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

Location, location, location.

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I don’t know how other authors pick locations. But here’s an insight into how I do it.

1. I’ve lived there (or at least visited.)

Some of the locations featured in my stories are places I’ve been which spoke to me in some way.

Windermere/Grasmere in the Grasmere Trilogy is a prime example. The Lake District, in general, is one of my favourite places in the entire world. If I could live anywhere, it would probably be there.

2. Plot Led.

Found You is probably the greatest example from my books. I knew the story had to be set in Florida. The Keys was honestly the only place that would fit what I had in mind for the novella.

And, I fell in love with the Keys while researching for Found You.

CHICKENS!

3. My Bucket List.

Last, but not least, I pick places I’ve always wanted to visit. When I was younger (6 weeks old to 21 years old), I travelled quite extensively. I’ve been to twenty plus countries and lived in five.

I’ve always had a little bucket list of places I wanted to go. And hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to travel again. It’s been ages since I visited another country.

The Sin Bin is the best example of this one. Cornwall is a place that I’ve always wanted to spend a lot of time at. I think we went there when I was a baby, but I obviously can’t remember, so I don’t count it.

Researching the series was great fun for me because I got to vicariously live in the lovely villages that I’ve longed to see.

I’m sure there are more reasons, but those are definitely my top three.

How about you? If you’re a writer, how do you pick the setting of your story?

For readers, how important is the setting?

Book Review: Haka Ever After

“Haka Ever After is an absolutely delightful conclusion to the Sin Bin series. The story focuses on Taine and Freddie, and they are adorable together. We also get to visit with some past favorites from the series as this sweet couple gets ready to tie the knot. This one is easily read in an hour or less and is a great mix of sweet, sexy, witty, and charming. With zero angst, Freddie and Taine’s happily ever after is lighthearted fun with plenty of reasons to smile. ” Four Stars from Momma Says

So Long Farewell.

(Ten points if the song is now stuck in your head. Sorry, not sorry.)

Saying goodbye to a book series is always bittersweet as an author…and as a reader. Saturday was a book release day for me. Haka Ever After came out and is the last of my Sin Bin series. I’m excited to move forward to new projects but heartbroken to leave my retired rugby lads behind.

It’s tricky, I think, to figure out where a series should end. There’s always a part of me that wonders about different characters whose story I didn’t tell. But then, my muse runs away toward a new shiny idea, and I don’t get a chance to be sad about ending my series.

I never intended to write The Sin Bin. In fact, I wasn’t supposed to write the story that inspired the series–After the Scrum. I had a completely different idea planned for NaNoWriMo 2015, but I made the mistake of watching a rugby match.

Big mistake.

Francis and Caddock sprung to life, giving me barely a week or two to prepare before November. And then, somehow, Graham decided his story wanted out in The Wanderer. Each tale led into the next.

It’s quite strange to look back on the series now. One of those moments where you can’t quite believe what you’ve accomplished. All those words on paper. It’s exhausting just to think about.

I’m proud of my rugby lads.

I’ll miss them.

But, I’m no to the next adventure.

If you’re a writer, do you find yourself missing a series when you’ve finished it?

Or as a reader, do you prefer to read a series or standalones?

 

 

The Peanut Gallery (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 third (and last) one titled, The Peanut Gallery. It features several characters from the series.


“Ten quid says they break a hip.” Graham dropped onto the grass in between Freddie and Francis. Several of their other friends sat on either side of them, watching the group of former rugby players tossing around a ball. “Who thought a game in the back garden of the Inn was a brilliant plan?”

“You.” Francis nudged him in the side and laughed when Graham stuck his tongue out at him. “You and your twin thought this nonsense up. We tried to talk you out of it.”

“What’s this we shit?” Freddie snickered on the other side of him. “I’ve no issues watching Taine strut his stuff without a shirt on. Plus, I’ve got twenty quid that says one of them goes tumbling off the cliff.”

“They’d better not.” Sarah, Remi’s wife, glared fiercely at the group of men on the makeshift field of play. “Why aren’t any of you playing?”

“I’m the medic.” Freddie lifted the first aid kit that he’d brought with him. “And I have a brain in my head that tells me I’d be squashed like a bug underneath the louts.”

Francis dropped his hand on the head of his ever-present service dog, Sherlock. “I don’t run for anything other than antiques.”

“Bet you’d run to catch up with Caddock.” Rupert ruffled Francis’s hair on his way past them. He glanced back at his twin with a smirk. “Not joining us, Grimmie?”

“Me?” Graham shook his head with a laugh. “Dr Gen told me not to risk a concussion.”

“Dr Gen didn’t tell you shit.” Genevieve threw a tiny pebble at him. “Dr Gen is keeping herself out of this.”

“Aren’t you supposed to protect your patients?” Graham caught the pebble and tossed it to the side. “I might bruise. I’m a sensitive sort.”

“Oh, you’re something.” She laughed.

“Why don’t you and Sarah play?” Graham shot back at her.

“And show them up by kicking their arses?” Sarah grinned over her cup of tea. “Besides, can you see Remi’s reaction if someone so much as bumped me on the field?”

“Right. Pancaked into the ground in a second flat.” Graham had seen how overly protective the massive Frenchman tended to get with his wife, even though Sarah could handle herself quite well. “Might be amusing to watch.”

“Have they figured out we’re laughing at them?” Francis handed over the bowl of popcorn. They’d come prepared for the entertainment with a variety of snacks and tea. “Is an ambulance on standby just in case?”

Freddie snagged the bowl from him. “Not a chance. Let them enjoy their delusions of grandeur.”

“They’re not half bad.” Graham’s gaze followed BC as he ploughed through his friends with the ball tucked tightly under his arm. “Not convinced it won’t end up in broken bones.”

“Bones do get brittle as we age,” Freddie commented.

“As long as they don’t break the important bits.” Sarah laughed when her husband knocked BC off his feet.

“Like the ones between their legs.” Graham managed to keep a straight face until Freddie choked on a kernel of popcorn. “Most important bone in the body.”


The Peanut Gallery © 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.

The Peanut Gallery 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.

The Peanut Gallery by Dahlia Donovan (.pdf)