Remember how I shared with you some highlights about the book What Happens At The Beach? Good news! I have more to share. Let's start with an excerpt!
What Happens at the Beach…
The next day, she met a third handsome man. This time, he was a very different kettle of fish. Or, more precisely, a different basket of fish. As she sat at her usual table on the terrace after her morning swim, sipping her grand crème, he came up the steps from the beach with a basket of fish and shellfish for the kitchen. As he and Alain checked the contents of the basket and haggled over the price, Natalie let her eyes run over the fisherman.
He wasn’t as tall as Mark or as well-groomed as the man in the polo shirt, but he made up for his lack of height and refinement with his muscular build. His forearms were powerful, his leg muscles well-formed and his chest statuesque. He was wearing a battered old T-shirt that had once advertised Spanish beer. It had faded from its original red colour to a rusty brown and it was peppered with holes, some of them, Natalie noticed naughtily, affording tantalising glimpses of his suntanned body beneath. His shorts had probably started life as jeans and had been chopped off high on the leg, leaving frayed threads hanging across his powerful thigh muscles. His feet were bare and his wild mop of jet-black hair hung down to his shoulders. His face was weather-beaten and tough. As the complete antithesis of David or the man in the polo shirt, he fitted the bill to perfection.
When she had finished her coffee, she took the cup back into the kitchen and put it in the dishwasher. Alain had already started on the fish. He was standing at the sink with a sharp knife, removing the beak from a big octopus under a stream of cold water. Natalie went over to watch the process and, casually, enquired about the fisherman. She needn’t have bothered to dissimulate; Alain really didn’t miss much.
‘Well, well, well, so you’re in love with Rémy as well.’ He looked up as Natalie did her unsuccessful best not to blush. ‘You’ll have to join the queue. Every time Laure sees him she goes weak at the knees. He’s been fishing these waters since he was a little boy. He and I went to school together and just about every girl in the school had a crush on him. He was never interested in studying, but what he didn’t know about spear-fishing or teenage girls wouldn’t cover the back of a postcard. You’ll see quite a bit of him if you keep coming here at this time of the morning. He’s got a boat round at Banyuls, but every August he comes over here for the spear-fishing. Have you seen this beauty?’ He flicked off the tap with his elbow, lifted the octopus out of the sink and laid it on a chopping board, the tentacles so long they hung down over the edge. ‘Half an hour ago this fellow was swimming around. You don’t get them much fresher than that.’
And now for a Guest Post!
Why the South of France?
TA (Trevor ) Williams writes about his latest book, What Happens at the Beach.
So far in my What Happens… series, I’ve set books in Tuscany, Cornwall, the Alps and in a little village on the edge of Dartmoor. This time I’m heading for the sun. My new book, What Happens at the Beach… takes place on a beautiful little beach that I’ve called Port Renard in the south of France. Why there, you may ask?
First and foremost, for the sun. I started writing this book in the depths of a cold, wet English winter and I really got a buzz out of imagining myself down there amid the pine trees with the scent of resin in the air, the hiss of the waves and the incessant hum of the cicadas ever-present in the background. When I wrote about swimming in the clear blue sea, floating above the white sandy seabed, it was a welcome relief from the constant beat of rain on my study window. You see, I write for myself as well as my readers, you know.
I studied French at university many, many years ago and I love the language. Although I spent more time in Italy, I lived in France on and off for a couple of years and we always took our holidays down there. Just where exactly are we talking about? France is separated from Spain by the mountain range of the Pyrenees. Port Renard is at the far eastern edge of the mountains, on the Mediterranean coast, just about ten miles from the Spanish border. This part of France, Roussillon, is a major holiday destination to people from all over Europe, and many people from Britain and elsewhere have chosen to buy houses there and relocate in search of sunshine and a slower way of life.
It’s also a very historic region. Back in the Middle Ages, it was the scene of a horrific attack by forces of the Vatican (in the days when the Catholic Church was every bit as much of a temporal power as the secular states around it). The crusaders marched into the southwest of France to eradicate heresy. To modern eyes, the Cathar heretics, who even called themselves Good Christians, differed little from mainstream Catholicism, but they got wiped out all the same. As a result, the area is rich in amazing hilltop castles, spectacular churches and abbeys. All in all, a fascinating place.
Natalie, my heroine, is half English, half French. She’s all alone in the world after the death of her parents and the collapse of her relationship with David, and she travels over to Port Renard to seek refuge at the home of her beloved grandma. When she gets there she immediately falls in love with Barney. Barney is totally gorgeous (if you like dogs) and it’s love at first sight. And his hunky master isn’t too bad either. Like all my books, this one is designed to put a smile on your face and to give you a nice warm, fuzzy feeling. There’s enough horror going on in the world these days. In my own small way, I hope that a visit to the sunny south of France with me will cheer you and remind you that life’s not all bad all the time.
Makes you want to travel, doesn't it? It sure does for me! I enjoyed this book and appreciated the opportunity for T.A. Williams to come by the blog today! Hope you will get a chance to get this book.