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Authors: C.J Duggan

Max

BOOK: Max
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Max

 

Max Henry thought he’d left the dusty flats
of Ballan behind, but when the past slams into his present, suddenly there is
no escaping – even if he wanted to.

 

Melanie Sheehan didn’t set out to be a
liar, but her last lie landed her in big trouble. Now Mel must suffer a harsh
consequence – she’s not allowed out of her father’s sight.

 

No friends, no parties, no life.

 

Since impeccably good behaviour is now all
she’s about, her dad, renowned Ballan local ‘Bluey’ Sheehan, is about to
finally cut Mel some slack. The catch? While he heads out of town on business,
she has to stay at the Onslow Hotel, and he’s entrusting Max Henry, the eldest
son of Bluey’s best mate, to look out for her.

 

He just doesn’t know it yet.

 

Max, the new head barman at the Onslow Hotel,
is the one boy Mel has been crushing on since forever. At a time when Mel plans
to go on the straight and narrow, she is about to tell the biggest lie of all.
Will Max be able to handle the fiery farm girl or should he be considered the
last boy in Onslow to trust?

 

Max

 

C.J. Duggan

Max

By C.J. Duggan

 

Copyright
 2015 by
C.J. Duggan

Amazon Edition

 

Max

A Summer Series Novella

Published by C.J. Duggan

Australia, NSW

www.cjdugganbooks.com

 

First Amazon edition, published 2015

Amazon Edition License Notes

This e-book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. No part of
this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or
electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage
piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase
only authorized editions. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other
people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please
purchase an additional copy for each person. If you're reading this book and
did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return
to your retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard
work of this author. All rights reserved.

 

Disclaimer: The persons, places, things, and otherwise animate or
inanimate objects mentioned in this novel are figments of the author’s
imagination. Any resemblance to anything or anyone living (or dead) is
unintentional.

 

Edited by
Marion Archer

Copyedited by Anita Saunders

Proofreading by Sascha Craig

Cover Art by
Keary
Taylor Indie Designs

This ebook formatted by
White
Hot Ebook Formatting

Author Photograph © 2015 C.J. Duggan

 

Max
is also available as a paperback at
your favourite retailer.

 

Contact the author at
[email protected]

 

A Summer Series Novella

May be read as a stand alone or in the following order:

 

The Boys of Summer

Stan

An Endless Summer

Max

That One Summer

Ringer

Forever Summer – Pre-Order

 

Look out for

Paradise City – Pre-Order

Paradise Road – Pre-Order

 

www.cjdugganbooks.com

 

 

Dedicated to all the readers who keep fighting over the Onslow Boys.

 

 

PRAISE FOR

The Boys of Summer

 

Summer Lovin'

This book kept me up until the wee hours of the morning because I
literally could not force myself to put it down – I just had to know what
happened. Everything about The Boys of Summer absolutely blew me away.

Claire – Claire Reads

 

Best Contemporary Read of your Life

I cannot begin to describe the love I have for this book. The Boys
of Summer is a story about self-discovery and first true love that will stay
with you for a long time after you read it.

Hannah – A Girl in a Café

 

Fun, Flirty, Fantastic

All in all, if you're looking for a lovable and intense read, then
this is for you. C.J. Duggan has convinced me she belongs in the contemporary
market and I cannot wait to read more from her.

Donna – Book Passion for Life

 

An Australian Gem

You won't regret buying this one; you'll totally fall in love with
the story and all of the characters. C.J. Duggan knows how to write a book
you'll just be drawn into! I'm already waiting for the next one – impatiently,
might I add! The Boys of Summer is an Australian gem!

Seirra – Dear, Restless Reader

 

Simply Perfect

Everything about The Boys of Summer was fantastic!!! C.J. Duggan has
written an amazing story and she was able to perfectly capture the Aussie
summer, fun times with friends both new and old, and all the feelings of
falling in love with the boy of your dreams. Bring on book two!!!

Tracey – YA Book Addict

 

Sweet, Intoxicating, Exciting

The Boys of Summer is a wonderful example of just how deliciously
sexy, sweet and charming summer-fling books can be! A book that gives you goose
bumps, makes you swoon over its incredibly handsome male cast, gets you hooked
on the clever plot line and, ultimately, sends you out feeling all warm inside,
satisfied and with a wide smile on your face.

Evie – Bookish

 

 

Of all forms of caution, caution in love is the most fatal.

Anon

 

Chapter One

 

Melanie

 

I had the dream again.

A dusty dirt road, illuminated by
headlights: the only things visible were the flickering insects and wayward
bunnies that frantically scurried out of our path. Loud, thunderous music
belted out of the stereo, barely drowning out our raised voices and laughter.
You would think that the cloak of night combined with the numbed senses from a
few drinks at the local would make you less aware of the crunching, sliding
dirt under the tyres of our car, but still I was aware, so aware. It was the
one thing I remembered most; above all other noises was the sound of the
sliding wheels against gravel, that and the sound of popping, breaking glass.
Particles that danced in the air almost as if in slow motion as we tumbled,
turned, fell, barely able to scream, breathe or believe this was happening. It
was, except nothing was really slow; it all had happened so fast, and now we
were powerless to stop it. Long gone was the laughter, the music, the road.
Instead, irreverent pandemonium was replaced with an eerie silence, pierced
only by the sinister hiss of heat escaping the crumpled carcass of twisted
metal. It was the final sound I heard before the darkness took me, blacker than
night ever was.

“Melanie!”

Jolted awake by my dad’s voice, it took me
a bleary-eyed minute to get my bearings and realise I wasn’t back in my dreams;
the passenger seat I now found myself in was very much today, and not the one
from that night. I pressed my hand against the dash, shifting to straighten in
my seat as I wearily blinked my eyes, encrusted with sleep, yawning.

My dad’s low chuckle neared as he slid into
the cabin of our car.

“What?” I asked, stretching my arms to the
sky with a groan.

My dad’s eyes fixed to the top of my hair;
no words were needed as his smirk told an unspoken story of amusement.

“What?” I snapped, pushing myself upright
and flipping down the sun visor to access the mirror.

Bloody hell, I looked like a nightmare. My
hair worked into a restless sleep, the heat of the day giving it a nice little
frizz, with matted-sweaty-fringe look. Beautiful.

“Bad dream?” my dad enquired, as he started
up the car.

Mostly I would share my kooky, offbeat
dreams about my teeth falling out, or that feeling of falling off a cliff, but
whenever it came to the same recurring dream back to that night, that was one I
would never share with my dad. It was too steeped in painful reality, one I
never wanted to address, the one subject that caused a world of hurt that would
cloud my dad’s steely blue eyes. I hated seeing it there, hated knowing that I
was responsible for it. It was a look that haunted my dreams: Dad’s eyes
looking down on me in the hospital, the vision of his massive hands clasped
together, his elbows on my mattress as if he was in silent prayer. The memory
of this man, this six-foot-three, giant of a man reduced to that of a small,
slumped figure next to me. In all my seventeen years, I had never seen my dad’s
shoulders slumped in defeat, never seen the well of tears in his eyes as he
reached for my hand. It was a memory I tried to push deep, deep down, until of
course it inevitably resurfaced itself in my dreams. I wondered if guilt did
that, forced these bad memories into my subconscious. Maybe if I did talk about
the things that haunted me, they might just go away. But as I looked into my
dad’s bright, sparkly eyes, I once again found myself pushing those demons deep
down.

“I dreamt that I was being loaded into a
car and taken somewhere against my will.” I tried for light-hearted, when
really there was a none-too-subtle snark to my tone.

Dad winced as he placed on his sunnies,
probably in an effort to hide his eyes from me.

“That definitely sounds like a nightmare,”
he agreed.

“No kidding.”

It was very much a nightmare, a living one.
Since that infamous night twelve months ago, ever since I was discharged from
hospital, Dad treated me as if I were made of glass, and the doting and caring
nature was great, for the first few days. I understood his fear; hell, I felt
really awful about it, but when his fear morphed into refusing to give me a
life, well, that was getting harder and harder to deal with. I would have
sooner he just yelled and screamed at me, made me cry. Instead, my fate was
much worse: grounded most definitely, but even when that sentence subsided the
trust issue still remained; I was not to be out of his sight. No parties, no
friends, no life, aside from the typical one I was experiencing. Travelling
with my dad to the shearing sheds, helping him out on the farm and going on
road trips to sheep and cattle sales that he would have a hand in auctioning.
It was a dusty, hot, boring existence and one my dad very well might have
loved, but me … not so much.

I slumped back into my seat, blowing out a
weary breath.

“Where are you dragging me to this time?”

“I told you, we’re heading to Onslow,” he
said, pulling up to a stop at a T intersection and giving way to a massive
grain truck.

“Onslow? Where the bloody hell is Onslow?”
I asked, not even trying to hide my sneer. I had a vague recollection of Dad
explaining this to me, but I must have simply zoned out seeing as I wasn’t
really interested in what backward town we might hit next.

“Onslow, eh? Some crusty, dusty-arsed hick
town in the middle of nowhere at a guess,” I said, as I glared out the window
at the yellow, dry paddocks that whizzed on by.

A map hit my lap, the crumpled, torn one
Dad kept shelved in his sun visor.

“Not exactly,” he said. “Go on, check it
out.”

I cocked my brow, picking up the
coffee-stained crinkled paper with the tip of my fingers as if it were
something putrid.

Dad sighed, as if his patience was wearing
thin. He snatched it off me, his gaze flicking from the road to the map and
back before finding what he was looking for.

“There,” he said, pointing to a circle on
the map. “Onslow.”

I feigned interest as I looked over the
map. There was a lot of blue, a lot of green, a lot of bumpy curves that I
assumed were hills that went on and on.

“Not dusty, not flat, not dry,” Dad said
with a small smile.

“Okaaaay,” I said.

So this was a first, maybe this wouldn’t be
so bad after all, something different.

“It’s nestled in the valley of the Perry
Ranges, amazing lake system, brings lots of tourists there for the holiday
seasons.”

Oh, this was sounding better and better, I
couldn’t even remember the last time I had gone on a holiday.

“Max says it’s real beautiful.”

My head snapped toward Dad.

What did he just say?

“M-Max?”

Surely he didn’t mean
the
Max, my
Max, the Max from Ballan who I had secretly loved and lusted over all my life
until he broke my heart when he moved away, and for all things, ‘further
education’. Pfft, whatever!

“Max Henry, lives there now.”

Good God, it was my Max, the one and only
Max Henry. My heart started to slam against my chest. I straightened in my seat
suddenly at full attention and with keen interest in our new destination.

“Does he know we’re coming?”

Will we see him? Will I get a chance to
talk to him? What had it been a year, two? Whatever it was, it felt like a
lifetime.

Dad laughed, rubbing the stubble of his
chin in thought. “Not exactly, but he will.”

“How so?”

“Well, because we’re going to be crashing
at his place,” he said, glancing over to catch my widened stare. “He just doesn’t
know it yet.”

Oh. My. God.

BOOK: Max
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