Red Dirt Heart 4 excerpt!

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Excerpt ~ This is from Chapter 18

Charlie on a plane for long periods of time was never going to end well. He just couldn’t sit still for that long in such a confined space. He was fine for the first few hours, but then boredom set in, and a bored Charlie is the worst.

He started to fidget and fuss. The seat was uncomfortable, then there was nothing worth watching, he didn’t want to read, he wasn’t tired enough to sleep, he wasn’t hungry, he was sick of sitting down, and no, Travis, he didn’t want to walk up and down the aisle looking at people like some sicko perv.

I laughed at him. “I told you it was boring.”

“You didn’t say it was this boring.”

“Have you got some paperwork to do or some data collating on sales to read through? Or some stats for Greg and Allan? I told you to bring something.”

“I thought you were joking.”

I riffled through my carry-on and pulled out one of Ma’s crossword books. “Here. Do one of those.”

“Did you steal Ma’s book?”

“She told me to take it.”

He frowned but took the puzzle book like a petulant child. And he was quiet for all of two minutes. “What’s a seven-letter word for escarpment?” He tapped the pen on the page. “Or a five-letter word for review? No, wait, what the hell is kwinn-oh-a?”

“What?”

Kwinn oh a, with a q. What the hell kind of word is that?” Charlie made a face that was part confused and part peeved-off. He looked at the front of the crossword booklet. “Is this one of those stupid cryptic crossword books?”

Oh dear Lord.

“Let me have a look,” I said, leaning over to read the word. “You mean quinoa?”

“It’s not spelled keen-wa, Travis,” he said, like it was my fault for inventing a stupid word.

I took a deep so-help-me-God breath. “It’s a seed or a grain. How many letters?”

“Five.”

“Try grain. Though that’s not technically correct. It’s a grain crop, but the edible part is the seed. But we won’t begrudge the crossword people for not having a degree in agronomy.”

Charlie chuckled. “No. No we won’t.” He tapped his pen again. “Hey, what’s a one-two—” He started counting in his head. “—eleven-letter word for photogenic?”

Picturesque.”

Charlie stared at me. “Are you like some closet crossword guru or something?”

I snorted. “Yep, that’s me. I’m a crossword fanatic. I get up when everyone else is sleeping and do them. I can’t get enough of them.”

Charlie made a snooty face. “Oh look. A six-letter word for smartarse. Starts with a T and ends with ravis.”

I laughed, and the lady in front of us turned around and smiled. At least someone else was amused.

“We should have gone out last night,” I told him. “At least you’d be hung-over and sleeping right now.”

“I wanted to go out,” he said. “You were the one who kept saying no.”

“Yeah, because I didn’t want to go to all your old stomping grounds in Sydney so you could gloat about your conquests and what you did and where.”

“I wouldn’t do that to you,” he said softly. “And anyway, we’re heading to your old stomping ground.” He seemed to think about that for a second. “Any exes I should know about? Do I need to defend your honour?”

“If by defending my honour, you mean punching in the face, then no.”

He snorted. “I wouldn’t punch them in the face. Well,” he amended, “not without good reason. If someone tries to woo you back—”

“Woo?” I interrupted. “Who the hell says woo anymore?”

“People still say it. It’s a word people use.”

“Not people of this century,” I corrected. “Or the last. I think it went out of fashion with duelling, Charlie.”

He grinned. “Good. If someone tries to woo you, I shall challenge them to a duel.” He stretched out his legs and shifted in his seat. “Though it’d be quicker and a whole lot less messy if you’d just let me punch them in the face.”

“You’re not punching anyone or duelling anyone,” I said with a sigh. “Maybe Michael might challenge us to a game of backyard football or baseball.”

“Playing footy with your brother is fine. I can teach him proper footy and not that poxy game you play.”

I laughed. “You’re gonna be the foreigner this time, Charlie. Not me. We play the right kind of football, we have baseball bats, not those stupid flat-edged cricket bats, and we drive on the right side of the street.” I smiled at him. “You’ll be the one with the accent and have people making fun of you instead of it all being on me.”

“We’ve never made fun of you!”

I think my mouth fell open. Then I laughed incredulously. “I spent the first twelve months being called The Yank. And you make fun of the words I say all the time.”

“Because some of them are wrong,” he said flatly. “Like cookie and sidewalk and fixin’-to and y’all.”

I glared at him. “And G’day, mate and fair dinkum are what, exactly?”

“Awesome things to say.”

I sighed. “I swear to the Lord above. I would pay someone a hundred bucks right now to download a Bruce Willis movie just to shut you up.”

“Any Bruce Willis movie?” he asked. “Not that Hawk one. Just his action movies. You know that.”

“Charlie, next time we fly back to the States, we’re paying extra for business class. And possibly separate seats.”

He sighed and went to looking out the window. He was quiet for too long.

“Charlie, what’s really wrong?”

He kept his face turned to the window. “What if they don’t like me?”

“Who?”

“Your parents. Or your brother and sisters… Oh God. What if none of them like me?”

Don’t forget there’s a contest/giveaway to celebrate the release of RDH4!!  

Click HERE for the rafflecopter link! (It should work this time) *kicks rafflecopter for all the broken links*

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