Did you get an e-reader for Christmas? Like Australian Stories? ~~ #kindle #Australia #Football #MFRWAuthor


 
 Blurb:
 
Can their new love survive the scrutiny of the public eye?
After his father’s heart attack, Australian Football League player Tyson Gaspaldi takes his parents on holiday to a small place at the New South Wales coast.
One morning, following a surfing session, he comes across a crying woman on the beach. Everything about her intrigues him, and he can’t walk away. She’s not only sexy and humble, but, as he soon finds out, vulnerable as well.
It’s only been a few months since Katie Cassidy lost her sister in a car accident.
Still overwhelmed by the loss, a chance encounter on the beach with an attractive stranger awakens unexpected emotions inside her. She’s instantly drawn to his caring nature, but also his looks.
However, Tyson’s past quickly catches up with them, causing Katie’s childhood demons to return, and the road to romance becomes anything but smooth.

 
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Excerpt:

Over an hour later, Tyson took the next wave back to shore. He shook the water out of his hair and wiped his face before he walked back towards his car. As he struggled with his surfing board against the gentle breeze, he saw a woman sitting only a few feet away from him. Her body shook from her sobs as she wiped away her tears. It was none of his business, yet he stopped. He disliked the feeling of pity and helplessness creeping up on him. Inhaling a deep breath, he turned and walked towards her.

“Hi there,” he said quietly so as not to startle her.

She quickly wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and turned to him. Shading her eyes with the other hand, she echoed his greeting, “Hi.”

Ty’s gaze went out over the ocean before looking back at her. The thin long-sleeved shirt which hugged her curves nicely, and the cargo pants she wore, gave her a very casual, but sexy look. She smoothed a loose strand of her curly light brown hair behind her ear and met his gaze. Although teary and red, the beautiful green colour of her eyes shone through brightly. He knew he couldn’t walk away. He looked at her for a second or two, noticing the tight lines of her lips. Still, she had a beautiful mouth. Even though her lips were slightly swollen from crying, there was an urge inside him to touch them and find out what they felt or tasted like. He sighed. Not that long ago he’d burnt his hands with a girl in his life and had sworn off the opposite sex, but there was something about the woman in front of him that drew him in and intrigued him. He’d always been a sucker for a lady in distress.

“Are you okay?” he asked, scratching his head.

Her mouth curved into a tentative smile. “Yes, I am.”

He frowned. “Was that sarcasm in response to a stupid question?”

“Yes, it was.”

Damn, she had a gorgeous smile that made his stomach tighten. She didn’t offer more.

After a brief, but silent moment, he offered her his hand. “Tyson.”

She ignored his hand. “Nice meeting you, Tyson.”

He chuckled. “This is where you tell me your name.”

She let out a sigh as she looked away from him. It was a fine line he was walking. He was well aware of it. More than anything else, he wanted to help her. It was in his nature. She was hurt, and it seemed she was alone as well.

“Apologies, I didn’t mean to come on to you. But I’ve never been good with going past a girl who cries.”

“Does that happen often?” she asked as she turned back to him.

“Actually, no.” He laughed. “Only with my little niece.”

A tiny smile appeared on her face. “How old is she?”

Raising an eyebrow, he asked, “My niece? Turned four just a few days ago.”

She stared at him as he waited for her next question. Yet, it never came.

“I’m kinda getting cold here,” he said after a long moment. “Could I invite you for a coffee or tea?”

“No, but thank you for the offer. And thank you for caring.”

“Will you be here again tomorrow?”

A small sigh escaped her lips, and she shrugged slightly. “Not sure.”

He nodded and stood.

“It’s Katie,” she said as she stood as well.

Ty’s heart skipped a beat. “Nice meeting you, Katie.”
 

***

 
Katie stared after Tyson. She couldn’t believe how fast her heart was still beating. It’d been a short conversation, but his smile and his touch had done all sorts of crazy things to her insides. With one final hiccupping sob, she picked up her jacket from the sand and walked across the dunes towards the parking lot. For the first time since Paige’s death, she experienced a sense of joy. It had only been a couple of minutes that she’d talked to Ty, a stranger, but she liked him. Wiping the last tears from her face, she walked to her car, recalling those chocolate brown eyes beneath his black lashes and the straight line of brow. But it’d been his smile that’d been so contagious. His teeth were even and white, in a nice contrast with his olive skin. Anticipation rushed through her as she contemplated returning the next day. In her mind, she imagined touching his body. He’d looked so damn sexy in his wet suit, unzipped down to just below the navel, revealing a muscular chest and powerful shoulders. She’d certainly been attracted to his tall, athletic physique. And she liked the way his dark, damp hair had started to curl slightly around his face.

Katie walked towards her car across the street when she heard her mother’s voice. “Here you are, love.”

Katie turned and smiled. “Mum? What are you doing here?”

Her mother placed her hand on Katie’s shoulder. “Caring for my little girl.”

A smile tugged at Katie’s lips, appreciating her mum’s words. “I needed a little time out, I
suppose.”

“I had a feeling you’d be coming down to the beach,” her mum said before placing a kiss on her daughter’s forehead.

Taking a deep breath, she leaned into her mother’s embrace, enjoying the comfort of a parent. “I miss her so much, Mum,” she said, her voice nearly breaking. The tears streamed down her face once more as her chest tightened again. Grieving was so painful, emotionally and physically. Yet, for the first time since her sister’s death, Katie felt something other than mourning. Something different. Sadness had suffocated all other emotions, but today something had surfaced. She wasn’t sure whether it was good or whether she was ready for it, but she’d never believed there was a timeline to grieving a person.

“We all miss her, darling, but she wouldn’t want us to stop living. Her life’s come to an end, you will need to live your life with twice as much enthusiasm, with four eyes, with two hearts and—”

“Without her,” she finished her mother’s sentence.

Her mother gave a slow nod. “Have you been working this week?”

Katie drew in her lips before she answered. “Yes, I have, but I took today off. Only today.”

“You need to keep this job, love.”

She inhaled deeply. “I know.”

Her job in the administration at the local shopping centre was nothing much on the career ladder, but it paid the rent and the groceries every week. Her boss had been very considerate since her sister’s sudden death, and helped her juggle her time off as well as catching up with her night classes in marketing.

Her mother turned Katie in her arms. “How about a little walk along the beach?”

“I’d like that.”

As they headed towards the dunes, her mum said, “You two loved the beach. Some weekends, you’d snuck out of the house and come here in the early hours. I was always worried, but your dad would say —” She imitated her husband’s deep voice. “They’ll be all right. The girls have the sea in their blood.”

She laughed. “But I always saw that tiny little bit of relief on his face when you two came back. You can’t be too careful near the water.”

Katie joined her mother in her laughter. “We’d watch the boys surf.”

“I liked my idea of you two building little sandcastles better.”

“Mum, we were teenagers.”

Her mother shrugged. “I was in denial. Sue me.”

Side by side, they walked along the shore, both comfortable with the silence, enjoying the fresh breeze off the water.

“I feel close to her when I’m here,” Katie said as they stopped to watch a few dolphins swim past.

 


 

 

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