Join us in congratulating Cheryl Adnams
on the release today of
Read an excerpt below!
Andrew Muller has always enjoyed the single life. But now that his older brothers have found the loves of their lives, he’s beginning to see that being a one-woman man might have some benefits after all. But has he missed his chance?
Taryn McArthur loves her independent life of travel and working on the harvest trail. Some of her most treasured memories are the years spent at Muller’s Field vineyard with her father. At eleven years of age, her young heart fluttered when Andrew stole her first kiss from her. On her return to Muller’s Field to help with handpicking the grapes, she is thrilled to discover that Andrew has grown into a very attractive man.
Andrew is immediately entranced by her beauty and adventurous nature and while she is receptive to his advances, they both know that their romance can only be a short-term thing. When Taryn’s secret life catches up with her Andrew must make a decision that will alter his easygoing life forever.
The smallest things in life can often make the biggest difference.
Excerpt from Handpicked by Cheryl Adnams
Setting the scene: Andrew has just met his love interest, Taryn. They knew each other as children, but she was such a tomboy back then that it took him a while to remember her. They were also each others first kiss, so this was not a good start for him and Taryn teases him mercilessly because he doesn’t remember her.
‘Hey, how did you recognise Taryn?’ Andrew questioned Brian later in the kitchen. He grabbed a beer out of the fridge, popped the top and leaned up against the sink.
Brian held out an empty hand before pushing past Andrew to get his own beer. He pulled one out for Seth too just as he walked through the door.
‘You haven’t hit on her already, have you?’ Brian glanced at Andrew as he tossed the beer to Seth.
‘Hit on who?’ Seth asked, catching the bottle and twisting the top off.
‘Taryn McArthur,’ Brian told him.
‘Oh yeah, she looks good, hey?’ He smiled and raised his beer in a toast. ‘Who knew that ratty-looking kid would grow up to look like that? If I wasn’t hooked up . . . ‘
He wisely stopped mid-sentence as Gabby walked in from the front of the house.
‘Yes?’ she asked, narrowing her eyes at him. ‘Please continue, Seth. If you weren’t hooked up . . . ?’
‘Um,’ Seth fumbled and cleared his throat awkwardly. ‘As I was saying, if I wasn’t so madly in love with the most beautiful woman in the world, I would be a sadder person than I am now.’
‘That was sad,’ Brian murmured across the top of his beer bottle before taking another swig.
‘That was rather pathetic,’ Gabby agreed with Brian, but kissed Seth’s cheek anyway before she sat down at the table. ‘But nice try, gorgeous.’
‘So Drew, you hit on Taryn?’ Seth asked, smartly redirecting the subject back to him.
‘No, I didn’t. She hit on me,’ Andrew said and took a long pull on his Coopers Ale as he thought about the odd exchange. He frowned. ‘At least I think she was hitting on me. It was a little hard to tell after I finally figured out who she was. She may have been kidding. I don’t know. She threw me off. Last time I saw her she was a boy.’
‘What?’ Gabby looked back at him from the table.
‘Well, she may as well have been,’ Andrew said, turning back to Brian.
‘How did you know who she was?’
‘I had a heads up. Saw her name on the harvest applications. Figured it must have been the same girl. And in case you haven’t noticed Andrew, she’s no longer a little tomboy.’
‘I’ve noticed,’ he said exhaling long and loud. ‘Believe me, I’ve noticed.’
‘Of course you have. What was I thinking?’ Brian said rolling his eyes. ‘But she hasn’t changed that much.’
‘Are you kidding?’ Andrew spluttered on his beer. ‘She’s got . . .’ He stopped as Gabby looked up at him and he swallowed what he’d originally been going to say.
‘She’s got what?’ Gabby urged.
‘Longer hair,’ Andrew said lamely. Brian and Seth chuckled at his quick recovery and he sent them a grin.
‘Oh? And here I thought you were going to say she’s got boobs now,’ Gabby responded cocking a reprimanding eyebrow.
‘I would never say that,’ Andrew feigned insult.
‘No, but you were thinking it,’ Gabby tossed back.
‘Jeez, do you read minds now?’
‘No. You’re just so bloody predictable. Stop being so derogatory to women and you might just meet a nice girl, settle down and get married.’
‘Now why would you want to say something so mean to me Gabby?’
‘Derogatory?’ Gabby questioned.
‘Married,’ Brian and Seth corrected in unison.
‘You know what they say,’ Gabby warned. ‘He who falls last, falls twice as hard.’
‘Who says that?’ Andrew challenged.
‘I do,’ Gabby responded confidently. ‘I say that. I am beautiful and wise and you should heed me.’
‘Seth, your woman’s out of control,’ Andrew tossed at his brother with a wink. He enjoyed sparring with Gabby. She was so easy to wind up. She clearly saw better qualities in him than he saw in himself. Although, if he was lucky enough to find a woman like Gabby he believed he might just take her advice, settle down and get married.
‘I’m on her side.’ Seth walked across and stood behind Gabby, massaging her shoulders, clearly trying to make up for his earlier faux pas. ‘Always and in everything.’
‘Brian? Stand up for your brother.’
‘I’ve got work to do,’ Brian said shaking his head. He placed his beer bottle neatly in the recycling bin before stepping out the back door.
‘Stepford brothers,’ Andrew accused. ‘That’s what you are. Aliens have taken over my brothers and disintegrated their balls.’
‘Andrew Francis Muller!’ Ruby came in the door with an armful of laundry and threw it on the end of the huge wooden dining table. ‘I ought to wash your mouth out with soap.’
Andrew was no dummy. Balls or no balls, you didn’t piss off Ruby in her own kitchen.
Gabby moved around the table to fold the washing. With a wide grin, she held up a pair of blue men’s briefs with the familiar red and yellow logo on them.
‘Whose Superman undies?’
‘Mine,’ Andrew said. ‘And I still have the balls to fill them out.’
He made a grab for them and dashed out the back door before Ruby could earbash him.
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