Book Excerpt: The Wanderer

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Weddings.
Weddings were a pain more excruciating than a broken nose, or tooth, or both—an event to be avoided when at all possible. Only the blissfully ignorant would voluntarily submit themselves to the farce of “marital bliss,” never mind the noise, whimpering women, and a priest who would undoubtedly drone on and on unless someone whacked him upside the head.
Why did I agree to this shit? If this bint sobs into my sleeve one more sodding time, I’ll shove her into the aisle, manners be damned. I should’ve claimed a sudden bout of dengue fever in Macau and been done with it.
Graham Hodson had returned home early from yet another adventure to attend the wedding of his best mate, Francis, and his soon-to-be husband, former rugby star Caddock Stanford. He’d contemplated doing a runner. His twin brother, Rupert, had threatened to drag him in by the ear, pointing out that they couldn’t disappoint their childhood friend, could they?
Even if he were tempted to do so, Joanne, Rupert’s wife, had promised untold pain if he did anything to ruin Francis’s day. The spoilsport also vetoed all of his ideas to improve the day for the two grooms. He didn’t see why they wouldn’t enjoy having massive cod strung up to their escape vehicle.
Graham glanced across the room, and his mood brightened when he spotted an old mate, Jack Sasaki. They’d spent summers playing on Cornwall beaches together as kids, along with Rupert. They often flirted with the same boys, though one date with each other had been enough to realise they made far better friends.
The half-Japanese and half-Cornish man made his living as a barber a few villages over, in Fowey. Graham hadn’t seen him in a while and would have to find time while home to have a beer and chat with him. He hoped Jack was having better luck romantically than he currently was.
Wanderlust didn’t come with the perks of being romantically available. His passport might’ve been filled with stamps, but his nights had been filled with loneliness—aside from occasional casual sex. His adventures brought joy to his life.
I don’t sodding need anyone to be happy.
 
Now, repeat the mantra until the wedding stops making you act stupidly moody.
It might be the wedding of a close friend, but boredom continued to make his mind drift. Did anyone other than the couple care about the cute dog with a bow tie or the adorable child in the tuxedo? No. The answer would always be no. People went to ceremonies for the food and drink that followed after, and no one would ever be able to convince him otherwise.
A sniffle from the woman beside him was a reminder that maybe some people did care. With a less cynical view, Graham could admit the tuxedos had been well chosen. Tastefully done bouquets of white roses were adorned with pale blue ribbons that had antiqued copper rugby charms dangling from them.
Adorable.
Graham could also admit, however painfully, that the blissful happiness on Francis’s face made him slightly envious. “Sodding weddings.”
A gasp from the weepy twit reminded him not to mutter out loud. He summoned a smile when Francis glanced his way. The things one did for friends.
Oh, hello.
 
Who the bloody hell are you?
 
Never mind who you are. Can I see you naked?
An absolutely gorgeous bloke sitting on Caddock’s side of the church had caught his attention. Tall, with a closely shaved head and black beard, he had a strong jaw—sharp lines all over really, from what Graham could see. He wore a suit that bordered on obscene for the way it clung to his muscled form.
Suddenly this event looks far more interesting than it did a minute ago. Now how do I get myself an introduction? Should be easy. It’s a wedding; single people come to hook up at them, right?
 
Right.
Their eyes met. Almost identical grins of acknowledgement followed, which intrigued Graham. People didn’t always read him so well. Mr Tall, Bald, and Gorgeous smirked as if he knew exactly what Graham had been thinking.
They’d definitely made a connection.
Interesting.
If the wedding ceremony hadn’t been in full swing, Graham would’ve immediately wandered over to introduce himself. They settled for not so subtle flirtatious smirks. His impatience grew more palpable waiting for it to be over.
Their eyes continually drifted towards one another. An electric shock hit him each time. It sounded dramatic even in his head—but he did feel a mysterious sense of adventure just from contemplating a brief encounter with the mystery man.

Book Review: The Wanderer

3bd01-the2bwanderer_frontcover“BC and Graham grabbed my heart from the beginning. I love how their relationship progresses and the instant attraction for one another. This book definitely has it’s ups and downs so if you’re looking for something strictly fun this is not it. Real characters, real life problems, and very real emotions. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!” ~ 5 Stars Amazon Customer

A brief excerpt from After the Scrum

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~ A brief excerpt from After the Scrum ~

“No, Sherlock, stop it. You uncivilized mongrel!” Francis Keen, interior decorator extraordinaire, tripped over his own feet and his dog’s leash.  He landed in a heap on the walk outside his home. “Damnation, you obstinate creature, heel. Do you even know what the word means?”

“Having trouble, love?”

“No, Gran.” Francis straightened himself up, running his fingers through his now thoroughly mussed-up mass of light brown hair.  He ignored his beloved grandmother’s tittering giggles while attempting to glare balefully at his Shetland sheepdog, Sherlock, his beloved and the bane of his existence. “Have a good day, Gran.”

“Try to stay on your feet, love.” She waved at him with another laugh then headed up the walk to their shared home.

Oh, the humiliation.

He’d gotten a smaller dog to go with his own more slender frame.  He didn’t fancy being dragged off by a monster of a mutt.  Sherlock didn’t appear to understand his purpose in life.  Even for a smaller dog, he managed to yank his owner off his feet quite frequently.

The sheltie served other purposes, besides companion and best friend.  Francis simply didn’t advertise what Sherlock’s training actually entailed.  He didn’t want the sympathetic stares.

“One morning, Sherlock, just one would be nice.  I’d give you the largest beef bone in the world if you could allow me to preserve my dignity once.” Francis fumbled with the keys to his only prized possession—a turquoise Fiat 500 from the seventies that had been painstakingly and lovingly refurbished. He patted the dashboard reverently once he’d situated himself and his insane canine. “Well, Watson, time to take the world by storm.  Are you ready?”

 

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Cheese Addicts Anonymous (A Sin Bin Flash Fiction)

In celebration of my upcoming Sin Bin release, Haka Ever After. I decided to do a small flash fiction event. Today’s the second one titled, Cheese Addicts Anonymous. It features Freddie & Tens from The Caretaker.


Poke.

Poke.

Waving a hand absently, Taine tried to dislodge whatever had slapped him in the face. He’d barely drifted off when it whacked him again. The lack of snickering from Freddie made him slowly wake himself up.

Frederick?”

With a groggy grunt, Taine opened his eyes in the middle of the night to find himself in bed alone. Well, not completely alone. Freddie’s monster of a cat sat firmly on his chest. One paw continued to periodically poke him in the face, which explained what had been the cause of waking up so early.

“All right, you obnoxious beast.” Taine plucked Bitsy off his chest to avoid being cat-slapped for the umpteenth time. “Let’s go find our wayward Freddie.”

Padding barefoot through their house, Taine checked the bathroom, spare bedrooms, and office. Where’s he gone? He eventually found Freddie in the kitchen.

What in the world is he doing?

Is he actually… where the hell is my phone?

Quietly retracing his steps, Taine grabbed his phone from the nightstand. He had every intention of obtaining video proof to use to tease Freddie. Bitsy definitely deserved the most massive piece of tuna he could find for the cat.

With phone recording, Taine watched his beloved Freddie hold a small grater in one hand and a block of cheese in the other. He had his head tilted back with his arms up, grating the cheddar straight into his mouth. It was like being David Attenborough and observing a rare species in their natural habitat.

And here we have a lone cheese addict, partaking in his secretive ritual never before seen by man.

Taine stared in pure amusement as Freddie grated his favourite cheddar cheese directly into his mouth. “Is this what you get up to when I’m asleep?”

Freddie froze mid-grate and peered over at Taine with wide eyes. “Hello.”

“Do we need to talk about your addiction?” He chuckled at the flush on Freddie’s cheeks. “Is there a Cheese Addicts Anonymous out there? Twelve steps to resisting the siren call of cheddar?”

“You’re not funny.” Freddie set the grater on the counter. “I was hungry.”

“And grating cheddar into your mouth seemed the most logical way to solve the problem?” Taine leaned against the counter. “Is this what you do every night when I fall asleep?”

“Not every night.” Freddie toyed with the grater.

“Do you dream about me grating cheese into your mouth?” Taine watched Freddie turn immediately to clean up the counter. “Am I naked or wearing a tongue? Are we going to need to get a chaise lounge for you to recline on?”

“Tens,” Freddie groaned. “Can’t you pretend this never happened?”

“No.”

Coc y gath.” Freddie finished washing the grater and set it aside. He moved to rewrap the cheddar, returning it to the fridge. “I should be glad you didn’t capture photographic evidence. You didn’t, did you?”

“Freddie, I need to ask you a serious question.” Taine moved further into the kitchen. “How often do you do this?”

Cach.” Freddie dropped his head in his hands, continuing to matter himself in Welsh. “Not often.”

“Frederick.” He fought hard not to burst out laughing at how red Freddie had gone.

“Taine.”

“Will you tell me if I promise to grate cheese into your mouth while naked?” He grinned when Freddie’s head popped up. “And I’m the kinky one?”

“Yes, you are.”

‘How much wanking have you done to this cheese grating fantasy you have?” Taine figured if he had to wake up at an ungodly hour, he might as well amuse himself.

“Taine Afoa.” Freddie attempted to dart by him. “I’m going to sleep.”

Taine caught Freddie by the arm, dragging him into his arms and thoroughly enjoying the warmth of him. “That’s not an answer.”

Cachu hwch.


Welsh Translations:

Coc y gath – The cat’s willy (Or – Bollocks)

Cachu hwch – Pig’s poo (It’s all gone wrong)

Cach – Shit

For more on Freddie & Taine, be sure to check out their story, The Caretaker – Book Two of The Sin Bin & the upcoming Haka Ever After.


Cheese Addicts Anonymous © 2018 by Dahlia Donovan

All rights reserved. No part of this eBook may be used or reproduced in any written, electronic, recorded, or photocopied format without the express permission from the author or publisher as allowed under the terms and conditions with which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorized distribution, circulation or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s rights, and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly. Thank you for respecting the work of this author.

Cheese Addicts Anonymous is a work of fiction. All names, characters, events and places found therein are either from the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to persons alive or dead, actual events, locations, or organizations is entirely coincidental and not intended by the author.

Cheese Addicts Anonymous by Dahlia Donovan (PDF Download)

 

Nice Arse (A Sin Bin Flash Fiction)

In celebration of my upcoming Sin Bin release, Haka Ever After. I decided to do a small flash fiction event. Today’s the first one, titled Nice Arse. It features two characters I get asked about a lot — Remi Chardin and his lovely wife, Sarah Chardin.


“Who’s he, then?” Sarah leaned forward in her seat to see over the rows of rugby fans in front of her. “He’s a hairy beast. Nice arse on him.”

“Remi Chardin. Captain of the French team.” Ivan reached a hand out to drag her back into her seat when she stood up. “Heard he’s taking up a coaching position in the next year or so in England. Supposedly he’s friends with some of the British team. He’s a brilliant player.”

“I thought you hated the French team.” Sarah had been shocked when Ivan actually accepted her invitation to the Italy vs. France game in Paris. She hadn’t been surprised when he spent the entire time complaining. “If you’re going to grumble at me under your breath again, why’d you bother coming with me at all?”

No answer.

Each year, she’d watched her brother turn more and more into an angry recluse who closely resembled their father. The trip had been her idea to goad him into a better mood. It hadn’t worked.

Ivan was as unreachable in Paris as at home. Her gaze returned to the bearded Frenchman with a sigh. Well, at least I have someone to ogle with Mr Rain Cloud sitting beside me.

By the time the game ended, Sarah had realised she’d spent the entire time watching Remi Chardin. He stood taller and broader than most of the men on the filed with long, wild dark brown hair that bled into his beard. The French Captain seemed more ancient warrior than rugby player.

“Want to go—”

“No.” Ivan cut her off instantly. “We’re going to the hotel.”

“Already?” She’d assumed they’d see the city a little. “It’s barely four in the afternoon. It’s Paris. I mean, Paris. We can’t spend the entire day in the hotel.”

“And?” Ivan shouldered his way through the throngs of fans trying to exit, leaving an easy path for his sister in his wake. “What’s to see?”

“The Eiffel Tower? Museums? Shops? Actual French macarons and patisserie.” Sarah planned to eat her weight before returning home. “Don’t you want to explore with me?”

Once they made it safely out of the stadium, Ivan stormed off toward the hotel to brood. Moody twit. Sarah had no intentions of wasting the day inside. In the end, she thought it a blessing in disguise since her brother would’ve ruined her fun.

Not wanting to get lost in a crush of other tourists, Sarah wandered the streets around their hotel after seeing the Eiffel Tower. She indulged in an embarrassingly large number of pastries and more coffee than was probably good for her. It had been a dream in her teens to spend weeks in Paris, but she thought she had a better appreciation for the city now in her twenties.

As the sun started to set on the city of lights, Sarah wanted a warm meal before dealing with her brother. Ivan tended to play the protective older brother almost as badly as their eldest brother, George, did. She needed more than coffee and sweets to put him in his place.

She found, of all things, a cosy Irish pub. Midway through her half glass of wine and salmon, a crowd of boisterous men came stumbling inside. Their accents made her think they’d come from London, and she groaned internally when several of them spotted her sitting alone.

Not now, please don’t ruin my beautiful day with your nonsense.

“Buy you a drink, love?”

Sarah lifted her glass. “I’ve got one. Thanks.”

“Buy you another one?”

“No.”

“Stuck up twat.”

Sarah got to her feet, appetite gone. She started toward the door only to find her path block. “Could you move?”

“I just want to buy you a drink.” He had definitely had more than enough liquid courage. “What’s the harm?”

“I don’t want any trouble.” Sarah tried to back away from the drunks only to find herself in a far corner of the pub out of the view of the staff. She cursed her decision to visit a pub and not stick with a fancy restaurant. “Let go of my arm.”

The aggressive drunk leered toward her only to be yanked away from her a second later. He was sent careening into his friends. They stumbled into a wall of sober, muscled men who seemed familiar to her.

With a lot of shouting in French and English, the drunks cleared out fairly quickly. Sarah gripped the table to her left with her hands shaking. She breathed through her need to vomit up her dinner.

Tout va bien?”

Sarah found herself face to chest with Remi Chardin and her half a glass of wine gave her the idiotic courage to blurt out her first thought. “You’ve a really nice arse.”

His dark brown eyes stared intensely at her. “Merci.”

“Can I buy you a drink?” She hoped the dark lighting in the pub hid the faint tinge of pink on her cheeks and the slight trembling of her fingers. “As a way of saying thanks for being my hero.”

“Are you in Paris for long?”

“No.” Sarah found herself being led across the pub to a different secluded corner that had couches. She waved at what appeared to be most of the French rugby team. “Just another day.”

“Pity.” Remi ordered a fresh glass of wine for her and a beer for himself before guiding her to sit with him on one of the leather sofas. “Can I change your mind? I haven’t had enough time to tell if you’re as vibrant as your hair.”

“Ginger’s vibrant?”

“Red. Not ginger.” Remi made the word red sound sexual in a way that had Sarah chugging down her wine. “Surely another day won’t matter?”

And he said day as though he meant week.

Sarah bent forward, with the impulsive courage that had run in her family for years, and brushed her lips against the corner of his mouth. “Want to show me Paris?”

Nice Arse © 2018 by Dahlia Donovan


Nice Arse by Dahlia Donovan (PDF)

 

New Release: The Trade Me Collection

What happens when delicious blue-collared men find the one they’re destined to be with?

In Dahlia Donovan, Gen Ryan, and Amy K. McClung’s endearing stories of heat and happiness, three very different men pursue three very special hot tradesmen and are determined to make them their own.

With heartwarming happily ever afters, meet three couples in Found You, Losing You, and Still You as these red-hot men embark on their journeys of self-discovery and love.

Over 500 pages of escapism wrapped up in so many delicious sexy words.

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Found You by Dahlia Donovan

Kent Casado has lost everything that defined him: his construction business, his husband, his home, and his fortune. He went from one of the first gay men to marry in Colorado, to the first to be divorced. Crushed and alone, his only recourse is to move into a hurricane-damaged cottage in Key West, but his troubles seem to follow him to the beach paradise.

Dusk “Doctor Dusky” Keller has never allowed himself to be defined by anyone or anything. Growing up in the Keys with his hippie parents, he ran an animal hospital until a hurricane destroyed it. He never expects to fall straight into lust with an uptight stranger who he sees on his daily beach walks.

Satisfied with a prolonged one-night stand, neither expects to plummet from casual to complicated.

Losing You by Gen Ryan

After a tragic accident, aspiring pro-surfer Brad Morris leaves his hometown of California to try to forget his pain. Unable to swim or surf since his loss, he focuses on a new career as a car mechanic and restorer. After years of struggling, Brad finally agrees to get help and attempts to gain back the parts of himself he lost that day in the ocean.

Colton James gave his all to his partner, Ben, but his all wasn’t enough. Dumped after buying Ben’s dream home, he buries himself further in his career as a police officer. But when he meets Brad, all bets are off, and Colton begins to question what’s more important: a job, or the one you love?

Clouded by their pasts, will both men be able to see beyond those they lost in order to have a future together?

Still You by Amy K. McClung

For Eden, life revolves around making sure his sister and niece are taken care of while building his landscaping business. Love certainly hasn’t been a priority. From the moment he meets his new client, his outlook on what’s important changes.

For Adam, the last two years have been spent helping his best friend, Maggie, grieve for her late husband while helping take care of her kids. Between his work at the hospital, and supporting his friend, finding time for himself has not been his priority. When Eden knocks on his door one summer morning, he knows life will never be the same.

Mistakes and misunderstandings are always difficult to navigate. Can Adam convince Eden he’s still the only man for him before it’s too late?