Summer Devon and my new release (Sept 29) The Shepherd and the Solicitor runs the gamut from LOL scenes like the meet cute between the protagonists to heavy angst surrounding the reason Daniel Pierce changes his name and becomes a hermit. In the midst of darkness, there is always humor to be found. I think both Summer and I approach life with a smirk whether facing a negative or positive situation.
To quote Barenaked Ladies: “I’m the kinda guy who laughs at a funeral. Don’t understand what I mean? You soon will.”
I’ve tried writing a really angsty novel before, the sort with dark-natured dudes and depressed divas. I can’t seem to do it. I worked on a motorcycle club book for a bit. Two chapters in, I realized I was making the couples’ banter too light and jokey for that dramatic, gritty genre. Does this mean I’m a sunny-natured person? I wouldn’t go that far. But I do like to laugh. And I think readers will laugh too at the meeting between solicitor Gregory Tobin, sent to find a lost heir, and Jacob Bennet aka Daniel Pierce, the isolated shepherd of the title.
The landscape wasn’t as flat as he’d thought when looking across the field. Tobin trudged up and down rises and falls of land—mostly up—with a hard wind pushing him along like a hand to his back. Tobin glanced up at the swirling gray clouds that stretched across the horizon and wondered if he’d make it to shelter before the looming storm broke and drenched him. The house and outbuildings didn’t seem to be getting any closer.
He was so focused on his destination that he didn’t notice the stalking beast coming up behind him until it made him jump nearly out of his skin with a loud baaah. Tobin whirled to face a large sheep with dirty gray wool and a black face. It gazed at him curiously and bleated again.
Tobin clapped his hands at the thing, trying to drive it away. “Go on. Go home.”
But the adorable farm creature didn’t run away like Alfie the horse. Instead, it crunched a mouthful of grass between surprisingly large teeth and moved closer. At the same time, a crowd of its brethren crested the low hill. One sheep might be rather charming and pastoral, but an entire herd of them was entirely too much. Tobin had never spent any time around animals, other than his great aunt’s ill-tempered poodle. He wasn’t comfortable with the way the black-faced sheep all stared at him and headed directly toward him.
He clapped his hands again. “Go on now. Run away.” But the beasts seemed merely intrigued by his clapping. Perhaps they thought he was a dinner bell calling them to food. They swarmed toward him in a great baaing bundle.
Rather than turning and running, Tobin made the mistake of moving backward. His foot caught on a hummock of grass, or perhaps a badger hole, and he lost his balance, falling hard on his arse for the second time that day. The flock stampeded toward him, their combined weight shaking the ground and the noise of their infernal bleating deafening. He would be crushed by at least a hundred great fluffy tubs of wool!
Tobin threw his arms around his head, opened his mouth and screamed at the top of his lungs.
But instead of sharp hooves and heavy woolly bodies stomping him to a pulp, he felt something grab him by the coat collar and drag him upright. Then two strong bands of iron pulled him tight against a slab of warm living granite, away from the rush of bleating sheep.
He opened his tight-squeezed eyes and blinked away grit and dust. Staring back at him was a pair of eyes as green as the grassy meadow set in a face that could have been hewn from the same granite as that body—it was that hard and unyielding. This man was nothing like the slender and rather unformed young man pictured in the Pierce family photographs.
Except that underneath the hard muscles and shapeless jumper, perhaps the grim farmer’s build was the same. And the hair, although longer than that in the photograph, was equally fair. That heavy beard and moustache might hide full lips and a rounded chin. The photos were in black-and-white, but the family had described the missing heir as having “emerald-green” eyes.
These eyes were certainly that bright and luminescent.
Before Tobin could clear his throat and introduce himself, the man in the grubby boots thrust him away with a shove. “Who are you, and what are you doing on my land?”