Thursday, 21 August 2014

No Regrets


Today I'm sharing this Blog Post from Novel Rocket. 
Click on 'Read More' at the end to go to their website.


Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.

Life is full of regrets and the writer's life is no different. But since I'm a few years further down the path than a lot of you, I thought I'd share some things I wish I'd done differently. These are some regrets you don't have to have if you pay attention now.




Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Giveaway

Print Copies of 'Escape Down Under' will arrive in Australia Soon.
They are already Available from 
I'm giving away a FREE copy on Goodreads.  Enter to Win...


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Escape Down Under by Jeanette Hornby

Escape Down Under

by Jeanette Hornby

Giveaway ends October 14, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Monday, 4 August 2014

Escape Down Under - Chapter One

Sharing Chapter One of my latest release.


Copyright © 2014 by Jeanette Hornby

CHAPTER ONE


“It’s bloody hot out there,” a man said as he walked into the airport terminal and wiped sweat from his brow.
 Susan Reynolds’ gaze moved to the glass door where she looked out at the blazing sun.  The heat seemed to bounce off the ground and shimmer before her eyes. 
When she left the cool confines of the airport foyer to join the taxi queue, she realised the man was right.  ‘Hot’ was an understatement.  Her cotton shirt grew damp with perspiration and it was hard to believe that only a few hours ago she’d been rugged up against the harsh English winter. 
Thoughts of England squeezed the air from her lungs and she took a breath before brushing a weary hand across her forehead.  Only God knew when her luggage would turn up.  Fear of losing her prized possession made her heart thump.  She exhaled slowly.  She needed to leave the mayhem of the airport behind and find her hotel. 
Finally, she was first in the queue and she quickly climbed into the waiting cab.  The radio blared and a strong odour of nicotine stung her nostrils.
“Where to, Miss?” the taxi driver asked in a gruff accent.
Susan located a crumpled piece of paper from her purse and read the address.  “The Indian Ocean Hotel in Scarborough, please.”
The taxi driver turned and smiled at her, his teeth like stucco.  “That’ll cost you about fifty dollars.”
“Yes, fine.”  She pulled her handkerchief from her pocket and wiped it over her face.
“Buckle up,” the taxi driver told her.
She fumbled with the seatbelt.  It had a greasy feel to it, and she wrinkled her nose in disgust.
The taxi suddenly lurched and took off with speed while Susan grabbed at the leather upholstery to steady herself.  The Aussies hadn’t lied about Mad Max’s driving skills.  It seemed he was alive and well, and driving this taxi.  She hung on tightly as the cab raced forward.
When the taxi finally slowed with the line of traffic, she wasn’t sure if she should relax or prepare herself for the next onslaught. 
She took a calming breath and looked out at the surroundings through the taxi window.  It was all traffic and buildings, not the wide open spaces she’d imagined.  Perhaps that was only in the brochures.  She sighed in disappointment. 
The sway of the taxi made her eyelids heavy and she longed desperately for sleep.  The remainder of the journey went by in a blur.
“Here you are,” the driver said as the cab stopped.
Susan looked up at the hotel.  The tall, obtrusive building looked like it was still wedged securely in the ’70s.
“Are you orright?” the driver asked. 
She would have to get used to the way the Aussies strangled the English language.  She nodded.  “How much do I owe you?”
“Forty-nine seventy,” the man answered. 
She searched through her purse for the right note.  Luckily, she had remembered to exchange some currency at the airport.
“Thank you,” she said as she handed him the money.  The taxi driver gave her some change and she climbed out of the car.  She stretched her back before walking quickly into the hotel to escape the heat. 
Refreshing cool air circulated throughout the lobby and Susan let out a huge sigh of relief.  Her low heels clip-clopped across the polished floorboards to the jarrah-topped counter.  An attractive brunette sat behind the desk.   
“Can I help you?” the woman asked in an accent far removed from that of the taxi driver.  Her name tag read, “Elizabeth”.
“Yes.  I booked over the internet.”  Susan handed over the confirmation letter.
“Let’s see,” Elizabeth said as she turned to her computer.
Susan took the opportunity to look around her.  The entire ceiling was covered in dark wood panelling and so were most of the walls down the hall.  The plain circular clock showed three-fifteen.
“Here we are.  You’re on the second floor, room two-zero-seven.”  Elizabeth pushed a piece of paper in front of Susan and handed her a pen.  “Please sign this form.”
Susan’s sweaty fingers fought with the pen as she signed her name.   Messy, but that would have to do.  It seemed strange to be using her maiden name again. 
Elizabeth handed her the key to her room.  “Do you have luggage?”
“No.  It didn’t arrive with my flight.”
“Oh, dear,” Elizabeth said, sympathetically.
“Is there anywhere I can buy something to drink?”
Elizabeth pointed down the hall.  “Walk through the hallway and turn right.  We have a fully stocked bar.  Call out if no one’s at the counter.”
Susan was relieved.  “Thank you.”
It was a short walk to the bar.  She noticed the outdated furniture and fittings but everything looked clean and neat.  Several black-and-white photographs hung on the wall, one section showcasing the hotel’s history, another section, it’s proposed future development.
“Can I help you?” someone asked from behind the counter.  A short, shapely woman with kohl darkened eyes, piercings in her brow, and black-dyed hair gazed at Susan and waited for a response.  Yet another era jammed into the room. 
Susan decided against buying alcohol.  “I’d like a bottle of lemonade.”
“Of course, Madam.”  The twang of her voice seemed at odds with the term of address.  She retrieved a bottle and handed it to Susan.
“Thank you.  Can you put it on my bill?  Room, two-zero-seven.” 
“Of course.  Please sign the docket.”
After signing her name, Susan smiled.  “Thanks.”
The woman gave her a quick nod and continued with her tasks.
Susan soon found the elevator and closed her eyes as it moved to her floor.  Relief and fear battled in the pit of her stomach.  She was alone, just as she had planned for so long, but the stark reality of it did nothing to ease the doubts circling in her mind. 
The elevator signalled its arrival with a ding and she opened her eyes.  Soon, she was safely in her room with the air conditioner on, and she quickly took a sip of her lemonade.  The sweet liquid eased its way down her dry throat before she turned on the TV.
“And it seems we will be in for another scorcher tomorrow,” said the woman on the screen.
Unexpectedly, the small room closed in on Susan, and she struggled to breathe.  To distract herself, she walked quickly out to the balcony. 
 As the full force of the heat hit her again, she gripped the balcony wall and tried to concentrate on the view.  From this angle, all she could see was the hotel’s swimming pool.  It was flanked by a couple of palm trees and was oddly comforting.  She let herself be lulled by the calm blue water and wished she had a swimsuit to change into.
The warm gusty breeze brushed over her skin and she thought of what she had overcome.  Soon, her breathing returned to normal. 
She re-entered the room and moved to the bathroom where the reflection in the mirror showed her tousled blonde tresses. She shrugged at her unruly appearance, undressed, and wrapped herself in a fluffy towel.  She turned on the tap, washed her underwear in the basin, and wrung it out before moving it to the balcony.  With this heat, her clothing should be dry in no time. 
There was no clothes line so she placed the damp garments over a plastic chair in the corner and went back inside.
She sat on the edge of the bed and pondered the day’s events.  It had been a long journey and the airport terminal had been chaotic.  There had been so many people and so many different nationalities.  She hadn’t expected that.  She’d always thought of Australia as some sparsely populated, distant land. 
And here she was without any luggage.  “Twenty-four to forty-eight hours,” the woman behind the airport desk had told her.  What would she do until then?  Thank God, she still had her handbag.
Everything suddenly seemed surreal.  Had she truly done it?  Was she actually, finally, on Australian soil? 
“Join us tomorrow at Myers and grab a bargain,” said a voice on the TV.  The distinct Australian twang hit home, and she knew no dream could be this vivid. 
She longed to sleep but she was so wound up she knew it would be pointless to even attempt it.  Instead, she channel-hopped and marvelled at the difference of the Australian culture to her own. 
An hour passed quickly and her gaze moved to the balcony.  She remembered her underwear and pulled the towel tight around her as she made her way outside.
She gathered her dry lingerie and turned to go back inside when she heard masculine voices.  Intrigued, she walked to the edge of the balcony wall and peeked over but she couldn’t quite see.  As she leaned over, her towel began to slip and she grabbed it but the quick movement loosened her grip on her underwear.
A strong gust of wind took hold of her panties and she grasped at the air to no avail.  “Oh, no!” she cried as her panties floated gracefully below.  When they landed at the feet of a passer-by, she recoiled in horror.  
The man reached for them and looked up.  Susan was rooted to the spot, her face aflame, as their eyes met.  The pull of his gaze made her gasp.  She stared wordlessly as she took in his darkly arresting appearance.  Every muscle was defined under his close-fitting white shirt, and his blue jeans revealed the strength of his limbs.  Everything about him screamed masculinity.  Susan closed her mouth.
A smile spread across the man’s face as he held up the renegade panties and she wanted to…she struggled for breath…she wanted to die!  She did the next best thing and ran into her room, slamming the door shut.  Her heart beat wildly.  She wanted to cry but began to laugh instead.
As she thought of her predicament, she was instantly quiet, and hugged herself with trembling arms.  She was alone in a strange country with no friends, no luggage, and now, no panties.  What had she done? 
She rubbed her temples where a dormant migraine was stirring, moved slowly back to the door of the balcony, and peeked out.  She couldn’t see anyone which was probably just as well.  What would she say anyway?  “Excuse me, Sir, may I have my panties?”  She shook her head.  It could only happen to her.  What now? 
She collapsed onto the bed and the image of a tall, dark-haired, extremely masculine man, clutching her silky, hot-pink panties sprung to mind.  That image would forever be burned in her memory.  Great!  Just what she needed.
Sleep! she ordered.  She closed her eyes tight and let exhaustion overcome her.

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