. He knew the drill.
‘What venue are we playing at today?’
Jed smirked. ‘Docklands. Etihad. Marvel Stadium. They keep changing the name of the ground. How am I supposed to keep up?’
‘Which quarter is it now?’
‘Who kicked the last goal?’
Jed grinned. ‘I did.’
Drew grinned back. ‘Yeah, you did.’ He slapped Jed on the back. ‘Good job.’
‘Who did we play last week?’ Drew asked.
‘Did we win?’
Remembering the humiliating loss, Jed screwed up his face. They’d been smashed, and no-one had anticipated it. ‘No.’
Jed then repeated words back to Drew and recited a series of numbers—counting backwards from one hundred by nine. When he lifted one foot off the ground, his knee twitched, which set him off balance, but he recovered quickly. He was used to commanding his body to obey.
‘Scale of one to ten. Pain? Headache?’
‘Zero,’ Jed lied. The pain brewing at the base of his skull, where the occipital nerve joined with his spine, was at least a six. But nothing a good massage after the game wouldn’t fix.
Jed turned his head slowly left to right. ‘All good. Maybe a two.’ It was more like a five.
The fuzzy white spots swimming in front of his eyes were nothing to worry about, and if he didn’t blink too much, they didn’t multiply.
Drew’s brows drew into a deep V. ‘I think you should sit out the rest of the game.’
‘Why?’ Jed growled. ‘Come on.’ He glanced up at the scoreboard. Five minutes plus overtime.
‘It won’t kill you.’
Jed slumped onto the bench. Problem was, if he kept playing with a head injury, it might.
Ooh, now this is worrying. What’s going to happen to Jed? Find out by grabbing your copy of The Final Siren from one of these stores today!
Now, as hinted at earlier, we have a…
For your chance to be in the draw for a paperback copy of The Final Siren, tell us which sportsperson you admire or love the most and why. You can even nominate a team, if you prefer.
Or if you hate sport, tell us why!
My favourite sportsperson is too easy! It’s Sydney Swans and St Kilda star and greatest AFL goalkicker of all time, Tony ‘Plugger’ Lockett. I luuuuurve him. I have no doubt that I’d turn into a gibbering mess if I ever met him. I’d probably embarrass myself even more than I did when I met celebrity chef Rick Stein, and that’s saying something.
What about you? Who’s your favourite or most admired sports star or team? Tell us and we’ll pop you into the draw to win a paperback copy of The Final Siren.
Please note: Giveaway closes midnight, Australian Eastern Daylight Time, Friday 18th September 2020. Australian postal addresses only.