HUMP DAY HUNK with Cathryn Hein
Imagine a well-muscled man, his arms and shoulders gleaming with sweat, his muscles bulging as he hammers glowing steel. His dark blond hair is tied back in a pony tail. Around his neck, hanging from a leather thong, is an intriguing piece of art he’d crafted himself. He’s toiling in the hot forge he built himself, creating for the hell of it, because it makes him happy. He plunges the worked rod into a bucket of water, steam hissing and rising. Lifting out the cooling metal, he passes a critical eye over his work and makes a noise of approval. He’s found the shape he was after.
Say hello to Lucas Knight, hero of my brand new rural romance, The Falls. And he’s delicious.
Lucas is a man’s man. He makes his living as a farrier, tending the performance and pleasure horses of the stunning NSW Falls Valley. In his spare time he mucks around blacksmithing, forging custom-made gates, garden furniture, iron lacework and animal hutches. His hands are big and battleworn. There are burn marks on his arms but they’re not ugly. Nothing about Lucas is ugly. Not his rugged, masculine exterior, and certainly not his soft heart. He is almost – but not quite – perfect.
Which is why the heroine, Teagan, can’t believe he’d be interested in her. But Lucas is more than muscles and movie-star attractiveness. He’s a man who’s ready to settle and he has a thing for redheads. A serious thing. Teagan is right in his zone and Lucas is not a bloke to give up easily.
She glared at him, whipped words defending her racing feelings. ‘Do you mind?’
‘I’m trying to enjoy a swim.’
‘And I’m trying to enjoy you.’
‘You? Enjoy me?’
‘Yeah, why not?’
‘Because you’re,’ she waved a finger at his face and chest, at his unreal looks and body, at the sheer impossibility of him, ‘you, that’s why.’
‘And? Teagan, I’m just your average bloke.’
She rolled her eyes. ‘Who just happens to look like a movie star.’
‘You think so? Which one?’
Teagan couldn’t help it, his cheek was too much. She laughed and splashed water at him. ‘Idiot.’
Smug that he’d at last penetrated her prickly exterior, Lucas grinned. Sweeping a muscled arm through the water, he caught her hand. ‘Come on. Life’s too short to live it worrying about crap that doesn’t count. Have some fun.’ He swept her backwards. They drifted on their backs, staring at the sky.
The enormous blue expanse brought on another wave of vulnerability. This time she had no defence, only truth. ‘I’m not sure I know how anymore.’
‘Then let me show you.’
Oh, and if you’re wondering exactly which movie star Lucas resembles, think Chris Hemsworth as Thor and you’ll be more than a little bit close. Yup, researching Lucas was no hardship. No hardship at all.
For as long as she can remember, Teagan Bliss has wanted to manage her family’s property. She’s invested everything in the farm, knowing that when her parents retire she’ll be ready to take the reins. But when a family betrayal leaves her reeling, Teagan is forced to rethink her entire future.
Heartbroken, Teagan flees to her aunt’s property in the idyllic Falls Valley. Vanessa is warm and welcoming and a favourite of the locals who drop in regularly for cocktail hour. Teagan soon catches the attention of sexy local farrier Lucas Knight, and with a new job, new friends and the prospect of a new relationship, she slowly begins to open up again.
But the village is a hotbed of gossip and division and when Teagan gets caught up in town politics, Lucas and Vanessa become concerned. As the tension in town escalates, Teagan must decide who to trust. But when she realises those close to her have been keeping secrets, the fallout may split Teagan apart forever.
The Falls is an uplifting story of healing and hope from the author of Promises, Heart of the Valley, and Rocking Horse Hill.