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Authors: Alison Pensy

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Summer Down Under

BOOK: Summer Down Under
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A Summer Down Under

Smashwords Edition

 

Copyright 2012 by Alison Pensy/Adrianna
Blakeley

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook 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 you
share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it,
or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return
to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for
respecting the hard work of this author.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely
coincidental.

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without
written permission from the author.

 

Published by Laxsaro Publishing, Publishing
on Smashwords / August 2012

 

ISBN:978-0-9825438-6-3

 

 

Chapter One

 

Sam stood by the departure gate, staring out
of the window at the 747 that was to be her home for the next
twenty-four hours.

It didn’t really matter what had brought Sam
to this point in time, but she pondered on the thought,
nonetheless. She let out a small sigh. It would have been
preferable for her not have taken the journey she had through her
teenage years, but her mouth quirked up to one side as she realized
the irony of it. If she hadn’t sustained that journey, then there
would be no need for her to be here, embarking on the adventure of
a lifetime. Oh, she was sure that some people would have looked on
it as running away. But to Sam, she had something very important to
prove. That there was much more to her than everyone portrayed her
to be.

She didn’t care to prove that point to anyone
but herself. She knew in her heart that she could be strong and
confident, not the timid, downtrodden girl she was known as and
treated as such.

So, little more than a few days after her
twentieth birthday, she was leaving her disastrous teenage life
behind in search of a new beginning. And, in her mind, that could
only be done as far away from home as possible.

She sucked in a breath and blew it out in a
hearty puff, making her lips pout and the hair on her forehead
flutter as she did so. Examining her feelings, she suddenly
realized that she didn’t actually feel anything at all. No fear, no
anxiety, not even a hint of excitement. She drew her eyebrows
together in a frown and turned to look at the lady standing beside
her.

“Shouldn’t I be excited?” she blurted, making
the lady jump with the sudden break in silence. The stranger turned
to look at Sam with a puzzled expression.

“I mean, I’m just about to embark on the
adventure of a lifetime,” Sam continued, “and I don’t feel anything
at all. Surely, I should be excited.”

The lady looked thoughtful for a moment, then
turned back to look out of the window without saying a word. Sam
turned her attention back to the massive airplane, too, deciding
the lady must have thought she was asking a rhetorical
question.

“Have you ever done anything like this
before?” the lady said a few moments later.

Surprised that the lady had been thinking
about her question all that time, Sam turned to look at her and
thought about what she asked. She came to the conclusion that, at
the ripe old age of turning twenty only three days before, she
hadn’t been any further than visiting her uncle in Spain, and that
was only a couple of hours flight from England.

“No,” she answered.

“Well, that’s why then,” the lady offered.
“You can’t be excited if you have no idea what to expect.”

Sam digested her response for a moment and
conceded that the lady had a point. It’s hard to get excited about
something you have no expectations of, but she thought that,
surely, she should feel something… fear, anticipation… anything.
She’d never been on a plane this big or for this length of time
before now and certainly had never traveled by herself, let alone
to the other side of the planet. But, nevertheless, all she felt
was a whole lot of nothing. Her heart was empty.

A year ago she would never have imagined
possessing the courage to reach this moment. She’d been sitting in
a pub and found herself examining her life under a microscope;
rather poignant for a nineteen year old, but, nonetheless, that’s
what happened.

Like a lot of kids, she was the product of a
broken home and spent her teenage years babysitting her younger
sister. Sam’s dad left when she was young and, as her mother worked
nights as a nurse, she found herself unable to go out and enjoy
herself with friends. She was needed at home to look after her
sister while her mother earned enough money to put food on the
table. At the time, being a teenager, she thought she was being
seriously hard done by, having to look after her sister while her
mum worked. Of course, she understood the necessity of it now, but
she still couldn’t shake the feeling that she’d lost something she
could never get back. It wasn’t the only thing she had lost that
she could never get back. She closed her eyes for a brief moment,
pushing the thought to the back of her mind.

She’d also spent much of her life being a
doormat, and visibly cringed as she remembered most of her high
school years being the victim of bullies. Then, to put the cherry
on the cake, just to make sure her self-confidence was completely
shattered beyond repair, she ended up for far too long with a
boyfriend who, well, she wasn’t ready to revisit that just yet.

Now that her sister was old enough to look
after herself, she had this desperate need to get as far away from
England as she could. A chance to start over somewhere where no one
knew her, somewhere she could find out just who
she
really
was. There had to be more to her than the clumsy, average looking
girl that everyone else saw.

For a while, she wasn’t sure where she would
end up going. It had to be somewhere that spoke English. She would
be on her own and thought that only sensible. Somewhere that was
not too dangerous for a very self-conscious, single white female to
find herself.

As fate would have it, she overheard a couple
of people sitting at the next table. One of them was telling the
other of the incredible journey he made backpacking around
Australia.

She thought that was a brilliant idea!
Australia was as far away from England as one could get. So, for
the first time in her life, she made a spontaneous decision right
there over a glass of wine. She was going to backpack around
Australia for a year, stopping in Bali for a week on the way over.
Then came the not-so-tiny task of saving enough money for this
adventurous undertaking.

When Sam proudly proclaimed her plans to
family and friends she met a sad but unsurprising response, they
all but laughed in her face. For a while, everywhere she turned she
was greeted with the same nonchalance, accompanied by quotes like
“We’ll believe it when we see it,” and “You, travel around
Australia by yourself? Don’t be silly. Now finish your dinner!”

Not being one for sticking to anything she
started in the past, she could hardly blame them. It was up to her
to prove them wrong and to prove to herself that she had what it
took to see something through.

That was when she had her first epiphany. She
decided that when hit by negativity from all angles, you could do
one of two things. You could agree with everyone, do nothing, and
regret it for the rest of your life. Or you could secretly stick
your fingers up at them and follow your dream. Sam chose the
latter.

For the first time in her life, she was
determined to make this dream a reality. She set about working hard
and saving every penny she could get her hard working fingers on.
That’s why, a year later, she was standing, staring in disbelief at
a plane she was about to board that would take her half way around
the world to encounter goodness knows what and to meet God knows
who.

She took a deep breath and joined the line of
passengers waiting to board. They moved slowly down the little
tunnel that led to the plane. Clutching her boarding pass in her
hand, she revisited her feelings. Still nothing, no feelings
whatsoever; she just felt numb.

Upon entering the plane, Sam patiently inched
her way down the aisle, waiting while the other passengers in front
of her hefted their carry-on luggage into the overhead compartments
and took their seats. She was looking up at the seat numbers as she
shuffled forwards and eventually made it to hers. When she got to
her row, Sam looked down at the gorgeous sight that beheld her, and
he looked right back up at her and smiled. To her surprise,
feelings came flooding back with wild abandon. Sam realized after a
few seconds that she was blatantly staring. In all fairness, it was
hard not to. A combination of black hair, aqua blue eyes, and full
lips was smiling at her. She closed her eyes for a second to regain
the composure that had so unwittingly been pulled from under her
feet. She took a breath, opened her eyes and gave a polite smile
back.

She tried to quell the uneasy feeling that
was knotting itself into her stomach at the thought of spending the
next twenty-four hours sitting beside the most handsome creature
she had ever set eyes on. Taking another deep, calming breath, she
hefted her bag into the overhead bin and took her seat beside
him.

“G’day.” he said, holding out his hand. It
was hard not to notice the difference in their hands as she took
hold of the one he politely offered. His hand dwarfed hers, his
grip was strong and his skin slightly rough to the touch. It was a
hand that had seen its fair share of hard work.

“Hello,” she replied, shaking his hand. Sam
allowed his hand to clasp hers for just a few seconds before
pulling away, trying very hard not to look rude or make him feel
like he had some incurable disease
.
Truth was, she was not
comfortable being touched by anyone, least of all, a man she didn’t
know.

His face, like his hands, were sun-kissed.
She subconsciously scanned the rest of his features. Dark wavy hair
fell almost to his shoulders, and blue eyes sparkled as he spoke.
Judging by the way his knees were pressed firmly against the seat
in front of him, he was probably around six feet tall.

She realized after a moment that he was
staring at her in what looked like anticipation, but for what she
had no idea. She blinked a couple of times and looked away. She
hadn’t seen eyes like that before, holding hers captive almost
against their will. Something that made the disconcerted feeling
roiling in her stomach all the more noticeable.

Sam noticed her hand still tingled from his
touch and a warm feeling was creeping up her arm. She drew in
another calming breath and brushed the sensation aside. She had no
time for such feelings and certainly didn’t want to investigate
them further. But as much as she tried to ignore it, her traitorous
body had other ideas.

“I’m Daniel,” he said with an Aussie twang,
bringing her attention back to his face. “It looks like we are
going to be neighbors for a while.”

“Samantha.” She squeezed her eyes and shook
her head. “I mean Sam, call me Sam.” Her mother’s reprimanding
voice echoed through her head, telling off anyone who dared to call
her by a nickname.

If I’d wanted her called Sam I would
have christened her Sam.”
Sam pushed it away. She didn’t want
to be ‘Samantha’ anymore. It was time for a change. She continued
on. “I’m guessing from your accent you’re Australian. Are you going
home?”

“Yes, on both counts.” He smiled. His lips
looked incredible, too. Out of nowhere she wondered what they would
feel like on hers and swiftly reprimanded herself for the
thought.

“I just finished with university and was
celebrating with some friends in London for a couple of weeks. Had
a bonzer time.”

She gave him a blank look and saw that he had
caught her expression as he added. “Great time. I mean I had a
great time.”

“Ahh, I’m probably going to hear my fair
share of Aussie phrases over the next year aren’t I?”

“I reckon.”

She had to force herself to stop staring. She
just couldn’t get over how drawn to him she was and it was scaring
her. She quickly tried to engage him in conversation to quell the
uneasy feeling that was now having a party in her stomach. Talking
was something Sam always did when nervous; although, it wasn’t
always the best solution. She had been known to talk complete
drivel in these situations and make a complete fool of herself.

BOOK: Summer Down Under
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