Relax by the water’s edge and dive into this all new collection of summery romance short stories by six of Australia’s leading chick lit authors.
Summer … when hot days, steamy nights, surf, sand and sizzle make that first flush of new love feel dreamlike.
Book Boyfriend by Carla Caruso
Forget ‘opposites attract’ - book-loving Laila Laughton is done with guys who are nothing like her. So when she comes across the library receipt of a gorgeous bookworm who seems like her perfect match, she’s determined to track him down.
That Voodoo That You Do by Sarah Belle
Lila is sick of waiting for the criminally sexy Ben to ask her out, so she’s taking matters into her own hands. But when her attempts to harness the power of voodoo go awry, has she lost him forever?
Awkward Chocolates by Georgina Penney
Tom has been out of the dating game for a long time. A very long time. When his internet date makes a sexy request, can he rise to the challenge – or is it just too awkward for words?
Sunny, With A Chance by Laura Greaves
Brydie is moving on from a bad breakup with her adorable dog, Sunny, in their cute country cottage. City boy Leo doesn’t have time for a girlfriend, especially not a hippy artist with a ton of baggage. But Sunny may have other ideas…
Lily and Viv by Vanessa Stubbs
Teddy has been an outsider as long as he can remember. With high school finally behind him, does he have the courage to be true to himself with his dream girl by his side – or will school’s seductive Queen Bee lure him away?
Killer Heels by Samantha Bond
Tough Private Investigator Scully has landed the case of a lifetime: probing the disappearance of a celebrity lifestyle guru. She doesn’t need her gorgeous ex, police detective Logan, getting in her way – until her life is at stake.
Excerpt from Sunny, with A Chance by Laura Greaves:
Two whole weeks of summer stretched out luxuriously before Laila Leighton. A fortnight of languid days to fill however she liked. She virtually skipped along the concrete path that Saturday morning in February
Summer sunlight glints off the metal stiletto heel of my snakeskin-patterned pumps as I clamber from my car. I squint, momentarily blinded, then stand straight and the glare disappears.
I was doing just fine until The Sun disappeared. Well, I say ‘fine’… if I’m being brutally honest, ‘hanging by a thread’ is probably a more accurate description. But I was on my way to being fine, for sure. I’d been in my ever-so-elegantly dilapidated cottage in the mountains for three months, and I was painting every day as I basked in a mercifully temperate summer far away from Sydney’s relentless humidity, from its permanent, stifling miasma of exhaust fumes and backyard barbeques – and from him. ‘Fine’, it seemed, was at last within my reach.
She’s probably sniffing around by the dam, I told myself. Or she’d be down by the woodpile near the rickety back fence. Half the reason I’d moved us to this bushy five-acre block was to give her room to run, after all. After spending five years in an inner-city terrace house with only a postage stamp-sized courtyard to call her turf, she deserved that much.
‘Sunny!’ I yelled from the back step. ‘Here, Sun-sun!’
I raised a paint-spattered hand to shield my eyes from the harsh summer sun as I searched for signs of movement between the tall gums that dotted the property. Sunny with a chance of afternoon showers, today’s weather report had said. But the sky remained a cloudless blue and the fierce, dry heat persisted. Everything the late afternoon light touched was cast in a coppery glow, which made it that much harder to spot my cheeky red Kelpie.
Sunny had a mischievous streak, and she loved to explore, but she always returned to me when called. It was one of Mike’s conditions when he reluctantly agreed to us adopting a dog: she had to do what she was told. So I’d spent every Sunday morning with her at the local obedience club, not yet realising that Mike expected the same degree of compliance from all the females in his life.
I called out again. Nothing. Not a flicker of motion among the trees. No din of rustling leaves and snapping twigs as Sunny bounded back to me. The only response was the shrill chorus of cicadas that heralded the arrival of twilight each day.
I managed to remain calm for approximately three more minutes before total panic set in. What if she’s fallen in the dam and can’t get out? What if she’s wandered onto the road and been run over? What if she’s lost in the bush? Paralysis ticks! Fox baits! SNAKES!
I needed backup. I darted into the cottage and snatched my mobile phone from the kitchen table, praying the area’s notoriously patchy cellular coverage wouldn’t let me down when I needed it most.
‘The Sun’s gone!’ I wailed the second I heard my brother’s voice on the line.
There was a pause, then, ‘I dunno what sky you’re looking at, Bry, but it’s still pretty damn sunny here. It’s, like, thirty-eight degrees!’
‘No, dopey. Sunny! I can’t find her anywhere.’
‘Oh, shit,’ Scott replied. ‘Have you tried calling—’
‘Yes! I’ve called and called, but she’s not here. She’s gone!’
I heard the jingle of keys at Scott’s end. ‘I’m getting in my car right now, Brydie. I’ll come up and we’ll drive around, and if we don’t see her we’ll figure out what to do next. Try not to freak out, okay?’
Try not to freak out. He might as well have told me not to have freckles or not to love country music. Some things are just beyond our control.
I hung up and grabbed a torch. It would take Scott at least an hour to drive up from Sydney; I’d use the time to scour every single centimetre of my land, gathering darkness be damned. I had to do something; I couldn’t just sit around and twiddle my thumbs.
Deep down though, something told me Sunny wasn’t there. And I didn’t want to think about what would happen if I couldn’t find her.