To celebrate Easter Summer Moved On, the first book of my South Devon Duo is on special offer from Friday to Monday.
For each of the four days this offer is posted I will be including an extract from different parts of the book as a taster…
After a long-buried secret tears her family apart, Jess Hayden moves to the South Devon village of Lynbrook to live with her uncle. Rufus owns the village pub, The Black Bull, and having visited before, Jess knows the villagers well…especially one of them.
Talún Hansen has a reputation, making him the kind of man no decent girl should get involved with. Jess, however, has been under his spell from the moment they first met. Although they always seem to bring out the worst in each other, there is no denying the attraction that simmers between them – an attraction Jess knows she needs to keep under control after repeated warnings from her uncle.
As she settles into village life she begins to learn more about this wild, dark-haired gypsy with the compelling eyes, and realises their lives hold many similarities. Despite her uncle’s warnings, she begins to spend time with him. For Jess, the coming summer holds passion; for Talún the hope that he has at last found someone who truly cares for him.
But as autumn approaches, a dark shadow from Jess’s past returns, bringing far-reaching and unwanted changes for both of them.
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Standing at the bar with George, Talún nodded a greeting to Adrian as he arrived. Pulling a handful of coins from his pocket, the Hall’s head gardener ordered a pint of best bitter.
‘Heard from Jess lately?’ he asked, watching Rufus as he replaced a bottle of brandy in the row of optics behind the bar.
‘Yes, she’s fine; she called earlier this afternoon.’ The publican turned to face him as he finished securing the bottle. ‘She’s out with her boyfriend this evening. I’ve invited him along to the restaurant opening. Seems like a nice lad.’
Talún absorbed all this information, watching as Sally placed Adrian’s beer in front of him and took his money. Nice lad. Not exactly his description of the muscle-bound blond who had been in the car with Jess back in February. Arrogant bastard seemed more appropriate, especially after his prejudiced remarks.
As Adrian wandered off to chat to a couple of locals, he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a small square card, placing it on the bar where he studied it for a few moments. If Zac Rayner was going to be at the restaurant opening then he sure as hell wanted to stay away.
‘Where did you get that from?’ George’s eyes widened with surprise as he lowered his pint and gazed at the invitation with a certain amount of longing.
‘Oh, it’s Adrian’s. Remember, he won it at the Pub Quiz? He won’t be able to make it so he gave it to me.’
‘And now you’re looking at it as if you’re having second thoughts about going.’ George smiled and ran his tongue slowly over his bottom lip, with the kind of expression that said he was keen to get his hands on it.
‘Well.’ Talún screwed up his face thoughtfully. ‘Yes, I had thought about going but…’ he picked it up, ‘now I don’t know whether I want to. Maybe,’ he swivelled around, leaning his back against the bar to look at the other occupants of the room, ‘I could offer it to someone else.’
George raised covetous eyes towards the invitation. He lifted his hand and was about to snatch it from Talún’s grasp when a voice from behind stopped him.
‘George, have you got a minute?’ Laurence Godwin, one of his farming neighbours, joined him, leaving Talún alone to peruse his ticket.
‘I’ve just been watching you. Not having second thoughts are you?’ Adrian materialised out of nowhere, his eyes on the invitation.
‘Do you want it back then?’ Talún waved it at him.
‘No, I wanted you to have a good night out, enjoy yourself.’
‘What, in a room full of stuffed shirts?’ He laughed as he placed the invitation back on the bar.
‘Ah, but Jess will be there too, won’t she?’ Adrian grinned and took a mouthful of beer.
‘Saying what, exactly?’
‘Saw you looking at her.’
‘Yeah, like everyone else in here does.’
‘You’re touchy tonight, laddie.’
‘I’m not touchy, so stop grinning like a moron. If I’m having second thoughts it’s because her boyfriend Zac will be there. Remember what he called me? If I see him again I just might be tempted to punch him.’
‘I still think you should go,’ Adrian insisted, ‘if not for the good food and wine then for the company of my three friends over there.’ He indicated the trio of gardeners in the corner then picked the invitation off the bar and handed it back to him. ‘Don’t ruin a good evening on account of one ignorant shite.’
George, having finished his conversation with Lawrence, turned his attention back to the question of the ticket. ‘Now about that ticket. How much do you want for it then, lad?’ he asked, rummaging in his trouser pocket and pulling out a note. ‘It’s worth a fiver of anyone’s money.’
‘A fiver?’ Adrian echoed, rolling his eyes. ‘You’re all heart, George.’
Talún thought for a moment, running his fingers along the edge of the card. Adrian was right, he thought. Sod Zac, why let him spoil a free night out with the lads? ‘Sorry George, I’ve changed my mind,’ he said, giving him a friendly slap on the back. ‘I think I deserve an all-expenses paid night out. Tell you what, I’ll buy you a drink instead to make up for the disappointment.’
George eyed him suspiciously. ‘A drink you say? You never buy anyone drinks, Talún. You’re usually scrounging them off me.’
‘Ah well,’ Talún laughed, producing a handful of change from his pocket, ‘there’s a first time for everything.’