Today’s feature post is the re-released novel The Goodbye Ride by author Lily Malone, published by Escape Publishing is available now!
Excerpt – The Goodbye Ride by Lily Malone
Liv straightened to stretch the small of her back. Out of the corner of her eye she could see Owen working in the vine row next to hers, at about four o’clock to her twelve. He’d got faster as the day wore on and while technology gave her the advantage with the electronic pruners, he had the brute strength and stamina.
‘I don’t like the look of that,’ Owen called, pointing skyward. ‘I don’t mind rain, but it’s cold enough to hail. There’s no point us getting soaked now. I was about ready to call it a day.’
Liv swivelled, lifting her sunglasses to better gauge the light. The afternoon had closed in while they’d been pruning and the sky was bruised and angry. An icy raindrop stung her cheek.
Liv turned off the Felcotronic and tried to shield it with her body.
‘Where did you leave that raincoat?’ Owen asked, snatching the loppers out of his belt, preparing to run.
‘Up there.’ She pointed back up the hill to her right. Another raindrop splashed her forehead and when she glanced back over her shoulder to the south, distant rain fell in white sheets.
‘I think we better split, Liv. Run.’ Owen turned.
She clutched the pruner tight to her chest and lurched forward. By the time she reached the top of the vine row her lungs burned and the Felco felt more like a brick. Owen waited at the top—in the same row as her now—face screwed up against the rain.
‘Let me take that.’ He reached for the pruner.
‘I got it … keep running,’ she gasped, fighting the beginnings of a stitch in her side. ‘I stop now … won’t get started …’
Her navy raincoat flapped on an end post and as they neared it she heard the spatter of rain on plastic. Owen yanked the coat from the post. He threw it over her head and shoulders like a cape, but she couldn’t hold the Felco and keep the coat closed around her throat, so she bunched the raincoat over the equipment instead, and ran. Over grass, over gravel, heart bursting.
Please, God. Aren’t we there yet? How could the cottage still be so far away? Her beanie slipped down her forehead and she had no hand free to push it up. She could hardly see and there was a rock band pounding drums in her chest.
‘In there.’ Owen took her by the arm, veered her towards the shed and she shuffled in that direction.
‘Keep going,’ he urged, half-dragging her now as water pooled and they splashed through puddles.
‘Dying here,’ she sputtered.
The clatter on the iron roof became a roar—loud even above the rush of blood in her ears. Then it changed into a needlepoint ping.
‘Hell. That’s hail. Come on,’ Owen said, and with one final effort they burst into the calm of the shed.
Liv could hardly stand. All the layers of clothes weighed her down and she was hot beneath them, stifling hot, despite the frigid air.
It was Owen who peeled the carrypack from her back and prized the pruner from the clutch of her fingers. He dumped the Felcotronic on a shelf, dumped the loppers, then tucked the raincoat around her shoulders.
Liv finally managed to turn around. She was hot beyond belief and yet when she touched her face, her cheeks were freezing. Across the driveway, hailstones popped off the ground like bullet snow.
She hugged her arms across her chest. Maybe if she held tight enough she could stop the bone-wrenching shakes.
‘Jesus, Liv, you’re freezing. I should get you inside in front of the fire.’ Owen had to shout to make himself heard.
‘I’m f-f-fine.’ In front of a fire was the last place she wanted to be, yet, here she was, all rugged up against the cold—unlike Owen, without a scrap of sensible clothing—and hers was the body shivering.
He took two steps towards her, laid his hands on her shoulders, and gently hauled her back into his chest.
There was a part of her that wanted to struggle, or perhaps thought she should struggle, because Owen already had a girl. Those beautiful arms weren’t Liv’s to enjoy. Yet all she wanted was to lay her head back into the strength of his chest and stay there forever. It wasn’t right.
Not right, yet so perfect.
About The Goodbye Ride by Lily Malone
A fresh, funny and poignant romance set in the beautiful Adelaide Hills.
Olivia Murphy is a woman on a mission. The Ducati motorbike that once belonged to her brother has come up for re-sale. Liv wants to buy the precious bike, and she needs the ink dry on the paperwork before the approaching long weekend, when tourists with fat wallets will descend on her hometown of Hahndorf.
Only one person stands in her way; and she’s just tripped and fallen at his feet…
Owen Carson likes rare and beautiful things and he has the Ducati in his sights. Then Liv literally falls into his path, and he finds his heart captured by beauty of a very different kind.
How far will Liv go to make the motorbike hers? Can a viticulturalist fall for a man who prefers beer? And will a long weekend among the grape vines be long enough for Owen to convince Liv he’s interested in more than just a holiday fling?
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