It's the last day of the blogoversary D: so it seems fitting that I would go out with a bang: one of my favourite authors who's Aussie and offering a pretty big giveaway!
CJ Duggan is one of my favourite Aussie contemporary YA authors and her debut The Boys of Summer encompasses everything I love about Aussie YA. Today on the blog, CJ has given us a teaser into her latest novella, Ringer, which is part of the world of the Summer series.
"They say it’s the quiet ones you have to worry about, and she was quiet, very quiet—when she wasn’t busy despising me with a burning passion.
Ringo ‘Ringer’ James has a no-strings-attached policy.
Love them, leave them, and remain the eternal bachelor.
After a summer in which every one of his mates has succumbed to settling down, or so it seemed, Ringer is on the lookout for a quick exit. Having had enough of the stomach-turning love fest witnessed over the past three months, Ringer jumps at the opportunity to help out his mate, Max, by heading to Max’s dad’s property for a working holiday.
It’s just what he’s looking for. A remote, dusty homestead in Ballan, with only hard work, a cold beer and a comfy bed to worry about – no women.
Until Miranda Henry.
The privately educated daughter of his boss has returned home from overseas and things are about to get very complicated, very fast. As summer draws to its end, Ringer is about to learn that sometimes attraction defies all logic, and that there really is such a thing as ‘enemies with benefits.’"
I was suffocating.
I could feel it restricting my brain, exhausting me in ways I could barely describe.
“Do I look fat in this?”
I rubbed my eyes, sighing in disbelief that my best mate beside me was about to actually answer the question.
I rested my elbows on the clothes rack, in the only women’s fashion outlet in Onslow. I raised my brows questioningly at Sean who stood on the opposite side of the rack. Ha! Sean. A six-foot-three grown man rubbing the back of his neck with guarded unease as he half laughed his answer.
“Of course not.”
He only visibly relaxed when his girlfriend, Amy, beamed a winning smile at him.
Ding-ding-ding – that’s the right answer!
Amy’s adoring eyes glimmered with approval until they shifted toward me.
Her shoulders slumped. “What’s wrong with you, Ringer?”
Without too much emotional investment, I lazily tore my eyes away from her accusing stare, casually running my hand down the sleeve of the silky shirt that hung in front of me.
“Who, me?” I asked, examining the overpriced tag before stepping aside with disgust. I returned my glance toward my awaiting audience.
Nope, nothing wrong with this scene. When a mate rings me up to say, “Do you want to catch up?”, what better way to do it than waiting outside a woman’s changing room while his girlfriend tries on the latest fashion to hit Onslow?
I gave her my best sickly sweet smile. “I’m just fine and dandy, but, hey, thanks for asking,” I offered sarcastically.
Amy shook her head. “You’re an idiot,” she said, before she stepped back into the alcove, parting the curtains with a diva-like flick.
My eye roll was short lived by an unexpected whack to the back of my head.
“Hey, what was that for?” I said, clasping the back of my skull, my outcry loud enough for the permed-hair shop lady to dip her head with a squint of disapproval through her bifocals.
I tore my eyes away, annoyed at the Judgy-McJudgment death stare; anyone would think we were in a fucking library.
Sean offered her his best dashing smile, as if nothing untoward was happening. His demeanour changed somewhat when he fixed his gaze on me and lowered his voice.
“Stop being such a snappy arsehole, Ringo.”
Here we go.
It would never be the words snappy or arsehole that made my blood boil; I had become quite accustomed to those. It was the fact he called me by my actual name – something he knew only my parents used when I was in the shit. If I had learnt one thing about Sean Murphy in all our years of friendship, he enjoyed deliberately winding me up. He knew I would never actually tell him what was pissing me off unless he wound me up so bad, I would explode.
Yeah, well, fuck that for a joke. I was out of there.
I pushed off from the clothes rack, refusing to stray from Sean’s challenging stare. It wasn’t entirely a pissing competition; I could see a glimmer of something in his eyes, concern or whatever. Not interested.
“Have fun shopping, I hear Beauty Bliss do great bikini waxes if you’re interested.”
I flipped on my Oakleys from the top of my head and offered my best ‘fuck-you grin’.
Sean shook his head, but a smile creased the corner of his mouth.
“You need to get laid, Ringer, you’re turning into a grumpy old prick.”
Before I could retaliate, a cough from behind Sean sounded. The bifocal-devil granny’s lips were pursed in disgust. She obviously wasn’t used to a couple of Onslow boys hanging out in the aisles of the women’s department.
“Miss Henderson will take these.” She motioned with an armful of clothing.
“Thanks Mrs C, just put them on my account,” Sean said, before turning and pausing before me. “What?” He frowned.
I flicked my sunnies back on my head, propping my elbow back onto the rack.
“You have an account at Carters?” I asked, laughter threatening to rise in my chest.
Sean straightened. “Yeah, what of it?”
“No, nothing.” I shook my head. I had had enough. I moved past him and Mrs C who was still holding the pile of clothes.
I paused, turning toward Sean, and said, “But you really must look into getting your vagina waxed before the day’s out.”
I didn’t linger long, but it was long enough to hear the gasp from Mrs C, and almost ran into Amy as she came out of the changing room, still tucking her shirt in.
“Where are you going?” she called after me.
I waved without a backward glance. “To get a drink.” Because, God knew, I needed one.
I twisted the top off my VB stubby and turfed it into the tray at the base of the bar.
“Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in a sea of goddamn love?” I asked Max as I took a deep swig of my beer, a sip that still didn’t manage to lift the scowl from my face.
“Hmm? What’s that?” he asked half-heartedly, lifting his eyes from his Nokia screen as he read through a text. Max, the barman, and incidentally one of the last of the dying breeds amongst men – yep, he was single – was one of the rare few I could hang around comfortably. At least, so I thought.
Maybe he was texting some chick. Great.
You wouldn’t usually see Max hovering over a phone, but it was the graveyard, Sunday shift. ‘Hotel California’ playing in the background, and I, his sole company. That, and whatever had him frowning at his screen.
I sighed. Surely not him, too? Against my better judgment, I put down my beer, and asked the million-dollar question I wasn’t really interested in. Still, I reasoned, he was a mate.
“Trouble in paradise?” I pressed.
Max’s eyes slowly broke away from the screen. “Hmm? Oh shit, sorry, mate,” he said, shaking his head and pocketing his phone.
It was as if he were seeing me for the first time, instead of having agreed to every part of my insistent whining for the past half hour. Had he heard a single thing I had said? Probably just as well.
“What’s up?” I asked.
Max ran his hand through his matted blond locks. “It’s my dad.”
“Everything all right?”
“Yeah, yeah, no, he’s fine, it’s just that …” His phone beeped. “Oh, for fuck’s sake,” he growled, delving into his pocket and pulling his phone out.
By then he had my full attention as I rested my elbows on the bar top, watching intently as he read through another message with a stony expression.
Max shook his head. “He is such a cranky old bastard sometimes.”
I couldn’t help but smile, lifting my beer to my lips.
Ha! Cranky old bastard, hey? Sounds like my people.
“He wants me to drop what I’m doing and go man the farm, while he and Mum go to the Wahroo Cattle Auction. As if I can just up and leave like that. Yeah, right, no worries.”
My eyes drifted over the lean, gangly frame of the blond, baby-faced Max. He didn’t strike me as a farm boy and it was certainly news to me that he was.
“Where’s your family’s farm?” I asked with genuine interest.
“Ballan; it’s about five hours from here.”
I nodded. “Yeah, I know the place.” As in, you would blink and miss it. It had a pub, a corner shop-slash-post office-slash-petrol station, and a little school that probably had about twenty students from surrounding properties.
If Onslow was a one-horse town, Ballan was a no-horse town, and that was based on the horse who would probably die of starvation. If memory served me well, Ballan was not famous for its rolling grassy hills, either. It was as flat as a tack and drier than a biscuit. A stark contrast to the rolling green ranges and lake that surrounded Onslow.
Yeah, Onslow was beautiful; it was also bathed in romance. Sweet doe-eyed looks, hand-holding, giggles, freakin’ sunshine and rainbows. It was enough to make your beer go flat.
“So, I take it you’re not tempted to obey Dad’s orders?” I asked, motioning for another stubby.
Max scoffed. “No freakin’ way.”
I suppose I could understand; escaping the dusty plains of Ballan to Onslow would seem like a massive inland sea change. Hell, Onslow would seem like paradise. A great escape.
It was only the dull thud of Max placing my stubby in front of me that shook me from my thoughts.
Max laughed. “What’s up with you, then? Woman troubles?” he asked, seriously misreading my troubled expression. I now had no doubt that he hadn’t listened to a bloody word I had said before.
I broke into a grin. “Not bloody likely,” I said, twisting the cap off my beer.
“Look out. I’ve seen that look before.” Max shifted uneasily, as he noted the devious glint of mischief in my eyes.
“Max, my old mate,” I said, toasting him with my beer in the air. “I think I have just thought of an offer you simply won’t be able to refuse.”
Did you guys enjoy that? CJ has explicitly said that you can pre-order RINGER now on iTunes and if you pre order you will be guaranteed your copy of Ringer 2 WEEKS before the official release date of April 2nd. It's $1.99 guys, cheaper than chips. I've already pre-ordered my copy :D
iTunes Pre-order: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/ringer/id797741096?mt=11
Now for the giveaway!
CJ is giving one lucky person all THREE e-books in the Summer series! That's THE BOYS OF SUMMER, AN ENDLESS SUMMER and THAT ONE SUMMER.
E-book format will be the winner's choice and this giveaway is INTERNATIONAL
a Rafflecopter giveaway
- Please check clearly that you are in the region specified before entering the giveaway
- Winners must reply with address within 48h of being contacted or a new winner will be picked
- I assume that if you're under a certain age you need permission to enter these giveaways. You agree that by entering you have such permission from a parent or guardian (I don't even know but yeah)
And that concludes my blogoversary celebrations! Check back soon as I'll put a post together with all the winners (I'll contact you guys too don't worry!) and maybe something special too (;
THANK YOU so much for being part of this, for the past year, for readers new and old I appreciate every one of you! Also a massive thanks to ALL the wonderful authors that have celebrated this special occasion with me, you don't know how much your participation has meant to me.
I hope you all continue to read my blog, and I look forward to another great year of blogging :3